Supplemental Notes to “The Baseline Patrol Kit”

Based on some of the feedback from my last, I think it’s important to clarify things a bit. There’s a significant issue concerning equipment selection that’s often lost during gear selection conversations, that being task and purpose, which doesn’t translate well to either civilians or non-small unit focused troops. Shortcutting the experience to the end product can leave some scratching their heads or asking questions that might make some eyes roll; it’s the responsibility of the trainer to fill in those gaps.

First, we have to understand there’s a reason we’re out. Patrolling has one of two end goals; Recon or Combat. Recon is to find what’s out there, Combat to kill what’s out there. If can be broken down far further than that, but for now we’ll keep it simple. For a great vignette on how it works, I refer you to Dan Morgan’s The Patrol Series. Mission requirements must be identified before a competent plan can be put into place, and this requires a competent leader. If scouting or killing is not necessary, then maybe a change in posture needs to be considered. Mission dictates gear.

I’m Bugging Out, Man

The bulk of civilian focus is on 72 hour bags, AKA “bugout” kits. This concept is rooted in the large numbers of suburbanites planning some sort of emergency egress, with the idea being that it’ll be three days till someone helps them or they get where they’re going. Yeah…no. That’s not patrolling, that’s being a refugee. Have any of you ever seen an armed refugee? No? What does that tell you? I digress, but the fantasy of an armed doomsday uprising from the bedroom community is just that, designed to sell you inferior trinkets and cheaply made backpacks.

If you’ll notice from not just what I’ve attempted to impart here but from many, many others on any outlet of competent information is the concept of having rudimentary gear layered on your body, also known as Line 1. In addition, we would usually pack what’s known as a drop bag inside our ruck, being a small pack with lifeline gear, a couple bottles of water, extra trauma gear and a few extra mags, in case an emergency situation arose(AKA “compromise”) and our rucks had to be ditched and/or destroyed a la Bravo Two Zero. This drop bag was meant to sustain on the move to an emergency rendezvous point, which there are multiple ones planned based on 12hr, 24hr, and 72hr recovery plans.

For the light Guerrilla not covering the same distances as a SOF element of a standing Army, and being of the population they’re fighting to support, some of this load can be reduced.  Caches become vital in the Underground to combatant elements, as well as being on good terms with the local populace. Additionally, equipment lost by a military force can usually be replaced eventually. Not so concerning the Guerrilla. Every piece of equipment is vital, sensitive, and irreplaceable. The more infrastructure planning that goes into priming the region, the better the chances for success.  None of this is accomplished by building a “bugout bag” based on someone’s opinion and hoping for the best.

Ruck vs Patrol/Assault Pack

A square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square. They’re both backpacks…but they’re two different tools. Inserting into an unknown area with a small team and a laundry list of team equipment requires a ruck. Despite the ever growing options out there, the best ones for the money still are based on the large ALICE. The Tactical Tailor MALICE ruck and Blackhawk SOF ruck are both commercial versions of common mods guys would do to their rucks to enhance it’s carrying capabilities. Moving into an area for extended or indefinite operations requires carrying a ruck to accommodate the equipment required. And yes, they get super heavy in a hurry.

A patrol or assault pack is used for shorter duration or specific types of patrols. Once a team has set up in the area, a patrol pack’s role now becomes carrying mission required equipment to meet the needs of that particular patrol, leaving behind other less-critical items. If you’ve well primed your area of operations(AO) with equipment spread about among supporting cells, the need for large ruck may or may not diminish. Ideally, for the prospective Guerrilla, have and train with both.

Chest Rig vs. LCE

This is an argument I find kinda stupid, not for any sort of emotional attachment to gear that some folks seem to get, but simply because what works for me may not for you. And I’m fairly certain I stated that. LCEs fell out of favor largely with the advent of lightweight-ish armor and patrolling from vehicles in Iraq. A few mags on your chest is also quick and efficient and generally doesn’t snag stuff as your moving through dense underbrush. But again, what works for me, may be different for you.

I’ve heard a few grumblings about chest rigs that “it interferes with going into the prone”. I’ve never seen anyone with this problem, unless you have some sort of weak sternum or proclivity to laying in the prone with an inch of steel between you and the dirt, or you stack so much junk on the front of your rack that it looks like you’re laying on a ramp in the prone. Don’t laugh- I have seen that, from a few who should know better. Split-front designs, like the two rigs that I most favor, unbuckle the same way old timers unbuckled their LCE belts in the prone, as did the SADF with their Battle Jackets.

Sleep Plans on Patrol

This is probably the largest issue that cannot translate to civilians, and there’s really no civilian course I’m aware of that illustrates this. Sleep deprivation is a way of life when in the bush. The ‘shelter’ kit I pictured was actually nothing of the sort- it’s a base layer for building Hide sites. It’s not meant to be comfortable or cozy to take a snooze under the stars with my buddies- I’m hiding, observing an area or holding position in a RON(remain overnight) site, and moving out just before a designated commo window to relay my report.

