Arc’teryx Military Knee Caps are the best kneepads you can buy.
The only question is, how much are you willing to spend on the best kneepads available?
Gear review and discussion after the break.
Vancouver-based Arc’teryx has been pretty popular around the military/law enforcement community lately, so it’s no surprise that their kneepads (which, according to their website, were originally designed for snowboarding, rock climbing, and other extreme sports) found their way into the loadouts of military personnel and such popular personalities as Mr. Travis “Overhoppers Hero” Haley:
(above: Travis Haley demonstrating the popular “Get Caught While Eating a Sandwich at a Picnic” tactical stance)
As with all Arc’teryx gear, the knee caps are well designed and build quality is top notch, which is important for gear such as kneepads which will see heavy use. The buckle system uses Arc’teryx’s proprietary clip system, which does a great job at keeping the pad in place – provided you wrap the excess cord around the strap, which is something you should be doing with your kneepads anyway. Once the pad is on, it stays on, and doesn’t suffer from the gradual loosening and sliding down your shin like other, cheaper kneepads tend to do. I have a pair of Alta kneepads and while they do an okay job, they do tend to slide out of place fairly easily and I occasionally have to give them a tug to put them back in place.
The pads are extremely comfortable to kneel on, with padding that is just soft enough to be comfortable. The anatomical design of the pad allows for it to bend along with your knee, unlike traditional kneepads which are essentially a flat slab of foam and plastic strapped to your knee.
The other major selling point for these things is how low-profile they are. They don’t have any access material or padding, and present a very slim, lightweight profile. You’ll barely notice that you’re wearing them, until you take a knee and thank your previous self for making such an investment.
And that’s just what these kneepads are – an investment. Both DS Tactical and the official Arc’teryx website have these priced at $70 CAD plus taxes and/or shipping, which is obviously quite the premium to pay for kneepads – especially when there are cheaper alternatives (like these at Airsoft Gear) which, while obviously not in the same league as the Arc’teryx, will be sufficient for a day of running around in the woods.
I actually came across my own pair of these via a buddy who traded them to me in exchange for some miscellaneous PTW parts. Would I buy them myself for full price? Probably, but there are a lot of cool new toys competing for my airsoft dollars and kneepads aren’t on the top of that list. However, my creed with airsoft has always been buy quality, buy once – that is something that certainly applies to these kneepads.
Are they worth it for you? That’s up to you (and your wallet) to decide.