Technical Plate Carrier Review: Hayley Strategic Thorax Plate Carrier

Haley Strategic Plate Carrier Thorax HSP

Founded in 2011, Haley Strategic Partners or HSP is known for product lines that trace their way back to Travis Haley’s time as an active duty Force Recon Marine. While most famous for their chest rigs and flat packs, they wadded into the crowded plate carrier waters a few years ago with the Haley Strategic Thorax plate carrier. The Thorax is a plate carrier for which we have received a significant number of requests for review and it is the subject of today’s INSIGHTS Technical Overview article and video. The big question our audience has told us they want answered is: how does the HSP Thorax stack up to the other players in this very competitive and crowded playing field? Read or watch below this installment of Qore Performance INSIGHTS to find out. 


If this is your first time reading one of our Technical Plate Carrier Reviews, this is an important note. These are not traditional “reviews.” We started doing them to answer frequently asked customer questions about how to integrate our IceAge Ecosystem of thermoregulation and hydration tools with various plate carriers on the market today. As such, our format is largely empirical. It attempts to be as objective and quantitative as possible. While we are not perfect, we make every effort to avoid sharing anything that is qualitative, subjective, opinion, or conjecture. You guys are grown ups and professionals. Our only goal is to provide you the information you need to make decisions that help you be the greatest version of yourself.

Relationship Disclosure

In the interest of full transparency before we get started, we need to briefly discuss the relationship between Qore Performance and Haley Strategic Partners. Unlike our Blue Force Gear PLATE6 MOLLE Minus INSIGHTS episode where we had an existing B2B relationship with the manufacturer of the subject plate carrier and multiple collaborative efforts in our collective past, our relationship with HSP is far less formal and has never involved the exchange of funds. In other words, they do not buy anything from us and we do not buy anything from them.

Our business to business relationship with Haley Strategic Partners dates back several years, but largely consists of marketing content sharing. No formal contracts exist between our two companies. Despite our informal social media relationship, our review will still be completely unbiased and objective thanks to its purely empirical format. Haley Strategic Partners was not involved in this review. We purchased the Thorax on the open market, as we do with almost all of the plate carriers in our series.

Greg Wong, Spartan117gw, using a Qore Performance ICEPLATE Curve with Haley Strategic FlatPack Plus.

Above: Greg Wong, better known as @Spartan117gw, using a Qore Performance ICEPLATE® Curve in a Haley Strategic FlatPack Plus as external hydration.

IceAge Ecosystem Integration

Thermoregulation is how we are Building A Superhuman Future. It is the next frontier in human performance enhancement and is foundational to everything we do here at Qore Performance. In fact, this series started as a way for us to answer customer questions about how to integrate our IceAge Ecosystem of performance-enhancing and environmental inoculation technologies with equipment from other manufacturers. This is still the primary intent behind these videos. So let’s see how our IceAge Ecosystem integrates with the HSP Thorax.

ICEPLATE® and ICEVENTS augmentation supercharges any non-Qore Performance plate carrier, providing them with critical thermoregulatory capabilities that are otherwise missing from every carrier on the market today except our ICEPLATE EXO®

According to the HSP website, the integral Thorax thermoform foam pad provides “comfort and additional ventilation.” We’ll get to Thermal Transmittance later in the video, but the HSP Thorax makes a great host platform for multiple members of our IceAge Ecosystem: IMS, IMS Pro, IMS Versa, CATAMARAN, ICEVENTS® Classic and ICEVENTS® Aero plate carrier shoulder pads.

The HSP Thorax does not have loop Velcro fields or MOLLE on the inside of the plate bags. This means the Thorax limits our IMS and IMS Pro to external hard cell hydration configurations on the rear plate bag only. 

However, Thorax is an ideal platform for IMS Versa and CATAMARAN. IMS Versa provides internal mounting of our ICEPLATE® Curve for conductive thermoregulation plus hydration to the inside of the Thorax. CATAMARAN uses largely the same mounting system for our ICEVENTS® Classic Plate Carrier Ventilation Pontoons to add convective thermoregulation capability to the inside of the Thorax plate bags.

