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Survival Gear

What is Camouflage?

Camouflage is a French word meaning disguise. Historically, camouflage has been used by both military forces and hunters, for pretty much the same purpose. And that purpose is to remain hidden – to be able to take action first from a position of surprise. OK – that makes sense. Here in this article we’ll focus on common camouflage in use today, primarily for uniforms and personnel concealment. What is Camouflage? From the US Army FM 5-20 Manual “CAMOUFLAGE BASIC PRINCIPLES AND FIELD CAMOUFLAGE”: “Camouflage uses concealment and deception to promote our offensive or defensive action, to surprise, to mislead the enemy, and to prevent the enemy from inflicting damage” and “Concealment includes hiding from view, making hard to see clearly, arranging obstructions to vision, deceiving, and disguising.” “Deception is attained by the use of, any means or measure to mislead, distract, or misrepresent any installation, equipment, or activity.” So, we see there are two essential elements: Concealment and Deception. Camouflage and Concealment In this article, we’re going to focus mostly on concealment. How can we conceal an individual and their [Read more…]

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Cold Weather Rucking Tips

Rucking this winter? Be sure to stay warm. But, do it in a smart way. Here’s our tips for cold weather rucking. These top tips were gleaned from the experience of many ruckers. Best materials for cold weather rucking First of all, let’s review the best materials to use in the cold weather. Best Fabrics for Cold Weather Ruck March In general, wool is a superior material for cold weather as compared to cotton. It is also better than most synthetic materials that are not purposed designed for cold weather. Wool from a sheep is an amazing insulator. Nature made sure of that – the crimped nature of the individual wool fibers ensures that they form millions of tiny air pockets. These tiny pockets trap air, helping to provide a thermal barrier. And, wool outperforms cotton even more when it is wet. Cotton is NOT recommended for hiking in cold conditions. Why? Because when cotton gets wet it completely loses its insulating abilities. It also does not wick away perspiration. Base layer fabrics should be wicking (which transports moisture away [Read more…]

Upgrade your climber tree stand carry straps with this premium US government issue backpack strap set.

Best Tree Stand Carry Straps

Upgrade your tree stand carry straps. These are US Government Issue. Brand new, and made in the USA, this is meant for the use with a MOLLE back pack system frame – so they have six attachment points and straps. Thanks to those attachment points, they can be used with just about any frame or pack you’d like. But, these also work great as an upgrade to carry your tree stand, such as a climber tree stand. These straps are premium load bearing equipment, and the 2″ wide padded straps ensure you can carry a load in comfort. A sternum strap (chest strap) is included. These are a big step up from the stock straps included with the Lone Wolf tree stand.

Best dump pouch or mag dump pouch for tactical gear and outdoor use - The Maxpedition Rollypoly Dump Pouch
Tactical Gear

Best Dump Pouch

Let’s talk about the best dump pouch, also commonly called a mag dump pouch. First of all, what is a dump pouch? It is a pouch – with an open top – so you can “dump” items in there quickly, but securely. Primarily these are used in combination with a plate carrier, tactical vest, chest rig, duty belt or battle belt such that you can secure any empty or nearly empty magazines. Best practice is to NEVER put an empty mag back into your tactical vest or rig – only put them in the dump pouch! So, the dump pouch can be used to stow empty magazines, shotgun shells, or other purposes on the firing range. But, dump pouches have a lot of other uses as well. Really, the best dump pouch can be used for collecting and transporting all sorts of items securely. Like what? It can be used on camping trips to gather wild edibles or kindling while hiking, collecting apples or fruits on trips to orchards, or tomatoes in the garden. They are also popular for people [Read more…]

Best Plate Carrier - Crye Precision JPC Jumpable Plate Carrier
Tactical Gear

Best Plate Carrier 2019

Best Plate Carrier in 2019? For comfort and mobility it seems to be Crye Precision’s JPC (Jumpable Plate Carrier). It’s been described as the “most balanced minimalist plate carrier family on the market.” A minimalist plate carrier would be a good option for a home defense plate carrier. The is a ballistic plate carrier (sometimes abbreviated PC) from Crye Precision. Shown here in Multicam camouflage pattern. NOTE: The JPC does not come with ballistic plates. Add the 10″ x 12″ plates of your choice. Sizes are based on the size of the ballistic plate. This is the large model – referring to the plate size it will accommodate – not your shirt size. The JPC gets rave reviews for being light-weight and minimalist, but durable. The plate carrier itself weighs just over one pound. It is meant for maximum mobility, and packabiity. If you spend a long time seated or are in and out of a vehicle frequently, this is a recommended plate carrier (PC). Includes 3 built-in mag pouches. This is a good turn-key solution that you can use [Read more…]

Best Chest Rig
Tactical Gear

Best Chest Rig 2019

Let’s talk about the best chest rigs available in 2019. First – what’s a chest rig? It’s a piece of tactical gear used to carry necessary items within easy reach for your mission. They are an efficient way to carry necessary and important gear and to make it accessible quickly at all times. Just as important – what is NOT a chest rig? A plate carrier. While those modular body armor items can also be used to carry extra gear – a chest rig can’t hold ballistic plates. Therefore a chest rig is a lighter weight, more streamlined, and more maneuverable option for those that don’t need armor, but still have a lot of critical gear to carry. These rigs typically come in two flavors – an H rig and an X (or cross-back) rig. What’s the difference? A picture is worth a thousand words. Some rigs even let you reconfigure as X or H, based on your preference. These use keepers to help reconfigure the harness straps. As you can see, the configuration of the harness straps is what [Read more…]

The GORUCK GR2 is a great backpack, but it's a premium backpack. Find out all the great features that make this an expensive, but outstanding rucksack for rucking.

