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Skydex Helmet Pad Kit - LOTS of pictures

PhilB

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Hi guys,

Recently Matt at CP Gear sent me a set of skydex pads to T&E. I used Oregon Aero pads during my tour in Afghanistan and am a HUGE supporter of helmet upgrade systems. My pad system was hands down the best kit purchase I made before I left. Fast Forward 9 months and I am back at home in the frigid north. My Oregon Aero pads, while still comfortable, freeze continually while in the field during winter. The Oregon Aero pads become extremely hard and un-pliable when the temperature drops, and it takes about 30mins on my head for them to soften up again. I had heard about the Skydex pads and from what I had read they were equally as comfortable as the Oregon Aero pads and they claimed that they did not freeze. Needless to say that I was very interested to try these out.

For those that aren't familiar with this system, the pads velcro into the helmet. To install the upgrade you must first remove the issue suspension system, except for the chin strap, and then install the adhesive velcro pads which come with the kit. Once that is complete is a simple matter of putting the pads into the helmet in a configuration that is comfortable for you. The kit comes with adhesive velcro, one large pad, two medium pads, and four small.

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In this picture you can see the suspension system removed and the adhesive velcro discs installed

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Pads installed into helmet

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The first thing that struck me when I received the pads was how similar they were to the Oregon Aero pads. They felt as soft and comfortable, but with a somewhat more rigid base.

Here is a skydex pad side by side with an Oregon Aero, the side showing is the side which is attached to the velcro discs

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Here is the side which makes contact with your head

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Obviously in trying out these pads my two major interest areas where the comfort of the pads and more importantly, the pads ability to resist the cold.

1.) Comfort - I found these pads equally as comfortable as the Oregon Aero pads, which is to say, extremely comfortable. I experienced no pressure points when using this system, and I find, my helmet feels much more stable and flops around less. This system is a huge jump in comfort over the issue suspension system. I had read that some people had had issues with these pads being slightly "scratchy" as a result of the foam that these pads utilize, however I did not experience this problem.

2.) Ability To Resist Cold - This was my primary concern. To test this property I put the Skydex pads in my freezer for 48 hours.

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When I pulled them out of the freezer they was absolutely no change in the comfort and pliability of the pads. They performed exactly as advertised.

Hopefully these pictures are clear, they were taken immediately after I removed them from the freezer

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I am lightly squeezing the pads, and as you can see they are not rigid in any way.

All in all I am extremely impressed with the skydex pad upgrade system. As a result of its comfort and increased helmet stability and the ability to machine, or hand wash sweaty pads, I think this system will work well in Afghanistan. The pads ability to resist the cold make them more suited for use in Canada than the Oregon Aero pads IMHO. I know CP Gear carries this system here:

http://www.cpgear.com/default.asp?mn=1.19.56&f=pd&pid=519

I am not sure if there are other Canadian retailers which carry this product. Hopefully this makes sense and is useful to some people. Please feel free to post or pm if you have questions or would like more details.
 

Donut

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Thanks for that, Phil.

One more item on my CP Gear Wishlist since Matt got involved with them!

DF
 

medaid

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mmm gucci kit! I want! Sorry Matt, I still have to send you an e-mail about the drop leg holster...
 

Jamtorky

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The review I was waiting for .. now on my list of needs

PhilB ...couple of questions ... I take it the strapping you have on your helmet is the on from the Oregon Kit??  screwed on or rivet?? How did you attache the plastic  parts on the scrim netting to your helmet... Rubber Cement??

Great post

Cheers
Jamtorky

 

PhilB

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Jamtorky - The straps I have on my helmet are made by a company called OPs-Core they can be found at www.ops-core.com
I had the Oregon Aero in my helmet overseas and did not like it. I found that the plastic on it broke and the straps did not stay tight. IMHO the issue chin strap is superior to the Oregon Aero strap.

The scrim net and helmet cover are attached by velcro. All I did was go to a hardware store and buy small velcro discs. Most hardware stores carry them, just attach one side to the helmet, the other to the plastic tab and you are good to go. Hope this helps.
 

buzgo

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Is the helmet still safe to use for parachuting with this upgrade installed?
 

KevinB

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I jumped a CF Gallet with the pads, and suspension system -- however mine was a 4 hole helmet - not the typically three hole.
The pads (I dont have experience with the Skydex ones -- but I am planning on talkign to Matt about) are superior in impact aborbancey to the issue system.

