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Astronomy said it better than I could (surprised face).

Ventilation is #1 because, as Astronomy stated, the pack rarely comes off during the day and I hate prickly heat soooooooooo bad.

The other reason to use a frame with the small load is to have the ability to take on extra weight (most likely water and batteries on the way in, but also SSE material on the way out) temporarily without having to change everything. Similar in concept to an elk hunter carrying a small amount of supplies for a day, but packing out meat if he's successful.

For hikers, Lowe Alpine and Deutor both make packs with some standoff from your back that work pretty well in the humid southeastern states. Worth looking into.

You posted that you have a medium. Have you worn it over armor? I'm concerned about being able to wear it over armor and stand alone.  I wear a medium (CIF)or large(RFI) IOTV (depends who sizes me).

What is your current set up look like?

I am thinking about getting a large. I have a 38 inch waist however I know I need it to fit over uniform comfortable. What do you think? 

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I hope this is a good sign of change, happening from inside the force. 

Jungle school in Africa offers a whole new level of difficulty, humidity

“The swamps of Georgia are very different than the jungle here, incredibly different,” said Ksander. “I thought it would be similar to the environment you might see in Florida, maybe New Orleans or Georgia, but it’s not.”

Ksander and about 80 of his fellow infantrymen from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment this month became the first American service members to attend the school here. The soldiers, from Fort Stewart, Georgia’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, battled heat, humidity, wildlife and rugged terrain under the watchful eye of French instructors as well as noncommissioned officers from the Army’s Jungle Operations Training Course, run by the 25th Infantry Division, in Hawaii.

After completing jungle training, the soldiers stayed on in Gabon for Central Accord, an annual exercise that brings together partner nations from Central Africa to train and practice conducting peacekeeping operations.

Capt. Zachary Schaeffer, the commander of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, said the jungles of Gabon are nothing like he nor his soldiers had ever seen.

“In the past couple months, 3-7’s dealt with the swamps at Fort Polk, we’ve been to Fort Irwin and Fort Bliss working through the desert, and, of course, we train at Fort Stewart,” he said. “But we’ve never really encountered the jungle and humidity we have here on the equator in Gabon.”

The Army as a whole has lost much of its ability and knowledge base for operating in the jungle, especially as the force bore the brunt of back-to-back deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

A jungle school instructor explains squad movement to U.S. soldiers assigned to Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team 3rd Infantry Division at the Jungle Warfare School near Yemen, Gabon, on June 9. (Photo: Sgt. Henrique Luiz de Holleben/Army)

The 25th Infantry Division in 2014 launched its Jungle Operations Training Course to better prepare for its regional alignment with Pacific Command and the Defense Department’s rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.

Standing up the school in Hawaii marked the first time the Army had its own jungle school since Fort Sherman was turned over to the Panamanians in 1999.

The jungle training area here in Gabon was only about 4 kilometers in size, but with the dense forest, the soldiers had enough to worry about, Schaeffer said.

“There are a lot of challenges in the jungle, whether it’s the dense vegetation or the wildlife, from snakes to chimpanzees, all of which we encountered while we were out there,” he said.

The soldiers also had to adapt to the dense jungle, “where you can only see 5 to 10 meters in front of you,” he said.

A U.S soldier lights a fire using a flint and gauze at the French Jungle Warfare School near Yemen, Gabon, on June 6. (Photo: Yvette Zabala-Garriga/Army)

“Whether you’re just sweating or whether it’s raining or you’re neck-deep in water, you’re constantly wet, and the humidity doesn’t help with that,” Schaeffer said. “Your clothes never dry out, which is something we’re not typically used to.”

His soldiers persevered, Schaeffer said, and in turn learned how to fight in a “unique” environment.

“The jungle’s not what I expected,” he said. “It’s so much harder than it seems, especially when you add your rucksack and your weapon.”

For Sgt. Jesse Harlan, this wasn’t his first time in the jungle. The team leader in B Company attended the Jungle Operations Training Center in Hawaii and got some jungle training during a Pacific Pathways rotation through Malaysia.

“Some of the challenges are just going to be the environment,” he said. “The brush is a lot thicker, it gets darker a lot faster. You may only move 100 meters a day, and you’re carrying a lot of your gear, and you’ve got to deal with a lot more of the elements.”


