Author Topic: Gear & YOU: Working Towards A Better Future (TM)  (Read 27421 times)

Offline Raith

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Gear & YOU: Working Towards A Better Future (TM)
« on: July 28, 2006, 07:19:17 PM »
Recently, I was asked a few questions about gear - "How do you have your setup, what do you carry, etc, etc..." In an effort to consolidate some of this information in one place and give others something to consider, I decided to write some of my thoughts down. I'm not an expert by any means, but I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about my gear setup, learning about whats available, and through trial and error, deciding what setup works best for me.

A lot of this relates to more of the big game mentality, rather than small local games, but the way I see it, we've moved into a pattern of attending a big game every six months or so, and I find that more or less everything in between is filler for me to figure out what I'm doing wrong so that I don't do it at the big games.

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I could categorize my approach to gear as an ideology rather than a specific pattern. I am constantly asking myself "How can I do this faster, lighter, and better?" It comes down to carrying what you need with little to no excess in such a way that it is easy for you to manipulate it and have fun.

I consider everything I carry to be essential to the way I play airsoft.  Several times, I've seen people at big games remove some of their gear for the Sunday portion of the game.  I've always wondered why they didn't get their stuff squared away before they even showed up.  I cannot dump any part of my gear and still function in the way that I'd like to.  I don't think anyone really carries stuff they don't use or don't intend to possibly use, but I do think that some people carry stuff that is unlikely to be used.

For example, I used to carry a medical pouch with a snake bite kit, an eye patch, one of those instant cold packs, etc. In retrospect, if I need an eye patch, I probably can't keep playing airsoft that day.  Now all I carry is bandaids, electrolytes, aspirin, and the like. Stuff that could deal with problems that would make me more comfortable if something did happen but didn't prevent me from continuing to play airsoft. I also used to have a flashlight, multitool, and compass in my utility pouches, but found that I never used them. Maybe in the future, I'll run across a situation where I decide to carry a multitool and flashlight again.

The key is finding out what works for you. What works for me may not be the same as what you need. Unfortunately, sometimes the process of discovering these things can be time consuming and expensive. Trial and error is really the only sure way. Your gear should work for you, not against you. I find that if everything is working correctly, I don't even think about it. If I keep thinking, "This radio antenna is poking me," that means I need to do something about it so that its not a problem anymore.

I see and hear other people talk about how they're putting up with this or making due with that or fighting with their gear in some fashion. You shouldn't have to do this. You don't have to "make due" or "put up" with anything. We are fortunate to have various people here that can sew up just about anything you could want.

Overall, I think what you carry can be broken down into 3 major categories -

1 - Ammunition (Magazines & Reloading Capability)
2 - Hydration (Water)
3 - Communications (Radio)

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Ammunition (Magazines & Reloading) -

Number of magazines -

Before I really started to think about what I was doing, I carried 13 magazines; 12 in my gear and 1 in the weapon. 12 on my rig seemed like a nice round number that allowed me plenty of mags and at the time, I didn't think it took up too much space or weighed too much. I did not carry any reloading capability.

I began to notice that I rarely ran through even half of those 13 magazines in any given situation. In late 2003, with the introduction of the pistol mag loader, battlefield reloading of standard magazines became a possibility and I started to consider that perhaps I could carry less magazines and some of the loaders. So I decided that instead of carrying 13 magazines, I'd reduce it to 9 mags. 8 in my gear and 1 in my weapon.

I now carry six pistol mag loaders. They each carry about 100 BBs and six of them gives me about 600 additional BBs. So with six loaders, I can reload all my magazines about once. My immediately available ammunition is lower than what I used to carry, (585 vs 845) but my overall capacity is at least doubled by the BBs in my loaders plus whatever additional bag of BBs I'm carrying. I also often carry a bag of extra BBs. 600 extra BBs in a bag takes up very little room. 1200 and 1800 aren't very much room either, so an effective triple or quadruple basic load isn't out of the question. A folded bag with a rubber band on it makes very little noise if stowed properly. Any noise that the pistol mag loaders make is reduced by being inside of my utility pouch.

Mag Pouches -

I like dual magazine pouches. Some people like single pouches and some like triple mag pouches as well. I feel that I can go prone, which doesn't happen that often, on a dual stack of M4 magazines with no problem. I prefer mag pouches with velcro closures. I think that gives the best compromise between speed and retention.

