Showing posts with label Level 3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Level 3. Show all posts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bug Out Bag Repacking

For the sake of simplicity I try to have a minimal amount of systems. EDC, my fighting load which is layered and somewhat modular and my bug out bag. The heavy bug out set up is not really formed into a system per se. That is on my to do list.

My bug out bag lives in the back of my jeep. That does a few things for me. First it removes the need for an additional 'get home bag' which would be yet another system to fill with redundant gear and keep track of. Second and maybe more importantly it gets my BOB out of the house so I have some redundancy there. Third if I had to haul butt what I would do is jump in the jeep and go anyway so why have another thing to load. 

I should probably further define my goals from this bag. My goal is to be able to sustain and move through an urban or small town environment in order to get home or out of danger. What it is not: some kind of wilderness survival bag or military ruck sack aka sustainment load. Why? Well I'm not going to run off into the woods to try to make a cabin an eat squirrels n stuff. I'm either going to be trying to get home, hold up till I can get home or get safely out of some sort of danger. If getting out of danger I'll most likely end up in a Motel 6 a town or a couple hundred miles away depending on the event. Also my bag isn't especially like an infantrymens sustainment load (though there are commonalities) because in my civilian capacity being realistic I am unlikely to do anything like that.

It weights in at 32 pounds with 1 quart of water so 30 dry. Has a full change of clothes, sleep stuff (one module is my impromptu overnight kit aka hoe bag), couple days of food, medical, water filtration, etc.

A downside of it living in my car is I won't keep really high value stuff like cash, pms, my NOD, etc in it. That stuff is packed in a small book bag in the safe. Unless I get a much more secure way of storing stuff in my car like a truck vault which at $1,500 isn't happening soon, or the risk on a oven day goes up it will stay in the safe. Not perfect but such is life.

Notes for myself.

Need to add but couldn't readily find in my place:
-10 meter roll of 550 cord/ duct tape

Need to buy, realistically doable:
- Poncho (I'm on the fence about this)
- Kansas and Missouri state maps
- Burner phone x 2
- Phone charger cord
- Encrypted thumb drive
- Water purification tablets

Wish list aka too expensive to just go get or illegal:
- Lots and lots of cash
- Several fake ids with drivers license, SSN card, passport, etc.
- 9mm silencer
- Dedicated Glock 19 and a folding stock AK. ( AK because with a folding stock I can slip it in a small bag like a cheapo collapsible chair bag and strap it on the side of my BOB). Cost and security are issues here.
- NOD dedicated to BOB
- FLIR
- Small battery charger for above
- Fake mustaches

What's in your BOB? What creative ideas have you used to solve problems with finances and legal limitations?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RE: Max Velocity Gear: Patrol Packs & Sustainment Loads

A valid post worth thinking about.

Many people speak of these huge bags and it is very clear they aren't ever actually carrying them.

It is so easy to just say 'more, more' and keep adding on stuff. Actually carrying the bag is a good counter to that train of thought.

The balance between weight and redundancy in important areas is a hard one. Having complimentary items in different layers of a system is the answer I like. Maybe a folding knife in your pocket and a fixed blade in a fighting load.

The right gear/ logistical set up for a given situation always varies a little bit. Still a well thought out kit will be mostly the right answer. It is too easy to add another days food or slim down the shelter, etc as needed.




Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Importance of Inspecting Bags

These days my Rucksack just stays packed. We do not go to the field every other week or something but I use it for road marching once a week and just like to keep it ready to go. At this stage in my career I have accumulated enough spare socks/ t shirts/ etc that the ones in my ruck can just stay there. For the latest round of field time I almost just grabbed my ruck and took off. Decided it would be a good idea to look in it and I am glad I did.

I was missing a couple key things:

For whatever reason I didn't have a sleeping bag or a woobie or anything like that. Granted this is Louisiana in the dog days of summer so the gore tex bivy could have worked and just sleeping in my clothes would have kept me alive but some sort of insulation makes for a comfortable sleep. I put in my HPG Mountain Serape.