A highlight from a weeklong training was the obstacle course, Harlan said.

“It was real fun to get the guys to work together, getting in the water, getting wet, carrying a sandbag on your back,” he said.

Harlan also learned that you don’t shave in the jungle for fear of infections, and to bring many, many pairs of socks.

He also learned to put together a dry kit of clothes, he said.

Ksander said he was surprised at how difficult it is to move in the jungle.

“It’s so much more confining, the way you move through the jungle,” he said. “Everything’s so much more detectable. Everything’s louder in the jungle. Everything is in your face, and it seems like anything can touch you at the same time.”

He learned about booby traps, building shelters and building fires.

“Moving is hard, doing the simple things are harder,” Ksander said about the jungle. “Everything’s loud, every step you take feels like everybody for miles can hear you.”

As for what he learned?

“I really appreciate coffee more than I ever have, and [air-conditioning], and clean bathrooms,” he said.

Sorry for the delay. We've got a mix of pump filters (Katadyn), gravity filters, Steri-Pens, and purification tablets. So far, I haven't had to use any of them out here so I can only speak for recreational use. I like the pump filters from MSR and the Guardian is supposed to be tits. Tablets, chlorine solutions, and UV treatments are cool, but I like to filter out the floaties and swimmies.

avn mech posted:

I hope this is a good sign of change, happening from inside the force. 

Jungle school in Africa offers a whole new level of difficulty, humidity


Excellent article.

And even more interesting is the lack of helmets and body armor. While I think everyone here sees the logic and wisdom in that, I'm surprised Big Army let it fly.

No strike against 3-7, but I'm curious if that came from within, from the instructors with 25ID, or was mandated by the French.

Looks like someone has the fore thought to see the needs of the future.


Sneak Peek – Jungle M4 Mag Pouch

Jungle and Vest/chest rigs don’t mix well. You’ve got to go back to a more traditional patrol rig like the old ALICE System. That means you’ll need a belt mounted mag pouch. MRLC Designs has developed this concept for exactly that purpose.  At this point, the materials are still under evaluation, but the basic concept is mostly there.

The Conceptual Jungle Utility Gear Suite (CJUGS) M4 Magazine Pouch is a modernized LC2 pouch that is PALS/MOLLE compatible.The pouch holds three (3) M4 magazines, incorporates PALS webbing on the sides to facilitate the attachment of grenade pouches, etc. and has a D-Ring to mitigate load when used with the load carriage harness.In addition, hook and loop closures which can be snagged by “wait-a-minute-vines” or become degraded in the jungle environment have been replaced by repairable side release buckles.

More reasons to empty Your wallets. 

Jungle Goodies!!


Sneak Peek – Mayflower Jungle Pouch Suite

Mayflower/Velocity Systems have been hard at work developing their jungle offerings.

Featuring Helium Whisper backers, a mix of materials for durability, top attaching points, Fastex buckles and Belcro closure, side PALS webbing, and side bungie securing loops (aka PLCE).

Parts yet to come: true canteen pouch, H-suspenders, belt, but pack, kidney pouches and 40mm hangers.


Platatac SR Jungle ALICE Pack

Designed for a Special Reconnaisaane unit specializing in jungle warfare, Platatac’s SR Jungle ALICE Pack is an external frame pack, made from DWR coated and PU backed 500D Cordura.

-Main compartment 480mm (H) x 380mm (W) x 270mm (D) 49L
-4 x long pocket 300mm (H) x 110mm (D) x 170mm (W) 5.61L
-MOLLE admin pouch 150mm (H) x 110mm (D) x 170mm (W) 2.8L
-Bottom compartment 190mm (L) x 60mm (D) x 290mm (W) 3.3L
-Lid compartment 220mm (L) x 80mm (D) x 300mm (W) 5.28L
-MOLLE admin pouch 150mm (H) x 110mm (D) x 170mm (W) 2.8L

