For those living in a temperate climate zone, ventilation might not be a primary concern, but it should be included in any prolonged mission. Also, armor ventilation becomes necessary in hot and humid climates where extensive sweating can create a lot of problems.Staying dry and cool is not only a question of comfort. Inability to cool yourself down will induce fatigue much faster, and collected sweat will lead to chafing and infection.With this in mind, there are three reasons why every operator should have some type of ventilation included in their armor:
On top of all that, there is the question of back face deformation that is an issue with all types of ballistic protection. For a hard plate, after an impact from a round nearing its ballistic limit, there will be a small deformation regardless of the quality of the plate.BFD should not induce any serious injury. But, if you are keeping the plate only on top of your bare skin or simple base layer you might experience bruising or even cracked ribs. This won’t happen if you have a layer of cushioning vest vent between yourself and the plate.Those looking to buy a tactical body armor vent for combat, whether for army or police purposes will be able to find several solutions for sale. But, the best will always be those that push air under the vest and cool the chest automatically.
What is Armor Ventilation?
While there are different types of ballistic protection, ranging from soft and flexible to hard and heavy, all of them are not made from breathable materials. This is because the same thing that makes something breathable makes it prone to piercing as well.Body armor ventilation is a modern fabric designed to be placed between the armor and the skin. It draws in more air from the sides and pushes it to the middle, cooling the operator down and taking out any excess moisture.Most armor ventilation systems will seem as if they are made from a sponge-like material, but this is only due to the texture. Rather, the honeycomb-like shape is to force in the air while keeping the shape of the product.As the operator moves, they will press on the vest ventilation pads and create a difference in air pressure. This will force the air around into the ventilation pad and onto the person wearing it with every movement.Such a simple yet functional system is ideal for any military or police personnel because the amount of air will rise and drop with the needs of the operator automatically, just because of the functions of the material.
In-built and Modular Ventilation
The best plate carriers and bullet proof vests will all have some time of ventilation built into the vest itself. This will usually be made as padding on the shoulder straps and behind the hard plate pocket.While there are no downsides in having ventilation, it does give more mass and volume to the vest or plate carrier, which might be sub-optimal for some operators, missions, and climates.That is why you may find models without ventilation where modular pieces can be installed at will. This is also a good thing when it comes to maintenance as you may wash the ventilation pad separately from the PC.
Most modern militaries and commanders have started viewing temperature for what it is, a resource. You want to be able to manage temperature as best as possible and to always have ‘’the right amount’’.The internal temperature of the operator should never reach 104°F or 40°C as that may induce heat-stroke even with perfectly healthy combatants. The body itself will regulate some of it with hydration and perspiration, but that system will only go so far.A good thing to remember is that ventilation will only work to bring the body closer to ambient temperature. If you are working in zones hotter than 104 degrees, you will need to reduce exposure to sunlight and increase hydration, as well as try to reflect some of the incoming heat.
Staying Dry and Comfortable
While you want to keep your skin moist and flexible, it shouldn’t be wet for any prolonged periods. This is why ventilation works on removing sweat as much as cooling the body.Staying dry will keep you comfortable by default but will also prevent a series of medical issues created by body moisture. Primarily, water on the body increases the risk of infection, which is a serious issue on all campaigns.But, even shorter exposure that isn’t as dangerous can cause irritation or chafing. Such problems are not damaging long-term but will slightly reduce your combat ability, which is something you will want to avoid if possible.