Whats the concensus on the best way to pack for deployment. Right now I was thinking of using a big tough box, a north face duffel, and a carryon. Has anyone found a better way? What’s the best tough box to go with?



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Going with a unit or on your own?  Last couple times I've gone, we had a carry-on (assault pack) and a ruck that went on the plane while duffels and bins went in the connex.  I don't recall the brands of bins I've been issued but the two I'm thinking of were both pretty durable.  Bitch of them is that they are a PITA to move once full.  Maybe a smaller one that had wheels would be nice.  Depending on MOS/specialty and where you're going, I'd recommend a ruck over a duffel.  If you're going to be downrange, rucks carry way better than duffels.  Just my two cents...

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Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

If you get a box, get a good one.  Pelican cases are popular for a reason.  A PX grade footlocker might make it through one deployment although they seem to do well in the USPS system.









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Ruck for your personal stuff, and immediate-use/cant-get-lost gear.   Rolling Pelican case for other gear.  

Duffels are great... and can hold a metric-shit-ton of stuff, but they are very unwieldy to carry.  Even the ones with shoulder-straps are a VERY poor imitation of a proper frame-pack/ruck, and only usable as a "pack" over short distances (basically from vehicle-to-facility/structure, and mostly to keep your hands free to carry other shit). 

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I'd offer to check with your leadership.  Units often dictate what is packed, and while some deviations may be accepted, you don't want to invest in stuff you can't use. 

A big benefit of duffel bags is how easy they pack onto 463L pallets.  Some may use that as a reason to dictate their use.


In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 


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Man, that's a loaded question.  Unit SOP/Packing list dictates.  Smaller deployment, like a tiny team, that is different.  Commercial or military transport?  I've done both.  Equipment requirements?  Both.  You need to be more specific in your question.  There are too many damned variables, and, if you have not figured it out, a lot of guys on here have done far more deployments than a huge unit sized deployment.  You need to narrow it down.


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Joined: 4/28/08   Location:  Seattle


Thanks for the responses. It’s a detachment sized deployment. I’ve done the big unit dictated ones before but on this one the only real restrictions are that each bag needs to be under 100 lbs. I was curious if there is a better organizational method. Right now I’m thinking a ruck/and duffle on the plane with tough box in the conex. Knowing that I won’t see the conex for at least a couple weeks.

Each bag under 100 lbs meaning the bags in the plane correct?  I personally never had any issue with the duffel.  They palletized easier for sure if everyone used the same issued ones.  I preferred to place the old foam ground pad inside mine to give it a wall/protection  and pad my back when carrying it.  The aviators kit bag carried more because of the shape but with only the handles it was a PITA to move around.  I’ve seen models with the duffel bag strap system sewn onto the sides of the aviator kit bag but I was out and didn’t need it by the time they got around to making it.  I much preferred the A bag to the duffel for access and carrying odd shaped kit that wasn’t conducive to the tubular shape of the duffel

AD 1982-2003/Infantry-Army SF/  Just my thoughts:  The D-Bag worked really well when I was Infantry.  1SG could get a butt-ton loaded on trucks for delivery to a field site to supplement your rucksack on long FTXs or deployments.  Packed cubed great on pallets and we even had them delivered in a sling-loaded cargo net.  

Kit Bags worked really good when I transitioned over to SF.  They seemed to be just as good if not better than a D-Bag when it came to cube-building.  The one thing to remember: never pack anything you're not willing to have broken.  Boots, Uniforms, CW Gear, Sleeping Bags, extra-soft crap only!

The introduction of Pelican Boxes was a game changer as far as I'm concerned.  Great concept that was way overdue.  Just another tidbit:  If you're lucky enough to locate with an Air Force unit, you could always find an endless supply of USGI Wooden Footlockers.  Properly reinforced they were the original Pelican Case.  My first ODA helped ourselves to 3 ea. per team member while stopping at Incirlik AB.  We could cube-out a pallet that would was the envy of any loadmaster.

Miss it all and if God would give me a young man's body I would do it all over again.  



I've still got 2ea wooden footlockers from Incirlik…..LOL.  I use them now as my "love me" boxes, full of a bunch of shit that I haven't looked at in literally years, but can't bring myself to get rid of.  

This is what Group issued in lieu of the wooden footlockers:  https://www.amazon.com/37-Port...-Black/dp/B004Q0JMWM  I've got like 5 of them for all my old uniforms, boots, and TA-50.  You can definitely pack them to the point that "1 Man" lifting is difficult.  BUT, in truly shitty conditions, they're hard to beat and a HELL of a lot cheaper than the $400 Pelican boxes that people keep pointing to (even if I had the unit purchasing them, I would go with the tough boxes and get MORE of them).

Wheeled boxes are great, and I've got one of them.  EASY to move around in the garage.  BUT, if I were going (even as a fobbit) to Afghanistan or Iraq, I wouldn't want the wheels.  The wheels take up space on the inside, and very likely won't take very much abuse rolling it through the rocks and dirt.  

If it's a Pain in the Ass....you're doing it WRONG

I don't make policy, only suggestions, take them as such.


Joined: 8/5/05    Location: 20 miles west of Gettysburg, PA



If it’s a detachment sized group and you’re at Bragg I’m thinking psyops, ca, sf or maybe air force. In all those cases I’d guess some other nco in your group has done something like this before and could tell you what’s up. If you’re flying civi use duffle bags or a kit bag. If the rotator go with a hard box like a contico or pelican in addition to soft bags bc the hard shell is more convenient once you are in. 

If you’re gonna live on full perdiem at the Westin pack suitcases.

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