Arcteryx Knee Caps

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The Gear Locker would like to introduce everyone to one of our readers, Pete Gee.  He was nice enough to do an in-depth review of Arcteryx’s Knee Caps. This is their take on the Knee Pad that many shooters can never seem to find the “right” pair.

Enjoy the review!

-Eric

 

 Review of Arcteryx Knee Caps

Knee pads are a nice piece of personal protective equipment to have on the field. A good set of kneepads prevent bruises, prevent penetration injuries from and can make taking a knee much more comfortable. I love innovation and want to recommend the Arcteryx Knee Caps.

Knee pads have evolved a lot in the two decades, from modified baseball equipment to the integral pad pockets in tactical pants to the present Crye-inspired combat pants with built-in knee protection.  Arcteryx Knee Caps have a strong following in military and tactical communities. I purchased a set last year to see if the hype was worthwhile.

I’ve been playing airsoft consistently for four years and previously served in the military and then civilian public safety roles, so I’ve been wearing various kneepads for 15 years. I’ve used various types over the years, balancing the comfort of lightweight foam-based options against the more protective, wrap-around hard cap models.

 

On the field, I found the inexpensive one-strap foam pads to allow the most comfortable sprints, but appreciated the tough plastic caps when taking a knee in the mud.  One major compromise with the greater protection of the plastic-capped models is slipping. I have experienced significant slipping when taking a knee onto concrete, especially when doing so dynamically under fire. For indoor CQB settings, I wore the lesser-protecting foam pads to reduce this possibility.

The foam pads don’t offer much protection against nails, sharp objects or even a door frame, so reduced slipping usually increased other risks.  In my case, I got a thorn in my right knee from a game four months ago – had I been wearing Knee Caps, I wouldn’t be in pain today.

Arcteryx Knee Caps

The Knee Caps were originally for the civilian sector and consisted of a black plastic keyhole-shaped shell backed by cushioning foam. Two straps with four points of connection center the Knee Caps to provide patellar protection. The weight is 5.5 ounces per pair.

The original civilian colors were black with yellow accents, but now a variety of tactical colors are available as part of the LEAF Military series. Crocodile, a cross between Ranger Green and Dark Earth, is the color I selected., but black-on-black, coyote and foliage green are also produced.

The hard plastic of the Knee Caps do have an anti-slip surface that is slightly grippy. I would still use caution when taking a knee on concrete, but the plastic caps have more friction than other pads.

The Knee Caps shine with their strapping system. The strap placement is secure for running but still adjustable for different pants. The straps themselves have the just-right elastic strength, balancing security against cutting off blood flow. The best element is the new T-connector which holds securely while remaining easy to remove.  The T-connectors are better than the common post connectors (fewer bruises) and friction cam-lock buckles. The straps also keep the Knee Caps where you want them – not falling down to your ankle and shins.

 

 

Positives

–          The Knee Caps stay in place due to the straps and keeper system

–          Lightweight and breathable

–          Hard caps provide balanced

Downsides

–          $59 U.S. MSRP is the high end of kneepads; mine were purchased on sale for $48 from an online retailer

–          Hard caps can be slippery on hard surfaces, but the Arcteryx Knee Caps have some anti-slip qualities

I am the older, slow guy on the field. The Knee Caps don’t make me a Tier 1 operator, but they offer a balance of comfort, usability and protection for my knees.

 

 

Review by Pete Gee

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