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What to bring to the Field- Tips and Tricks

Dkeh

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Basically, when I first went to the field, fresh off my infantry course, I brought all the wrong stuff. Over the years, I have collected all sorts of Gucci kit- some needed, some not! What tips / tricks do you have for making a trip to the field more comfortable?

- In the summer, unless it gets REALLY cold at night, you do not need a sleeping bag (this is my personal opinion, consider the ramifications of not having one). I personally bring a Bivvy bag, with sleeping bag liner, and a ranger blanket. Usually, I end up cooking in this.

- Pre-place your sleeping bag / liner into your bivvy bag. This will save you valuable time in the dark.

- BRING YOUR BIVVY BAG! Nothing sucks more than coming back from a patrol, and getting into a wet sleeping bag. This is valid in the summer and the winter.

- A collapsible foam mattress may be preferable to the issued air mattress. Mine leaks like a sieve, and I wake up with things poking me in the back. Not to mention that when it comes time to pull pull pull, it is a bastard to repack. A collapsible foam mattress is easy to pack, lightweight, and can be set up quickly.

- Socks. Lots of socks. IN WATERPROOF BAGS. The drink bags from your IMP will work, so will Ziploc bags. I bring at minimum 2 pairs of socks per day of field time. Keep one of these spare pairs in your Tac-Vest

- Waterproof. Everything. From your clothes to phones, everything sucks more when wet. My phone stays in my pocket...in an IMP drink bag. My smokes stay in my tac-vest...in a Ziploc bag. My clothes stay in my rucksack... in a dry-bag. See the theme? You will thank me when it thunderstorms.

- In the winter, disposable heater pads are awesome (the kind you can put in your gloves, and the kind you can put in your boots). They take the nip out of your toes, keep your fingers from falling off, and are a great way to pre-heat your sleeping bag before you rack out. I carry lots of these in the winter, and my section mates always thank me for it.

- If you are making a hooch, I recommend at least 6 bungee cords, and 6 tent pegs. Don't cheap out- get the good ones. I use 4x 40", and 2x 54" bungee cords. As for the tent pegs, get steel pegs. Plastic and aluminum break, suck when the ground is frozen, and are generally not long enough.

- Pack the same things in the same places, every time. I know that my pegs and bungee cords are in the bottom of the two pouches on the left side of my ruck. I know spare ammo goes in the top. It makes life 1000x easier in the dark.

- Buy a headlight. Yes, you look like a miner. It WILL come in handy, guaranteed. Get one with a red filter, as well as white. Mine has 3 Led bulbs, and lights up the night sky.

- Bring a lighter. Don't smoke? Doesn't matter. You will use it at some point or other, or else someone will need it.

- A small knife is a huge asset. Whether you are cutting 5/50, field phone wire, or want to carve you initials in someone asscheek, you will probably need it.

- You were issued 2 pairs of boots for a reason. Your feet fall apart much faster when wet, so change those boots out. At night, take the insoles out of your wet boots, and try to dry them out. If they are soaked, stuff dirty socks in them to try to wick some of the water out overnight. It works.

- Bring what you need, but don't over pack. You don't need your gore-tex jacket in the summer, and you don't need your bug net in the winter. Be smart, don't over pack, but make sure you have what you think what you will need.

- Sleep as close to naked as you can (when the situation permits). If you sleep in all of your clothes, you are going to be cranky and cold when you have to wake up in the morning.

- Your thermos really does hold heat for a long time. We made coffee Friday night, and it was still warm Sunday afternoon.

- Ibuprofen really helps in some situations. I bring a little container with Advil, Tylenol, Antacids (I have an ulcer), and Allergy medicine. If not yourself, than for someone else.

- Nicotine gum (if you are a smoker) can take the edge off your craving if you are going on a long patrol, or adhering to strict light discipline.

- Hang carabiners off your Tac vest in all sorts of places. You will find many uses for them.   

- Bring some gun tape, 5/50 cord, and a few glow-sticks. They will probably all come in handy.

- Leave the Rambo knife at home. Your job is not to stealthily creep up on sentries and cut their throats.

- Bring a watch, notepad, and a few pencils. You will need all three, especially if you have a remotely important job.

- If you have it, a Reports and Returns booklet will do your section good, especially if your signaler / radio operator does not know the proper procedures. 

- If you are the radio operator, learn callsigns, channels, codewords, and frequencies. They will help you out, but more importantly, you will not clutter up the net with stupidity.
 

Dkeh

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- Baby wipes are good for 'whores baths' (armpits and crotch) when nothing better is available. They are also awesome for cleaning your weapon.

- Not for the field, but for after, hair conditioner gets cam paint off extremely well

- Bring some candy! Nothing raises moral like a star-burst or some skittles. Waterproof them. They melt.

- Wear your sunglasses in the middle of the day in the winter. Snow blindness is real, and it hurts.

- Sunscreen is a must. It doesn't matter if you didn't burn for a week in Cuba

- Tabasco sauce can really spice up an IMP, or help keep you awake on those long boring nights.

