Choosing a Carrier to Go With Your Hyperwear Adjustable Flexible Weight Plates
If you read my recent article on Hyperwear’s adjustable flexible weight plates, you already know I think it is the best option on the market today. If you are planning on picking one up or have already ordered one, you’ll need a vest to go along with it. I tested out a couple of different popular brands of plate carriers including the Wolf Tactical, 5.11, Freetime Outdoor, and the Army’s standard issue vest. Here are a few thoughts on which one you may want to pick up and the benefits of them:
Wolf Tactical: This was the first one I tried. I was unfamiliar with this brand of tactical gear but was blown away at the quality of the vest. If I hadn’t seen the label I would have assumed it was 5.11 based on the quality and style. If you want a 5.11 performance and visual appeal but want to save some money, this is the best option. It has a sleek look as well as a quick release on the front.
5.11: This is the brand that most people are familiar with and it can often be seen in CrossFit competitions. In comparing this to the Wolf Tactical they felt the same to me. Both had good padding on the inside, a nice look and are very durable. The 5.11 has two side pocket pouches, which is a cool feature especially if you are doing a longer workout. You can essentially keep gels, your phone, or an id/money/keys in there for convenience. Overall, I think you would do well using the 5.11. It is the biggest brand for a reason and has been trusted by our soldiers and contractors on deployments worldwide for as long as I can remember.
FreeTime Outdoors: This was my least favorite of the options for use with Hyperwear’s adjustable flexible weight plates. It felt the bulkiest of the three civilian options and had the least internal padding. If you were wearing it for combat and wanted more attachment points, that would be one thing, but I assume you’ll be using this primarily for fitness. The only benefit this one has over the others is the pouches for the plates are nice and large. That means if you wanted more weight to carry this would be your best bet. I was able to fit both plates in one pocket essentially turning it from a 20 lbs. vest to a nearly 40 lbs. training option if I owned two sets of Hyperwear’s plates. With Hyperwear’s adjustable plates, you could stair-step it up all the way in half-pound increments. For those looking to take their training to the next level and want to use heavier weights than most competitions, this is your best bet.
The Army’s Standard Issue: Since I have one laying around, I also tested them briefly in the Army’s standard vest. Unless you are a soldier, I would go with one of the other options. The Army’s vest is a bit bulkier than the plate carrier options above because it has soft body armor on the inside. Overall, it works, but it is not something I would go out of my way to purchase when the civilian market options are usually more comfortable, updated more frequently, and have/ better variety.
In the end, I think you’ll be happy with whatever option you choose. Hypothetically, if I wanted to buy another plate carrier from one of the above four to get a different color or for some other reason, based off my experience I would likely go with the Wolf Tactical. It has the functionality, looks, and fit I’m looking for but at a lower price point with still high quality. However, based on the above reasons, you may want to choose a different option. Either way, Hyperwear’s adjustable flexible weight plates will fit all of them and you’ll get some good training whether you are training for Murph, a future iteration of the GoRuck Games, combat, or just adding some progressive bodyweight training to your workouts.