Words and Pics: @the_city_outdoorsman
This overview is based upon my thoughts and observations, along with information that C2R-fast themselves have very kindly provided about their Arctic Warfare Chest Rig.
As far as I’m aware, this example represents one of the first in civilian hands. It’s a cool demonstration of what C2R-fast are capable of, when asked to fulfil a specific brief…fast (hence the company name).
As regular readers will be aware, C2R-fast are based in Hereford UK – home of UKSF’s world famous 22 SAS Regiment. The company has gained a reputation for manufacturing high quality tactical gear for specialist units within the British armed forces, against short lead times.
When this chest rig appeared for sale from a private seller in Hereford, I jumped at the chance of getting my hands on it. This was in part due to having previously read Rich’s review of the C2Rmor Ultralite (more recently retconned as Lite 2) plate carrier. Indeed, Rich/The Reptile House is a long term supporter of C2R, and other reviews can be viewed here.
Since this chest rig was not something I’d ever heard of, let alone seen, I posted a few photos on a UKSF enthusiast group. Members quickly encouraged me to get in contact with the guys at C2R for more information. C2R, to their credit, were incredibly helpful and quickly explained that this chest rig had been specifically developed for arctic conditions. However, they were also keen to point out that the rig could be used anywhere in the world.
Similar to Crye’s AVS Chest Rig, donning and doffing the chest rig is straightforward, thanks the beefy Vislon zip which bisects the face.
The chest rig is manufactured using lightweight, hydrophobic laser cut laminate. The reverse is lined with the familiar black 3D spacer mesh, redolent of C2R’s Lite 2 plate carrier. This mesh is more padded than it first appears, providing a comfortable cushion for the user which also wicks well and provides some breathability.
Behind the mesh panels are three pockets, with the centre pocket designed to harness a ballistic plate. The size of the side pockets is smaller than a standard 6”x6” plate, which has led me to use them as general admin pockets.
A stowable bib holds the chest plate in place when in use, and also provides a large panel of Multicam loop material for the addition of identification patches, etc. The bib arrangement is again similar to Crye’s AVS Chest Rig and its predecessor: Eagle Industries’ legendary Rhodesian Recon Vest (RRV).
A steel tri-glide supplies tension with bib deployed and a chest plate in situ. Additionally an internal elastic divider prevents unnecessary movement when worn. All this adds up to make the rig a stable load bearing platform, irrespective of whether the plate is actually installed.
The same elastic divider that holds the plate so securely also doubles up as a handy means to secure the fold-away bib when not in use, whilst allowing the rest of the pocket to be used as a map/admin pocket.
The rear panel/platform continues to show C2R’s attention to detail. Comfortably fitting between the shoulder blades and hugging the small of the back, it creates a ventilated harness-like yoke which distributes weight very well – without getting in the way of a Bergen or daysack.
The panel is again composed of laser cut laminate, with the same padded mesh to maximise breathability; whilst still being highly wear resistant underneath a Bergen.
As a bonus, the semi-rigid panel and shorter straps makes the rig much easier to get on and off without ending up in a tangled mess.
The back panel allows for vertical adjustment of the waist strap. Like many modern chest rig waist straps, C2R’s is elasticated – secure and stable, whilst expanding and contracting to allow the user to move freely. This detail is something that really transforms the feel of load bearing equipment.
The chest rig would have been originally manufactured with shoulder pads, very similar to those of the Lite 2 plate carrier. Again, these were composed of laser cut laminate and secured to the rig with Velcro to prevent movement.
They are no loss to me, paradoxically, as I prefer not to double up on shoulder padding when carrying a daysack over this rig – the low profile straps being more than adequate.
The shoulder straps are attached to the rig via G-hooks. This allows the straps to be threaded through channels on either side of the fold up bib, if required, securing it firmly as well as providing a point of adjustment for the addition or removal of ballistic plates.
Excess strap can be neatly coiled and stowed in the integrated elastic keeper that covers the G-hooks, when hooked to the chest rig. The keepers also feature cable routing channels.
Originally the rig would have come complete with a radio pouch, a 5.56 double mag pouch, a single 5.56 mag pouch (both with Kydex inserts) and a pair of utility pouches.
The mag pouches are incredibly lightweight being again manufactured mostly from laser cut laminate, with a hardwearing Cordura base and C2R’s signature-shape detachable flaps.
In the pic above, readers can see that this is no ordinary laminate but is backed with tough black plastic like material – very similar to Crye’s newer laminate.
The utility pouches are somewhat unique, with a stretch fabric outer stuff-pocket. C2R explained that these were designed to allow the user to quickly stow their outer gloves when changing them, thereby ensuring the the inner gloves and the contents of pockets remain dry.
In addition to the outer stretch-pockets, the cavernous interior can be accessed using angled zips – with big pull tabs for easy access, even with gloved hands.
Additionally, the left hand utility provides a MOLLE platform upon which the radio pouch can be mounted (but not included with my rig).
C2R-fast’s Arctic Warfare Chest rig is a fantastic piece of equipment that showcases the company’s attention to detail and understanding of user requirements, whilst also being incredibly comfortable to wear.
I certainly had a few light bulb moments as C2R explained things to me. Equally, I am now more aware than ever of how little is publicly known about the specialist equipment currently in use by UKSF; and that while assumptions are always interesting, unless user requirements are known, decoding any platform is open to interpretation that may not quite hit the mark – so thanks to C2R in explaining the design to me.
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