Also for reasons that escape me I have one pair of socks in my bag and they were mid weight and made of wool. When I took out the rest of the winter module I must have missed them. While wool can be worn in any season all but the lightest garments are punishing in this heat. I kept that pair of socks and added 3 lighter pair.

There was a bottle of anti inflamatory pain killers in my ruck. The gel tablets had melted together into a big ball. So those need to be replaced with non gel tablets. 

Those additions made my ruck pass a quick initial inspection.

During the field problem I identified the lack of a medical kit in my ruck as an issue. Granted there is one in my level 2.5 get home bag but that was not with me. Need to add at least a basic boo boo kit. Those supplies can back fill stuff in my level 2.5 GHB when they are used together. Picked up the stuff for a boo boo kit today.

The point is not to assume. For systems you use semi regularly you really need to inspect them /at some interval, and before every major use.

Thoughts?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Many Survival Bags/ Kits Do You Need?

This video brought the question up and I got to thinking

Personally I have two. I have a level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag (old bag shown as the new one is pending a post) and a bug out bag. We also have some stuff in the family hauler and there is a BOB for Wifey. I don't really plan on adding any more kits unless they are for caches. A cache like Meisters 'Minute Man Cache with a rifle, pistol and BOB would be awesome.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From Around The Web and Trimming Pack Weight

Fer FAL's 12 Survival Lessons from the Ukraine is definitely worth reading

T Blog did a post on trimming pack weight.I have a few thoughts on this. In no particular order.

-When it comes to weight it is important to talk apples and apples.

          -I weigh my ruck dry as in without water. Of course total weight including water (wet) matters but since water is rapidly consumed then replaced I find 'dry' a more meaningful number. 

         - We also have to get on the same page as to concept of use. Since the BOB/ level 3 sustainment load is pretty ambiguous the question of how amounts of consumables, specifically food, matters. Of course a bag set up to feed a person for 5 days is going to weigh more than one designed for 2 days.

-40 pounds coming up as the number some D Boys settled on is interesting. My BOB/ level 3 sustainment load comes in a shade under 40 pounds (dry, 37 if I recall) and if I recall John Mosby's is in the same general weight range.

-The snugpack is a pretty cool little setup. I would like one for my level 2.5 bag and since they are a shade under $60 it is an easy decision.


-Cutting weight on individual items is a good plan so long as it does not compromise capabilities you want/ need.  For example swapping a 5" full tang knife for a smaller 3", lighter full tang knife would save weight with negligible capability loss. On the other hand going to a Mora would mean the fixed blade knife would have few capabilities beyond my EDC benchmade.

-Weight of food is notable. Also specifically for the little Tactical Tailor bag I bought bulk matters. I am looking at revisiting my food plan for this bag with some protein bars that are calorie dense and some freeze dried stuff for actual meals.

-My level 2.5 bag is sitting at 17 pound dry. I would like to get it into the 13-15 pound range. Will do some more shaving and then post a contents list.

-Oleg Volk did an interesting post on pistol caliber carbines. The 5.56 pistol is discussed.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eureka!!! Potential Battle Belt and Sustainment Load Solution

I was about at the end of my battle belt journey. Was looking at transitioning to a pistol belt with my Costa Leg Rig (review coming whenever I get to it) and a chest rig like the Blackhawk one I got some time back in order to transition away from the ALICE pack. My two biggest issues with the battle belt concept were that I wanted to carry a modern reasonably comfortable ruck and the whole vehicle problem.

For some reason this weekend I got to thinking "I wonder if just maybe my battle belt will work with an issue MOLLE ruck?" Since there was one in my garage I figured it wouldn't cost anything to try. TURNS OUT IT DID!!! The ruck was just squat enough to work and the hip belt/ pad (the problem I had with more modern civilian type bags) was thin enough not to get in the way. This had potential.

Yesterday I took the combination out for a quick little ruck and it worked fine. It wasn't conclusive because my ruck wasn't really loaded, it just had whatever happened to be in there.

Fast forward to today and I put all of my gear into the issue Multicam ruck that was just sitting in the garage. Took it out and did an easy little 20 minute ruck and the combination worked good. My battle belt and the ruck worked well for the most part.

The issue of vehicle use is still present but I can't see too many situations in a civilian emergency context where I would want to wear a battle belt and be driving around.

