TA Recommended Additional (Non-Issued) kit
[Intro by Dr_Evil]
This wiki contains advice on the extra kit we recommend you buy to make your life in the field easier.
The key points to remember are:
(1) Kit alone will not make you a good soldier - so don't lose sight of skills in your rush to improve your quality of life.
(2) As a recruit, it is important to learn how to get by using the issue kit only. Non-issue kit is hard or impossible to replace when you are on operations. Discipline yourself.
(3) "Any fool can be uncomfortable", the wise man say. But additional kit takes up space and is heavy. How you make that trade-off is partly up to you. But remember that you may unexpectedly be given additional special-to-task equipment to carry.
(4) Try to avoid spending too much money on kit. This rule applies in general (although it is often broken) but it is especially relevant when you are in the early stages of your training. As a new recruit, you just do not know what your particular needs are in the field (eg, whether you are someone who suffers more than usual from the cold).
(5) Obviously, any kit list or restrictions on the use of certain types of kit which your subunit has given you will take priority over the advice on this wiki.
This wiki has been split into sections for recruits, trained soldiers, and orrificer cadets and NCO'S (feel free to add sensible contributions).
[msr: Hammer into them, from day one, that you only ever have one piece of kit out of your pouches/bergen at any one time]
MSR and WNB's essentials extras for recruits' first weekend in the field or recruits' course (feel free to add sensible contributions). In brackets we aim to give a price guide and where to get these items from. If you follow the embedded links (which look like this .) you can get these items, including the Hippo Pad, at about £50 all told, but these basic little things make life so much easier:
- Bin bags 2 or 3. (tesco's etc pence)
- Ziplock bags - lots. (tesco's etc pence)
- Bog roll in re-sealable bag.
- Superflame lighter (lights hexi a treat in all conditions) WNB - brilliant bit of kit. £6 camping shop
- Notebook (pref waterproof if not put it in a zip lock bag), three pencils and a pen. (couple of quid max) These notebook covers are between three and four quid & make life that much easier.
- Foot powder. (if not the issue stuff mycil is good, £1.50 chemist or supermarket)
- Socks. Those nylon 70's football kit reject things you get issued with are not socks, they are blisters waiting to happen. Go purchase Thorlo's, Bridgedales, Smartwools etc - anything with natural fibres. Look after your feet and they will look after you.
- Zinc oxide tape and Compeed for feet. (chemist couple of pounds)
- Small first aid pack. Will cost a fiver but should always go on exercise with you for those cuts, stings, headaches etc. Put some Paracetomol, Immodium, Ibuprofen (sponsors of Sandhurst) and antihistamines in as well. [Dr_Evil adds: But avoid including anything you do not know how to use.]
- Include within your first aid pack a small tub/contaiter of sudocrem / moisturing cream. For chafing. Don't worry - you will work out what it is for about half way around your first CFT.
- 2xAA Maglite with red filter, attached to combat jacket with string and a tiny carabiner. (Millets any good camping shop £15 but will last for years) TAKE SPARE BATTERIES!! Get the AA version instead of the smaller AAA one. You can get issued AA batteries in war. Alternatively, try the Inova X1, £15 from www.tacticaltorches.com. [Dr_Evil adds: Note that different units have different views on the use of red filtered light. Seek advice from those training you.]
- Whistle (attached as above)
- 4 bungees (6 if possible £0.95 each you usually get issued two, but four is better)
- 4 tent pegs (at least 4 easy to lose pence each from a camping shop)
- Woolly hat (essential £3-4 black or green) [Dr_Evil adds: Get a slightly more expensive one with Thinsulate lining - makes a difference. £5 from www.rvops.co.uk]
- Possibly a spare waterbottle (possibly £7-£8) but you'll need something to carry it in such as this but at less than £4 - it's still cheaper than two pints.
- A wash kit bag to keep your shaving, etc., stuff clean and stop it getting lost (the Lifesystems one in Millets are good £12, or this for £3.95) MSR recommends a bum bag style wash bag such as this that can be slung round the waist, while WNB prefers the ones with a loop to hang them up like this as they can also be used in barracks.
- 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 WNB got out of playing with the RHF out in Poland - the rest were insect bites]
- Sewing kit or 'Housewife' (pronounced for some weird reason as hussif) will generally be required by the DS and won't be issued.
