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iamthewalrus

body armor, knee/shin guards

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I am going to order some additional protection and am leaning towards the Velocity armor based off what I've read. My only real concern is any potential restriction of arm movement, which it sounds like a few jumpers here don't have any problem with. Does anyone have any input on this, or other armor, which hasn't been covered in the previous threads that I should know before I side with the Velocity setup? (My rig measurements were taken with body armor in mind).

Also I'd like to begin jumping knee/shin protectors. Given the number of these on the market, does anyone have a preference (in terms of protection or ease of donning/removing) for a given brand or model?

Any responses or PMs would be appreciated.
Thanks

It seemed like the right thing to do at the time

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I have the velocity armor. Use it for BASE when the situation calls for it. Also use it skiing and downhill mtn biking a bit.

Arm movement isn't bad. I have one rig which was measured without it, and it is a little tighter, but not that bad. Arm movement is a little less than without, but my armor fits well, so I don't notice it much.

Plus the spine protector is detachable (which I like) so I am more likely to wear it more situations in which I decide against the whole she-bang.

For the knees, I wear a combo knee shin guard by race face made for downhill mtn biking. It's not too bad in terms of articulation, but difficult to fit under pants... unless you have motorcross pants. All plastic is sewn down to the pad so the snag potential I feel is less. THough I prefer everything covered.

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m233/jdailey624/MOAB/DSC04665.jpg

A shot of me getting ready to exit in MOAB (photo thanks to Jimmy)

I am wearing the armor underneath a fleece with my rig that wasn't measured for it, the knee/shin outside of my pants and HanWags.

Dress for the crash I guess. Thankfully haven't needed it yet. The vest also fits under my Impact track suit ok.

Hope this helps-

_justin

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I use velocity gear too. All I've been finding is now that it's winter the fit is tighter with my rig, armor, and winter jacket/sweaters. Arm movement isn't really restricted much but I am thinking about cutting off the shoulder cups for a better fit.

For most jumps I detach the spinal protector and go with just that. It fits well and the only issue I've had with it is fitting my fat ass under fences or up tight ladders with it on.

I was impressed with the armor for the cost.

Those who do, can't explain. Those who don't, can't understand.

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iamthewalrus,

We initially found that Velocity armour rides up the torso when moving around. This was partly due to the shape of the chest armour and partly due to the elasticated fabric upon which the armour is mounted. To get round this we removed all of the armour and re-stiched it onto a looser fitting cotton smock. Now it does not ride up and does not restrict arm movement at all.

Regards

John

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I am a big fan of Daineese. They are the top end company for impact related crash gear. You get what you pay for..... the gear was originally designed for motorcycle road racing to be worn underneath leather on big 100+ mile an hour crashes.
I have not been impressed with other "action" hardware out there in the least. I mailed daineese about a piece of armor that took a pretty ugly hit. They offered to x-ray the shell and replace it for cost if found to be less than standard. When I sent it in, they simply sent me a new one...... they said based on principle alone..

Take it for what its worth...... when you actually need battle/protection gear....... are you ready to entrust your spine to "second best/cheaper" gear??? Not I...
Jay Epstein Ramirez
www.adrenalineexploits.com

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I am a big fan of Dainese. They are the top end company for impact related crash gear. ...are you ready to entrust your spine to "second best/cheaper" gear?



I've made 50 BASE jumps and 20 skydives wearing the Velocity armor. I've made 30 BASE jumps, and 10 skydives wearing the Dainese armor (referring to their most common model, the only one I've seen other BASE jumpers use as well).

I don't think many others have made as much jumps on both models.

I've taken significant impacts (interesting BASE landings, mountainbiking and snowboarding) with both brands. I've also carefully inspected both and compared them in much detail.

Here are my thoughts...

  • They fit exactly the same. Any problem (bulkiness, shoulderpads, etcetera) you would have with Dainese, you would have with Velocity and vice versa, given the same size jacket.

  • The template for both is exactly the same. The plastic molds are exactly the same shape except for some cosmetic engravings (logo, etcetera). Even the spine-protector is exactly the same shape.

  • The protection is in exactly the same places on the armor.

  • All pads except the spine-protector are just plastic cups over some foam. There is no difference between them whatsoever.

  • I believe the spine-protector has a more complicated structure internally, but I can't compare the two without breaking them apart. It may be that one has a different honey-comb structure (if any) inside than the other.

  • That said, Velocity is one of the few that actually makes claims about their testing. Dainese has only recently started doing this). See this page: http://www.highvelocitygear.com/menupages/products.html. Velocity claims to have more stringent CE compliance than Dainese and other manufacturers, and I have reasonable confidence that this is the truth as far as the common jacket goes. It appears a newer Dainese MTB model has now aquired CE EN1621-2 as well.

