Dexter Meadows Spec-Ops Clip-on Kneepads
Comfortable and stable
FRANK BORELLI Equipment Reviewer
Borelli Consulting / Officer.com
January 25th, 2006

 
   
  Lt. Frank Borelli is the Training Commander for the Fairmount Heights Police Department (in Maryland on the border of Washington DC) and has been an instructor since 1989. Pulling on his six-year military background and twenty-year police background, Lt. Borelli regularly writes equipment evaluations and incorporates new technologies into his training programs as practical. Currently Lt. Borelli teaches use of force programs at all levels of law enforcement and corrections.

Okay, so we all know the jokes about "putting on the kneepads," but the reality is that, under circumstances, we'd better put them on or risk doing crippling damage to our knees. As much as soldiers and law enforcement professionals run, jump, walk, etc, our knees take quite a beating. It doesn't help when we're crawling along with a ruck, weapon, water, etc and all that weight is on our hands and knees. To protect our knees we've all worn kneepads in the past. Some are hard-shell pads held on with Velcro bands which can be quite restrictive, binding and uncomfortable. Some are made of thick neoprene and held on with elasticized Velcro bands. I find these a little more comfortable, but less protective against puncture and laceration. Now comes an answer that should have us all smacking ourselves in the forehead and asking, "Why didn't I think of that?" Because a guy named Dexter Meadows did.

Now when you get an email from a guy saying, "I want you to check out my kneepads," there just is a weird feeling about it. You want me to do what? All right then... but he was quite serious and is very serious about the design he's put together for this necessary protective gear. Dexter's Spec Ops All Purpose Clip-on Kneepads have proven highly efficient in comfort and performance.

Now I've had experience as indicated above with both hard shell kneepads and neoprene soft kneepads. Let's be realistic, all joking aside, there are people in lots of professions who wear kneepads. Those professions include carpenters, carpet-layers, brick masons, concrete workers, and of course soldiers and law enforcement professionals. And, while it's certainly better than having unprotected knees, kneepads in general are just damned uncomfortable if you have to wear them for very long. What, then, is "very long?" I guess that varies with each different person, and we humans can get used to just about anything. However, I've never been happy wearing kneepads for more than a couple of hours at least not the conventional kind. Sure, neoprene is more comfortable than hard shell, mostly (to me) because the straps are softer and irritate the back of my leg less. That specific irritation does not exist with Dexter's Clip-on Kneepad design.

The other issue I have with kneepads is getting them to stay where I want them. It's easy to get them center on your knee and held in place during relatively relaxed activity. But once you start running or crawling they tend to move around. Additionally, unless you're the kind of guy who has muscular calves (and some of us just don't) then the kneepads tend to gravitate down your leg and eventually become ugly ankle pads that do nothing for you but continue to aggravate you just the same. Again, thanks to Dexter's clip-on design, the kneepads stay right where you put them unless your pants start to fall down.

So, just how exactly do these things work? On each side of the kneepad are two clips - one at the top and one at the bottom. These clips remind me of the clips on suspenders, but a lot beefier and stronger. Each clip is mounted on a one-inch wide heavy-duty nylon strap that Velcros across the front of the kneepad and is adjustable about five-inches. Break that in half and you can adjust the clips about 2.5" on either side. To secure the kneepad onto your pants leg, you

  1. Loosen the nylon strap;
  2. Gather the pants leg material at one side of your knee (doing the right amount does take practice, but after two or three tries you get it right);
  3. Clip on the kneepad on that side, top and bottom;
  4. Repeat the process on the other side;
  5. Check that you've got the kneepad where you want it on your leg vertically;
  6. Adjust the top and bottom velcro straps to snug the kneepad in against your knee;
  7. Double check that you haven't made it so tight that you can't comfortably bend your knee;
  8. Pull the thick rubber locking band over the clips so they can't come loose.

All done. It's much faster to do than to write and about as fast as reading it. Now, are they really that comfortable? Well, from a guy who has already said that he doesn't like kneepads for more than a couple of hours not even the nice soft neoprene ones I put on a pair of Dexter's Clip-ons and wore them for almost nine hours doing yard work. I did everything from pulling out weeds in a garden to moving flagstone around in a gravel walkway to patching the seal around a skylight on my roof. The kneepads were so comfortable - once properly adjusted - that I didn't even take them off for lunch. To do the work while testing the kneepads I intentionally wore BDUs (old style woodland camo) and boots. Now for something just a tad more in line with what most of you readers do...

I was working with a police department giving a class on building searches. After we got through the basic stuff of team size, equipment needs, basic movement, responsibilities, etc., we got into the "what ifs" of basements, attics, and crawlspaces. I put on the clip-on kneepads at the beginning of the class and wore them for the full eight-hour day. AND I wore them all the second eight-hour day. I noticed that others wearing strap-on kneepads were constantly adjusting, loosening, tightening, etc. I never touched mine once they were adjusted and in place. Virtually ever other officer took their kneepads off for lunch but I comfortably left mine on. At one point in a crawlspace we had to go over some broken glass. One of the officers with me was moving very carefully because he had on neoprene kneepads and was worried about cutting them or himself through them. Dexter's kneepads, while hard shell, are also more flexible than the average hard shell and conform to the shape of your knee as you adjust them to your particular fit.

Now, all that said, I'll probably keep my neoprene kneepads around. I like them a lot and can visualize circumstances where I'll need the comfort they offer without necessarily the protection of the hard shell pads. By the same token, if you're a combat troop or a cop going into an unknown situation, I'd say these hard shell clip-ons are the most comfortable kneepads I've ever worn.

At $29.95 these kneepads are a heck of a deal and you can get them direct from Dexter Meadows' website. My only challenge to Dexter now is... elbow pads?

Be safe!



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