The Most Expensive Backpacks for Rucking

How’s this for a change of pace? Let’s skip the budget-friendly, low-cost backpacks for rucking. Instead, we’re going to look at the most expensive backpacks for rucking. Why? Well, because these very expensive tactical backpacks also happen to be outrageously good. What We Need in a Rucksack For Rucking Honestly the requirements for a rucking backpack are not too intense. We want a bag with somewhere between 20L (liters) and 30L in capacity. We need some volume to carry gear – but not too much and not too little. Secondly, the bag must be reasonably tough and durable. The chances of a failure due to overloading on a ruck march is pretty small – we’re not really going to be using that much weight (between 20 lbs and 45 lbs of extra weight is typical). But, we may need to use the ruck for PT – especially if we’re on a GORUCK challenge event. Bag swings, bear crawls, overhead press, and possibly more. There’s nothing worse than gear that fails when you need it the most. Lastly, we want MOLLE [Read more…]

A variety of products are available in the Crye Precision MultiCam camouflage pattern - this includes trousers, shirts, hats, gloves, and more.
Tactical Gear

What is MultiCam?

What is MultiCam? MultiCam is a camouflage pattern created by Crye Precision. The name MultiCam is a registered trademark of Crye Precision. It is meant to be versatile and applicable to a wide variety of conditions. It is currently a popular option for the military combat uniforms of the armed forces of several nations. From the creator: “MultiCam® is a highly effective, commercially available camouflage pattern used by the military, federal agencies, and law enforcement.” MultiCam was originally developed for the US Army. It is meant to be effective in a variety of environments (arid, tropic, etc.), elevations, and light conditions. Military forces are always eager to reduce logistical workload – and having versatile uniforms goes a long way to easing the burden of too many combat uniform types. Colors of MultiCam There are now several different variations based on the environment. Besides the original MultiCam color scheme, the current officially licensed versions offered by Crye Precision include: MultiCam Arid, MultiCam Tropic, MultiCam Alpine (for snow), and MultiCam Black (for Law enforcement and SWAT team use). The original MultiCam pattern [Read more…]

Boots for rucking - what are the best options? What's the best boot for rucking?
Rucking Boots

Best Boots For Rucking in 2019

If you use rucking for personal physical fitness or for military training, you need good boots. Footwear is hands down the most important piece of equipment for rucking (after that your rucksack is second most important). Let’s talk about what makes the best boots for rucking in 2019. First of all, if you are in the US military your footwear might have to be AR 670-1 compliant. That’s the US Army regulation that dictates what footwear (and other items) are allowed as part of the uniform. What does AR 670-1 compliant mean in practical terms? If your commander has authorized commercial design combat boots: Boot must be 8″ to 10″ high. Must be made from tan or coyote color cattle hide leather (flesh side out). Plain toe, not steel toe. Color matching sole – The sole of the boot must also be tan or coyote. Sole can’t be more than 2″ in height. The outsole must be rubber or pure polyether polyurethane. Boot upper has to be leather or non-mesh fabric. If it doesn’t look a lot like the Army [Read more…]

Lightning X Products Premium Nylon MOLLE Emergency Kit - iFAK or Trauma Kit
Tactical Gear

IFAK – Individual First Aid Kit

An IFAK is an Individual First Aid Kit. An Individual First Aid Kit is intended to be used by an individual for self-aid or to render aid to a buddy, as opposed to a more full featured medical kit that might be carried by a combat medic. A typical IFAK might contain: Bandages Tourniquet Burn ointment Antibiotic ointment Water purification tablets Gauze of some type – including special “quick clotting” combat gauze. In the US Army, IFAK stands for Improved First Aid Kit. This refers to a very specific issued item, but the purpose is the same. The US Air Force and Marine Corp refer to IFAK as Individual First Aid Kit. You will also hear of something called a Trauma Kit. A trauma kit is a medical kit intended to be used for emergency, immediate response to major injuries – such as gunshot wounds or serious industrial accidents. A trauma kit will normally contain items such as: Tourniquets – A tourniquet is used for stopping the flow of blood through a vein or artery, by compressing the limb with [Read more…]

The best battle belt keeps all your critical gear within easy reach and is robust yet comfortable
Tactical Gear