I put my magazines into mag pouches with the spine of the magazine to the left. (Sometimes called "Bullets forward") When I grab the magazine with my left hand, it is in the correct position to twist my hand around and insert the magazine with the least amount of movement.

When I draw a magazine, it is always from the same location on the left, unless I'm engaged in an extended firefight where I've gone through several of my magazines with a chance to replenish/replace and top off my magazines.

Reloading Magazines -

An emergency reload is reloading your magazine when you have to - it is empty; a tactical reload is a reload when you want to - partially empty. I never used to do any sort of tactical reloads and would just run my mags until they were dry and then reload. I don't do a tactical reload all the time now, and its something I've only recently incorporated into the way I manage my magazines. I mention it here because of the way it affects my gear setup. With the pistol mag loaders, I can now "top off" magazines that I've ditched before they were completely expended.

I try to have a good idea of what I've got in a magazine at any given time, but trying to count rounds is not a good idea. If I can't recall whats in it, I change it out. Next chance I get, I'll be back up to full capacity anyways.

I always try and complete several tasks during any downtime.

1) Drink water.

2) Put a full magazine in my weapon.

3) Move loaded magazines from right side pouches into empty left side pouches. (If necessary)

4) Remove any magazines in my dump pouch and replace them into the right side mag pouches to "go silent" again.

5) Replenish completely empty magazines.

6) Replenish partially empty magazines.

7) Replenish pistol mag loaders with BBs from bag.

Obviously some things take longer than others, and some things may happen in a different order than what I've got here.  In theory, if you have enough time, you can reload your entire complement of magazines.



Dump Pouch -

I consider a dump pouch a necessity. I use mine to stow empty magazines until I can replenish them and replace them into my stockpile of fresh magazines. A dump pouch can also be used as a miscellaneous storage pouch for whatever else you might be required to carry in impromptu conditions.

If I need to reload and its very quick paced, I'll let the magazine hit the ground. I have Magpul Ranger Plates on my mags and I think they provide enough of a cushion against hard surfaces to allow me to let the magazine fall five feet to the ground. If theres some distance between the target and me, theres some cover, and its a bit slower paced, I'll take the extra time to reach around and place my magazine into my dump pouch.

I carry my dump pouch at the seven to eight o'clock position, attached to the rear waist strap of my chest rig. It is out of the way of my other gear, is in a good position to receive magazines from my left hand, and is not obstructed by my hydration carrier. Putting it at the six o'clock position would make it ambidextrous, but the position of my hydration carrier does not allow for this. I haven't found this to be a problem yet.

My preference is the CSM Gear Dump Pouch. Its larger than most, but thats why I like it. It has the capability to cinch down the opening, but I typically run it all the way open. I've not lost a mag, even when its very full and I'm moving around a lot. I've had two other dump pouches - A Tactical Tailor Dump Pouch and a Recce Gear dump pouch, both of which were basically large boxes with openings on the top. They had overlapping areas of elastic to provide a "one way" entrance into the pouch. I think this just made it slower and more difficult to use.

My dump pouch plays a large part in my magazine management strategy that I discussed earlier.

Pistols -

I don't carry a pistol. I used to, but I found that I almost never used it.  I've never experienced an AEG malfunction that wasn't related to the selector being somehow screwed up or the electrical system being messed up. If an AEG has a malfunction that puts it out of the fight, its likely a catastrophic failure that can't be fixed during the game. A pistol would allow you to stay in the fight for a while longer, but you're still going to have to go back to the cars to get a new AEG.

Switching to a pistol is probably faster than reloading a primary magazine for most people, but my experience says that most airsoft exchanges take place at a distance where a pistol would not be accurate enough to kill the enemy with. Cover can usually be found to reload your primary weapon and if you're not surrounded by your friends with long guns to back you up, then you're doing it wrong.

Those reasons are why I don't carry one. I also don't have to carry the extra weight of a pistol and magazines. I also don't have to configure my equipment to carry extra pistol mags.


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Hydration -

Water is heavy. I'd say my 3 liters of water is over 50% of the weight I carry.

The rule of thumb for water intake during heavy activity is 1 liter per hour. Therefore, 3 liters means 3 hours sustainment, which is about what most airsoft games tend to be, if not a bit shorter. So I think 3 liters of water is perfect for most uses.