Heavy loads in the Thorax are made lighter thanks to easy installation of our ICEVENTS® Aero Minimalist Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads and ICEVENTS® Classic Heavy Loadout Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads. Both ICEVENTS® Classic and ICEVENTS® Aero provide convective thermoregulation for your shoulders while distributing loads - a capability unique to our ICEVENTS® technology. For lighter loads with greater mobility, go with ICEVENTS® Aero. For heavier loads worn over extended periods of time, go with ICEVENTS® Classic.


Haley Strategic Thorax with plate carrier ventilation pontoons and plate carrier hydration pack.

Above: Haley Strategic Thorax IceAge Ecosystem integration with IMS Versa and CATAMARAN for plate carrier cooling and plate carrier ventilation.

IceAge Ecosystem Integration Comparison Chart

ICEVENTS® Aero ICEVENTS® Classic ICEVENTS® Classic Ventilation Pontoons IMS
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
Crye Precision AVS  
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
Crye Precision SPC
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Spiritus Systems LV-119
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT
Agilite K19      
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
Defense Mechanisms MEPC
LBT 6094
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
Haley Strategic Thorax


Dry Weight

Weight matters. Few things impact human performance more than weight. Ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain…we’ve all heard it. We all know it. 

The HSP website does list the weight for the Thorax Plate Bags in medium at 16oz.

For consistency, we ordered the HSP Thorax with the Chicken Strap entry system. We try to order the lightest configuration available for purchase (meaning we could actually buy it because it was in stock somewhere) for all of the plate carriers in our INSIGHTS series to keep the comparisons as scientifically accurate as possible.

In our testing, the HSP Thorax as configured tipped the scales at 20.80 ounces or 1.30 pounds. Breaking the weight down further, the plate bags weighed 15 oz and the Chicken Strap weighed 5.8oz. Here is how the HSP Thorax compares to the other plate carriers we’ve tested previously.

For context, 16 ounces is the approximate weight of a loaded 5.56 magazine. In other words, for every 16 additional ounces of dry or wet weight in your plate carrier, you are potentially gaining or sacrificing 30 rounds of 5.56 NATO ammunition, depending on if you have a lighter or heavier plate carrier. 

To find out how the weight of the HSP Thorax compares to carriers like the BFG PLATE6 MOLLE Minus, ICEPLATE EXO®, T-Rex Arms AC1, DEFMECH MEPC, and others when loaded up and configured, click on the link in the show notes below to check out our Plate Carrier Weight Calculator. The data is super interesting as it lets you set up your PC with various accessories and then it gives you the final weight of your custom PC build.

Weight Dry (ounces)
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® 16
Haley Strategic Thorax 20.80
Crye Precision SPC 21.15
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 21.6
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 22.95
Spiritus Systems LV-119 23
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 23.4
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 23.9
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 33.25
LBT 6094 38.85
Shaw Concepts ARC V2 39.75
Agilite K19 41.6
Crye Precision AVS 48.35

Wet Weight

Wet weight matters. Depending on your specific mission or application, it could matter more than dry weight. Whether salt water or sweat, the ability of a plate carrier to repel/shed water weight and to do so quickly has a significant impact on human operator performance. The wet weight of the Thorax came in at 45.40 ounces. This means the HSP Thorax retained 24.60 ounces of water or roughly the same weight as 24 rounds of 5.56 ammunition.

If you’ve watched any of our earlier videos in this series, you know that our experimental design is simple. It is the same for all PCs we test in this series: submerge carrier in water for 60 minutes, remove and hang dry for 60 seconds. Weigh the carrier. We conduct all of these tests inside our office to make sure external variables like sunlight, wind, etc. are not present. Our scale is always zeroed to account for the weight of the bin.


Weight Wet (ounces)
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® 26.5
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 31.5
Spiritus Systems LV-119 32.4
Crye Precision SPC 34.9
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 39.6
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 40.25
Haley Strategic Thorax 45.40
Shaw Concepts ARC V2 60.7
Agilite K19 62.8
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 66.3
LBT 6094 68.75
Crye Precision AVS 70.95


The materials used to build the Thorax by Haley Strategic Partners are commonly available in today’s market. It uses 500D Nylon, 4-way stretch nylon/elastane, 500D/1000D Nylon Laminate, Thermoformed 4-way stretch nylon elastane/closed cell foam laminate, Spacer Mesh, VELCRO Brand Hook and Loop, Velcro Brand ONE-Wrap, and Mil-Spec nylon webbing. HSP notes that they use traditional bar tacked MOLLE for the Thorax. HSP does not have any proprietary materials on the Thorax. 