-Weighs 2.49kg (pack only)
-Lid pouch with waterproof zip access and covered zip access
-Removable lid for OP Kit/Go Bag with shoulder strap
-Dual waterproof zip hydration/comms ports
-Velcro opening on lid for marker panels
-Internal zippered side pockets for bladders or long items such as tri-pods
-Carry handle
-Elasticised lid to neatly cover excess items stowed on top of main compartment
-Roll top closure
-Elastic shock cord with attachment points on the lid and base of pack
-2 x external pockets
-2 x columns 20mm daisy chains for external attachment of gear
-2 x internal hydration sleeves
-Internal radio cradle
-3 x internal zippered mesh pockets
-Internal horizontal zippered divider
-Bottom compartment access
-Bottom pouch with drawstring and clip closure made in 1000D nylon
-Full external PAL/MOLLE covering
-Accepts ALICE, 1606 and TYR Frames
-500 / 1000 Denier DWR treated nylon
-YKK zips with paracord pulls
-ITW hardware

Offered as just the SR Jungle Pack or as a combo, Ranger Green or MultiCam. You can choose ALICE frame or 1606 MOLLE frame.

The equipment carried this time is very different then the last video post about this school. 

Jungle Combat Back to Belize

The Infantry Battle School has brought soldiers back to Belize for the first time in five years. The training team which is based in Brecon has spent the past three weeks in the country running the final exercise in the Platoon Commanders Battle Course.


That's just a couple of weeks of a four-month course (Platoon Commanders Battle Course) and is a change to the regular programme that usually sees them go to Cyprus or, occasionally, Kenya.  I doubt any additional, jungle-specific, equipment would have been issued for this experiment.

Good to see Belize being put to good use, I enjoyed my tours there. Dirty, 'orrible jungle but good nonetheless.

So the Brits are going back Belize for JUNGLE training and the Army and Marines are reinventing the Jungle uniform. I see a lot of old (BDU) in the “new” desires and desire of a boot. As always what is old is new again, just hopefully better material.

Soldiers wear new tropical uniforms and boots in jungle ACU field-test

The Army continues to dial up jungle operations, with thousands of troops rotating through the Pacific every three months or so. While the Asia missions have been a boon for the service, and soldiers have been quick to embrace them, one big hurdle remains: Soldiers are being sent there in uniforms ill-suited for unrelenting humidity, heavy rains and perpetual sogginess. But change is coming soon. 

The Army, over the last 18 months, has quietly held four uniform trials in Hawaii, with thousands of soldiers wearing a variety of new uniform designs. The hope is to finalize a new tropical wardrobe by 2018 that is lightweight, quick-drying, comfortable, and durable.

The Army examined new fabric combinations and soldiers wore Army Combat Uniforms with significant design tweaks. Some of the uniforms, for example, included vents in the sleeves and mesh tuck-ins on the trousers. 

A cooling Army Combat Shirt was also examined, as were several variants of boots. 

Soldiers in the 25th Infantry Division and its jungle school did their part to help officials at Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering and Program Executive Office Soldier determine the right mix of attributes. 

Experts at PEO Soldier and Natick walked Army Times through the recent uniform trials and outlined the next steps to making the new Army jungle uniform a reality. 

Jungle-friendly uniforms 

The Army wanted a lighter-weight uniform for the jungle, so soldiers were asked to test what the Army called a “stripped-down ACU.” 

This uniform, still using the Army’s Operational Camouflage Pattern, had the following jungle-minded features: 

* The chest, calf and back pockets were removed to reduce weight and dry-time.  

* Blousing strings were eliminated from trousers to allow for airflow and drainage. 

* The elbows, knees and seat were reinforced with 330 denier nylon, a thicker nylon that increases durability and abrasion resistance. 

* Crotch gussets, extra patches of fabric that reduces stress on the seams, were added to prevent blowouts common to the Flame Resistant ACUs. 

* Buttons were used on the ACU blouse instead of a zipper, with the intent to increase air flow. 

Another version of the ACU took the jungle-focus a step further, incorporating mesh into the uniform’s design. This uniform included all the design tweaks of the simplified ACU mentioned above, with the exception of the blouse buttons. This uniform used a zipper. 

This blouse included vents along the shoulder blades that incorporated a mesh lining for improved air flow. 

Another big feature with this modified uniform: soldiers could leave their boots unbloused, once again to improve airflow. The trousers feature mesh material on the inside of the pant leg, near the ankle; with this mesh tucked into the boots, the ACU provides insect and leech protection while allowing soldiers to un-blouse. Mesh is also incorporated into the crotch gusset. 