That means the battle belt is going to stick around. Since I am wearing it low (to clear a ruck and or PC) and relying on suspenders I might as well up the mag count. Also my Safariland 6285 holster doesn't really work in this context. It really needs a tighter belt to be able to get a decent draw out of. So the holster isn't really working well and it monopolizes a ton of MOLLE space. Also the suspenders are not really working for this (heavier than originally planned) concept.

I went back and looked at Max Velocities battle belt for inspiration. Think I am going to change my belt over to be a lot more like his. I will transition to a Condor Tactical H- Harness and add a 4-6 m mags worth of 2 mag shingles (or maybe 3 mag ones) to boost the mag count to about 10. Also plan to change to a basic Condor holster. The sacrifice is I'll have to ditch the light on the pistol to make this work.

[Note the reason  I am leaning towards Condor is it's servicable and affordable enough to experiment and maybe end up tossing items in the 'random gear' box without going broke. I've probably bought too much expensive high end gear for the project without getting my hands on it first. Might just do a garage sale.]

Anyway that is where I stand with things today.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Interesting Discussion on Assault Pack Sized Systems and Rucks at TEOTWAWKI Blog

TEOTWAWKI Blog has been discussing different types of sustainment type systems of the smaller 'assault pack' type as well as the larger more traditional ruck sack type ones. I discussed this general topic not too long ago in

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited 

and before that with

Field Gear, Fighting Loads, Assault Packs and Bringing It All Together

so you can see my thoughts. Now for the T Blog posts; Bug out Bags and Vehicles which led to Bug Out Bag discussion continued. The second post went a long way to clarify the thoughts of the original post.

The T blog definition of "bug out bag" falls into my level 2.5 umbrella.  These bags are certainly handy. They are small/ light enough to be handy and come everywhere with you. They can reasonably (minus water) sustain a person for a couple days under most conditions. Even if the consumables are expended the tools and gear can be useful even if your tummy is grumbling.

These bags really fall short when they run out of consumables. Not an issue for a fairly limited scenario, like say making the 30 mile trek home if you cannot drive, but if the scenario is more open ended it is obviously problematic. Also these bags are entirely inadequate for cold weather as they do not contain sufficient cold weather gear or a genuine cold weather sleeping bag. I hesitate to give an exact temp but certainly 32 degrees and probably upwards to 40ish though the environment and what people are used to matters a lot.


A full sized hiking/ backpacking type backpack or as many many military types would call it a ruck is larger than any of the level 2.5 assault pack type systems though not necessarily that much so. These type bags have been used by many different groups from the military, hunters and of late recreational outdoorsmen for a long time. In the last 50 years or so generally have some manner of a frame and more robust padding to help support the weight of the bag.

These bags offer the capacity to hold more stuff than smaller bags. This means larger and more robust tools as well as more consumables and better clothing/ shelter options. These bags will let you survive much more comfortably and for a longer period than smaller systems.  My BOB list can be seen here.

It is worth noting the two types of systems we have described are points along a spectrum. A 20 pound assault pack is going to be different than a 40 pound ruck which would be different from a 75 pound ruck. Generally speaking along the ruck lines I find a pretty sweet spot in the 37-47 pound range where you have most of the capabilities of a real sustainment load without being too heavy/ bulky/ cumbersome.

On the discussion of using the two together. Currently my two bags are set up to use separately. One is in my vehicle and the other is with our survival stuff. If I were to transition to using them both together I would need to do a marriage style combination of stuff and then put the newly redundant stuff towards another purpose. Or I could just make it easy and get a basic earth tone type backpack to toss into my ruck empty (note I have a bag that work work for this). The right answer is that my ruck should include a dedicated smaller bag with a modest amount of well thought out stuff in it to use for short day trips if I leave the ruck in a base camp or temporarily cache it.

Anyway I hope this discussion has given you something to think about.










Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited

I tend to break down these different loads into the fairly well recognized 3 tired system (level 1 survival, level 2 fighting and level 3 sustainment). The primary reason I do this is that due to a lack of common vocabulary different names such as get home bag, assault pack, bug out bag, etc all mean drastically different things to different people. The end result is that unless a common terminology is established we are talking apples, oranges and potatoes instead of apples and apples.