- The best piece of kit I own is my shemagh. Google this if you don't know what it is. I never leave home without it.
 

Dkeh

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- Powdered crystal light or Gatorade doesn't only taste good, but also helps replenish vital electrolytes that your body needs.

- In the winter, shave at night. This gives the oils your skin produces a chance to regenerate, and your neck / face will thank you.

- You know those BEW's that you have, that are scratched to shit and you can barely see out of them? Wear them. I have had 2 friends almost loose their eyesight from getting tree branches in the face while bush bashing in the middle of the night.

- If you are like me, and super susceptible to poison ivy, carry Hydrocortisone cream. It can be purchased over the counter at 0.5% strength, or available by prescription up to 3% (I think). Apply it immediately if you see signs of PI. Don't let it spread- it CAN hospitalize you (has happened twice to me).

- On that note, if you are burning brush for whatever reason, do not burn poison ivy. This turns the oil (the part of it that actually irritates your skin) into smoke, which you breathe in. Which is bad. Very bad.

- When you take your rucksack apart, repack it immediately. This will save you time when you need to bug out, it will stop your stuff from getting lost, etc.

- If you are carrying a radio with a handset attached, it fits wonderfully in your C9 pouch.

- Have downtime you need to fill with mindless pleasure? Bring a gameboy color. They are blood indestructible. Google Gulf War Gameboy if you don't believe me.

- Unless your regiment demands it, there is no need to bring your Beret to the field. 

- If you are important enough to get a map, Map Tack it. Then draw all over it with whiteboard markers. Then, wipe it off, and redraw on it :)

- Always have gloves. If you can, get them 1 size too small, so that you still have some dexterity in your fingertips. Try hand bombing a mag with gloves that don't fit. It sucks.

- If you have a mag charger, bring it. If you have two, bring both.

- On that note, this is the best mag charger I have ever used. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/54285-7.html

- Buy a bore snake. Makes cleaning your barrel a breeze. Well worth it. Make sure you buy the right caliber.
 
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MikeL

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Dkeh said:
- If you are carrying a radio with a handset attached, it fits wonderfully in your C9 pouch.

IMO,  it's better to keep the handset attached to the shoulder strap of your radio bag,  easy spot to grab it and hand it off to the Platoon Commander, etc  As well,  I can see the handset in the tac vest pocket being annoying if you forget to take it off the pocket before taking your pack off.  To each their own though.

Dkeh said:
- If you have a mag charger, bring it. If you have two, bring both.

- On that note, this is the best mag charger I have ever used. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/54285-7.html

- Buy a bore snake. Makes cleaning your barrel a breeze. Well worth it. Make sure you buy the right caliber.

Bore snakes are great pieces of kit.

What is the advantage from that Butler Creek strip speed loader compared to the mag chargers?  Mag chargers I think work just fine and are fast,  plus the price is right (free in every can of ammo).


Just a FYI,  as this may interest you or others if they haven't seen this.  I made a thread that is kind of on par with this awhile ago,  although it is more geared towards non issue kit
http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/99888.0.html
 

Dkeh

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I found that putting it in the C9 pouch stopped it from falling out while running across a field, or being pulled out by a stray tree branch. Then again, all it shares the C9 pouch with is Skittles.

The advantages, in my opinion are two fold. One, when not being used, it sits flat, and can be stored much easier than a standard mag charger (I keep mine in the little side pocket on the right breast mag pouch). Secondly, I have never had a "hangup" when charging a mag with this charger. I know Myself and many others who have loaded hundreds of mags with the issued charger have randomly come across chargers that will not work for whatever reason (Not operator failure, swaping the charger out usually works). Plus, this doesn't jam up if there is sand or ice built up in it!

Thanks for the link to your topic! I will definitely take a good look at it. I ORIGINALLY intended this thread to be for tips like Heater Bag + Tabasco sauce = improvised CS, and other such field-craft tricks, but aftermarket gear somehow managed to creep into my thoughts!
 
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MikeL

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Rog,


What I found helps retain the handset onto the strap is to use elastic bands,  either the rubber(thick one) kind or rentention bands
http://www.tacticaltailor.com/CatalogueRetrieve.aspx?ProductID=3249292&A=SearchResult&SearchID=1870778&ObjectID=3249292&ObjectType=27

Put the shoulder strap through the retention/elastic up to where you hook the handset too onto your shoulder strap.  Then lift up the retention band and put the handset through that and clip onto your shoulder strap.  Retention band will keep the handset inplace until you lift the band up again, too unclip the handset for use.
 

Dkeh

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Good call. That looks like a solid purchase. Do you still have your USMC tarp? Is it worth the $45?
 
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MikeL

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Yea I still use it,  works good for me,  I really like that it packs up smaller then the issue ground sheet and is a bit lighter. 

I haven't used the tarp in real heavy rain,  so I can't say how well it holds up to that,  but for the light rains, etc it works great.


 

Dkeh

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Hmm. Take note new guys! I think I will pick one up for myself.

