Welcome to the Jungle

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    • #101117
      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

        Well in my case “Welcome to the Swamp,” but close enough! ;-)

        I was thinking about a day outing into the swamp I recently took. This type of terrain will beat you up mentally and physically if your not prepared for it.

        The fact that so few are ready for it is one of the many reasons I embrace it as a potential Redoubt option in highly populated Florida.

        North American Swamps as potential Redoubt Areas.

        Between the heat and wet environment you are going to be soaked when moving and have to do what you can to dry out when opportunity presents itself.

        You are going to get wet. You have to learn to live with it.

        This video will give a better idea of what I am talking about.

        Your gear has to be selected and prepared for this or it will fail making you even more miserable and less capable.

        If you have read my gear posts you will read me discussing things like fast drying, breathabilty, water proofing, and securing gear with retention cords to name a few.

        In the following posts I will detail my current gear choices and methods for working in this environment.

      • #101118


          I found this historical article interesting.

          The Great Dismal Swamp

        • #101119
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

            Thanks, I added that to my Thread “North American Swamps as potential Redoubt Areas.”

          • #101120
            Joe (G.W.N.S.)

              Boots need to be well ventilated, quick drying and durable.

              My current choice is
              Tactical Research Mini-Mil Transition Coyote Boot (TR115).

              Socks, briefs, and t-shirts.

              I wear Merino Wool Ragg Socks year round.

              I am a big believer in Polypro X-Static Sock Liners for field work, they help wick moisture away from skin, help prevent friction that causes blisters, and the X-Static helps greatly with hygiene.


              Proven by United States special forces, NASA, and Olympic athletes X-STATIC has a rich heritage of delivering superior performance.

              The benefits of X-STATIC have been validated by studies at prestigious institutions throughout the world for more than a decade.

              For more than 2,000 years, silver has been used for it’s antimicrobial properties in everything from drinking vessels to military field dressings. Now, with our superior technology we deliver the benefits of silver to textiles. We combine best in class antimicrobial & anti-odor protection with the benefit of body temperature regulation.

              X-STATIC is made by permanently bonding 99.9% pure metallic silver to the surface of the fiber. Not a nanotechnology or a complex
              chemical formula, just natural silver.

              X-STATIC fibers and fabrics deliver 100% surface area of silver to maximize performance, yet they remain soft and flexible.

              X-Static is used in many different products including T-shirts, briefs/boxers, and thermal underwear.

              Why do I emphasize this?

              Living in the field you will lack many of the methods of hygiene we tend to take for granted. Use of these with just the occasional water rinse will prevent most of the “funk” that lack of hygiene causes.

              In hot weather when staying wet all day I will swap wool socks for two X-Static Sock Liners. They dry quickly and wearing two help prevent friction (blisters), remember your feet regardless how tough normally are more susceptible to damage when constantly wet.

              At night or in cooler weather use Merino Wool Ragg Socks w/liner.

              Remember you will be changing socks several times a day, with socks attached to web gear to dry, turned inside out to allow UV to aid in disinfection. Even damp is better than soaked. Ten to fifteen minutes of sun/airing feet can really make a difference.

              T-shirts and underwear choices are balanced with flammable threat from your mission environment. Higher synthetic=faster drying, but more melting danger. X-Static or its equivalent is worth its price in primitive field conditions.

              Trail type sandals are a good option when not on the move, while feet air out, but provide emergency foot wear if have to urgent move.

            • #101121
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                Bugs and other creepy crawlers.

                Use Permethrin on your outer clothing. I use Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent.

                Insect repellent for exposed areas. Use caution near eyes, remember you’ll be sweating and it can get in your eyes that way. You need to reapply regularly.

                Have a quality tweezers or tick removal tool for ticks, check often to avoid them digging in too deep. I use my 3×5″ Signal Mirror to check hard to see areas or you can buddy check. Use caution to avoid squeezing body as this will cause stomach contents to enter wound and cause infection. Disinfect bite and apply some triple antibiotic ointment.

                Note: Treat all cuts,scratches, and bites as real dangers of infection. The jungle/swamp is no place ignore such easily treated minor injuries and people have lost limbs/died from overlooking this. I use triple antibiotic ointment often when supplies are prevalent.

                Leeches are not just a problem in the water, in many areas they travel moist ground and foliage.

                Leeches live in moist undergrowth and grasses as well as freshwater areas. They attach themselves to warm-blooded animals, including humans, and can expand to 10 times their normal size as the fill themselves up on blood. If you find a leech on your body, don’t panic, since they don’t spread disease or cause pain. If you can stand the thought of letting the leech get its fill, it’ll drop off on its own after about 20 minutes, but you can also remove the little sucker using nothing but your fingernail.

                Locate the head and sucker. The head is the narrower part of the leech, and the sucker where it attaches to your skin. If the leech is located on one of your arms, legs, your torso, or another easily accessible area, you should be able to remove it yourself. Otherwise, you’ll need someone else to help you take it off.

