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What to Wear Under a Plate Carrier or Body Armor

What to Wear Under a Plate Carrier or Body Armor?

If you are like most people, you probably have a few questions about what to wear under a plate carrier. What is the best way to stay comfortable? What should you avoid wearing?

In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions and help you make the right choices when it comes to dressing for success!

Table of Contents

Why is it important to wear the right clothes under your plate carrier?

Wearing the wrong type of clothing under your body armor can cause a number of problems.

For starters, it can be extremely uncomfortable. If you are constantly adjusting your clothes or if they are bunching up, it will be difficult to concentrate on your mission.

Also, plate carriers and body armor in general don’t breathe well and they tend to make you sweat a lot in general. When you wear the wrong type of clothing under your plate carrier (or too much) it will cause you to sweat even more.

This can lead to chafing, rashes, general feeling of discomfort and in cold weather conditions, it will mean you are going to get cold very easily. Which again means you will not be able to function properly or focus on your mission.

Another thing to consider is, that having too bulky clothing will hinder your mobility. You need to be able to move and react quickly in a combat situation and if your clothes are too baggy or bulky, it will make it more difficult.

What to Wear Under a Plate Carrier

What should you consider?

When choosing the clothing to wear under a plate carrier, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, you should think about what environment you are going to be working in. Are you going to be in a hot or cold climate? Do you need to keep warm? And etc.
  • For hot climates, you want to look for clothing that is going to wick away sweat and help you stay cool. This could be things like moisture-wicking undershirts and lightweight pants. In cold weather conditions, you might want to consider adding an extra layer or two to help you stay warm.
  • After that you should think about what’s your mission and what will you be doing in the plate carrier. For example, if you are using the plate carrier for airsoft or real combat then you will need to run around in it a lot more, which means you will generate a lot more sweat and heat. For a more static activity like shooting range practice, you might not need to worry too much about
  • You also want to make sure that the clothing you choose is not too loose or too tight. You need to be able to move and react quickly, so baggy clothes are a no-go. But clothes that are too tight will also limit your mobility and be uncomfortable. Look for clothing that has a snug fit but is not constricting.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is the type of materials your clothing is made from. Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are usually a good choice as they are lightweight and breathable. Natural fibers like cotton are also an option but they tend to hold onto moisture more, which can make you sweat more.

What to wear under a plate carrier or body armor?

Now that we’ve gone over what to consider when choosing the clothing to wear under a plate carrier, let’s take a look at some specific examples.

Combat shirt

A combat shirt is a type of military clothing specifically designed for wear during combat training or operations. And well, it’s basically designed to be worn under body armor.

What makes a combat shirt the best piece of clothing to wear under a plate carrier is its unique design. The body part of these shirts is typically made from a breathable, quick-drying fabric that helps to keep the wearer comfortable and cool in hot or humid conditions. While the sleeves of the shirt are made of tougher fabric (like your average military uniform).

Combat shirts are always my go-to choice when choosing what to wear under a plate carrier, even in cold weather conditions. While working in colder conditions I usually wear a warm thermal base layer under it.

Other options

Well, obviously a combat shirt isn’t the only option here (while in my own opinion it’s probably the best option out there) there are a few others that you could choose from.

  • A t-shirt – A t-shirt is always a good option, especially in hot weather conditions. Look for one that is made from a breathable fabric like nylon or polyester. And if you are going to be in really hot conditions, consider getting one that is moisture-wicking. The biggest downside probably is that it offers very little protection for your arms from the elements like branches and thorns. So depending on where you are working, you might get some scrapes or cuts.
  • Long-sleeved fitness/sporting shirts –  These types of shirts are designed to be worn during strenuous activity and thus are usually made from quick-drying, breathable fabrics. They will often have thumb holes or some other type of closure at the wrist to help keep the sleeves in place. While they do offer more protection for your arms than a t-shirt, they still might not be enough as they aren’t really designed for tough conditions.
  • Jacket – You might need to wear a jacket to stay warm or to help protect yourself from the elements. If you do choose to wear a jacket, make sure that it is not too bulky as you still need to be able to move and react quickly. A light windbreaker or softshell jacket is usually a good choice. I personally try to avoid a jacket-body armor combo whenever I’m in doing field work as it gets very uncomfortable really quickly.
  • Fleece – Now a good fleece might be a better option than a jacket in cold weather conditions. They are usually lightweight and can be easily layered under a plate carrier.

Best shirts to wear under body armor

Now that we’ve gone over some of the options, let’s take a look at what we think are the best shirts to wear under body armor or plate carriers. So without further ado, here are our top 5 best shirts to wear:

1. Crye G3 Combat Shirt

The Crye G3 is one of the most popular combat shirts on the market. It’s comfortable, well-made, and designed specifically for use under body armor. The shirt is made from a moisture-wicking fabric that helps keep you cool and dry. The sleeves are reinforced, and the shirt has a slightly longer cut that helps it stay tucked in.

2. 5.11 STRYKE® TDU® RAPID MULTICAM® long sleeve shirt

The 5.11 STRYKE TDU is another great option for a combat shirt. It’s made from a lightweight, breathable fabric that helps keep you cool and dry. It offers great maneuverability, durability, and comfort. The shirt also features reinforced elbows and shoulders with a Teflon® finish for stain and soil resistance. 


3. DRIFIRE / Crye Precision FR Combat Shirt

The DRIFIRE / Crye Precision FR Combat Shirt is the perfect shirt for those who are looking for a durable, comfortable, and breathable shirt to wear in the most demanding environments. It’s a bit on the expensive side , but it’s worth every penny.

4. Vertx Recon Combat Shirt

The Vertx Recon Combat Shirt is a great option for those looking for a comfortable and breathable shirt to wear under their body armor that doesn’t cost a fortune. This shirt is made from a lightweight and stretchy material that helps to wick away sweat and keep you cool.

5. UA Tactical Combat Shirt 2.0

The UA tactical combat shirt 2.0 is a great shirt to wear under body armor. Its super-soft, cotton-blend body & underarm fabric provides all-day comfort. It also features rip-stop woven panels on its sleeves. It’s also the cheapest option on the list.

All-In-All

When choosing what to wear under a bulletproof vest, plate carrier, tactical vest, or well any kind of body armor, it is important to consider the climate and environment in which you will be operating.

In hot climates, lighter fabrics that breathe well are essential for preventing heat exhaustion. In cold weather, layers of thermal clothing can help to maintain body temperature.

I highly recommend a combat shirt as they are specifically designed to be worn under body armor and offer a good balance of protection and comfort. But ultimately, the best clothing to wear under a plate carrier is the clothing that will work best for you and the conditions in which you’ll be operating.

John-Caspar Jaanus

Written by John-Caspar

John-Caspar Jaanus is an Estonian military, tactical gear, and survival expert and author. He has an extensive military background and has been involved with the Estonian defense structure for over 10 years. Read bio!

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