If I’m comfy, I’m sleeping, not observing. I’m not pulling security. I’m not taking care of my buddies. The priorities of work at the halt go out the window. And I sure as hell can’t unass the hide in a hurry. Patrolling is not camping with camo paint, hence why you didn’t see any sleeping kit listed in my last.

Inside such a position, sleep plans are rotated, and it’s not comfortable. There’s a reason some of us can rack out anywhere, in any position…because most often it’s in less than desirable positions that in the field you get a few moments of shut eye. You may get an hour here or there, and rotating the sleep plan requires discipline among the guys on your team. It might sound rough, but its a way of life, at least if you want to survive. The Z monster happens to everyone, even the best, and it’s something that has to be trained for to work against. Your guys have to get used to working through exhaustion. And if you’re considering a Light-fighter Guerrilla paradigm and not training in this manner, you will realize the folly of your ways when someone who has kills you and your team.

North/South, East/West, Roger

I hope this clears the waters a bit…because the more important concern is that mission defines equipment used. I’ve described what works in a rural, traditional patrolling model. Your needs might be a little different, but the basics really don’t change. Keep it simple, keep it rugged.



21 thoughts on “Supplemental Notes to “The Baseline Patrol Kit”

  1. Pingback: Three From Brushbeater | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. One of your best posts.

    The bulk of civilian focus is on 72 hour bags, AKA “bugout” kits…
    …That’s not patrolling, that’s being a refugee. Have any of you ever seen an armed refugee? No? What does that tell you? I digress, but the fantasy of an armed doomsday uprising from the bedroom community is just that, designed to sell you inferior trinkets and cheaply made backpacks.”

    The “bugout bag/BOB” is to be known from now on as the refugee bag/RGB.

    The whole “BOB” concept just doesn’t make sense to me,I can see how what some call their get home bag makes sense,and how gear packed to “bug out” makes sense,but 90%- and I think I’m being generous using 90% – could not survive longer than 3 days with what they could pack in a ruck.
    The single biggest reason is that very,very few get off of their ass and off the couch long enough to hump gear in the field.
    You can not just check some stuff off of a list of gear,poorly pack it in a poorly made pack/ruck,and survive with only what’s in that pack. Those who think they can are probably counting on wearing Wal-Mart’s Ozark Trail boots too.

    For a whole lot of years-I used an ALICE pack as my hunting pack when hunting elk out west-take the pack off the frame,hang it up in a tree so the bears don’t eat my lunch and snacks out of it,pack out the elk quarters by lashing them to the frame,lower the pack,and eat some food each time I got back, which helped keep my energy level up ’till the last trip,then carried the pack in one hand on the way out for the last trip.

    1. I greatly appreciate the compliment! You’re spot on with that- a lot of “prepper” nonsense is just that.

      I know I’ve got some in the readership, so I won’t be too abrasive.

  3. Anonymous

    Great discussion and appreciate the explanations on why things work they way they do. Along with the ruck, I added two other elements. The ‘smock’ approach, using the Swiss M70 alpenflauge coat that has tons of pockets, really does replace the necessity for the pack. I have two of these, one with sleeves cut off for summer use.

    The small AK 4 magazine bag fitting only the essentials, I think the bag is made in Hungary. A U.S. 2 quart bladder and carrier balances out the other side (wish I could find a steel steam pan that fits that – the 1 quart canteen cup is just a bit too small, and the longer pan would be able to be heated on one end, the other outside the heat).

    1. Thanks!

      The smock approach is a good one if you live in a climate that supports wearing it. Three seasons in my AO it would get too hot…but up North, it would work well.

  4. Max

    A civilian class which does cover these points, is the Combat Patrol class at Max Velocity Tactical. 4 days, recce and combat patrols, including patrol base operations. Live raid and ambush. The Combat Team Tactics live fire class is a prerequisite.

    1. That’s great that sleep deprivation is included in the program. Working against yourself is an important training aspect that most miss.

  5. mike

    The sleep deprivation aspect of a patrol is a no shitter.
    of all the skills i learned in the USCG and ARNG 3172mtn.
    going without sleep was not the one I thought I would use the most.
    As a new dad my little ones both had substantial medical issues so I spent the first 4 years of their
    little lives at near zombie level, that was harder than any operation I was ever on.
    now at 12-and 13 we are happy and healthy and they still make me loose sleep just for other stuff now.
    Dont fret being to abrasive, better to get hurt feelings now than dead later.
    you boys do a heck of a service JC Dodge, max V MNT guerrilla, you and James rawels.
    Keep it up

  6. S.B.

    Your comment on sleep depravation and peoples view on how cool it would be to live out of a ruck patrolling and what not reminds me of my first few months working on the railroad. Always thought it would be a cool job and being a locomotive engineer was just that. But starting out as a conductor, switching from a 9-5 type job to being up beside a switch stand at 3 am was brutal. You don’t know tired till those types of situations( for civilians). Your brain and bodily functions get real messed up real fast once you start messing with your day/night sleep schedule.