Best Battle Belt

A Battle Belt, also known as War Belt or Combat Belt is load bearing equipment intended to keep important equipment within easy reach. Shown here is the 5.11 Tactical VTAC Brokos Battle Belt (Viking Tactics Battle Belt as sold by 5.11). A battle belt consists of a padded sleeve with rows of MOLLE PALS webbing for attaching pouches and accessories. A battle belt typically requires an inner belt (web belt or tactical belt) to secure it around your waist. Why a Battle Belt? A battle belt let’s you have all your essential gear within easy reach – and the weight is supported by your hips. It’s also very quick and easy to put on a belt. If you need to carry a lot of heavy gear (spare magazines, radios, holsters, IFAK, knife, gerber multi-tool, etc.) a regular belt won’t cut it – there is not enough space for one, and it won’t be comfortable. Battle belts are tough, and usually have lots of MOLLE webbing – so you can customize and attach utility pouches and accessories of your choosing. These [Read more…]

Suunto Baseplate Compass - our pick for premium magnetic compass for outdoorsman, orienteering, and survival
Survival Gear

Best Baseplate Compass for Land Navigation

An essential part of any serious Bug Out Bag (BOB), Get Home Bag (GHB), survival pack, or outdoorsman’s rucksack is a magnetic compass. Not a smartphone compass app, but a real, no battery needed compass. A magnetic compass will always work because of Earth’s magnetic field. There are two main types of magnetic compass: a lensatic compass and the baseplate compass (also commonly known as an orienteering compass.) Baseplate compasses work well with maps, but certainly can be used without a map as well. We’re going to review the best options for baseplate compasses, because that’s the type we’d recommend. Compass, Map, and Land Navigation Terms Primer We’re going to present a variety of compass options. To understand the benefit of some of these compass features, it would be good to quickly review some of the key terms involved with magnetic compasses and land navigation. Much of this information is derived from the US Army’s field manual for Map Reading and Land Navigation[1]. For those without military experience, it should be known that the military has driven the need for [Read more…]

The 5.11 Tactical Rush12 backpack is our budget choice for a rucking rucksack. It's got all the features we'd look for in a rucking backpack, in a budget friendly package.

Best Budget Rucksacks for Rucking

Rucking (hiking or marching with a loaded backpack) is simple, cheap exercise. Throw some weight (20 lbs for beginners, 30 lbs for advanced) into a backpack and walk. There are many options for rucksacks, but the and the other bags in the Rush line are particularly budget friendly. We’ll take a look at the models they have available, and what makes them the best budget alternatives for the ruck march or ruck event. Let’s look at rucksacks that are cheap, but good. These aren’t the premium brand (GORUCK bags) that will break the bank – but they will work fine. These are the best budget rucksacks for 2019. Want to jump right to the recommendations? Here they are: Read on for all the juicy details… 5.11 Tactical Rush12 Backpack The is our budget pick for most affordable rucksack. This rucksack is typically offered for sale under $100. But, at the same time, it’s got the features we look for in the best rucking backpack. It’s got MOLLE (pronounced as “Molly”) webbing (known formally as PALS webbing), and lots of it. [Read more…]

30 lb ruck weight from Titan Fitness - compact, efficient shape for adding weight to your rucksack

Titan Fitness Ruck Plates for the Ruck March

We’re going to look at the best budget ruck plate available via Amazon: the . What is a Ruck Plate? Ruck Plates (also called Ruck Weights) let you add compact, heavy weight to your rucksack. They provide a significant weight in a compact form factor. Ruck plates fit conveniently in the laptop compartment, hydration pocket, or ruck plate sleeve (for rucksacks equipped as such) and ensure your other gear doesn’t get dinged up too much. What is a Ruck Plate For? The compact form factor ensures you aren’t wasting space for other items you really need on the ruck march. Why add weight to ruck march? For the training effect. Build up your stamina and endurance of your upper body in preparation for the real deal. Rucking is walking (or marching) with a loaded rucksack. Rucksack is military slang for a backpack. Carrying a heavy load for a long distance is a great endurance exercise – and when the load is high on your back, it’s even better. Because that really helps stress the upper back, traps, and more. Rucking [Read more…]

MOLLE speed clips can help you attach and release gear quickly from your MOLLE or PALS webbing
Tactical Gear

Best MOLLE Clips and Connectors

If you’ve got tactical gear with MOLLE, you know it helps make your gear super-customizable and versatile. How do we connect attachments, pouches, and packs to this MOLLE? We use MOLLE clips and other connectors, such as carabiners. There’s many types of options, and we’ll discuss them here. Whether you want fast connect and disconnect, a robust interlock that won’t fail, or something in between – we’ll present the best MOLLE clips and connectors here. MOLLE webbing (also called PALS for Pouch Attachment Ladder System) is heavy-duty nylon stitched onto vests, chest rigs, battle belts, or backpacks (usually in rows) to allow for all kinds of attachments. The GORUCK GR1 rucksack (shown here in Ranger Green) sports 3 rows of MOLLE webbing on the back and sides. It’s also got 3 rows of MOLLE in the interior – which is great for organizing your gear. MOLLE is very popular because it makes your gear customizable and re-configurable for ergonomics or efficiency. MOLLE is a standard and therefore a lot of manufacturers support it. Bags from 5.11 Tactical Rush line (such [Read more…]