Mil-sim packing list, part 2: Uniform contents
When you feel cold, wet and hungry, you will put a lot of effort to improve your comfort than to focus on your task. That's exactly what Maslow said. In this part of our guide I will explain you what you should keep in your pockets not just to survive mil-sim (as you can do it with eating roots, bugs and drinking water from puddles), but how to do it in civilized way, while preserving as much of your "combat effectiveness" as possible.
GUIDE: Mil-sim packing list, part 2: Uniform contents
Some people call it "zero line". Other people don't call it at all. It's simply a group of items you should carry around always. In military they are to facilitate SERE after losing entire webbing. In airsoft we do not have such pressure. Nonetheless, it's good to adopt this philosphy with regard to practical reasons - it's simply easier to order your equipment according to priorities and to balance the weight of it properly.
It seems to be easy. Everyday you carry cell phone, keys, waller and similar gizmos. It looks the same in a field, but considering the fact we don't usually operate within a walk range from the closest grocery store, the list of stuff kept in pockets is appropriately longer.
Photo 1: Thanks to this set, practically nothing unexpectable will surprise you in the woods.
Your priority number 1 is something sharp. The best thing is folding knife. For me Swiss Army Knives got rather too small blade and are too hard to be opened with one hand. Regardless your choice here - with this basic tool you can bear with majority of field chores like sharpening sticks, digging a hole or opening cans. Small sharpener can be also useful, but not essential. Eventually you may get interested in multitools.
Photo 2: Cheap folder, but from reliable brand is perfectly fine for our purposes.
Compass and map
Never leave without it for any mil-sim or patrol. Even when I am not in command I try to got a map of an area. You can keep your map in a webbing, but still you should have even a back-up version from your home printer in a pocket. Always buy high quality compass (for instance from Recta, Silva, Brunton or Suunto companies). Cheaper ones indicate north in any random direction. Whenever I got lost, it iinvolved navigator being stingy in this point. Yeah... Sometimes I was a navigator too.
Photo 3: If we carry it in a webbing, some cheaper version showing "more or less" north with generic back-up map should be kept in a pocket.
With red filter. Checking a map during a night, setting a camp, browsing through a backpack and a lot of other duties is done within an arm range. Strong light is unneccessary, indicates your position to everyone in the area and make your eyes being adjusted to darkness once again.
Photo 4: Headlamp does not require a giant amount of lumens, but red LED is absolutely essential for each Sunday Commando.
Plenty of supermarkt lighters are the best option. They are cheap and easily accesible. They can be kept in each pocket, one by one. Additionally I got some Esbit tablets - for eample to cheat while starting a campfire, but they can also burn on their own. Collecting a birch tree bark and other tricks are really useful, but sometimes campfire must be done quickly. Firesteel skills are good to have, but you can manage without it.
Photo 5: It is great to buy some cheap lighters and have one in each pocket. Firesteel is redundant unless we go bushcraft or just want to improve our skills a bit.
Notepad and pen
Obligatory waterproof. Even wheh weather is nice, usual notepad can be easily drowned in sweat. I was trying to use some plastic bags, but it was just posponing the actual solution. Putting this out and then repeating a whole procedure was real pain in the neck.
Photo 6: Fine waterproof pad is worth investing in. Usual pens can be used in it as well.
Keep it close to your body. It's easier to spread when warm. It is worth to realize your ears, neck, eyelids, bald spots and scrag are also exposed parts of skin and must be covered with cream too. Painting complicated patterns looks cool in movies. In real life after few hours everything will get mixed and rubbed.
Photo 7: Creams with mirror are faster and more precise to use than ones in two-tone sticks.
Insulation tape, paracord and cable connectors
Handy amendment set - can be used for thousands different reparis. If you are afraid of geting your pants torn you can fulfill it with thread and needle. The size of such a set is an individual case. If your gear is heavy-duty you will rather not use it frequently.
Photo 8: You will repair practically everything what may get broken in a field. Apart from paracord (two or three 2-2,5 m reels) I got spare shoe laces.
Paper and moisturized tissues
Paper tissues can be used for the same purpose, as in civilized conditions. Apart from it they will manage as improvised dressings or lightwood. Moisturized ones are to be used for removing camouflage cream, "hygenic purposes" or cleaining your mug not to waste precious water. You got a lot of types in a market - "military", for infant butts, make-up removers or even for feminine private hygiene. Your call. I wasn't brave enough to use last ones.
Photo 9: Their wrapping is prone to be damaged, what makes them wet, dirty and useless.
Just for eating your standard retion pack you usually keep in your backpack or webbing. Why I don't keep it together? Well, I could, but why I should waste time trying to find a spoon in my sack, as I can keep numerous plastic disposable spoons in pockets? Lightweight, cheap and expendable. By the way - you can save absent-minded dupe from your squad, who forgot his or her own. On the other hand, sporks for tourists are also kindsa cheap and are available in "tactical" colors.
