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Hey everyone,

 

Haven't posted for a while, or skirmished infact!

 

First skirmish in 6 months tomorrow! - knee op.

 

Me and a friend are going to a tier 1 milsim in December, other than the obvious warm kit what else do we need? On the tier 1 website there is a urban list, most makes sense like cooking gear, sleeping bag etc..

 

Is a map pouch and waterproof note book essential? I just don't want to be lugging unnecessary kit around!

 

Also being a bit of a gear wh*** I'm toying with buying some gen 2 night vision monocular for my fast jump helmet, I'm right handed what eye would you mount it on? The right I presume?

 

All help us appreciated!

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If you're like me and can't rely on your memory for the details of instructions a few hours after receiving them, yeah some kind of pad and pen probably is a good idea, or you could use your phone, or a tablet. In December waterproof is probably a good idea also. I have an A6 size waterproof pad and DPM pouch for it - it is surprisingly heavy for such a little thing. I suspect that a little flip top notebook from WH Smiths in a ziploc baggie would do the trick just as well and would be a lot lighter.

 

You will probably be given a printout map of some kind and I spose that could be handy to have in a waterproof forearm map pouch with a window which lets you examine it without getting it out, but again, folded in half (or folded to show the most relevant bits on one side) and placed inside a ziploc baggie would probably do fine. I have a printout map of my local site in such a bag which has lasted like that for a couple of years - if I wear my British Assault Vest it can go in one of the mesh internal zip pockets, but I've put it semi-rolled in a PLCE utility pouch, loose behind my WAS RICAS vest, and just loose inside my shirt also - I don't need it to find my way around, but it has been useful to show other people a few times.

 

Tactical sweeties (I recommend mint humbugs) to keep your mouth moist while you're running around save you from drinking more water than you need and spending all day with your nob out in the fire zone... best kept in a pouch, because body heat in a pocket can make them very sticky and difficult to remove from the wrapping. If you don't have one, water in a Camelbak / hydro pouch is always a good idea when going back to the safe zone regularly is not part of the plan and, if you will be 'in game' for a couple of days, getting a removable bite valve/tap combo will allow you to easily decant water from your hydro pouch into an aluminium Crusader cup and make a brew on a hexi cooker.

 

If night operations are part of the event, you will probably benefit from having a very dim torch as well as one or more bright ones, preferably UV, which the opposition will not be able to see from even close by, let alone far off (bear in mind that in woods at night it is extremely dark so even the tiniest amount of light, such as the poxiest fraction of a lumen which bounces off the ground to be reflected off branches above you, can be seen by anyone whose night vision is 'in', as it were, ie not recently destroyed by a white/yellowy light source.

 

If guarding somewhere is likely to be part of the scenario, a gardeners' kneeling mat makes an excellent seat, which is quite comfy and waterproof, or you could go the whole hog and buy a Russian Army tactical seat or whatever they call 'em [i was going to link you but chaka98 who has them has closed down his eBay shop for a couple of months so i dunno]. I have wrapped my gardeners' kneeling mat in water resistant nylon, DPM on one side and black on the other, and used this to attach 2 straps, each with a 25mm side release buckle, which attach to belt loops allowing it to hang down by my arse ready for use and also make it a bit more flexible if i need to sit at a funky angle or kneel or something, as i can undo one or both buckles.

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Monocle? Over your weak eye, i.e., if right handed over your left, if left handed over your right.

That's because you'll be using your weapon sight over your dominant eye.

If you're that big a gear whore, then you may as well ensure that your light/laser on your weapon has a black light/black laser facility, the effect with good NVG is awesome!! The bad guys never know what hit 'em! (Yes, I am also a gear whore and looking for them myself!)

 

In terms of kit, if you don't water proof it, be prepared to get it wet!

Something to sleep in

Warm kit

Waterproof clothing

Food and a means of cooking it

Water and brew kit

and definitely a small note book!

 

You get the details of the stuff you like or want with experience, want to see if what you have works? head for a night in the garden or woods!

Good luck and enjoy!

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Tactical brew kit:

eiet.jpg

lm7o.jpg

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STANTA is very much an urban site, so you won't be expected to carry all your stuff all day, just what you need to fight. If you're blue force you'll be setting up a FOB in one of the bigger compounds on the south east of the site, red force is anyone's guess but you'll still be under cover and able to put your kit somewhere safe.