Ganef has several great designs that incorporate a hydration system into the rig and have it all one piece. I've gone back and forth between having a separate hydration carrier and an integrated one. Right now, I use a separate Camelbak from my rig. Maybe that will change in the future.


-----



Communications -

I believe that everyone needs to have a radio. I think that every squad member should be able to tell anyone else exactly whats going on at any given time. Everyone should basically know where everyone is and everyone should never, ever get lost because they were out of contact with their squad.

At Lion Claws 5, being a fireteam leader, I had my radio on the squad channel most of the time. Once or twice, when my squad leader was dead, I had to switch to the platoon channel to talk to the Platoon Leader.  It sucked having to take the radio out of the pouch and divert my attention to it instead of looking around and paying attention to my surroundings like I should have been.  At Lion claws 6, I did have another radio, and it worked great having two separat radios for the squad net and the platoon net.

Having a Push to talk button that is not on the radio itself, I can position a radio somewhere not super easy to access. I have one of mine on the far left of my rig, out of the way. It is low enough that the antenna doesn't poke me in the armpit. It is still in a position where I can adjust the volume if need be, though.  The other radio I carry is directly opposite the first, on my right side.  Neither seem overly intrusive to me.

Communications equipment is a hard thing to peg down. There are so many different options available and so much if it is tied to your own preferences, all I really have to say about it is that you should find what works for you at your price point. After seeing many people purchase inexpensive and sometimes not so inexpensive "low end" headsets, throat mics, and the like, I decided early on that I wasn't going to waste my time and money going through several lesser setups to find what I'd like.  I did some research and purchased a higher end headset.  It was expensive, but the payoff is that it has worked flawlessly across the almost 3 years I've had it now, and I don't suspect it will fail me anytime soon.

-----

At the end of the day, we're all still just playing airball, so I'm not trying to imply or pretend that I'm some high speed guy. One of the kicks I get from airsoft is what I've been talking about here. The guns, the gear, the friends, the environments, and the mechanics of it all make me happy.

All of this didn't happen overnight. I've been playing airsoft for almost 5 1/2 years now, and only recently did I start doing half this stuff I just wrote down. You have to take your own experience into consideration when determining what will work best for you.

I hope this encourages you to consider your setup and make whatever refinements you deem necessary.

And remember, this is A way, not THE way.

-----------
Added 17 Feb 08 -

My "old" gear -



Chuckwalla utility pouch, 4x Dual M4 mag pouches, radio pouch, & dump pouch.

I've actually had most of my "new" stuff for almost a year now, but its been quite a while since I took any photos of it.



The biggest changes I've made is to use open top kydex magazine pouches and two radios.

Although its difficult to see at all, there is a modular chest rig underneath all the pouches.  It is very straightforward.  The body of the rig is mesh for breathability and has no map pockets or anything, because I didn't want any of that.  I like the 2" unpadded seatbelt straps because they are simple and cooperate well with my camelbak sitting over them.

A photo of my old rig that was underneath the pouches in the first picture.  I don't have a photo of the new one,  but this is similar in its simplicity. -



Back to the new stuff -



Detail here of how the dump pouch is secured to the waist strap so that it doesn't shift on the around.  I run my dump pouch on my left side, because I'm right handed, shoot right handed, and drop my mags with my left hand.  Also, because of this, I have the buckle positioned on the right side so that the dump pouch can be as far "forward" as possible.

I have, upon occasion, considered moving my dump pouch to the center of the waist strap to position it so that I could drop magazines into it with my right hand if I was shooting left handed, but as with a lot of things, its kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul - My regular usage of the pouch would suffer just to allow a slight advantage to a situation I'm rarely in. (Reloading with my right hand)  Not to say it doesn't happen, but I can always ditch the mags on the ground.  Not to mention the fact that my Camelbak might stick into it a bit, reducing the size of the mouth of the pouch.

Lately I find myself dropping magazines onto the ground much more often than putting them into my dump pouch, (At least, in the immediate moment) but I still want to have one on me, as I use it for other general utility options.



Radio pouch.  I use two ICOM F4S radios.  They are positioned on either end of the chest rig.  I don't use the other radio all the time, typically only at large events with multiple radio nets where I need two radios. (depending on my position)  I have some tape around the shock cord to hold the cord over the plug on top of the radio to keep it secure.

As a point of interest, the radio pictured is sitting backwards in the pouch, with the face pointed towards me when I wear it.  This is so that the antenna is inboard and doesn't poke me in the arm pit.  My other radio sits "correctly" in its pouch because the antenna is already inboard.