  • The Velocity gear uses a light lycra whereas the Dainese jacket uses a large hole mesh. Although the mesh makes it look like you just came home from a gay swingers club, I personally feel it's slightly better against sweating on hot days, but not sufficiently to solely justify the price difference.

  • On my Velocity jacket I tore out one of the spine zippers after handling it rather rough. This was easily fixed (thanks Carmen!). I have since treated both my Dainese and Velocity jacket more carefully when taking it off, so I can't say whether the Dainese zippers are better.

  • On the Dainese jacket I have accidentally torn off one of the buckle straps that run across the chest. Again, I've since been more careful, so I can't say if the Velocity ones are sturdier.

  • ...either way, both jackets have had issues (zippers and buckles) that tell me you need to treat them with some care when putting them on or taking them off.

  • When ordering my Velocity gear jacket, I have spoken with the owner of the company. He was incredibly forthright (offering a return-policy if I didn't like it). We talked about the differences between the types of body armor for a while (in regards to certification mostly) and I was treated with the kind of customer service that you expect from BASE manufacturers (i.e., extremely good).

  • I cannot speak for Dainese's customer service. Jay's experience described above sounds like it's quite good as well.



To summarize, there is little difference between the two armors. All pads except the spine protector are just molds of plastic over foam, with exactly the same shape. The spine protector may be different, but I have no reason to to believe that Velocity's is better or worse given the CE testing. Dainese's armor may be better in wicking away sweat. However, Velocity's armor is significantly cheaper (150 bucks versus 600 bucks, that's not negligible).

These days, I use Dainese armor on all my jumps. That is because they sell a full-body suit (which Velocity doesn't, I used to wear tailbone-protection shorts and kneepads for the rest). I gave my Velocity armor to a good friend who decided to get into BASE without having the financial means to buy decent protection. (speaking of which, when are you buying that full face helmet? :P)

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They are the top end company for impact related crash gear.



Do you base this on their alleged reputation, their marketing, their pricing, or actual research? If the measure stick is safety, what are the facts to back this up? I'm not saying it isn't true, but I wonder if people respect Dainese mostly because they just happen to be best known company that charges the most.

I think we can all agree on one thing; both Velocity and Dainese are still recommended over jumping completely naked.

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dbagdrew has some awesome knee shin gaurds that clip to your boots.



Unless I'm horribly mistaken, I believe he uses my old knee and shin guards. Those don't clip to your boots, they have clips on the straps that clip into the sides just below the knee, as opposed to more traditional velcro designs. I was concerned the clip-strength would wear out after a while but nowadays I prefer them over velcro. They are faster to put on and take off, and velcro wears out much quicker (in the good old skateboarding days I had to throw out a pair of kneepads every several months because the velcro wouldn't hold anymore.)

Unfortunately I forgot what brand they were, but hopefully Drew will chip in.

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I have not been impressed with other "action" hardware out there in the least.



Actually, I have to back Jay up on this one. I have seen some jackets that didn't impress me. One in particular was made by Six Six One, although their newer models may have improved. Interestingly, I can't find any word on CE or other certification on the Six Six One website (unlike Dainese and Velocity).

But again, the Six Six One will still protect you better than just jeans and a t-shirt.

I'm a big believer in armor, as long as people realize it's not a substitute for good body-flight and canopy skills.

In early 2003, Dwain Weston wrote an interesting post about this on Blinc: http://www.blincmagazine.com/forum/showpost.php?p=38665&postcount=2, a snippet of which is quoted here:

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In BASE lately there has been way too much focus on technology when compared to the general focus on advancing one’s own skill levels. In general an excellent jumper / canopy pilot on a ragged out old Pegasus will nearly always be in a much safer position than somebody with questionable skills covered in body armor under a Troll MDV or a FLiK Valved Vtec (just as an excellent tracker wearing jeans will always deploy further from the wall than the average Joe wearing Birdman Tracking pants, etc). More often than not, skill will far outperform technology.

My point is that many jumpers (both experienced and beginners) should redirect some of their interest in the finer points of BASE technology towards simply advancing their basic skill sets. Many newer jumpers have the belief that having the absolute best gear provides them with a good safety margin. It does to a point, but a strong focus on developing skill sets (and never being satisfied with your current ability) will take you much further in terms of safety.