The Army also tested trousers with and without a knit yoke, a wicking material at the back of the trousers below the waist band. The yoke was designed to give lower-back moisture somewhere to go. 

Soldiers in Hawaii also tested two Army Combat Shirts: the tops designed for wear with body armor vests. One version of the shirt was made with a cooling material for the torso and inner collar. Companies that make cooling materials claim the special materials can absorb sweat and create a cooling effect as the shirt dries. 

The second version was made with a wicking material which draws sweat away from the body to the surface so it can more quickly evaporate. 

The combat shirt’s modesty panel — an extra layer of fabric on the upper chest of a combat shirt — was removed to reduce layering on both versions of the jungle combat shirt. Testers also jettisoned the combat shirt’s foam elbow pads, which can collect moisture and gain significant weight. 

As a control in the uniform trials, some soldiers wore the Army’s standard FRACU. 

trying new fabrics 

The Army conducted a total of four uniform user evaluations over the past year and a half and three of those were focused purely on material. Soldiers all wore the same ACU design, the stripped down version, but made with different fabric combinations. 

Textile chemist Melynda Perry, the Jungle Fabric and Architecture Development Effort project lead for Natick, said the lab data on the materials, combined with soldier feedback, would help the Army create requirements for a new fabric it would design in 2017. 

We don’t just want to pick a fabric; because it may be OK, but what if there’s something better?” Perry said. “We’ll look at best of these and develop a single material.” 

The Army examined eight material combinations in Hawaii: 

1. The base material tested should have felt familiar to soldiers. Like a standard ACU, this uniform consisted of a 50/50 nylon/cotton weave with a ripstop reinforcement. 

This uniform took advantage of nylon’s strength and cotton’s comfort, and then added ripstop: extra-thick reinforcement threads woven in a crosshatch pattern. Cotton has pros and cons. It gets stronger when wet, but also heavier. It also takes longer to dry compared to other textiles. 

2. This ACU featured the same 50/50 nylon/cotton blend as an ACU, but use a twill weave rather than a simple weave backed by ripstop. Rather than a simple perpendicular weave, twill (like your jeans) takes a diagonal pattern designed for strength and durability. 

3. The Army also tried a 38/38/24 blend of nylon, cotton, and PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene: the same chemical compound is the basis for teflon non-stick pans). PTFE is strong, lightweight and doesn’t absorb water. This uniform used a twill weave. 

4. Soldiers also wore a uniform made of 100 percent nylon ripstop. With no cotton, the material does not take on very much water and weighs less than cotton blends, while retaining the relative strength of nylon. This uniform was one of the lightest tested. The trousers were made slightly heavier than the blousers, to increase durability. 

5. Another nylon-cotton blend, this uniform went higher with the nylon (57/43) and used a specialized high-strength nylon called T420 HT. 

6. This uniform was 98 percent nylon, 2 percent spandex. Made with a simple weave (no ripstop nor twill), this was the lightest uniform tested . The spandex added a slight degree of flexibility, stretch recovery and reduced weight. 

7. This uniform was a blend of 37/33/30 aramid/nylon/flame-resistant cotton. Aramids are synthetic polymers and Kevlar is an example of one. The Aramid helped increase the fabric’s durability and a twill weave helped further. Aramid is also naturally flame-resistant, like the particular cotton used in this blend. 

8. Finally, the Army looked at a polyester-based fabric, using a twill weave. Polyester is quick-drying and has low-water absorption. It’s strong but not as strong as nylon, and also offers a bit less elasticity. The blend is 58/52 polyester/cocona polyester, the latter of which is includes a carbon derived from coconut husks. This further improves moisture-management. 

Soldier reactions 

While the data and qualitative feedback are still being analyzed, Army Times was able to talk to a couple soldiers about their experience testing the new uniforms. 

Aside from Hawaii, where he works as a jungle school instructor, Staff Sgt. Larry Aviles has trained in the jungles of Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines, and Gabon, Africa. And he said that when it comes to uniform materials, lighter doesn’t always mean better. 

