Review - Team Wendy EXFIL Carbon helmet
Updated: Jan 20
History of Team Wendy
Team Wendy provides equipment to the professionals in the Military, Search & Rescue, Law Enforcement and for Adventurers. Team Wendy was actually borne from tragedy in 1997 when the founders daughter died from a skiing accident. TW was created to produce equipment to never let this happen to anyone else. TW focuses on protection against serious and life-threatening head trauma injuries and their innovative helmet liner and padding has aided in protecting soldiers providing safety and comfort. TW products are manufactured in Ohio next to their engineering and chemistry labs in their huge manufacturing facility.
I'd like to take the opportunity to shout out to Reconbrothers from where I purchased the EXFIL Carbon. Based in Belgium, they have a great website stocking a ton of well known brands and some real steel kit that is right up there for specific and hard to get loadouts. Again this is a business created by airsofters for airsofters, so they know what kit and equipment people want. Alongside their website they've also got a Youtube channel which hosts a number of tactical training videos, 'Before you buy' kit reviews and much more.
Finally I would like to comment on the experience I had with Reconbrothers from pre-purchase, purchase and afterwards was great. They kept me up-to-date with shipping info and the price was unbeatable, even in the UK! I recommend you check out their website and see what's in stock.
Why Team Wendy?
The helmet variants seen used by SEAL Teams' Bravo change between the Gentex Ops-Core variants and more recently the Team Wendy (TW) helmets. My previous blog SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Helmets covers the variants used by the team across the seasons. The TW helmets came to prominence in the 2 part Yemen embassy siege episodes, where the team fought to defend themselves whilst holed up in the embassy and had to later break into and then out of the embassy to rescue the diplomat and her detail. Having spoken to a representative at Team Wendy, they've confirmed my initial thought that the prop master did indeed fill the vent holes in an effort to make the helmets appear to be ballistic instead of a tactical bump helmet. Additionally the prop master painted and sprayed over the helmet to help break up any shapes / filler mould lines. After writing my Behind the kit blog, I got hooked on the Team Wendy helmets and looked to purchase one.
The TWs seen utilised by Bravo are fitted with the standard equipment also seen mounted on the Ops Core helmets. Comms mounts, light sources, NVD mounts and other ancillaries find a place on the helmet real estate. The carbon helmet was likely also preferred due to it being lightweight for filming.
When reviewing the options provided by Team Wendy, it was a choice between ballistic and non-ballistic. I opted for non-ballistic and then faced a further choice of the EXFIL LTP or EXFIL Carbon.
Reconbrothers have a Youtube channel and their review of the Exfil LTP helped me to make the decision to purchase the EXFIL Carbon in Coyote Brown, as that was what was used Bravo. Here's a link to the Reconbrothers LTP review.
Herein lies the product description from the website;
EXFIL Carbon helmet is made from high-strength, lightweight carbon fibre
Features a Wilcox W shroud (removable)
Zorbium foam liner for comfort and impact protection
CAM FIT retention system with integrated BOA fit system
Cam lock sliders for ease of adjustment
Can be purchased with either EXFIL Rail 2.0 or EXFIL rail 3.0
EN 1385 and ACH Blunt Impact Protection requirements achieved
What does it actually mean?
BOA - Patented adjustment system. Further details for BOA can be found here on their website.
CAM FIT Retention System - The CAM FIT is the overall name given to the retention system and integrated BOA adjustment system.
EN 1385 - This relates to a European standard requirement for helmets for white water sports. It is tested to a number of high standards to ensure maximum survival capability against blunt trauma / hard knocks etc.
ACH Blunt Impact Protection - This relates to the ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) testing of the energy absorbing mechanism which again maximises survival rates. Testing conducted uses a variety of impacts, velocities and environmental temperatures to replicate an operational environment.
The EXFIL C comes in a 29.5 x 17 x 24cm cardboard box, where the exterior simply has a sticker as seen in the 2nd picture below detailing; make, model, colour, size and part reference numbers. On the bottom of the box is marked that the contents are a helmet along with box specifications. Opening the box, the EXFIL C is stored within a Team Wendy labelled drawstring bag for storage / carriage. There was no padding on the interior of the box as the helmet fitted tightly inside.
The helmet inside of the drawstring bag had within it the operators manual and a small 15.5 x 4 x 11cm box.
The exterior of the box on top is stamped with the TW logo and the front houses a sticker detailing the contents along with the relevant barcode. The box contains the Shock Cord kit and the Magpul MOE 5-slot Mounting kit along with a TW sticker.
