I won’t even get into my helmet when I was on active duty, no need to relive the leather halo system! So, I’ll start with my helmet from my time in Baghdad. I will admit, luckily, we didn’t wear helmets all that often; mostly for rolling out on QRF or when things got a little bit too uncomfortable. My pad system, the company will remain nameless, was kind of like a cheap piece of furniture – really comfortable at first try, but quickly evident of how horrible it felt with extended use! Comfort, or lack of, aside, I had no idea that the system did the absolute minimum to protect my head!
It wasn’t until this last year of working with Team Wendy that I was introduced to their padding system. If you’ve been on active duty in the recent past, you’ve probably been using their standard ZAP pad system since it’s required for all military helmets. I won’t get into all of the crazy science involved with their system (mostly because I don’t really understand it), but I’ll tell you that if you’re going to be subjected to a blast, you’ve got a lot more protection wearing their system. A lot more. (You can check out www.teamwendy.com for more info and specifics on their technology.)
Anyway, background out of the way, their new Epic Air System is by far the most comfortable helmet pad system I’ve ever worn. The
biggest design change from their previous Epic system, is the addition of air channels and also a channel for ear pro/comm. Besides the obvious weight of a ballistic helmet, the fit is closer to a ball cap then a helmet. The air channels are designed to allow more air-flow throughout the helmet. The folks at TW asked me if I had noticed if the pad system was cooler, and I told them that actually I couldn’t recall. But, thinking back to a day of training, my head wasn’t a crazy mess of sweat, so I guess that says something. The ear pro/comm channel makes wearing ComTac’s a bit more comfortable.This system isn’t going to completely change your life or make you forget you have a brain bucket on, but it will make your head a heck of lot more comfortable. And, anything that makes me more comfortable and offers far superior protection, I’m all in. I wish I would have had this system when I actually had to wear a helmet in 120 degree heat!
Full Disclosure: Team Wendy, the manufacturer of the Epic Air system does some of Eleven 10’s contract sewing. Neither Eleven 10, nor me personally, have any stake or financial interest in Team Wendy, or get any financial benefit from the sales of the Epic Air system. On a different note, that is my face on the packaging and the website (the cool looking guy with the beard!). This was a favor for the former CEO of the company who was a fellow Recon bubba. The Epic Air system retails for $99.95 Kit Up! contributor Bill Janson is a former Recon Marine and is the founder of Eleven 10, a tactical gear manufacturer.