Patrol Loads & Packs: Nuance & Perspective

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    • #92032

        I plan on making two YouTube videos over the next couple of weeks, one on the new updated CUTT Chest Rig which is on its way to me, and the second on Patrol Packs.

        I cover Rucks/Patrol Packs, including packing and considerations, on the Combat Patrol Class. What I tell people probably isn’t what they would expect to hear. No doubt, people think they are going to hear all about huge rucks and limitless amounts of gear. Not so. There is a certain amount of ‘prepper internet lore’ out there which is so gear focused, so much about ‘two is one and one is none,’ that you would end up with a huge pack if you followed it. The ‘if you don’t have it, you are wrong’ mindset.

        Not so.

        Clearly, there is a certain amount of gear that you will need to perform light infantry / security tasks. I’m not going to give you an exhaustive list, but we are concentrating on weapons, ammo, water, energy. And of course, each one of those has an implied task that falls out of it – such as what ‘loadout’ am I to carry and how much ammunition, etc, and what other supporting gear do I need to help that run.

        It is nuanced. You have to strike a balance. Make informed decisions and take calculated risks. Such a question applies to body armor – great to have, but if you are becoming degraded by constant  wear in extreme heat/humidity, and cannot move about while remaining alert with your combat load, then something needs to change. The balance is always between firepower, protection and mobility. You can go down rabbit holes. What if my rifle breaks? What if I get a stuck case? So our implied tasks that fall out of that are carry some spares and a rod. But don’t take it to an extreme. Don’t take a whole extra lower for your AR. Two is one, one is none, right? Let’s just sling up another whole rifle….rabbit hole…

        You have to figure out what you think it is sensible to carry, and what you can carry, and how it applies to your task. I tell people to pack smart. You need what you need, but you should try and cut down. Prepper mindset can lead you to try and pack a whole bunch of stuff, ‘just in case.’ Well, unless it is absolutely essential, like your weapon, then don’t take it! Be smart about it. Concentrate on ammo, water and food, shelter (as applicable) with items to support that WITHIN REASON.

        However, remember that the flip side to this is that any light infantry load is still going to be a load, once you have added magazines etc to your gear. That is why you have to be smart about it (did I mention PT – oops, don’t mention that).

        Most people in an SHTF situation will be conducting security patrolling around their base. You need a basic load of ammo, plus food and water to last for the duration of the patrol. If you are going on any short term mission outside of that bubble – raid, ambush, forage or whatever – you will need more. You may need to rest up. That implies shelter – BUT NOT CAMPING!

        If you are carrying a load that you can’t run and fight in, then you are wrong. Basic principle. I don’t care how many hundreds of pounds you (I) may have carried ‘back in the day.’ You need to pack so you can still run and fight. That puts a limit on patrol packs, but just to remind you it still may be heavy – 50lb rather than 100lb, perhaps. If you drop your ruck to break contact, you will never see it again, with all the gear it contained. There is more ‘prepper lore’ about bug out bags and such – forget it. You need a base and logistics tail. Isn’t that what prepping is about?

        You have to get away from the idea that you can operate in some sort of self contained way indefinitely. So you pack a weeks’ worth of rations and all your camping gear. Now you can hardly move, and are no longer alert on patrolling. After a week you run out of rations. Perhaps pack 2 weeks? NO. You need a base and you need logistics. If you are operating out there for an extended period, you need a team and a logistics plan. You cannot operate on your own indefinitely. How about someone resupplies a cache by some means? ATV, vehicle, whatever? Use your brain to figure it out so you can move lighter and smarter. If you are planning on some sort of extended forward patrol base operation, see what means you can use to get supplies in there without having to hump them, or at least cache them close?

        Now, “travel light freeze at night” is total BS. However, you may have to suffer in order to keep loads down. In some places/seasons you will have no choice but to carry survival shelter gear. Then your loads go up, and that is a mission consideration. In the summer, you can get away with little to no shelter gear, but you need more water – can you source it on the ground and purify it? If not, how much can you carry, and how will you get resupply?

        Think auxiliary and logistics.

        In your area, how many other farms are there? Who is a friend? Where can you get water and food? Where can you possibly shelter – in barns? You are probably not going to be operating in a vacuum of endless tracts of wilderness. More likely in or around the fringes of civilization.

        We can use the model of the 48/72 hour patrol pack for any extended patrols. It will carry just enough to get by. No more. The primary item that will add to the weight is ammunition. There has been some discussion of what amount of ammo to carry when on patrol – and of course this will depend on the mission – but 500 rounds has been suggested and seems realistic. This amounts to 17 magazines of 5.66 ammo. The theory here is that you will not get a resupply, because you are a civilian survivor, not in the military. Well, clearly you need a resupply at some point , but if you get in trouble with the enemy you may need your ‘second line ammo scale’ available on you to resupply your initial loadout (i.e. ammo pouches) while in contact.

        (Remember: some of this needs a mindset change from spraying ammo to sustained accurate fire as a trained rifleman).

