Something "most" civilians will never know is how it feels to wear heavy, constricting, non-breathable body armor all day long. Police officers and certain other first responders whom are required to wear body armor every day are forced to deal with the pain, discomfort and side-effects associated with that....until now.
Suresh Madhavan, a medical-student-turned-police-officer was on the job for 10 years when one day he realized he had enough of the suffering and decided to do something about it. Suresh also noticed he wasn't suffering alone while wearing body armor. All of his co-workers complained about the heat, moisture, constriction and discomfort associated with wearing their body armor. In fact, it wasn't until Suresh himself broke out with a rash along his ribs and abdomen that he realized that THOUSANDS of officers suffer from body-armor-related rashes and skin ailments every year....even some within his own department. Despite wearing Under Armor and other "moisture wicking" shirts, officers were STILL experiencing these ill effects.
Putting his background in bio-chemistry to work, Suresh hit the books and the lab to discover what was causing this wide-spread pain and suffering. Body armor cooling and body armor ventilation was the key. What he would soon discover needed to be done was rather elementary....create a space between the undershirt and the body armor so that the skin could breathe. That sounded simple in theory but proved not so simple when it came to development. Thus, Suresh enlisted the help of a former class-mate (now business partner, Brad Pedell) to help him design and invent an entirely new product to help take care of this concern.
"Since a product like this didn't exist, we felt we essentially had to invent a completely new material and product" said Madhavan. "We tried and failed.....a lot. Brad's expertise was in fabrics and Brad's business partner, Shawn, was well-versed in world-wide product sourcing. Together, after much trial and error, they ultimately invented The Maxx-Dri Vest!
The Maxx-Dri Vest is a revolutionary product for body armor ventilation. The patented air-mesh from which the Maxx-Dri Vest is constructed provides 360 degree spacial separation of the body armor vest from the wearer. The mesh was designed never to collapse under distributed weight. It doesn't absorb or retain moisture, is anti-microbial and anti-fungal. This much needed separation between undershirt and body armor helps prevent the infamous body armor odor and "body armor stink". Nobody likes stinky body armor or body armor smell masked poorly with febreeze.
The Maxx-Dri Vest is machine washable (doesn't even go in the dryer....it's a "hang-dry" item) and incorporates anti-gravity properties. This actually makes wearing body armor more comfortable by shifting its weight solely off the shoulders and more evenly distributing it across the entire torso. This makes the body armor actually FEEL lighter on your body. "It takes you from feeling like you're wearing something to feeling like the vest is actually part of you" said Madhavan. So, in addition to feeling cooler and drier while wearing their body armor some officers even declared that certain back and neck pains have disappeared altogether since wearing a Maxx-Dri Vest. These benefits are in addition to the desired cooling and ventilation they were seeking.
At the time of this writing Madhavan's company, 221B Tactical (www.221btactical.com) has sold nearly 40,000 Maxx-Dri Vests world-wide. Officers in all 50 states and 19 different countries are now enjoying the ultimate in body armor ventilation, body armor breathability and body armor cooling thanks to the Maxx-Dri Vest. In fact, seeing the response to the product has triggered police agencies across the U.S. and Canada to start ordering Maxx-Dri Vests for all their officers. The Police Chief of one city in particular said, "if it's gonna help keep my guys more comfortable and more focused while on the job, it's gonna really keep them safer. That made it a no-brainer for me."
Madhavan also has hundreds of testimonials from officers who once suffered from debilitating skin infections caused by body armor reporting they now have 100% clear skin. "I've literally had officers say it has saved their lives", says Madhavan. And he has the emails to prove it.
Weighing in at just a few ounces, the Maxx-Dri Vest is truly an amazing thing to hold. It's almost uncanny that someone didn't think of this earlier. Madhavan says, "People have tried in the past but it just didn't work out. I tried everything....trust me. I tried the shirt with the ribs in it. I tried the pieces of corrugated rubber. I tried something with an air pump. I tried it all....as did my friends. Nothing worked. Those either did almost nothing at all or, in some cases, made us feel worse."
Madhavan stated that The Maxx-Dri Vest was designed to be worn year-round. "We have tons of officers who work in cooler/colder climates who love wearing their Maxx-Dri Vests because they actually help keep them warmer while out in the elements." But how could this be? Suresh explained it to us and it made perfect sense.... "I recognized that no matter when you're wearing body armor, you're going to perspire....even in the winter. It occurs naturally. During the summer (warmer months) The Maxx-Dri Vest allows moisture (sweat) to evaporate as it's wicked away from your body by those expensive moisture-wicking shirts so you stay cooler and drier. However, in the winter months, you STILL want that built-up moisture to be wicked away because it's THAT moisture which makes you feel cold when stepping out of the car or coming out of the building. And that's how The Maxx-Dri Vest is actually helping officers keep warmer in the bitter cold months."
So when it comes to body armor ventilation, the patented Maxx-Dri Vest is the only product of its kind that takes care of those who wear body armor all year round. Keeping you drier, cooler and less stinky (we all know that body armor odor and stink...) in the warmer months and drier and warmer in the cold weather, The Maxx-Dri Vest is the best and only solution for body armor ventilation and year-round comfort for those wearing body armor on the job.
Madhavan says that he is currently completing development of a mil-spec version of The Maxx-Dri Vest for the U.S. Military and armed forces. "A bunch of them are already using The Maxx-Dri Vest overseas so we figured we'd create something to take care of their unique concerns and situations" said Madhavan. "It's been a fun project as well as an honor."
As told to Alex Hines.