As armed professionals, we depend on our gear and our teammates. Neither one can let us down. The gear choices we make for duty/deployment/patrol use are literally a matter of life and death. This is why we are so humbled every time a customer asks us for a recommendation on gear that is compatible with our IceAge Ecosystem of thermoregulation and human performance innovations. We take your gear questions seriously because we took our choices seriously when we were on the job. We know what is at stake.
People ask us for our recommendations on gear everyday. In particular, we are asked what pouches/gear we recommend for use with our IcePlate EXO® Ultralight Ventilated Armor Plate Carrier with integrated cooling/heating/hydration for elite military, law enforcement, and armed citizens. Drawing on the totality of our training and experience (almost eight years in law enforcement for Justin and a distinguished 20 year career with the US Army, 15 of which were spent in USASOCs most elite units for Tyler), we put this article together to help you put the best kit together for your application.
Hard Armor Plates
We selected these DFNDR Armor Level III stand-alone rifle rated plates specifically for use with our IcePlate EXO® ultralight ventilated plate carrier for elite military, law enforcement and freedom-loving citizens. In addition to best-in-class performance characteristics, DFNDR Armor Level III Stand-Alone Rifle Rated Armor Plates have the perfect Medium ESAPI geometry to mate conformally with IcePlate Curve/IMS Pro, making them an ideal choice for use with IcePlate EXO®.
IMS Combo (external hard cell hydration only) joins our elite IMS Pro Combo (internal body armor Cooling/Heating/Hydration or external hard cell plate carrier hydration) as our entry-level, turn-key, hard cell hydration pack for military and law enforcement plate carriers. The IMS Combo combines IMS with IcePlate® Curve to deliver external hard cell hydration that preserves a full MOLLE field under heavy loads (AT4s, mortar base plates, commo, guilt from skipping PT, etc.). Unlike soft bladders, the IMS Combo is there when you need it most and won't break under stress. The IMS Combo wraps all of this capability in a conformal and ultra-thin form factor unmatched by any military or law enforcement plate carrier hydration pack on the market today.
Hydration + Conductive Thermoregulation (Body Armor Cooling/Heating/Hydration)
Pairing IcePlate Curve with IMS Pro (IcePlate MOLLE Sleeve Pro) is a plate carrier hydration and body armor cooling/heating game changer. Advancing our vision for Building A Superhuman Future, IMS Pro Combo harnesses the full power of the water you carry on duty: freeze for cooling, hot water for heating, all-climate hydration. Worn on the inside or outside of your plate carrier, IcePlate MOLLE Sleeve Pro mounts securely to your plate carrier using any combination of MOLLE and/or Velcro Hook or Loop. IcePlate MOLLE Sleeve Pro features laser-cut MOLLE on both faces in addition to Velcro brand hook tape on one face and Velcro brand loop tape on the other face for universal compatibility with any plate carrier MOLLE and/or hook or loop field. Exchanging IcePlate Curves is built on our "Hydration Magazine" concept and is as simple as it sounds.
The IceShield Plus plate carrier hand warmer with optional Level IIIA soft armor insert is the thinnest, flattest, lightest and warmest plate carrier hand warmer available and features a front pocket designed to carry custom-fit Level IIIA Soft Armor. This unbeatable combination provides incredibly lightweight armor protection in the lower abdominal region that preserves full mobility. IceShield Plus seamlessly integrates with plate carriers and soft armor vests via a simple and durable Velcro-brand hook and loop interface. Designed to be worn behind contemporary hanger/dangler/med/breaching pouches, IceShield Plus delivers abdominal armor protection with unparalleled freedom of movement, facilitating dexterity in frigid conditions for maximum efficiency and readiness with minimum profile. The IceShield Plus military and law enforcement plate carrier hand warmer also accepts disposable exothermic heat packs or "Hot Hands" brand single-use hand warmers. Add disposable heat packs in the front and back pockets based on your personal preference, weather conditions, and clothing. IceShield Plus includes a forward-facing Armor Pocket that fits our Level IIIA Soft Armor Insert
Magazine Pouches and Shingles
The Stackable Ten-Speed M4 Mag Pouch builds on the Ten-Speed Pouches used by the best-of-the-best worldwide and now adds a single row of MOLLE on the front to stack additional pouches. The perfect blend of speed and security, Ten-Speed® pouches use military grade elastic combined with ULTRAcomp® high performance laminate to create a multi-use pouch that weighs almost nothing and lays flat when not in use. The ULTRAcomp from the back of pouch is brought under and around to the front of the pouch and sewn to the front elastic and then laser cut creating a single column MOLLE compatible MOLLEminus™ slots. This detail adds one column per magazine pocket and also increases the abrasion resistance of the bottom edge of the pouch when crawling or getting abraded by other gear. The M4 sized Ten-Speed pocket can fit a wide range of items and gear. Sized around a STANAG M4 magazine, it also fits all kinds of AR mags, Magpul mags including the new Gen 3, larger SMG mags such as the UMP or P90, flash bangs, trauma gear, small radios, GPS units, small cans, or any other similar sized items. If it fits, it’s good to go!
