AR500 Armor® Atlas Training Carrier
- Product Review (submitted on February 12, 2019):
Since I can’t return this item, I thought I would review it so others will know how this thing actually feels and fits. I bought this because I wanted a dedicated gym weight vest and I wanted more weight adjustment, which is why I also bought 12 of the 1.6 lb weights for the pouches on the front and back.
First off, save your money and buy the cheaper variant without the cobra buckles. You are spending an extra $100 for PLASTIC cobra buckles which IMO is ridiculous. I haven’t tested the durability of these yet, but it’s definitely overpriced for what it is and it’s not stated on the website.
For reference I am 6’1”, about 195 lbs. All of these comments are based on 2x 8.75 lb plates in the vest and nothing more.
I adjusted the shoulder straps a significant amount to get tight enough and it left a lot of loose excess strap in front of me. There are some bands behind the front of the carrier you can slide the excess into, but it still moves around too much. So if you are smaller, you will have a lot of excess strap. Also you better make sure you get right the first time, it’s hard to adjust while it’s on unless someone is helping you since the strap pulls back, not forward. You need to take it off, adjust, roll up the excess strap and Velcro it down so it doesn’t loosen as you put it on, and then repeat until you get it right.
The way the side straps are designed, it is almost impossible for me to put this carrier on by myself. The female end of the buckle is at the back of the plate carrier and you cannot loosen it, it is fixed. I had my gf help me almost every time. I could sometimes get this on by myself but basically you have to fully loosen the male end of the strap and then retighten it down. That would be all fine and dandy if the method of securing excess strap (so it doesn’t loosen during use) wasn’t folding it end over end and velcroing it down. You would have to do this every time.
The straps not being elastic is also a severe design flaw for comfort. This carrier is meant for mobility. I run in my carriers, I am physically rigorous when I’m at the gym or outside in a vest. If I tighten it enough to comfortable, it bounced around way too much. Tighten it enough to stop from moving, and I can’t breathe. Add any of the 1.6 lb weights and it just exacerbated the issue.
This also brings me to the mesh. It’s thin and provides almost no padding. I can feel the plate bouncing on my chest when I move around. I have a 5.11 TacTec plate carrier I spent less on that has better comfort, padding, and gaps that allow better airflow. I would highly recommend adding foam or something on the inside behind the plate.
IMO nothing more than maybe 20lbs total will be remotely comfortable in the carrier. I can handle the weight, it’s the carrier that can’t.