1. #1
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    Default Not (exactly) another Turnout Gear Thread

    O.K. - I looked, I searched, and I read. Times change and new stuff is on the market & folks have had time to field test more stuff - that being said.

    Right now my VFD is looking VERY good at getting our AFG which includes new TOG. I estimated per suit cost for the grant based on some *loose* quotes of local vendors (due to time crunch we didn't have time to do the in depth homework). Now it's time to get down to brass tax.

    I'm looking for information & opinion on the following 2 things:
    Material Choice & Brand (and style if applicable).

    I will please ask that everyone refrain from saying that "XYZ brand gear is crap" UNLESS you tell me WHY you think it's crap. Without some reason or intent behind it - that portion of your opinion alone is worthless to me (sorry but that's the cold hard truth).

    Our goal is to pretty much create the ultimate gear - the lightest, most breathable combination that maintains the greatest range of motion and is easiest to don/doff.
    Ohh - almost forgot - due to budget limitations - it has to last forever too. Piece of cake right ??

    Material Choice
    Right now we're looking at: (first choice -or- second choice)
    Outer Shell: PBI Matrix -or- Millenia (Both 7.5 osy)
    Moisture Barrier: Crosstech -or- Nomex E-89
    Thermal Liner: Caldura SL (7.1 osy) -or- 2 Layer E-89 (7.0 osy).


    Brand / Style
    Globe / G-Extreme
    Cairns / Reaxtion (is there really a difference in the 2?)
    Chieftain / 3200 Ultra
    Morning Pride
    Viking
    Fire-Dex / Assault

    Any input on material choice or brands & styles is greatly appreciated. We will (hopefully) start doing some "hands-on" with the various vendors in the coming months. Thanks in advance.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    We went thru the same thing a few months ago spending our Fy04 fire Grant $. We decided to pass on the PBI. Additional cost/benefit above the #2 shell material choice was VERY debatable vs what else we could spend the $ on. #2 material choice fully compliant. As do you NEED leather interior in the new truck or is fabric OK. All subjective no mater what the salesman may say or what the geewiz its new guy on the dept thinks. And supposedly #2 will wear a marginally better. (We purchased Janesville).

    We spent the $ for leather boots (you wear every minute on the fire ground, how many minute are you doing interior attack). You feet/body WILL know the difference. And had $ left for goggles, helmet light, streamlight, pocket tool, caribiner/webbing, and gear bag for each man. If had ordered PBI would have had none of these and in the next x years will be a lot more meaningful to us.

    OR. just a very few years ago you would have not had PBI option, would that have stopped you from buying fully compliant turnout gear? or do you purchase today a $1500 PC now that does all you need to do, spend $2500 to get what is on the bleeding edge of PC tech (of the moment), or wait until what WAS the bleeding edge cost $1500?

    Hard sometimes to pass up the latest/"greatest" in the name of fiscal responsibility/payback.

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    Default We just got new stuff

    We used a combo spec to get what we wanted...


    Outer Shell: PBI Water enhanced repellent/Black (MP)
    Moisture Barrier: Nomex E-89 2 layer (MP)
    Thermal Liner: Caldura SL (Globe)

    The only 2 bids were Globe and Morning Pride ..we went with MP because it had all the features we wanted and customer service.

    We also modeled after the Buffalo F.D. specs. New gear is working out great only a couple of sizing issues that the Mgf is taking care of.
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    We went with Globe G-Extreme with nomex 7.5 outer shell as a standard with 2 sets with Millenia for trial purposes on durability.

    One of our deciding factors was fit and flexibility. Some guys were able to drop a size because of the way the coats have the Axtion back for expansion in the shoulder/upper back area when reaching for something or swing arms (i.e. an axe)

    We found that several guys were wearing the next size up in our old gear just to be comfortable in that area.

    It is our feeling that we are now overall safer because the gear fits properly as a whole not just in the shoulders. We have eliminated some of the baginess in the torso/lower coat area and in the arms.

    I can't remember the name of the internals I believe they are CrossTech for moisture and Caldura SL for thermal(the thermal is a silverish color if that helps)

    We got thumb hole wrists and lime yellow triple trim since we spend a lot of time on MVA's we wanted as much reflective properties as possible.

    Oh yeah and the 'reverse boot cut' on the pants is great. It eliminates the bottom cuff always dragging on the ground and wearing prematurely.

    Hope that helps a little bit.
    Last edited by FFTrainer; 07-29-2005 at 04:26 PM.

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    From what i gather Advance ripstop is probly the most durable outer shell that holds up the best against UV.

    IIRC it can handle enough heat to get the job doen very well.