 

Take everything you'd want to keep you comfortable for a weekend in the woods, except the tent.

 

Carrying a notepad and a map with you when you're out on a job isn't going to slow you down unless you've festooned yourself with so much other unnecessary crap you can hardly move anyway!

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Definitely want a notebook and something to keep it in so it stays dry, and don't forget a pen and a pencil. I use one of those crappy little short pencils you get in places like Ikea and in the booths at polling stations, and I've sharpened it at both ends on the offchance the lead in it breaks, other one is a short black felt tip type pen (biros will often stop working in cold and damp, so avoid those, but at a push, you can get a biro going in the cold by scribbling on the rubber heel of your boot). Make some notes at the morning briefing, as it's often difficult to remember all the details later on.

 

I'd recommend having a plan view map of the site, with the scale and elevation marked so you will know approximate distances and slopes, especially if you don't know the place. You can 'google earth it', which will tell you elevations above sea level and distances, then use that info to draw a simplified version of the layout onto paper, or thin material if you want it to be easily foldable and more durable, you can 'laminate' paper with clingfilm and sellotape if you want it to be waterproof but still foldable, and doing that will also let you mark it with a felt tipped pen which can later be rubbed off. Your map doesn't have to be a work of art, keep it simple and you can use it to point stuff out to others. If it is a large site, then remember to take a compass, or your map will be useless to you unless you familiarise yourself with a few easily recognisable locations, after all, a recce is what any half decent soldier will do. At a push, it's often the case that moss will grow mostly on the northern side of trees and outbuildings, so you can (sometimes) use that to orient yourself if you don't have a compass.

 

If you and your buddy don't have radios, then you should get some, ideally what you want is some PMR 446 radios. Don't have to spend a fortune, see here for some cheap (13 quid for a pair) but usable ones:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111331756228?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

Don't forget some spare batteries for them (AAA), and check that they work, anyone who's ever read about Bravo Two Zero will know how tits up things can go if you don't have a working radio, and there is a very good chance that others at the milsim will be using PMRs, so make a note of frequencies and callsigns they are using in that notebook. Nothing worse than having a radio and not having the correct freqs, again, see Bravo Two Zero for some world-class stupidity on that score.

 

Some sort of watch is handy, don't rely on the clock on your mobile phone, that's too much arsing about in a firefight, use an actual wristwatch, with a second hand, and make sure it is set to GMT exactly to the second, because everyone else who is taking it seriously will have done that, so that they can coordinate operations, and you don't wanna look like the 'FNG'. If you wanna go all 'authentic' here's where you can get a US army watch cheap:

 

http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/mwc-us-military-watch.-product,12312

 

If you wanna go all 'Nam', here's where you can get a period 1969 US army watch:

 

http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/us-army-vietnam-watch-product,14376

 

Obviously you need some cooking gear for making a brew and stuff, take some (waterproof) matches. You can simply rub ordinary matches on a candle to make them waterproof, although make sure they are not safety matches, you want the ones you can strike on anything. I'd also recommend a Zippo (or a cheap two quid knockoff copy of one will do, since a genuine Zippo is about 25 quid). A Zippo will light (and stay lit) even in very strong wind and rain, which is what you want when trying to light an army stove. Fill the thing up right before you set off and it will last all weekend, and make sure the flint is good. Don't put a just-filled Zippo in your pocket close to your skin, leave it a while to let some of the petrol evaporate or the petrol will irritate your skin when it comes into contact with it when in your pocket.

 

If you don't have cooking gear, look on ebay for 'hexamine stove' (beloved of armies and survivalist nutters all around the world), you should find one for about three quid, although you might want to get more fuels bricks for it than it comes with. They are small and don't weigh much at all. Don't forget a mess tin and some utensils (wash them out if they are new). Note that hexamine bricks are a skin irritant, so don't handle them for prolonged periods, preferably use gloves, and don't use a hexamine stove in an enclosed space, the bricks emit some toxic fumes when burning, which is fine out in the open, but not good in an enclosed space. Don't let a hexamine brick touch your food either, they are not finger-lickin' good. When it comes to food to take, things such as oatmeal blocks, instant packet soup, crackers and that kind of thing are good, being light and providing a decent amount of calories (reckon on burning about 2,000 calories a day and you'll be able to work out how much stuff to take). A stiff tea with craploads of sugar in it will give you plenty of energy fast, and some teabags, sugar packets and powdered milk do not weigh much or take up much space. Don't forget a water bottle of course, it's hard to make a brew without water!

