A Quick Guide to Maintaining Police Outer Carriers

A Quick Guide to Maintaining Police Outer Carriers

Feb 7th 2023

There are several reasons why a police officer should use an outer carrier. They can provide more support, give more room to store equipment, and when worn in combination with ballistic panels - can even stop a bullet. That last reason should be enough to ensure you wear an outer carrier while on the job.

Whether you buy a law enforcement outer carrier on your own or use one your precinct provides, you’ll need to know how to take care of it. This guide will cover what you need to know to maintain your police outer carrier properly. That way, you can ensure that it stays in excellent condition for years to come.

Keep It Flexible

Since outer carrier vests support users and protect them from gunfire, the ballistic panels can feel stiff. Modern vests use more plastics nowadays which allow for a thinner, lighter panel for protection. While this is something you’ll get used to, that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make it a little more comfortable. When using a brand-new vest you might need to break it in a bit.

This involves rolling it in all directions to soften up the internal ballistics making it more pliable and ultimately more comfortable to wear.

Spot-Clean Your Carrier

Since many outer carrier vests use materials such as Kevlar to protect against bullets, you’ll need to spot-clean this piece of equipment rather than run it through the washer. Oversaturating with water may compromise the ballistic panels inside the cover so you want to make sure these are cleaned properly. Once your shift ends, it is recommended that you remove your body armor panels from the carrier and wipe down with mild soap and water OR a Lysol disinfecting wipe. Using warm water or hot water to clean the carrier can cause material to shrink while possibly changing the fit / appearance.

Fortunately, manufacturers typically put Kevlar in a waterproof sleeve, but these can rip open occasionally. If this was to happen, we strongly suggest reaching out to your body armor company to have the ballistic panels re-covered. Always be sure to read the manufacturer’s specific cleaning instructions. They’re usually printed on the tag of the vest, but you can find them online if needed.

Leave It Out To Dry

No matter how you clean your vest, the next thing you’ll need to do is leave it out to air dry. Other methods, like the dryer or dry cleaning, use intense heat to dry out clothes faster. This heat can ruin your vest and is NOT recommended. Instead, you should either lay it flat on a table or hang it up to dry. These methods will take more time but will help your outer carrier last much longer.

Create a Routine

Finally, our last suggestion for maintaining your police outer carrier is to create a cleaning routine. Even though spot cleaning and leaving your vest out to dry aren’t too time-consuming, officers may get out of the habit of doing so over time. If you create a regular cleaning schedule, you’ll help ensure your vest’s longevity and cleanliness, which will benefit you and anyone else who uses it.