  CF units issues the MICH/ACH - which have the same kit and jump them (do the math on what unit...)



 

Loachman

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I currently seldom wear this helmet as I can't plug a helicopter into it (but there's an opportunity in the near future to wear it a lot more for an extended period if things work out) however I'm a habitual upgrader of almost anything that can be upgraded. My main question regards the legality of doing this mod. Nobody in my little part of the CF looks at the interiors of others' helmets (and seldom their own for that matter) so I'm not concerned too much about that - it's more to do with ultimately returning it to the supply system. Any potential problems there? I'm guessing not, as the remaining Velcro patches shouldn't be too visible.
 

PhilB

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In terms of having to turn the helmet in, you can easily re-insert the issue suspension system. This isn't a permanent mod. You don't have to change the chin strap, so no hole drilling or anything required. The issue suspension just pops out, set it in a safe place to gather dust, and when u get out put it back on.  As Kevin pointed out this mod increases the shock absorption properties of the helmet.
 

KevinB

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Legality  ;D  -- you dont know me very well do you.

I know a number of people (me for one) drilled out helmets in Afghanistan for a 4th hole - so as to affix the NV helment plate to our helmets (at that point the PVS-14 MNVG was coming with the USGI Kevlar Helmet mount -- and it easily slipped off the CF Gallet helmet).  The second time mine fell off when out and about -- I descided that since I'd seen many 4th hole helmets around -- I was doing one too, regardless if I did not have the protective mantel of DHTC to cover me this others did.
    the 4th hole not only allowed me to do the NV mount -- but also affix the OA suspension system in place.

When I got out - I got to keep the helmet - since it had been damaged/modified - and the supply techs seems to accept the fact that I had a reason for doing so...
  *note I am NOT recommending people do this -- since 1 can get away with it -- several more will end up paying for it, or worse... + the CF has a new MNVG mount -- and guys with the dual tubes have 4 hole helmets (or better)
 
 

Matt_Fisher

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Please note that in order to use the Skydex helmet pads, you do not have to drill any holes into the helmet, or any sort of permanent mods.  All you have to do is remove the existing leather sweatband and styrofoam liner.  If you need to turn your helmet in, or for whatever other reason reattach the issued suspension system, it's easy to put back in.

There are 2 pretty simple mods you can do to the issued helmet cover so as to work with the Skydex pads.
1.  Go to a craft shop and get some adhesive backed velcro strips (both the hook and pile parts).  Attach the velcro disks to the inside of your helmet.  Then take the adhesive velcro strips you got from the craft shop and trim to fit and attach to the plastic tabs on the helmet cover, with pile (fuzzy) on he side that is in contact with the velcro disks on the helmet interior, and hook (hard/scratchy) on the side that is in contact with the helmet pads.
2.  Get some 1" webbing or binding tape and sew velcro on the ends (hook on one side, pile on the other).  Cut off the plastic tabs from your helmet cover and sew the web/binding tape strips on in their place (easily done with a home sewing machine, by hand, or taken to an alteration shop).  Then attach the ends with the velcro to the velcro disks and place the helmet pads on top accordingly.

We'll (CP Gear) be doing a kit for the latter mod option.  Stay tuned to the website for details.

Regarding parachute jumping.  I'm in the process of sending out some sets to the Airborne Trials & Evaluations Section in Trenton.  Once/if they are approved, I'll note it on the product description on the website.  I do know that these helmet pads are approved for jumping in the US, but whether that's good enough for CF purposes, since I'm not in the position to make such a decision, I cannot comment.
 

Loachman

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Infidel-6 said:
Legality  ;D  -- you dont know me very well do you.

Not intimately, but certain impressions have been formed...

Thanks for the response - you too Matt - this is what I expected to hear.
 

ZipperHead

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For anybody interested in purchasing this, I will offer my testimonial: if these (Skydex helmet pads) are anywhere as comfortable as the OregonAero ones (which I purchased directly from the company), AND don't freeze up, don't hesitate to purchase them. The price (from CPGear) is much cheaper than what I paid (even after doubling up a purchase with another guy to save on shipping costs). The comfort can't be beat, and to honest, not too many people will give a rat's arse if you have them in your helmet. I have had MWO's and Major's admire mine, and they weren't concerned about the fact that it wasn't the vicegrip leather strap issued one. But, one never knows about jealous superiors or sticklers for issued kits.

