So what gear did you carry? With all of the reviews, sales and marketing, and pro-analysis, how the F do you figure out what you’re going to take. Here’s the rule: If you can’t carry it on your own, leave it at home.
My personal preference is to go as light and small as possible while being able to sleep comfortably. You’re on an adventure, not a fashion runway… could go on for days about his, but you probably just want to get to the kit. The equipment list for these posts will be broken down into three separate posts.
Individual Equipment is everything that you carry on your person from head to toe. As Rangers, it all starts on foot. From the boots to waterproof shell, this is how I packed compact, light, and secure. I’m just going to put a list down here with any plus or minus notes. If you have any questions about individual pieces of equipment, please comment and I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours.
Flip Flops (pack): Combat Flip Flops AR-15. It’s the he utilitarian CFF that packs flat, looks good, and takes a beating.
Socks (1 on-person, 1 in-pack): Patagonia Mid weight hiking sock. Don’t scrimp on socks! Spend money on your feet and your feet with be money.
Underwear (0): In a jungle environment where nothing ever dries out, sometimes it’s best to lose a layer, open up the ram air slot, and use motion to keep yourself dry and chafe free. Other guys in the team carried the Patagonia Everyday Boxer Brief with much success, but Ranger habits die-hard.
Pants (1 in-pack): Arc’teryx Rampart Pant. I love these pants. I’ve been beating on this pair for five years and they’re still going strong. From a full dunk in water, these can get walked dry in about 15 minutes. They’re lightweight, breathable, packable. It will be a sad day when these pants finally fail.
Shorts (1 on person): Patagonia Tenpenny. They’re great shorts with enough organization to be prepared, but not look like you just stepped out of an REI commercial.
T-shirts (1 on-person, 2 in-pack): Team 5 mission shirt (2), CFF M-Star Shirt (1). Nothing special here. You’re in a jungle with your bros. You’re going to get stinky. Do your best to dry them out prior to shoving in your bag.
Base Layer (in-pack): Patagonia Capiline 1 Silkweight Crew. You never know when it’s going to chill off a few degrees, so have a long sleeve base layer on standby to pull that moisture away from your skin.
Shell Top: Patagonia Torrent Shell (in-pack). You wear shells when it’s precipitating. Period. Otherwise, your shell should be in your pack. I could go on for days about this, but manufacturers can’t make a shell that isn’t bomber waterproof these days. Today’s shell differentiators are weight, packed size, and most importantly – breathability.
Shell Bottom: Patagonia Torrent Shell Pants (in-pack). This was my biggest planning/gear failure of the trip. It started precipitating in a rainforest and I was in need of my shells quickly. I grabbed the waterproof gear (one zipper deep), donned the pack cover, and proceeded to shove my boot down the pant leg with no luck. The Torrent zippers didn’t go all the way up the leg and the boot was too big for the pant leg. This meant having to unlace my boots in a muddy jungle, donning rain pants, and relacing boots in a downpour. Uh uh. The pants went back in the pack and used the vertical shadow of my shell and pack to keep the rain off my boots as much as possible. NOTE TO SELF: Get full zip rain pants for next trip …
Belt: Fighter Design S.E.R.E. Belt (on-person). This is the only military-esque item in the list, but well worth it. Discreetly loaded with goodies, this belt is for the trained professional that might find themselves in confined spaces. Plus, that Cobra buckle just looks cool!
Shemagh (on-person/in-pack): C’mon now, we make these things. Of course I had to represent. I chose the green/black M-Star shemagh. It was a little heavy for the environment, so the white/black Operation Hawkeye shemagh will find its way into the kit on the next trip.
Hat (on-person): The Jingle Trucker. It’s the proper amount of ventilation, no velcro, and enough style to seal the hippy backpacker cover story.
Tool (on-person): Leatherman Skeletool CX. No matter how cool the knife collection gets, this is my go-to for mission-based travel. It’s compact, light, great steel, and provides MacGyver-ish functionality in a small package. Only wish was that it had a set of tweezers to remedy the mild run-ns with mother nature.
Bonus Tool: Winkler WK II Hammer Combat Axe. Mr. Winkler was nice enough to sponsor the team with a knife, machete, and an axe. The Ranger immediately claimed the tomahawk and used it for hammering tent stakes and cool photo ops.
Wallet (on-person): Combat Flip Flops Nomad Wallet. Not yet released, so you’re the first to find out here. It’s meant to hold a passport, credit cards, cash, ID, and boarding passes without the George Castanza thickness and imprint in your gear. Stay tuned MOTUS crew. It will be out soon enough!
Shades (on-person): I normally wear anything from the Smith Optics Elite line. They’re durable, have spectacular ballistic protection, and look good. But, I screwed up and left them on my desk at home. Gas station sunnies … bummer!
Yes, there is a lot of “Gucci” gear on the list. Gear is meant to be supporting equipment, not the mission. If you find yourself distracted from your task because of your kit, ask yourself the tough questions, do the research, and make the change. Most to all of the items listed above have a lifetime warranty—meaning it’s the last kit I’ll ever buy.
That’s it. The next two posts will cover professional gear needed to document the trip and life support gear carried to sleep, eat, and cover emergencies. Please comment if you have any questions on the gear selection or thought process to arrive at the aforementioned kit.
Be Moved. Be Stirred. Be Inspired. Be MOTUS.