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5/6/15

Max Velocity on Patrol Loads and Packs

Max dropped some truth bombs in a post today over at the MVT blog - check it out.

A few quotes, but the whole write up is worth a read:

You have to figure out what you think it is sensible to carry, and what you can carry, and how it applies to your task. I tell people to pack smart. You need what you need, but you should try and cut down. Prepper mindset can lead you to try and pack a whole bunch of stuff, ‘just in case.’ Well, unless it is absolutely essential, like your weapon, then don’t take it! Be smart about it. Concentrate on ammo, water and food, shelter (as applicable) with items to support that WITHIN REASON.

You have to get away from the idea that you can operate in some sort of self contained way indefinitely. So you pack a weeks’ worth of rations and all your camping gear. Now you can hardly move, and are no longer alert on patrolling. After a week you run out of rations. Perhaps pack 2 weeks? NO. You need a base and you need logistics. If you are operating out there for an extended period, you need a team and a logistics plan. You cannot operate on your own indefinitely. How about someone resupplies a cache by some means? ATV, vehicle, whatever? Use your brain to figure it out so you can move lighter and smarter. If you are planning on some sort of extended forward patrol base operation, see what means you can use to get supplies in there without having to hump them, or at least cache them close?

If you are conducting security patrolling, you may be patrolling light at relatively close range to your base, in your standard loadout, like my light battle belt/ CUTT chest rig configuration as an example. Ballistic plates or not, pick your poison. I recommend a light hydration pack so you have water and the ability to carry a small amount of other gear, such as night vision, some food , extra mags etc. Camelbak MULE type item. That loadout will probably have at least 8 or 9 x 5.56 magazines on it (including your rifle). If you are going on an extended patrol and need to take the patrol pack, then you need that ‘second line ammo scale’ on the patrol pack, which would be another 8 mags. See how this is never going to be light anyway, so you need to cut it down where you can.


I will carry the least amount of gear that I can get away with, but there are basics that will always be present. Here are some examples, not an ultimate list, just what pops to mind mentally going through gear:

First Line: Light Battle belt / CUTT Chest Rig / hydration pack:

  • Rifle
  • Rifle magazines (9)
  • Handgun
  • Handgun magazines (3)
  • Small IFAK
  • 2 x TQ
  • Radio – if using.
  • Leatherman Tool
  • Knife
  • FLIR Scout
  • PVS-14 / Crye Nightcap
  • Map/Compass
  • Basic rations – energy bars
  • Water bladder
  • Water purification tablets / straw
  • Lighters
  • Smoke
  • Batteries for all above.
  • (Ballistic Plate carrier – if applicable)
Add Patrol Pack:
  • Magazines (8)
  • Water (either stow the hydration pack as a mini ‘grab bag’ or carry a separate bladder in the patrol pack)
  • Rations (3 days stripped down)
  • Light jungle sleeping bag / blanket (upgraded for winter)
  • Goretex bivvy bag
  • Thermal sleeping mat
  • MVT SHIELD (use as tarp shelter)
  • Spare socks
  • Spare clothing / cold weather gear
  • Foot care kit / first aid / medications
  • Lightweight rocket /solid fuel stove with pot
  • Helmet – if applicable / night vision
  • Folding saw
  • Paracord
  • Add misc. items such as batteries and misc. gear.
  • Add special to task gear as appropriate.
From Alex: Again, read the whole write up, it's good advice.

I've been writing about keeping bug out bag/patrol packs/go to hell bags (I prefer the latter term personally, but whatevs) as light as possible for a while. That doesn't mean ditching the essentials, it means packing what you need and trimming weight where you can. Your pack might not be an ultralight one, especially if you're conducting some variety of post apocalyptic patrol/operation, but it shouldn't be heavier than it needs to be.

Example - you don't need a stove, but you might want to have one for convenience/comfort. But if you are going to pack one around on foot, it'd better be pretty lightweight.

My personal pack lists is fairly similar to what Max details above -- certainly some nuances; I don't have a stove or a bivvy bag, have 5 mags versus 8, I do have a weapons cleaning kit, that kind of thing. Max didn't intend his lists to be exhaustive and all encompassing, just a starting point for a total collapse, armed citizen's patrol pack.

10 comments :

  1. riverriderMay 07, 2015

    are we patrolling or camping? in my 11b days we had very little of this stuff in our packs, especially for a 3 day ftx. no spare clothes, no stoves, tents, bivies(they were just being invented then,lol), none of that. water, food, mg ammo, pyro, poncho and liner, toothbrush. that's about it. you can suffer a lot in 3 days, as long as you know its only 3 days.