If one is going to be wearing a helmet a lot (i.e overseas or while on course, although a caveat here is in order here: if you are on a course that has you having your pers kit inspected, you may not get away with these (see my comment above)), I would highly recommend the purchase of these babies. Your pumpkin will thank you!!  :warstory: <---- See how happy this guy is?!?! That's what I feel like with my helmet pads in!!!

Al
 

Bzzliteyr

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Well, time for me to peep up, as I am the one who "teamed up" with Allan to buy those Oregon Aero pads.

I have been wearing them since I received them and had installed the whole BLSS kit in my helmet, including the strapping system.  I have worn it through my DP3, taught while wearing it on DP1s and have subsequently been wearing it upon my posting to Valcartier.  I have had no issues with anyone telling me I am "not allowed" to wear it, though sometimes people do a double take on the straps and look at me different.  I then proceed with the "these aren't the droids you're looking for" Jedi mind trick.

The price Allan and I paid came to a whopping $200ish CDN, not bad at the time but if I compare that to the price of the Skydex kit I can see that newer modders will be saving tons o'cash!!!

My only opinion on the Skydex is second hand info from a review on www.militarymorons.com where they discuss the "scratchy" issues mentioned by Phil above.  I would like to borrow a set from Matt and make a direct comparison (as I am heading out on my DP3A in the next upcoming weeks, can you say cold weather testing?) so I may post more details on that.  I know my recent hot weather testing of the BLSS went well (a la Texas).  I took part in a 13km ruckmarch, lovely mountain hiking trips as well as prolonged use in the turret of a Coyote with no sweating issues or foul smells at all.  I merely aired out my helmet any chance I could get and didn't even get any salt/sweat stains.  The material on the Skydex kit looks the same, so I predict no issues there.

I have informed my troops of the availability of the kit and I recommend it to anyone who has ever had "helmet head" and scratched and whined about it, this is a nice piece of kit hands down for ANY trade.
 

Matt_Fisher

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Bzzliteyeyr,

The 'scratchy' issues which you'd read about on the militarymorons site were from the 1st Gen. Skydex pads.  Since then, that particular issue had been identified and rectified by the manufacturer.
When I looked into which particular brand of helmet pad to carry, I did quite a bit of research, as there are 4 major companies offering pad kits:
-Oregon Aero, with the BLSS (helmet pads plus chinstrap assemlbly) and BLU (helmet pads) which supplied the original MICH contract.
-Team Wendy, (helmet pads alone) which are being used in the US Marine Corps' Lightweight Helmet (LWH) as a retrofit kit (the original helmets did not come with a pad kit).
-MSA/Gallet, (helmet pads and chinstrap assembly) which are now standard on the MICH and US Army's Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH).  They simply package their helmet pads as a standard option with the new helmets.
-Skydex, which are being used as a retrofit kit by SOCOM for their MICH helmets.

All of the above listed helmet pads have been documented to meet the non-ballistic impact protection levels as specified by the US Army for their ACH program.  All of the above are comparable in terms of comfort based on user reviews.  Where the major difference is, that because the Skydex pads don't use foam, they will not harden up in colder temperature as the other manufacturer's pads will.  Another difference with the Skydex is that because it utilizes an internal 'brillo pad' of a soft silicone type material, it allows for alot more airflow to pass through the helmet pad, which can evaporate any sweat more quickly than a foam based pad system.  The result is that your head will stay drier when wearing the helmet.
 

westie47

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Phil,

Which strap set did you buy from ops-core? They show two different set-ups for MICH?ACH.
 

PhilB

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I bought the H style trap and I LOVE it! A great purchase IMHO. If you would like some more details just pm me.
 

Yeoman

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hey matt if they do get approved by the airborne t&e section, pass it along would you? I wouldn't mind to give the old helmet a new go. sides the suspension system is starting to peel in my helmet  :mad:
Greg
 

Samsquanch

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Does this kit make the helmet sit differently on my dome? I'm hoping for a little lower fit than the suspension system without the annoying squeaking sound mine makes. How is it in the heat?
Does it feel 90$ better... Because, I already feel like a million bucks  ;D

 
M

MikeL

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I got the BLSS kit in my helmet, an it does sit a bit lower on the head. IMO it is a lot more comfortable; as for  how it is in the heat, I dunno since I just got mine an havent worn it during the summer or in A-Stan yet.
 
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