The radio on my left side is my primary radio and is connected to my LITE II Headset, which is shown here on the right.  This headset is similar to the Bowman PRR headsets and the basis of the Cavalvy Elite I/II headsets.

The item on the left is a H250 handset.  More on that below.



Here you can see my PTT assembly.  There is a disconnect between the PTT and the headset.  I got this setup, because I wanted to be able to change out headsets if I wanted, or attach two radios to one headset. (Something I've since decided against)

The PTT bites pretty hard into whatever you put it onto, so I've had a strip of 1" webbing added to the shoulder strap so that it doesn't tear up the strap underneath.  I'm considering rearranging how I have this setup, as I'm worried that it will interfere with my open top magazine pouches below.  So far, no difficulties, but it seems to me like it might be asking for trouble.



Another shot of the H250 handset.  You can follow the cord to my 2nd radio on the end of my rig.

At first, I thought the H250 handset was kinda gimmicky, but after using it, a really cool thing happened.  Having an aural and physical separation between the speakers for my radios improves my ability to use them tremendously.  With one radio and speaker being on the left and one being on the right, it is much easier to discern between them and seperate whats going on mentally, even if they're both receiving chatter at the same time.

I wanted to hook two radios to my headset, but now having seen other people with this setup, I don't think I'd like it.  Both radios talking into one ear at the same time seems like a mess to me.



Open top kydex lined single M4 magazine pouches.  I carry 8 total mags on my rig and 2 reside in these pouches.

Drawing magazines from these pouches, for me, is much faster than drawing a mag from my other pouches.  Ideally, when I reload my weapon, I grab a magazine from one of these pouches and slap it into the gun.  If I've got time, a magazine from one of the other pouches is placed into the open top mag pouch to make it ready again.

These pouches have a kydex liner to make them stiff enough to hold their shape without a magazine in them, as well as provide enough retention to hold the magazine in place under activity.  Some loop velcro inside lets the magazines slide in and out.  The velcro is merely the correct texture to provide friction and a stand off against the kydex - There is not matching velcro on the magazines.  I really like these pouches.  The retention strength is enough to hold the mag in upside down, while running, etc without being so much that it is difficult or slow to extract a mag when you need it.



Here you can see down into one of the pouches with no magazine in it.  You can see the kydex and velcro liner as well.



Chuckwalla utility pouch.  On the front wall of it, you can see the six pistol mag loaders.  Each one has an individual slot to go into.  On the back wall, you can see the XL BB loader, multitool, and whistle.  The back wall also has a zippered pouch for stuff I don't want to lose and some grommets for tie downs.

What you can't see (I didn't think to take a photo of the bottom) is the spare radio batteries, GPS batteries, goggle fan batteries, compass, and whatever other stuff I have during a game - like a bag of BBs, granola bars, etc.



Death rag.  Typically I have a square of loop velcro on my headgear and so my death rag stays where I put it.  I also put a lanyard on it so I definately won't lose it.  The death rag is lightweight and folds up nicely so it fits inside the chuckwalla.



Here you can see my hydration carrier.  It is a Camelbak Thermobak 3 liter.  I run my hydration carrier separate from the rest of my gear.  One of the things I like the best about the Thermobak is that it has a zipper running along the right side.  This zipper allows me to have the drink tube exit the carrier on the bottom, so I can run the drink tube up under my right arm, which is how I prefer it.

The Thermobak is pretty simple and carries only water.  I've contemplated switching to a Camelbak Ambush (or similar) to gain a pouch on the back for additional storage, but typically I don't find myself missing any said storage.

I run my hydration on the right and my commo on the left.  Initially, my rationale was that I didn't want to get my commo items wet, but using nice stuff, it can take it.  So realistically, the reason is more along the lines of the fact that my PTT is more in the way of shouldering my weapon than the drink tube is, so I run the drink tube on the right.

Hope this was informative.

-----------
Added 11 Feb 09 -

I took some photos, so I figured I'd do a small write up -



2x ICOM F4S and batteries

The ICOM F4S is a 4 Watt UHF (440-470MHz) radio.  I have 3 batteries for each radio although each battery seems to last all day for the most part.  They are 9.6v 1450mah NiMh batteries.  The battery attaches onto the radio and is about 50% of the total size and about 75% of the total weight.  The batteries come with detachable belt clips, but I don't use them for the most part, as the pouches on my gear a sized for them without clips.



