Monday, April 20, 2009

DriFire flame resistant Shirt & leggings

In todays theater of war the warfighter has chosen new, advanced clothing technologies to stay comfortable and protected. For several years it was hard to be able to choose an undergarment that would provide both comfort and protection. The issue shirts when I was in the Marine Corps were Cotton or Polycotton shirts. The cotton shirts become wet with sweat and can become uncomfortable. In cold environments cottom absorbs the sweat and retains it in the fibers and will bring core body temperature down. Dry time on cotton shirts is very long.

In recent years certain brands of clothing have come out with undergarments that are specifically designed for use in hot and cold environments. These garments wick moisture away from the body and that moisture evaporates quickly. This keeps you cool and comfortable in the summer and warm in the winter. The main problem with there clothes is that it's main material is polyester. When you're in a combat environment where there could be flash fires or you could be in a vehicle that has been hit with an IED polyester material is not your friend. It melts, drips, and shrinks to your body and is very difficult and painful to get off once in surgical care.

One company that has stepped up to the plate is DriFire Performance Wear. They make some good undergarments for those that require flame resistance and moisture managament in one piece of clothing.

The Drirelease (comprised of lyocell) material that DriFire uses wicks moisture away from the skin and spreads it throughout the garment to speed up evaporation.

For flame resistance drifire uses modacrylic fabric. This fabric is flame resistant on it's own, without having to add a flame resistant treatment to it. Flame resistant treatments will wear and wash out, but the modacrylic material will never lose it's flame resistance and this material is also moisture wicking. The garments made with this material have no-drip and no-melt properties and have no after-flame. Meaning they won't just sit and burn like other materials.

I conducted some tests for flame resistance on some test samples. First I just tried to burn it with a lighter. The material wouldn't burn and took several seconds to show any damage. The damage was just some black charing. I then took a flamable propellant to spray a nice flame on the material and the propellant burned but once it burnt up the DriFire material had some small charing but for the most part wasn't damaged at all. The same tests with 100% cotton and underarmour heat-gear material were very different. The cotton burned and did not self-extinguish. The underarmor went up in flames and also melted. I am very impressed with the flame resistant properties of the DriFir.

I have been wearing the DriFire Silk Weight T-shirts while on duty and I can say that they are some of the best moisture wicking shirts I've used. One thing I noticed too is that the material is very durable. It's a very tough material that's not likely to wear out quick or rip easily. Comfort is great, especially the flat seams. I don't get any "hot spots" under my duty gear due to thick seams rubbing and digging in. Also, these shirts do not retain body odor as much as other shirts I've tried.

I've also been wearing the silk weight long pants in the winter months. They've proven to be some quality gear as well. They add warmth without too much extra bulk, yet, when inside I wasn't overheating.

Overall I highly recommend wearing a flame resistant undergarment while on duty, be it law enforcement, military, or security. DriFire products have so far proven their worth to me.

Coyote Brown
Desert sand
Marine Corps OD
Natural White
Navy Blue

Silk Weight Short Sleeve T-Shirt - $46.00
Silk Weight Long Pants - $56.00

Update (June 2010):
I am still wearing these shirts while on duty, and the only improvement I can see that should be made is that the shirts should be longer to keep them tucked in better. Other than that, still going strong and performing well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Flame resistant clothes are pretty interesting. I want to get some of these for my boys for when they go camping. I have heard enough stories from my husbands camping days that I really don't want to take the risk that they will be just like their father. This video was really interesting to watch.