Seven Nights in the Field

Last week, I spent 8 days and 7 nights in the field attending NC Scout’s Scout and Recce courses at his facility in North Carolina. Later in the week, I will do a review of the courses, but for today, I want to talk about the gear and review some of it.

“…The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

Judges 6:12b

First, I want to tell you that you absolutely need to get out and attend training classes with your fellow “mighty warriors”. Meeting and training with like-minded people is crucial. I met some local people down there and we are planning more training time together back home. For information on NC Scout’s courses, check out his schedule at

I spent the week in my USMC Combat II Tent. The tent is made by Eureka and is a very good tent. It’s advertised as 3 season, but it’s a 4-season tent unless you’re above the arctic circle. It’s allegedly a 2-man tent, but it is just about perfect for one guy and his gear. The blackout rainfly (in M81 woodland) has a large vestibule for your gear. It rained 2 days (and nights) and my gear stayed dry both in the tent and in the vestibule. I got my tent, along with my USMC TCOP (tent, combat, one-person) smaller tent at Coleman’s Military Surplus.

In last month’s BattlBox, I got a Klymit Everglow XL light tube. It’s a small inflatable tube with an LED strip down the middle. You need some type of battery bank to power it. I put it in my gear locker mesh at the top of my tent and it lit the whole tent. It has adjustable power levels to dim or brighten the light. This thing was amazing because it solved the age-old problem of having dark corners in the tent if I was looking for something.

I get a lot of my gear from BattlBox. It’s a fantastic value each month. I recently upgraded my membership to the Pro level from Advanced. Essentially, you pay a monthly fee from $34.99 to $169.99, and they send you gear each month. I’ve never had a disappointing box. You can subscribe at and if you use code JOE-D-25 at checkout, you’ll save 25% off your first box.

The next item I tested on chilly nights was the UCO Candle Lantern. It’s described as a way to heat your tent and provide a small light. The candles are 12-hour candles, but I ran the same candle two nights in a row and never ran out. You might worry about sleeping with a burning candle, but it’s secured to the top of the tent and the flame is completely enclosed in both glass and metal. Even if it fell or tipped, the flame wouldn’t touch anything.

While it did give off heat, I recommend buying the larger “Candle Chandelier” which holds 3 candles at once. This warmed my tent when it was between 30 and 40 degrees, but if it was colder, I’d want the 3-candle version.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t report on the Baofeng AR152’s performance. We used several between NC Scout and I and while they were in moderate to heavy use for 6 days, not one of them came off of a completely full battery. While NC Scout was using the bendable gooseneck antennas (link:, I used a Wouxon GMRS stubby antenna. Both performed flawlessly. It’s worth noting that the Wouxon AN-012G stubby even performed well on VHF, despite being GMRS tuned, but that was probably a function of the short range.

For food, I ate MRE’s and O-Meals. O-Meals are really just civilian MRE’s, right down to the water-activated self-heating tabs. These enable you to have field-prepared hot foods without a cooking fire. The O-Meals Chicken Creole is amazing.

Titan Survival SurvivorCord is the best paracord I’ve found. In addition to normal cordage, it has a strand of fire tinder, a strand of fishing line, and a strand of brass wire (which can be used for comms) inside of it. It held up wonderfully and is very strong.

While on the move, I stored my tablet and a radio inside my SLNT Faraday Dry Bag. Not only did this prevent eavesdropping on the tablet, but it kept both dry during some rainy foot movement. It’s a great way to keep your electronics secure and dry. It opens and closes very quietly and is very portable, unlike some other options.

While at the event, I met Kyle Tepfer of Tepfer Armory. The knife above is one of his original designs and it will be finding it’s way onto my gear. I’ll post more of his work once he gets me some contact information. NC Scout has an axe of his.

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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