Chest Rig Review: Spiritus Systems – The Thing 2

Micro chest rigs… They’re kinda small, like really small.

In many cases, a micro chest rig is simply slapped onto the front of a plate carrier and acts as very expensive ammo pouch.

But what about those of us who still want to run a micro chest rig but also have a requirement for comms, medical and supplemental gear? We’re left with the fundamental question of where to put it!

Wing pouches are still an option, as are hanger/dangler pouches. But what about scaling up your micro rig to provide a more comprehensive carriage option? Well, for that… You need a “Thing”.

The SACK, a fantastic option for expanding a micro chest rig’s carriage ability.

A “Thing” or more precisely “The Thing” is a panel that allows for a modular expansion of a micro rig, eloquently named “The Thing” because the far more logical name of “chassis” was already in use by Spiritus for their central chest rig component.

What this “Thing” allows you to do, is mount your Micro Fight Chassis (reviewed here) to the front of a semi-rigid woven polypropylene laminate sheet that’s pre-cut with MOLLE, allowing the use of additional pouches and/or it’s own inbuilt storage.

But wait, there’s actually two “Things” on the market;

The Thing 1 is a specialised chassis, designed to carry a pair of PRC148/152 sized radios. A pair of radio pouches are built into the main backing section and effectively provide a light but non-modular option for those who are cool enough to need two radios but don’t fancy wearing a plate carrier.

The Thing 1 – Image from Spiritus’ website.

The Thing 2 is a little bit more modular, with a pair of molle compatible panels flank the central section, each offering a 3 x 3 MOLLE grid for the attachment of suitable pouches or equipment. You’d think that the radio pouches might be missed, but they’re still within the design, just tucked behind the MOLLE grids.

The most interesting thing about The Thing 2 by far, is it’s semi-rigid woven polypropylene laminate. Known by many through the branded product, Tegris, this material is rather unique in its properties.

Tegris is the tactical gear world’s new material of interest, from AXL’s adaptors and widgets to Ferro’s Bison Belt and ADAPT system, we’re seeing Tegris (and it’s non-brand alternatives) pop up in a hell of a lot of current generation tactical gear.

Tegris is a novel material… It’s woven in a manner similar to carbon fibre, but it’s far more flexible. It’s best suited to applications where carbon fibre may be too brittle and Kydex might not be flexible enough. It’s used for all sorts of products; luggage, sports armour and NASCAR bodywork to anti-spalling protection and garden furniture.

Tegris boasts 70% of the strength of carbon fibre, is one tenth of the cost to produce and it’s fully recyclable. Quite amazing really.

The Spiritus Systems Thing 2 doesn’t use branded Tegris as far as I’m aware, so how much of this carries across? Well, I’m not entirely sure. But much like Velcro and Hoover, “Tegris” appears to have become the umbrella term for any material of this type, and as such… It’s probably rather similar.

This Tegris-like material is paired with a 1000d laminate, providing a slightly softer and more comfortable backing section for the rig. This laminate is laser cut to create a pair of Magazine/Radio pouches on the rear of The Thing, one each side of the central section.

You can hold a pair of 30 round 5.55 magazines or a PRC148/152 style radio in either of the pouches, and there’s a shock-cord complete with cord-lock and pull tab to assist in securing your equipment if needed. Getting two PMAGs in each side is a little bit tight though, and certainly not quick to access for a speed reload.

The rear of the Thing 2, showing the dangler pocket and the integrated “wing” pouches.

The central section or The Thing 2 is simply a large loop field that’s sized perfectly to hold a Spiritus Mk4 Chassis to it’s front. I’ve put a Haley Strategic D3CR in place of the Spiritus Micro Fight, and whilst it works okay, it’s a little too big to be a perfect fit in my opinion (although not enough to put me off using it in the future).

The Thing 2 with an attached Nalgene, SACK and Small GP Pouch, the black loop field left bare.

A clever design element within The Thing 2 allows it to isolate any movement from the velcro adjoining your micro rig by running both shoulder straps though a thin section of laminate on the upper portion of the front. This might not sound like a big deal, but try using this chassis without threading the straps through and you’ll see how much of a difference this simple little addition makes.