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    1. Gotta have the toothbrush, right?

      Agree - your mileage may vary - certainly some stuff you can trim. I have no bivvy, stove, sleep pad, spare clothes, etc. in my bag.

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    2. riverriderMay 08, 2015

      haha, yes nasty teeth annoy me to distraction. but my question is...who are we fighting? if its regime forces, let's be realistic, we're toast. mutant ninja biker nazis? surely they will break contact before we run thru 3 or 4 mags. crips, bloods? they'll be haulin ass to easier targets before one 30 rounder is gone, so why carry 15 mags? who's so super trooper they can shoot it out with multiple bad guys 15 mags worth without arty, air or dustoff? nope, our fate will be decided in the opening exchange or shortly there after. be quick or dead. nobody is quick toting loads of ammo and gear. after a few clicks you start looking at the ground. then you trudge until achmed sees you first and opens up on you. we won't have that luxury here.

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    3. AnonymousMay 08, 2015

      Don't be so quick to underestimate your enemy. You think bikers/gangs/whoever is gonna just run after 3 mags? What if they're desperate for food/water or on drugs? And who says that's the ONLY fight before you manage to get back to or even to your retreat? Carry as many mags as you can without sacrificing mobility, 8 is a good number. If you can only carry 4 mags without losing mobility, maybe you should do some more PT.

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    4. riverriderMay 08, 2015

      yeah, i think they will bug ass to easy targets. they're crazy, not stupid. and yeah, i've run with them so i have a little insight. i wouldn't go picking a fight with them for any amount of money tho....if you're using proper technique instead of spray n pray a few mags will be plenty but my point was/is how many rounds out put do you plan before you get some input? you don't think they shoot back? once a colonel told me when outnumbered learn to bow out gracefully. seems prudent in the scenario we foresee. learn to break contact, fall back to a defensible position and have that defense planned in depth. we gave would be freedom fighters two grenades and 2 mags. empty mag, toss grenade, repeat, run like hell. any more and they tended to stand and fight too long and got rolled up by the counter attack or air assets showed up. don't get pinned down. be able to haul ass better than your enemy. no shame in ti, its in the ranger creed.

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    5. My personal requirements are thus: take whatever amount of ammo that you choose to carry, whether it's 5 mags or 10+ and keep a full reload on all of those mags in your pack with you. You can never have too much ammo if you're going into a fight, just too much to carry. I normally keep at least half again mags in my bag, for example if I carry 5 mags I'll keep an extra three in my bag with a full 150 rounds in there, the ammo may or not be in my mags. I train to try to retain expended magazines whenever I can so I don't normally keep a full load out of extra magazines, if you play the dump the mag when reloading then I would suggest that you just keep a full set on hand in your bag and probably a case or two around.

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  2. KingHojuMay 07, 2015

    I couldn't agree more. We all have a good idea fairy in the back of our heads telling us to add one more item because "what if!" I think this kind of thinking just naturally stems from a being in a preparedness mindset. The reason you are prepping in the first place is because of "what if" scenarios. You absolutely won't need to use your gun every day. There's a good chance as a civilian you will never need a gun. But IF you did need one you'd be pretty happy you had one. Same goes for bug out bags, food/water storage, and any thing else we prepare for. We aren't necessarily tackling daily concerns but "what if" scenarios. This is wise and prudent--we will all of us meet various unexpected circumstances in our lives so it's a good idea to prepare for them as best as possible. But when actually putting a bag together we can get carried away and starting planning for every single "what if" scenario we can possible conceive of. What if my flashlight breaks--I better have a back up. What if the backup fails--better have another backup. What if I need to chop down a tree and build a log cabin? What if I have to treat gun shot wounds for a dozen people? What if 12 spare magazines aren't enough? What if I need to cook a 5 course meal? At a certain degree you are over-preparing and the weight, bulk, and cost of that extra gear begins to become more of a detriment than it's limited utility is worth. I've seen people pack a can of spray paint in a bug out bag just in case they need to write a message in spray paint somewhere. Uhhh...ok.

    At a certain point over preparing makes you less effective, less capable--ultimately less prepared.

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    1. riverriderMay 08, 2015

      omg, that last line, its like a laser beam to the brain, brilliant! may i use it?

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  3. GREAT article! The only advantage to having lots stuff is for scenario that you shelter in place or if you drive it all someplace. Any scenario that involves walking needs to be realistic. For me that is 20 pounds or less. I live in Kentucky and water is fairly easy to come by so the concentration is on water purification methods not carrying lots of it. The advantage to stuff in walking case is that you have lots of options to tailor your load to deal with the given problem before you leave.

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