Body Armor and Plate Carrier Ventilation Comparison: IceVents®, MaxxDri, TacVent, Body ArmorVent, SKD PIG Pontoons
by Justin Li
Body armor is hot and miserable, but it can be a necessity. Conductive cooling, the most powerful way to cool your body under armor, relies on physical contact to extract heat from your body. Working in every climate, IcePlate® Curve is the lightest and most powerful conductive cooling tools for body armor wearers. If you work or operate in humid climates, conductive cooling is the only practical method to remove heat from your body. But, in arid climates, you have more options.
Above: Conduction is by far the most effective body armor/PPE cooling. Conductive cooling with hydration is even better.
Above: Convective cooling is highly effective in arid climates for body armor ventilation.
But sometimes conductive cooling is not an option; we know there are mission critical situations where IcePlate's® powerful cooling may not be readily available due to a lack of infrastructure (freezers). Or maybe you are looking for every last ounce of cooling. This is when tools for evaporative cooling become key.
Evaporative cooling works when the sweat your body generates absorbs heat and evaporates from the surface of your skin. It is not effective in humid climates because the air is already saturated with water; high humidity inhibits the ability of sweat (or any liquid) to phase change into a gas and remove heat from your body in the process. But in less humid situations, or when the air is less stagnant, evaporative cooling is a natural process and can be very effective.
There are a number of choices when it comes to body armor ventilation systems that provide enhanced evaporative cooling. We’ve assembled a comparison chart to help you make the best purchasing decision for your specific requirements.
IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoons: The lightest, most versatile option available. Simple. No moving parts.
221B Tactical MaxxDri Vest: Good solution, full torso, easy to use.
Body Armor Vent: First design had moving parts and air bladder can fail/rupture. Complex. New design is simpler as moving parts have been removed, but it is made out of foam. Foam is used in coolers and Koozies because it is an excellent insulator. The question is: do you want insulating material between your body armor and your body in an effort to keep cool?
TacVent: Heavy, made from rubber which is a material that insulates and traps heat. Adequate stand-off, but very dense. Obsolete technology.
SKD Tactical Pontoons: Made from foam and nylon which can trap heat and absorb moisture/water. No internal ventilation capability. Not hydrophobic. Old technology. Rotary dial in the iPhone age.