Any Fool Can be Uncomfortable

This will have been touched on in other threads, notably the QM's good kit pages, but what the hell.

I'm off this weekend (plus at least three more in the near future) on exercise with a bunch of new recruits.  I'm trying to put together a sheet of 'Handy Hints' for them so none of the stupid twits get hypothermia/form swirling admin vortexes/waste too much time.

 To that end, I thought I'd ask for the advice of all you grizzled warry types who have refined their exercise drills to perfection.  I've been going on (admittedly pretty slack) exercises with my unit for three years, and found that I learnt more about getting my self sorted on Cambrian training than from all of the rest of the exercises put together.  Since you guys do this stuff all the time, or in the case of the TA have been doing it for years, I figure you may have a few sly tricks and tips to stop my sprogs from causing me too much inconveniance.  Post away....


p.s. Please try to keep the 'Join a Corp, get a wagon, sleep in wagon' type postings to a minimum. ;)

p.p.s.  All their basic field skills have been/will be covered in their training, so only 'unofficial/non-pamphlet' stuff please
1.  If it's recognisable as British army DPM, it's in reasonably good nick, and it may be of use to them, then let them wear/carry/use it.  Nothing worse than spending hard-earned cash on bits of kit and being told "if it's not issued you ain't using it".  Understandable sometimes on ops, but on exercise, let them crack on.
2.  Anything in your pockets, torches, compass etc - tie it to yourself with paracord or GHS.
3.  Drill good field admin into them from day one. Concurrent activity especially, and all that other good stuff such as clean feet and weapons.  Remember also, there's always time for a brew, hot and sweet. (daylight permitting of course!)
4.  Give a basic kit-list of neccesities.  Anything over and above, remind them they can bring what they want - but they're carrying it!
5.  Lots of chocolate.  If they're the usual bunch of freaky-assed picky eaters, then for a weekend at least they can survive on chocolate.
Bungees x 6

tent pegs x 6

gortex socks if they fancy splashing out!

gas burner - if the DS will let them!

pan scourers - often over looked, but essential.

decent gloves

plastic sealable bags for their kit, notebook + a bin bag to liner the liner(and a spare for the gash)

packing list for jacket, webbing, bergan detailing where you/the ds want things - can supply one if you require/pm me

personal medi kit - plasters + antiseptic cream

pen knife - no machete type things though!!
Blazin, ref youre message to me, no probs.

Metal Mug, saves using mess tins and you can chuck youre brew in to the hot water you just used for your yummy boil in the bag meal. If the DS are being Nazis about gas burners, the new Hexi stoves come with a metal mug attachment.

1000 mile socks with army socks over them and plenty of foot powder on your tootsies, never had a blister since I started doing this. oh and double strike sorbothane insoles, only buggger of it is when they get wet.

Hammer into them, from day one, that you only ever have one piece of kit out of your pouches/bergen at any one time.

If they are serious about this army lark and can afford it, a Buffalo shirt is an absolute must have piece of kit, warmer than the fleece and about half the weight adn size when packed, plus it dries out quicker than a quick thing.

plenty more I'm sure, good idea of a thread for us weekend warriors, I'm sure the Arabs can educate us some more  ;D


ah and on the hygiene subject (see below!) King Of Shaves shaving oil is a godsend. available in boots and recently seen in local Tescos.
Baby wipes - for quick removal of cam cream and/or giving the sweaty bits a quick wash if you can't let it all hang out.  Not as refreshing as a proper soap 'n' water wash but will do.  [One of the more useful things I got out of playing with the RHF out in Poland - the rest were insect bites]

Oh yes!

Insect repellant and/or mossie net.
2xAA Maglite with red filter attached to combat jacket with string and a tiny carabiner
Whistle (attached as above)
Waterproof notebook and pencil (the old commanders battle book is ideal)
Zinc oxide tape
Lomatil or equiv (for shits)
Ibuprofen (sponsors of S'Hurst)
bog roll in re-sealable bag
Haribo sweets
superflame lighter (lights hexi a treat in all conditions)
bungee to hold webbing pouches together
bungee to hold jet packs together
piece of foam for back of webbing (roll mat is ideal, but check with the Q before sacrificing one)
roll of black insulating tape ('nuff said)
length of green string
ortlieb map case
bum bag style bag for washing and shaving kit - this is really useful as you can sling it around the front of you and have your washing and shaving kit etc handy
racing spoon - a good solid metal one

I hope this helps,


otherwise the 'one pouch, one item, close pouch' routine will prevent the retreat from Moscow style of kit loss in the event of being bumped...

Mind you, I still remember the bloke who packed his pyjamas after the corporal said we would be getting loads of kip....
One more thing: you can get blank, TAM-sized, waterproof paper from Lansdale. Tel 01784  460793, they sell it in packs of 30 sheets.

Freezer bags, of the resealable type.  Put spare clothing in, sit on bag to squeeze out extra air and then seal.  I remember once seeing the suggestion that you should take your spare clothing down to your friendly local butchers and see if he'll vacuum pack it for you!!!  V waterproof, minimum space used but not necessarily very practical if its just your t-shirt you want to change!

And I'm sure that someone somewhere makes small brillo style pan scrubbers that are impregnated with washing up liquid.

The King of Shaves shaving oil takes up much less space than a normal can of shaving foam.
Thanks guys, all useful stuff.  Couple of questions, what are thousand mile socks, where can I get them and how much do they cost?  Does anyone know also where I can get a metal mug?

And to thank you all, here's one I made earlier, an idea I nicked off a mate.

