1. #1
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    Default Gear Specification Advice

    All,

    I am hoping to solicit some help from my fellow firefighters regarding gear design.

    My department is currently undergoing some field testing of three brands: Globe (GxTreme), Janesville (V-Force) and Morning Pride (equivalent of GxTreme/V-Force).

    I'm curious as to the design of gear that your departments use:

    1) what brand of gear do you use? are you happy - would you recommend a different brand?
    2) What type of outer shell does your gear employ? We are currently testing Pbi Matrix as we have found through research that it is considered the "best" outer shell overall
    3) What mill would you recommend: Southern Mills, Safety Components, etc. for the various gear layers (thermal, moisture, outer shell)?
    4) We have found through field testing that there is a big difference between abrasion resistance between mills of Pbi Matrix - has anyone else notices a difference between Pbi Matrix Safety Components and Pbi Matrix Southern Mills (also known as Gemini)?
    5) What types of pocket/reflective trim/names/clips designs do you employ?
    6) Has anyone tried to integrate a NFPA 1983 Class II Certified Harness into bunker pants? Morning Pride for example has this option, as does Janseville.

    I thank you in advance for your advice!

    - Richard

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    PBI Matrix is Best? I don't think so! Try Basofil for the highest TPP which in my opinion makes it the best. Even if you have to replace it a little more often it's the "best" protection you can put on your firefighters. Look at Globes TPP/THL charts: nothing comes close when comapring the full ensembles to each other and only varying the outer shells. We've had good luck with Basofil. As far as gear we've had Quest, Viking and Bristol int he current spec and found of the three Quest was best. We're looking to explore other vendors: Globe, Securitex, Morning Pride etc.

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    Viking... Viking is the best I have had, fits like a glove.. Awesome ****.. Viking is made by ex bristol execs. Lightweight, Comfortable and Durable. Cheap too.. Morning pride is wicked expensive. If you go with the Viking, youll only be in the hole $1500 per set. Thats Boots to Helmet. Its not passing off protection for price, its GOOD ****.,

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    Default Additional explaination

    Dear RFDACM, you're right to question my use of "best" - which is why it was purposely placed in quotation marks.

    Simply put, you can argue which is the best based on a variety of criteria.

    We currently have basofil - and we have had big abrasion problems with it - which is why we are looking at something with higher abrasion resistance

    Hopes that helps!

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    Default Viking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescuepimp
    Viking... Viking is the best I have had, fits like a glove.. Awesome ****.. Viking is made by ex bristol execs. Lightweight, Comfortable and Durable. Cheap too.. Morning pride is wicked expensive. If you go with the Viking, youll only be in the hole $1500 per set. Thats Boots to Helmet. Its not passing off protection for price, its GOOD ****.,
    Rescuepimp,

    Thanks for the reply - in evaluating Viking products, we determined that their construction was inferior to the more expensive brands: Globe, Morning Pride, etc. Mostly because of their design (multiple pieces to make ergonomic design) and construction (double stitching, etc.) - what has your success been with Viking?

    We currently use Bristol - and we have had enough of that!

    How many calls do you run?

    - Richard

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    PBI/Kevlar outer shell, E89 thermal, Crosstech moisture. And yes morning pride is expensive...but not much out there that's nearly as good. My department is going with Securitex. Seems to be nice stuff, I don't care for it. I'm going to stay with what I know and trust, which is Morning Pride. And no I don't sell it.
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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    Default

    I agree with the previous post about Basofil, while it does lighten the load and has excellent thermal qualities, it has not held up to use, especially the liners, the fabric has simply worn out from wear. The shells are constantly tearing and pulling.
    As for the brands, Globe seems to be making a really good product the GX extreme series, the cut is good, all options are available, durabilty. On the durability side the Morning pride gear I have used is a disgrace, the workmanship has been poor at best especially the seams and liners. Too many folks are buying them for "the look" and they don't seem to be able to make quality in any quantity. As always JMHo!

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    Spackman-

    Department Demographics:

    Number of Firefighters: 280
    Number of Runs: 20,000
    Number of Working Fires: 200-300
    Other Fires: 600-700
    Population: 160,000

    My department was using Securitex for the last (5) years with a Basofil Outer Shell, Ultra Flex Thermal Liner, and Crosstech Moisture Barrier w/ 3" NYC Scotchlite Triple Trim Striping. Our coat options were: (2) semi-bellows pockets, radio pocket (LC) w/ mic tab above (LC), helmet snap (RC), nomex hand and wrist guards, arashield cuffs, last name on a sewn patch above lower hem, and a brass zipper closure. Our pant options were: (2) bellows pockets, arashield knee reinforcements, and arashield cuffs.

