Friday Night Lights: Tracer Tactical Head Harness & Nightcap Mods

Nicholas C
by Nicholas C
Photo by Tracer Tactical.

Here we are back together again on this Friday night. Last week we took a look at the exceedingly rare ECOSI. Well, today we will take a look at the new Head Harness from Tracer Tactical. It is a newcomer to the skull crusher, alternate head mounting solution marketplace. We will also revisit the Crye Nightcap and highlight some modifications I have made to it since I reviewed it almost three years ago.

NightVision head mounting solutions @ TFB:

Tracer Tactical Head Harness

Some people find the Crye Nightcap to be too small and uncomfortable. So people like Tracer Tactical made their own Head Harness as a helmet alternative skull crusher, without the crushing. The Tracer Tactical Head Harness is a sort of tactical thong made of nylon webbing and Cordura.

Photo by Tracer Tactical
Photo by Tracer Tactical

The head harness has Velcro and slots for their battery pack pouch.

Photo by Tracer Tactical

Tracer Tactical claims one size fits all. The Head Harness is simpler than the Crye Nightcap. It is just three nylon straps holding the front forehead pad and the rear panel on your head. The bare bones Head Harness does come as you see above. You have to supply your own NVG Shroud but unlike the Crye Nightcap the Head Harness already has holes for a three-hole shroud. You have to drill the holes yourself for a Nightcap

I borrowed the Head Harness below from my friend Alex of Nocorium. It has been upgraded with Tracer Tactical’s chin strap and battery pack strap kit. He also installed a PTS three-hole shroud, the same used on their MTEK Flux helmets.

Here is the battery pack strap kit. I used my Nodpod as a counterweight filled with tungsten carbide weights and some batteries.

It fits rather well. It will also fit the PVS-31 battery pack and similar-sized battery packs.

The chin strap on the head harness is a little bit too simplistic. It does not sit on the chin like a modern helmet chin strap. This is more like a bicycle helmet chin strap which sits behind your chin to help keep it from falling off your head.

I tried to load the head harness with more weight and I definitely felt hot spots at the top of my head. Alex said he can really feel the triglide pressing on his head after a long period of time.

One drawback to the simpler design of the head harness is the lack of wire management. If you are using a night vision device that requires a battery pack, like ANVIS-10 or lightweight binos, then you will need to strap your battery cable to either the headband or the top strap.

There are some unique benefits to the Tracer Tactical Head Harness though. Users have been hacking them with boonie hats. Juan Maldonado modified his head harness with a Multicam boonie to replicate Call of Duty. Is it now a Goonie hat for gooning? LOL

Photo by Juan Maldonado

Bravo Six going dark. He has a boonie cap with panoramic goggles. But he flips them down over the bill of the hat? Well with a modified Head Harness you can do this too.

Screen cap from Call of Duty

Crye Nightcap Modifications

Since I reviewed my Crye Nightcap, I have made some modifications to it. I ditched the three-hole shroud and replaced it with a Wilcox G69. It is a lighter-weight mount than the G24 and that is with the integrated shroud. The G69 is 25% lighter than the G24 and that is not including a shroud for the G24. The only compromise is that it is closer to the head and it is not detachable. The G69 does have a longer arm so the dovetail shoe sticks out further helping to keep your NVGs from pressing against your eye sockets. The G69 also has an integrated Wilcox gear keeper to prevent goggles from dropping on the floor in case they get disconnected from the mount.

Next up, I sewed a loop velcro panel onto the left side of the nightcap.

So I can use the hook velcro mount from my Streamlight Stinger Stalk IR. This gives me a short Arc rail segment to use my Princeton-Tec Charge for an admin light.

I modified my Nitecore NU05MI VIS/IR strobe. I cut the PALS/Molle hook and stuck on adhesive hook velcro. This makes the beacon lower profile.

This next modification is rather recent. I learned about bump cap inserts. They are inexpensive, around $8-$10 each. It is a plastic insert that you can put inside baseball hats to act as bump protection in case you bump your head against something. It is not rated for impacts from falling or flying objects but it is some added protection – like if you are going through brush and a branch pokes you, it won’t hurt or if you are in confined spaces and hit your head against the low ceiling.

I had to trim the right side rear section. There is stitching in the sweatband for the head adjustment strap. This interferes with the bump cap insert. So it was a simple matter of cutting away the plastic insert to clear that sealed-off section.

The last modification is thanks to my friends telling me about it. You replace the nightcap chin strap with an Ops-Core Improved ACH H-Nape chin strap. You can find them brand new for $20 on eBay.