                If you find one leech, you should check your entire body to see if there are more. Leeches inject an anesthetic into your skin when sink in their teeth, so their bites are painless. You may not be able to feel the presence of other leeches elsewhere on your body.

                Slide your fingernail under the sucker. Use one hand to gently pull the skin near the sucker taught, then place your other hand next to the leech and slide one of your fingernails underneath the sucker. The leech will immediately begin attempting to reattach itself, so flick it off right away.

                Do not yank off the leech, since this will leave its sucker attached to your body.

                Treat the open wound. When leeches latch on, they inject an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting before they can get their fill. When you remove a leech, it might bleed for several hours or even days before the anticoagulant leaves your system. Be prepared for the sight of profuse bleeding when you take the leech off. Cleanse the open wound with rubbing alcohol or another first aid cleansing solution, then apply a bandage to protect it.

                Since the bleeding might take awhile to stop, you should change the bandage regularly in the meantime.

                It’s important to treat the area as you would any open wound, especially if you’re hiking around in a jungle. Open wounds are more susceptible to getting infected in jungle environments.

                Expect the wound to itch while it heals.

                Avoid removing leaches by any other means. You might have heard that you can remove a leech by pouring salt on it, burning it, spraying it with repellent or drowning it in shampoo. While these techniques might cause the leech to release its grip and fall off, it won’t do so before vomiting back into the wound. This can lead to bad infections, so stick to the healthier practice of simply using a fingernail or other straightedge to get under the sucker.

                Be aware of the poisonous insects, plants, and reptiles for your area.

                In Florida we have Diamondback, Canebrake, Pygmy Rattlesnakes,
                Copperhead, Cottonmouth, and Coral Snakes (occasionally other species that have escaped such as Cobra courtesy of Hurricane Andrew in Southern Florida).

                Fire Ants (a variety), Bees, Wasps, and Scorpions.

                The primary widow spiders of Florida are the brown widow,
                the Southern black widow, and the Northern black widow.

                The other species of venomous spider found in Florida is the brown recluse.

                Again others are periodically imported and lost.

                Poison Ivy is the main poisonous plant for us to look out for while in the field.

                Poison oak is less common but can still be encountered anywhere in Northeast Florida. Poison oak is very similar to poison ivy in it’s habitat and its effect on the skin.

                Poison sumac is less widespread than both poison ivy and poison oak.

                If you have known allergies take appropriate precautions and have proper medications.

                Mosquito netting and head gear is appropriate for some situations, but can impair vision.

              • #101122
                Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                  Clothing should be quick drying and durable. My current choice is 5.11 Taclite Pro Shirts/Pants, the 65% polyester 35% cotton blend ripstop dries very fast and breathes well.

                  The Shirts ventilated mid back cape provides excellent breath-ability. The mesh under the cape area is a sufficiently small weave to prevent bug entry.

                  The decision to blouse pants or not is always a balance between ventilation and insect situation. If bloused too tightly not only can it affect circulation in feet, but as seen in above videos can become a temporary pocket for water when going in and out of water.

                  Carry a minimalist mini sewing kit for field repairs.

                  I recommend a Boonie type hat for best versatility.

                • #101123
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                    Gear choices, there are countless options available, but for jungle type environments you have to really chose wisely.

                    Obviously things like fast drying, breathabilty, water proofing, and ability to secure gear are a giving.

                    How readily gear absorbs water is not only about comfort, but weight. Any water absorbed really starts to add up quick.

                    Padding needs to be closed cell to avoid being a sponge, try finding wider straps vice more padding.

                    Pouches and packs need (or be modified, more on how later ) drain holes to let water out or need to be verified waterproof.

                    Understand that waterproof can change due to wear and tear, not to mention external things like battle damage.

                    You need a mini repair kit for essential gear.

                    The previously mentioned sewing kit, some 100 MPH tape (not an entire role, but a section wrapped around something), and a length of 550 cord would suffice (again incorporated into something).

                    Readily used for water crossings etc…

                  • #101124
                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                      A small dry bag to hold a Microfiber Towel Set can really aid in not only personal hygiene, but to help dry your boots and gear faster. Quality Microfiber Towels can absorb 8x it’s weight in water, yet dry out after a few minutes with a simple wringing and air/sun dry.

                      Dry bags are available in many sizes to fit in your pack, this will aid in organization and to preventing water absorbent contents from weighing you down. The buoyancy it provides will aid in unprepared water entries.

                    • #101125

                        I can deal with ticks, but skeeters and gnats, after awhile, can dang near drive me nuts. Never had to deal with leeches, except the welfare types, but swamps, in general, creep me out.

                        Good info though. :yahoo:

                      • #101126
                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                          …can dang near drive me nuts.

                          Know the feeling, nothing like it if you haven’t experienced it. ;-)

                        • #101127
                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                            Considerations for packs, again we’re looking for a lightweight fast drying pack that encourages airflow across as much of your back as possible.

                            If we look back to the old ALICE packs; the last US military pack to take this seriously, we see these characteristics, but in an antiquated form.