    We were very unhappy with the workmanship and durability of the above garment. The abrasion resistance was very poor, the stitching did not hold up well, and the arashield knees melted after a few fires. After a two months wear testing garments from Janesville, Morning Pride, and Globe, there was no comparision to fit, comfort, flexibility, and durability. The G-Xtreme was not low bid, but we are sure that it will be worth every penny.

    Our current spec is: PBI Matrix, Caldura SL, Crosstech, 3" NYC Scotchlite R/O Triple Trim with a Polymer Zipper. Coat options are as follows: (2) semi-bellows/handwarmer pockets, radio pocket w/ mic tab (LC), helmet snap (RC), nomex hand and wrist guards, and dragonhide cuffs. Pant options are: (2) bellows pockets, 2 layers of padding in knees, padded rip-cord suspenders, dragonhide knees and cuffs.

    I do not sell for Globe (although, I do sell their sister, the Cairns Reaxtion), but this product is spectacular and both products should be reviewed closely. I don't believe that their are two more comfortable garments on the market.

    Good luck and shoot me an e-mail for more info!

    rfd599
    www.IllinoisFireStore.com
    dinges88@hotmail.com

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    Default

    i have no experience with any of the other gear manufacturer, so take this with a grain of salt, and use your own experience.

    we use strictly globe, gxtreme, we recently had a fire with some heavy rollover*.

    there has been much discussion as to if it was a super strong rollover, or a really weak flash.

    either way, within 5 seconds, everything lit off, it was hot enough to fracture my helmet, and singe mine and another crew members gear.

    it went through the outer layer and browned and flaked the moisture barrier, but never went throught the inner layer. we had " sunburn" from the heat held in the gear, but that was it. im happy with globe.

    liek i said though, use your own experience.

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    Default Additional Question...

    Thanks so much for the replies - keep them coming!

    Has anyone dug into the differences between the mills of Pbi Matrix - Southern Mills variant is called Gemini, where as Safety Components is called just "Pbi Matrix"

    We have seen a VAST difference in the performance of these shells - even though they are supposed to be the same.

    Anyone else have problems with Safety Components version of Pbi Matrix (I have heard many rumors to that effect)?

    - Spack

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    Default

    You might wanna look at Firedex our dept is going to be ordering 20 sets in PBI matrix.

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    Post

    My dept. just purchased 30 set of Firemaster gear in PBI Gold Matrix. The fit is ok but I am more acustomed to Globe. We looked at the GXtreme I really like the fit and the weight but I was out ruled on the vote. Does anyone use or have used the formentioned gear and if so what is your opinion?

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    Spackmann: I agree that the basofil has abrasion issues, we too have seen this. The dilema is whether to reduce the overall protection to get another year or two from the gear. PBI matrix or any other PBI also breaks down when exposed to sunlight, how much longer with it last? I'm very interested as we look to chnge comapnies now would be the time to change the overall spec. We were hoping that Globe or another could give us a better performing set of gear. Our issues at first were inner liners tearing due to poor fit (Co. rep fitted each individual set). Since then we've had torn knees and the like, but this is under quite abusive use. maybe a Matrix pattern will stand up better. Has anyone requested the manufacturrer/supplier give you the TPP/THL on their letterhead as specced? It seems to be a little different from the Globe Charts (obviously Globe matches their own charts). We want to know what our finish product will be before they get the bid. The Quest gear was TPP-58 off the line TPP-64 with one wash. I forget the THL.

    As for Viking, none of our guys like the longer coats or the lack of options, the fit is decent and it is light and comfy. We'll see how it holds up.

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    Default Lookup PBI Matrix Online for answers

    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Spackmann: I agree that the basofil has abrasion issues, we too have seen this. The dilema is whether to reduce the overall protection to get another year or two from the gear. PBI matrix or any other PBI also breaks down when exposed to sunlight, how much longer with it last? I'm very interested as we look to chnge comapnies now would be the time to change the overall spec. We were hoping that Globe or another could give us a better performing set of gear. Our issues at first were inner liners tearing due to poor fit (Co. rep fitted each individual set). Since then we've had torn knees and the like, but this is under quite abusive use. maybe a Matrix pattern will stand up better. Has anyone requested the manufacturrer/supplier give you the TPP/THL on their letterhead as specced? It seems to be a little different from the Globe Charts (obviously Globe matches their own charts). We want to know what our finish product will be before they get the bid. The Quest gear was TPP-58 off the line TPP-64 with one wash. I forget the THL.

