Hydrophobic Plate Carriers: are they worth it?

Hydrophobic Plate Carriers: are they worth it?

The following article is by one of our long time customers, Gunnar Anderson. Enjoy!

- Justin 

///START GUEST ARTICLE///

Are hydrophobic plate carriers worth it?

Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain.  Can IcePlate EXO (ICE), a hydrophobic plate carrier made by Qore Performance, help you avoid unnecessary pain?

BLUF:  Yes.  Whether you’re operating in a maritime environment or whether you begin and end on dry land, Qore Performance’s hydrophobic IcePlate EXO (ICE) can literally save you tons of weight when compared to traditional nylon plate carriers like the Shellback Tactical Banshee (Banshee).  I’ll show off my math skills later, but here are the highlights:

  • ICE is 39.5% lighter than the competition when dry.
  • ICE is 48.6% lighter than the competition when wet.
  • ICE absorbs 132.2% less water weight than the competition.
Inspired by the story of Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, who realized that shaving off even an ounce from shoes had a significant impact over distance, I calculated the weight difference over a mile and discovered:
  • ICE weighs 1,927.2 pounds less than the competition over a mile when dry.
  • ICE weighs 5,068.8 pounds less than the competition over a mile when wet.

    Ultralight plate Carrier review

    Experimental Design

    I pulled out my old plate carrier, a Shellback Tactical Banshee, to compare to Qore Performance’s ICE.  ICE is made out of their unique IcePlate EXO Laminate.  Their laminate is hydrophobic – meaning it repels water.

    The Banshee is legacy plate carrier that uses a heavy-duty 500 denier nylon.  It’s the same material used by most plate carrier manufacturers – First Spear, Ferro Concepts, Spiritus Systems, Tactical Tailor, LBT, 5.11, etc.  (I suspect Crye Precision uses a similar material on their JPC and AVS plate carriers, but both the internet and Crye’s on-product labels are short on details.  Both sources just say the JPC and AVS are made from “nylon.”)

    I stripped the magazine pouches off the plate carriers, grabbed a food scale, and headed to the saltwater pool.  Here’s what I learned weighing the carriers both dry and after spending fifteen minutes in the water:

     

    ICE

    Banshee

    Difference (weight)

    Difference (%)

    Dry

    1 lb. 6.4 oz.

    2 lb. 5 oz.

    14.6 oz.

    39.5%

    Wet

    2 lb. 8.6 oz.

    4 lb. 15 oz.*

    2 lb. 6.4 oz.

    48.6%

    Difference (weight)

    1 lb. 2.2 oz.

    2 lb. 10 oz.

     

     

     

    *The difference is actually bigger between the two plate carriers when wet, but my food scale only measures up to five pounds.  I had to wring some water out of the Banshee to even get a weight reading.

    Also, the weight differences between the two plate carriers would be even greater if I was using Qore Performance’s IcePlate (ICE) EXO MOLLE Cummerbund since it’s made of the same hydrophobic IcePlate EXO Laminate as ICE and weighs less than the IcePlate EXO Elastic Cummerbund currently equipped on my ICE plate carrier.  I have a follow-up article in the works as I type this to repeat this test with the IcePlate EXO (ICE) MOLLE Cummerbund.  Qore Performance claims their MOLLE Cummerbund gives the IcePlate EXO (ICE) a dry weight of just 15.4 ounces.

     hydrophobic plate carrier water retention test

    Above: Qore Performance IcePlate EXO (ICE) dry

    nylon plate carrier water retention test

    Above: Shellback Tactical Banshee plate carrier dry weight

    IcePlate EXO (ICE) hydrophobic plate carrier water retention test

    Above: IcePlate EXO (ICE) with Elastic Cummerbund gained minimal weight after being submerged in salt water for 15 minutes.

    Shellback Tactical Banshee plate carrier water retention weight

    Above: Shellback Tactical Banshee plate carrier gained significant weight after being submerged in salt water for 15 minutes.

     Nike cofounders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight realized the importance of shedding even a little bit of weight over distance.  

    Quick aside, before you dismiss this article because I used Nike as an example, pause and remember that Nike used to be one of America’s greatest companies before the current woke leadership started them down their current path of supporting people who disrespect our nation’s flag.  Read just a couple of Qore Performance’s articles and you’ll see that they define “courage” differently.  Today’s Nike is a shadow of its former self, but back in the day when Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman founded it, they were incredible.  They were a true SpaceX or Tesla of their day.  The Nike example is only meant as a hat-tip to their former greatness as true pioneers in sport performance.

    Back to the story – Bowerman was a track coach at the University of Oregon who routinely took his athletes’ shoes and tried to shave extra weight to give them an advantage.  He figured out that his runners had an average stride of six feet.  That translates into 880 steps per mile (5,280 feet per mile divided by 6 foot stride).  Every ounce (1/16 of a pound) he was able to shave off a pair of shoes translated into a saved fifty-five pounds per mile (880 steps per mile x 1/16 pound = 55 pounds per mile).

    The average stride of a person who’s walking is shorter than the collegiate runners that Bowerman coached – coming in at two-and-a-half feet.  A two-and-a-half-foot stride means that the average person takes 2,112 steps per mile (5,280 feet per mile ÷ 2.5 foot stride = 2,112 steps).  Here’s what that means for these plate carriers:

    • DRY:  ICE is 14.6 ounces lighter than the Banshee.  At 2,112 steps per mile, that’s a difference of 1,927.2 pounds spread over that mile.  (2,112 steps x 14.6 ounces ÷ 16 ounces per pound = 1,927.2 pounds per mile)
    • WET:  ICE is 2 pounds 6.4 ounces lighter than the Banshee.  At 2,112 steps per mile, that’s a difference of 5,068.8 pounds spread over that mile.  (2,112 steps x 38.4 ounces ÷ 16 ounces per pound = 5,068.8 pounds per mile)
    • One ton is 2,000 pounds.  It’s also the average weight of a walrus, a moose, a polar bear, or a rhinoceros.  Dry, ICE saves you nearly a ton over a mile.  
    • A 2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD 4x4 weighs 4,445 pounds.  Wet, ICE saves you more than two-and-a-half tons.  Stated differently, ICE saves you a Toyota Tacoma TRD 4x4 plus 623.8 pounds.

    My knees aren’t what they used to be, so OUCH!  Why would anyone want to lug around that kind of extra weight.  Even if you’re not a maritime operator, pay attention to this difference because water weight doesn’t just come from the ocean.  It also comes from sweat and rain.

    The math above demonstrates what I meant earlier when I said that Qore Performance can help you avoid unnecessary pain, regardless of your operating environment.

    ///END GUEST ARTICLE///


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published