Take one issue ammo bandolier (empty obviously).  Cut the threads that form the seperations between the 1st and 2nd, and fourth and fifth pockets.  Put your BCK in one of the uber pockets thus produced, and your wash kit in the other.  Put whatever you like in the middle small pocket (I put an extra FFD, or ibuprofen and plasters in there).  Hey presto, a durable, semi-waterproof, free, combination 'admin'  and medical pack.  Looks a bit Yeehah, but excessively convenient.

Right then - kit list + where you should shove it - this is a recommendation only!!

Breat pockets - Lighter, penknife (on a string), cam cream, lip salve, tissues / toilet paper, chewing gum / boiled sweets, FFD + BFAT aide memoire.

Inside pockets - note book, map, TAM (part 1)

Waist pockets - gloves, woolly hat, shemagh / face veil

Arm pockets (if your smock has them) - Permi pens, maglite torch, spare FFD

(Commanders should have all their cas/ammo cards, sitrep cards etc in their breast / map pockets)

Left Ammo pouch - Mags

Right Ammo pouch - Grenades / Smoke + cleaning kit (30 m of green string)

Waterbottle pouch - Watter Bottle, mug, Spoon, puritabs, brew kit (in front segment), arc markers

Utility pouch - Mess tin x1, Rations, burner, matches, lighter (spare)

Respirator pouch - Respirator, gloves (inner & outer), DKP 1&2, spare detector paper

Spare pouches - include extra water bottle + personal med kit

bungee to hold pouches together + to the body and stop them bouncing around!

Bergin + side pouches:

Side pouches- Water proofs, spare rations, foot powder, spare socks, NBC suit, Bivvy Bag, spare batteries, (CWS)

(commanders should also carry Nirex, additional command cards, string, mine tap, model kit + other command stuff)

Bergin - Spare socks, underwear, spare combat trousers, spare combat jacket, sleeping bag, poncho, pegs, bungees, roll mat, norwegian shirt, spare t-shirt, fleece, hussif (top inside pocket),  polish + brushes, spare laces, wash kit, trainers, gaiters, ETH, spare batteries (radio).

Commanders should also carry -  maps of areas moving through, TAM part 2, additional cards, sylums etc

hope this helps.....


Book Reviewer
An old favourite of mine (as an inveterate idle beggar):

lots of smallish plastic bags.  Slip one over mess tin, slop in stew/soup/whatever, eat, dispose of bag, tin clean.

Best for range days, etc.

get a grip!!!!!

If the bottom of your mess tin gets dirty from the hexi, just rub it on the grass and all that nasty soot comes straight off.

keeping your kit clean is NOT a drama if you keep on top of it all the time, don't let the mess/dirt accumulate over a period of days and you won't need to spend hours cleaning your kit at endex.

Afterall it may not be too long till we don't know when endex will be, best start taking training a little more seriously than usual!

I was told to put your sleeping bag inside your bivvy bag and then into your bergin, easier when you get out into the field that way.

1000 mile socks are sold in most outdoorsy shops, Tiso's, Blacks etc.

they are a decent exterior sock with a seperate sock sewn in as a liner, the inner sock is tight on your foot.  While you walk inner and outer socks rub against each other so that there is no rubbing on your skin and therefore no blister.

works for me, provided I also put in plenty of foot powder.

which Leads neatly onto my next top tip.

when applying foot powder in the field.....

remove boot and sock (obviously)

place generous amount of foot powder into plastic bag (See freezer bag tip above)

place naked foot into bag of powder and seal top of bag round mid calf with spare hand

shake foot in bag vigorously.

remove foot, put on clean/dry sock

put on boot.

repeat whole process for other foot, note you don't take both boots off at the same time as you are still sticking to the principal of only one item of kit out at any one time.

here endeth the lesson for this weekend.

When I was a wee laddie in the COP team, I noticed the Irish countryside was littered with empty Lucosade bottles. (Pocheen moonshiners are apparently to blame.)

It came to me that if you PISH in an empty bottle, it makes a lovely hand and face warmer for those long cold OP's/lurks.

Take care not tae get dribbles doon the ootside of the bottle though.  ;D
Guns, if you're looking for a good (and cheap) one stop shop, for all the 'Gucci's' mentioned on here, may I suggest a little trip down to the 5 Regt RA PRI shop at Catterick (no, it's not my unit nor am I on commission!).

Seriously Gents, it is one of the best PRI's I've seen.  It was recommended to me by a freind and I had to do a little driving to get there, but price wise (and availability of kit wise), it was far superior and cheaper, to any of the others I have seen and was well worth the journey.   As an example, they stock 'Altberg' boots and sell them cheaper than the factory outlet (I bought a pair over a year ago, wore them on tour,  wear them daily and they are still in great nick, really good pair of boots).  They do the usual list of kit (doss bags to 1st aid kits and everything in between).  Phone them with a list of what you need, just in case they don't have it in, saves  the journey.  They'll get it for you and have the whole order waiting for when you can get up there.  Or more sensibly,once you've got the price from them, you can phone around the rest of the PRI's /outdoor/surplus shops for a comparison.  Seriously, from a man who's never been keen on 'drop shorts' (particularly some of the tw*ts who post on this web site), the RA have got their act together on this one.  I can't speak too highly of it.  They are far cheaper than any of the shops who advertise in Soldier etc.

PS.  if you do visit, when you go upstairs to the PRI (above the NAAFI), turn left and head for the double doors directly at the end of the corridor.  The RLC have a PRI on the same floor, it's a poor second to a 'choaggie' shop and has about as much stock..... and it's expensive!

PPS.   Also, avoid John Bulls at Catterick.........prices way over the top. Place is usually full of sprogs from ITC, so he charges what he wants, as they don't have the 'common dog' to go elsewhere.

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