Article submitted by Daniel Martin.
I had a chance to get out the past couple weekends and put a few miles on a new plate carrier I picked up from High Speed Gear Inc. (http://www.highspeedgearinc.com ).
Ive been searching around a while to find a carrier that was comfortable enough to wear for a period of time in the summer without roasting you in the hot temperature’s and humidity.
I came across the HSGI Woosatch-A so I pulled the trigger and ordered one. The initial impressions when I pulled the rig out of the box was it seemed about like any other carrier I have tried so I gave it a look over inspecting the construction. I will admit I was impressed with the stitching and the redundancy of the stitching, im very picky about things like this as well as where the buckles are placed and the amount of adjustability without the rig seeming deformed at its extreme points of adjustment.
I threw some pouches on it in my normal configuration with a set of large SAPI plates and went out to give it a test run.
Everything worked as expected, and felt a lot like some of the other rigs I have ran in the past.
One note I will make is I also purchased the shoulder pads which are absolutely essential if you intend to run plates in these rigs as the shoulder straps are very thin. The added padding helped a lot but didn’t bunch up my shoulders when shouldering a rifle.
This carrier does have an internal bladder pouch for running a hydration bladder but I prefer to run one on the back as opposed to putting it in the rig. There is PLENTY of room to run the largest bladder you can find in the internal pouch.
Here is a side profile shot, This was one of the reasons that sold me on the Woosatch-A. It does not wrap around the sides like a lot of other carriers allowing breathing room in hot weather. Those looking for a little more realestate on the rig can look into the Woosatch-E which adds another couple molle loops on the sides.
Below is a good shot of the pouches where you can drop the plates in. I tested this rig with large SAPI plates and fitment was no issue, Also when looking at these rigs you may find some at different online retailers. If you have a chance to handle one make sure to look on the inside part that sits against your chest.
Only real HSGI carriers sport the leather patch, so you know it’s the real deal.
Now on to my gripes with this setup.
As I stated earlier if you run plates with this rig spend the money on the shoulder pads, they are well worth it and in my opinion should be included with the rig anyway. Even if you consider loading it down with 6-8 AR mags it will be uncomfortable to wear for more than a couple hours without them.
Also in addition there is zero padding in the plate pouches, after a few hours in the rig it became uncomfortable on my shoulder blades moving in different positions rubbing against a hard plate, so I took an old excersize matt and cut out the dimensions of my plate to make a pad.
This added enough padding to wear the carrier without discomfort for longer periods of time.
To wrap things up with the price of the carrier being considerably cheaper (roughly $180 shipped) than a lot of the other rigs on the market. its very comfortable with the added padding and breathes well in summer heat. Also take into account that these are hand made by HSGI in North Carolina and the fact that they have a lifetime warranty on their gear makes this a great rig for summer or any other situation where side armor plates are not required.