The Best Firefighter Gear – Our Top 5 Picks

The best firefighter gear helps keep your team alive.  Good firefighter gear just won’t cut it.

The kitchen table at the fire house where we served as Fire Chiefs was one of our favorite places to be.  Our firehouse families shared good times, stories, and even some tears.  One thing that we all remember vividly is how often we were thinking about being grateful for that group of people around that table.  Also, the waves of responsibility we felt for them.

A small, or large, part of what kept those groups of people safe during each call was the firefighter gear they used.  If you’re responsible for inspecting firefighting equipment and apparatus on a regular basis, we think these items will make your job a little easier.  These are our Top-5 because they stand the test of time, are known to be reliable, and we would trust them to protect our own lives today if we needed to.

#5: Best Firefighter Gear – LION Attack Digital Fire Trainer

This one isn’t exactly gear but it is almost as important.  When your team needs to train in ‘hands off’ locations like hospitals or water-sensitive locations, this digital fire trainer is as realistic as it gets.  The ATTACK hose line has the same weight and feel of a fully charged line.  It can also be used with actual water when the situation warrants.  Smoke output (up to 4,000 cubic feet of smoke per minute) is tied to the size of the fire.  Once started, the fire will grow and extend to additional panels in the system.  It allows fire departments to place Class A, B, or C digital flames, smoke, and sound in just about any scenario without the use of real fire.  With the ability of changing scenarios, location, and characteristics, the training simulator promotes true learning and muscle memory.  This option can also be an ideal way to introduce new firefighters to fire and smoke in a safe environment.  The other upside is that it doesn’t expose your team to the extreme heat, soot, chemicals, and carcinogens of a real fire.   Learn More

best firefighter gear

#4: Best Firefighter Gear – HAIX Airpower XR1 Pro Boots (Wildland and Station/EMS)

If popularity and comfortability were a reason to rank these, they might just be number one.  We consider these ‘the perfect station wear boot’.  Chief Miller says “this is your boot for the serious professional ”, and we agree.  This boot has NFPA certification and all the features you’d expect to come with that.  Waterproof, heat resistant, slip resistant, and EH rated.  These boots have the added benefit of being chemical and bloodborne pathogen resistant.  Not to mention, their sun reflect technology that keeps your feet dry and cool by reflecting the sun’s rays.  Our favorite benefit, however, is that slip resistance making it possible to run in water, oil, on tile, hardwood and more.  Learn More

HAIX Airpower XR1 Pro


#3: Best Firefighter Gear – Tempest Tech Battery Power Blower (VS-1)

Not to be too on-the-nose, but we’re big fans of this fan. Not all scenes provide or allow for electricity when you need to ventilate.  This battery powered fan ticks all the boxes without the electricity.  Even on full speed, there is a 70-minute run time with 10,887 CFM.  Currently, that’s the highest air flow of any battery blower.  The battery is removable, charges in about 4 hours, and is IP 65 rated.  It also comes equipped with a dynamic battery management system allowing you to monitor data for max performance and safety. At only 52 pounds, and that’s with the batteries, it’s conveniently portable with a small footprint.  We like that it includes LED lights positioned low for visibility below the smoke. Learn More

best firefighter gear

#2: Best Firefighter Gear – Covert Armor F1 Universal Carrier – Body Armor Ballistic Vest

We cannot say enough good things about Covert Armor’s BPE for Fire and EMS.  They’ve been in business for over 20 years providing body armor for anyone on the front lines.  Their F1Universal Fire Carrier vest is a true one-size-fits-all answer for any fire apparatus. You’ll no longer have to worry if you have the right-sized vest for the right person.  More importantly, it becomes the best vest for dangerous domestic calls when worn with their NIJ 0101.06 certified Level IIIA soft armor panels.  When a Level IV 10” x 12” hard armor rifle plate is added, now you’re ready for an active shooter situation. The front split-pocket holds your I.F.A.K and radio, which is handy.  Better, the reinforced drag handle, just in case. We also appreciate that the F1 available colors are based on firefighter’s gear, not LE, to avoid confusion in the field.  Learn More

Covert Armor

#1: Best Firefighter Gear – LION RedZone Firefighter Turnout Gear

All of LION’s turnout gear is exceptional.  It always has been, and it keeps getting better.  The standout, however, is their RedZone turnout gear. It is the only turnout gear on the market that is particulate blocking.  It is proven to have no ingress at the turnout coat, pant, glove, boot interfaces, or closure points.  The hood is soft, breathable and does not restrict hearing.  Arm guards have elasticized wrist shields and wristlets.  At the core, a DuPont™ Nomex® Nano multi-layered composite with an elasticized band to block particulate ingress at the coat-to-pant interface.  With one zip at closure, there are no additional donning steps. The leg guard includes DuPont™ Nomex® Nano Flex calf protectors.  This gear was created in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate – the science advisory team reporting directly to the Secretary. Better known as S&T, they perform the science that strengthens the nation’s overall security and develop the technologies that allow those on the front lines to complete their missions effectively and safely. We appreciate and recommend the additional layer of protection that RedZone provides from the hazards of fighting fires.  Learn More

best firefighter gear

There you have it.  As a group of former fire chiefs and military personnel, these are our top five pics for the best firefighter gear.  These would be our must-haves for our station if we were still responsible for making those selections today.

Thank You for Your Service

The TSF Fire Equipment team is made up of former Fire Chiefs, Firefighters, and Military personnel. We understand your sacrifice and thank you for your service. If you’d like to learn more about us, please visit our About page. If you’d like to start a conversation, email Todd at