Thermal Transmittance: 

What exactly is Thermal Transmittance and why should any of us care? What does it have to do with plate carriers?

Thermal Transmittance is the transfer of heat through matter. In our case, that matter is the body-facing section of a plate carrier plate bag.  If a wall or a plate bag is well-insulated, it will have low Thermal Transmittance. This is ideal for a home, car, or cold weather jacket as they are designed to protect you from the elements. If that same wall or plate bag is poorly insulated, it will have high Thermal Transmittance. This is ideal for active or athletic apparel: think running clothes, PT gear, combat uniforms, or anything you wear when under heavy athletic exertion where your body needs to dump excess heat generated from effort. 

Since kit is already insulating by nature, you want to find gear, especially plate carriers and body armor, that have the highest possible Thermal Transmittance. In other words, you want to find plate carriers and body armor that have the minimum amount of insulation. This will allow your body’s natural thermoregulation mechanisms to work as efficiently as possible and for you to control your body temperature independent of your kit. Preserving this natural function decreases the possibility of you becoming a heat casualty, keeping you in the fight and increasing survivability for you and your team. Some plate carriers, like our ICEPLATE EXO®, can even augment your body’s natural thermoregulation mechanisms, boosting your performance in the process. Carriers without this capability can be augmented with members of our IceAge Ecosystem like IMS Pro, IMS Versa, ICEVENTS® and CATAMARAN.

If you’d like to learn the basic Methods of Heat Transfer and how they apply to your gear, check out the awesome infographics we put together in our INSIGHTS blog article titled “The Methods of Heat Transfer” linked in our show notes below.

For all of us super nerds out there who want to know the Experimental Design for our Thermal Transmittance testing, here it is:

  1. FLIR camera surface reading of the body facing side of the plate bags at room temperature
  2. Place a single ICEPLATE® Curve, fresh out of the freezer, into the same plate bag
  3. Close plate bag, place a Tencate Level III hard armor plate on top of the plate bag for 30 seconds to simulate the effect of putting on the plate carrier. Use short exposure time to test efficiency, not capacity. 
  4. Remove the Tencate Level III hard armor plate from the surface of the subject plate bag
  5. Take new FLIR surface temperature reading

What do these numbers mean? The smaller the spread between the Initial or Baseline Surface Temperature and the surface reading at room temperature, the lower the Thermal Transmittance of that plate bag. Plate carriers with these readings will trap and retain more heat, making you hotter. The larger the spread between Initial or Baseline Surface Temperature and the surface reading at room temperature, the higher the Thermal Transmittance of that plate carrier. Plate bags with these larger spreads are better at removing heat to let your body’s thermoregulation mechanisms work as normally as possible. 

The HSP Thorax has a baseline surface temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and an ICEPLATE® Inside surface temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a Thermal Shift of 18 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This is how the HSP Thorax compares to the other plate carriers we’ve tested:

Thermal Shift
(Big Numbers = Good, Small Numbers = Bad)
Qore Performance
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 25˚F
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 20.9˚F
Spiritus Systems LV-119 18.0˚F
Haley Strategic Thorax 18.0˚F
Crye Precision SPC 14.0˚F
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 13.0˚F
LBT 6094 11.0 ˚F
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 8.8˚F
Crye Precision AVS 4.0-9.0˚F
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 7.0˚F
Agilite K19 4.7˚F
Shaw Concepts ARC V2

Unique Features:

The HSP Thorax packs quite a few unique features that we haven’t seen on any other plate carrier we’ve reviewed as part of this INSIGHTS series:

  • A thermoformed foam logo pad on both the front and rear plate bags
  • Extensive accessory ecosystem
  • AMP foam chin pad
  • FLATPACK and FLATPACK Plus piggyback capability

Haley Strategic Thorax Dragonfly logo foam pad plate carrier padding.

