Five Vital Things You Must Have In The Field

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Five Vital Things You Must Have In The Field

Here are five vital things you should have with you in the field.






You’ll notice those are blank. That’s because we’re looking for some input from you guys.

One of our crew is headed to a remote island location on a security contract to assist and protect recovery employees (and assets) for a large corporation. They will be likely be running off generators and living in field conditions in 2 week cycles.

Now, she is salty enough when it comes to gunhandling – she’s a member of a tactical unit, is assigned to a violent crimes task force in an extremely violent area, and knows how to handle herself. However, this sort of thing isn’t really something she has a lot of experience in (she’s a LEO, not former military, limited experience camping and backpacking).

Space is limited, as is weight. The list below is the equipment loadout they instructed her to bring. What would you recommend adding to this list?

• Pistol w/ 3 mags & necessary cleaning equipment & 100rds Ammunition
• 1 x Tactical Holster and 1 x Concealment Holster w/ Magazine Pouches
• Rifle Plate Body Armor w/ Plate Carrier
• 2 x Sunglasses & 2 x Clear Eye-Protection
• Sonic Ear Protection & Ear Plugs
• 5 x Field Shirts (specific colors) & 2 xCombat Shirts
• 3 x Tactical Pants (specific colors)
• 2 x Boots/ Trail Shoes
• Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK)/ Medical Blowout Bag/ Necessary Medications
• Necessary Personal Hygiene Items (toiletries, baby wipes, foot powder, etc.)

So, as you can see, a basic list there. We’d begin by adding extra mags, a good knife, a multi-tool, a couple dozen protein bars, and a backpacker’s solar charger with the appropriate “plumbing” to connect with whatever devices she has with her.

What else?


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  1. Might be too late, and you got lots to choose from but…
    1.) Emergency Rations Bar (crappy calorie block)
    2.) Compass, small and easily concealed
    3.) Waterproofed map, preferably mil-spec or better
    4.) water filtration, preferably with drops or tabs to get everything else the filter misses
    5.) concealable LED flashlight, that preferable takes AA or something easy(ish) to find

    I would also add at least another 6 mags, and 200 more rounds on your person. Something to barter with is always a good idea too, preferably something additional to just having monetary value.
    Oh, and clothing that doesn’t make you look like you just stepped off the range or outa the tactical shop; i.e. blend as well as you can. A tan would help too if you’re a shade of lily white right now.

    Good Luck, and I hope you get the opportunity to help some folks that need it.

  2. 1) Sawyer squeeze water filter. It fits on a water bottle or can be used as a gravity feed filtration system.

    2) Letherman rebar

    3) Fire I.E. 3x mini Bic lighters and a backup ferrocium rod of some type

    4) Mosquito bed net and spray

    5) Cash bags of rolling tobacco and papers or rolls of dip- Think barter items for like flip flops a fishing kit or anything else you may need that you didn’t bring. A case of Bic lighters fits in a small space also or anything of value that is portable that people are in short supply of.

  3. I just spent 23 days down there conducting ForcePro, or at least I assume it to be the same locale based on the description… anyway… assuming there will be indoor lodging and camp gear can be left behind, I used the heck out of the following:

    Solar panel
    Portable phone recharger power pack
    Socks, socks, socks
    Sun screen
    Level 4 armor open on the sides, because (3A duty vest was too hot to hike in)
    Water proof backpack or dry bags
    AA and AAA batteries
    Light weight stove and backpackers food
    Satellite based messenger (Leadnav if rich, “in reach” device if not. )
    Sandals and shorts to air yourself out in the evening.
    Chap stick
    Hydration tabs
    Serious bug spray
    Bump helmet…
    Good luck, eat some mofongo and watch out for machete fights!!!

  4. Some call me paranoid, but if you’re doing contract-type work and aren’t associated with the USG, I’d recommend looking at some items for a “really bad day”. Everyone here has touched on things that will get you through a “deployment”. Not sure if you will be more static or mobile, but what if you have to get home alone or survive in this country without your teammates for an extended period?

    1) if personal communications of this type are permitted, a small satellite phone isn’t the world’s worst investment but I know they are pricey, heavy and you need someone to call with it. Outside of that, take some waterproof paper/ notebook and write down some phone numbers. Your parents, friends, family – people you know and trust. Put them in simple code if you have to (A=2, B=3, etc.) or you’re worried about persec. Also, numbers for embassies and consulates near you. None near you? Do the closest 2 you can find anyways. Same deal with email addresses. Electricity/ signal might be hit or miss, but it’s never bad stuff to have

    2) Similar vein, a map of your environment. Find a way to waterproof it, and before you go, try and mark sections of it that you can use for various things if you have that worst-day-at-the-office (where can you get medical supplies on this island? Where is the embassy or other Americans located? Where is shelter or food available if a second disaster hits – churches, schools, etc.).

    3) A single shirt that is either local or doesn’t scream “I’m associated with foreigners who carry guns”. You can even sharpie phone numbers on the inside seam/ hem if you don’t want a notebook.

    4) Lots of people hide crap like lock-picks, etc on them for SERE reasons. I prefer to keep a pair taped to the back of my cell phone (hidden behind the phone case) for more practical reasons. People lose keys for important shit all the time, and it pays to be known as “useful” if this is your first time out. If you ever need them for other means, it’s peace of mind, but it’s honestly stupid how often I’ve had to pick or pry a lock that someone forgot a key for.

    5) Some money, or something for “the trade”. I knew a guy who exclusively wore Rolexes while working in Africa and South America (despite being way out of his price range and not matching his style at all). He traded one to get across a check point (and was a hero to everyone in the car with him) and years later gave up another to get out of being arrested in a country that was going to shit. I’m not saying go out and buy a Submariner, but you get the idea. It can be the difference between you getting a seat on a plane or not.

    Overseas armed security is a funny game. On the best days, you’ll be happy you packed like a tourist. On your rough days you’ll be happy you packed like a soldier. On the worst of days, you’ll be happy you packed like a spy. Don’t rely on a company (or even a government) to get you home.

  5. Sawyer mini water filter. Weighs only a few ounces and will filter more than enough water for one person.

    Head lamp. Greatest invention ever.

    Paracord. Lots of Paracord.

    A good book. It gets boring in the middle of nowhere.

  6. Adding to the list of items for the required load out:

    1. Gloves, both duty and some disposable nitrile type
    2. Berkey Water Filter if space permits
    3. Flashlight / Weapon Light
    4. Poncho / Wet weather gear
    5. Zip Baggies several sizes

  7. Portable Water Filter, They weigh almost nothing and when water becomes an issue everything else suffers.
    Antiseptic towelettes and Triple Antibiotic salve/cream. Get a cut or scratch clean and cover.
    Quality Pocket Knife as well as the above mentioned Gerber
    I second the quality wool socks (Amazon’s Peoples Socks are hard to beat!)
    Headlamp and a small handhead flashlight
    Batteries+recharger+more batteries
    For phone:
    Meshnet networking app (Serval), compass app, GPS app, offline map app with area maps (Back Country Navigator), music, zello.
    Quality Ruggedized case for phone
    Backup phone or tablet
    Osprey day packs are swell…….
    I also recommend DEET heavy repellants
    Gatorade or similar Powder
    Heavy Duty Metal water bottle(s) or low profile camelbak
    positive attitude and appreciation for beautiful sunrises/sets

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