The operators manual is 32 pages long and is broken down into 4 sections;
Descriptions and Capabilities
Shock Cord Kit (SCK)
The SCK is designed to provide NVD (Night Vision Device) stabilisation whereby the hooks can clip onto the Wilcox mounts. The SCK pack contains; two shock cords (pre-tied), 4x plastic hooks, 4x zip ties and a manual. In regards to the plastic hooks, 2 are for use on the helmet and the other 2 are for spares. The zip ties are standard ones but a handy extra if required.
MAGPUL MOE 5-slot Mounting kit (MM5)
The MM5 is designed to allow users to add further attachments points to the helmet rails. The MM5 pack contains; 2x polymer picatinny rails with 5 slots, allen / hex key, 4x screws and a manual. The MM5s as shown in the 1st image below are used to fix over the top of the 'W spacer' plates.
Peltor Quick Release adapter kit (PQR)
In addition to the EXFIL C, I also purchased the TW Quick Release Comms Adapter kit with Peltor boom mic adapter. I prefer running comms fitted to the helmet rather than a band worn under the helmet, and the choice was between the Peltor Headset Adapters or the Peltor Quick Release version. I chose the Quick Release due to the fact that if the arms are snagged they will detach more easily and minimise damage to the comms equipment and the helmet. Additionally I wanted adapters that allowed me to swing the comms ear pieces back when not in use. The PQR has 2 positions; locked and unlocked. In the unlocked position the metal guide wires are away from the adapter which allow them to rotate and store the comms ear pieces towards the rear of the helmet. The locked position is when the metal guide wires are snapped into place and prevent movement forwards or backwards of the comms ear pieces. A small detail of note is that the 4x black ear cup clips are marked with Peltor, however the boom mic clip is not.
Wilcox W Shroud
The Wilcox W shroud comes fitted to allow attachment of NVDs (Night Vision Devices). The shroud was specifically and exclusively designed for the Team Wendy EXFIL helmet range matching the contours and shape of the helmets. It is manufactured from aerospace grade metal and polymer.
EXFIL C in detail
The below section provides an overview of the EXFIL C highlighting some of the important features on the helmet and other points that are worth drawing your attention to.
The EXFIL C was purchased in Coyote Brown (Black and Multicam also available) and all ancillary parts such as shock cords, velcro and retention system also come in the matching Coyote Brown colour.
The helmet was Size 1 (M/L) fitting a head circumference of 53cm - 58cm (20.75" – 23.0").
Weighing in at only 0.75 kg (1.66 lbs), it is extremely lightweight.
The EXFIL C is manufactured using Lexan Polymer.
The Rail 2.0 system version was purchased, allowing compatibility with all EXFIL 2.0 accessories. These do look and feel a part of the actual helmet design and look sleek. Compared to the Rail 3.0 system, this does appear to have a lower profile and appears to be more aerodynamic. You can swap the rail systems if you prefer.
Wilcox W shroud as standard comes fitted, but it can easily be removed and replaced if required by removing the 3 screws, however EXFIL C front of helmet is not standard.
12x air vents in total, 2 at the front, 6 on top and 4 at the rear. These are designed to be minimal but also allow airflow.
High cut rear allows users to not be restricted by rear of helmet if firing in the prone position.
Rear shock cord as standard to allow securing of NVD battery cases, counterweights, strobes etc.
Velcro real estate is good and provides essential attachment locations above both ears, at the rear (rear IFF markers / NVD battery cases) and stretching over the top (IFF markers / strobes).
The finish on the helmet was very good and when comparing the EXFIL LTP to the EXFIL C, if you look at the LTP you can easily make out the mould lines. The EXFIL C just has better build quality in my opinion regarding actual visuals and the quality of materials used.
Rail 2.0 System
The EXFIL C can be purchased with the Rail 2.0 or 3.0 system. I preferred the look of the 2.0 system and it provided a lower profile when viewed from the front or rear. The 2.0 system provides some base accessory mounting areas and with the addition of the MM5 additional real estate can be created on top of the 'W spacer plates'. The horizontal slot is used as one point into which the SCK can be fitted. Additionally if preferred, the Peltor headset adapters can be fitted here. The vertical slot at the rear on the left hand side of the image below can be used as a fixing point for the Ops-Core AMP Comms headset or for other custom designed attachments. The 2.0 system protrudes approximately 1cm from the side of the helmet which is minimal.
TW fit all of their helmet range as standard with Zorbium foam liners. Additionally there are a number of extra liner systems that you can purchase separately if required. Zorbium in its simplicity is an open-cell foam design used in multiple helmet types providing the user with comfort and ensuring safety. Zorbium is used in the TW 7-pad liner which is currently in use by the US military. Some further basic information on Zorbium can be found here.
