So, it’s not an Airsoft Loadout. I apologise for that.
Recently I did an event to raise money for Help For Heroes. It went well, we raised a s**t ton of money and everyone came away happy. Most of all me …and not just because it was successful but the fact my gear worked perfectly.
For this event I used a lot of kit I originally purchased for Airsoft use but given its real world application it all fitted perfectly for a 42lbs, 60km hike around the Isle of Man and through its mountains. A combination of British issue kit, modern upscale fighting apparel and some civilian sports manufacturers. Please bear in mind, this was 60km of really pushing kit to its extremes (especially the footwear).
- Crye Precision AC Trousers: Well what can I say? No Rubs, no chaffing and certainly no discomfort. The padded waistband meant no ‘pack rub’ occurred and zero discomfort. The adjustability on the legs meant I could tighten in and bagginess and adding in the ample pocket space for food and snacks its was a win decision from the start.
- Merrel MOAB Mids: The most important part of a long distance weighted march is obviously your footwear.Brit/US issue (circa-2003-2009) footwear wasn’t going to cut it. The Merrels not only were extremely comfortable but also vented out most of the heat thus eliminating sweat build-up and keeping my feet dry and working. Would highly recommend for this kind of adventure in dry to humid locations.
- Under Armour Base Layer: Keeping the sweat off my back and upper body wasn’t an issue. The top literally does what it says on the tin and whilst keeping me warm also wicked the sweat away to help minimize (and ultimately eliminate) any moisture build up. After the first few miles, it really showed why they are a trusted brand in the SF community.
- Arcteryx Beanie: Same as the base layer, the beanie really pulled any unwanted moisture away from my skin so chaffing was non-existent. You really get what you pay for and it’s even better when a best friend buys it for your birthday. So ultimately a win win again.
- Gloves: Not really an essential item but required for the higher up aspects of the route. I used my TMC repro gloves, £5 from some china outlet and honestly they kept the barrier between warmth and coolness spot on.
- Notch Cap Classic: Coupled with the beanie, the combo was a perfect collaboration. Keeping the sun out of my eyes uphill would have been a lot harder with a normal cap given my sunglasses would have interfered. Not this time.
- Petzl Classic Head Torch: We all know petzl know what they’re doing when it comes to light management so I wont preach to the converted. Lighting up the route when it was still pitch black at 6am wasn’t an issue and keeping me visible to traffic was a must. 10/10
- PLCE Sapper Bergen: Now, being ex-infantry I got a lock of stick for using a ‘REMF’ Bergen. Sadly being a short ass and the real lack of finding a ‘short-back’ bergen left me with no other option. The weight management was spot on a lot like an infantry specific option whilst shortening the back rest area making it more comfortable for myself.
Sadly there was one item that did let me down. I won’t go too much into detail but I used a standard brand of ‘1000mile’ socks and to be honest, they didn’t last 13. Given this was a very important event for me I couldn’t let that stop me and had to battle on through until the end with the discomfort caused by this item. Next time, standard issue OD socks, unless I can find some cold weather issue as they’re pretty spot on.