Review - Orion Design Group Hybrid Helmet Cover & Spartan Village Counterweight Pouch
History of Orion Design Group
Orion Design Group (ODG) was created by one man who went on a journey through life and across the world, from hunting wildlife to hunting man. From simple beginnings hunting wildlife across plains and through forests, enlisting as a US Marine and then hunting man through desert, city and mountains, ODG was born. With only the knowledge of what a hunter requires, he turned his head to designing innovative equipment that would be beneficial, versatile and durable.
For more info - visit Orion Design Group website.
History of Spartan Village
Spartan Village was founded in 2010 and combined its industrial design roots with the US SOF community. Their target was to create tactical equipment that was minimal, realistic, reliable and cross Mission functional. Through trial and combat their belief in 'Light is right' means that their designs are based on an operator carrying the minimal kit that enables them to accomplish their mission.
For more info - visit Spartan Village website.
Why Orion Design Group & Spartan Village?
Back in 2014 I was running a Ops-Core FAST repro. It was lightweight, cheap and it actually had a good disruptive pattern on the shell. Wanting to branch out into something slightly different I looked at helmet covers as a way of changing the helmet visually. After a lot of Googling, I came across the below picture, which I'm sure quite a lot of people have seen and it struck me as being exactly the type of setup that I wanted to achieve. After a lot more research I found that the helmet cover pictured was the ODG FAST Cut. Looking at the rear I also noticed the Counterweight pouch and again after some research, I turned up that it was the Spartan Village Counterweight pouch.
Now back in 2014 the cover was known as the ODG FAST Cut, and the ODG website had two options for their equipment with the question 'What are you hunting? BEAST or MAN?' Nowadays this cover is called the ODG Hybrid Cover. After some conversation with ODG I purchased it and waited and I believe I was one of the first in the UK to actually receive it. The Counterweight pouch was named the CW-S Counterweight/Strobe Pouch (Item Number: SVD-CWS 1403, Color: Multicam). The pouch was rarely in stock at Spartan Village as only a small number had been manufactured. They were released in batches and I was lucky enough to strike at the right time and secured one for myself.
ODG Hybrid Helmet Cover product details
Herein lies the product description from the website;
Hybrid design for durability and fit (FAST & Maritime)
Designed by ODG
Manufactured in USA by London Bridge Trading
Tie down points for optics cabling
Multiple printed loop placement for IFF
Integrated strobe retention
Helmet cover in detail
The helmet cover I purchased was in Multicam (the only available option) and featured a mixture of both Multicam styled Polyester Mesh and Tactical Nylon along with Coyote Brown elastic.
The front of the section houses a V cut out for the NVG shroud. It's design enabled the V to fit around the shroud, but by not connecting underneath it, it prevents the covers material bunching up and the NVD securing bungees getting snagged. On each side of the V, a rectangular piece of rigid plastic is sown into the mesh which is used to fold under the helmet lip and wedge between the helmet outer and the inner helmet padding as seen in the 4th picture below.
The left and right hand sides of the cover are made 50/50 from the Polyester Mesh and Tactical Nylon. The mesh on the lower half of each side allows airflow over the helmet and doesn't cover any air vents ensuring a cool airflow when required. The upper half made of the Tactical Nylon does provides some rigidity but is generally designed to keep the top of the helmet covered providing some protection against bumps and scrapes. On both sides of the cover there are elasticated cable management loops sewn into the mesh that allow the user to thread cables tightly over the top of the helmet.
The top section is nearly free of velcro / mounting points, but does include a small 4 x 4 cm square patch ideal for mounting a miniature IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) marker. The ODG cover features one of my favourite parts which is the elasticated strobe retention strap. This strap made from elasticated material can be modified and shortened / lengthened as required. The strap enables the user to attach a strobe to the velcro towards the rear of the cover, loop the strap up and over the strobe and securely fit it in place. This provides extra security for the strobe in case of a knock and holds it firmly in place.