“Some felt like a regular uniform. Some felt like you were putting on pajamas,” Aviles said of the different fabrics. “The ones made out of thinner materials, everyone liked them until you got wet. Then they got cold. The jungle can get cold at night. You can catch hypothermia in a tropical environment.” 

The thinner uniforms were also quick to absorb heat: “When you got into direct sunlight it would feel like you were cooking,” Aviles added, citing the very-light nylon-spandex uniform as an example that didn’t work well. 

His favorite was the nylon-cotton uniform that utilized the T420HT nylon. 

“I’ve taken it through the Congo, through a harsh obstacle course. I put it in every situation; the uniform came out unscathed. I didn’t feel like I was too hot or too cold. I’ve slept in that uniform. Overall it’s just a comfortable wear,” he said. 

Sgt. Evan Mead, a 25th Infantry Division medic with the Jungle Operations Training Center in Hawaii, liked the 50/50 nylon-cotton blend on the stripped-down ACU. 

Aviles also liked that the elimination of chest, butt and calf pockets. 

“It makes it easier,” he said. “Sliding down a gulch, [the pants] don’t get caught. I think removing the chest pocket makes it a little more breathable, airflow getting to the chest and cooling you down. You don’t typically use those [pockets] while you’re patrolling anyway,” Aviles said. 

Mead appreciated the mesh ventilation in the jacket, as well as the mesh guards in the lower legs. 

“The mesh netting helps keep leaches from climbing up,” Mead said. “You can tuck them into the boot. It keeps the pants un-bloused to let air flow, and helps drain water.” 

Better boots 

As the Army dialed up its Pacific deployments, officials began hearing complaints that standard-issue boots were not built for the jungle. 

Some of these complaints were issued to the Soldier Enhancement Program, which can seek off-the-shelf solutions to gaps in gear and equipment identified in the field. 

The Army concluded, however, that the commercial market did not offer what soldiers needed: a supportive, comfortable, and, perhaps most importantly, quick-drying jungle boot. 

One of the things that came out of the SEP initiative was a lot of the boots were holding onto too much water,” said Kevin Hutcheson, SEP coordinator for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at PEO Soldier and a former major in the Army who’s served in the 4th Infantry Division. “You can have the lightest boots in the world, but if they soak up too much water, they become heavy.” 

Mead concurred; the closest he’s seen in the current market has been a particular pair of Nike jungle boots, but he said they don’t last the way soldiers would like. 

“They’re durable up to about six months. They do the job up to that point. They drain the water, they do a good job,” Mead said. “But the jungle environment is harsher than what we’ve seen in the dessert or mountain.” 

After some laboratory tests on various materials, Natick designed five different boots to test, said Al Adams, Natick’s footwear project engineer. 

Natick designed the five boots to be puncture-resistant as a prerequisite, but each featured a variety of materials and designs. Two had fairly thick soles while three of them had a thinner “Panama sole.” 

Mead said that while all the boots were well-made, the bulkier outsoles offered less stability and caused some rolled ankles. He also said the custom-made insole in one of the Panama sole boots was “probably the best insole I’ve ever had in a boot.” 

For testing, soldiers in Hawaii wore 1,000 boots in all. Each soldier received one pair to wear down for 90 days, a trial that ended in June. Mead and other instructors in Hawaii were able to test more boots, for longer periods of time. By the end of July he was still using boots he’d received about seven months ago. 

“They’re holding up real well. We wear them in the jungle, outside the jungle, everywhere. They’re holding up better than the commercial Nike boots,” Mead said. 

Next steps 

Once Natick analyzes the uniform materials, lab data, and user evaluations, it will report findings to PEO Soldier as well as the Maneuver Center of Excellence. 

As Perry noted, the Army will take what it learned and design a material and a uniform during 2017. Natick aims to hold final user evaluations in either the fall of 2017 or the winter of 2018. 

Perry said Natick would present the final user evaluation results to PEO Soldier in the winter or spring of 2018. 

The boots could be arriving even sooner. Natick has also been analyzing boot tests and soldier feedback, and will report in the fall to PEO Soldier. 

The next year or so will consist of getting documents and requirements approved by organizations from the Maneuver Center of Excellence (which develops requirements) to Army Requirements Oversight Council, as well as some limited testing and user evaluations of the final design. 