TEA LITE II Headset with lower cordset and ICOM F4S Radio

The TEA LITE II Headset is similar to the Bowman PRR headset and the Cavalvy Elite/Elite II.  The base headset is manufactured by Davies and assembled by Television Equipment Associates. (TEA)  The headset downlead ends with a U-93 plug which goes into a lower cordset made up of a U-94 push-to-talk, (PTT) some coiled cabling, and terminates in a standard ICOM plug.  There is a clip on the PTT to attach it to your gear.

One of the reasons that I wanted the LITE II over a comparable TCI offering is the option of having the U-93/U-94 junction inline with the radio.  I wanted to be able to remove the headset and leave the lower cordset "threaded" into my gear.  There is an earpiece cover for loud environments, but I've found it to be almost useless for me.  I have removed the top strap on the headset, as I've found that it does very little in terms of securing it to my head.  This headset gets the most amount of usage by me.

At one point, I wanted to get a lower cordset/PTT that was capable of having input from and output to two separate radios.  The issue with this is that there is only one speaker on only one side of your head with this headset.  This leads me to the next item -



H-250 Handset and ICOM F4S Radio

The H-250 is a handset that has a speaker, microphone, and push-to-talk button built into it.  They usually come terminated in a U-229 connector, but this one has a standard ICOM two pin plug.  There is a clip on the back of the handset to attach it to your gear.

I use this handset when I want to use my LITE II headset and two radios.  I usually clip the H-250 to my right shoulder.  This simple aural separation does a wonderful job of letting you keep which radio is receiving straight.  The human brain is very good at distinguishing directional noises, and having a physical separation of radio output to left and right ears allows you to keep track of each.  Its not easy, but it is possible to listen output from both radios at the same time.  This setup has worked very well for me, and while I haven't ever had a dual radio setup outputting into one ear, I've seen others do it with poor results.



MSA Ranger MICH Communication Headset with 2x U-94 PTTs terminating in ICOM connectors  and 2x ICOM F4S Radios

The MSA Ranger MICH Communication Headset is built around a Sordin Supreme Pro hearing protection headset.  It has a microphone on a boom to pick up what you're transmitting and 2 cables to plug into whatever PTT that you are using.  In this case, I'm using two MSA manufactured U-94 PTTs with standard ICOM connectors on the other end which plug into the radios.  Each ear cup has two speakers, one lets you hear external noise while suppressing loud noises (such as gunfire, explosions, etc) and the other speaker handles the radio input.  The radio plugged into the right downlead outputs into the right earcup speaker and the left downlead into the left earcup speaker.

I have the gel seal earcups which make a tremendous difference in terms of the comfort of the headset, especially over a long period of time.  

The Ranger MICH Comm headset was something I'd wanted for a long time without any real reason for having one.  I finally picked one up late last year for much less than I thought they'd go for.  Hooray ebay.  Finding the ICOM PTTs was the real trick. :)



Here is a photo (from a different set) of the chest rig I use and how I'd have the radios, LITE II headset, and H-250 handset setup.  You can see the ICOM radios in their pouches on either end of the rig, and the H-250 going to the right (as worn) radio.  The headset is hooked to the other radio.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2008, 05:30:50 PM by Raith »
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Offline Raith

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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2006, 07:19:42 PM »
Whew.

Comments appreciated.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Raith »
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Offline -MAD- SARGE

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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2006, 10:39:20 PM »
Ok High speed guy  :lol:

Very good write up!  

I'll put in some of my own personal experiences if you don't mind. Pistol, well I started out with just a pistol, then AEG and then briefly carried both and now I’m just back to my Primary. Irene was the only place I used a pistol and I never fired it once. I did come in handy though as I was loading my mags in an attic and heard a noise, pulling a pistol out instead of loading a mag and repositioning my body to aim my rifle was a much better option. But Like I said, I never fired it, no one came up into the attic and continued to reload...comfortable that my pistol was at my side though.  Other than that, that was the only instance it was drawn. I can carry two more mags instead of the pistol and I value those two primary mags to be worth much more than that of the pistol.  