The small laminate strip allows both the rig strap and comms cabling to be fed through and retained.

Each side of The Thing 2 is home to a pair of ITW Nexus buckles, these are independently held on their own section of Tegris via a rotating eyelet. They’re able to find their own natural position without affecting wearer comfort, although they’re rigid enough to not move of their own free will. When not under load, the buckles can rattle a little, but once the rig is adjusted to the wearer, the noise disappears.

On the rear, a hook and loop pocket allows the direct attachment of either a Lunchbox or SACK hanger/dangler pouch. You might be forgiven for thinking this pocket is superfluous, certainly given that there’s already ample loop on the front to mount a dangler.

As far as available colours goes, the Thing 2 is available in Black or Coyote only. I chose black as it’s the most suitable for use with my Ranger Green chest rigs, and to be fair, unless you’re using Multicam exclusively, it’s probably the best choice for most people.

Spiritus purposefully kept the colour options limited, The Thing 2 should in most cases be covered by your main chest rig and other pouches you’ve chosen to add.

In use, The Thing 2 is deceptively comfortable. it gives the appearance of having hard (sometimes sharp) edges, but the ergonomic design means that these rarely come into contact with your body. I’ve worn this Chest Rig with nothing but a T-Shirt and it’s not created any hot spots, wear or chafing. I would say that in the wrong circumstances, you could end up with a nasty cut if you don’t treat the edge of the Tegris with respect, but so far I’ve not managed to cut myself.

The fully loaded Thing 2, making a Micro Rig into a Macro Rig.

Adding The Thing 2 to my Spiritus Micro Fight set up has given me the option of running my micro rig with supplemental pouches of my choosing.

The pouches I’m currently using are Spiritus’ Nalgene pouch, the Spiritus SACK and Spiritus’ Small GP Pouch. this gives me the capacity to run 4 x 5.56 mags, a radio, a pair of pistol mags, a pair of frag grenades, a small med kit, a pair of 40mm Grenades, navigation gear and also a 32oz Nalgene full of water.

It’s a staggering amount of kit, and quite frankly it’s at the very edge of this particular rig’s raison d’être… You can easily run the risk of stepping outside a bit of gear’s performance envelope, I’d urge caution at those that see this as the best way to carry as much as possible within a chest rig format… There’s a whole world of patrol rigs out there, some are far better at heavy haulage than this.

But for a scalable option and adding a little bit more kit to a micro chest rig’s modest capacity, The Thing 2 offers a great deal of versatility and expands upon the Micro Fight Chassis’ rather limited carriage ability.

Are there any real negatives? Well… the one that most people will be waiting to hear about is the apparent issue of tegris-like products glowing under IR light. So one of the final tests for me was to have a look with my own eyes.

As you can see, the Tegris barely registers under IR. However, the laminate does appear to reflect a lot more than you’d expect from front line gear. Should this worry you?… Probably not. It’ll be covered in pouches anyway, so it’s IR reflective ability is somewhat of a moot point.

Can I see room for improvement in future designs? Well I’d like to see the potential to add a navigation panel or similar to above the main section, it’s really the last area open to expansion on this format of load carriage. Another possible addition or change I’d be interested to see would be the incorporation of a map/document pocket on the rear of the pouch, something that older chest rigs used to excel at.

Overall, the Spiritus Systems Thing 2 is a well engineered solution to the problem of “Where the fuck do I put my med kit and radio?”, but one that only works to it’s potential as part of a scaling system for those who already use a micro chest rig.

The Thing 2 is something that I’ll continue to use regularly, and with the upcoming release of the JSTA pouch I’ll likely end up swapping the Nalgene pouch out to see how the JSTA fares in it’s place.

One things for sure, Spiritus are looking at ways to adapt their Micro Fight system to give it fighting chance against other, bigger rigs. But will they continue to add to the Micro Fight Ecosystem, or look towards a whole new design in the future? I eagerly look forward to seeing what the future holds for this exciting system.

The Thing 1 and 2 are both available in the U.K. from Tactical Kit who also have the rest of the Spiritus Systems lineup, as well as being the sole European distributor for Spiritus Systems.

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