What do you own that costs upward of $10,000 but is fragile enough to break if it’s dropped a few feet onto a hard surface? Unless you’re a collector of Ming vases, antique Waterford crystal, or high-end camera equipment, it’s probably a very short list. But there’s one thing that many military members, law enforcement officers, and shooting enthusiasts wear that fits this category: night vision.

A set of dual-tube night vision goggles (NVGs) can easily set you back $8K to $15K, and this equipment is extremely sensitive to hard impacts, long-term light exposure, and other environmental damage. That doesn’t even include the cost of the related accessories that accompany NVGs — helmet, mount, ear protection, clear eye protection, infrared lights, battery pack, and so on. It’s a substantial investment, so you should protect it accordingly.

I’ve gone through a few different methods of carrying my NVGs over the years, including small soft cases and hard Pelican cases lined with foam. Although these worked fine for the night vision system itself, they still left me with a helmet and pile of accessories I needed to carry separately. But recently, I found a carrying case from OTTE Gear that stows all my NV-related gear in a safe, easy-to-transport package.

  • Make and Model: OTTE Gear V2 OG Helmet Bag w/Nods Box
  • Capacity: Up to an XXL Ops Core ballistic helmet with AMP ear pro attached
  • MSRP: $199
  • URL: ottegear.com

Studio photo of the exterior of the OTTE Gear Helmet Bag V2.

The OG Helmet Bag

Constructed from 500D Cordura nylon sandwiched around a thick layer of closed-cell foam, OTTE Gear’s Helmet Bag is designed to protect a ballistic or bump helmet of any size through XXL. It features a Y-shaped adjustable retention strap that holds your helmet firmly in place inside the bag, and a full-clamshell flap that opens wide to offer easy access to its contents. It’s available in a variety of exterior colors, ranging from the typical black, ranger green, and coyote tan to MultiCam, “chocolate chip” desert camo, and OTTE Gear’s signature Poppies of War pattern. The interior lining is a bright orange 500D Cordura that offers lots of contrast in dimly lit environments.

One inner wall of the OG Helmet Bag is lined with three pockets for small items, such as clear shooting glasses, in-ear hearing protection, chemlights, and spare batteries. The other side is lined with loop material that accepts Velcro-backed accessories like IFF strobes and morale patches. The bottom surface has a small field of PALS webbing for MOLLE-compatible accessories or pouches.

At the back of the bag behind the helmet, there’s a padded divider that fits around a removable OTTE Gear Nods Box — a rectangular zippered case that fits single- or dual-tube night vision, a mount, and other items like batteries or eye pro. The Nods Box has two more adjustable dividers to prevent contents from bouncing around. Both the Helmet Bag and Nods Box are made in the USA.

Studio photo of the interior loadout of OTTE Gear's nvg case.

My Loadout

So, let’s take a quick look at the contents of my OG Helmet Bag. First and foremost is a Team Wendy EXFIL LTP bump helmet (size XL). It’s equipped with a TNVC Mohawk counterweight/battery carrier, as well as a Nitecore NU05-MI USB-rechargeable green/IR strobe on top. The right side rail has an Inforce WMLx Gen 2 white/IR light attached to a Thyrm VariArc swivel mount, providing forward-facing illumination outdoors or upward-facing “umbrella” lighting indoors. The left side has a Streamlight Sidewinder Stalk white/R/G/B/IR admin light.

Stuffed on either side of the helmet in the main compartment, I have a pair of Apex Protective shooting gloves and a set of Gatorz Blastshield ballistic-rated clear shooting glasses. Side pockets contain a few standard chemlights, as well as a Blue Force Gear Marco mini-chemlight dispenser — the latter was designed for LE and MIL users to mark cleared rooms, but it’s also useful for marking shooting positions and obstacles on the range. The last pocket contains a set of SureFire Sonic Defender earplugs.

The double-padded Nods Box contains a set of AGM Global Vision NVG-40 green-phospor night vision goggles, a Wilcox G24 mount, and a few small accessories. There’s a weatherproof Thyrm CellVault loaded with three spare CR123 batteries, plus a SureFire X300V white/IR pistol light that can be swapped onto whichever handgun I bring to the range. Lastly, I have a CR123-powered Fenix CL09 magnetic mini-lantern that can be clipped or stuck near a loading bench or staging area to provide a little red or green light. It’s just enough to make it easier to load mags or clear malfunctions, but not so much light that it interferes with night vision systems.

Studio photo of the contents of OTTE Gear's nvg bag.

Above: Eye and ear protection are a must for any type of firearm training, but nighttime training also requires a variety of white, multicolored, and infrared light sources. I also recommend bringing a set of gloves — cold, numb hands make everything more difficult.

Closing Thoughts

No matter who you are, $10K is a substantial amount to spend. If you’re going to put that kind of money into night vision, you should do everything in your power to keep it safe while it’s in storage or in transit. The OTTE Gear Helmet Bag does just that, while also protecting your helmet and keeping important accessories organized. In addition to the helmet bag, OTTE makes some really nice apparel (like the LV Insulated Hoodie seen in the first photo), utility pouches, chest rigs, and other gear that can make training and range sessions more convenient — day or night.

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Editor's Note: This article has been modified from its original version for the web.

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