The day pack/ assault pack arena really muddles the waters. Personally I bend convention and call them level 2.5 because they do not cleanly fit in either category. Depending on the use they may be an extension of a fighting load to carry stuff that does not fit in a LBE/ Chest Rig/ whatever or special equipment. This might be machine gun ammo or a spotting scope or whatever. On the other hand this might be a light sustainment setup with a few snacks and a jacket, some extra water and a poncho/ poncho liner to roll up in. Often the load in these bags is some combination of the two or a
murky in the middle item. Anyway right or wrong I call this assault pack range level 2.5.

In recent discussions I have talked about overall tiered gear and specifically my level 2.5 bag a couple of notable comments came up. Specifically I recall comments by River Rider and Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog.

The main point of their comments was that both ended up going with smaller lighter sustainment setups more akin to my level 2.5 'assault pack' than a larger more traditional rucksack. River Rider mentioned weight as an issue and that he was not as young as he used to be. Alexander Wolfe mentioned the speed of lighter systems and leveraging modern technology to get similar capabilities
(to larger/ heavier items) in smaller and lighter packages. Note I do not mean to disparage either of these fine individuals or their ideas even though we might not agree on everything. It is more that I want to talk about the pro's and con's of lighter vs heavier sustainment loads in no small part because the idea has been stuck in my head for two days.

Personally I went through this struggle myself about 2 years back. I was trying to come up with a 'be all end all' system that covered the capabilities I needed yet was still relatively light and easy to carry. I ended up with more or less the worst of both worlds in a pack that weighted close to 30 pounds but did not really fill all of my goals. To complicate matters I tried to do it in a frame less 'assault pack'. It just didn't work.

The end result is that I personally moved to two different sustainment systems in the form of the level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag and a true level 3 Rucksack. Furthermore for my concept of use these bags need to be more independent than purely tiered. So instead of items existing in my BOB
and flexing to the assault pack as needed, the pure tiered approach, there is a decent amount of redundancy between the two systems. The reason for this is the lighter level 2.5 bag is compact enough that it often comes with me and is not a hassle to haul around. If I were to start using them together I would likely need to do a marriage style combining of stuff then leave behind/ trade off/ etc the left over redundant items. [I suppose another option would be to treat the level 2.5 bag as an offset of the ruck and get a simple little backpack to roll up and stick in my level 3 bag as it's companion assault pack. Not a bad idea really. Might just do that next time I see a cheap but decent earth tone day pack. Think Chris mentioned something like that] Basically in realizing a system could not meet the top end of capabilities and stay within a weight range that was conducive to moving as fast as I might want to in some situations.

This brings up an interesting point. Weight gives you (at least the ability to have) more capabilities but it also slows you down. If this push pull relationship is not handled carefully you can get to a feedback loop where you are slower so the trip will take longer and since the trip is longer you
need more stuff.

It can be said that you want to pack a certain system/ bag with a specific scenario in mind. In the survivalist speak you could say a bug out bag needs to be designed specifically for the scenario in terms of range, climate, etc it is to be used in. Obviously a long distance trucker driving across the
northern Midwest needs very different gear than a person who lives in Florida and works 4 blocks from home. An individual scenario needs to be taken into account. However I have some concerns that 'if it fits your scenario' can be taken in silly directions and becomes the system equivalent of 'shooters preference' run amok or the tactical equivalent of "everyone gets a trophy" no matter how uninformed or even stupid their setup is. Generally speaking right answers from different smart people look a whole lot alike which sort of goes against the "whatever fits your scenario" argument.

For a specific discrete event it would make sense to look at your kit to add or remove items as needed, obviously within reason. However I find that, especially for kits/bags/systems regularly carried for contingencies, this could rapidly become onerous. I am not going to dump my level 2 bag every day based on the days plans. "Well, I will need to add 2 granola bars for today because I am going an extra 5 miles from home, it is warm outside so I do not need a jacket, yadda, yadda, yadda." That is just not realistic. Honestly if I replace stuff that gets used, make sure nothing goes bad and do the seasonal gear shift I'm doing well. I find that coming up with a solid plan that fills my general perceived needs and just sticking with it is probably the best option for normal every day stuff.