Above: Haley Strategic Thorax plate carrier Dragonfly logo foam pad.

Attachment Mechanisms:

The attachment mechanisms on the Haley Strategic Partners Thorax are simple: Velcro, MOLLE, SwiftClip, and Side Release Buckles. The HSP Thorax pretty much takes everything on the market today.


When it comes to variety, the HSP Thorax is available in Coyote Brown, Black, Multicam, Multicam Black, Ranger Green, and Grey. Sizes available are Medium and Large.

Sizing Adjustability:

The Shoulders and Cummerbund allow for a wide range of adjustability. As you can see here, the HSP Thorax has a 17” length of Velcro on the shoulders and 10” of adjustability in the cummerbund.


Small Medium Large X-Large One Size
Crye Precision SPC
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Crye Precision AVS
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT
Spiritus Systems LV-119
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
Agilite K19
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
Defense Mechanisms MEPC
LBT 6094
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
Haley Strategic Thorax

Accepted Plate Sizes

As far as sizes, the Thorax is available in Medium and Large and is cut for ESAPI armor plate geometries. 

SAPI ESAPI Swimmer Additional Notes
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
9.5" x 12.5" up to 1.1" for Medium ESAPI armor plates.
10" x 12" and 10" x 12" Shooter Cut up to 1.1" thick for Medium SAPI plates*
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
M & L plates up to 1" thick
Crye Precision SPC
  Specific Model S-XL
Crye Precision AVS
  Specific Model S-XL
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Agilite K19
  All 10x12 plates up to 1.5" thick
Spiritus Systems LV-119
    M-XL up to 1.2" thick
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT  
  S-XL up to 1" thick
Shaw Concepts 


S-M size fits Small and Medium SAPI Plates while the L-XL fits Large and Extra Large SAPI Plates. 

Defense Mechanisms MEPC


LBT 6094
S-XL up to Level IV Thickness
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
S-XL. Cut for ESAPI or SPEAR armor plate geometries.
Haley Strategic Thorax

*Use of 10" x 12" Medium Shooter Cut Armor Plates thinner than 1.1" may require sewing additional Velcro fields to the bottom plate retention flap (see instructions and placement in product photo gallery).

Country of Origin:

As with all things Haley Strategic Partners, the Thorax is made in America from American materials.

Country of Origin Comparison Chart

USA Outside of USA
Crye Precision SPC
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Crye Precision AVS
Spiritus Systems LV-119
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
Agilite K19  
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
Defense Mechanisms MEPC
LBT 6094
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
Haley Strategic Thorax


The Thorax by Haley Strategic Partners, as configured for this video, sells for $270 for the plate bags and $99 for the chicken straps for a total of $369 on the HSP website as of November 2023.

Price Extras
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 $241.90 AVS Detachable Flap MOLLE $41.10
Crye Precision SPC $252.00 AVS Flap M4 $101.00, Airlite Detachable Flap MOLLE $29.60
Spiritus Systems LV-119 $283.35 Placard 5.56 $59.95
Agilite K19 $289.00 Pincer Placard $69.90
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 $299.95
Defense Mechanisms MEPC $300.00 Cummerbund options priced from $50 to $175
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT $338.00 Quad SwiftClip Placard $90.00
Haley Strategic Thorax $369.00
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 $385.00 Kangaroo Front Flap $50.00
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® $500.00 IMS Pro $165-170
LBT 6094G
(Modular Plate Carrier)
Crye Precision AVS $661.40 AVS Detachable Flap M4 $60.80
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
ARC Placard V3 $55, RAM Elastic Insert $30


That’s going to do it for us and our Haley Strategic Partners Thorax technical plate carrier overview. Now that you know all about the Thorax and how it stacks up to the competition, we want to know what you guys think: does the Thorax live up to the legendary HSP name? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.

We hope you enjoyed the video and that it was helpful. If you’re looking to see the latest in All-Aspect Thermoregulation don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @qoreperformance and subscribe to our LaunchPad email list to join us in Building A Superhuman Future.

Until next time: #StayFrosty 


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