1. #1
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    Question Turnout gear Zippers Pro's/con's

    I have a question for those who have zippers on there turnout jackets & or bunker pants. What are some of the pro's and con's of having zippers? I've seen some gear around like that and it seems to help with the time you get dressed. Only reason I am asking is I am looking around to purchase a set of turnout gear and some of the gear I've looked at comes standard with the zipper jacket and pants if anyone can give me some information I'd greatly appreciate it because as you all know gear isnt cheap and I'd like to make this gear as perfect as possible so that I get what I pay for.
    Andrew
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    I find zippers very painful - especially in the pants

    Seriously, the only problem we have with zippers are them falling out (stitching breaks) or the threads frey and get stuck. Other than that its just another closure.
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    If you plan on wearing the gear in the winter, and it actually gets cold, you won't unzip the coat if you get soaked until you thaw.

    Really bad when you have to, well, go behind a bush.

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    I have not experienced any problems with zippers. In fact my old department was one of the first in Virginia to put zippers in pants legs so you could slip them on over the 10" leather structural boot.
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    Have had d-rings,snaps and zipper with velcro on my coats and pants. Both worked. Takes a couple seconds longer to fasten with the snaps and d-rings. Zipper can get stuck but really have had no problem. As far as preference I would have to go with the zipper and velcro on my coat, but snap and d-ring on my pants.Just depends on what you like.

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    I like the zipper for pants in particular...I find it's quicker than snaps and D-rings.

    Overall I prefer zippers for coats, too, but they have a couple of negatives....one, I sometimes fumble with getting the zipper started when I'm in a hurry, and two, you no longer have those D-rings to hang a flashlight, radio mic, etc. Once you get the zipper started it's also quicker, though. Also less likely to do it half-*****ed (like doing the snaps and not the D-rings).....

    If you plan on wearing the gear in the winter, and it actually gets cold, you won't unzip the coat if you get soaked until you thaw.
    That's one problem we've never had to deal with down here.....
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 03-23-2005 at 04:42 AM.
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    My pants have always had zippers , my first pair of pants used when i was in college , were like a steel zipper had to use pliers some times top get the damn thing up.

    But other than that old pair of pants I've always had zippers on my firedex issued clothes and its great saves time and comforatble , Ive had snaps before and it sucked major , crap.

    I recomend firedex gear with the zippers and velcro overlay to anyone the whole county here uses it and noones ever complained although it is brand brand brand new gear just got it 3 months ago but it looks 2 years old now lol i need to wash it with all the brush and structure fires lately.
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    We use zippers down here, and they are the thing that always needs repair - things are always breaking somewhere on the zipper. I'm starting to wonder whether the department is spec'ing too light a zip to "save" money. I prefer the hook and 'D' because it moves better with you (the left and right halfs of your coat can move independantly a little, rather than being locked together).
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    I used to have the snaps on the inside and the hooks on the outside. I never used to snap the inside snaps, it was way too much of a hassle. I now have a zipper and do that every time. For me it is definately the way to go. I have never had any problems with the zipper breaking.

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    i have to agree 100% with Sshank42. The zipper on the coat is awesome but i dont think i would want it on my pants, too many "important" things could get caught in it.
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    not sure how old your are but if you have any middle age spread IE pot belly, big gut ect ect, you will find putting the zipper together on the jacket kind of hard, I dont like thim although I'm sure they make a better seal (to keep out heat) than the old buckles,

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    We tried a couple coats and had problems due to salt air/water corroding the zippers fairly quick. Yes, regular maint will help slow it down, but why require that extra maint. Did not offer any plus's to us.
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    I used turnouts with zippers for about 8 years...now I wear snaps & clips with d-rings. Personally and I'm not sure why I like the clips. I think they might be a bit cheaper and lower maintenance...not sure though.

    I also use the d-ring to attach my (1620) fireman service elevator keys and a clip for my gloves. Kind of handy in that respect.

    I also used to have pants with a zipper..I stoped using it as it is really in my view superfulous as the velcro and clip hold the pants closed. No need for the zipper.

    My pants now don't have a zipper and I haven't noticed a difference from it.

    Other than cost...I'm not sure there is much a difference.

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    I prefer the zipper with velcro. i had gear with the old snaps and clips, but with the heavy duty zipper in the pants and coat, it makes it much quicker to get dressed.

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    I have the opportunity of using both zipper and the D-ring style, I use the Fire Dex zipper/Velcro at work on the daily bases and find it much faster and easier to fasten than my ring and hook gear at my volley department. Also the zippers are made of a plastic material and I have never had a problem with it sticking, although about once a month I do lubricate the zippers with just a touch of vegetable oil. I would go with the zipper; I don’t think you would be disappointed.

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    I, personally, have never used the zippers. I have the snaps and D-Rings, but I believe not long after I got my gear, they started to get the stuff with the zippers. Haven't heard too many complaints about them, though....
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    I liked the zipper on my coat when I had it. It felt more "secure" when it was zipped up to me. The downsides I experiened were once in a while, I would over-zip the zipper. The zippers have a safety feature built in where you can zip them clear to the top where one side ends before the other. At this point, you simply pull the zipper apart so that you can get the coat off in a hurry. Not a frequent problem, but definately something to consider. The other problem is that if you wear the bottom of the male end out, it becomes difficult to threat the zipper into the female end. At that point, you pretty much need to replace the zipper to fix the problem.
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    I use both.

    D-rings can be nice to clip other stuff to. But I don't like the large gaps between the snaps.

    On my other coat with the zipper, it also has Velcro. Gearing up is slightly quicker with this type. I also like this because it completely closes up the jacket without any gaps. One problem is keeping the Velcro clean of fuzz and lint. On the pants, I don't like the Velcro as the primary closure. When crawling, kneeling, and just moving in general the fly tends to open up.

    Overall, I like the gear with Velcro and zipper.

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    Have had each (D-rings ans snaps) and now have zippers on pants and coat. It doesnt really matter to me...I like 'em both.
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    I guess we got lucky in the fact that we have zipper/D-rings on our coats...I like it a lot...total closure on the inside with places to hang stuff on the outside. The pants though, they are a snap/D-ring/velcro...not a bad set up either

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    Used both, prefer zipper and velcro on coat, and a combination of zipper velcro and d ring for pant.
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    I have used both. First set of gear that was delivered with zippers was great until they wore out. On several occassions I had to remove the coat over my head and then use pliers to get the zipper unstuck. We then went back to the d-ring style. Never had a problem there. We have now returned to the zipper (new generation) and have not experienced any of the previous problems. We are using Globe Extreme at this time and they have made great strides in the advancement of PPE.

    Did not notice any difference in turn-out time using either closure system. Both systems will work for the intended purpose. Hope this is of some value in making a determination that WILL save your *****.
    Last edited by BFDLT32; 03-26-2005 at 02:58 AM.

  23. #23
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    I hate zippers. Our old Globe turnout gear had zippers on it. It was an absolute pain to get them started whenever it's 2:30AM on a Saturday night and they're yelling 'Fully involved' or 'Working fire with confirmed entrapment!' over the radio. I'll take my D-rings and hooks any day(I don't bother with the buttons. They take too long too).
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    I've had both, and prefer zipper and velcro on the coat, and velcro d ring on the pants. The velcro on the pockets though, I could live with out.

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    I had a coat with a zipper and really disliked it in the winter. zippers would freeze. It was a pain. Also as mentioned before when your adrenaline is flowing zippers can become a problem depending on the person.


    I still love the D-ring inside velcro outside closure.
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