    As for Viking, none of our guys like the longer coats or the lack of options, the fit is decent and it is light and comfy. We'll see how it holds up.
    RFDACM,

    You can find all the TPP/THL stuff online - check out the southernmills website (www.southernmills.com) and pbi's website (www.pbigold.com) or safety components website (www.safetycomponents.com)

    - Spack

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    Funny that we're discussing this now, as the Lt. in charge of gear had the Globe salesman here today. Globe has the best TPP/THL sheet I've seen as it compares the different component setups. Clearly comparing outershells using the same thermal liners and moisture barriers each time- the basofil is the best. In fact you cannot get a PBI set within 10 TPP points of a basofil set. In my book that says Basofil is the best. I'd rather replace all our gear every 36 months and give the firefighters the Best Protection available vs. get a few months more out of the gear. As a matter of fact if you compare Basofil to PBI its outright cheaper to buy. The trick would be to determine how long Millenia, Advance, PBI and Basofil can last and then compare the monthly ost of ownership. I'll bet the Basofil is still close to cheapest and always Best TPP/THL.

    If I had my way (and I still have a little pull) we'd go with the Globe GXtreme with Basofil, Caldura, and Stedair 3000 (TPP-53.8 THL-226.5) With our options(alot) this ends up being about $1400 per set. Replace it every four years (as a plan) for a cost of $29/month.

    BTW: This Globe salesman says the black dyed PBI thing is B.S! No better than the natural? His words.

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    Globe-
    Wore from 1993-2000. It was early PBI (at least back then) and did its job, but wasn't very comfortable. The coat had a lot of rise, although the high back pants were nice. Moisture barrier was fine (CrossTech), but the overall coat itself didn't take a whole lot of heat. Probably why so many people back then doubled the liners. My full-time department tested the G-Extreme. Very comfortable, but didn't take a lot of heat. Sitting in storage now.

    Morning Pride-
    Both my career and part-time departments switched to it several years ago. Neither department bought it a second time. I only wore a set in training once or twice for comparison sake, and was not at all impressed. The garmets themselves weren't very durable at all.

    Fire Gear (Now marketed as Securitex)-
    Worn since 1995. Definetely a comfortable coat with little rise due to the T contruction. I've worn several sets of PBI and one set of Basofil. The Basofil coat had a TPP rating off the charts (only go to 60). It blocked heat very well but didn't seem as durable as the PBI. My career department has used this garmet since switching to PBI in the early 90s (with the exception of the Morning Pride, which didn't last).

    Lion Apparel (Janesville)-
    Up until recently, Fire Gear was my favorite hands down. Two departments I work with part-time have switched. The coats are comfortable and thus far durable. They are light but still retain superior TPP ratings, and nothing comes close to them as far as water retention (maybe the old Securitex material, but we won't go there). I'd trade my Fire Gear for a second set of Lion without thinking twice. We do have someone testing the new "V-force" in Matrix. It is very comfortable and so far looks to be even better than the standard Lion.

    Never actually seen the Bristol, Viking or Southern Mills so I don't have a clue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    I'd rather replace all our gear every 36 months and give the firefighters the Best Protection available vs. get a few months more out of the gear. As a matter of fact if you compare Basofil to PBI its outright cheaper to buy. The trick would be to determine how long Millenia, Advance, PBI and Basofil can last and then compare the monthly ost of ownership. I'll bet the Basofil is still close to cheapest and always Best TPP/THL.
    I see where you are going RFDACM, but the unfortunate reality is alot of decisions is based on money - its unfortunate, and it really irritates me, but it is the unfortunate reality.

    My department is currently looking at a four year replacement program for gear - our current basofil gear simply does not fall into that four year plan (because of the abrasion issues). If we were to go to anything less than the four years, it arguably would not be financially possible.

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    Here is a link to FireDex web page. We were really impressed with there gear.

    http://www.firedex.com
    Last edited by ducken; 03-28-2006 at 04:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spackmann
    our current basofil gear simply does not fall into that four year plan (because of the abrasion issues). If we were to go to anything less than the four years, it arguably would not be financially possible.
    What kind of abraision issues do you have? Ours were all in areas that can and will be reinforced: knees, cuffs, elbows and shoulders. 95% of the issues we had were knees. More of the problems were liners tearing out in the crotch which I attribute to poor fit and cut of the Quest line. (worn knees and ripped crotches sounds like a larger problem than gear) We found that Globe offers self-material or Millenia as reinforcement materials. As I said earlier my bet is on Globe Gxtreme with basofil, reinforced knees, cuffs and elbows using millenia, Caldura and Stedair 3000. Our options include flashlight holder, two snap hooks, two ring loops, a radio pocket, wristlets with thumb holes, zippers and velcro closures, handwarmer pockets, and NYC triple trim. The quote we got today for this was $1400. add $50 for the drag-strap if you choose.

