ON THE COVER
As well as the shirt and pants across the page, Crye’s also releasing a new version of its Airlite plate carrier for 2018. The Airlite SPC, short for Structural Plate Carrier, offers the capability of Crye’s JPC 2 but has the structural support of a standard plate carrier.
When Crye made the original Airlite plate carrier five years ago the goal was to make lightest plate carrier possible. It was under a pound, but Crye wanted to increase the amount of weight the rig could comfortably carr y.
Crye says the new carrier is about the same weight as the JPC 2, but it can carry more weight thanks to a new fabric package the company spent a year developing.
At first blush, it looks like Airlite SPC is a JPC 2 made from the new Airlite material, allowing it to distribute the load and hold more equipment. But, there’s more going on beneath the surface.
Airlite SPC’s side closure is made from a heavier weight material that supports a fully loaded vest using Cr ye’s StKS support system. StKS works with any Cr ye ballistic belt to transfer the load from the shoulders and carr y it on the hips.
Feature for feature the SPC feels a hair lighter to us than a similarly equipped JPC 2, and it’s also a bit more breathable since the plate bags are made entirely of a spacer mesh compared to the JPC’s enclosed plate bags.
Pricing on the new carrier wasn’t set at press time.
New for 2018, Crye Precision’s fourth-generation combat uniform features updates in design and materials that, the company says, make it the most comfortable, durable, and functional combat uniform it’s yet produced.
The updates include optimization of the pattern and pocketry, and the additions of a few features, but the headline update is the brand-new stretch fabric Crye developed called VTX Ripstop. The designers set out to make a fabric as strong, or stronger than the 50/50 nylon/ cotton fabric used in its G3 uniforms, but the new fabric had to be lighter and it had to stretch. In fact, Crye says the G4 is the first stretch NYCO uniform to be made in the USA from U.S.-made materials.
Crye’s head apparel designer Johanna Bloomfield says the key to reaching and exceeding the performance goals of the new fabric was using Invista’s T420 high tenacity nylon fiber. Crye spun its own yarn from the fiber knowing the resulting fabric would be lighter weight than the 50/50 NYCO it wanted to replace, but lighter fabrics are rarely stronger than heavier fabrics.
“We worked on the fabric construction, all the way down to the way we spin the yarn to make it stronger,” said Bloomfield. “Keep in mind our fabric is an ounce lighter in weight than Mil-spec NYCO,” she said, “and lighter is usually not as strong, but this actually has a higher strength-to-weight ratio.”
Crye says compared to 50/50 NYCO, the new fabric is 17-percent lighter weight, has times more tear strength, dries 60-percent faster, is four times more breathable, and is no melt and no drip. The new fabric’s integrated stretch allows for a slimmer cut without compromising mobility.
Aside from the fabric story, other changes include a redesigned thigh pocket sized to fit a cell phone in a protective case without it turning on its side, a new cargo pocket opening optimized to fit different types of equipment without increasing bulk, and low-profile loops on the front of the pant for securing charges.
Pricing on the new uniform wasn’t set at press time.