To the discussion of your more assault type bags vs a full sized ruck/ hiking backpack:

In general it is important to prepare not only for the conditions you plan to face but those you could reasonably face. This means more food, clothing, tools and equipment than you know you will need.

Case in point: The winter before last I was hiking up in the Huachuca Mountains kind of a scenic work out as I was carrying my BOB. At the time I was alone in the house and it was a Saturday afternoon. It started to rain then snow. As I was jumping rock to rock across a tributary I casually wondered "what will happen if I break my ankle right now?" There was no way I could get out on one leg. The answer was that in two or three days I would have be found. They would have found me with a nice shelter set up laying in my sleeping bag by a fire, probably sipping a hot beverage and playing solitaire. With a 20 pound assault pack I would have been alive but cold, hungry and pretty unhappy.

Bigger heavier systems are going to have more capabilities than smaller ones assuming you make semi reasonable choices for stuff. It is true leveraging newer lighter items and dual use stuff helps.
However without ridiculously gaming the scenario those gains are not that enormous. The gaps I find most problematic in smaller systems in order are lack of cold weather clothing/ shelter, lack of provisions and lack of tools. Along this line you can get away with a lot lighter systems in warmer
areas. Valid points can be made about the need for some of this stuff. However there is danger of going down the 'capabilities' slippery slope where folks say 'well I have a cutting tool' and somehow convince their self a razor blade has the same capabilities as a full tang 8" survival knife and an ax or that a little tin foil emergency blanket 'shelter' the equivalent to a Swack Shack and a military sleep system.

The consideration of speed/ ease of movement certainly favors lighter systems. I agree with this if it makes sense for the scenario (vs a bigger system with more capabilities). To me in this context making sense would be that the lighter bag meets your perceived needs with a reasonable margin for
error.

I guess my biggest reservations about the smaller sustainment load are a) it is not a replacement for a heavier sustainment load for a variety of realistic situations, especially in cold weather and b) that it could be chosen not because it is the right fit but because it is easier to carry around.

We should not discount the idea of using a larger bag and leaving it in camp, an ORP or caching it for the times we need to move faster. This might let you use a smaller bag in more of a traditional assault pack role filling it up with the items you will need for that day or maybe overnight scout.
Inevitably the 'but a ruck is heavy!" whine comes out. The answer is physical fitness in general and with a particular focus on moving over ground in general and carrying a load. Also while it is not nice to say if you lose 20 pounds of excess butt and or belly that 20 pounds of food/ clothes/ gear you could carry for the same amount of effort. Unfortunately less fit people do not somehow magically require less food/ clothes/ gear than fit people do. Bear this in mind when considering your body weight and physical fitness level.

Like I mentioned earlier I ended up with sustainment type systems in both of these loose categories. To which one I pick for a specific situation there is sort of a loose decision making/ risk assessment, most of the time I choose the smaller of the two. The bigger bag tends to come out when I am
going way out into the hinter boonies or in winter. 

Thoughts?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Battle Belt and Level 2 Thinking Revisited

I am reviewing a battle belt package setup for a guy. More info will come about that later and for the sake of the rest of this post it isn't really important, except that it got me onto the topic of battle belts.

The MOLLE fun and comfort of these has taken off in recent years. Some folks run a battle belt like a big foamy pistol belt with just a couple mags on it. Others like Max Velocity use them as a new school LBE. Mine, which I am too lazy to find a good picture of is sort of in the middle.

Carrying your equipment around the waistline held up mostly by the shoulders is probably the most comfortable overall option. However it comes with couple real limiting factors. This option is, in all but the lightest pistol belt like configurations, is unanimously voted to be a an uncomfortable, and in some cases even physically impossible option for vehicle based operations. It is difficult to get in and out of a vehicle, buckle up, move inside, etc with a huge ole tire of gear around your waist.  Not something you would want to do then spend hours in a vehicle day in, day out. Less frequently mentioned is the disadvantage in urban operations. Try climbing through a window with a big ole LBE/ battle belt around your waistline. Additionally the added width makes you more likely to get snagged/ caught up on stuff moving through buildings.