The ACH chin strap has these plastic pieces at the ends of the straps.

Open the strap so you can see the back side of the plastic part.

With a pair of snips, cut this bar off so you can remove the plastic part from the strap.

The Nightcap has metal hoops. Push the metal bar around to expose the split in the metal hoop. Using pliers, bend the metal so you can remove the factory chin strap. Install the improved H-Nape chin strap and close the metal hoops.

Now with the improved chin strap, I have a lot more adjustment in the chin strap. I have to tighten it all the way to fit my head. But if I lend this to someone with a large and tall head, it will fit them better.

You do not have to install the H-nape. But I left it on to see how it feels. And it feels great.

Apparently, you can modify a Crye Nightcap with a boonie hat as well.

Photo by Tactical Waffles

Finally Thoughts On The Head Harness

The Head Harness retails for $99.95. If you want the chin strap add $16.95. Surprisingly, the battery pack strap kit is cheap at just $9.95. That is a total of $126.85 and that does not include the cost of the NVG shroud. You can pre-order the complete kit and you save $0.90. That is isn’t too pricey but you can get the Crye nightcap for $73 on TNVC. Add the counterweight pouch for an additional $23.50. You are at just $96.50.

The Nightcap is a lot easier to adjust than the Head Harness. Just put it on your head and either tighten the straps or loosen them. The Tracer Tactical Head Harness takes a bit of time adjusting it for other people. You have to unfasten the straps, adjust the triglides and when you find the sweet spot you have to stop and tighten everything back down. For more information on the Head Harness, go on over to Tracer Tactical’s website.

Nicholas C
Nicholas C

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Join the conversation
  • Will Will on Jul 14, 2023

    So is the Tracer Tactical Head Harness more comfortable to wear than an unmodified Crye Nightcap with a set of binos (21oz)?

    The main issue I had with Crye Nightcap is that it is mostly unusable while wearing prescription eyeglasses. The two straps when clipped in tend of crush the eyeglasses frame into the side of my face.

    • See 6 previous
    • Nicholas C Nicholas C on Jul 17, 2023

      @Will Possibly it is because the chinstraps on the nightcap start off already touching the side of your head/skin.

      On a helmet they are spaced out a bit due to the thickness of the helmet. There should be a small gap between the straps, near the edge of the helmet, and your skin.

  • Dave Dave on Jul 14, 2023

    Bought a Nightcap.

    It's built to fit a four year old.

    Sent it back.

    • See 8 previous
    • XM1A2A XM1A2A on Jul 19, 2023

      @Nicholas C Backstory: the clip shown is from a batch I designed and ordered, 12 years ago, to probe an emerging, networked, cloud-based, manufacturing industry on how well they not only manufacture designs from technical drawings but also protect the privacy of and private information from clients.

      I threw together a CAD drawing, uploaded it, selected the materials, quantities and post-processing, and within 5 minutes, got a bunch of quotes from 20 manufacturers. I found this really impressive, especially since I had selected an exotic titanium alloy, with CNC machining, vapor honing of the metal finish, heat treatment, powder-coating and even manufacture of the springs and pins plus their installation by the manufacturer — along with a post-production inspection report on the dimensional accuracy and material, structural strength as tested and measured by sampling interval.

      The quoted costs were something like 1/100th what a traditional prototype to production engineering operation would charge, so I said “what the heck” and went with an order.

      It was insane how fast everything was done. There was some minor back-and-forth on the CAD drawing I had submitted, but we squared those in a couple days. When I went to check the status of my order 1.5 weeks later, the on-line system said that my order had completed production and had been shipped two days before. It literally arrived at my office a couple hours later that day.

      The parts were fantastic, 100% to spec. Now, I just needed to see what would happen to my drawings. I asked for them to be destroyed, and the manufacturer confirmed the destruction. However, I purposefully did not request for them to sign an NDA prior to submitting my order.

      A few months later, these micro-carabiner clips on my exact drawings and specifications started showing up everywhere, produced by XYZ manufacturing companies in - you know where. Lol

      You can now buy these “pirated” copies in aluminum and steel from Amazon, Alibaba, etc. I cannot vouch for their material strength or production quality, but unless made of pot metal castings, they should be much stronger than the application requires for retaining head-straps. Just search on “micro carabiner” or “mini carabiner” and they should turn up.

      I use my original batch of titanium alloy, mini-carabiners for attaching suspenders and rigging to MOLLE war belts of my custom designs.