 

Take some gaffer/duct tape and a folding knife. You can fix almost anything with those two things, so you should always have that in your webbing.

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Thanks guys. Some really really helpful stuff!

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Without hijacking and whilst we're on the subject,anyone know what the current issue cook system is? Crusader? Confused about the osprey bottle/ '58 pattern bottle thing are these the same?

 

I know private purchase jet boils are probably the order of the day but I'm on a budget.

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I have no idea, but we use a hex cooker with blocks in CCF with the mess tins. No idea if that is the same as army, I have no experience as I said. TBH they are good fun to cook, all part of the day.

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I've a set of mess tins and a hexi cooker but looking to save a bit of space in my webbing so I can carry more water, will likely get a crusader set. Just need to know if they're any good first :lol:

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The Crusader aluminium cups are excellent - with 1 of those you don't actually need additional mess tins, if weight and bulk will be an issue while travelling to the site. Only thing to remember is that, although there are plastics which can withstand high temperatures and it would make sense that the plastic rim added to an aluminium cup to prevent you burning your lips while drinking from it should be made from such plastic, especially when it is likely that the cup will be used as a cooking vessal, it is in fact common or garden plastic and melts. It's not much of a bother to take it off for cooking and replace it for drinking however.

 

If an FRH fails you can use one of those Crusader cups to heat water around an MRE also. Something I've noticed about surplus FRH's supplied with MRE's is that the quality varies significantly, but also you can think that it is not working - like be 100% certain that you have the right amount of water in it and 15mins later bugger all has happened... you extract the MRE and start making alternative arrangements or just eating it cold and, lo and behold, the FRH suddenly starts steaming away like a good'n!

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You're not using it right, James. With a lid on it you can boil a Crusader cup full with less than 1 block!

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You've obviously not been using the stuff they're handing out these days... all the good flammable content seems to have been replaced with hair gel or something. Doesn't burn anywhere near as hot as the old hexi since they've made it all COSHH safe by removing all the good toxic stuff.

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Sorry JC, but you're waaay wrong buddy. The best most efficient system is something like a jet boil, something commercially available.

But, if you're on a budget, or in the real world, a long deployment with no option to resupply your commercial cooker fuel, hexi is the way to go.

You can carry a cooker, these now come with adaptors for metal mugs, tablets, a cooking container, mess tins or mugs and brew kit and food in a single pouch on your kit.

To heat water quickly and efficiently, site the hexi out of wind, either dig it in or in a well ventilated building, break the tablet in to quarters, light it, cover your cooking pot, mess tins with your second one (it's why there's two!) or metal mug with a commercially bought lid.

You can make a brew in about 5 mins.

While I was an instructor as Sandhurst I'd make my platoon take part in impromptu brew competitions, whenever we had a spare 5 mins in the field. At first they were reluctant, but soon realsied the aim was to build their confidence and improve their admin. The winner got a choccy bar, the loser got thrashed! The brews? If no time to drink, stick it in a small "jack" flask, they fit in an ammo pouch.

They got so good at brewing up I've seem my platoon smoking pipes, cigars and brewing up in the middle of a company attack because they had rotated round to the reserve platoon and were re bombing their mags!

Coolness under pressure, good admin in the field and the ability to be comfortable where ever you are.

Hexi ain't rocket science, it's for winners!

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To boil 1 Crusader cup I break the tablet into quarters but only use 3 of them - stick the last one back in the box for next time. It's all about getting the cup well stuffed into the adapter so it's close to the flames and, as Cav says, shielding from the wind.

 

One of those clear plastic lids needed a bit of dremmeling to make it fit my cup, but it's an excellent addition - it's clear so you can see when the liquid is about to boil over and very lightweight, but strong enough to stuff down the side in a 58 pattern canteen pouch along with the cup and a canteen and then get rolled on by a fat bastard without even cracking.

