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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26 thoughts on “Five Vital Things You Must Have In The Field

  • October 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    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.

  • October 26, 2017 at 10:52 am

    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.

  • October 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    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!!!

  • October 25, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    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.

  • October 23, 2017 at 9:52 am

    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.

  • October 22, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    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

  • October 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

    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

  • October 22, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Water purification. Not sure the size of your group, but iodine tablets are small and can prevent lots of nasty when supply clowns (I love supply…. most of the time) can’t get you the bottled water on time or their “locally sourced” can’t be sourced.

    That and mosquito netting.

  • October 22, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Comments so far have covered the list I made up except for a Swiss Army knife or smallish multi-tool, Tobasco or similar, and lighters/matches.

    Also, even more wool socks.

  • October 22, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Just wanted to reiterate: rechargeable items > battery items. Rechargeable headlamp, rechargeable flashlight, rechargeable handwarmer, rechargeable personal bidet, rechargeable shaver (probably not for this particular situation), rechargeable radio / handset.

  • October 22, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Just got back recently from a deployment to a disaster (Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System).

    Whoever said ‘battery pack’ was spot on. You can charge multiple devices with it, then charge it up and pick it up later. Pure gold.

    Sounds trite, but entertainment of your choice. Kindle, iPod, whatever. Not just for downtime but for the trip in and out and all the associated delays. And earphones.

    Utensil pack. If food is available, utensils may be in short supply. Washable, reusable.

    Drug box. I have one I made for myself with common OTC meds. Meclizine, loperamide, acetaminophen, ibuprofen. See your provider and get a Z-pack and some Cipro. Z-pack above the navel, Cipro below.

    Headlamp. Especially if you’re going to be somewhere where the bathrooms aren’t adjacent. And slip on shoes (flip flops etc.)

    Multi-tool, paracord, water bottle, lighter. Standard stuff, multiple uses. Paracord makes a good clothesline as you will likely be washing clothes in the sink.

    Backpack to carry all your valuables with you. Do not leave them in your lodging!

    Finally, a stranded traveler kit for when you get stuck. Ask me how I know. Basic toiletries and a change of skivvies in a zip lock.

    I could go on, but that should get you started.

  • October 21, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    For the tropics? Bug juice, definitely. Also lightweight waterproof gear. Goretex lined boots. GPS. Duct tape.

  • October 21, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    1. Compass and maps

    2. Rain gear. Poncho.

    3. Backpackers water filter. MSR, Sawyer, Katudyn, or similar. And a couple nalgeens or a camel back.

    4. (2) ways to start a fire. A nice, a so, matches, etc

    5. Socks and lots of foot maintenance. Leukotape etc.

  • October 21, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Sounds like the recruiting pitch for a Jurassic Park corporate rescue team…don’t mess with the wildlife.

    1. Comfy hat…weather depending on style

    2. Good gloves work and tactical

    3. Multi tool

    4. Good quality socks and underwear plenty of em

    5. Flashlights..multiple sizes rechargable.

    Wish her well

  • October 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Seeing as how rifle (rated I assume) plate armor is required maybe take a long gun so she’s not out gunned? Also some sort of small pack w/hydration.

    And more socks, I prefer merino wool blends but that’s me.

  • October 21, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    1. Couple of surefire lights.

    2. Firestarter (blast match).

    3. Lifestraw or 2.

    4. Silva Ranger compass (always works)

    5. CAT Tourniquet.

  • October 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I’d like more information on the destination and to ask about a dozen questions to make better suggestions but…

    1)Li-Ion batteries for whatever electronics she has that might not be easily rechargeable. Lighter weight, better power, generally impervious to cold.

    2) Appropriate jacket. Since colors are apparently designated she could look for under-layers instead.

    3) GoPro Portable Power Pack(s) for that Solar Charger. Leave the charger at the base, drop a battery in your pocket, recharge whatever you need. They’ll recharge my smartphone three times on a single charge, charge two devices at once and they weigh maybe 4.7oz each.

    4) Faceshield. Yeah, they’re tacticool but they have about eleventy billion uses.

    5) Small jar of Vaseline or similar. Again, a zillion uses from starting a fire to dealing with cuts, windburn or chapped lips. Real versatile stuff.

    • October 21, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      *Those GoPro Portable Power Packs don’t weigh “maybe 4.7oz” they are 4.7oz. Triple checked multiple units on my scale just now.

  • October 21, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    1x Katadyn Water purifier. Weighs less than a pound, takes up minumum space. If it is to big then there are several good smaller ones.

    I have had to use them alot, particularly when people have told me water will not be an issue.

  • October 21, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Going to a remote island invokes visions of heat, humidity and bugs.

    1. Light weight wools socks, 6 pairs minimum

    2. Foot powder

    3. Mosquito netting for bunk

    4. Bug spray with DEET

    5. More bug spray with DEET

    • October 21, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Consider treating all clothes with a permethrin soap and dry.

      • October 21, 2017 at 11:16 pm

        Permethrin soak. Stupid autocorrect.

  • October 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    1. Camelbak (preferably with some manner of in-line water filter, such as the Sawyer Mini, which are available for as little as $18).

    2. Small backpack of rugged construction- something in the vein of a tradtional 3 day assualt pack would do very nicely, especially if it is very compressable. I have lived out of a Camelbak Tri-zip for weeks at a time on several occasions. The ability to efficiently carry loads of varying size and weight, depending on the mission, is essential.

    3. Merino Wool Socks- cotton is terrible, even in hot environments. If it is hot, buy a lightweight pair and boots that breath well. Keep at least one spare pair in your bag at all times. If your feet are destroyed, you will be a burden rather than an asset.

    4. A Poncho or a Waterproof Jacket- The choice, if you can only have one or the other, depends largely upon your likely sleeping accomidations. If you are going to be sleeping outdoors often, the poncho is a far superior option. It’s raingear, it’s a hooch at night, and it’s also a total pain in the dick if you are trying to draw or reload. If you are indoors at night, take a waterproof jacket, chose an appropriate material for the climate.

    5. 100 feet of paracord- it is lightweight and supremely useful, learn a few knots and use your imagination passport to jerry rig every goddamn thing you own to suit your current needs.

    Only take what you need- 60 pounds of lightweight crap is still 60 pounds.

  • October 21, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    1.Lightweight, 1x Woman bivy tent; treated with Permethrin or whatever your poison of choice is. Hugely useful if you actually get to execute a rest cycle.

    2. Socks, Socks, more Socks…maybe implied on the list, but socks, moleskin, whatever…foot maintenance deserves special mention.

    3. Headlamp

    4. 550 Cord/100mph tape

    5. Garmin Foretrex-401 (or similar) + other Land Nav stuff…maybe implied, but worth the mention.

    That’s stuff I use/used the hell out of every field rotation, no matter what the mission.

  • October 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Poncho/snivel gear.

    Etxra socks.


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