I am absolutely loath to go running in a PC just for the sake of it, but it’s one of the many tests I sometimes talk myself into when benchmarking kit; especially when COVID-19 lockdown makes other activity-appropriate evaluation impossible. A lot of manufacturers make elastic cummerbunds and to be fair I’d rather run in one of those than any of the alternatives.
Elastic bunds are comfortable and dynamic, expanding and contracting freely as the user moves and breathes; while preventing the PC shifting unhelpfully and creating uncomfortable hot spots on the wearer’s torso.
In general terms, Crye Precision’s Stretch Cummerbund is no different to any of the other elastic bunds on the market. That is: aside from being directly compatible with a number of Crye’s PCs; including the AVS, JPC, SPC and LVS.
With that said, there are a number of details unique to Crye’s stretch bund that I really like, which do set it apart from the rest.
Martin at ePig’s must see custom PC exposition (YouTube) is what tipped me over the edge into buying the bund, and as luck would have it Tactical Kit had one left in stock.
I’m using a Crye AVS to illustrate this review, with Travail weighted training plates. This setup also includes:
2. Form Factor
Crye’s Stretch Cummerbund interfaces with the AVS in a similar way to the company’s 3-Band Skeletal Cummerbund. However, instead of stretch being delivered via bungee at the rear of the PC, it’s all in the Stretch Bund’s elastic front end. This makes it unlike other stretch bunds, which tend to be elasticated through their entire length. The distinction doesn’t make Crye’s bund any less comfortable, however.
The front end is also where we find its mag carriage capabilities, which will be discussed in the next section.
With reference to the pic above, bear in mind that the user can configure the bund with the inverted mag up front, or in tandem to the front mag (as I have mine set up). It’s just a case of flipping the bund arm and changing the side it’s attached to.
The way I have my AVS configured currently (without the AVS Harness and using the AVS Padded Yoke), attaching the stretch bund means using the channels on the inside face of the rear plate bag; which is against the user’s back.
If you’re an AVS user who’s never used the plate bags without the Harness, you may be concerned by the bund gubbins at the base of your spine. It was a concern for me before I tried it, but it’s unnoticeable in use.
The bund’s length is adjusted via tri-glides, which will come as no surprise to Crye fans – they use them on everything. The item’s Operator’s Manual (opens .pdf) includes a full guide on how to fit it.
3.1 Mag Pouches
The elastic section of the bund is segmented into two pouches (with the small/medium size shown here, but three pouches with large/XL). I’m calling them mag pouches, but of course the user can utilise them for anything that will fit, because they are made of elastic.
I would estimate that a large, military style radio like an MBITR is unlikely to fit. I don’t have one to hand, not really needing comms other than the odd use of a Baofeng. If any readers have tried out something more substantial and want to get in touch to confirm one way or the other, I’m happy to update the article.
Until then, I suspect that if the user wants to carry an MBITR, they may want to buy something like Crye’s AirLite Configurable Radio Pouch (REVIEW). This attaches under the PC’s front flap, which places the radio next to the body. The bund then goes over the top.
Clearly the two mag pouches exhibit opposing orientation and as mentioned earlier, the inverted pouch can be configured as the first or second pouch front to rear, merely by flipping the bund arm and swapping sides.
As is becoming the norm with elastic pouches, the end which delimits mag insertion is disaggregated from the body. This is in order to prevent the contents of the pouch oozing out as the user ambulates. It’s the number one risk with closed-base Ten Speed type pouches, but here the configuration avoids the toothpaste effect, with the delimiter composed of webbing – which of course isn’t elasticated. The open base also allows the exit of liquids and detritus.
The part that is super duper interesting is the tab at the pouch mouth. Not only does this accept bungee retention, but it is stiffened to allow one handed reindexing. I’m constantly amazed that none of the other elastic cummerbund/mag pouch brands has implemented this. It’s incredibly useful and fixes elastic mag pouch complaint number one.
To give readers an idea of what the stiffener feels like, I’m pretty sure it’s the same construction as the the free end of a Crye SPS PALS strap. So, Hypalon for grip, around a stiffened core. Thank you Crye!
I think we can all agree that inverted mag pouches are very cool, but a word of caution for belt wearers: you may find the inverted mag conflicts with your stuff, if it’s located second from front as shown in the series above. My advice is to do the bund arm flip trick, and get the inverted one up front instead. I rarely wear a belt so this configuration is good for me.
And just how easy is it to reindex the inverted pouch one handed? Not very, it has to be said, but with practice it becomes easier – like most things. Think of it as an emergency mag, and you’ll be much happier. The upright pouch, on the other hand, is good to go pretty much from the start.
3.2 E-doff Handles
Is it a blessing or a curse? Crye loves putting E-doff handles on its newer bunds, but the only implementation that’s been wholly successful in my opinion is the one on its Structural Cummerbund (REVIEW). The Stretch Cummerbund, however, suffers from a similar arrangement to the JPC 2.0 (REVIEW); which isn’t optimum.
Why isn’t it optimum? Well, it goes some way to prevent adequate contact between the velcro surfaces of the closed flap. That’s because the handles are way too bulky.
So now you know what that previously annoying AVS Flap popper is for, right?
3.3 Easy Stowage
A really cool feature with the stretch bund is its ability to help the user flat stow the PC. Just wrap one bund arm around the front, then the other. It secures with velcro.
As mentioned earlier, the small/medium bund carries space for two mags whereas the large/XL bund has space for three. I’m pretty sure I could have used either, because there’s a fair bit of plus and minus adjustability.
In general (AVS with Harness, or JPC) I wear a large bund, but with the AVS configured with its Yoke, small/medium seems optimum. I’d say choose the same size as your PC, unless you have previous for being slight or are a mega chonker.
I’m really surprised I see so few of these bunds in use.
I suppose, in a way, it’s overshadowed by Crye’s more load-capable systems; especially the new Structural bund, which is indeed excellent if you have a lot to carry. But ask yourself this: do you really need all that load bearing capability, all the time?
This stuff is supposed to be modular, not one size fits all circumstances. I thought I needed the superior load bearing capabilities of the AVS Harness all the time, but I really don’t – it’s just more bulk and extra weight in itself when I’m not heavily loaded.
It may be worth reviewing what you’re carrying and making some decisions which, while tough, will render your setup lighter and more agile. Crye’s Stretch Cummerbund could be part of that decision.
And this brings us back to the start of the article, and why I don’t like to go for a run in a PC. I can run faster and further without the additional weight, and it doesn’t kill my tendons, lower back and joints.
But I digress. I like this bund. It’s really comfortable, conformal and low profile. I like how the mags are carried – including the inverted orientation – so it’s win/win/win for me.