Adams said the Army hopes that by the first fiscal quarter of 2018, which starts Sept. 1. The Army will have completed its engineering and design phase and moved on production contracts. Multiple vendors will produce the Army-owned design. 

The Army’s effort hasn’t been a completely solo act. Perry said the Army and other organizations have been sharing data during the process. 

The Marine Corps is conducting similar jungle gear tests at its Jungle Warfare Center in Okinawa, Japan. 

The Marines also tested four prototype jungle boots, one each from Original Footwear, Bates Footwear, Belleville Boot Company and Rocky Boots. 

I owe you guys an update. 

Things that I thought were really good, but have changed my mind on:

-Nike jungle boots. Actually they're pretty good, but they stay wet longer than some others and my foot shape may not be compatible with them. Worst blisters I've had in some time with these. 

Low-riding load-bearing belt kit. I threw out what I'd learned back in the day in order to give an honest look at wearing belt kit around the hips. Maybe it would work better with a stiff and padded belt. I've got my BELTminus riding high with the back flat to allow a ruck to fit right. We're about 50/50 between belt kit and chest rigs, but all the guys with belt kit have it riding high. 


Things that are good:

-Low-top shoes worn with gaiters. I wear this combo often in every other environment I've been in (usually with an approach shoe), but didn't try it here until somewhat recently. It works. I'm using Salomon Speedcross shoes and OR Bugout gaiters. The Speedcross dries very quickly, has great traction, and the laces can't come untied. The gaiters keep the bees from climbing up into my pants, help keep my shoes from getting sucked off my feet, and debris from getting into my shoes. I could switch to Multicam gaiters at some point, but probably won't. 

-Medium ALICE  pack. If it won't fit in a medium ALICE, I don't need to carry it in this environment. The hard part is finding one of decent quality. If I was coming back here, I'd consider going the custom route. 

-Hennessy hammock. Now that I've tried both the ENO and the Hennesy, I have to say that the Hennessy is better for this environment. Great way to sleep out here unless there's no fecking trees, in which case...

-MMI pop-up tent/mosquito net. Easy to use (folds up like a car sunshade), weighs half as much as a Hennessy hammock, and it keeps the bugs out. I can drape or suspend a tarp over it for the rain. Pretty cool piece of gear. 

krax posted:


Low-riding load-bearing belt kit. I threw out what I'd learned back in the day in order to give an honest look at wearing belt kit around the hips. Maybe it would work better with a stiff and padded belt. I've got my BELTminus riding high with the back flat to allow a ruck to fit right. We're about 50/50 between belt kit and chest rigs, but all the guys with belt kit have it riding high. 


The gaiters keep the bees from climbing up into my pants


Can you post some pictures of each set up (chest and harness)?


What kind of FUCKING predator   BEE are you talking about?

One day in Panama JOTC, my platoon was snaking through the sun dappled ground where triple canopy opened up to double canopy. Ranger file and spread out in good dispersion, we all took a knee for some reason or other. My nearest buddy & I heard a generator.  Very close by. Soon other Rangers were looking for the origin of the sound.  It sounded like maybe it was coming from a nearby concealed OPFOR bunker. As we took cover between the massive bullet stopping roots of an immense tree, we suddenly felt the entire tree vibrating in tune with our "generator".

Looking up the trunk, we saw a visible fog of about one bazillion bees swiftly emerging about 50 feet above our heads. Possibly two bazillion. The 200 foot tall tree contained a hive that could be felt vibrating all the way down to ground level. 

We frantically passed whispered messages up and down the line, as well as break contact hand signals. Our PSG was just then coming up from the rear,  and quickly took in the disastrous situation about to unfold. Told everyone to run... now.

We (the entire platoon) hauled ass in the nick of time. A few people got chased and stung at the rear of the formation. Had we delayed a minute longer, it would have been MEDEVAC time (and probably a few deaths).  

Yeah, there's bees in the jungle.

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I don't know the name of the species of bee.

They don't start out stinging right away. They feed on your sweat and release some sort of pheromone to tell the others to join in. Best thing you can do is seal yourself up while there's just a few around you. The gaiters work well, as do rubber bands around your ankles if you're wearing taller boots. You wear the rubber bands around your boots while you're walking and then pull them around your pants leg when you stop. Same thing for your wrists. And a head net. The head net doesn't go in the ruck; it goes where you can get to it in a hurry.

