Your most precious items in the field
Items left off packing lists but most precious in the field for preppers and survivalists.
This is some long learned advice from an old US Army grunt who has carried the same gear for just shy of 30 years.
You see, you can buy all the tactical gear you have money for, carry everything known to man attached to rails on your M4gery, or on your plate carrier but without this 1 thing you are just play acting at being a real field troop.
Not very sexy is it? Thirty years ago in Basic Training my drill sergeant gathered up the platoon of us and imparted his advice about living in the field and what the individual needed to make sure he never left the pavement without. The most important thing on that short list is a good old fashioned Table Spoon. Or a GI Mess Kit spoon being my choiceWith these 3 spoons you have enough for life. My experience with these spoons started early on, being in the field on ranges during AIT at Infantry school at Ft Benning. Nothing is worse than getting hot chow in the field delivered, you are starving because you have been out since dark and no end in sight. You get to the line, you get your plate, and there is no flatware. The smart guy, the one who listened, reaches into an ammo pouch, or a shirt pocket, or behind his belt and pulls out his spoon and doesn’t need to eat chili mac with his fingers.
If you wear armor, do not carry one of these in pockets, it will wear a hole in your skin. Smack it with a hammer, flatten it out a bit. It will ride behind an ammo pouch or in a section of webbing on your vest much easier. Touch a file to one side to put an edge on it. It is very easy to cut yourself with a sharp spoon but, opening a plastic MRE bag is so much easier with a sharp edge. These are made of good steel, they sharpen very nicely. Be careful dummy, its sharp.
Other options- CRKT Eatin tool– This clips to your web gear, better to have it in a pouch so it doesn’t snag and break the small d-ring
Or the larger version which I preferThis version has a decent can opener, wrenches which fit most nuts on camp stoves, a bottle opener which in Europe would be very handy. In Germany in the 80’s a sign of a soldier adapting well to his new environment was his bottle opener and cork screw hanging from his belt loop when he went down town.
Until you have been in the situation where you need a spoon, you don’t appreciate how useful they are. Being able to eat is a key factor in your usable field gear. Not something anyone talks about but ask an old soldier and he will chuckle and agree. Your spoon is irreplaceable in your gear.
You also want a decent cup to drink from. One you can carry without it weighing a ton and if you can cook in it , that’s a plus. I like the 450ml titanium from Snow Peak
The next thing you really don’t want to leave home without is your bundle of bungie cords. Why in the world would you need bungie cords you ask? To string up your poncho for a shelter. Wind them around your pack frame if you are carrying an ALICE or just jam in an outside pouch where you can get them without unpacking everything in the rain. Get your poncho up and gear under cover, then open up your pack and dig out sleeping gear and food.
Which leads into the Poncho. Heres a tip. They pretty much suck as a rain garment, but they are awesome to put up as a shelter. Make sure you get the military sized with the grommets on the sides and corners for use with the bungie cords. 2 fast trees and you have a hootch up and ready in less than 1 minute. I carry 2 ponchos, one to string as a shelter, another with my poncho liner tied in for a lightweight sleeping bag.
Everyone should have a poncho linerEVERYONE. This is the most loved item in my gear bags. My children each have one, they are warm and comfy. My girlfriend think’s they are tacky until its cold on the couch and they curl up in it. Then its suddenly great even though the colors don’t match anything.
These are lost skills for the recent deployed troops, these are field survival tips which came from many years but with newer gear like bivy sacks and tents the expedient methods are no longer used. We aren’t in the big army so we need useful skills with gear we already have.
The Bivy sackThis is a gore tex bag, crawl inside wearing a base layer like merino wool underwear and a poncho liner , you are good down to 30-40 F.
In the summer you don’t want to deal with bugs, a different model is much improved Snugpak Which has a bug net built in and a hoop keeping it off your face.
As I get older Im starting to really like hammocks for keeping me out of the rocks, mud and bugs. I really like the Hennessy modelsas they come complete with fly in one package.
This brief list of items from an old soldier, learned through experience as being the most precious in the field for living, not just surviving . These few things will make life much easier in the bush and removing most of the suffering normally expected.