- trouser blousers aka twists/twisters. Be careful they're not so tight around your legs as to constrict them - ensure they go round your boots rather than your calves.
- Roll of black insulating tape. (nuff said Wilkinson's if your a pikey otherwise any DIY or electrical shop 99p)
- Two bungees, one around the outside and one around the inside to hold webbing pouches together. (stops it hammering your kidneys ... as much)
- Bungee to hold jet packs together. (stop the dammed things flapping about)
- Length of green string. (try stores)
- Racing spoon - a good solid metal one.
- Length of white mine tape. (try stores)
- Small karabiner £2 from camping shop and a good quality keyring. Use this to connect your helmet to your webbing.
- Earplugs. Very useful when you're in barracks and only have a few hours to grab some sleep. Guaranteed someone will be snoring next to you.
- Last but not least Haribo sweets. (known also as moralibo, to be shared!!! )
- You may or may not be allowed this item pre-CMSR but a hippo pad (ARRSE shop or online £15 - £20, or Britkit Direct for £8.-) Fit on the inside of your webbing belt to stop your hips and kidneys taking a beating. Alternatively, try the MSR Industries approach: a piece of foam for back of webbing (roll mat is ideal, but check with the Q before sacrificing one) or use stuff from ammo boxes.
If it's your first weekend you will be made to use issue kit but the stuff above is usually allowed as it's those little extras which are absolutely essential.
- [Dr_Evil: Moralibo are great. As an alternative, consider food which my mate SoftPawn suggests is a compact source of slow-release energy, such as pepperamis, a bag or two of peanuts, and shortbread. You can make up a 'trail mix' of nuts, seeds, raisins and non-melty chocolates like smarties, which is great to nibble on as you're hacking about Doing Stuff, he says.]
- [Dr_Evil: Antibacterial water-free goo, in a small bottle. A fine adjunct for the discerning soldier. Finishes off a field dump, if you're not one for holding it all in until you're back from exercise. You can get these from chemists.]
Once you have passed CMSR/recruits' course CONSIDER buying the following.
Don't rush out and buy the whole list with your first bounty. For each item, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Should I be adding to the weight I have to carry?
- Decent stove (gas or multi-fuel). Boils more quickly and is cleaner. Just remember you don't get resupplied with gas on operations. WNB uses an MSR XGK EX, which runs off petrol, diesel, anything (try ebay £70) You'll always be able to scrounge some form of liquid fuel. You can buy special nozzles for different kinds of fuel, with these you can make sure you can burn what's available where you are. (ie. Diesel, Kero, petrol, etc.)
- Snugpak sleeping bag, packs down to 1/3 of the size of the issue monster. (£60 -£90 depending on model, from any good surplus shop) [Dr_Evil adds: Depending on how much you feel the cold, go for a three- or four-season version. I have a Softie 9 (three-season) and I hate the fecker - always freeze to death in it.]
- A small piece of roll mat cut down for just sitting on and kept in your day sack. Makes those in field lectures much more comfy.
[Fluff adds: Snugpak Softie jacket. Best bit of kit I ever bought, scrunches up fairly small yet is amazingly warm. About £50 I think.] [Dr_Evil adds: this is a high-priority buy.] [eSeL adds - consider the Buffalo/Montane Extreme if you're flush with cash; infinitely better than the softie jacket]
[Fluffy adds: One of those head-over mosquito nets. Only a couple of quid, but helps keep the flying biteys off you, especially when you're asleep.]
[Dr_Evil adds: A head torch. You're not always in a no-artificial-light situation when in the field and it can be very useful to be able to work with both hands free. My personal preference is the Petzl Tikka as it is extremely light, runs for ages (it's an LED torch) and rolls up into a ball small enough to fit into a trouser pocket.][Whitenoisebabies/WNB adds petzl also do the tactikka which has a switch allowing you to change from white to red light]
[Dr_Evil adds: A flug - Flask/Mug. Keeps your stuff hot for about 4 - 5 hrs. Ammo pouch size, no handle: see item_index=0&item_display_length=30
[Dr_Evil adds: More from my mate SoftPawn. He say: "Get a good clothing base layer. I leak water like a lawn sprinkler - after a quick tab over the hills the issue T shirts are wringing wet and just don't dry out after that. Instead I have some Sprayway gear which dries reasonably quickly, but more importantly is warm even if it's wet. If your CSM insists on green T shirts then sasskit do a Powerbase T shirt.][eSel adds - Helly Hansen do a merino wool lifa which is the best winter baselayer you can buy]
[cpunk adds: a pair of secateurs for clipping back foliage etc in a neat, quiet way. Go to your local garden centre for some good ones.]