Then you stay as calm as you can while they do their thing, even if one stings you. Do. Not. Kill. Them. Once you swat at one and kill it, they all go fucking berserker. I've had 15+ stings at once, but the record for this rotation is like a hundred.

The new medium sized pack is just called the medium MOLLE ruck.  I would have thought it wouldn't be bad for the jungle, the frame keeps it pretty far off the body because it was designed to be worn with armor.  I have one but have only used it for short rucks for PT.  It never got any use on my last deployment.  Krax, what part of the world are you in if you can say.  I've been following this thread as kind of a mental exercise and slowly been trying to put together a rig on the off chance I get a chance to do some jungle training.  I've looked at the old SPEAR ELCS rig set up as an H harness, the SORD patrol rig and a HSGI battle belt. I think I've settled on the BFG belt minus.  I've been very impressed with this thing.  It's strong and super light weight.  I wish I had my mag pouches out here so that I could get it completely set up.  The new Mayflower rig looks promising and I'd like to try the Eagle lightweight harness if I can find one.  There is also this new rig from Jay Jay's in the UK.  I'd rather have a MOLLE version and it's missing some of the features I want (frag, smoke and MBITR pouches) but it might suit some of you guys.


Couple questions for those of you with jungle experience. 

Are NODs useable or do they fog up to the point of not being worth carrying?

Same question for optics, problems with ACOGs and CCOs? 

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Gunner, I'm in Africa. 

I like the BELTminus, but I think you've gotta decide how you're going to wear your belt kit. If you think you'll wear it on your hips in such a way that your ruck will rest on it, you'll probably want a padded belt. If you'll think you'll ride it high, then the BELTminus is good for that. Then again, you may like a SPLITminus or other chest rig for the same thing.

I carry NVGs in my ruck for static observation at night. That's about it. 

As for optics, I often roll with a Vortex 1-6 and have not had fogging issues. That said, I prefer to patrol with a short upper with nothing on it but iron sights. 

Ran across a good thread on the Hill People gear forum that relates a bit to this thread.

My BFG belt minus is just about set up how I want it.  I picked up a Tactical Tailor assault MALICE during their Veteran's day sale.  Very robust (3lbs w/o frame), probably holds about as much as a medium ruck, it only sits as wide as an ALICE ruck.  Very little on the sides to hang up on vegetation.  There are 3 compression straps per side that could probably be taped to the frame withittlr adverse effect in order to make the sides more slick.  However, there are two vertical zippers on the back for midlevel access that might need to be reinforced with the compression straps if carrying a heavy load.  

I have a pretty short torso so H harness/ruck frame integration sucks.  Hanging low the frame rests on top of my nalgene pouches, I'm gonna have to put some miles on it.  Concerns right now are noise if the frame bangs on the top of the nalgene bottles and eventually the frame wearing through the pouch flap.  Rigging the belt high didnt work well, I pulled it up high enough to the point i couldnt access anything behind 3 and 9 o clock.   Up that high the kidney pad rests directly on the back of my butt pack which makes the ruck unstable.  I'll have to try it again but pop the butt pack up over the kidney pad and see how it rides.  I looked for the lowest profile kidney pad I could find.  Going with an early ALICE LC1 kidney pad for now.  Super low profile, but this pad doesnt have a waist belt which will probably end up sucking with heavier loads.  

Krax, If you have a commo nerd on your team I've got a study I came across from the 70s where the Army experimented with using trees as antennas in the jungle.  Haven't read it yet, so I dont know if it would  be of any use besides general interest.




The current medium/large Alice packs are products of 40+ years of war.  From WWII, to Korea, and into Vietnam.  They are the apex of their development.  Cheap, relatively light weight (compared to a 500/1000D ruck in the same size), simple (KISS), expandable/adaptable, etc. etc. .  You could Easily spend $300+ on a modern ruck with most of the same attributes...but WHY?  I've got a modified large ruck that I carried in Iraq, with the added pockets and bells and whistles, and it cost a LOT of money, so I get the whole "High-Speed" ruck thing.  But, in the jungle, when you want to travel fast and light, there really isn't  anything better, that checks all the boxes that the medium ruck does, that's in the same price range.

