Field Kit And So On

I am relatively new in the ranks of the ACF as an Instructor and I wondered if people might offer me some advice.

I have no desire to prance around looking like some wannabe SF Gucci model (although I did manage to get my SF Wings, Green Beret, Sniper, Diver and every other qualification you can think of within six months of starting to play fantasy soldier online just after I retook the world single-handed) but......

1) Stores kit is not abundant and better left for the Cadets themselves
2) I am conscious that our role as youth organisation means I am more likely to need a domestic type first aid kit than three field dressings' a full NBC suit and kevlar helmet.
3) Although I can afford to buy things for the role I do not want to spend huge amounts on things that make people either extract the urine or simply never get used even though they looked all nice and shiny in the shop.

I have asked around the detachment and thought would seek advice here. I have bought a decent pair of boots as foot comfort is something that at my age is important.

For example:

1) Merits of vests over webbing? Viper do a South African pattern vest in DPM for thirty quid as opposed to Webtex for £70 - £80 or PLCE at £120. Is it strong enough? Can't see the point in spending a fortune on kit that is IRR if the cheaper version is fit for purpose. Also is having it sewn onto one garment useful?

2) What would other AI's see as necessary kit? For myself I thought in no particular order

First aid kit
Small multi-tool
Whistle (if only to start and finish sessions)
Water bottle, mug, cooker, eating irons, mess tins
ZIPPO lighter
Water proofs

Obviously this excludes things like changes of clothes, wash kit etc.

My intention is to simply have the things that are genuinely useful and might be of use should an accident happen. What if anything else is there? As I say I have asked around my colleagues whose opinion I value but wondered if there are any more useful tips from those with longer and more recent experience.

3) Does anyone have a list they or their county have devised for people such as me?

To date I have tended to borrow or blag kit but having decided that the Cadets is a thoroughly worthwhile organisation which helps young people find a place in the world thought I ought to put my money where my mouth is.

I emphasise again I have no desire to prance around but would like to know things that are useful, fit for purpose and value for money.
Thank you teehee, am assuming the remark from seajay was facetious but if there is a practical usage I would be more than glad to know what it might be.
How do fella. Right i'm not a AI but i've worked with them. Right firstly on the subject ot Vests etc, dont bother! PLCE is more than plenty for what you will carry. I have a vest and PLCE but only use the vest when im a driver as it doesnt catch when de-bugging in a hurry.

Essentials are:
PLCE (pick up a cheap set)
Smock (again you dont need an SAS windproof one for your role, just something that'll keep you warm and covered. Webtex do some which are cheap but inferior quality)
Softie jacket(or equivalent)
Head torch
Day sack (not the shit small DPM ones, go for a decent make one like Berghaus or something)

Sleeping Bag
Roll mat

Most of all good luck, and be one of the good guys, you seem to have the right attitude so far.
A few things that have helped me along the way are :

Decent boots - believe you have some.
A cheap smock so your issued jacket stays smart.
A softie or something of that nature.
Plce is far better for what we do than a vest.
As mentioned a decent daysack/small rucksack
Half of the local Smiths supply of pens and pencils
If you really feel rich buy a gortex bivi bag instead of/as well as a poncho.
Sense of humour comes in handy.

There is loads of little things but the above have made my life easier.
am assuming the remark from seajay was facetious
Indeed it was.

I must admit I wrote it mainly because I couldn't think of much to add to your list. Maybe you'll want to add little extra bits for more comfort later (little flasks that will slip in to a jacket pocket for example are nice) but so long as you've got a notebook and pen and some warmers kit you'll be fine for the first few times you go away with them.
I'd say your best bet is to wait a while, go with minimal kit to start with and only buy stuff you really find you need.

I'm quite surprised you don't get such basic stuff as a metal mug given to you. Seems like a big ask to have people give up their spare time to be instructors then ask them to buy the kit themselves. Good on you for doing it anyway.
rather than a zippo i find the turboflame lighters are handy for when its pissing down and you ave 19 1* all stood clutching a bit of hexy block going "i've run out of matches" ( they are also cheaper)
you cna pick up plce for £25 -£35 on ebay etc which is more than suitable for waht we need it for.
I actually spoke to my works H&S bod about a first aid kit, as you say you don't need FFD, but things like plasters tape, blister stuff etc is the sort of thing you are likely to need
rather than a poncho i managed to get a basha sheet ( i think this is what it was called) and a gortex bivvy bag off my local army surplus for about £30 for the pair. i tend to view it that im not going to take over the world but i may have to sleep in a wood for a day or 2 and eat there etc... so the "gucci" stuff i require is things to make eating and sleeping for a cuppla days more cumfy.
however you don't really " need" anything particularly flas as the kids will be using the basic gear so i find itd easier to demo if i am using the same. ie light your hexi block with the matches out of me ration pack and eat me ORPS same as they are ( and keep the lighter for emergencies) as it annoys me a bit when the adults bugger off on their own and eat different food, and leave the kids on their own. i find you know a lot more about what is goinn on if you are sat eatin ur burger and beans wiv a group of em.