[eSeL adds: Decent boots - if you value your feet, spend the money and get a good pair of boots. I like Meindl for the ankle support, but most swear by Lowa or Altberg] [81cufc adds: Boots are an absolute must, the issued ones will eventually cripple you, a good pair will set you back about £150 however they'll last ages. I wear Lowas and was advised to get them by a reg as he said his "last pair lasted him about 7 years" so think how long they'll last you in the TA baring in mind he wore his almost daily - money well spent me thinks!]
[Hedphelm adds: I would reccommend the All Purpose Soap by LifeVenture (You can find it in Blacks for around a fiver). You can wash clothes, hair and even food with it, meaning when you are in the field you can wash yourself, your KFS/Spork and your mess tins at the same time. Saves time and hassle, and is very effective - Takes Hexi smeg and cam cream off pretty darn well and is completeley fragrance-free. Brilliant bit of kit for the field.]
[81cufc adds: Camtech Cam Cream is also a good buy, fairly cheap & much better than the issued rubbish. Applies much easier and certainly comes off a hell of alot easier]
That's about it really. If you don't need it, don't buy it.
Officers and JNCOs
For all you Rupert wannabes and junior commanders:
- Ortlieb map case (the best I've used - absolutely waterproof. DON'T buy cheap map cases. £15 WWW.SOFmilitary.co.uk) See thread for discussion.
- 50m of dental floss [Dr_Evil: Handy as a neat alternative to carrying loads of expensive paracord around. Use it in harbours to mark routes in/out, etc.]
- Model kit in container - several colours of string, laminated bits of card (to be written on using lumicolours see below), chalk, and a couple of blocks to represent buildings. See thread for discussion.
- Lumicolour markers in black, green, blue and red. (office world)
- Map marking stencil. (www.sofmilitary.co.uk) not necessary and the one from SOF is for 1:100,000 scale maps.
Bad or useless kit
1. [Dr_Evil] Platypus water carrier. Always leaked and made my back wet. A real bum to keep disinfected, etc. StabTiffy2B says: Dr Evil, you're a fool. Platypus Bladders collapse down when not in use and are a godsend on tabs, CFTs, etc. [Dr_Evil replies: Fine by me. They're cheap, so it's the punter's choice whether to give them a go. They were shoyte on ops: couldn't deal with being bashed around. Camelbak for me next time.] [PassingBells] Platypus also has a small neck, which makes them difficult to fill. Go for one with a larger neck.
2. [Dr_Evil] Insect repellent, mossie net, face veil, sleeping bag liner, lightweight nanofibre towel from space, and basically any expedition or travel kit. Just can't be arrsed / don't have time to work out how to use it. The mossies avoid me anyway. StabTiffy2B disagrees again. Sleeping Bag Liners are cheap, keep your sleeping bag clean, make it last longer and add a few degrees to a bag (I use a softie 9 as well).
3. [Dr_Evil] Frikkin Softie 9. Too cold even in the desert! [PassingBells] You're not all going to be asleep at once. If it's too cold, grab someone else's and double bag it.
4. [Dr_Evil] Paracord. It's just toss. Can't knot it. Can't cut it properly. Expensive (made from gold by Swiss gnomes). Just bum.
5. [Dr_Evil] Anything rush-produced in desert cam (eg notebook covers). Just look a bit pants, that's all ...
6. [Dr_Evil] Compasses. Give me GPS. [PassingBells] I hope that this is a Wah!
7. [Dr_Evil] Disposable cameras for recording one's warry adventures. Take terrible photos. In particular, pics taken in bright sunlight will be lost because they are over-exposed.
8. [Dr_Evil] Lumocolours. In theory, great. In practice, always dry out after about a minute. Write using own blood instead.
9. [Dr_Evil] Non-issue gloves. Just wear the leather issue ones, or if very very cold a pair of cotton white NBC inners inside the leathers. You can buy cotton NBC-style gloves from any chemist.
[WNB ADDS] Anything by webtex falls apart, non IRR, Shiny, SHOITE end of......
'[Securit] Seconded its an absolute load of sh*t, might be cheap but you pay for what you get!'