Patrol Gear

Other than adding my AR15 to the mix, the chest rig and pack make up my complete patrol gear.  It is designed to fill the needs of an overnight patrol.

Back in the day…

When I was a young Marine in the mid-Eighties we had an expression “travel light, freeze at night” that applied to our patrol setups or 782 gear.

Basically we took on patrol (6) mags of ammo, a K-Bar knife, (2) canteens, a butt-pack with a poncho liner & poncho, and (3) Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) and that was it!

My patrol gear as it sits today bears a lot of resemblance (in function) to the gear I wore 33 years ago, but with all the options on the market today, I had to relearn the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle all over again and had gone through several configurations of gear (most heavier) before arriving at the setup you see here.

This is not “the way” but a “a way” and most likely each of us need to learn what works for ourselves, but if you take anything from this post, let it be that lighter is better! 

Guys tend to pack everything they can thinking they are still young and as strong as their earlier years.  I’m not the 18 year old Marine of my youth that was able to hump 100lbs for 20 miles in the S. Korean mountains during a constant drizzle of rain. 🙂

When I actually got my butt to the field and humped all the gear I had selected the few cycles back, I soon realized that my fat 51 year old body could not keep up like it use to.

I had two choices, get in better shape or lose some gear weight.  I am doing both, but as anyone over 40 knows, that first part ain’t so easy.

While I do have a “battle belt” that is a closer rendition to the USMC 782 gear (it once sported suspenders even), it is not for patrols.  See the the link for details.

While not for patrol, my “battle belt” does serve the purpose of providing me with the basic defensive necessities 24/7 around the homestead in a SHTF scenario.

The reason why there is no “battle belt” as a part of my patrol gear is that anything on the hips tends to suck after a prolonged period of hiking and the chest rig provides a better option.

The Harness

The rig in the picture is a highly modified Paul Howe rig that skdtac.com use to sell.  I cut and hacked that thing until I found what I liked and never replaced it because it still works great.

About extra mags…

While I keep it loaded with (6) mags, normally (3) of them go into the pack while on patrol.  For a scouting patrol I feel access to 3+1 in the gun is plenty, but prefer a reload in the pack.  If I was expecting a fight, I have a plate carrier setup for (7) mags, but that’s another post.

If I had to buy a chest rig today, I would likely go with a  Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed Chest Rig  as KISS is the best approach IMO.

One thing I highly suggest is NOT buying one with an X-strap system, get the H-harness style, your neck will thank me!

What’s in it?

(6) spare AR mags, Silva Ranger compass & maps in the slip pocket behind the mags.

An advanced Blow Out Kit

  • Chest seals
  • #14 Needle
  • Naso tube / lube
  • Izzy-D
  • SWAT-T
  • CAT-T

Leica 1600 range finder, great optics and serves as 7X monocular also.

Possibles bag with compass, gallon ziplocks, Iodine, Leatherman, and Streamlight TLR-1 for my patrol rifle.

The Pack

This is one of the best purchases I’ve made.  I purposely wanted a small pack to prevent overloading and bought this REMOVABLE OPERATOR PACK back when they offered a non-fight light version.  It’s best feature is that the curvature of the straps make it very comfortable.

It has one inner compartment and a generous outer side pocket.

In outer pocket I keep an SOL survival bivy, pencil, lighter, Iodine, Leatherman, baby wipes, small BOK, petro-cotton, DEET, (4) CR123 batts, 20ft of 550 cord, and shooting gloves.

Attached to the outside of the pack is a modified Becker 7 fixed blade in a Spec-Ops sheath that has a Delrin container I made with petro-cotton inside as well as a firesteel and knife sharer/striker and Red micro press light.

The knife is kept on the pack until on patrol, then put on EDC belt.  With a good knife and fire making ability you should be able to make shelter and stay warm, don’t leave home without them.

Inside the pack is a Source Tactical 3ltr water reservoir (awesome gear!), a shemagh, poncho liner and field striped MRE.

Notice there are is no navigation gear because this is for immediate area patrols within a few miles of the property.

Also note that there is no comms gear shown, that’s because it’s not stored with the bag. I do have VHF handhelds that are programmed with phase shift “encryption” and the cross-band repeater I talked about in the Solar Powered Portable Cross-band Repeater: Extending your HT Range post to keep in touch with base while on patrol.

That about covers my basic setup for short patrols around the homestead during SHTF.

If you are wondering… Yes, I do make patrols now but they are called hikes because I don’t have an AR15 with me and take my wife and dog along. 🙂

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