Partyzantski: Thoughts On “A Solider’s Load”

mobility of nation

Worthwhile, especially as a contrast with truly light irregulars.

Ask veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan (and the SEA War Games) what their opponents were carrying.

You aren’t twenty years old.

Keep that as the core of your planning assumptions.

vietnamese feild gear

35 responses to “Partyzantski: Thoughts On “A Solider’s Load”

  1. Kevin Mussack

    Too light to fight.
    Too heavy to run.

  2. Virgil Kane

    The problem with most of the “milspec” assault and 3-day packs is that the weight is carried on the shoulders. That’s where the back problems come from. Even an ALICE pack can be upgraded with a padded belt to get the weight onto the hips. The new MOLLE and FILBE packs have load transferring hip belts and were obviously designed to be more in line with modern hiking packs. The knees still take a pounding, but it saves the back.

    • Agreed. I’ve never been a fan of the milspec packs, and my personal preference is for external frame packs that are engineered to distribute the weight more evenly. They are also more practical for lashing on “must have” items you use routinely.

      Along with good quality boots, good quality socks are also key. I’m still a huge fan of anything with natural fibres, although that is a battle for another day.

    • I used a newer molle waist belt for my large Alice and it works well

    • “modern” meaning “what Boy Scouts were using in the 1970’s” from REI. Maybe just my Troop 123 in Seattle, but we really appreciated not carrying WWII surplus canvas of any kind, or the torture-packs that GI’s were issued.

    • +1 and a good article. My spine viewed from the back looks like the Lewis & Clark expedition already. Awhile back I took a standard ALICE & modified it to a Hellcat. Big improvement. Then again, I don’t have a higher HQ (visited nightly by the good-idea Faerie) issuing me an average of 1.4 pounds per day of new “lightweight” shit to carry.

      I did keep the radio shelf handy; as a friend pointed out ya never know when you might simply want to carry a gas can… 🙂

  3. outlawpatriot

    Very cool. Something rooted in reality. I like that.😉

  4. The vietcong ran three days on a bowl of rice. Same goes for the afghan and iraqi “insurrgents”.

    Why do we need 50 pounds of crap? Possible because the industry has told us thats what we need.

    After all the plate carrier topics here im slowly leaning more and more away from that type of kit.

    • LeGrandeGuy

      afghans: illiterate farmers, some teenagers, running around in flip flops, sleeping on the ground, filthy, tough as nails, armed w mosins, organized in redundant local leaderless cells, endless resistance. For every one that died 10 more sprang up to replace him.

      • pretty much. i like having nice stuff, but afghans have NOTHING and they have brought every empire to their knees. our biggest, baddest weapons that cost billion in debt bux haven’t stopped them.

        the big thing is they aren’t afraid to die. their religion makes death honorable. to them the end justifies the means. they live to die basically.

        CA – I sent you an email. please get back to me!

      • Muj/Taliban cells weren’t leaderless. All else is fairly accurate.

  5. In Viet Nam, humping and fighting in the jungles we learned quickly (especially on extended ‘missions’) that the ‘other guys’ had been doing this for generations and while not having any comforts, we began to copy their ‘style’ and to that end traveled lite, ate what was available (rice anyone?) and otherwise fought on our terms rather that theirs …. adapt, overcome and survive. It’s that simple ……….

  6. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on ETC., ETC., & ETC..

  7. Insoles, like Dr. Sholl’s, are necessary

  8. just plain todd

    yup. every 3rd world shit canoe with only rice and maggots and an AK with 25 rounds of ammo, or eating camel chips with same AK, has regularly kicked our ass. its my strategy too. stick with what wins. all i got is a a pocket full of Slim Jims and ak ammo. mobile mobile mobile.

  9. Grenadier1

    Been wearing those Lowa boots for about three years now. They are just getting to the point that I need to think about replacing them. Fantastic boots Made in Europe. I have a waterproof pair as well. Cant say enough about them. Huge amount of miles on them.
    They do cost you. The pair pictured are $186.00 at REI.

    • Totally agree. I have been wearing nothing but Lowa shoes for several years now. I have multiple pairs, including low cuts that are fine everyday shoes and don’t look overly outdoorsy. The Renegade mid-height (as shown at the link) is probably their most popular and most versatile style. I’ve had multiple pairs of that exact style, including some that I wore almost every single day. The Lowa Renegade is a fantastic boot.

      The only problem I ever had with any pair of Lowas, which I believe they have since corrected, is the ones that had a single piece of fabric around the toe cap. Flexing where the toes bend would lead to tears in the material. I would stick to styles that have a two-piece material stitched together, so the flexing isn’t borne by a single piece of fabric. Even with the tear, the Gore-Tex liner remained intact so waterproofing was not compromised. They were replaced at no cost, even though I’d already been wearing them for nearly a year.