As for gear not fighting against you, I agree completely.  Though I am very slow at upgrading my gear, I am always trying to find the best way to rig with what I have.  Then when I find that the rig cannot meet my expectations, I am looking for something that will. My problem is experience with all the different kind of rigs out there. Like you said, it takes time and money, which is my hindrance.  And if it works good for me but could be better I will take my time to see what else may work well for me.  

Radio, I have a PTT with a built in volume toggle. This way all I have to do is to place the radio to full volume and then I can regulate the volume at the PTT. Makes it very easy.

Mags, I started out with 4 total for LC  3.  At that event it was all I needed, but as engagements become more and more fierce, I now carry 8 mags total.  7 in the rig with a mag reloader...or what used to be a reloader....melted. Plus I keep one in the gun. I loved that mag loader for LC5, ah it worked so well, easy to load and to reload.  Never needed my pistol loaders. Emergency Reloads, I do them all the time. If I’m in a crunch, I will drop a mag with no hesitation. I found that in the field, the ground is soft enough to take the impact of the mag. That and the mag isn’t too heavy either. I will even leave the mag/mags on the ground until I have cleared the enemy sufficiently to allow me to gather my mags.  I have never had a problem with any of my mags getting damaged and I only have 550 cord, no ranger plates.  I too will also reload if I know I do not have a fresh mag, especially when I know that I am going to engage multiple contacts.  Never really want to reload when you had someone dead to rights.

Right now I have my own gear issues. Can only carry my radio in the front, thus the wires for the mic can become entangled in my gun when I switch shoulders when aiming. Hydration carrier has limited storage capacity cannot carry a lunch or snacks, only ammo.  I don’t have a place to put a dump pouch and I need one. Currently I am using my canteen pouch as a dump pouch but it can only hold 3 mags before it starts getting cumbersome and 4 is its limit. Then it is to my cargo pants and I don’t need to say why I don’t like that.  

Pros for my set up are I carry 3 liters of water.  Easy access to my extra ammo bags in my hydration rear pocket. Nothing is placed in the chest area as my gun is always almost positioned near there. Rig is light, stays in place and by having the hydration and rig separate, it keeps them well balanced. I have had the two integrated before and the hydration system would pull on the rig causing the front to ride up high on my chest and that was a no go.  On thing I like and is only due to the shortness of the airsoft mag is that the flap for the mag pouch comes down well past where it velcros. So I have no need for a pull-tab, the whole front flap is a pull-tab and is very easy to manipulate. If the mags were real mags, I could not do this with my current rig and it would just suck trying to pull two seamless Velcro parts apart.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by -MAD- SARGE »


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Offline Raith

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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2006, 12:51:30 AM »
Quote from: "-MAD- SARGE"
Currently I am using my canteen pouch as a dump pouch but it can only hold 3 mags before it starts getting cumbersome and 4 is its limit. Then it is to my cargo pants and I don’t need to say why I don’t like that.  

It sounds like what you should maybe do is commission Ganef to make a dump pouch for you and use the canteen pouch as a utility pouch to hold ammo/food/etc.

Quote
I have had the two integrated before and the hydration system would pull on the rig causing the front to ride up high on my chest and that was a no go.


Yeah, I've run across this before too.  I remember that 12 magazines in the front didn't even balance out 3 liters of water.  Water is too heavy.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2006, 01:10:54 PM by Raith »
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Offline Kurn

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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2006, 01:52:36 AM »
Quote from: "Raith"
Quote from: "-MAD- SARGE"
I have had the two integrated before and the hydration system would pull on the rig causing the front to ride up high on my chest and that was a no go.

Yeah, I've run across this before too.  I remember that 12 magazines in the front didn't even balance out 3 liters of water.  Water is too heavy.


I too have had that problem.  The trick is to use carbonated water, so that the bubbles help take some of the weight off of the back  :D

Seriously though, I think having your camelback integrated onto your rig, or having it be a separate piece of gear largely depends on personal preference.  I’ll tried both ways, and have found that I much prefer to have as many things integrated into my rig as possible.  I have noticed that having a sling that is directly attached to my vest helps to balance it out.

Excellent post Raith, there's a lot of good information there.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2006, 03:55:19 AM by Kurn »
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Offline Ganef

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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2006, 03:26:55 PM »
Great post and nice to see that CT is setting folks up right and living up to the slogan "legit kit, no shit"

Ryan, I have thought about that exact problem and the solution I came up with is making the attached hydration wear like its own backpack and having the rig attach to it, so that the weight is distributed like you normally wear a backpack and not a uneven see-saw. I have something in mind for you CT is gonna hook you up nicely.

