It is actually your Militia Commander's job to ensure that you've got shelter and food - so what gear should you really worry about packing when you're going off to war?
Press Play - Militia Turnout Gear
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Indefinite Turnout Bag(s)
I'm going to start with the longest turnout because it is the easiest one to cover. So what gear should you pack? Everything!
By that same token, you'll need to use more than one bag in order to fit all your gear that you need to bring. Certainly don't forget to include civies so you don't stand out like a sore thumb when you go into town.
Considering that you're going to be packing for a long time, don't forget to plan for all weather types. This includes spring, summer, winter and fall. Not to mention dry and wet weather.
Note: In the army, it wasn't unusual for a single soldier to have 4 bags and/or tack boxes or gear packed for a long term callout.
For a detailed list of what gear to pack, I recommend you download my free checklist: Free Checklist: Militia Turnout Gear - Tackleberry Solutions
Planning For Your Biggest Enemy
Believe it or not, the hardest thing you're going to have to fight when you head off to war is boredom. Don't forget to pack something for you to do on your downtime. Even a deck of cards can help you pass the day if you're worried about the weight of your gear.
1 - 3 Day Gear
If your militia is only going to be out for 1 - 3 days - there is a lot of gear that you can totally leave out. The beautiful thing about such a short turn, is that you can get by without certain things that would otherwise weigh down your pack.
Generally speaking, you won't need a lot of clothes. You could certainly get away with wearing the same outfit so long as it stays dry. Furthermore, if you want to be really gross, you could totally leave out the toothbrush and toothpaste.
That being said, don't forget to have a dry set of clothes on hand. Most importantly, don't forget to include extra socks and a dry pair of boots in your gear. Jungle rot and athlete's foot are not fun when your feet get wet.
Above Standard Gear
Aside from the standard gear (poncho, fire starters, water purifier, etc.) you're going to want to pack a flex-j. Why? Because if you get separated from your group, you can hoist up the flex-j and double your range of communication.
Other Uncommon Essentials:
- Batteries for Optics, NODs, etc.
The 4 Standard Essentials
When you are setting up your 1 -3 day bag, there are 4 essential factors that you need to be prepare for.
This leads me to the last thing that I would have in my pack is an emergency 72 hour food kit.
Tip: I do NOT recommend using MREs as your food supply. It is not real food.
No Sleep System
I wouldn't worry so much about a sleep system when you pack your gear. Why? Because you'll either be on the lamb & running or sleeping in a truck or a building that you've taken.
All of that is supposed to be handled by your commander.
3 - 14 Day Pack
Think of something like a ruck sack. You might be able to condense it down to a mid-ruck. However, you're definitely going to want a ruck of some kind. Furthermore, this is not going to be a pack that you'll be able to carry with you in and through the battle.
With a Sleep System
You're still going to cover your 4 basic essentials. The difference here is that you'll be focusing more on your shelter since you'll be gone longer. Likewise your going to want to have a sleep system that is appropriate for the current weather. I recommend Tennier Industries.
Socks, Socks and More Socks
In this pack, you're going to want to have a change of clothes for 3 days. This gives you something to wear while you're washing your other clothes. However, your primary focus is going to be your feet.
By that same token, I recommend that you pack an extra set of dry boots and tons of socks (6 - 9 pairs is a good goal.)
Hot Spots, Blisters and Masking Tape
The little things will drive you crazy. Not to mention that it is the little things that can become the big things. If you're going to be out of the wire for some time, you need to account for those common discomforts that come along with hard work and a long march.
Believe it or not, Vaseline is a life-saver for hot spots and masking tape will save your blistered feet. Don't forget to include the small things like that. They could make your life so much easier.
By the time your done, your pack should way about 50 - 60 pounds (I have gone as high as 70.) Again, the weight will vary depending upon the time of year. Obviously your going to have more survival gear in the winter and pack more water in the summer.
Oh, and don't forget the socks! 😉