When I wrote about getting out and testing your gear last week, I got a lot of questions about what gear I used and what worked well. I thought I would share some of the things that worked out for me to help you decide. Now, I will use some affiliate links here, which means that if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you (the FTC makes me say it), but as ALWAYS, I only recommend what I like. I’ll never compromise on a recommendation to make money.
My philosophy on this, as always, comes from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
As we get farther down this slide into open civil conflict, it’s time to get SERIOUS about gear.
The gear that got the biggest workout this last 10 days in the field was the rain gear. Several people messaged me to ask what rain gear I used. I use the tried-and-true US Issue Gore-Tex. Now, when I was a young lad, I was used Gore-Tex in M81 Woodland, but the times have changed. I personally use a Tru-Spec H20 Proof ECWCS Parka in Woodland MARPAT. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth every dime. I have the zip in fleece liner and the parka takes the heavier level ECWCS liners as well, so it becomes a year-round waterproof layer. I also have the matching Gore-Tex over-pants.
An additional piece of rain gear that also falls under the shelter section is a US Government Poncho. I prefer the old-school Woodland Camo ones, and Helikon-Tex makes them to exact US standards. Be careful in buying “military-style” ponchos, you want one made to actual US government standards. The government standard ones (like the Helikon-Tex one) are more durable and can snap to other US issue ones to make a larger shelter. They have stronger grommets that can be used to build lean-to or A-Frame shelters.
I ate MRE’s and tried out various survival/backpacking foods the whole time, so my cooking gear got a full test. First, the Esbitt stove fuel I bought didn’t perform as advertised, so I’ll stick to old-school Trioxane heater tabs until I find something better. However, my trusty friend, the Stanley camp cook kit with 2 cups was the champ for boiling water. In fact, everyone at the camp had the same kit. You can’t go wrong tossing one of these in your backpack, although a US Issue canteen cup works too. The Stanley is about double the size though.
I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss one of my favorite camping accessories, also by Stanley. It is also a CRUCIAL element for surviving a disaster. Late at night, when sitting by the fire, discussing the day’s events, and planning the next day, a shot glass set might come in handy. I mean, maybe you are rationing your water, and want only a small amount each day or something. All kidding aside, I’ve had this for a while and really enjoy it, so I thought I’d share it with you. I picked mine up at a specialty camping store for WAY more than evil Amazon’s price.
Since the training was a radio operations course, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t discuss the new radio that NC Scout of Brushbeater Training & Consulting talked me into buying before heading out. You can read his review of the radio over at American Partisan: https://www.americanpartisan.org/2022/05/reviewed-baofeng-ar-152/. I used it all week and the new Baofeng AR-152 outperformed my expectations.
Everyone has concerns about the Baofeng’s, but this new one is head and shoulders above the UV-5R, which is still a good radio. I never had to charge the radio all week, despite heavy use. It’s got a hardened body that takes the abuse that field life gives out.
As far as my tent is concerned, it’s just a Stansport 3-person backpacking tent, the Trophy Hunter. I chose this one, because it’s small, easy to set up, and comes in earth tones. Mine is khaki and green, which is good for concealment. It held up great in heavy wind and rain, even without a ground tarp underneath it (hey, I was lazy). It’s small enough to attach to the side of my USMC ILBE Ruck for backpacking. Here’s a link if you want to check it out.
I hope these help answer the questions that a lot of you had about what gear I used and where to find it. Shop around and find the best price for your budget, but I think you’ll see I’m not all about the expensive, newest cool-guy gear that comes out. In some areas, cheaper is good enough. In others, spend the extra dollars, because your life could depend on it.
As far as taking advice, here’s a piece of Tactical Wisdom about that:
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Later in the week (Wednesday-ish), I’ll put out a full review of the RTO, Advanced RTO, and SIGINT Courses from Brushbeater Training & Consulting, but the TL/DR on them is this: TAKE THEM ASAP. You can find a schedule at: https://brushbeater.org/training-calendar/.
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