    1. Grenadier1

      Worked 3rd shift for two years at a production facility.
      Terrible sleep deprivation.
      There were days that I would find myself at home getting ready to go to sleep and realize I could not remember how I got there. I had left work and made a complete 30 minute drive with no recollection of it.

  7. PSYOP Soldier

    As always, spot on info….Wifey and non ‘Vet mates are amazed at how quickly i can go to sleep, anytime, anyplace…Had a wise SFC instill that gem as a young PFC…Sage advice…
    Still, there were training evolution’s and missions where time and space disappeared on us, total zombies…Never knew dudes could sleep standing up and with eyes open…

    Learned the concept of L1-3 kit stacking early one, and still use it to this day, for EDC stuff, and while trout stalking….

    As a suburban “prepper,” i have ZERO desire/interest to become a refugee, unass and haul shit out…There are but a few scenarios that will force me from my home, and if that happens, fire/natural disaster/MRAP at front door, notwithstanding, then we are down the rabbit hole..

    As far as patrol kit goes, i used the LBE/ALICE system as a young troop, worked for me, but now i like the MOLLE vest, as it is modular, allows me to re-arrange items per “mission,” and distributes the load better for ME..

    Add in a Med ALICE/3 day assault pack, and i have 80% of the things covered…

    I do keep my SUV loaded with kit to enable me to shelter in place while traveling, roadside issues, render aid to fellow travelers if need be, and handle any trout stalking emergencies and load up the 3 day pack, and over the shoulder rigs and be on my way home in the most extreme situation where i have no choice….

    Many folks live in a dystopian fantasy of turning their home/ranch/etc., into a fortress and patrol base…We have real world examples to look at right now, Argentina/Venezuela come to mind, as does Yugoslavia back in the day…not gonna happen for most folks…

    If it comes to our having to go out re-conning/patrolling, life is gonna suck and one must have their shit, and kit together, cause you will be doing it live…..


  8. More good tips. The whole sleep deprivation and PT thing really makes me wonder if most folks really grasp the reality of light infantry patrolling. It can start sucking in a hurry. I don’t want to sound like a dick, but a 96 hour class only scratches the surface. I’m sure Max and the other guys put on a good class, but it’s only 96 hours long. Most infantry school students get more training than that in a week, and infantry school is many weeks long. And that’s just to become a line grunt. That isn’t counting any extra training after that once you’re part of some specialized group. I hope that I’m preaching to the choir here. I guess my point is, it doesn’t matter if you wear a chest rig, battle belt, LBE, ranger rack, plate carrier, etc. GET OUT AND TRAIN HARD. As hard as you responsibly can. And remember training is continuous. Haven’t had time to go shooting? go dry fire. Haven’t had time to go for a run? At least knock out some box drills or other exercises. Do lunges around the house. Curl your children (trust me, they love it).

    We are outnumbered and outgunned, so we damn well need to be more disciplined and better at what we do than the other guy. That means not falling asleep on watch, or having the balls to chew/kick someone’s ass for doing the same.

    1. I agree, with a caveat-

      From a business model, and running a training school is a business like any other, the proprietor must understand the market. Most folks coming out to train don’t have a huge amount of time, and usually have to take off of work just to make it to a class. From the instructor’s end, it’s also exhausting. I applaud MVT for giving folks a “taste” of that feeling in training. It’s hard to accomplish.

      1. Oh absolutely, I wasn’t trying to run down the training they do. I am really glad they are doing what they are. Max and all the others broke me out of my “big military” mindset. I just wanted to convey a sense of scale to emphasize that we need to be putting in as much realistic training time as possible.
        I think the two most important things anyone should be improving are their physical and mental toughness. Gear and tactics are important, but don’t put them before getting yourself squared away.

      2. I agree. A small unit/unsupported paradigm is very different from what most, even with substantial Light Infantry experience, can “get”.

        As with something Matt Bracken commented here, and I wholeheartedly agree with (hence why I very rarely bring up firearms of any kind, because it really doesn’t matter what folks use if done right), is that with a small group of folks made of the right stuff, everything else can be acquired in due time as success builds. But with a crew of turds, no amount of resources are going to help them.

    1. Yep. Usually much better, in my experience. But then again, I have a much more limited experience with LCEs than using Chest Rigs. When you find one concept that works for you, run with it.

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