    • SemperFi, 0321

      For those that are willing to spend the money, buy European. I have several pairs of German made Meindl hunting/hiking boots ($300+), several pairs of Romanian made Asolos ($150+) and try my damnest to never buy Chinese shit again. Your feet will thank you.
      Same goes for high quality Merino wool socks like Darn Tough, they outlast Smartwool several times over.

      • Meindel boots are top of the line boots.
        I’ve also got a pair of 6″ hiking/mountaineering boots made in Italy by Karrimor-hands down the best mild weather boots I’ve ever owned.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I don’t have any firsthand experience with LOWAs. I noted that their line is quite extensive, depending on intended function and terrain. They certainly get strong reviews from a variety of different (reliable) sources.

  10. Enjoyed the article. Were running Redwing 50s, by Kealty. A medium sized pack, with plenty of space, in OD green. Asolo or Solomon boots.

    It’s been my observation that when someone runs a larger backpack they feel the need to fill the pack full of poggy bait.

    I’m also not a fan of 3 mags, I’ve found for my needs 7 to 10 mags, or the ability to reload a few is what works for us. All military kit is attached directly to me, not my pack.

    I’ve been having a hard time figuring out if I prefer my tomahawk, over my Kukri, both are not practical.

    I’ve discovered a guy” James” in Indiana, who owns Indy Forged Knives. Dude makes some killer 1095 blades. Right now I’m working with one of his Kermbit? Curved blade knives, as a fighter.

    It’s a true Damascus metal blade, for around 160.00. Not only is it a work of art, it’s the best balanced knife I’ve used.

    Regarding the pack. I’ve gone thru at least two dozen over the past 20 years, still have them. I’m pretty set on the Kealty, I’ve bought one for my wife, son, daughter, daughter in law, son in law, and grand children.

    Well made comfortable and can carry a lot of gear.

    Great article.

    Dirk Williams

  11. Another guy with only one life to give

    While I appreciate the enthusiasm that my older comrades have for running into battle with a rifle, a few mags, and a bag of snacks….

    Click the following links, and compare US casualties to those of the NVA, VC, Afghans, and Iraqis we were fighting.

    Generally, those “extra-light infantry” die at a rate that’s 7-20x the rate of better-equipped troops.

    I’ll keep my 50-lb fighting load, thank you very much. I don’t have a dozen extra lives to give for the cause, so the armor plates, first aid kit, and the pile of ammo are worth it to me.–14)


  12. SemperFi, 0321

    I spent my time in the USMC with either a WW2 haversack or a VN issue rucksack. The ALICE was issued to my Recon unit the day I got out in 1976. I tried ALICE on a later enlistment, never had a worse POS strapped to my back in my life. ALICE does not fit me, period. Would have given my left nut for a WW2 Arctic rucksack (we used those at cold weather training) vs the ALICE!
    I used external frame Kelty Tioga for yrs for my backpacking trips in Utah, Idaho and the Yukon. Last yr I bought an Osprey Atmos 65 for my upcoming week long trip thru YellowstoneNP, having owned several smaller Osprey day packs. That pack is the finest piece of equipment I’ve ever used to carry loads (45-52 lb load). Am leaving this July for a longer 14 day trip to YellowstoneNP on top of the Continental Divide 10-11,000′, and will be using same. No external sore spots anywhere, whatever hurt was internal due to old age (I’m 62 in July) and could not find one fault with my new pack. The new suspension system is plain awesome!
    However, there is a huge difference between backpacking equipt and military packs. Military packs are made to carry heavy loads and be grunt proof, my Osprey would probably get shredded in a week of field exercises carrying the shit they do, and the lack of care from most soldiers.
    The ALICE/MOLLE hybrid looks like a good compromise (which I’d be willing to try), or the ILBE/FILBE(9 lbs empty!) for general .mil use.

    • I have a helicopter tour booked next week out of West Glacier MT. I’m doing Yellowstone right after I do Glacier, then headed down to the Grand Canyon. We’re starting out our vacation by taking a day trip on Lake Superior on my cousins 1000 foot freighter, out of Duluth this weekend. Murka!

    • “my Osprey would probably get shredded in a week of field exercises carrying the shit they do….”

      Uhhh…. wasn’t that the whole point of the book? 😉

      Enjoy your trip to the Continental Divide – that’s some beautiful country.

      • SemperFi, 0321

        “Enjoy your trip to the Continental Divide – that’s some beautiful country.”
        Uh, thanks. It’s almost in my back yard, about 30 miles to the trailhead.

  13. rightwingterrorist

    Sorta kinda depends on the time of year and how tough you are.

    When I was 11 I walked 20 miles one way to get to a phone to get the hell out of Lake Louise in AK.
    I had some bug dope, a sharp stick, and one of those el cheapo survival knives that I had done my own “survival” modifications with.
    Granted, it was summer.
    Ca. ’84.
    Where there’s a will, there’s a way.