You don’t want to worry about uncomfortable clothing, PPE, or ineffective tools and equipment when you're out in the wilderness fighting raging fires and providing essential emergency services. Unfortunately, some firefighter essentials aren’t ready for use immediately after purchase. Some garments like boots and gloves are too tight, while objects such as hoses don’t work correctly.
Instead of throwing these items away, consider trying a few of the following methods of manipulation – they might make your gear suitable to your needs. Plus, they’re entirely affordable and easy for anyone to do effectively! To ensure these issues don’t happen to you, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to effectively break in your wildland firefighting gear.
FR PPE & Accessories
Most of your required wildland firefighting PPE isn’t too difficult to break in properly. Nearly all our fire-resistant garments and accessories are comfortable and functional right out of the box. However, there are a few ways to fit your gear to your preferences.
FR helmets are designed to provide the ultimate head protection for firefighters, and as such, function is prioritized over comfort. Out of the box, helmets can be too tight and rigid, leading to discomfort and even distracting headaches. If you want to expedite the break-in process, we recommend that even on off days, you wear your helmet for at least 30 minutes. Your helmet will be ready for use and more comfortable.
Wildland FR gloves are made of leather. These gloves are designed to effectively repel fire without limiting motor function and flexibility. But you can’t simply throw these gloves in the oven overnight as you would with a baseball mitt to break them in properly. To ensure you don’t damage the FR gloves, consider wearing them throughout your typical day. This includes driving, mowing, exercising, or even lounging by the television. In no time, your FR gloves will feel like just another layer of skin on your hands!
While most FR PPE and related accessories are ready to use out of the box, wildland firefighting boots are certainly not – they often require at least 100 miles of walking before being broken in properly. And since most firefighter boots are handcrafted, there’s no shortcut to expediting this process. Wear your boots as often as possible, like your FR gloves. Once your boots feel more comfortable, try going for a hike or short walk. A week or two of this should make your protective footwear more tolerable.
You should never wear eye protection that doesn’t immediately fit properly – a tight fit ensures optimal safety for your wellbeing. However, you might notice that newly purchased eye protection, mainly goggles, fog up quite often. This is frustrating and can hinder your eye protection's protective benefits. We recommend using a performance cleaning product, such as our Frog Spit anti-fog wipes, by thoroughly rubbing the surface of your lens with the wipes and rinsing to reduce the chances of fog-ups. This process provides a protective layer of film on the lenses of your goggles, and it’s entirely affordable and amazingly effective.
Tools and Equipment
Much like FR clothing, PPE, and related accessories, wildland firefighting tools and equipment are often ready for use immediately after purchase. These items serve an essential service and must be extremely functional, making a “break-in period” obsolete. However, some gear may require minor adjustments to ensure performance and reliability.
If you’ve ever purchased a brand-new garden hose, you might notice that the product often requires some slight manipulation to make it usable. Mainly, you must stretch and remove air from your hose before use. Luckily, the design and quality materials of wildland hoses renders this breaking-in process useless! Wildland hoses are ready for action at any moment, whether they’re fresh out of the box or seasoned tools. If for some reason your wildland hose is too stiff upon purchase, causing subpar performance, stop using the product and contact the distributor immediately.
Similar to hoses, wildland-specific tents are ready for use directly upon delivery. For example, all of our tents are pre-waterproofed with industrial repellants, guaranteeing better weather protection. You should never use a tent for wildland firefighting if it requires additional waterproofing products!
Fire Line Tools
Lastly, your fire line tools shouldn’t require much preparation to make them more functional. These items are almost always of high quality and the desired level of sharpness upon arrival. While rare, it’s important you sharpen any dull sections on your blades, as a sharper blade is much more effective and reliable.
Quality Design Matters
Some items require some manipulation to break them in correctly. However, most of your gear should be functional straight out of the box. You can ensure your tools and PPE are ready for use by purchasing from a high-quality fire supply store. Quality design matters when it comes to wildland firefighting equipment. The safety of yourself and others is paramount when out in dangerous working environments—as such, investing more in the products you purchase is best.
Products from reputable distributors are almost always guaranteed to arrive functional and comfortable. Plus, you can utilize their help services to assist you when troubleshooting tight, underperforming equipment. If you want to rest assured that your gear will arrive as per your preferences and needs, seek out quality stores.
Luckily, The Supply Chache is one of those quality stores, as we pride ourselves on our wide selection of advanced, top-brand wildland firefighting gear. Our clothing is designed to protect your well-being without sacrificing comfort or even style. Plus, all our equipment and tools meet strict regulations and are entirely suitable for your line of work. Order your wildland firefighting gear today and use this guide to properly break in your purchases quickly.