Some type of body armor is essential for anyone from paintball enthusiasts to military personnel and law enforcement officers. The right plate carrier will not only keep you safe, but also allow you to carry your mission supplies efficiently.
A tactical gear specialist can answer all your questions regarding the differences between soft and hard armor; it is also worth checking the way he explains the pros and cons of the different plate carriers available. Thus, some are more versatile (meaning they can be used with both SAPI and stand-alone plates), others have a built-in hydration carrier, while some are more suitable for camouflage purposes.
Caring for your carrier
Regardless of their type, vests and plates require setting aside plenty of maintenance time if you want to clean them properly, without causing any damage. This is a serious job that requires patience on your part.
Before attempting any cleaning, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them to the letter. Generally, though, there are some guidelines that everyone must follow, and these are:
- Never submerge your armor in water, not even parts of it, otherwise it won’t be able to protect you as effectively.
- Never use bleach, starch and household cleaners on your vest and plates. Dish soap is mild enough not to cause damage, yet strong enough to clean them off. Also use cold water, and take your time, no matter how long the cleaning takes.
- Never dry your gear outdoors. That’s because UV light can reach your vest and plates regardless if they are in the sun or in the shade, and damage the ballistic fibers rather quickly. In other words, sun-damaged gear is less apt at protecting you from bullets, so it’s better to always play it on the safe side.
What you can do instead is hang your equipment indoors, even if drying will take a lot more time. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as you plan your maintenance routine properly.
- If there are any removable covers, pouches, and any attachments, you can generally take them off and machine-wash them. If you are unsure, check the instructions once again, assuming that the label is still readable. Nonetheless, make sure to clean these removable parts with the utmost care, since rough treatment may wear them down quite fast. While covers play no role in keeping you safe, they do form an integral part of your vest, and the aesthetic part is also important.