Matt brings up a bunch of realy good points that we all can use to rethink our kit and streamline it up a bit.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Ganef »
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Offline -MAD- SARGE

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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2006, 06:20:44 PM »
Quote from: "Ganef"
I have something in mind for you CT is gonna hook you up nicely.

WOOT!  If you need to meet me sometime to go over things let me know. I can aslo bring my current set up so we can see what works/doesn't for me and what I can and can not get to currently (reaching capabilities).
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by -MAD- SARGE »


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Offline Airsofter1

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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2006, 01:34:05 AM »
At LC 5 I wanted to go with something lighter than what I have been carrying  around recently with my fake CIRAS set-up.  So I went with my SOTech Hellcat figuring I would haul a lighter load around the hills of Ledesma Valley and be able to take the fight farther with less fatigue.  I ended up carrying almost the usual amount of gear I have been carrying with my CIRAS set-up minus a few items.  Looking back I think I would have preferred to run the CIRAS platform.

The Camelback Thermoback I bought specifically to use in the event ended up being a small problem for me.  I wanted a different hydration system than a docked setup in the back of the CIRAS; I wanted to be able to easily take off the Camelback to fill up between missions.  While it was certainly easier to re-fill, it was a bit more of strain on my narrow shoulders.  I kept having to adjust the shoulder straps around because of the way it laid over my Hellcat straps.  It was something I purchased a week before the event without using one prior.

I always try to format my load-out similar to what I will be using at the big games.  In the last year or so I have been in a command role so that has shaped my load-out some what.  My role as a game host also plays into this as well.  In my airsoft world, the two gear requirements are similar.
This is the typical amount of crap I would like to carry on my body:


My weapon:  I am a big fan of the ready mag system.  Mag changes under stress are much faster and safer.  To me and my 21 inch guns the extra weight is negligible and the benefit far outweighs the cons.

Ammunition:  There was once a time were I actually carried 25 mags in to battle.  One in the weapon and 24 on my body.  Now I typically try to carry 8-10 on my body, with two mags in the weapon.  For our usual weekend games I rarely go through half that.  At the big games it varies quite a bit - I emptied every mag (18 total) at LC 3 during the last mission, but at LC 4 I didnt fire a single shot on Saturday.  With the invention of the pistol mag loaders, and now the larger M4 mag shaped loaders, the need for one person to carry 50 mags into battle is largely diminished.

Water: I used to just carry 2 liters in to battle, but have since graduated to 3 liters because it sucks running out of water 2/3 the way into a fight.

Communications:  From almost the beginning I have carried two radios.  In almost every instances I am listening to both of them at the same time.  In my position as a game organizer this is so I can help manage the fighting between both sides of the game to keep things flowing and fun for all.  In the command role at big games I find it crucial to have as much information coming in as possible to make the important decisions that could lead men to victory or a red rag sea of death.  Being able to monitor two channels with the option of easily switching to other channels is important in any big game command role, from squad leader to task force commander.

The misc. stuff:  All the rest of the stuff I carry because either I have needed them at least twice in the field at a big game.  The exception is the flashlight.  That is one of those items that fills an empty space in my load-out that does not hinder my ability to wage make believe war.  I only carry two pistol mag shaped loaders.  I usually load mags off of one and re-fill it as I go.  I keep the second one as a back-up should the first one break or a loaner be needed.

I don't always carry a pistol, and and when I do (like most of us) it rarely gets used.  But I still like to carry one when I can, because you never know.  I may need it, or someone else may need it to cover me while I fix their AEG in the field with my multi-tool.

Recently I have been keeping a small first-aid kit with me out on the field:

Band-aids and Advil mostly, like Matt.  A few other small items that I feel may be helpful for quick remedies out in the field.  Blistex for chapped lips, burn cream for sun burned ear tips, hydrocortisone for those chaffed legs, and the little splinter out tool for removing those painfully debilitating splinters and cactus needles.  It all fits inside that little water-proof cigarette case.  I need to paint that someday.

