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Advice on All-Star Cobalt chest protector?


mac266

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I've been using a Wilson West Vest (gold), and its protection is great.  I've taken a few hard shots and it disperses the impact quite well.  That said, it's like strapping a 1957 Chevy to my chest.  I'm looking to go lower profile, but given that I'm working high school level, including varsity, with the opportunity to move up to independent league pro ball in the next few years, I'm self imposing a restriction that any chest protector MUST be a hard shell.  

I've been looking at the All-Star Cobalt, and I really wish I had the opportunity to try these on before I buy them, but there isn't a retail store around that carries stuff like this.  So, for those with experience, will it be lower profile than the West Vest?  Lighter?  More comfortable?  Protect as well?

 

 

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4 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

ump attire has free returns if you want a try before you buy option....

Would cost you $20 to find out, if/when they come back in stock. 

A Douglas is another low profile option but, by the time you add gap protection, a new harness and the T hooks it’s close to $275.  I am all for buying American (yes I do own one) but that’s a lot of $$$.  I would rather have an All Star Cobolt AND a Shutt/Adams. 

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I would not consider the Cobalt low profile. The padding might be just a tad thinner than the Gold, but not by much. (that said, I love it, and it's my #1 right now)

I'd consider the Champion P2xx low profile, and some TW retrofits with a proper harness. Also the worthless Davishield. 

What I really like about the Cobalt is the ability to move the pads around to configure it to your body. Plus I think it's second to only to the System 7 in overall protection. And second only by a hair. 

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21 hours ago, kylejt said:

Mac, did you ever upgrade the harness on your Gold? That makes a HUGE difference. 

I did, yes.  The biggest reason I’m considering a change is how it fits in my plate  coat 🤣😂

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22 hours ago, tpatience said:

I’d hold off on buying a new CP until next year… just saying 

I feel like this falls under "we will see what happens". Nothing against Trevor. But we see this statement just about every off season. Usually associated with "I hope Wilson finally does something with their padding." And it never does. 

Hopefully I am proved wrong. 

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1 hour ago, BT_Blue said:

Usually associated with "I hope Wilson finally does something with their padding." And it never does. 

Yeah, if I’d had held my breath for Wilson… I’d be 🤢 or 😵
 

 

 

 

Laziest company in the industry. 

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I have the Cobalt and a TW west vest. I do not consider the Cobalt low profile. It fits great and is a rock solid cp, great customization. I switched to it on a whim after using the TW WV for several seasons. After a full season in the Cobalt I think I will probably switch back. I cannot get used to it.  In your situation, since the Gold cannot be retrofitted anymore the Cobalt would be a good choice imo

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Remove the "wings" off the Gold and its much lower profile.  I wear either a Gold L/XL or a F3 V3 as my chest protectors.  Both are bullet-proof but the F3 V3 is so much lower profile.  For me, (XL shirt, 46 jacket, 36-38 waist) I don't find the Gold anymore bulky than any other CP's  - and I've had them all except a Carlucci or Power (AA, Champion, Champro, Douglas, Gold, Platinum, All Star Cobalt, All Star CPU4000, Schutt XV, Adams HDX, etc.).

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On 10/20/2021 at 12:35 AM, tpatience said:

I’d hold off on buying a new CP until next year… just saying 

Might have to wait until 2022 anyway with the lack of supply on the market right now

 

32 minutes ago, mac266 said:

It must have a hard shell for me to consider it.  That's why I'm not looking at their current one, but it is much lower profile.

But the blast shield is IN the CP...

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12 minutes ago, mac266 said:

It must have a hard shell for me to consider it.

But the Force3 UnEqual CP is, technically, a hardshell. It simply jackets the hardshell plates within neoprene for several purposes:

  • to block the Kevlar from UV light
  • to act as connective "tissue" between plates
  • to reduce / eliminate bruising and cuts on shirts and jackets at point of impact

The thickness and robustness of the blast plates within the UnEqual has been the source of much consternation amongst the umpire gear-geek community. No one really has the wherewithal to cut a $250+ CP apart and examine the interior. Jacketing the blast plates in neoprene is crucial to the success of the Kevlar, but it brings with it a lot of Doubting Thomas types; this wasn't helped by the 1st Version (V1) having no significant blast plates and Jim Evans dramatically trotting it out in front of a whole class of umpires, only to promptly take one right to the torso with a... suppressed reaction on his face (in fairness, this was a V1, and wasn't worn correctly).

So, as gear experts, we have to classify the UnEqual as a "hybrid"... not in the cheap-o soft CP category, but neither truly or fully in the hardshell CP category. 

Now, the design features of the UnEqual are present in the All-Star Cobalt. What escapes many casual customers is that the Cobalt uses High Density PolyEthylene (HDPE) for its carapace plates instead of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). HDPE is "softer" and lighter than ABS, and will tend to flex under load instead of stiffen. We don't necessarily need a wall protecting us, but a fence... with just enough give. Not as much give as the veritable net of the UnEqual V1, but a fence. The modern laminate foams of the pads are going to be doing the bulk of the work, so all the HDPE plates are doing acting as a distributor plate. 

I really heap grief on Wilson, but Douglas is equally culpable in this. They don't feel justified in modernizing their Douglas CP, but if they were – if they were to keep the design lines and forms, and change the carapace plates from the way-too-dense ABS (which they cast here, themselves, in the USA) to HDPE, and change out the Qualux upholstery foam to a modern foam laminate system, they'd have arguably the finest and dare-I-say, most valuable CP on the market.

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1 hour ago, MadMax said:

I really heap grief on Wilson, but Douglas is equally culpable in this. They don't feel justified in modernizing their Douglas CP, but if they were – if they were to keep the design lines and forms, and change the carapace plates from the way-too-dense ABS (which they cast here, themselves, in the USA) to HDPE, and change out the Qualux upholstery foam to a modern foam laminate system, they'd have arguably the finest and dare-I-say, most valuable CP on the market.

To be honest, while I wish the Douglas was a little more breathable, I don't mind that it hasn't been updated. I love the fit of it and it really is pretty low profile. The plastic is thin but durable, and the foam is protective without being bulky. Much better than my platinum. But I really wouldn't mind an even thinner foam that's lighter/more breathable, but I'm very happy with what it is.

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7 hours ago, Scissors said:

To be honest, while I wish the Douglas was a little more breathable, I don't mind that it hasn't been updated.

The foam jacket could stand to be updated to a modern foam laminate, with a wicking layer, and the bulk of it being hydrophobic (water shedding). Furthermore, the jacket could easily be segmented, with the seams forming natural convection channels. It could be something not only Douglas, but indeed all of us, could be proud of since Douglas products are Made in the USA. 

Ideally, I’d really like to see Douglas adopt a bespoke -process, ala Cece Carlucci, or one of several fine clothiers. You select the variant, send in your measurements, and a CP is made for you, with each of the options and accoutrements you choose. Less guessing, less waste, less unnecessary accessories, more effective product. 

The traditional in-brick-&-mortar retail store model is dead… and buried. Again, the contempt and grief I heap upon Wilson not only has to do with them squatting on the MLB Exclusive endorsement – and doing jack s#!t with it – but also that their entire product catalog is mired and stuck in that archaic, obsolete sales model. 

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It all comes down to persobal preference and. body fit. For me it!s Colbalt. Protection is 100 and cooler than the WV in AZ heat. 

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