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    Default Clarification

    RFDACM,

    We have many examples of the basofil outer shell simply "wearing out" from nothing more than WALKING in the gear.

    We have a "junior" status in our department - where you aren not allowed to fight fires - and some of our junior members have had the shell actually wear through from rubbing against one another in the crotch area.

    Also, why were you looking at Stedair 3000 instead of Crosstech moisture barrier?

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    Quote Originally Posted by spackmann
    Also, why were you looking at Stedair 3000 instead of Crosstech moisture barrier?
    Cost vs. benefit. It is much more expensive (up to $200/set) and doesn't provide enough added protection to be cost efficent. So I guess there is a little monetary factor.

    We've not seen the wear issues from any other places except contact with the ground. The crotch issues we had were all vapor barrier/thermal liner tears, no shell material issues. Was Bristol the maker of the Basofil gear you have/had? Another issue with them and Viking is the sewing in of the liners top and bottom: hard to check for ripped crotches until they come all the way through. You also can't add anything to the pants (Like harness loops) after you recieve them because of this. I wonder if this isn't part of the problem when the liner doesn't move independantly from the shell?

    Anyway, I'm not trying to change your mind. Given your experinces with the gear I'd certainly be asking alot of questions and thinking about a change too.

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    Default good point...

    You bring up a good point about the construction of gear - that's one of the reasons why we are moving away from Bristol.

    The current sets of bristol we have do not allow for the separation of outer shell from the moisture/thermal layers - they are connected at the wrists.

    Plus, its all single stitching - whereas globe, janesville and morning pride have double stitching standard.

    I must say however that I'm not entirely sure that the abrasion issues we've seen with basofil could be directly related to bristol's construction of the gear - but rather more closely related to the nature of basofil.

    Another thing, that's another reason why we are abandoning bristol all together - they refused to even replace this set of gear - granted gear DOES indeed wear out, but to simply refuse to warranty this set of gear that wore out from WALKING was just the last nail in the coffin (we got the refusal in writing from the bristol corporation).

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    Spackmann,See if you can get a "beta" set in Millenia.Our current issue is G-7 Globe Millenia,Caldura SL,Crosstech with NY triple trim.A shade under Basojunk in TPP but lightyears ahead in durability.We put one of our active guys in Basofil to test it.I'm not impressed.Abrasion resistance is low,lower than any other material we tried.What do you think the TPP is on abraded gear? And I'm not saying Millenias for everyone.I AM suggesting you try it to see if it meets you needs.It has fit ours nicely,the crew likes the gear(compared to our old stuff)and it wears like iron.Seems to hold up well under high heat conditions too.Until we find a better system(price/service life)this will be our standard issue. Good luck! Oh,for what it's worth our Millenia is Southern mills. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 03-29-2006 at 10:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    Spackmann,See if you can get a "beta" set in Millenia.Our current issue is G-7 Globe Millenia,Caldura SL,Crosstech with NY triple trim.A shade under Basojunk in TPP but lightyears ahead in durability.We put one of our active guys in Basofil to test it.I'm not impressed.Abrasion resistance is low,lower than any other material we tried.What do you think the TPP is on abraded gear? And I'm not saying Millenias for everyone.I AM suggesting you try it to see if it meets you needs.It has fit ours nicely,the crew likes the gear(compared to our old stuff)and it wears like iron.Seems to hold up well under high heat conditions too.Until we find a better system(price/service life)this will be our standard issue. Good luck! Oh,for what it's worth our Millenia is Southern mills. T.C.
    Thanks Rescue101,

    I looked at Millenia, but apparently its still not as good as Pbi Matrix according to vendors - have you looked at this?

    - Spack

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    I won't argue the abrasion resistance of Millenia. It is by far the toughest stuff out there. Also I can't argue that Basofil is not somewhat less durable than many others. Like I said in the balance of things we'd rather have the higher TPP/THL. But for durabilty, Millenia is tops. BTW: The Globe guy says wash it about 5 times upon delivery to take the stiffness out and its as comfortable as any other.

    Spack: I agree the basofil Bristol issue probably is not a Bristol only issue, but that is one of the factors we've seen with wearability.

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