    Saves a lot of cash.

    We went with Chieftain 3200X, the quick ship advance.

    No complaints, nice stuff. Havent realy compaired it with other gear though.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    Through our AFG grant last year we purchased our new bunker gear from Globe.

    X-Treme fits better than any gear that I've personnaly tried on. In addition to better mobility in the shoulders, the pants have a better mobility in the crouched position.

    Our outer shell is black Advance. Moisture barrier is RT7100. Thermal barrier is Aralite.

    So far I haven't heard any complaints from the firefighters either - which is a plus I guess.

    TF

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    We purchased new TOG 2 years ago with FEMA grant money. We previously had Mornign Pride and it started falling apart less than a year after we first got it (15 years prior)...or so I was told (I was 9 years old at the time and obviously not on the dept.)

    We ended up going with Veridian which was a new, small, local company at the time and got the Advance shell. We too considered PBI, but considering the cost vs. how much interior fire attack we would actually do, we felt that Advance was better to go with because it pretty much offered just as good of protection as PBI.

    The suits have held up very well, and I recently worked an MVA in them in 105 degree heat for well over 2 hours and didn't collapse! I have also noticed the increased maneuverability over my old gear.

    Good Luck!

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    BTT for more comments.


    newiowa, please don't take the following comments personally. I felt that you raised some very valid points and I felt they deserved to be addressed directly. Some of the points you mention I agree with in theory and ,without specific knowledge of the circumstances, I would most likely have given the same or similar advice to others in asking this same question.

    We spent the $ for leather boots (you wear every minute on the fire ground, how many minute are you doing interior attack). You feet/body WILL know the difference. And had $ left for goggles, helmet light, streamlight, pocket tool, caribiner/webbing, and gear bag for each man. If had ordered PBI would have had none of these and in the next x years will be a lot more meaningful to us.
    Already have New Helmet w/ Goggles, Little ED light, Leather Boots, new gloves & hood, and a gear bag built into the grant / quote.
    I've been wearing my own leather boots for years and I know what you mean.

    just a very few years ago you would have not had PBI option, would that have stopped you from buying fully compliant turnout gear?
    Nope - but I would have done the same thing then as now. I would have selected the best materials for the goal(s) I was trying to meet.

    or do you purchase today a $1500 PC now that does all you need to do, spend $2500 to get what is on the bleeding edge of PC tech (of the moment), or wait until what WAS the bleeding edge cost $1500?
    Having spent the majority of my working life in the computer field - I know exactly what you're saying & I have used a similar example when counseling folks on new computer purchases.
    Instead of spending $1000 on a new "state of the art" system that *might* last you 6 years, spend $500 on a system that will do what you need now & in 3 years spend $500 to replace that with a new system.

    Unfortunatly in the case of our new gear, this line of reasoning has a fatal flaw - It assumes that in X years funds will be available to purchase the second round of gear, based on past & present budget limitations, I can't assume that to be true.

    Right now my own coat is almost 10 years old. It's ragged looking because all the stitching is starting to ravel, but it is structurally intact (trust me I go over it with a fine toothed comb every time I wash it - and I wash it by hand).

    I don't agree it's good or right or even safe, but it is the cold hard fact of life that after we put fuel in the trucks and pay the light bill, we sometimes have very little $$ left over. Almost all of our current gear purchases are done on a piece by piece basis to replace damaged gear. In my 13+ years with the department, this will be our single largest gear purchase and it may be the only time when we can get "the best". This is why my 2 highest priorities are durability & comfort. We just may have to have these for a long time (well beyond the time when that are considered "second best") and I want them to last & fit well.

    Thank you all again for your input. As always - more comments and suggestions are welcome.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Be wary of Securitex. I won't get into the whole deal, but search the forums for why. We have some Securitex that was a Basofil shell, and while the thermal properties were fine, the quality of assembly was second-rate and much of the stuff we have that isn't terribly old is not holding up nearly as well as some Globe going on 8 years old. We have neighbors tickled with Securitex, so perhaps we just received a bad batch.

    We're now in Cairns, Millenia shell, Crosstech, Caldura SL. We spent right at $1500, not-grant funded. We're aren't in the new Reaxtion style, but will likely trial it with the next purchase (I don't think it's even truly available yet, as far as buying it. Production was supposed to start this fall...)

    Everyone in the Cairns stuff is tickled with it, and I couldn't be happier with the selling dealer, the quality of the assembly, or the way it was fit.

    Bear in mind, and I don't think anyone has addressed this yet - the grant Gods will likely limit your dollar amount spent per set if you're awarded, I think to somewhere around $1300, for the coat and pants. You can still buy great gear for this price, but may have to make some sacrifices.

