In this day and age, civil unrest is highly anticipated, which has swelled the ranks of many militias. Unfortunately this has encouraged individuals to consider preparing to fight. I do not like the way that militias go about training, and in fact, I find their methods and ideals to be derpy at best. Alot of these members participate in strictly conventional warfare training and training that does not prepare them for reality. In this article, I merely wanna talk about the kind of loadout that I would find to be respectable and practical, from the perspective of someone who has had to haul ammo and gear in combat. Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I feel that I have enough experience to give solid recommendations for efficiently operating in hostile territory.
I want you to understand my mindset behind selecting the loadout I do for this most basic line of gear. As a militia, you are very likely to be subject to limited supplies and capabilities. You will need to be able to take care of yourself and be ready to defend yourself or escape and evade at any moment. With all that in mind, your line 1 needs to reflect that and the whole loadout should be worn as easily as a robe right out of the shower. Yes, that analogy is a little dramatic, but if you are alone and fighting without support, you have only yourself and your gear to keep you alive. For that reason, your gear needs to be laid out accordingly.
First thing to cover is that I define line 1 gear as anything clothing you and the bare minimum gear acceptable for effectively carrying out daily activities without losing protection or necessary gear. I view line 1 as being the kind of gear I want on my person if I have to really bug out and be light on my feet. I will still need protection and a means by which to take care of myself, ideally. Now, with that all made clear, let us begin by talking about clothing.
What clothes you needs to be something you can comfortable wear for days at a time. First, you need to consider items like shirts and socks. I personally do not wear briefs, underwear, or anything like that. I find that they are constricting and can cause uncomfortable friction. For shirts, I recommend getting something that is cotton. I personally recommend that you get a size that fits you perfectly and tight. This helps balance the heat and seems to dry out easily. The color I recommend is whatever color that compliments the environment you are occupying. In desert I would go for tan and for foliage areas I would go with a darker green.
For socks, I highly recommend having FRESH thick wool socks. I can't tell you how nasty your feet are gonna be after you are on the run and on your feet all day. Anyone who has gone through combat will probably be able to tell you that socks become a commodity when you are fighting regularly. Wool is an amazing material and they are more expensive than thick cotton socks, but you won't deal with blisters, and foot injuries as much. Wool socks are gonna be good for hard use and several days of use. Of course, you need to take the opportunity to dry out your feet and socks often, but it will help you to toughen your feet before you actually have to fight with this gear for real.
Having good pants and a Field jacket is going to be just as important as a reliable weapon. You need these pieces of gear to be camouflaged appropriately with your environment. However, I would say that there are certain environments that having all your gear the same pattern will end up just making you stick out like big bird in a tree line. For example, I have found that in foliage environments, the Italian Vegetato pattern works well for pants while MARPAT compliments the pant pattern. Personally, the way to find this out best is to take a couple patterns out and place them out at a range of about 50 yards away and see if the pattern blends in well enough or if the colors are too much a contrast. I know it is popular just to copy the military, but I would urge the reader to refrain from copying them too much because much of the military decisions are made politically and supported by shill propaganda. Such was an issue with the ACU pattern the Army has now ditched. But please don't become a multicam queen because the propaganda says it is all universal. There is no such thing.
When it comes to headgear, I personally am not into the idea of using boonie hats too often, and would rather opt for a bandana or wool beanie. This helps absorb sweat and it will not fall off or get knocked off as easily. Again, you want to make sure the pattern for this piece of gear actually compliments the rest of your clothing without contrasting too aggressively.
The next thing you will want to secure for yourself is a good pair of boots. I personally would refer you to the militaries new boot where they have the sole stitched on and slightly larger than the width of the foot. This prevents the sole from peeling off, which was the biggest issue for boots and shoes. When soles are glued on, it is a ticking time bomb. The heat and cold transitions, water, dirt grinding, compression, and even the UV rays from the sun will render the glue useless in as little as 2 months, from my experience.
The last piece of clothing I recommend is a good pair of gloves. The gloves you want are those that are thin but durable and do not hinder your ability to do tasks. The only set of gloves I know of that fit these standards are made by First Tactical. These gloves have proven to be incredibly durable after hard usage, and they are actually very affordable. Wearing them is like wearing a perfect fitting latex gloves. I highly recommend gloves for many reasons from keeping your hands warm, giving a better grip, slightly camouflaging your skin, and protecting them from minor cuts and scrapes. Gloves are money if you can get a pair like these First Tactical gloves.
As far as gear is concerned, there is a list of items that you should consider storing in your pockets and on your person. First item to consider is a knife. I prefer a fixed blade knife like a proven non-serrated Ka-Bar. I would mount this on a belt in an area where it will not obstruct your mobility. The knife will mainly serve you in a utilitarian role such as cutting rope, processing wood, trimming fingernails, etc. Though it can serve as an antipersonnel weapon, grabbing a big knife would not be my first choice. It can be an asset some times, but there are other knives that will serve you better in a fighting role that can go in a more appropriate location. If you wish to have a folding knife as well, then that is up to you.
The next piece of gear is medical gear. I recommend choosing a medical pocket where you will have a tourniquet and bandage or two at the ready. This is not hard to find room for, but I would advise you to keep it simple. Remember that the line 1 gear is for necessities and not luxuries. It is very likely that you will be wounded and be left to treat yourself. you don't want to have this type of gear on a vest that you had to ditch or set down to perform a task.
An essential piece of gear to have around is a compass. No matter where you are, it is important that this inexpensive piece of gear be available to help you navigate. Learn to use one and have it in a pocket where you can reach it any time and with all your gear on. This way, it is always on you no matter what line of gear you have to work with. If you can couple this piece of gear with a map, all the better for your chances of survival if all you have to escape and evade with is your line 1 gear.
Of course it wouldn't be line 1 without your sidearm. I'm not gonna tell you what pistol to use, but I will tell you my advise on a holster to use. Personally, I would use a Blackhawk Special Operations holster. This holster can hold a wide variety of pistols and will hold it securely and at a good height to where it is easy to reach without swinging every which way as you are sprinting. People do get pretty passionate about the importance of having a holster that allows them to quickly deploy their pistol with a speed that rivals video game speed. That is all fine and good, but I will just say that I haven't found that this holster is going to offer too much of a challenge in deploying your pistol. However, I value protection and retention of my pistol. I also recommend having one spare magazine on your holster or in a pocket...just in case.
One last little thing I recommend having in your line 1 gear is whatever notes or intel you have. This keeps it safe and it is easy to just keep it in a small protective case and have it in your cargo pocket for safekeeping.
I understand that there was a piece of gear that was not listed. Some people like the idea of having body armor with all their gear, and I think that is fine if you are willing to train often with it on. I personally am torn about the practicality of plate armor, but it is a piece of gear that I would add to my line 1 gear. I would suggest a low profile plate carrier in order to save on weight and bulk.
Another thing you may wanna consider is keeping a small water filter and straw in a pocket in case you only have your line 1 gear to survive on. You will need to be able to safely drink water and this will allow it. Also carrying a small ration like a 400 calorie Mayday ration wouldn't be a bad idea either. I wouldn't suggest you go too overboard on your loadout in terms of water and food, but I did find it handy to keep some food on my person at all times in case I got hungry on patrol or on post.
You could debate the gear you carry on you all day long, but I am just sharing what kind of gear I have found to be helpful and even necessary for comfort and function. The key is to make sure this gear doesn't weigh you down too much or fill your pockets unnecessarily. But in the end it is on you to decide.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.