Another issue with the battle belt is that, for most people, it limits your options in terms of backpacks that can be carried.  For level  2.5 day pack/ assault packs pretty much any option works fine.  However for level 3 sustainment loads the only real widely available option is the ALICE. Note that I said for most people here; obviously individual load out's and body types matter here.

So while I really like the battle belt, or as I prefer to call it war belt, for dismounted patrolling and with a level 2.5 load it sucks for being in and around vehicles and is at a disadvantage if you are truly living out of a ruck. The more I think about it the more I am less and less certain this should be my primary fighting load. Honestly it sort of feels like it could be more of a nitche piece of gear.

 We talked about this awhile back. In the meantime I built a battle belt. What has made me rethink previous potions?

Honestly I am really tired of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. To be more clear I am tired of trying to jerry rig and work around the inherent limitations of the ALICE pack. Not saying they are exactly a bad pack, lack of comfortable aside, just that they are what 1960's technology? Lots of things have come a long way since then in terms of materials, fasteners and ergonomics

So what does that leave me for options. I can't claim credit for this concept as I stole it from John Mosby.

-Something along the way of a pistol belt with a couple reloads and a knife. This is really the wild card. I have a cobbled together setup now. If I were to have a system show up at my door tomorrow it would be an Endom MM belt, a Costa Leg Rig (reviewed by TEOTWAWKI Blog), a  Safariland drop holster or at least for awhile the Safariland 6125 I already own and a pair of very light/ thin suspenders.  Somehow or another I will slap a knife on there. The concept is to have what I would call an enhanced level 1 load in a package that can work with a real decent backpack. I don't think the suspenders would be needed for weight but to let me drop the belt an inch or so and to hypothetically prevent the darn thing from maybe falling around my ankles if I moved a certain way or whatever.

-Chest rig, probably the Blackhawk one I already have.

-Stripped plate carrier

-Some sort of a new, yet to be purchased, backpack to haul my sustainment gear.

The end result would be a scalable, vehicle compatible setup that allows the use of a quality modern pack. Or that is the goal anyway. It is good to have goals.

So that is where I sit with all of this stuff today. Likely in the near future I will put some money where my mouth is. Thankfully I own many of the components listed so this setup could be elevated from pieced together to fairly intentional for $150ish.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a really productive week here. I packed away all the 7.62x39, 5.56, 9mm and 12 gauge ammo that has been accumulated over the last few months into ammo cans and updated the inventories. Over the years I have learned to do it all at once. I put the ammo into cans, write the contents on a piece of tape on the side with a market, update my inventories, throw in some silica gel and am it's all done. Not doing it this way seems to mean some part of the process gets messed up.

This time I had a few silica gel packs from something that got shipped to us. Recharged them in the oven and they were good to go. You can buy the silica gel packs for a very reasonable price if a free source does not appear. I have also used silica gel cat litter before (though I would absolutely not do so for food or food related products). This step is arguably not necessary but it makes me more comfortable so I do it on everything that is not sealed from the factory or in a spam can.

Also reorganized my level 2.5 gear (assault pack/ get home bag) and bug out bag AKA level 3 sustainment load. Some was an adjustment to a more summer load with fewer warm clothes as it is unlikely I will wear wool gloves or a heavy sweater here in Louisianian for awhile. Another component was balancing the two setups which are in theory complimentary to each other. Big fun was had.

Relooked my vehicle setup too. Tossed out some less useful things for our current situation and added some more that fill holes. Also a way to bring preparedness into cleaning out a vehicle.

Also started the garden. It is later than is ideal but is due to circumstances beyond our control. Still good to get it moving. We are looking at getting a coop and chickens with part of our tax refund.

So what did you do to prepare this week?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Field Gear, Fighting Loads, Assault Packs and Bringing It All Together

Max Velocity talks rucks, kiddie book bags assault packs and battle belts. Good stuff.