i'll stop now i appear to have gone on a bit ....oops
seajay, i tend to view that any money i am paid for cadets.... is then available for buying my stuff for cadets, so it s a kinda self perpetuating cycle.
Buy a decent daysac .You can carry everything you need comfortable get one with pockets if you need to seperate small items .And you cant be accused of walting .
Seajay. It is not that basic kit isn't provided necessarily although I understand as ever there are logistics issues. My detachment is in a fairly deprived area in the East Midlands, I am fortunate that I am able to pay for things I need and many of the Cadets and their families are not. As Woody says the pay we get tends to be recycled into the system and, as a matter of principle, I would rather as much kit, money and other stuff goes to the Cadets themselves not me.

Oh god now I sound all sanctimonious so I'll stop. Thanks for all the advice so far. Seems Mr Flexible Friend won't need quite the battering I had feared which keeps Mrs Amjustme happy as more dosh for life's essentials like Cillit Bang!
Was tempted to seajay but the Malawian Government got a little upset even when I showed them all my shiny new WALT kit, apparently you have to have your LAV and LSATSB patches to adopt in that country. Ha now guess the acronym!
Hasn't been mentioned but a softy sleeping bag, also;
-thorlo socks
-half decent set of boots.
-A good quality (ortileb) map case
-head torch.
-Lots of pegs/ para cord/ black nasty for helping the cadets with their bashas.
-A good 35ltr daysack reccomend the berghaus munro or the snugpak variant.

As for webbing the infantry PLCE set is designed so that the bergan sits on the back of the pouches , disapating the load on your shoulders, the COP vests don't, simply cause they are for vehicle mounted ops where your wagon carrys your gear.


Book Reviewer
Weekend kit.

For a weekend camp that was a mixture of around camp and field I would take the following as basics.

2 sets 95 shirt/trousers/t shirt
1 Pair decent boots (2 is better to take the time pressure off but you can live with one)
2 pairs decent socks
1 beret
1 field hat/fleece hat
1 Combat jacket/smock
1 pair of gloves
1 set of PLCE webbing from Ebay (it doesn’t matter if it is dpm or green and I have owned every type of webbing/vest in Christendom it seems and I have still gone back to issue PLCE)
1 Day sack
1 multitool
Pocket flask (Lifeventure type or similar screw lid with no handle for warm wets)
First aid kit aimed at cuts, bruises and blisters and able to deal with a

Miscellaneous stuff;
Notebook, pen, pencil, torch, spare batteries, chalk, string. sweets, cuppasoups. I don’t bother with para cord, green string from B & Q meets all requirements, is bio-degradable and if it is too weak then double the thickness. Is it just me who sees para cord as an ACF fetish?

If you are out overnight.
Basha sheet
4 bungees
6 tent pegs
Roll mat (essential)
Decent doss bag
Thermal top or fleece jacket.

It is popular amongst ex cadets to try and survive outdoors with the minimum of kit such as no roll mat and a Thomas The Tank Engine Woolworth’s sleeping bag but if you are degrading your own performance by getting chilled how on earth are you fit to look after other people’s children in an environment which they are not used to?

Take enough kit, take care of yourself then you can take care of them.

You do not need and never will need 24 hours rations in your webbing, an escape and evasion kit, a survival kit, a machete, a survival knife with a laptop computer built into the handle or any other item aimed at surviving beyond tea time. This is the ACF not the retreat from Moscow. This was the hardest lesson for me to grasp when moving from the army to the ACF. One pack of tissues for homesick cadets is of more value than a jungle hammock.

As for food; I tend to take something simple, quick and a bit different such as the ingredients for a curry and rice which I demo to show that you can do your own thing. I do this whilst the kids are eating as I always spend the time that they are supposed to be cooking on supervising and helping them to master the mysteries of hexi and ratpacks.
Thank you all very much for your advice it is most helpful. I concur entirely maninblack and thank you on the food front. I am though a little disappointed that I can't take my Action Man sleeping bag because its an original from the 1970's my mummy bought me for Cubs (and I remember getting cold in it then). Incidentally read somewhere that dental floss is better than string, smaller, biodegradable and so on and of course doesn't get tangled but I am old and foolish.

Seriously it is of great help to me I hope that over time I shall meet some of you on activities weekends and so on. Off to Springfields now for a bit of a splurge.

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