The suspension subsystem is comprised of two parts; Impact liner (Coyote Brown coloured pads on interiors walls of helmet) and Comfort pads (black coloured pads between operators head and the Impact liner). The Impact liner as the name suggests is designed to protect the operators head from blunt trauma, falls, knocks etc and absorbs the force being the '1st line of defence inside the helmet'. The Comfort pads are purely designed to make the helmet more comfortable for the operator and with 8 pads in total, 6 of them are immediately movable and do act as a 'secondary line of defence for impact'. The comfort pads are manufactured of a moisture wicking fabric.
The adjustable headband system is a huge plus in my opinion. The 'BOA' adjustment mechanism allows the operator to put on the helmet loosely and one handed adjust the helmet until it's the correct fit. This is micro adjustable so you're able to make the headband as tight or loose as you like. To adjust the headband, at the rear of the helmet you simply ensure the dial head with the word BOA on it is pulled upwards and is loose. Place the helmet on and then push the dial head in until it clicks and locks. From here one handed you can turn the dial head clockwise and the tension wires running through the headband system (all the way around the interior of the helmet) will start to tighten. To loosen, you pull the dial head upwards and the headband will immediately slacken.
There are 6 Cam Lock sliders fitted to the retention system that allow further adjustment to ensure a tight and comfortable fit. As identified, the chinstrap Cam Fit buckle is on the left hand side of the system, so that the buckle does not sit between the users cheek and the stock of the rifle. Another minor, yet operationally thought out addition.
Helmet with Accessories fitted
This section covers fitting the PQR to the helmet, showing what it looks like at the various stages. The fitting process was relatively quick and once fitted the adapters were rock solid and did not wobble.
Fitting Peltor Quick Release adapter kit
To fit the PQR, remove the 2 screws and the W spacer plate (store safely) on the 2.0 system. As shown in the 6th image, the adapter has 2 'hooks' (Bottom (seen on the left of the image) and Top (seen on the right of the image)). Place the Top hook into the horizontal slot of the 2.0 system, centre and push in the central tab into where the W spacer plate was previously and then very firmly press the Bottom hook until it clips up and over the bottom of the helmet. The polymer is extremely rigid and di require some force to clip it on. Once fitted, the PQR protrudes a further 2cm out from the 2.0 system. In total from edge of helmet to outside of PQR = 3cm.
Comms equipment fitted
The first 3 images show the PQR fitted without comms attached. The second 3 images show the PQR fitted with comms attached.
Fitting Shock Cord Kit (SCK)
The SCK is designed to provide NVD stabilisation. To fit the SCK, the shock cord knot is slotted and pressed firmly into the horizontal notch in the Rail 2.0 system as shown in the 1st picture. Once in, the shock cord can be pulled towards the front of the rail which forces the knot to compress and simplistically wedge itself into the thinner gap. The shock cord will not come out by itself once in position. This is then repeated for the alternate side of the helmet. Using 2 of the supplied plastic hooks and looping them onto the shock cords pull them together at the front of the helmet underneath the shroud and attach them to each other as shown in the 3rd picture for storage when not used to secure an NVD.
Thoughts and opinion
The Team Wendy EXFIL Carbon is a lightweight yet rugged helmet. With plenty of velcro and attachment points and options, you'll unlikely not be able to find the right combination to allow you to mount what's operationally necessary. With years of development and experience within the company and their collaboration with the US military, the EXFIL C is a worthy addition to any loadout thanks to its' adaptability. I highly recommend that a Team Wendy helmet cover is purchased from them directly or from another manufacturer. I purchased mine from AGILITE and it's currently being shipped (review inbound). Helmet covers will help to reduce any superficial or light damage to the helmet if dropped, catching it on a doorway etc. It helps to lengthen the lifespan of the helmet, and for those who've purchased a ballistic helmet, you certainly don't want any damage to the exterior of the helmet. For use in urban environments a helmet is a good choice to prevent injury and being lightweight the EXFIL C certainly helps to prevent neck fatigue if worn for long periods of time, or if numerous accessories are added, adding weight such as NVDs (Night Vision Devices). In my most honest opinion, ballistic helmets look and feel great, but if worn for a long period or if fitted incorrectly can be a hinderance to the operator and will play on your mind. Non-ballistic / bump helmets are certainly cheaper and are for me, the right road to follow. The EXFIL C is not cheap, but it's hardy, manufactured with safety in mind and above all else is usable in nearly any environment. I personally prefer the EXFIL C over the Ops-Core Maritime and SF helmets that I've used in the past. If you do decide to take the plunge I guarantee you won't regret it.
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.