Some years ago, Velocity Systems showed me a sample of what should become their flagship plate carrier. The SCARAB LT. First released late 2014, the SCARAB LT still offers all the features that make a high end carrier today: adaptive front and back panels, improved ergonomics, use of lightweight materials and multi role capability.
Since I first got my hands on this system it became my plate carrier of choice for almost every role. So this review will cover lots of experience from almost a half decade of use.
Design wise we talk about a classic hard plate carrier made up of two plate bags, cummerbunds and shoulder straps. You don’t need a manual to assemble this system.
The plate bags fit all kinds of issued SAPI plates. The plates can be slided into the plate bag after simply opening a velcro flap on the bottom of each plate bag. After this, the plates get secured by a velcro adjustable webbing harness. This keeps the plates high and tight. The main body of each plate bag is made of 500DEN Cordura, which is now somewhat of an industry standard. But Velocity Systems and Mayflower RC brought this to the mainstream.
The front platebag feature a velcro lined kangaroo pouch, this can be used to secure up to three. 223 magazines with Velocity Systems inserts. But it also accepts the supplied velcro MOLLE flap, if you don’t want to use placards. If you are going for Placards you can decide whether you want to use SwiftClips or G-Hooks or if you want to go for Crye/Bragg style Velcro tabs. If you wondered what the three O-Rings on the left and right side are for. Those pieces of hardware are intended to accept the so called “quarter flaps” which make the carrier side opening.
On the lower front you find molle with loop velcro for attaching your average setup. The velcro is a additional way to secure your placard.
Looking at the chest Velocity Systems decided to keep the SCARAB clean as hell. There is just plain velcro and your common removeable SwiftClips with webbing and some plastic slides for cable management. This makes the SCARAB LT also usable as a slick plate carrier. If you want more MOLLE Space on the chest, Velocity Systems offers a more modular platebag, called the SCARAB LE.
Left and right of the velcro field you’ll find covered D-Rings. Those rings are there to fix the suspended, free floating shoulder strap system, that we will take a closer look on later in this article.
The back offers MOLLE for pouches and two zippers for zip on backpanels. You’ll also notice the D-Rings for your shoulder straps. On the rear platebag you’ll also find three 25mm channels at every side. Those channels lead into the inside and serve as connection points for the cummerbund.
All platebags have padded spacer mesh on the inside, it is very soft and well padded and really increases comfort and ventilation. You hardly recognize that you are wearing hard plates at any moment. While this makes the carrier a little bulkier it really adds to the comfort.
The shoulder straps on the SCARAB LT are the most unique part of its construction. While all other carriers on the market feature shoulder straps that are sewn on the carrier or have a fixed angle because they are lead through plastic pass through ladders they are also just limited to adjustable length. But when you ask people regarding the comfort of a platecarrier you will have different answers because not every shoulder strap angle is suitable for every wearer. Some people have a small shoulder belt, others have a broad frame, also the size of the neck plays an important role.
The SCARABs shoulder straps are different as they are free floating. The straps consists of a relatively thin piece of ultra comp laminate. This laminate gets velcroed together around the platebags D-Rings which makes it a swiveling construction. Those free floating shoulder straps fit themselves automatically to any body type and don’t restrict movement. Especially talking about getting a good stock wield this makes the SCARAB LT an outstanding piece of kit.
As the SCARABs shoulder straps are pretty thin you get two stretch shoulder pads made from tweave with some foam padding on the bottom. They also help routing your comms and hydration.
The cummerbund is a skeletonized construction with double sided PALS webbing and mesh. The mesh keeps small branches or vehicle parts from snagging into the cummerbund which can be very annoying on some of the other minimalist skeleton cummerbunds out there. Also the mesh adds to the stability of the construction. Velocity Systems also offers a low profile elastic cummerbund and a hard plate compatible system.
Cummerbund attachment to the rear bag is done in an unconventional way. At the end of the cummerbund you find three pieces 25mm, doubled and elastic webbing for a little stretch. Those are sewn into “fingers” of velcro one wrap.
You just have to lead those fingers into the 25mm slits on every side of the cummerbund and Velcro them to the desired length. This makes the cummerbund adjustable to millimetres without the need of an additional cummerbund flap on the rear.
On the front the cummerbund stays classic and just uses velcro hook to secure to the front plate bags loop MOLLE. You can secure the ends further with either a placard or the included velcro flap. If you want to run slick, you can just velcro them down.
The downside of this rig is that there are no Tubes, ROC or Cobra options for this. Looking at the fact that QD cummerbunds become more and more of an industry standard I hope that the guys at Velocity Systems are working on something along those lines.
We got two SCARAB LTs for testing from the guys at Velocity Systems. One is currently being used by one of our guys in the German army while the other is my go- and training rig. Both carriers don’t even have small holes or tears. Stitching is top notch. The construction is very lightweight despite all its features. For sure there are more lightweight and more complex carriers out there today, but the SCARAB LT remains a top notch choice till now. Perhaps the answer is even because it relies on very reliable construction concepts and that you dont need a manual to assemble this piece of kit.
What all testers liked was that it really huggs your shoulders and you don’t feel restricted any time. This system really works the best with Placards, it’s more or less constructed around using them. I often use it with the UW Gen 4 Placard to create a full battle loadout in seconds. You can use an elastic placard for a more sleek setup or go for a traditional triple shingle or even a full chestrig.
What we also observed is that this carrier also works great for women because of its patented shoulder straps. A serious point, because I was asked by many female soldiers which platecarrier they should opt for. When you compare the price to other high end products the SCARAB LT is more than fairly priced. You get an premier, multi role system for less than 330 dollars.
Velocity Systems already did an revised version of the SCARAB LT called the SCARAB DLX, I didn’t manage to get my hands on one yet. It looks like a good carrier but it still lacks a new cummerbund fastening method. I hope that there will be something like a SCARAB Gen3 soon.
All in alle the SCARAB LT is a serious choice for a top tier plate carrier. It’s my faourite choice on the huge platecarrier market until this day and fits the gap between the JPC and beefier platecarriers out there. Remember that you can’t always run around and carry just three m4 mags and a camelbak.
You can configure you individual SCARAB LT directly at Velocity Systems.
On a note, visit our Instagram profile to see more pictures of the SCARAB LT in action.