My many discussions with Matt over the years has helped form what type of gear and equipment I carry.  It is a ever evolving thing for me, one journey that I will always be on the path of....
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Airsofter1 »

Offline Raith

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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2006, 01:35:00 PM »
That is a cool little case, Mikey.  I put my mini-med kit in a baseball card protector.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Raith »
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Offline Fish

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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2006, 01:52:41 PM »
Hey great info guys, I was deciding what to actually bring to games and stuff and this is alot of help. I also don't carry my sidearm anymore because I don't use it and it just slows me down. Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Fish »
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Offline Farslayer

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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2006, 03:25:05 PM »
Thank you Gentlemen for your invaluable input.  I actually have asked Hawk to roughly base the rig he is making for me off of your's Matt.  I do believe that you can have a functional, lighter rig....and still look cool.  I do need a dump pouch...but maybe I can use my BH extra large fanny for that.  We'll see.

I'd love another headset like the one Matt has (again), but I don't think I can afford it.  I am using one with an accoustic plastic tube, it works great.

The new guys should read this thread.  It would help.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Farslayer »
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Offline Ghostsequel

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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2006, 05:50:33 PM »
My humble addition to this thread:

Like a lot of you, I like to carry a light kit that allows me to move pretty much unhindered.

My rig is a copy of a RACK (made by CT- and it kicks ass).  I've got 3 double M4 mag pouches (6 mags on the vest, 1 in the gun).  I've got a GP pouch on one side, where I carry an extra battery, swiss army knife, and soon a med kit.  Probably soon add a small radio pouch and a pistol holster (or single M4 pouch to fill the role).  For a dump pouch, I've been using the cargo pockets on my BDUs(ghetto, I know), and just putting them back into the rig during down time.  Just picked up an IT dump pouch, going to try it out and see how it works for me.

As for sidearms, I understand many of you guys don't use them, but I've been to enough games where my hexed M4 dies on me and I've been extremely glad I decided to pack my pistol, too.  One thing I would definately stay away from, however, is a drop leg holster.  I used to run with one and an extra pistol mag on my leg, and the damned thing would be flopping and rolling around.  To hell with that.

Hydration.  Camelbacks are the coolest damn things in the world.  Picked up a 3L, and it's probably the most valuable $ I've spent in this whole thing.  It fits well, stays out of my way, and carries enough to keep me going.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Ghostsequel »

Offline seanm028

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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2006, 06:24:24 PM »
Personally, I've always favored the medic role, even when I wasn't airsofting.  I have looked at medical field kits, but they were too big or bulky to carry.

Instead, I have some basic supplies (electrolytes, large bandaid, compression bandages, alcohol swabs) that I carry in my vest.  Then, in a refurbished ammunition box in my car or at the loadout zone, I have a complete medical kit with much more supplies.

I've used experience from the field as well as knowledge gained from the several members of my family who practice medicine to custom build my first aid kit, rather than buy a pre-packaged kit with stuff it says you need.

The only thing I still think I should get and have at least in my kit, if not in my vest, is one of those suction devices for snake bites.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by seanm028 »

Offline Vince

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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2006, 06:32:00 PM »
A note re medical kits :

We don't have anyone qualified to render medical aid who plays with any regularity, so, anything over bandaids, rubbing alcohol, electrolytes, and gauze is unnecessary and maybe dangerous. Snakebite kits have largely fallen out of vogue because if used incorrectly could probably dick up the person trying to use it and to boot, not have a beneficial effect on the afflicted person.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Vince »


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Offline seanm028

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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2006, 06:46:32 PM »
Quote from: "Vince"
A note re medical kits :

We don't have anyone qualified to render medical aid who plays with any regularity, so, anything over bandaids, rubbing alcohol, electrolytes, and gauze is unnecessary and maybe dangerous. Snakebite kits have largely fallen out of vogue because if used incorrectly could probably dick up the person trying to use it and to boot, not have a beneficial effect on the afflicted person.


I understand that and in that case, probably won't get a snakebite thing.

I have however been through basic first aid training as well as more specific stuff for the various items I carry in my kit.

For example, I have not been trained to use tourniquets and, even though they could save a life, they could also be used improperly and kill someone.  Therefore, I don't carry any.

I have been trained to use compression bandages and how to properly dress/irrigate wounds, as well as use QuikClot (even though I don't carry any, I think it's pretty pointless as long as there's not real bullets flying around) and so I carry everything to do that.

There's also a bunch of other random things I've been taught beyond dressing wounds because I'm sure many of you would argue that anyone can do that.

I think it's simply an issue of how much experience you have.  It certainly helps having a dad who used to be a clinical educator at the hospital.  :lol:
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by seanm028 »