                            For your maximum comfort in loadcarrying, the frame is built with an adjustable lower back strap to keep the load away from your back and to allow air circulation between your back and the load (see Figure 9).

                            While “maximum comfort” is certainly relative to those of us that have experience with it, the air circulation was certainly achieved and was more helpful than many give it credit for.

                            As seen in the above picture, the modern replacement frame (left) while certainly more comfortable, but at the expense of limited airflow of the original ALICE Frame (right).

                            This exchanges one discomfort for another when dealing with hot/humid jungle environments. Leaving the user to choose which is the greater threat, back or heat injury.

                            A pack I am currently evaluating; keeping with the Lite Patrol Pack as part of the MVT gear philosophy, is the Badlands Ultra Day Pack.

                            Notice even the shoulder straps are ventilated.

                            Notice how the frame creates distance between the pack and mesh back panel in what looks to me as a modern interpretation of the ALICE frame system.

                            (Picture lost in transition :-( )

                            See the air channel created. :yes:

                            This works at blending the airflow with the modern wrap around your body weight distribution.

                            These are the characteristics that make a good jungle pack. My detailed review of this pack will be coming shortly.

                          • #101128
                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                              A much overlooked aspect of not just jungles, but any terrain with many bodies of water is drown proofing.

                              Anytime you are dealing with combat loads and water depths over your head or fast moving currents you must not only have gear prepped, but adequate training.

                              Historically many military personnel have drowned due to lack of training in water survival.

                              Even with proper training it is possible to get in over your head (pun intended).

                              Operation Urgent Fury, 4 Navy SEAL’s drowned during a water insertion under storm conditions. Say what you will about the Teams, but few are more qualified for such work and this demonstrates how important preparation along with knowing your own limitations.

                              This will be a general overview, but will go more in-depth in response to any questions.

                              I use dry bags to establish a neutral buoyancy for my pack, this requires experience through testing your load out. Keep in mind there is a difference between buoyancy in fresh and salt water. Your level of training and experience should dictate your buoyancy choice, less training should default to greater buoyancy.

                              There are a variety of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) suitable for our purposes. New PFD’s are not inexpensive, used PFD’s are available, but need to be serviced and repaired if necessary. Anything short of extensive dry rot is easily repaired for the DIY individual. I would avoid auto inflation for maximum flexibility.

                              Mustang Survival Tactical Inflatable Side Pouch PFD

                              The low profile MD1250 provides flotation capability with minimum bulk or interference using separate, independently operated left and right side pouches. With the option to wear on a standard or padded LE belt or attach directly to Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing on Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) vests, the MD1250 is a versatile solution for users who require emergency flotation with minimal bulk or interference with gear.

                              Mustang Survival Tactical Life Preserver

                              The Mustang Survival MD3196 is a compact life preserver that has been designed specifically for easy integration with body armor and tactical vests that use a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) webbing system. The low-profile design provides flotation capability for body armor users, with minimal bulk or interference.


                              Our TFSS-777 bladder was designed to fit the inside pocket of Rhodesian style vests where it can be manually inflated to offer enough buoyancy compensation when it is needed the most. The system consists of a black in color, reusable welded flotation bladder made of 200-denier nylon with an oral inflation tube. These units are ideal for use by any operator in or around water, where safety is a must.

                              These are just a few options.

                              Everyone here should get familiar with the improvised Poncho Raft.

                              Note: When conducting water survival training have qualified recovery personnel and a rescue line.

                              Not using ponchos, but a clear demonstration of the concept.

                            • #101129
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                Here is an older monograph, Night Jungle Operations.

                                Some excellent tidbits for consideration.

                              • #101130
                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                  Here’s another Thread worth reviewing.

                                  Considerations: Extremely Dense Terrain

                                  Includes a link to a relevant Thread in the Combat Media sub-forum,

                                • #101131
                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                    Here’s a Ft. Sherman overview of training.

                                  • #101132
                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                      Jungle Simunition training, Marines in Okinawa.

                                    • #101133
                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                        Yearly bump. ;-)

                                        Just because jungle warfare is so overlooked these days!

                                      • #101134
                                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                          Nice update!

                                        • #101135

                                            We look to our ancestors also……mine were in S LA…. travel by pirogue, eat from the bounty of the land (water) (fish, reptile, mammals, and birds), rich farmland (NOT the type you may be thinking) as small islands frequently flooded, replenishing the nutrients

                                          • #101136
                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                              We look to our ancestors also…

                                              Yea I suppose if I had grown up somewhere else things would be different, but for me the first refuge is the swamp, the second is the ocean.

                                            • #101138

                                                Awesome information! Thanks Joe!

                                              • #101137

                                                  We look to our ancestors also…

                                                  Yea I suppose it I had grown up somewhere else things would be different, but for me the first refuge is the swamp, the second is the ocean.

                                                  The best weapon is one’s mind, which can also be said of one’s enemies. For some reason, most people are spooked at night in the swamp, as it comes alive……..

                                                • #121910
                                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                    Again good information; even for those not in need of jungle equipment, to help understand how mission is affected by enviroment.

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