FROG DOG MKT Vest v3.0

Back ground:

About a year ago, we had an opportunity to check out a pre-production version of the Frog Dog Modular Patrol Harness (v2.0), from the folks at Cerberus K9 Solutions Inc. (formerly Sirius Expedition Gear) which we did a write-up on here.

This product has been in beta testing for the last 4+ years with various ‘qualified professionals’ in the field conducting T&E and providing their feedback and suggestions.  Cerberus K9 Solutions Inc.(CKSI) has taken input they have received from these SME’s and has finally released their long awaited Frog Dog vest which officially become available for pre order just over 3 weeks ago.

The overall design of the v3.0 remains mostly unchanged from the pre-production model we did the original write-up on, however Cerberus K9 Solutions Inc. has made a several improvements that I feel are worth mentioning. I won’t go into detail about the all features and design aspects that are carried over from the v2.0 but I will highlight some of the changes and improvements on this most recent version.

Key changes from the previous versions:

-4 Side cinch straps and the integrated collar now use of Type 8 43mm MILSPEC resin-treated Nylon webbing similar to that used in safety harnesses and Austialpin Cobra buckles.
-2 leash loop points – The 4 previously nylon leash/rappel  loops have been switched out in favor of 2 forged steel D-rings (similar to those found on riggers belts) which is a bit of trade off  in favor of strength and durability over weight and noise. These D rings add an additional 4oz (120g) to the overall weight of the vest. There is now also an added elastic keeper to keep this D-rings tucked in when not in use which will invariably help with noise reduction and prevent accidental snagging.
-Side Velcro loop panels for attaching ID tags – these 3′ x 7.5″ panels have been made significantly wider and slightly longer than 2″ x 7″ loop panels on the previous versions to accommodate a wider range of ID tag and patch sizes.
-Autrialpin Cobra buckles – The QRP Buckles used on previous versions have now been replaced by extra-large Austrialpin Quick Release adjustable Cobra Buckles which are rated for a 2,000lbs(900kg)  load capacity. While these buckles are almost twice the weight of the QRP buckles the added peace of mind one gets from the proven Cobra buckles are, in my opinion, well worth it. (For those wanting a lighter weight option, however CKSI also offers the option of para-triglide buckles.)
-Chest Strap – the chest strap has undergone a complete overhaul; instead of a 45mm webbing strap running vertically across the dog’s chest there is now a “Y” shaped breast panel made of foam cell wrapped in nylon mesh with a nylon backer and a para tri-glide buckle for adjustment. This design allows the majority of any forward pressure to be spread across the dogs shoulders and over a wider area. This also makes this vest suitable as a vehicle restraint when attached to a seatbelt clip.
-YKK #10 Zippers – on previous versions of the vest, the side zips had a tendency of opening slightly at the front once the dog got moving, to prevent this, CKSI has added a Velcro zipper stay at each side, just behind the collar.

Technical Specs:

  • 1000D PU coated  Nylon fabric
  • Reinforced  stress points using Coats thread in a 4 point + box stitch and bar tack pattern
  • Side cinch straps constructed from 43mm MILSPEC Type 8 Nylon Webbing (tensile strength 4,000lbs (1814kg)
  • Extra large Austrialpin Cobra Buckles
  • Steel triglide buckle
  • Steel D-Rings
  • Weight 1.54kg (54.4oz)

Optional attachments:

  • MOLLE top panel with GoPro attachment loop
  • TSE Recon Camera Panel
  • Girth extender panels
  • Rear end security strap
  • Shoulder Straps

Accessories: A few changes have been made to several of the accessories as well, namely to the shoulder straps, MOLLE panel and the TSE K9 Camera adapter panel. The MOLLE panel, where the GoPro attachment loop is has now been made ‘stiffer’ through an addition of an HPE backer which is designed to mitigate excessive camera wobble. The GP Pouch on TSE K9 camera adapter has been made quite a bit smaller than on the previous versions. I personally preferred the larger version on this pouch which gave more load bearing options to those who decided to use this for carrying anything other than the TSE K9 Camera. Possibly the most significant improvement however, is found on the shoulder straps which now offer an adjustable design that also features a quick-detach feature.

Summary and Conclusion:

The Frog Dog vests’ modularity makes it adaptable for Law Enforcement, Military and SAR applications and some smaller agencies will also appreciate the fact that one vest can be fitted to multiple dogs with a simple add-on minimizing the need to purchase multiple vests.  Despite the increase in overall weight, all in all, I think that the improvements Cerberus K9 Solutions Inc. has made to the Frog Dog vests are well thought out and at a retail price of $670usd it puts the Frog Dog vest at a competitive price with other similar products in its class and about half the price of the K9 Storm and the RK9 Harness without sacrificing any features or functionality.

However, while there is no doubt that the Frog Dog MKT Vest is a feature-laden K9 vest,  for civies and K9 handlers not needing the full body coverage or K9 camera features and don’t realistically needing to hoist your K9, I think that the MKT Vest could be a bit ‘overkill‘ and considering lighter weight, more minimalist designs like the Ray Allen Patrol Harness or the US Palm/Cynology War Labs Quarter Vest are great products and  will likely be more suited to your needs and will certainly be easier on the wallet.


 

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