Whether knowingly or unknowingly, if you’ve used ballistic or bump helmets before, you’ve probably used a Team Wendy product. While the company is best known for helmets, they also make some other products, such as the Team Wendy Radio Rig. It’s evident that a lot of thought has gone into this communications-gear-oriented load-bearing vest, which has some outstanding and thoughtful features. Depending on the environment in which you deploy, it can make you more agile and efficient while working with your comms loadout in the field.
The information Team Wendy sent out leading up to the rig’s release suggests that their target market was search-and-rescue (SAR) teams. So, while this review will primarily cover the SAR perspective, it’ll also discuss other applications in which this type of rig could be beneficial.
Pouches, Pockets, and Pull-Tabs
The rig is well constructed, with excellent stitching, and comes with three pouches that can accept a plethora of radio/ GPS types and sizes, as well as an additional weather-resistant accessory pouch. The pouches are attached to the rig via PALS webbing, so you can attach any other MOLLE-compatible pouches that you have. However, the advantage (and value) is that the pouches are provided as part of the rig. The individual or organization purchasing it need not incur additional costs to buy extra pouches to outfit the rig appropriately.
The three pouches are very reminiscent of standard rifle magazine pouches. Attached to the Velcro closure and the rear of the pouch is shock-cord with a small nylon pull-tab. In an age of digital radios that have LCD screens and 10-plus digit key inputs, it’s very important to be able to remove the radio from its pouch without having to repeatedly manipulate the Velcro closure.
Once you select the appropriate pouch for your device, you may have some extra space in the pouch that allows your device to flop around during movement. This is easily remedied by the tried-and-true method of twisting the shockcord repeatedly, properly adjusting your pull-tab placement, and resecuring the Velcro closure. The elastic shock-cord will then secure your device in the pouch more tightly.
If your device is between pouch sizes, the sides of the pouches themselves also have elastic and will stretch. If you can secure your device in the smaller of the two pouches, while still being able to remove it efficiently via the shockcord/pull-tab, that’s your best bet.
The weather-resistant accessory pouch was perfect to carry a smartphone. Its Hypalon construction and high-quality zipper provides a lot of confidence during a downpour. To test the level of weather-resistance, I poured water directly over the zipper in a sink and couldn’t find any evidence of water incursion. However, if you have a large phone or case, it may not fit, and the sternum pocket of the rig will work better. For example, an iPhone XR with a case maxed out the pouch. If you’re unable to use this pouch for your phone, it could certainly accept various GPS devices or anything else you want to shelter from the elements.
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