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Top 5 Field Op (Training Exercise) Gear Essentials

When it comes to military operations, the right gear can mean the difference between suffering and thriving in the bush. Soldiers rely on their equipment not just for functionality but for survival as well. Here’s a look at the top five field op gear essentials that every soldier should have to ensure they are prepared for any situation.

Us army soldiers A Company 1st battalion 16th infantry regiment "iron ranges" on a training exercise in Cincu,Romania
U.S. Army soldiers from A Company 1st battalion 16th infantry regiment "Iron Rangers" on a training exercise in Cincu, Romania.

1. Tactical Flashlight

While often overlooked, a high-quality tactical flashlight is an invaluable piece of gear to supplement your headlamp. It’s not just about providing light in dark conditions; a good flashlight can be used for signaling, identifying threats, and even self-defense. Look for models that are durable, water-resistant, and have multiple brightness settings. Brands like SureFire and Fenix offer flashlights that are compact yet powerful, making them perfect for field operations. Ensure you get a flashlight that either has a built in red light or can take an adapter.

Fenix PD35R Compact Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

2. High-Quality Boots

The importance of reliable footwear cannot be overstated. High-quality boots are essential for protecting a soldier’s feet across various terrains and weather conditions. Look for boots that offer excellent ankle support, are water-resistant, and have robust soles for traction. Comfort is also crucial, as soldiers often spend long hours on their feet. Brands like AKU, Danner, and Lowa are well-regarded for their military boots.

Aku pilgrim FG on a multi-cam blanket

3. Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is the Swiss Army knife of modern soldiers. It includes a variety of tools such as pliers, knives, screwdrivers, and wire cutters, all in one compact package. Whether it's for repairing equipment, opening supplies, or even in emergency situations, a multi-tool can be a lifesaver. The Leatherman Wave+ and Gerber Multi-Plier 600 are popular choices due to their reliability and extensive functionality.

Gerber multi-plier 600 being held in hands
Gerber Multi-Plier 600

4. Personal Water Filter

While hydration packs are often issued, personal water filters are a great addition for soldiers who need to ensure a continuous supply of clean drinking water. These compact devices allow soldiers to purify water from natural sources, which is crucial in remote areas where clean water may not be readily available. Products like the LifeStraw or Sawyer Mini are lightweight, easy to use, and highly effective at removing bacteria and protozoa, ensuring safe hydration in the field.

man in tactical clothing drinking water from a river with a lifestraw
YouTuber "Animal Man Survivor" demonstrating how to use a LifeStraw on his review video

5. Speed loader for rifle magazines

Efficiency is key in high-stress situations, and a speed loader for magazines can drastically reduce the time it takes to reload. Speed loaders allow soldiers to quickly and efficiently load their magazines, ensuring they are always ready for action. This tool is especially useful during intense firefights or training exercises where every second counts. Models like the MagRipper® speed loader are popular for their ease of use and compatibility with all STANAG magazines.

MagRipper® rifle speed loader loading 5.56 x 45 mm NATO rounds into a Magazine
MagRipper® speed loader currently being used by SOF and military units around the globe

Equipping oneself with the right gear is essential for any soldier preparing for field operations. Each of these five items plays a vital role in ensuring efficiency, safety, and effectiveness in the field. From the practical illumination provided by a tactical flashlight to the time-saving advantages of a speed loader, having the right equipment can make all the difference in mission success and personal safety.

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