Looking for a good quality plate carrier can at times be rather daunting. There are so many different products on the market that all seem to do similar or the same thing. How do I pick a good carrier? If you have made it this far into this review, great! Read more and I look to answer this question.
When I personally look at plate carriers I look for two main things which I am sure you may consider as well:
What I have here is the Esstac Daeodon, a carrier that has fast become my go-to carrier of choice and here's why.
The Daeodon by Esstac is made in Washington State USA and comes a wide variety of colors. Materials used are Cordura 500D which makes it light weight and durable. The front of the carrier features a large velcro surface for all your patches and two ITW Nexus QASM buckles for you to attach any other panels compatible with them. The back is full molle webbing with some velcro on the top.
As I previously mentioned when I look for a good carrier I look for two things: comfort and functionality. I will now explain what I mean by this.
When it comes to comfort, the Daeodon would score 8/10 which means this is one VERY comfortable carrier, one that I have worn all day many times. The shoulder straps are wide and at just the right level of softness. I usually am not TOO big a fan of shoulder straps that are too soft as I always feel like they are shifting. The cummerbund wraps around quite well and is not too thick, making the overall weight lighter for added comfort during extended use. With these positives, why did I only give it an 8/10? Well, that is because it can heat you up rather quickly. Though its not as bulky or heat trapping as other carriers I have used before, the materials used on the inside doesn't help with dissipating heat a whole lot which leaves something to be desired.
The second point is functionality and here is where the Daeodon shines, and shines quite bright. The carrier is extremely modular and you have an incredibly wide range of attachments you can add to it. Things from different panels with kydex inserts configured for your different magazines to how each panel is laid out, there is going to be something that will work for you. The best part is, like other modern carriers, the Daeodon allows you to interchange different panels for how you like it set up. This eliminates the need to have to switch to different carriers depending on your load out (or rethread molle, because we all know thats no fun) and did I mention you can get panels that fit your huge .308 magazines?
Other than its panel system, another great feature is the cummerbund (yes we are talking about
this again). The cummerbund is adjusted with "G-Hooks" instead of bungee cords which is awesome. I never really could get my bungees to give me the fit I really wanted as the constant adjusting and readjusting really just gets annoying but with these hooks, its really a world of difference in terms of ease of adjustment and fit.
However, there are some minor gripes I have with adjustments. I used a whole paragraph to talk about the cummerbund but I made no mention of the shoulder straps, because here is where I'm going to talk about them. While they are not the hardest to adjust they are by no means "convenient". You need to lay the carrier flat and open to where its separated then you need to adjust the shoulder straps from the inside of the carrier, yes, inside where you put your plates. While I think this system solves the issue of keeping everything tight and tucked away, readjusting can be a chore, not to mention Esstac uses REALLY good quality velcro and it will snag at every opportunity it gets.
With this review, truth be told, I think the Esstac Daeodon, though not perfect, is an excellent plate carrier that is both high speed and functional that offers a great amount of comfort. Now a days when you look at modern carriers you will find many similarities across the board and how one stands out from the others is really down to how it makes the user feel. With this one though, there are subtile nuances that make it stand out rather than having to flaunt some major "game changing" feature. Everything about the Daeodon is designed around functionality while offering the most practical solutions for an attachment system. The best part to this is that it doesn't use some proprietary system and not offering any range in terms of accessories. If you take a look through our online store you will see a wide array of panels and attachments that will support your Daeodon.
There are so many more things I can say and indeed I can go on and on about the Esstac Daeodon, but to users like myself, these are the hardest hitting points about the carrier which I care about the most. As mentioned, there are little nuances like how the carrier can fit different sized plates without it looking or getting too bulky and how you can get it to come with different cummerbunds, even ones that are connected with cobra buckles! But I digress, I think the Esstac Daeodon is a great plate carrier in its own right and deserves a genuine look at if you are considering to replace your current one and are willing to put some money down for something that will last you a VERY long time.
We would like to thank Stu from Esstac for sending us a Daeodon, it was such a joy to wear, use, and tell people about.
Check out our full range here: http://tinyurl.com/heyupxx