IceVents® Classic Plate Carrier Ventilation Pontoons provide stand-off ventilation and padding against hard body armor inside your plate carrier or under your soft body armor vest for your chest and back. Stand-off ventilation inside your plate carrier or soft body armor vest promotes evaporative cooling (click here to learn more about the different types of cooling/energy transmission) and eliminating hotspots. IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoons are the ultimate plate backer.
Ergonomically optimized to deliver maximum mobility for overhead movement and prone positions, IceVents® Aero Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads bring load carriage and ventilation to the next level at an impossibly light weight. IceVents® Aero Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads are designed for military, law enforcement, security contractors, prepared citizens, and competition athletes (Tactical Games, Patriot Games, Crossfit, etc.) wearing plate carriers, backpacks, or rucks, who prioritize efficiency, speed, and agility. IceVents® Aero shoulder pads are ideal for minimalist plate carriers including, but not limited to the Crye Precision JPC 2.0 and SPC, Spiritus Systems LV119 Overt and LV119 Covert, Ferro Concepts Slickster and FCPC v5, Haley Strategic Thorax, IcePlate EXO, etc.
IceVents® Classic Shoulder Pads bring load carrying and ventilation to the next level at an incredibly light weight. Designed specifically for use with Combat Shirts and other collared uniform shirt styles, IceVents® set the new standard in high performance plate carrier shoulder pad technology. IceVents® Classic are recommended for heavier, more protective plate carriers.Due to IceVents® unique omnidirectional ventilation architecture, IceVents® Classic are designed to be worn with Combat Shirts and other duty-type uniforms with collars. Some users might be able to wear IceVents® Classic with a t-shirt or other non-collared shirt depending on exact body type and setup preferences. However, wearing IceVents® Classic without a collar is not recommended. For shirts without a collar, we recommend IceVents® Aero.
The all-new IceVents® Classic Ventilated AVS Harness Pad Set is a set of four upgraded IceVents® Classic Ventilation Pontoons that directly replace the six foam pads that come with standard every Crye Precision AVS (Adaptive Vest System). The Crye Precision AVS has been in use with USSOCOM since 2012, but despite significant advances in load-bering technology since then, hasn't had any major updates. That ends now with the IceVents® Classic Ventilated AVS Harness Pad Set upgrade. Built on the venerable IceVents® Classic plate carrier ventilation pad platform, IceVents® Classic Ventilated AVS Harness Pad Sets provide stand-off ventilation and padding under the Crye Precision AVS Harness to dramatically improve air flow and long-term wear comfort. Stand-off ventilation inside the Crye Precision AVS promotes evaporative cooling (click here to learn more about the different types of cooling/energy transmission) and eliminates hotspots. The set of four IceVents® plate carrier ventilation pads feature permanently bonded Velcro hook backing for customizable placement of the ventilated pads inside the AVS Harness.
IFAKs (Individual First Aid Kit)
The Micro Trauma Kit NOW!, or Micro TKN, is the smallest version of the Trauma Kit NOW! for every day carry. It is designed to hold essential lifesaving medical supplies on a belt. The Micro TKN was designed as an Every Day Carry trauma kit for law enforcement professionals, prepared citizens, or hunters. Deployment of critical first aid supplies can be done with one hand or a single finger from either the left or right side by pulling the BLIP featured pull tabs. The Micro TKN consists of two main components – the outer MOLLE or Belt mounted pouch utilizing the Ten-Speed technology, and a removable insert that keeps medical supplies organized.
The Multi-Radio Bikini Pouch further improves on the Drop Down Radio Pouch by creating a lightweight yet durable radio holder that retains the top and front functionality and is adjustable for different sized radioso. Designed around the PRC 152, the Lightweight Radio Pouch will hold similar sized radios such as the Thales MBITR, Harris Falcon III among others secure with the adjustable bungee cord on the side. The Multi-Radio Bikini Pouch mounts on any MOLLE compatible platform with the Patented Helium Whisper® Attachment System and provides increased durability with the use of ULTRAcomp® that wraps under the radio and to the front of the Pouch.
