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25.12.13

Kanteq Vs. Racesafe Body Protectors

The first body protector I owned was a Kanteq, I purchased it 4 years ago. I was recommended a Kanteq due to my small frame and never felt the need to try any other make or model. 
I bought into the Kanteq brand very easily, my best friend runs a motorbike business and I knew Kanteq's armour was made of the same materials as Knox specialist motorcyclist wear (http://www.planet-knox.com/) and they seriously know their stuff! 
The Kanteq design is very stylish, basic colours being a black or blue base with the trademark orange branding, fastening with a discreet zip at the front. The body protectors are specially moulded to a women's shape, all importantly with enough room for boobs! (Not that mine take up much space! Damn). The length of the back can be adjusted easily using the velcro pads to make certain it covers all the boney bits it needs to and ensure it doesn't catch awkwardly on your saddle and unbalance you and the horse. And at the front it can be altered in the same way to finish tidily below your last ribs to allow excellent lower body movement. The Kanteq is heavy compared to other brands but you cannot feel this when wearing it so please do not let the weight put you off.
The shoulder pads are designed to protect the collar bone area - but I find the pads restrict my movement when wearing as an everyday body protector, lifting my arms above shoulder level is near on impossible and don't even try to layer up by putting a jumper on over a Kanteq because I've had to be pulled out of my hoodies on numerous occasions after riding, it isn't pretty and has even resulted in the unvelcroing on the pads on numerous occasions and throwing them aside - THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED - therefore always ensure you wear an item of clothing with a front zip, i.e. a practical blouson jacket, note to self. (Please see below pictures of the pads being worn/not worn). 
I remember in the first few months of owning my Kanteq, I would pick and choose when I wore it as my back would ache after riding and the fit was snug (please note I was professionally measured, sized and fitted), however this must of worn off quickly as it soon became as natural to wear as putting a seat belt on when getting into a vehicle and I now find it ultra comfortable, it expands with my ribcage and never restricts my breathing. So stick with it if a little "unnatural" at first.
Throughout it's life I can only recall one issue and that was when the velcro length adjustment pads were un-threading from the body protector. I rang Wendy, the founder of Kanteq who was wonderfully helpful and offered to fix this for free - amazing customer service! However, due to Wendy's busy jet-setting schedule I chose to purchase a new cover and changed from black to blue so I could still use my body protector while it was away being fixed, this cost £49. Since the expense I've had another 18months use out of the item, but recently it has seen better days, I look like I'm smuggling things inside it as the foam has broken down and moves around inside the cover...so it was definitely time for a new body protector, initially I looked at another Kanteq (http://www.kanteq.com/product_detail.php?id=686&catid=40) and if money wasn't an issue I would of bought another one without a doubt but at £235.00 it comes with a hefty price tag so I went shopping...continued


With should pads attached
Without shoulder pads, please note I wanted you to see from the side as I have had a couple...well...three comments to be precise from three different people who observed that I ride 'upright' 'straight backed' 'rather like a toy solider' and I believe the Kanteq enhances these (charming) traits as it is one foam pad spread across the body and therefore gives a flat even appearance, I suppose it helps your posture without realising making it more difficult to collapse into the saddle.

continued...and as I was shopping at R&R Country (located in Selby and Melton Mowbry) they had a fantastic 20% off weekend so I tried on a Racesafe body protector, the RS2010 model in navy. I was professionally fitted into the body protector and found the sizes were generous and after trying many on, the shop assistant settled on an extra large/long child's size that fits perfectly (on the condition I don't eat too much over Christmas). The sizing issue is most probably a result of the brand being unisex and therefore a standard chest shape not allowing for our bodily differences, but I was assured if none in the shop were right Racesafe would make me one to measure. (http://www.hows-racesafe.co.uk/index.php/en/rs-2010/rs-2010).
The RS2010 model was awarded the Best in Test 2013 by Horse & Rider Magazine (http://www.horseandrideruk.com/article.php?id=2817), is super lightweight, covers all the important boney bits I need it too and feels much more flexible than my Kanteq. Does this make me feel less safe...as of yet I haven't decided?  
Shoulder pads do not come as standard with the RS2010 model and I chose not to order them but they are optional and can be added at any time for a fee. The RS2010 can also be personalised to your XC colours, with up to 22 to choose from! 
I will revisit this post for you in a couple of months once I have worn my Racesafe more and take some pictures of it in action but so far so good, and with no VAT (as child's size), plus 20% off, it cost £100, a saving of £135 compared to purchasing another Kanteq and as I own a Hit-Air Vest I know during fast/jumping/xc work I would wear this alongside my Racesafe, so for me it was the right decision at the moment.


  • What brand/model of body protector do you own?
  • What disciplines do you wear it in?
  • How often?
  • Any experiences of Kanteq or Racesafe, what is your preference and why?

Both body protectors are BETA Level 3.

Thank you for reading, Jessica xx