What size plate carrier do I wear?

What size plate carrier do I wear?

Plate carrier sizing is important because armor plates protect your vital organs. We get questions everyday about plate carrier sizing and there are quite a few misconceptions about how to properly wear/fit a plate carrier.

BLUF: according to data provided to us by DoD, 80% of the US general population wears a size medium plate carrier and armor plate. This is why our IcePlate® Curve body armor cooling/heating/hydration solution and IcePlate EXO® both are built in the Medium ESAPI size. That said, this article has everything you need to know about finding the correct size plates and plate carrier for your body if you want to take the time to investigate.

Plate Carrier Sizing

Plate Carrier sizing is super easy since it is based off of the size of the armor plates it carries. Over 80% of the population wears a size medium armor plate. When TRADOC first contacted us in December 2015 to start what would later become IcePlate® Classic, they specifically requested that we build IcePlate® in the dimensions of the Medium SAPI plate. They made this request for good reason. According to the TRADOC representatives with whom we were working at the time, 80% of the armor plates purchased by the US Department of Defense are size medium ESAPI armor plates or 9.5" x 12.5". This is why IcePlate® Curve is the exact same size/footprint as Medium ESAPI armor plate: to match 80% of the US Military inventory and general population. Click here to learn what the difference is between a SAPI vs ESAPI cut armor plate.

Armor Plate Sizing

1. Placement height: the top of your front armor plate should be placed at your Sternal Angle and centered on your mid-clavicular line. The top of your back armor plate should be approximately one inch or two vertebrae below your Vertebra prominens. The bottom of your armor plate should be approximately one to three inches above your belly button, depending on your height and torso size.

How to wear body armor? What size plate carrier do I wear?

Above: placement guide for where to place your front armor plate when wearing a plate carrier like IcePlate EXO® or an IcePlate Curve® or IcePlate® Classic when wearing an IceVest HiVis Class 2.

What size armor plate should I buy? What size plate carrier do I wear? back armor plate placement

Above: placement guide for where to place your rear armor plate/IcePlate® Curve or IcePlate® Classic when wearing an IcePlate® EXO or IceVest HiVis Class 2.

Here is a quick video from our friend Mike Jones (a.k.a. GarandThumb) showing proper placement of the front and rear armor plates:


2. Movement: your armor plate and plate carrier size are correct if you can do ALL of the following movements while wearing your plate carrier:

  • bend at the waist to touch your toes
  • do a Burpee
  • twist your torso completely left and right
  • move your arms up and down, full range of motion
  • move your arms front to back, full range of motion

3. Interference: make sure you deconflict your plate carrier with your duty belt (if any), rifle with sling, and any other kit you will be wearing on duty with your plate carrier.

That's it! We hope this plate carrier sizing guide checklist was helpful, but please don't hesitate to hit us up by clicking here if you have any additional questions with sizing your IcePlate® Curve or IcePlate® EXO



  • Glynn

    Thanks for the help.

  • watson

    Thanks for this very informative and interesting article. after reading your article i am able to know how to to setup plate carrier.

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