*What to Wear*
By Powder Dry

I have found a lot of articles on LBE and Pack set-up, but I have not seen one on what to wear. This article will concentrate on just the basics, not winter, urban, desert, or many other special circumstances. I am from Michigan and train basically in the lower peninsula, so I get about eight good months where you can wear just a uniform with or without a jacket. I am ex-military, so the Woodland BDU is what I use, rip stop/light weight is great for the heat but heavy weight is better for wear and tear. There are many other good styles of uniform out there. Use what is best for you.

Let's start with the top, the hat. The most versatile is the bush/jungle hat. It breaks up your outline the best. You can add camo to it easily, it provides all around sun protection, and it is cooler with the side air vents than most. First, take two pieces (about 3/4 inch by 3/8 inch) of luminescent tape, (you can pick it up at hobby and sporting goods stores) sewing it on to the back of your hat. This is to lead your team members, in file formation at night. To activate, place your flashlight on it and illuminate for a few seconds, it should last about two to three hours. Due to the short duration and amount of light, it does not give your position away, at least I have not heard of this (let me know if I am wrong). Next, take a map of your area topographical or street map, and place it in a plastic baggy. Then take a cravat/triangular bandage and sew it in to the top of the hat, leaving an opening in the back and placing the map inside. This is so, if you lose all of your stuff, or escape after being captured, and they only do a cursory search on you, you still have a map. Next, place two safety pins (the ones that come with the cravat) in the back inside of the hat. These have many uses; repair, maintenance, first aid (was told by a medic that you could put one through the lower lip then pin it to their shirt to keep an air way open, told him to keep away from me with that), etc.

Glasses: safety, if you do not wear prescription glasses. Get a pair of safety, clear lens, black frame shooters' glasses. They protect your eyes from foreign objects like sticks, spent casings, concrete chips, dirt, etc. Sunglasses are good, but they cut down on the light seen, blend shadow and cannot be used at night. Glasses may just save an eye, and during an emergency is no time to put them on.

The neck: You need either a cravat or summer scarf. I use a British mesh scarf. This is used to clean/wipe your face, camo, etc. When you wet and place it around the neck, tends to cool down the blood going to the brain. ID tags, I place my chain in 550 chord and put black silencers on them. You may or may not wish to wear them for ID and blood type. Also to this chain, I attach a P38 taped closed (would hurt if I landed on when open), you never know when you would need a can opener. Next a Silva* compass on 550 chord (extra).

Underwear, T-shirt: Use one, it can be changed keeping your body and uniform cleaner, and has many other uses (see safety pin). Shorts, you may or may not choose to use them due to air flow, lack of can cause crotch-rot, not wearing can cause strain in this area If you do use both of these make sure that they are not white, the v-neck on your shirt, the call of nature or when changing, can be seen a mile away and you do not want a bullet placed there when seen.

Blouse/Uniform top: As before, I use woodland BDU's (Battle Dress Uniform). Now you may or may not want to take off your patches (if you use to be in the U. S. Army and still have your patches on, some one else sees you, they may shoot first and ask questions later). But if you do leave some on you can sew all sorts of good stuff under them or in the seams of the clothing. Place a scalpel or Exacto* blade in duct tape about five wraps (the tape is to be used as handle when cutting). Put money in plastic, place thinner strips of silver or gold that have been taped flat, or a small fishing kit, hook shot, and some line). Put them under the patches for emergencies. Do not try to put too much concealed this way, because the more you hide the better the chance they will find it. Take a button compass, removing a bottom pocket button, replace it. These can be found in a sporting goods store and may also be overlooked in a search.

Left upper pocket: place some or all of the following into a baggy: wallet, ID, notebook, pencil (lasts longer than a pen and can be used as fire starter) money, any laminated survival cards, etc. In the right pocket, place in a baggy with one full reload of mach ammo (usually 20-30 rounds) for your long gun and pistol. This is if you lose your LBV, you still have rounds that you can use for everything from hunting to self-defense. Wrap this all in a gun cloth, and put in a small bottle of oil. With this and your in-the-stock cleaning kit, you can still have a clean weapon. Also, take a small piece (two to three inches long) of cut dress Army belt (this is for cleaning and scrubbing your weapon) it will take off the dust and grime without taking off the bluing. Multi tool, I use Gerber*, this can be in your pocket or LBV pouch, but have one. Last, in this pocket put a Bic Lighter* with the button taped up to prevent discharge.

Wrist and hands: wear a watch with new battery, winding or self-winding so you are not with out it at the wrong time. Other wrist: put four or five, six-inch pieces of 550 cord for shelter building. Gloves are a must, they protect the second most important part of the body, toss up with the eyes and feet. I use flight gloves, cut and fit to my hands, good fit does not produce as much sweat. These are made of fire resistant material (helping in retrieving that hot round that went down your back), these gloves are also long to cover your watch face and go under your cuffs, which are done to keep the body cooler, through trapped perspiration, and protect the arms.

Belt: I use a Second Chance rapelling belt*. It is a 1 1/2 inch belt with metal buckles and a triangle to attach a "D" ring. I have had it for about 12 years. The Velcro* is gone along with the elastic keeper, but the working part is still going strong. Around your waist you can also put 550 cord not tied together and Zip ties*. You should also attach your hip holster and extended mag pouch, not to your LBV.

Pants: same as blouse for the make, if you do not use a hip holster, extended mag pouch, etc. on both legs, sew elastic to seam inside of the leg around the pocket area to keep the pants from scraping, making noise, and snagging on vegetation. Using these makes your cargo pockets unusable, but if you do use them, the equipment tends to beat up your legs any way. Take two bags of T. P. and place them in the pack pockets, keep it close to were it is needed (packed down, off the roll of course). Knee Pads, you can get them from a Hardware or sporting goods store and save the expense. These are a must, take this from a person whose knee will always ache when it gets damp or cold thanks to Sadam. Elbow pads are nice too. Blouse the bottom of your pants (not by tucking them in) use blousing rubbers, or you will cut off the circulation to your feet. You blouse your pants by putting the small green elastic with hucks on it around your ankle, pulling your cuff over and to the inside. This is to keep out any bugs, dirt, etc.

The bottom, your boots: Yes Hi-Tec* and the rest of the TAC boots are nice but they do not last nearly as long as sturdy military type boot. In warm weather I like the standard Vietnam jungle boot with Panama sole. It keeps your foot drier and cooler. You can wear socks, but if you choose not to, take Vaseline* and spread it in the inside of the leather, softening it, then be sure to break item in good, ahead of time, or you will trash your feet. If you wear socks, use at least two pairs to change out, from one to another. For the collar see above(in the underwear section), I prefer standard military. Keeping your boots black with polish makes them last longer.

As I said, this is just a basics list, I am no expert, but I have spent many a year in this clothing and it works, so I hope I could give at least some new ideas.

"*" denotes Trade Mark, I hope I got them all.

Powder Dry


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