Photo 10: Disposable spoons are lightweight, cheap and replaceable, but extremely easy to be broken. Polymer sporks cost slightly more, but it's worth to have a spare one. Metal utensils are overrated.
Your march energy supply for easy consumption. Perfect during night watch to keep yourself awake. Can be completed with caffeine candies. The amount of such supply depends on your personal needs, mission duration and similar factors.
Photo 11: Food carried in your pockets must be lightweight, calorific and easy to eat. For desperados - sugar bags are acceptable.
120 L trash bags
For crossing rivers, improvised sleeping bag, basha or simply bags to collect litter after airsoft skirmish. Two of them fit in pants cargo pockets and there is still some space. You can got additional plastic bag for smaller trash.
Photo 12: Small flashlight, called "crapper" in military slang is absolutely sufficient for quick look at map or notes.
Dressings, adhesive tape, some plasters, antiseptic tissues, painkillers and coal. Good enough for small wounds or in a situation where you do not feel like opening your main IFAK. Such an elementary set should be kept in a string bag and put in comfortable place. Qucik access is not a priority here. Antiseptic spirit tissues can be used for fire ignition.
Photo 13: You should avoid touching your main IFAK for dressing small, yeat annoying wounds. It ought to be reserved for serious accidents only.
Appreciated especially during summer evenings. Useless in a winter time. Some general repellent is okay, but specialized on with a lot of DEET performs way better. Especially, when you operate close to still water (lakes, swamps, etc.).
Photo 14: For staring campfire or heating water even in poor weather conditions Esbit tablets from ration packs are absolutely sufficient. BCB Fire Dragon solid fuel is an interesting alternative, which burns literally as hell. It burns so nice I prefer to keep it in my backpack than a smock pocket.
Spectacles like to catch a fog in the least convenient time. I checked various wacky ideas - from furniture polish to showe gel and so far my number one is Op Drops concentrate. In my private rank Bolle formula is a number two, as is less effective and got les practical bottle.
Photo 15: Concentrate lasts for a long time and takes very little space. For polishing your lenses some soft material cloth is worth having (cotton, microfibre) to avoid scratches.
The only way, known to humanity, which ensures your flashlight, headland or red dot sight will keep working.
Photo 16: I carry spare batteries this way. Maybe I am paranoid, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Checking you cell for finding out a time is a poor idea. Especially in a night. You must open a pocket, get it out, swear once, turn a backlight on and reverse the whole process. In a daytime it involves a lot of deconcetration and a waste of time. In a night you can't presume no hostile individuals spotted you. Besides you are blinded for dozen of seconds. Even the cheapest electronic watch with backlight is more effective. Fluorescent hands watches are the ultimate option.
Photo 17: Fluorescent hands watch is moderately convenient. Backlight is the thing you desire.
This may look silly, but this idea was shared to me by quite experienced buddy. They are ommitable in a summer, but wet feet and low temperature are a very, very bad combination. In a winter it seems reasonable to have a spare pair of gloves - even a cheap fake wool pair, when your primary ones get soaked out.
Photo 18: Comparison of 2,5 m paracord reel to 15 m one. When it is not vital for task execution it is better to place the latter one in your backpack or webbing.
Your last chance for the darkest hour. Even the shorten version of magazine for your rifle replica is enough. Especially when beltkit is your choice and after removing, your only backup are your pockets. You are not going to conquer nerby village with it, but it's always nicer than having just one magazine attached to the replica.
Photo 19: It is never enough of ammo. Short low-cap kept in uniform pocket may occur to be a good investment in the least expected moment.
Cheap cell phone
We are not pros. Barely anyone got resources for always reliable radio connection. Apart from it, this invention may be useful in case of need to call for a real emergency rescue. Don't use samrtphones. Primitive, idiotproof phone with monochromatic display and long-lasting battery will perform better. Usual keypad is acceptable to be used while wearing gloves. And for sure you are not going to regret losing it so much, as your state-of-an-art multi-role interactive device.
Photo 20: Probably everone got such an old-timers, which lie around and wait for better times. I'd like to remind younger Readers, old monochromatic displays were perfectly readable even during bright days. I do not recommend the one on a right. Display got damaged after eating some dust in a shelf.
Mean folks may point out this set would be fine if they wanted to travel around the world by foot. Sure, you can always use rubbing sticks for starting a fire, shape your character while getting bitten by mosquitos or look for berries. Yet I still prefer to facilitate my life with small cost. Nonetheless, there are different approaches and I have never claimed mine is the best one.
I have tried to mention absolutely everyting what may be useful, but is not essential at each trip. I simply know, when I forget anything from this list, Murphy always gets me. Apart from it, majority of these items are small gizmos, which simply are in pockets. They don't disturb any you forget aboout them until they are needed.
If you have any remarks - please comment. Would be great if you mention what you take with yourself, just to exchange experiences.
The last guideline for the end - wallet, keys, IDs, phone and other "civilized" objects must be carry separately, attached with a piece of cord. The majority of people, who lost something starts their stories lie it: "I was keeping my car keys in the same pocket as <random item> and...".
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