To the rear of the cover is a large upside down T shape velcro panel which provides enough real estate for anything such as the Battery pouch, markers etc.
Fitting the helmet cover
The pictures below are of the the cover fitted to the Ops-Core FAST (reproduction). The cover as seen is tight and near perfectly fits the helmet. The plastic panels at the front of the cover fold neatly under the lip of the helmet and are not visible. On both sides, the cover is tight to the rails with little space. The inside of the cover features 3 velcro panels (left, right, rear) which are attached to the velcro patches on the helmet. In addition, 2 rear velcro tabs are also present that can be used to secure the cover in place if required, or be looped back up and over any items on the rear of the cover.
CW-S Counterweight/Strobe Pouch product details
Since purchasing the CW-S pouch from Spartan Village in 2014, they now no longer manufacture it. From memory on their product page there was little information relating to the CW-S pouch other than it being manufactured in Multicam material, designed to house an MS2000 strobe and included a CW bag.
CW-S Counterweight/Strobe Pouch in detail
The CW-S pouch (CW-S P) measures 11 W x 9.5 H cm and weighs 44 g when empty. The CW-S P also comes with a weighted sealed bag in Multicam material that weighs 427 g and measures 10 x 9 cm. When the CW-S P is pieced together it weighs in total 471 g. The small surface area that it takes up is a huge benefit to it as it ensures that there is additional leftover real estate on the rear velcro panel of a helmet or cover on which markers etc can be fixed. The CW-S P is essentially split into two sections, the left side bungee retained section and the right side housing the counterweight bag.
The bungee section is able to fit the MS2000 strobe which can be attached via the 8 x 4 cm velcro panel and additionally secured using the elasticated bungee cords.
The bag section features 2 pieces (horizontal and vertical) of stretchable material double stitched together forming the pouch and it has a velcro flap, on both sides of which are velcro to secure the bag in place. This velcro allows the user to add a marker to the exterior of the CW-S P. Other than being used for the weighted bag, the pouch could be used for something else instead if required.
Fitting the Counterweight pouch
The CW-S P is fitted at the rear of the helmet and with the 11 x 9 cm surface area, that's enough velcro to securely attach it without fear of it ripping off if snagged.
The bungee section shown here has the MS2000 strobe attached to the velcro panel and secured using the cords. On the rear of my MS2000 I have attached hook velcro so that it can be afixed anywhere and adds an additional layer of security to it.
In addition to the standard vertical mounting option of the CW-S P, images seen (which I've replicated below) do also show it mounted horizontally with a CAT tourniquet attached which is another idea...
Thoughts and opinion
In line with my previous blog on the Agilite Team Wendy Carbon Helmet Cover, I covered my thoughts on helmet covers in general;
Helmet covers are one of those items that may get purchased further down the line when purchasing any equipment. If you've paid decent money for a genuine manufactured bump or ballistic helmet, it probably pays to add a layer of protection to it to add service longevity, and ensure that kit bag drops or knocks on doorways don't leave a mark.
Back in 2014 when I purchased the ODG cover, I was impressed by it. Granted on closer inspection it did look rough and ready but it was a newly envisaged product and I am certainly glad that I was able to get my hands on one at the time. Being lightweight, well vented and easy to install I do use this cover on the range.
The CW-S P is another piece of kit that isn't essential unless you're running NVDs. Carrying extra weight on your helmet for no reason is a sure way to cause stress and injury to your neck especially over prolonged periods of time. That said, if you're utilising NVDs, a CWP is a must. The CWP market is filled with different designs and qualities, again put your trust in the Military / LEO manufacturers and purchase quality so it won't let you down when you need it most. Again like the ODG cover, I purchased this when it was being manufactured in small quantities. The build quality is excellent, the design is simple and again it's easily transferable between helmet setups.
Searching Google today, I might be lucky to be in possession of 2 items of rarity!
I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.