        If you are conducting security patrolling, you may be patrolling light at relatively close range to your base, in your standard loadout, like my light battle belt/ CUTT chest rig configuration as an example. Ballistic plates or not, pick your poison. I recommend a light hydration pack so you have water and the ability to carry a small amount of other gear, such as night vision, some food , extra mags etc. Camelbak MULE type item. That loadout will probably have at least 8 or 9 x 5.56 magazines on it (including your rifle). If you are going on an extended patrol and need to take the patrol pack, then you need that ‘second line ammo scale’ on the patrol pack, which would be another 8 mags. See how this is never going to be light anyway, so you need to cut it down where you can.

        I will carry the least amount of gear that I can get away with, but there are basics that will always be present. Here are some examples, not an ultimate list, just what pops to mind mentally going through gear:

        First Line: Light Battle belt / CUTT Chest Rig / hydration pack:

        • Rifle
        • Rifle magazines (9)
        • Handgun
        • Handgun magazines (3)
        • Small IFAK
        • 2 x TQ
        • Radio – if using.
        • Leatherman Tool
        • Knife
        • FLIR Scout
        • PVS-14 / Crye Nightcap
        • Map/Compass
        • Basic rations – energy bars
        • Water bladder
        • Water purification tablets / straw
        • Lighters
        • Smoke
        • Batteries for all above.
        • (Ballistic Plate carrier – if applicable)

        Add Patrol Pack:

        • Magazines (8)
        • Water (either stow the hydration pack as a mini ‘grab bag’ or carry a separate bladder in the patrol pack)
        • Rations (3 days stripped down)
        • Light jungle sleeping bag / blanket (upgraded for winter)
        • Goretex bivvy bag
        • Thermal sleeping mat
        • MVT SHIELD (use as tarp shelter)
        • Spare socks
        • Spare clothing / cold weather gear
        • Foot care kit / first aid / medications
        • Lightweight rocket /solid fuel stove with pot
        • Helmet – if applicable / night vision
        • Folding saw
        • Paracord
        • Add misc. items such as batteries and misc. gear.
        • Add special to task gear as appropriate.

        So given that as survivalists we will most likely be engaged in the defense of our local base areas, let’s look at how MVT Classes will prepare you for that. There are two basic three day classes: Combat Team Tactics (CTT) and Combat Patrol (CP). The first is a prerequisite for the second. You can do both as the 6 Day Combined Class.

        Combat Team Tactics (CTT)

        Combat Patrol (CP)

        These classes are going to guide you through the following skills, which are all relevant to the defense of a base location. Remember, defense does not mean sitting on your ass on the porch, it means patrolling and a defensive duty rotation, and as necessary conducting operations to deal with enemy forces away from your secure area.

        • Individual and team react to contact drills.
        • Individual and team fire & movement.
        • Bounding overwatch.
        • Break contact drills. Team level on CTT, squad level on CP.
        • Squad hasty attack.
        • Hasty ambush.
        • Patrolling skills.
        • Ground domination activity (GDA (security)) patrolling.
        • Static (defensive) Observation Posts.
        • Sentries.
        • Patrol base operations.
        • Reconnaissance patrols.
        • Patrol overwatch.
        • Home base security operations / rotations / QRF.
        • Deliberate attack (raid)
        • Deliberate ambush
        • Battle / stress inoculation.

        At the patrol class we concentrate on specific patrolling skills and ‘actions on the objective.’ I have made a couple of changes since the last class and some topics that I covered as a simple introduction, but not in depth, have been taken out. We are concentrating more in other areas, such as more time on home base defensive patrolling and operations, due to student demand.



        We are currently developing a new class, as a follow on ‘Patrol II’ which will concentrate in more detail on some of those other tasks. This will be the Reconnaissance & Infiltration class, which will be more hard-core and in depth on those skills. More to follow on that.

        In the meantime, this is what I consider to be the ideal patrol pack: The Karrimor Predator 45, in multicam, with the predator side pockets. You have to get away from the current trend in ‘book bag’ zip up packs. Uggghh. Yes, you may only be able to get this from the UK at considerable shipping cost, but how dedicated to gear are you, really? It’s shiny and Gucci, you need it! Here’s a tip:

        Update: available at Grey Ghost Gear in the US.

        It is 45 liters internally, which is a good size without being too big. The predator side pouches are excellent and take care of places to put your additional magazines. There is MOLLE on the front  for additional small admin pouches (tactical tailor). The waist belt tucks away. The Snugpak Endurance is a copy of this pack but it isn’t as good. Just be wary: do not try and fill this pack out! Try and pack it to the minimum, leaving space for mission specific gear, loot, plunder, packed lunch, hot tea filled thermal flask etc as appropriate.


        Karrimor Predator 45 MultiCam 211212 01








      • #92033

          Max and others…

          Any updates to the Patrol pack contents?

        • #92034
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

            Max and others…

            Any updates to the Patrol pack contents?

            Like most things, it depends on mission, individual skills, and budget.

          • #92035

              Max and others…

              Any updates to the Patrol pack contents?

              I can show you mine. Being this is an old thread the terminology has changed a little. We typical call a Patrol Pack the Lite Hydration Pack – the small pack we carry all the time. A Ruck would be more like what is designated as a Patrol Pack in this thread.

              Updated info here:

              Edit: Finally dug up my old post helping somebody else with this question. Gives about all the detail of what I use.

            • #92036

                Got it Tango and thanks

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