Comfort matters, especially when wearing a plate carrier on duty for extended periods of time or in extreme weather. To address this issue, companies like First Spear, Ferro Concepts, and TRex Arms have started to make foam plate backers to wear behind your armor plates, inside your plate bag. While foam is a great material to use for insulation (think koozies for your soda or favorite adult beverage or the inside of a Yeti cooler), using it in a plate backer comfort pad begs the question: do you want more insulation on your chest, behind hard armor plates that already inhibit the natural ability of your body to regulate its temperature? One other thing to consider, since most plate backers have ventilation channels, and most plate bags are sealed: how is the foam plate backer going to ventilate the excess heat it will generate by insulating your body, if it is in a sealed plate bag?
If adding heat retention and insulation to your plate carrier is your intent or not a concern for you, then you are all set. No need to read on. If, however, you would prefer a plate backer option with ventilation that didn't insulate you, retain more heat, and impede your physiological performance, then proceed.
Here is how to use IceVents® Classic Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads to create the world's best plate backer comfort pads with the most ventilation available today. This is especially true when paired with a skeletonized plate carrier like IcePlate EXO® that has an open body-facing architecture to facilitate convection, allowing for evaporative cooling when wearing your plate carrier.
First, let's start with the recipe:
- 2 x IceVents® VELCRO® brand Acrylic Adhesive Hook Strips [these go on your armor plates first]
- 1 x IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoons (2-Pack Ventilated Plate Backer Pads) [sandwich these with the IceVents® Classic (2-Pack) below]
- 1 x IceVents® Classic (2-Pack) [use the included Velcro® OneWrap® to sandwich with the IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoons above via the integrated slits]
Next, here is the assembly process, step-by-step:
First, apply two strips of acrylic adhesive-backed Velcro® to your hard armor plates.
Next, make two IceVents® Classic sandwiches consisting of one IceVents® Classic Shoulder Pad + one IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoon. Use the included OneWrap to do this as shown in the picture above. Attach these IceVents® Classic sandwiches to the Velcro loop strip you just applied to your hard armor plate, with the IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoon connecting to the adhesive-backed Velcro® you just placed on your armor plates and the IceVents® Classic (2-Pack) facing your body.
Now, slide your new IceVents® plate backer + armor plate into your plate bag.
Boom! In about five minutes, you just built the most comfortable plate backer comfort pads in the world with an absolutely massive ventilation gap in the middle and ventilated IceVents® padding on the edges, positioning both features right where you need them.
While the steps above will help you build the best plate backer comfort pads to use inside your plate bag and optimize your plate carrier setup, the plate backer comfort pads will only provide ventilation for you while wearing your body armor if you have a plate carrier with a ventilated body facing plate bag. There are not many plate carriers on the market today with this feature. Our IcePlate EXO® Ultralight Ventilated Plate Carrier along with the Plate Frame by S&S Precision and Crye Precision SPC are three of the few plate carriers on the market today equipped with this capability.
If you don't own a plate carrier with a body-facing plate bag that is open/skeletonized and ventilated like IcePlate EXO® shown above, then you can add Velcro loop strips to the body-facing side of your plate bag so you can attach plate carrier ventilation like IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoons which have permanently bonded Velcro® brand hook backings so you can easily attach them to the inside of your plate carrier. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to add ventilation to your plate carrier.
One final important note: you don't have to buy IceVents to ventilate your plate carrier. While we know that IceVents is the best, most advanced ventilated padding technology in the world, 221B Tactical also has a mesh matrix product that works well. We recommend taking a look at it before you make your purchasing decision as we know IceVents, while awesome, may not be for everyone. In the interest of full disclosure, we have no relationship whatsoever with 221B Tactical. In fact, we've never met them. We just know they make the only credible alternative to IceVents and want to equip you with the best information possible to make the best decision for yourself which may not be IceVents, but it certainly shouldn't be foam.
We hope this article has been helpful, but feel free to shoot us an email by clicking here if you have any additional questions.