    As the department's gear guy I'd like to think I'm pretty up on the different stuff I've personally run across, and don't think you could go wrong with Millenia (PBO) or PBI. Millenia was chosen for our needs due to the tear-warranty, as we tore the h%ll out of our Basofil stuff and wanted something to fall back on if we tore up the Millenia too. I have personal experience with Lion, Globe, Securitex, Morning Pride and Cairns. I've stated my concerns with Securitex, our Lion stuff was so old when I took over gear that my opinion of it is pretty much invalid here, but the other ones, Globe, MP, and Cairns are all well built high quality garmets I think you'll do well with.

    I know you're looking for specific material/shell/barrier comments, but everyone throws in their opinion. I'd honestly try anyone's stuff, but it seems around here the dealer makes the product, and unfortunately some of the guys selling the other brands just don't care about their customers. So more or less my recommended brands are those that in our area take care of their end-users.

    Be sure to go deep into Morning Pride's and Globe/Cairns sites for info on all the material matrix testing results. TPP, etc. charts are available, and you'll go batty looking at all of the combos and results. If you need links to any of this stuff, let me know.

    Happy hunting.

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    N2,I think of your outer choices the PBI will "breathe"a little better.When we got our grant,we put the front line in Globe GX7 Millenia with Crosstech and Caldura SL.So far,we are well pleased with the result.I think any of the top builders will make you a good set of gear.We went with Globe because of the dealer and our proximity to the factory. Samson,better hit the books again.Millenia is a CONSIDERABLY stronger outer than Advance.Hands down,no arguement.Nothing wrong with Advance but for durability/abrasion resistance it pales in comparison to Millenia.Of the two,again Advance will have better breathability over Millenia.So what are you looking for?Long life or maximum comfort? This decision will affect your outer material choice.And try to get several vendors in to try different brands.Just like vehicles,all mfgs have a neat little "widget"or two the competition doesn't have. T.C.

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    How about this stuff, Lion V Force, looks kind of neat.

    http://www.janesville.bz/vforce.html


    So, is there realy a standout clearly superior...

    Outer Shell?

    Thermal layer?

    Liquid Layer?
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Along those same lines wouldnt aluminized PBI offer the greatest proection of any outer shell?

    Its a funny thought...all structure FFs running around looking like baked potatoes.

    But the protection from radiant heat would be much much much greater.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Smile

    BTT for one last round of comment & to add some updated info.


    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801
    Be wary of Securitex.
    Did the research

    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801
    Bear in mind, and I don't think anyone has addressed this yet - the grant Gods will likely limit your dollar amount spent per set if you're awarded, I think to somewhere around $1300, for the coat and pants. You can still buy great gear for this price, but may have to make some sacrifices.
    They did - got the updated funding info & another round of "10 Questions" over the weekend. We were cub back from 25 to 20 sets of gear and funding was dropped from the requested amount to $2000 per set (This is all inclusive of helmet, boots, coat, pants, etc.)

    My pre-grant quote had G-Extreme with :
    PBI-MATRIX OUTER SHELL
    CALDURA SL THERMAL LINER
    CROSSTECH MOISTURE BARRIER
    NYC 3" SCOTCHLITE TRIPLE TRIM
    NOMEX HAND AND WRIST GUARDS
    GRAY SUEDE CUFFS
    GRAY SUEDE KNEES
    RIPCORD PADDED SUSPENDERS

    right at $1,380 per suit (Coat/Pants) plus pocket / lettering options and shipping - so I think we're still o.k. (Sorry for the all caps - I was too lazy to retype it so I just cut/paste from the quote)

    Adding in the "Nicer" of the two helmet & boot choices - were somewhere around the $1,750 mark so we should be able to make out pretty well by the time we add in the gloves, hood, and a pocket or 2.

    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801
    Be sure to go deep into Morning Pride's and Globe/Cairns sites for info on all the material matrix testing results. TPP, etc. charts are available, and you'll go batty looking at all of the combos and results. If you need links to any of this stuff, let me know.
    Been there - think I went so deep I found stuff their web designers forgot about

    Thanks once again to all who have commented thus far. Further thoughts and discussion is always welcome.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    N2,Stephen my finely feathered friend.Why seude? I had one set of gear with it,never again. We've had a lot better luck with the "reinforcements"being made of gear alike material(ie Pbi or millenia).On ours it's like triple thick Millenia on the elbows and knees;the biggest AK we've got hasn't been able to wear it out yet. And he's on his knees in the office about 6hrs a day,hehe.Good luck in your quest and please post your final decision, T.C.

