Plate Carriers. When I hear those words, I think of safety, utility, and profuse sweating.
I dislike wearing a carrier so much that I've developed a reputation at the Musa Store for my love of micro chest rigs. Since 2020 has been such an uncertain time, my desire to "train how I fight" led me to ask a colleague for a solution. I noticed in one of his posts that he had some kind of a panel attached to his Plate CArrier, and he quickly led me to Body Armor Vent I.C.E. panels that he's been using.
Call me a skeptic, a realist, or maybe someone who just hates being super hot - either way; I had my doubts about this thing's ability to comfortability cool me off without adding a ton of weight or creating uncomfortable angles.
Fast forward a week and a half, and my Body Vent I.C.E. Retrofit panels show up in a suspiciously light package. So light that I thought I had received the wrong products!
What arrives when you order the I.C.E. Retrofit Kit from Body Vent:
- Body Vent I.C.E. Panel (Front)
- Body Vent I.C.E. Panel (Back)
- Adhesive "Super Grip" Hook Tape (Stiff part of the velcro)
Set up was pretty straightforward and took about 5 minutes.
Using a pair of medical shears, we cut the tape into a pattern based on the instructions sent to us in the kit. We tested removing the tape and found it to be pretty secure, and it didn't leave any noticeable residue when we did remove it.
Next, we placed the panels onto the inside of the armor. Each panel has pile tape (fuzzy part of velcro) on the inside that adheres to the hook tape stuck to the plate carrier. All of this took us less than 5 min, and we were ready to go.
When finished the Q.R.C.'s underside looked like this with panels attached:
The initial feeling after putting on the panels was - wow, these are very thin and a lot lighter than I thought they would be. I expected them to be rigid or uncomfortable - but they weren't. The thickness was about 1/4" at the thickest point of the panel and 1/8" of an inch at the thinnest point of the panel. The panel felt like a ton of small bubbles that created lines up and down.
Ok, now for the test - Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
- Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
- Temperature: 92 degrees
- Humidity: 68%
- Conditions: Sunny with light cloud cover
- Plate Carrier: DFNDR QRC (Large)
- Plates: The heaviest damn things I could find. To make the test as grueling as possible, I threw in AR500 Steel plates, Level III ASC Special Threat Tested, 7.62 x 51 M80 NATO Ball plates that weigh 9.5lbs a piece.
- Total weight: 22 lbs 9.5 oz
So yea - the entire time I'm moving this thing around with the plates, I'm thinking to myself how terrible of an experience this going to be. A 23 lb plate carrier is NUTS.
(Why do I do this to myself?)
For comparison, the Interceptor Body Armor (I.B.A.) I wore in Iraq was 18.4 lbs and included the vest itself with front, back, and side plates.
For the test, I spent about 3.5 hours at the range between 1030 and 1400, the hottest part of the day here. I loaded the vest with three loaded PMAGs, and I wore my Wilder Tactical 'War Belt' with my Glock 34, a compliment of three sidearm magazines, and a stocked IFAK.
(Start of the test baseline)
I spent the time on the range entirely in the sun. I never stopped to cool down in the shade, and I never really gave much thought to the carrier. I was surprised by how comfortable I was throughout the entire process.
(Side Profile showing the small space created to let air flow)
So yea, color me impressed. I sweat my ass off moving around the range, but I never felt overwhelmed by the heat or the weight of the 23 lb. Q.R.C. When I pulled the carrier off, I noticed channel patterns of sweat had formed on my front and back, but other than that, there were no noticeable intentions from the bubbles.
(Starting to sweat a little)
What I had no doubt would be a smoke fest on the range was just a chill day of shooting and exercising my 2nd amendment right to bear arms.
(3.5 hours and 450 rounds later. Soaked but impressed)
About the author: Rob is the C.E.O. of the Musa Store and a U.S. Army Veteran. When he's not testing products on the range, he's without a doubt behind his desk working on excel sheets and doing nerd things at Musa HQ in West Melbourne, FL.