The standard military operating procedure isn’t always right for everyone. Sometimes all that gear can be a hindrance to the mission. Learning to balance your field equipment and to carry only the essentials is a necessity of a soldier. It can take years of experience to fully determine what you really need and what you can leave behind. This article gives you five tips you can use in the field that will help you improve your overall performance. Law enforcement personnel and militia groups can also benefit from this information.
- Bump Helmet– Standard ACH can weigh around 5lbs when fully assembled. Using a bump helmet (approx 1.5 lbs) can reduce the weight and help prevent headaches and fatigue. Neither is bulletproof. The ballistic ACH only help deflect bullets. And as always body armor is for when you screw up, not to hide behind.
- Therma Cell– Cost around $20 and work great. It uses Butane to heat a scented pad. Good news is the fragrance is only noticeable when your approx 3 ft away. This also gives you an area of protection of 10’-15’ radius. Perfect for when you’re in your hide. The scent is faint enough that it will limit detection and thus keep you from being compromised by scent. I’ve used these in swamp lands with mosquitoes so thick they formed a wall. My Therma Cell is the only reason I didn’t go nuts. It keeps them all at bay the whole time we were out there. It works rain, sleet, or shine. I’ve been really impressed with these devices.
- Brush Sheers– As you can tell from the video I keep a pair of brush sheers in my flick. You can pick them up at your local hardware store. When working in thickly vegetated areas this will help you work your way through briers and other vegetation. It’s a lot quieter than a machete and requires less energy to use. Just be sure not to blaze a path a blind man can follow.
- Weight distribution– When setting up your plate carrier; be sure to spread out the weight. A lot of soldiers are suffering from back issues these days. Most of it is because we are carrying so much weight and no one has shown us how to distribute it properly. Take a 3-mile jog with your gear and that will tell you the quickest what needs to be adjusted and where. I run 6 mags on my plate carrier. 3 in the rear facing down so I can get to them quickly, and three in the front. I draw from the rear first. This gives my plate carrier a nice even balance. Think of it like loading a pack mule or a motorcycle. You wouldn’t put all the heavy crap on one side, would you? Try and make sure the back of your carrier is flat so if you have to throw on a pack it won’t affect you as much. However, if you’re rucking with a full-size rucksack, this set up may not work for you. Also if you’re running you pistol on your hip (which is what I’ve found to be the most comfortable for long-term carrying) be sure to keep that side of your plate carrier clear. You don’t want anything slowing you down in getting that pistol out. Bottom line, be smart and move stuff around till you find out what works for you. And remember to take a jog with your gear. If you think you’re going to walk into combat and not run, you’re very misinformed.
- Tarp – Every combat soldier should be familiar with making a hooch out of their poncho. Problem is that the poncho is too small and it leaves your feet and pack in the rain. Try packing a small tarp. I picked mine up for $7. It gives me almost triple the room of a poncho. And it also frees up my poncho so I can wear it while on patrol. It weights about the same thing as the poncho even though it’s 2 to 3 times bigger. And can roll up to fit inside your sleeping roll/Pt mat. It doesn’t take up any extra room. I’ve used one several times and it’s always performed well. It is a little bit noisier in the wind but doesn’t have the hole in the middle like your poncho. Try it out and see what you think, chances are you’ve wasted more than $7.00 in your lifetime.
No matter what you do, you have to test your gear and see if it works. Don’t wait until the next time you go to the field or when you have no choice. Test everything like you stole it and see if it works and if it will hold up. Just remember ounces=lbs and lbs =pain, and the “Good Idea Fairy” is never in “THE SUCK” with you.
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