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If you're feeling really flush and want to improve the efficiency of your cooking, invest in copper bottomed Messina or mug! A mate of mine in PF put me on to it and I was skeptical until I saw it in action! Very impressive!

Not seen the plastic lids Ian, I'll have to look out for them

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And as for food to cook in these mess tins? I've seen some ration packs on eBay, one 24hr one in perticular came with a shed load of stuff! My mate who's coming with me seems to think that loads of crisps will do! - not for 30hrs!

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Its each to their own Pandy, for a one day event , eat whatever flicks your switch, for two days or longer? You may find your friends choice of crisps leaves him flagging!

The average male burns about 2-2500 calories a day, if your doing intense physical activity, especially in a cold climate, you're gonna need more! Arctic rations are about 7500 per day!

The easiest thing to cook is boil in the bag, no mess, no fuss, no cleaning, lick your spoon and square away your rubbish, job done! (Don't leave your rubbish behind!)

For quick energy? The RM MLs in Norway teach you to have a bag of "Nutty" in one of your smock bottom pockets for munching on during the day, its just all your ration pack biscuits, sweets and chocolate, smashed up in a bag, you can add whatever you want. As for a brew, sweet is good, I always like hot chocolate, coffee, sugar and whitener, all together sticky and sweet! And on a really cold day just a splash of the highland fighting water!!

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Crisps = no way! Too much bulk for not much nutrition and way too much salt.

 

MRE's are convenient and pretty tasty, plus you have the added benefit of knowing that some science bods have taken them apart molecule by molecule to be assured that they really do provide good nutrition. I have a big tin of freeze dried cooked rice too, of which I can add a handful to anything for a bit of extra carbs, but tbh even after full on cooking, let alone just rehydrating with hot water a la the destructions, it's not exactly 'rice' as we know it, more like bendy breakfast cereal - i put portions into small ziploc baggies leaving enough space for hot water & the small amount of expansion, with herbs, salt and pepper so, despite the texture, it at least tastes nice!

 

Another option is to take one or more snot poodles out of their cups, cut the main block of noodle into a few pieces, and stow each potful in a separate baggy - it makes them less bulky to carry. Obviously there's next to nothing of long term nutritional value in them, but they're good for carbs and fill a hole.

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Again thanks guys. Yeah I agree with the designed ration 'sets' that someone has taken to time to work out what you need, when you need it. I'm very apprehensive of when we will be able to sit down and eat, as the tier one experience is very intense. But no pain, no gain. He says...

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you'll have plenty of down time for eating and you won't be expected to carry rations out 'into the field' as it were. Last time I went on a 36 hour game we had cake and hot dogs and I know quite a few guys who just fill a tupperware box with sandwiches.

Like I said, everything you'd expect to keep you comfortable for a night out camping except the tent. If you can do that on crisps and biscuits, you can do a 36 hour milsim on crisps and biscuits (wouldn't recommend it though!).

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What do people think of tranja cookers? I find them easier than hexi, but can't say for jet boil as I've never seen one used.( in person)

 

Only downside I can think of is that you have to carry a bottle of fuel

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Are there any Milsim events where you do have to carry everything into the field with you Jcheese? I.E. Wear your bergen and have to carry all your stuff pretty much everywhere?

 

Must sound mental but the amount I paid for my FILBE and the amount I'm going to pay for a air support pack, I'd like to "use" them as it were lol!

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Are there any Milsim events where you do have to carry everything into the field with you Jcheese? I.E. Wear your bergen and have to carry all your stuff pretty much everywhere?

 

Must sound mental but the amount I paid for my FILBE and the amount I'm going to pay for a air support pack, I'd like to "use" them as it were lol!

If you're buying from Militaryops.co.uk check them out on ebay, their gear seems to be cheaper on there, I don't know why?

Also, if you're buying a British Military style/type PLCE bergen, be aware they come in two sizes, short back and long back. Both are the same capacity, but the long is thin and narrow and hard to do admin in, in the field, the short backed is the go to option, its short and wide and is easy to access, it doesn't ride too low or too high on your back. I'm 6'1" and the long back doesn't fit me! If you're buying a clone or a copy, check it first to see which size its been copied from.

I would guess the milsim event types you refer to would see you leaving your bergen at a patrol base, harbour or FOB after an insertion march? You then patrol or fight in light scales and return to you PB to admin yourself

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