Every jumper needs to constantly strive to improve their hardest launches, running exits, ability to take their intended delay (especially if you are packed slider up), sub-terminal and terminal tracking, body position on deployment, speed and correct reaction to off-headings, canopy control, and ability to land softly with a high degree accuracy. Until you have achieved these skill sets to a basic level of competency and consistency (which sadly is rare amongst the average BASE jumper), then discussing the finer detail points of BASE technology becomes somewhat redundant (albeit interesting).

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I have seen some jackets that didn't impress me. One in particular was made by Six Six One...



I was also pretty underwhelmed with the Six Six One.

I did like the Fox Racing jacket, which I think actually had slightly better spine protection than my Dianese.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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I have a pair of Fox MX knee/shin guards. Once on, I pretty much forget they are there. They fit fine under my camo's, and I imagine they would fit fine under any regular jeans.

The design does prohibit you from wearing them with shorts...but the only time I jump in shorts is intentional water landings sans knee pads, so that is a moot point for myself.

If anyone is ever in SoCal, there is a Dainese Factory Store in Costa Mesa with a large stock of armor...
Get in - Get off - Get away....repeat as neccessary

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Hey

The Knee/Shin Pads are Fox Brand.

They do not clip to my boots, but, as I am a little short than Mytwocents (they were his) I have to wrap the velcro at the bottom around the top of my boots. That is probably what Dave was thinking of.

They are great though. I like them a lot. They are a little hard to get off is the only thing, but as they fit well under my pants, that's not really an issue for me. Wear them driving and everything.

Andrew
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid,
the vast limits of their knowledge. - Mark Twain

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These days, I use Dainese armor on all my jumps. That is because they sell a full-body suit (which Velocity doesn't, I used to wear tailbone-protection shorts and kneepads for the rest). I gave my Velocity armor to a good friend who decided to get into BASE without having the financial means to buy decent protection. (speaking of which, when are you buying that full face helmet? :P)



I have been looking for the Full-Face Helmet, but I have a weird Shaped head and helmets don't seem to fit me. I should have one soon. I got a line on a pretty good sounding multi-impact helmet. Just have to track one down and try it on. I'm on it though, don't worry.

Andrew
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid,
the vast limits of their knowledge. - Mark Twain

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If it's all the same to you, I'll stick to sites that allow for conservative jumping and appreciation of BASE, friends, life and the universe.



That works to.

I like that:)
I just know you were talking about a slider up E at one point. Maybe after we go to Norway though.
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid,
the vast limits of their knowledge. - Mark Twain

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I was also pretty underwhelmed with the Six Six One.

I did like the Fox Racing jacket, which I think actually had slightly better spine protection than my Dianese.



I have only jumped with the 6-6-1 pressure jacket as upper body armour. I bought it because I had no extra cash at the time and the jacket wasn't in the stores computer system so they gave it to me for $125 Cdn (reg. $300).

Although there may be better I like the way it fits, feels and how my back felt after going into the rocks back first after my first tree strike! No visible damage to the plastic. Happened to be the first jump I ever wore it on.

http://tinyurl.com/ybtzyo Again, maybe there are better out there but I like the Knee pad/brace in one since I am missing alot of cartilage in both knees.
SabreDave

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I have 6-6-1 as well. Unfortunately I can't wear it under my rig with the spine protector as it pushes the container too far away from my back and makes reaching for my p/c a bit of a stretch. Thus the only protection the upper body unit provides is arms and shoulders. The soft chest protector is nearly useless for penetrative injuries and will do zip for a 'crush' style impact.

play safe

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I have the 2004 model 661 pressure suit and the one thing I don't like about it is the armor has lips all over. So you have to wear a jacket over it, or a bad exit could cause lines to catch on the armor.
I've got this really hardcore group of gaurdian angels that need a free paid vacation.
~Dan Osman

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..the armor has lips all over. So you have to wear a jacket over it, or a bad exit could cause lines to catch on the armor.



In my limited experience, I think most body armor, knee pads, etc have a lip, or at least, a velcro closure or SOMETHING that could potentially snag a bridle, line, PC mesh..etc etc. I wear all my body armor under clothing on every jump. Even with a thin shirt though, there still may be some snag danger?
The bright side is walking around looking like a storm trooper. :)Later
Blair

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I have 6-6-1 as well. Unfortunately I can't wear it under my rig with the spine protector as it pushes the container too far away from my back and makes reaching for my p/c a bit of a stretch. Thus the only protection the upper body unit provides is arms and shoulders. The soft chest protector is nearly useless for penetrative injuries and will do zip for a 'crush' style impact.

play safe



My rig is a bit tight without the armour and I didn't notice a big difference with the armour on. PC reach seemed ok.
As for lips and snags etc., yeah, I put a jacket or long sleeve shirt over the armour.
SabreDave

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