Well the regulars have mentioned their disapproval of TA soldiers buying huge ammounts of kit. So here is your opportunity to share your experience and recomend items to us part timers. (reasonably serious posts please)
Softee 9 doss bag / scratcher / horizontal time accelerator / lizard is superb. Avoid those midnight fights to force feed your bergan with the issue one.
Cut off NBC glove cuffs can be rolled over Pro boot tops / ankles to make them almost waterproof and are reasonably comfortable. (Pro boots are not the most hardy thing ever, but are superb - if you can get some).
Fleece neck warmer. A few quid, but warming the carotid jobber makes all the difference.
Of the common 'gucci' kit buys, I think the following are definately a waste of money:
Stoves, except in vehs and arctic conds. Hexi telly is free, small and not much slower.
Webbing except in vehs. Issue is excellent.
I'll shut up and go to bed. Was that a boring post or what?
do the softees actually keep you as warm as the issue scratcher? I've never seen anyone take one out in the field, they just seem to appear when we're dossing indoors (of some description - usually a draughty hangar).
Having come from a unit that used large ammounts of vehicles which you were in and out of regularly I found Chest webbing very useful (we picked ours up cheap through a TSM who was in Para association when 2 Para left palace) cost us £25 a set
I have a softie sleeping bag, used it when I was in, great bit of kit, packs down to next to nothink.
A pair of Windproof Trousers (Field use) quick drying and via ebay very cheap.
Good Smock, go for SASS type, get the extras slotted buttons, hood retainer tab, tams pocket and padded arms, now for the best bit they make them in rip stop so your RSM might even think its issued!
Webbing - I have used 58 Patt, 72 Patt (don't ask!), Chest Rig, 90 Patt, 95 Patt and now use a Battle Vest - go for a custom one that has the pockets you need.
For "normal" webbing get some extra utility pouches on the back, and if an LSW gunner an extra mag pouch on the left.
Issue Bergan is ok......just but try to get issued one of the new DPM Day Sacks, good for radios etc.
New Type Metal Mug, will fit onto the Hexi Stove
Boots - go for Pro if you can afford them (or get issued them), I can't get them on issue, and purchased Canadan SF Gore-tex assult boots, like a mixture of Pro, Danner and Hi-Tech.
Shamagh - always usefull, washing, cleaning, oh and keeping sand out of your face!
Green or Black wolly hat
Norgie - not the issue one, one from the original supplier (we copy them!!! ??? ???)
thats about it
Everyone should have a racing spoon, mine was issued to the Austrialian Army and has a built in can opener and bottle opener!
A selection of Softie sleeping bags - expensive but essential, lets face it how can the same bag do its job from -10 to +20 - if you get a Softie 3 and 6 your covered for just about anything (put the 3 inside the 6 to make 9 etc.
A multi fuel stove for that quick stop brew - especially if you ever have to work with the Yanks who have these great chemical heaters in their MRE (try and aquire some) but you cant heat hot water for brews in them (the water ends up poisionous)
Theres a company in Richmond near Catterick that make boots called Altberg, great boots made to measure for about the same price of the pro boot. Like civvie walking boots with a high leg. They have a website but cant remember the address probably something bone like Altberg.co.uk.
Also in richmond is military direct (as advertised in soldier). They have softies at 62 pounds, and if your overseas they are VAT free outside the EU which takes the price to 53 quid, very fast delivery and helpful customer service.
And if you can get hold of a dig tool pouch they're handy for carrying extra waterbottles, ebay usually have some in their surplus section for about a fiver.