The ARC Radio Pouch was inspired by the pain of having the corners of a PRC148 jabbing into Shaw's sides for hours on end and thinking there must be a better solution. Well here it is. The ARC Radio Pouch is designed for holding military sized radios such as the PRC148 & PRC152 underneath a cummerbund in a comfortable and streamlined manner. The pouch attaches to its Tegris Thermoplastic mount which makes it a side wing on plate carriers and chest rigs but it can also directly attach to the inside of cummerbunds (such as those from Crye Precision or Spiritus Systems). While a small detail, the pouch also features our Minimal Interference Pull Tab which is designed to be small enough to not interfere or rotate the dials on top of the radios.
The AIRLITE CONFIGURABLE RADIO POUCH adds a new level of comfort and adjustability when carrying a radio on your vest. Multiple slots on the front and rear allow for a wide range of "ride height" adjustment and allows the same pouch to be used on either the operator's left or right side. Additionally, heavy-duty side elastic and adjustable top cord provides a secure fit without interfering with controls. The AIRLITE CONFIGURABLE RADIO POUCH will adjust to fit most radios and magazines, including the 152, MBITR and two M-4 30 round magazines.
The Releasable-Abdominally-Integrated-Drop Pouch -or- RAID Pouch is SC's unique take on the industry standard hanger. However instead of just another box pouch hanging under one’s front plate bag and simply holding items, ours uses a First Spear Tube to quickly disconnect from the user. This allows users to better access its contents, lay the pouch next to patients as a medical pouch, hand off the pouch to teammates or simply remove it easily when not needed. The First Spear Tube does not just make it easy to remove but also easy to reconnect singlehandedly.
The second generation of Shaw Concepts' 'all in one' Elastic 556 Placard. The EPV2 is a simple low profile way to carry your immediate essentials in a tight compact package. No need to buy an additional Velcro-On Tourniquet sleeve that would just add layers to the front of your kit. The back is all hook to maximize it's grip onto your plate carrier's required loop field. With Split Bar Male First Spear™ Tubes attached First Spear™ Tubed Cummerbunds can directly interface with the Placard.
The ARC Placard V3 is a single pocket placard meant to integrate into the front of Plate Carriers and Chest Rigs that allows users to build out their set ups according to their mission and weapon systems. The V3’s key improvement is its expanding main pocket. Most placards on the market can only run three 5.56 magazines or two .308 magazines, but this expanding pocket allows the placard to take up to four 5.56 magazines or three .308 magazines. Having an additional 25 to 30 rounds in your prime real estate is a significant improvement that few placards on the market currently offers.
The ARC V2 Cummerbund is a part of Shaw's ARC Carrier V2 and it being the latest evolution of the Overt Combat Carrier. Designed to be load bearing for sustained field operations and to be easy to don & doff the ARC V2 Cummerbund truly stands apart from the competition. The ARC V2 Cummerbund features reliable and easy to use First Spear Tubes™ for quick disconnecting in a casualty or maritime situation. The ARC V2 Cummerbund also features two methods of interfacing into a plate carrier's rear plate bag; one being Shockcord Lashing and the other being Velcro mounting with the included Cordage Cummerbund Adapter Panel.
The AIRLITE STRUCTURAL CUMMERBUND provides rigidity and structure for supporting side plates and heavy loads. It is compatible with Crye Precision EXTENDABLE STKSS™ system which reduces load on the shoulders and back. Pouches can to be mounted on both the inside and outside of the cummerbund.
Our advice always begins with First Principles: why do you need side plates? If your SOP requires Side SAPIs, that's one thing. If your SOPs don't require Side SAPIs, then our advice is to take a hard look at your application, current load out, physical fitness level, AOR, etc. and really decide if you need Side SAPIs. Remember the old adage "ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain" is old for a reason: it is good advice based on First Principles thinking. For most applications, including law enforcement, Side SAPIs dramatically increase heat retention (more armor = more heat retention), which decreases performance and metabolic capacity. They also add weight to protect against edge cases that are extremely low and rare in permissive environments and may force you to pay a penalty with low or no upside. However, the heat retention and weight are permanent fixtures for your operations.
For non-permissive environments, Side SAPIs are probably worth their weight in gold. This is particularly true for non-permissive urban environments.
If you must run Side SAPIs, we don't have any great recommendations for you at this time since we haven't found one we would run ourselves. All of them are made with traditional 500D nylon and Spacer Mesh. This means they trap heat, are heavy, bulky, and retain a ton of water. This is suboptimal at best. If/when we find one we'd run ourselves, we'll update this article ASAP, but our IcePlate EXO® MOLLE Cummerbund will accept any Side SAPI pouch your heart desires.
That said, we have developed these IcePlate EXO Side SAPI Pouch prototypes. Should we build them? Let us know in the comments below.