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    Nice thread...

    A little background on our dilemma...

    In the market to spend our AFG and have the choice between 2 - powers that be narrowed it down to Globe/Cairns & MornigPride.

    The salesperson for G/C came out with 6-8 sets of gear, including Re-Axtion & G-Extreme (?) gear. They had pamphlets-handouts, they educated us on TPP vs. THL as well as notifying us of a potential change in the NFPA standards coming up soon. We saw how G/C talked to FF's about complaints and design improvements. Overall, we left this presentation having a better understanding of what we should be looking at with gear.

    When the supplier for MP came out, it was a complete 180 degree turnaround. The salesperson did not do a very good job of selling us his product. When asked about how they ranked up against potential upgrades in the Standard...he explained how we will be grandfathered in (we know, but why not shoot for something that surpasses the standard?). All in all a horrible presentation as we saw very little product and still don't know much about MP.

    So, while you should not judge by a poor salesman...we want the best product and would hate to pass up either because of this poor showing...or great showing by G/C...

    So we're still trying to get more info on MorningPride ourselves...

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    Our last round of Cairns came with the suede elbows/knees, but we talked the dealer into putting their new "Dragonhide" on the knees and elbows of one set. Our next order (any day it'll be here), will have the Dragonhide, simply because we won't have the stiffening/rotting associated with the suede that occurs over time. I believe the price increase for the Dragonhide was pretty low, under $30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    N2,Stephen my finely feathered friend.Why seude?
    Honestly - because at the time I asked for the prelim quote to fill out the grant app with - I didn't specify anything on the knee reinforcments so that's what the sales guy threw in.

    As it stands right now I'm pretty sure we're going to go with some flavor of Globe/Cairns gear. I'm still in the process of scheduling demos from G/C, MP, and Chieftain.

    As for salesmen - both the Rep for Globe/Cairns & Chieftain are both very good folks to work with. Haven't located the local MP guy yet.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    My department won a grant and we have been spending ALOT of time trying to evaluate the different brands and we were pleasantly surprised when we demoed the 3200Ultra from Chieftain Safety.

    There were a bunch of reasons we chose this brand in particular. One of the biggest reasons was comfort. They have this Trident system which basically is there was of providing a lot of comfort and maneuverability in the arms, elbows, crotch, and knees. Another was the fact that the combination of the materials which was PBI Matrix, Caldura Platinum and Stedair 4000. We reviewed the THL's and TPP's and they were better than the same combo with crosstech.

    My chief was a big fan of the elbow and knee pads, which they use ballistic kevlar reinforcements instead of leather or arashield. Apparently these guys also make bullet proof vests, and they incorporated the same technology.

    The gear ran about $1100+, and came damn quick - we waited about a week for the first 15 sets to arrive. Nice stuff.

    The suit that we liked is here at
    http://www.chieftainsafety.com/produ.../3200ultra.asp

    Be safe gang

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    My company ordered a lot of new Globe G-Xtreme Turnout gear. We like the gear, but apparently the government has taken all sources of Nomex away from distributors. So our gear will be 30-45 days late in delivery. But other than that, alot of our guys (and gals) like the gear alot.

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    Hey !! - My thread is back. Cool.

    Well since it's back I guess I'll add on a little update (not that there really is much of one) and see if we can get any more input.

    We are scheduled to demo the Globe / Cairns gear on the 18th of this month.
    I also talked with my Chief last night as he keeps in touch with the local Chieftain rep.

    I tried to get him to call and get the Chieftain gear down on the 18th as well so we could view it side by side but for some reason he didn't want to.

    He also said that the Chieftain guy had some sort of Govt. contract to send gear over to Iraq and because of it was running way behind in getting gear.

    I have to admit I'm trying very hard not to be biased but I really like Globe gear. I'm really curious to see how much alike / different the Cairns stuff really is (in fit & price).
    As always - more comments are welcome.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    I don't think that's quite right. I was talking to my brother who's in Irvington VFD in New York and they wear Morning Pride and he said that the gear took nine months to arrive, because they're the one's who are building suits for Iraq.

    There was no time wasted getting the Chieftain gear for our department. As far as I can tell you, and I guess you can contact the company, they dont seem to be running behind at all.

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    SamsonFCDES

    QUOTE]
    Along those same lines wouldnt aluminized PBI offer the greatest proection of any outer shell?
    I worked as a crash fire rescue firefighter and we used the aluminized gear. It is more expensive than regular gear. But the major problem is it has virtually no abrasion resistance. Any serious amount of crawling quickly strips the coating off from the knees.

    FyredUp

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