We could quibble between different types of gear and methodologies associated with them. At the end of the day you need a fighting load (level 2) and a sustainment load (level 3) that work together. Basically this means if you use a battle belt you are stuck, by process of elimination, with a short fat ruck that clears the belt. This is best personified in the ALICE system. On the other hand if you want to carry a longer type mountain climbing/ civilian backpacking bag with a big thick waist belt it ain't gonna work with a Battle Belt. With a civilian type backpacking bag you are really limited to some sort of chest rig or assault vest type setup. I'm not saying you must use this setup or that. The point I'm trying to make is that your gear has to be able to work together.

The ALICE is not a comfortable pack to carry. They will never be as comfortable as a quality commercial type hiking bag but still the ALICE isn't like dragging around a Crucifix or something. Get it out on the road or trails, become used to it and big momma ALICE will treat you just fine. Also since they are routinely available for under $40, slightly modular and absolutely hell for stout the ALICE brings something to the game.

As to shack assault packs. You can in theory fully load these and attach them to a ruck but I haven't seen that out in the woods. Honestly folks do that if they are carrying their gear a couple hundred feet from the truck to camp. The weight, even more if you are wearing a plate carrier, would just be too heavy to do much of anything.

Personally the way I go with this one in conventional light infantry operations is to leave the assault pack mostly empty. If it doesn't weight anything you could just crush it up and secure it wherever makes the most sense. I might keep a couple spare mags, a few granola bars and a poncho/ gore tex or whatever in there but that's about it. First of all this keeps my total load weight under control. Second it gives me a lot of options. I could fill it with machine gun ammo for a raid or optics n stuff for a recon or whatever.

In a vehicle based or localized patrolling situation I use my assault pack differently. In this contest I typically use it as a mini rucksack. Sort of in the level 2.5 range many people use these days. It will usually carry  some clothes/ shelter stuff, some snacks, a bit of food, maybe a toothbrush and some baby wipes, a paperback book or my kindle, etc. This is good for a little bit more support/ food/ gear than you can really carry in a fighting load or unexpected overnights.

In a survivalist context I go with the light infantry option though right now it's serving as a 'get home bag' so it is slightly heavier.

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Battle Belt" And Overall Tiered Gear Rethinking

Max Velocity's Gear Philosophy Update got me thinking. First it rekindled last year's battle belt/ war belt train of thought. It got me to thinking. The idea of a more modular setup appealed to me. Being able to have a decent setup that can work for home invasions, a Katrina like event, training or as a base for a more substantial setup would be nice.

I used a system similar (a TT rig that was  probably not stiff enough) to a battle belt long ago and found it unnecessarily cumbersome. Granted gear has moved a long way in almost a decade but a big padded belt is still a big padded belt. Without being able to fiddle with one I am concerned the same issues will pop up.

One option I previously considered was just doing it on a rigger belt. The downside of this plan is that your gear does not stay securely in place. Some systems have come along recently that let you retain PALS type gear on standard belts. I fear the cost of that option would get silly fast and it adds another variable to go wrong. So I did some more looking. There are some PALS compatible single row belts out there. This one from SKD seems nice. Others are available from quality makers. Has anyone done a battle belt on a belt like that?

Then again enough really smart people who actually train with their gear (specifically John Mosby and I think Max Velocity) are pro battle belt that there is probably something to the general configuration of a 3 row PALS padded belt.

Regardless of the belt I'd basically do the same thing. My plan would be to put on a pair of HSGI double taco's, a compass, flashlight, pistol, knife, plus a small water bottle. I would probably use suspenders for every use except home defense.

This got me to having an overall gear setup. Right now my BOB/ ruck (Tier 3) is a commercial style hiking backpack. It's integral padded hip belt would not work with a battle belt. The simple solution would be to swap the pack out for an ALICE which is already on inventory. Since it's free that is easy enough. Not as comfortable but it's utilitarian ruggedness has some benefits.

So down the rabbit hole of gear reshuffling I went. Thankfully there are some nice tools and pieces of kit already on inventory. That means instead of a huge shopping list it's more about choosing what goes where. So basically I have no immediate plan to fund this trip down the gear porn road or an idea about what exactly the main component is going to be. Honestly I may have just written about it because so much time was wasted thinking on it.

Of course input is appreciated.
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