Originally posted 25 June 2014.
What is gear layering? Gear layering is arranging equipment in lines, layers, and levels, to achieve the same thing. It is a technique for prioritizing the carriage of the most essential gear for the specific job over gear that may still be important, but not as high on the priority list as other items. Many sources divided their levels of gear into 3 or 4 layers. DTG recommends and uses 3 layers.
Level 1: Gear that is essential to survival and ALWAYS on your person. If all else fails and an individual loses their harness and ruck, they still will have their level one items with them to help them survive until they can reach support.
Level 2: Gear is for NPT security tasks and is on your person 99% of the time. Only items that are needed for conducting continuing security tasks are carried on this level with respect to the SMOLES packing concept. Following this methodology, the NPT member stays light and has the freedom of movement essential to do their job.
Level 3: Gear is comprised of sustainment items, which serves as one’s “home away from home.” Usually, this is a “patrol pack”, ruck or combination of both. Items at this level are needed for task completion while on a job, or for long term survivability in the field. If in contact with a threat, more than likely this level is shed so that the NPT member can maneuver more easily to counteract the threat. So, there is a possibility that items in this layer may be lost in contact. On the other hand, if the NPT is successful in its task, the NPT members can always retrieve their Level 3 gear.
Here are a few visual examples of gear that layered for an NPT security member:
Example Level 1: Here you can see a NPT member wearing a big knife, a pistol, (and the bulge in the pocket is a survival kit).
Example Level 2: Here you can see a NPT member security Load Bearing Harness. It contains all the necessary items to conduct security tasks in a SHTF/WROL situation. The harness weighs about 25 pounds complete with all equipment.
Example Level 3: Option 1: As you can see here, the level 3 gear is a “patrol pack” or small ruck, dedicated to sustainment items for a short trip in the field. The pack weighs about 22 lbs loaded with the items we recommend for general purpose carry.
Example Level 3: Option 2: And lastly we have a large ruck in combination with the small ruck as the full load out for one’s home away from home in the field. Together they weigh about 65 lbs.
So there you have it, an overview for gear layering. It’s not a complicated concept, but it does help one prioritize their gear for the purpose it was intended. The layer concept also makes sure you have your “oh crap” tools always on hand.
In the next post we will take a look at general NPT security member kit contents in each layer.