Another thing I recommend is a dump pouch. Very handy.
 

Redeye

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Dkeh said:
- Buy a bore snake. Makes cleaning your barrel a breeze. Well worth it. Make sure you buy the right caliber.

The "right calibre" point is key. During my Phase III course, someone attempted to pull a 7.62 boresnake through a 5.56mm C9 barrel. It didn't work. Weapons techs apparently tried to figure ways to dissolve it in the barrel. Nothing worked, and so the barrel was a writeoff, and apparent, so was the gun as a result.

One other tip I'd add: leave that POS Goretex jacket at home. The nylon inner lining COMPLETELY defeats the purpose of the Goretex inner shell. Invest in a Snugpak Sleeka jacket, and wear it under the new rainjacket. It'll keep you warm and toasty, and doesn't absorb so much water.
 

Tank Troll

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Dkeh said:
- The best piece of kit I own is my shemagh. Google this if you don't know what it is. I never leave home without it.

All well and fine but some one might have a problem with this piece of kit IE; CSM, RSM, BGSM. Plus nothing screams wannabe like a FNG no matter the rank NCO/Officer showing up on EX/Course with one on. Some people also take exception to others that haven't been anywhere wearing them. So before running out and buying it ask around and look around first could save some grief.

 

Dkeh

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That's a good point tank. They are fairly standard in my regiment, I had not considered that aspect.

It isn't worn as a head wrap so much as a scarf, bug net, expedient blanket, ect.

And no, I would definitely not bring it on course!
 

Redeye

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Dkeh said:
That's a good point tank. They are fairly standard in my regiment, I had not considered that aspect.

It isn't worn as a head wrap so much as a scarf, bug net, expedient blanket, ect.

And no, I would definitely not bring it on course!

They used to be looked down on - I think they're being accepted more now. Hell, I got issued one, sort of - a coyote brown light scarf - for Afghanistan. I have had a couple for a while, and they're a phenomenal piece of kit indeed.
 

Miller97

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Dkeh said:
- Baby wipes are good for 'whores baths' (armpits and crotch) when nothing better is available. They are also awesome for cleaning your weapon.

- Not for the field, but for after, hair conditioner gets cam paint off extremely well

- Bring some candy! Nothing raises moral like a star-burst or some skittles. Waterproof them. They melt.

- Wear your sunglasses in the middle of the day in the winter. Snow blindness is real, and it hurts.

- Sunscreen is a must. It doesn't matter if you didn't burn for a week in Cuba

- Tabasco sauce can really spice up an IMP, or help keep you awake on those long boring nights.

- The best piece of kit I own is my shemagh. Google this if you don't know what it is. I never leave home without it.


No tour? No Shemagh, you haven't earned one.
 

ModlrMike

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Miller97 said:
No tour? No Shemagh, you haven't earned one.

Because only those of us who've had a tour are allowed to exercise their LCF?
 

Eye In The Sky

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Miller97 said:
No tour? No Shemagh, you haven't earned one.

Let me guess,  you watched JARHEAD and stole the idea for that comment from the "you want a brand?  you gotta earn it" scene...
 

Dkeh

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Eye In The Sky said:
Let me guess,  you watched JARHEAD and stole the idea for that comment from the "you want a brand?  you gotta earn it" scene...

That's the scene that ran through my head too!  ;)
 

OldSolduer

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Miller97 said:
No tour? No Shemagh, you haven't earned one.

Baloney and hogwash. Get off that high horse you're on.

And "Jarhead" was the worst movie I've ever seen.
 

Redeye

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ModlrMike said:
Because only those of us who've had a tour are allowed to exercise their LCF?

Yeah, that's been make take on people who play that card. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot your hard go as gate guard entitles you to wear a shemagh. Slipped my mind. Carry on.
 

Spooks

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Shemaghs are great for most things. It's just one of the things I learned from the Gan - they can keep you cool, undusted, and warm all with one piece of kit. I only have 1 tour and a bunch of them for different environmental colors but I have never heard that 'you can't have one unless you have a tour'.

For Mr Miller97, will it matter if your tour was during Op Medusa or Op Attention? Those were two different types of tours. Is there also a caveat, in your opinion, that 'you had to go outside the wire' or is everyone who went on tour allowed to have one? What if your tour was 'over there' but you never stepped in country b/c you were at a staging point? What about time in theatre? Are people who have 35d in theatre but were hit by and IED ranked differently than those who had 9mon in theatre manning the postal service (no offense intended to posties, btw)? I am very interested how one 'earns a shemagh'. I bought mine from Supply Sergeant (I know they are overpriced and blah blah blah) and never earned it in the terms that it was given to me. Most things earned are thussly given to you in the army, so I would like to know if a shemagh purchase is NPF or PF. What's the NSN for one? You earn jump wings and the right to wear para PT gear if you pass the course. Tours act very differently and there are too many exceptions for your black and white statement.

+1 to the OPI for recommending this piece of kit though.
 
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