Down Range Gear is one of those gear makers that just seems to be constantly creating simple, well executed solutions to common gear problems. Often, their gear isn’t stand-alone but rather meant to improve another maker’s gear or even create entirely new functionality for it. The Dynamic Strap System is one such solution. At its most basic, the Dynamic Strap System is basically just a replacement waist strap for chest rigs and plate carriers but spending any amount of time with it will make you wonder why manufacturers didn’t just make their straps like this in the first place.
The Dynamic Strap System consists of 4 different straps that can be adapted to a majority of modern chest rigs and plate carriers. These straps have a common element, heavy duty shock cord sheathed in mil-spec tubular webbing, that is the source of much of their functionality. In this review, I will be covering the following straps:
The 1″ Adjustable Waist Strap is intended to replace a chest rig’s waist strap. It comes with male and female side release repair buckles and because of this, it works well to replace waist straps with sewn in hardware that is not easily removable by the user (if you don’t feel like cutting out the buckles). You shouldn’t have to adjust it much, but if you do, the strap is designed to allow the user to pull forward to adjust the waist strap while it is being worn.
The Basic 1″ Waist Strap is also intended to replace a chest rig’s waist strap. It comes with triglides to be used for managing any excess straps. This strap is designed to be set to one length and then left alone. It works well as a direct replacement for any 1″ waist strap that uses 1″ side release buckles as long as you can separate the original buckles from the original strap (even if you have to cut them out).
The Dynamic Strap System also has 2 additional strap types that will not be covered in this review: the 1″ Adjustable Lateral Straps for plate carriers and 1 1/2 / 2″ Basic Waist Strap for chest rigs with thicker waist straps.
Observations from Use
The Dynamic Strap System is a fix for two common issues with chest rigs: the difficulty of achieving an appropriate level of tension while still allowing for movement and the need to adjust the waist strap as conditions and clothing change.
It is extremely common to see people with chest rigs that are entirely too loose. I think we all know that a tighter waist strap will help keep a heavy rig from moving around so much as we move but a tight waist strap can be extremely uncomfortable. If you wear it tight enough to cinch everything in place, it probably won’t be very comfortable when your chest is heaving while you suck wind after an intense shooting drill. Most waist straps have no give at all which is an inherent short coming since the chests that they are wrapped around need to be able expand and contract to ensure the comfort (and survival) of the wearer.
The Dynamic Strap System has 4.5-5″ of stretch built in by virtue of their tubular webbing sheathed shock cord sections. That means you cinch the strap down tight to keep your gear from bouncing around and still have the give you need to move your core and breath freely. Why aren’t all waist straps like this?!?!
Hopefully, if you are reading this blog, you know that it isn’t always sunny and 70 degrees outside when you where a chest rig. There are times with the weather conditions necessitate a change in wardrobe. Cold or wet weather often mean that additional layers much be added to the core of the shooter. The Dynamic Strap System has enough give to adapt to additional layers of clothing without any sort of manual adjustment. It works especially well with modern layering garments that are less susceptible to loss of function from compression like synthetic or wool base layers and soft shells. I can adjust my chest rig for a t-shirt and then add a wicking base layer, thin fleece mid layer, and soft shell without the need to adjust the strap for length. I can even swap the thinner soft shell for a thicker more insulated outer layer without having to adjust.
Basically, you can set these straps to a sensible length that is comfortable and allows for all your foreseeable clothing configurations and then forget about them. I like that a lot. Again, why aren’t all waist straps like this?!?!
I don’t foresee any durability issues with these straps. They still look like new after several range trips. The construction is top notch with plenty of attention to detail (check out the heat sealed rounded edges on the webbing below!). You might eventually wear out the shock cord but it is well protected by the tubular webbing which will go a long way toward extending its life (much of the break down of shock cord is due to exposure).
The 1″ Adjustable Waist Strap is designed so that the ends of the strap can be pulled forward to adjust its length. It works well but I never had to use it. This strap comes with male and female repair buckles so it can easily be adapted to a variety of chest rigs.
The Basic 1″ Waist Strap is designed to be set to a particular length and left that way. It comes with tri-glides so you can tuck away any left over webbing. It can be adjusted for length though not as easily as the 1″ Adjustable Waist Strap. I suspect that most users will find this strap to be completely sufficient.
If you are worried about compatibility, don’t be. I was able to fit at least one of these straps to every chest rig that I own except for one. If your chest rig uses a 1″ waist strap with side release buckles, you can fit one of these straps to it.
These straps are certainly not very complex. They aren’t very sexy. They just make sense. Down Range Gear made the straps that everyone else should have been making for their own chest rigs.
Check out the Dynamic Strap System at Down Range Gear. Stay tuned for a chance to win one of these straps!
That’s a great idea! Very nice
I wanted to take a minute to thank Matt for helping get the word out on this. The Dynamic Strap System is a design Down Range Gear is really enthusiastic about that could benefit a lot of users.
Very much looking forward to working with JTT to give back to the blog and it’s readers on the upcoming giveaway. Hopefully it will add value to the reader experience that Matt has worked so hard to cultivate.
In the meantime I’m happy to use the opportunity to answer any questions readers might have; if you think there’s value in a discussion with the designer/builder, feel free to fire away and I’ll do my best to explain.
Again, Matt, thanks very much for the bandwidth!