Just the old style medium Alice ruck with fixed pockets.  If you start adding molle strapping, and then the pouches on top of it, you are adding weight in the form of the Cordura, plus the added weight of the pouches (let alone what you start putting in them).  Do some research on what LRRP (long range recon patrols) or MACV-SOG was carrying in their rucks, in the jungle, in Vietnam.  Very little weight/space went to "comfort", Most everything carried could either take a life or save a life.

The other side of this question is how did they "layer" their equipment.  There are whole layouts, online, on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd layer of equipment carried.  By my understanding of what I've heard/read/seen, their LBEs actually weighed as much or more (usually more except perhaps the RTO) than their ruck.

The Becker Patrol Pack (BPP; molle and non-molle) is a current take on the old Alice.  I utilized them as radio rucks (stand-alones) in Germany/EUCOM almost exclusively.  The upside on them:  nearly indestructible, finite (so you can't carry more than the bag is capable of), slightly  configurable (you can add things like an Antenna bag to the outside, but you can't hang a ridiculous amount of shit off it); the Molle version is more configurable with the molle webbing, but ends up looking like the original fixed pocket and being heavier.

Having said all of that about the BPP, the BPP is VERY narrow in it's scope of use.  The use of 1000D makes it heavy for what it can carry.  Without an external frame, it gets hot carrying it in more than 80 degrees.  The shoulder straps are awesome for carrying a heavy weight radio around; BUT, they are also thick and heavy and again, don't do well in hot environments.

Where the old style Alice packs really shine is PRICE.  They can be had for a relatively cheap price and do 90% of what needs to be done.  I feel the same way about what's turning into the "New" (molle) versions of the LBE/H-harness.  If I had to walk into the jungle tomorrow, I would readily take a LBE (I've still got mine w/ 4 ammo pouches, two canteens, 1 buttpack plus two "compass" pouches, 1 on either side of the buckle) than anything  "molle".  Same thing about Rucks, I would rather take an old style framed Alice than any of the new fangled soft/frameless/internal frame rucks out there right now.

Off the subject, but still applicable......Uniforms.  While today's uniforms are technological masterpieces, what they are just as well is EXPENSIVE.  OG-107 uniforms, while not super tacticool, use to cost $8 a set.  Tear them up in the field, they were cheap to replace.  The idea of spending $100+ on what amounts to a field uniform (by definition, EXPENDABLE) is just ridiculous.  It's like the new cell phone commercial, would you really pay DOUBLE (or more) for a 5-10% increase (in what, I'm not sure).  Jungles, and jungle warfare, are going to tear shit up.  Replacing a $10 uniform, or $50 rucksack is much less painless than what we have today.  Commanders signing a field loss statement is also more likely when the equipment is less expensive.

I'll post a couple pics later today of an old Vietnam ARVN ruck, a tropical ruck side by side with a large sized ruck.  Unfortunately I just sold my medium ruck.  Those LRRP/SF/SOG guys did alot with those little rucks.  There are a few companies making jungle uniforms these days and they tend to make Crye's uniforms look cheap.  

To me, using the old ALICE stuff is similar to those Vietnam guys that were using BAR belts.  Theres nothing wrong with it and it works but there are other options out there.  That being said, it would suck to drop a bunch of cash then 8 months later your shits rotting to pieces and youre right back to using CIF.

To piggy back onto what CYTEZ said.  Wear out, and failure rates for the old jungle fatigue pants were much higher that the shirts. Like 3 or 4 to 1. Usually the material just got worn thin and would tear at the knees or other wear spots and crotch blow outs.  In our platoon we always had 1 spare pair of pants in each size when in the field.  When the shirts got worn, they got a little cooler. Between that and not wanting to sew patches back on, you'd see guys with new OD pants and shirts that were worn and bleached lighter by the sun.

And no zippers on the pants, lots of failures there.   Went thru many pairs of pants and green jungle boots. This was Panama,  early 1980's. We were issued 2 pairs of the green jungle boots and 4 sets of jungle fatigues.  I ended up with another pair of jungle boots to help in the rotation.


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