Single layer wildland PPE


I am looking for any /all information including official studies that show the pros vs con of single layer wildland PPE (Forrest Service style - single pant with light weight single sleeve coat).

I would like to know if you use it? do you like it compared to double layers? What brand pants do you wear? What brand shirt? Are you a wildland Dept or a municipal department?

If municipal do you wear these pants on duty? Or just on fire calls?


Good Morning,
We went to single layer optional 1 year ago. The next year plan is to go completely to single.layer pant lightweight jacket. From personal experience it is night and day. Much better mobility and heat loss. We use work right pant at about $ 140. I was a Captain with the state and wore double.layer extensively for 4 years. The difference is night and day. Hope this helps. I have access to official study material we used to get single layer and can provide it if needed. We are and 8 station municipal dept. In San Diego County and are allowed to wear them in duty if there is a wildland threat.


Having been part of the trial wear in 2010-11(ish ?), I can tell you that they literally had to force us to turn the garments back in! They were comfy, functional,dried faster,stayed cooler, ergonomics were better.

Working temps and wicking were amazing( synthetic undergarments including socks were provided). Cooling/wicking was so dramatic, you could get a chill on night fires if you stopped working. Only negative was modifying suppression tacticts. Single layer does not offer as much thermal protection for direct line construction, so we actually had to back off a bit while hot spotting ( maybe not a bad thing)

Maybe the below report can help you.

Pdf link to Homeland Security report on single layer 2014- derived from national wide trials of 2010


Then there was this article.

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t Cal Fire wear their dirty outer pants for the ride home in the engine now anyway? And the part about fires burning hotter now was just silly.


Municipal department. We went single layer a few years ago. Difference is night and day. Feds have been doing it forever and arent burning up in droves as many naysayers would have you believe will happen. Much to be said about be more mobile, not developing as much heat stress and drying quicker. Like everything in the fire service, the pendulum swings and often to the point where we require SO much safety gear we reduce our effectiveness in the process. The other positive to the single layer is the ability to get out if the barn faster, as we allow for wear of our single layer pant as regular uniform pants on approved days. A quick search will show that there have been FAR more heat injuries and deaths than burn related injuries or deaths over the years and of those burn deaths one could also argue that fulll structural turnouts probably wouldnt have made a difference. Just my 2 cents.


This looks interesting. The question will be how breathable these pant will be after working the fireline per shift. On my old Nomex blend pants we use to wear, I could stand them up in the corner after sweating in them on a 24 working a wildland fire. I agree single layer would work, and it seems the Department is proactive buying the first 5 pants. they that that prevent heat stress is proper hydration. that start O dark 30 when you wake up in the morning and throughout the day. The contamination issue at home was a non issue since I washed uniform separately from other laundry, then run a 2% bleach cycle afterwards to decon the washer.


Candid words.

The sac bee article is…well the Sac Bee looks to belittle the department at ANY opportunity. Not a political statement, just look at their archives. So they find any squeeky wheel and run with it. I " Contamination at home"

“Contamination at home” . If this truly is an issue, shame on the wearer. Metaphorically, I have never worn my turnouts home, and few decades on the job has given a few opportunities to do that!

@FireRx. Judging by the profile pic, on C301 you would LOVE single layer. The model I wore for a year and some change.highlights, more athletic fit, gusset in crotch and knees, reinforced knee, leg gauntlet, deeper front pocket, and honestly the cargo pockets are to die for!! (Pocket snack,manifest whatever). And nomex Kevlar blend.
As far as breathability, yes there was some clogging of the material pores from the usual daily offgas lol, but because of the cut and not having a SECOND pair of pants on ,airflow was great.!


Thank you for the information.

May I ask for one more piece of information? What brand pants and shirt are you wearing? I know at least one of you already stated, but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel if you all have already worked this out.


I have a question on this one not having been involved in the official wear trial. Why is CAL FIRE not adopting the teck T-4 shirt along with the single layer pants? I know the official word is that it is Not NFPA compliant with the interm wildland jacket. However if it was good enough for a wear trial and many large LG departments to adopt based on formentioned trials. Seriously this has an odor similar to the feed lots near Kettalman City. Anyone have a strait up solid awnser?


I can’t claim facts for a “solid answer”, but I believe you answered your own question…NFPA “compliance” to a “guideline”
Much like being able to wear mystery ranch packs…MR had to go and change their fasteners to a higher temperature rated buckle for NFPA compliance…then Calfire approved it.
Opinion- it isn’t about wear-ability, or the best for the individual,; it all comes back to liability. And without the NFPA compliance, liability monkey is worn by the agency.

Final example, the two and ONLY two models of wildland approved gloves by the agency…NFPA approved ,but how’s the functiolionality/ dexterity, and comfort? Could the bulkiness cause saftey hazards? Is there more comfortable gloves? Yes but not NFPA compliant.


Department said that there was “no empirical data” that the shirt was any safer than the 100% cotton tshirt. This is of course after spending a ton of $$$$ and doing numerous studies… it all came down to $$$. Department didn’t want to up the uniform allowance.


Thats been going on for a long while.