Plate Carrier Review: Crye Precision Airlite SPC (with IceVents and IcePlate mounting tips)

Plate Carrier Review: Crye Precision Airlite SPC (with IceVents and IcePlate mounting tips)

In 2022, when we first introduced our video review of the Crye Precision Airlite Structural Plate Carrier (SPC), it was met with enthusiastic interest from our audience. This tactical plate carrier, crafted from Crye's revolutionary AIRLITE material, quickly became a topic of extensive discussion for its unique properties – offering an exceptional balance of strength, lightweight design, and water resistance. Now, two years later, with ongoing advancements in tactical equipment and evolving user needs, we find it pertinent to revisit our review. This updated examination aims to delve deeper into the current performance and relevance of the Airlite SPC, incorporating fresh insights and real-world feedback to provide our audience with a comprehensive understanding of its standing in The Best Plate Carriers of 2024.

About Our Plate Carrier Reviews

Our commitment to providing detailed and empirical reviews is shaped by the direct inquiries and feedback we receive from our community. These interactions help us pinpoint the aspects of gear that matter most to end users. For instance, questions about the integration of ICEVENTS® Classic Ventilation Pontoons and the IMS Pro with the Crye Precision Airlite SPC frequently arise. These are not just casual queries but reflect a genuine need for compatibility information that could impact user decision-making. To address these recurring themes effectively, we've structured our reviews to answer such questions comprehensively, ensuring that every piece of content we produce is not only informative but immediately useful. Our aim is to equip our readers with all the necessary details to make informed decisions about their tactical gear choices, specifically through direct comparisons, like how the Airlite SPC stacks up against other systems such as our ICEPLATE EXO® in terms of weight, comfort, and utility.

The Short Answer: The Crye Precision Airlite SPC is a top-of-the-line plate carrier that is particularly useful for certain applications like maritime operations. Most of the IceAge Ecosystem is easily integrated into the SPC and it does have some native spacer mesh that makes it more breathable. Built with Crye’s incredible quick-release technology, this plate carrier gives versatility and mobility of the Crye JPC 2.0 but in a structural package which is similar in capability as the Crye AVS. The biggest downside of this plate carrier is that it is very limited when it comes to attachment mechanisms, requiring users to purchase Crye-specific products to customize their loadout.

This infographic breaks down the best plate carriers of 2024.

Crye Precision Airlite SPC Review: IceAge Ecosystem Integration

The Crye Precision Airlite SPC integrates fairly well with IceAge Ecosystem products. The Crye SPC is compatible with both ICEVENTS Aero and ICEVENTS Classic Shoulder Pads (we recommend the Aero unless you’re dealing with a very heavy setup). Although the Airlite SPC does not come with a loop-lined plate bag, which is typically necessary for attaching ICEVENTS Classic Ventilation Pontoons, it offers a creative workaround. Users can attach adhesive-backed Velcro® directly to their armor plates, allowing the pontoons to be secured inside the plate carrier’s mesh-lined inner pockets. This setup not only ensures compatibility but also enhances comfort and cooling efficiency under operational conditions. Additionally, the Airlite SPC is compatible with IMS and IMS Pro, which can be mounted on the outside of the carrier, offering users hard cell hydration but not the thermoregulation benefits of ICEPLATE®.

Crye Precision Airlite SPC Review: Weight

In elite tactical operations, the weight of equipment is a critical factor that can significantly influence mobility and endurance. The Crye Precision Airlite SPC is designed with an acute awareness of this balance. Weighing just 21.15 ounces when dry, it is one of the lighter options available on the market. When wet, the weight increases to 34.9 ounces due to the material’s absorption, resulting in a dry/wet gain of 13.75 ounces. While the dry-wet gain is something to consider, the Airlite SPC still performs commendably against many competitors, particularly when evaluating its overall weight efficiency in both dry and wet conditions. This aspect makes the Airlite SPC a viable option for those who require a plate carrier that offers agility without sacrificing protection and durability.

Crye Precision Airlite SPC Review: Thermoregulation & Hydration

Thermoregulation and hydration are necessary in a plate carrier that can be used effectively in various operational environments. The Crye Precision Airlite SPC incorporates a basic form of thermoregulation through a spacer mesh located on the inner side of the plate bag, which provides some air circulation. For hydration capabilities, the plate carrier is capable of supporting IMS Pro Combo via the MOLLE system on the back, allowing for external hydration solutions that are crucial during extended missions.

Crye Precision Airlite SPC Review: Unique Features, Attachment Mechanisms, & Materials

Unique Features

The Airlite SPC excels in combining the mobility of lighter plate carriers with the robust structure typical of more comprehensive systems. It's comparable to having the agility of the JPC with the more heavy-duty strength of the Crye AVS. One of its standout features is the patented quick-release system that simplifies the process of donning and doffing the carrier, crucial in high-stakes scenarios where time is of the essence.

Attachment Mechanisms

While offering some versatility, the Airlite SPC's attachment options are more limited compared to other carriers. The front of the plate bag is designed to accommodate Airlite-specific placards or pouches from the AVS line exclusively. For users looking to integrate modern swift-clip compatible placards, an additional kit from AXL Advanced is required, which allows for broader customization and utility.



The primary material of the Crye Precision Airlite SPC is AIRLITE, a durable and lightweight laminate produced by Trelleborg, providing essential resilience and comfort for tactical operations. Complementing the AIRLITE are Tigris AIRLITE and Velcro making up the structural cummerbund. Beyond that the Crye SPC uses YKK zippers, Tweave fabric, and nylon webbing for added durability. The plate bag also includes elastic to enhance fit and flexibility, ensuring the carrier adapts to various body movements and conditions.

Crye Precision Airlite SPC Review: Other Factors to Consider


The Airlite SPC is available in a range of sizes from small to extra-large and offers color options that include multicam, black, coyote, and ranger green.

Sizing Adjustability

The Crye Precision Airlite SPC is available in sizes from small to extra-large. An important consideration for users is the sizing of the cummerbund, which tends to run large. For instance, if you wear a medium-sized plate carrier, we recommend trying a small cummerbund for a better fit. Additionally, the shoulder straps on the Airlite SPC are adjustable and include elastic components for enhanced comfort and flexibility.

Plate Compatibility

The carrier is compatible with standard SAPI, ESAPI, and has a special option that fits swimmer cut plates. This provides flexibility in armor selection based on mission requirements and personal protection needs.

Manufacturing Quality

Proudly made in the USA from American materials, the Airlite SPC stands as a testament to high-quality craftsmanship and innovation. This domestic production indicates the product was built to rigorous standards.


Priced at a base of $252.00, with potential increases for additional attachments up to $382.60. Considering the critical role a plate carrier plays in user safety, we wouldn’t recommend getting too bogged down in the price.

Crye Precision Airlite SPC Review: Conclusion

The Crye Precision Airlite SPC continues to be a formidable choice for tactical professionals seeking a plate carrier that balances weight, functionality, and adaptability. For those looking for a plate carrier that goes above and beyond, the ICEPLATE EXO® Gen 3 represents the next evolutionary step in plate carrier technology. It offers an ultralight, minimalist design with advanced quick-release features, setting new standards for performance and comfort in tactical gear.

Image is of Qore Performance's ICEPLATE EXO Gen 3.

We hope that helps, but let us know if you have any additional questions in the comments below or via email.

We hope that helps, but let us know if you have any additional questions in the comments below or via email.

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