Re-posted by request.
Originally posted 17 Jun 14
Part 1: Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) Selection
There are many gear options out there today for one’s fighting load and sustainment ruck. As our overall goal is to show the NPT how to protect their neighborhood in the event of disaster, we want to do this as efficiently as possible. One way to achieve efficiency is to provide information that equates to much less time needs to be spent worrying over which LBE set up or ruck is better and using that time instead for training and study.
As you may know, a person can spend anywhere from a few hundred bucks setting up LBE and rucks with military surplus items to upwards of several thousand on the latest and greatest ‘special-ops’ equipment in the latest and greatest camouflage pattern. It’s safe to say that American preppers virtually have the greatest availability and choices of military/paramilitary gear in the world, and as neat as that is, it does tend to complicate gear selection for people who are new to the point of becoming overwhelming. Even when asking, “expert” advice, the tendency is to see the advice given based upon personal tastes versus objective analysis based upon the specified purpose for the selection.
So, when you’re helping the new NPT member to get equipped, you, as the NPT leader, must be able to quickly outline the best return on investment of potential gear selections so the new member can get focused on training as soon as possible.
With that said, DTG recommends a “general purpose” approach when selecting gear. The definition is offered for clarity, as we try to stick to the definition closely in 98% of all circumstances.
gen•er•al-pur•pose / adjective
1. Having a range of potential uses; not specialized in function or design. “a general-purpose detergent”
For the requirements of the NPT, general purpose load bearing equipment should facilitate “normal” (that is, ‘routine’) NPT security tasks for SUT. To be considered ‘General Purpose, the LBE you choose should have the following attributes:
- Capable of mounting all necessary pouches/equipment holders without being so front loaded so that one cannot get very low to the ground, (think H-harness / Battle-belt).
- Comfortable enough to be worn to complete daily grid down chores without extra fatigue.
- Capable of being put on and taken off without any discernable noise (think of the loud “SKWAAAAP!!!” sound that some Velcro plate carriers or chest rigs make)
- Capable of being put on with or without the use of a low profile plate carrier (the H-harness/battle belt set up work very well in this regard)
Remember, what works for elite soldiers doing specialized missions might be different than the day to day gear needs of Mom and Pop providing security in their NPA while going about daily chores. Available cash may also be a constraining factor when it comes to choosing gear. To preclude the loss of precious time and money when NPT members experiment through trial and error what works best in most situations, and for what cost, the NPT leader should provide all the lessons learned possible so the ‘noobs’ don’t have to go through all the things the veteran NPT leader or member did. Remember, unless Mom and Pop are in superb physical shape, they might have a hard time with 12 mags hanging off their gut trying to get into a prone firing position, or low crawling to cover after being encouraged to get a chest rig or plate carrier set up. (An aside, helping Mom and Pop do reasonable PT helps, too, but you, NPT Leader, need to be busting your ass on PT.)
How do you get the ‘most bang for your buck’ in relation to time saved when learning about gear?
Have new NPT members get some training in SUT with DTG or one of the schools offered by us, JC Dodge, Mosby or others. Their courses are structured to show students, through the performance, if gear is incorrectly set up or can be tweaked a bit.
When you’re home, if appropriate to your AO (meaning you won’t bring a stack down on you after a terrified neighbor calls the local PD on 911) wear your LBE around the house doing normal tasks, yard work, etc. Nothing teaches you how to wear your gear like performing SUT or daily chores!
When you attend the training recommended above, check out how the instructors set up their gear. If it seems to work, and it’s possible for you to mimic their set up, test it when you train with your group or family. If you don’t understand why something is set up a particular way, ask! Remember, the instructors at these schools have tailored their LBE set ups used during their experience in the military to that of citizens training to defend their families. Pick their brains; they know what works and what doesn’t work so well. If you have a question, drop them a line.
Our LBE and Ruck Suggestions:
General Purpose Option 1: “I barely have a pot to piss in, let alone a window to throw it out of”:
Get an ALICE H-harness/web belt and an Enhanced ALICE Large Ruck. Take JC Dodge’s advice and get a CFP-90 patrol pack to add to the top of the ruck. With mag pouches and canteen’s, etc, you’re looking at about $200 give or take, maybe less depending on what you find or where you shop. Example: Recently, the PI was at a flea market and found 4 M1956 canvas M-14 pouches for a buck each. ALICE frames for $15 (US, not knock offs.) To help, DTG will have some cost effective options in the website store shortly. If you don’t have the time or inclination to shop around, and you need it now, check out the DTG store, here. We offer a couple options. If it’s what you need, great! If not, there are other avenues that’ll work.
General Purpose Option 2: The “Money is no object” option:
Get an Eagle Industries RLCS harness (ebay $100 new, $49 used) with molle pouches ($15 ea) and a USMC FILBE ruck with attachable small patrol pack ($325 new). You’re looking at about $400 to $600 after pouches for your LBE.
*Note these estimations do not include the cost to fill your LBE or Ruck with actual field gear.
The next post will be on gear layering. The idea is not to get into all the supporting theory behind layering as much as it is to give a good example for general purpose gear placement so that (if you like it), you can show an example to new people how/where to wear their gear for security tasks.