Plate Carrier vs Chest Rigs: Which One Should You Use?

The plate carrier vs chest rig comparison is tricky because while the terms are used interchangeably most of the time, they’re two different pieces of equipment. 


But what makes them different? Don’t worry, we’ve got your six. In this article, we’ll talk about what they do so you can pick out the one best suited for your needs, and even how you can make your equipment stand out. 

Chest Rig vs Plate Carrier: What’s The Difference?

So, now we know that a chest rig and plate carrier aren’t the same thing, but what makes them different?

What Is a Plate Carrier?

An easy way to remember what plate carriers are used for is by just looking at the name: they hold armor plates for your protection.


These carriers are often made from nylon or other synthetic materials, so the plate carrier itself doesn’t provide any protection, which is kind of important to know! Plate carriers are designed to hold level III, IIIA, and level IV hard armor plates to make sure your vital organs are protected as effectively as possible.


Another sweet thing about plate carriers is that you can place your favorite custom patches on them.

What Is a Chest Rig?

A chest rig is—at its core—load-bearing equipment. These rigs usually come with chest and shoulder straps, pouches, and MOLLE (Modular Light-Weight Load-Bearing Equipment) webbing so that you can attach a variety of gear.


Chest rigs are highly customizable in terms of where you place your gear so that it’s easy for you to find important equipment like trauma kits and magazines in seconds. Like plate carriers, you can outfit them with patches for a personalized look and feel. 

Can You Attach a Chest Rig To a Plate Carrier?

Yep! While these are two different types of equipment, the neat thing is you can use them together. A lot of people choose to wear a chest rig on their plate carrier so they can add attachments like trauma kits and magazine pouches to their person. 


You just have to make sure that you find a plate carrier that can accommodate all your gear and still leave room for one of the best parts of a plate carrier—customization. 

Plate Carrier vs Chest Rig: Which One Is Best For You?

Before you start picking out patches for your piece of equipment, make sure you know which one is best for your profession. 


If you’re in the line of duty and need more protection, you should consider prioritizing a plate carrier so that you are properly armored for intense and high-risk situations. This option is best for police officers and soldiers. Of course, you can still combine the two as we’ve mentioned, it’s just up to how much equipment you think you’ll need and how much weight you can carry.


If you’re an EMT and need to carry around more medical equipment, you should opt for a chest rig. Additionally, military personnel in support roles can also benefit from a chest rig. Just like we mentioned before, you can wear both if your equipment calls for it.

How To Make Your Plate Carrier Stand Out

Now, on to the fun part. 


Uniformity is important, and in most cases required, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your plate carriers and chest rigs stand out. We mentioned that you can put patches on them, so why not check out some of the best customization options available?

First, Does Your Carrier or Plate Have Enough Room?

If you have a lot of equipment to carry, you may be limited in the space you have available for sick patches. If that’s the case, Tactical Gear Junkie has you covered with this MOLLE Patch Panel.


This patch panel can be attached to any MOLLE-compatible gear that doesn’t have a loop panel and comes in three colors: Black, Coyote Brown, and Olive Drab. 

Represent With American Flag Patches

We’ll start with the most important patch of them all: The Flag.


We have tons of different American flag designs so even though you’re unified with others in showing your love for this country, you can still stand out. If you want something that showcases more of an action look, check out our USA Waving Flag patch.


If you’re a fan of a more traditional look, we have your standard rectangle designs in different colors. Favorites include the Multicam Black w/ Olive Drab patch and our Reflective Printed patches.

Stock Up On Military Patches

There’s no better way to boost morale while serving your country than with custom military patches.


Start every day with the motivation you need to get the job done with this awesome Lace Up Combat Boot patch. This patch will look killer on your plate carrier or chest rig and remind you that you’re doing our country proud every time you lace up your boots.


We’re also proud to offer extremely durable, versatile, and fully customizable CORDURA Patches that provide the visibility and identification you’ll require for any situation. The best thing about these patches is that they come in both reflective and non-reflective text colors.


Going back to morale-boosting, we have Mini Morale patch packs that’ll give you a good bang for your buck. These are great for filling small spaces on your gear.

Medics Need Love, Too

We have a ton of patch options to choose from for our chest-rig-wearing friends in the medical field.


The EMT Caduceus Star of Life USA Flag patch is the perfect patch to kickstart your collection and serve as a reminder of what you mean to your community and this country. 


It’s not an easy job doing what you do, so we created this EMS So Others May Live patch to spread the word about the heroic duty our medical professionals spread both at home and overseas.


Whether you’re dawning a plate carrier or chest rig, Tactical Gear Junkie has the best custom patches that can help make this vital piece of equipment your own. Check out our collections today!

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