One of the more functional upgrades that can be made on a chest rig are to the harness and system of straps that help suspend the fighting load. How the weight is distributed, how the load is balanced and suspended… In practical terms everything rides on those straps. While great strides have been made in the improvement of the loadbearing panel, less innovation has been seen in the harness system.
Down Range Gear’s Enhanced Strap Replacements are a great way to improve the function of the harness. At it’s core is a length of shock cord sheathed in tubular nylon webbing. This makes it stretchy and comfortable. The mechanics of the strap have been improved with an ergonomic front pull to adjust. The Enhanced Strap Replacement will completely replace an OEM waist strap and can upgrade an existing H or X type harness.
The Enhanced Strap Replacement does have some drawbacks. There is a finite amount it can be adjusted inward due to the fixed length of the shock cord and tubular nylon which will not feed through the slider. The other issue is that it is almost exclusively built around 1″ webbing and hardware, so there are compatibility issues with harnesses that are built to accommodate wider webbing.
Neither issue is insurmountable as proved by the following case in point.
The harness system on the DBT Rack was entirely of 1.5″ webbing and sewn directly into the panel. In order to allow the panel to accept the ATS H-harness and Enhanced Strap Replacement, buckles had to replace the webbing. 1.5″ buckles were selected for the two vertical attachment points to interface with the ATS harness and four 1″ buckles were run off of the sides for the horizontal attachments to the waist strap and adjusters off the H-harness.
The ATS H-harness required some retrofit and modification to accept the Enhanced Strap Replacement and attach to the DBT Rack. This was done in two parts.
To attach the Enhanced Strap Replacement, the webbing off the back of the H-harness was severed and two 1″ ladderlocks were sewn in. The ladderlocks allow webbing to feed through to adjust for length. Once adjusted, friction locks the webbing in and prevents it from sliding freely.
The 2″ webbing on the ATS H-harness was severed and the running end was folded under. Ample length was left to reattach and restore the harness to it’s original configuration. Wherever possible, alterations to a customer’s equipment are made with the least impact on the original design and an eye toward allowing further upgrades or restoration at a later date. In place of the 2″ webbing, 1.5″ webbing was attached to the H-harness, run all the way up the harness and sewn in at multiple points on top of the original stitch lines. Again, every effort was made to make the alterations look as much like the original piece as possible. The webbing ended in 1.5″ buckles to attach to the DBT Rack.
The customer had an additional request for a sternum strap on the H-harness. A lot of attention to detail went into integrating modifications into the existing design, down to using the same type of webbing and hardware to match the original exactly.
The Enhanced Strap Replacement Waist Strap attaches to the DBT Rack with 1″ buckles. The center of the waist strap is the stretchy part. That’s a fixed length of shock cord and tubnular nylon webbing. It attaches to 1″ webbing fed through ladderlocks on either end. These allow a front pull for length adjustment of the webbing that clips into the sides of the chest rig.
The DBT Rack is a sharp chest rig design. The ATS H-harness is the aftermarket solution to problems a lot of end users look towards to upgrade more rudimentary suspension systems. Making the two work together with a highly customized solution and an added layer of functionality is where Down Range Gear fits in.