Even the best laid plans have a tendency to change when the first BB flies in the air. I earlier posted an article about the kit I was going to run at Berget 13. I had a dry-run with the kit at the reconnaissance training we attended with our team and noticed that while it was an excellent piece of kit, it was rather cumbersome with the drills we had to run. While comfortable and able to carry much on me, it was pointed out by our instructors (guys who do know what they are talking about, let’s just leave it at that) that the best rig for a reconnaissance trooper in their mind was a chestrig, belt and a rucksack. With this in mind, I change the LBV-E I had to a ALICE harness. Why? Well it was lighter and I still could carry the stuff I needed with me plus have my ALICE ruck on my back. Thinking that this would be the shit, I had a few dry runs at weekend games with the said kit and saw that it worked well. For weekend games at least. That previous sentence is important, remember it.
While I was finally packing for Berget and setting up some final stuff for the ALICE harness, I saw my SDS RACK (Ranger Carry Kit, as far as I am aware) in the corner. I’d bought this from a good friend who works at a local airsoft store near my hometown. I saw him carry one in 2014 at Blood Valley Chronicles airsoft event and it looked very comfortable and able to carry the essentials you needed in the field. I had gotten it with the main RACK plus three SDS R.A.C.K M4 Double Magazine pouches. I added some pouches from my Safariland ELCS kit to it and took it with me, just in case. I packed my other stuff and left them to wait for the trip to Berget.
As the hours towards game start were slowly disappearing from our watches, I did some final packing of my gear. We heard that we did not need our rucksacks, as we would be coming back to the camp to sleep or they could be dropped to us by our mechanized unit. We had anticipated as much and prepared for that. One team from our outfit stayed near the enemy base for the duration of the game and my hat goes off to these guys. Very hardcore shit guys, very hardcore! As I changed some stuff on my kit and packed my buttpack I started to notice that maybe this was not as good of an idea after all. While I like the ALICE harness at weekend games, with the thin strap foaming and the amount of stuff we needed to carry, it might get uncomfortable. Had it had more padding, it might have made a difference, or it might have not. Who knows? We head out and after 6 hours of wearing the damn thing fully loaded, my right should cramps at the in-game village we were then stopping at. The pain was a real motherfucker, as I had never had anything like that happen to me before. Noticing the looks the guys were giving me, I started limping as well (just for a laugh) and made a remark about Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Everyone started laughing with me. I convinced the guys I could still hold my weapon and we headed back to our camp as per orders from HQ. On the way we went through CP2 and run into about 10 GCT soldiers. Our sniper takes one guard out with one shot, for which the GCT player later walks towards us asking who took the shot. Our sniper confesses and the player walks to him to shake his hand to congratulate him for the excellent shot he took. That’s the spirit of airsoft right there everyone!
During this engagement with the help of adrenaline, the pain slowly fades away but kicks back in when we get back to camp. I take off my webbing and decide I will NOT carry that thing anymore the next day. Then I remember what I was told at the reconnaissance training; “chest rig, belt and a rucksack”. I take out my RACK from my kit bag and swap all the stuff from the harness to it. The essentials do fit but I still need a small rucksack. Having only my ALICE ruck with me (while really good, even the medium is quite large), I borrow one from the same guy who sold me the RACK, since he cannot carry a rucksack because of his shoulder. We discuss our mutual pains on our shoulders and about the RACK as well, sharing a few laughs about how plans never really come together the way you want them.
As I had learned, the ALICE harness worked well, for weekend games. Most likely with some lightening and adding a rucksack, it would work well for longer games as well. But with the current setup I had it with me, it just killed me shoulder. LBV would have worked better, but then again, it might have been too much. I was so glad that I took the RACK with me.
The next morning I setup the RACK, tightening the straps and everything. I placed my Blackhawk! dual pistol mag pouch on my trouser belt, as well as my Bianchi holster for my M1911. I ran these the same way at Blood Valley after Berget and noticed that while great, it is better to have a webbing belt for them. Since I have a few extra ones at my home bunker, I took one and added one ALICE mag pouch to it for small items along with a Blackhawk! bang pouch for grenades and what not. Have not tested this belt out with the RACK yet, but it feels good when posing. Then again, that does not necessarily mean anything.
I also modified the RACK a bit after Berget. I added one SDS canteen pouch and bought an extra Safariland accessory pouch for it so that I could put the other one back to my Safariland ELCS kit. I’ve also added some bicycle inner tire strips to the straps so I can run my camelback tube and radio wiring through them securely. These actually work really well and I recommend this mod! I use them on my other kit as well.
In addition, since I did not have a small daypack at all, I purchased one from, again, the same guy who sold me the RACK in the first place. Adding some custom foam padding to the back of the rucksack (the original was thin and when I got it, all folded up at the bottom of the pack) and secured it with some custom mods. The funny thing is, I bought “the same” pack from a shop/seller on ebay (which I will not name though I have had bad experiences with them in the past as well), taking a risk though I knew there had been some issues before as well, and I received the larger version of the rucksack. While the images on the listing were correct, the rucksack I received was the wrong one. It was the more expensive one so I was not going to complain, since I already had the smaller one lined up though my friend. Now I am just missing the largest pack of the set and I am squared away. I would have gotten the medium size eventually anyway, so no harm was basically done.
Now that my current favorite gear has been finished and what not, I just need to do some testing with it. So far I have tested individual items equipment and they seem to hold up really well and it is comfortable and light. I will try and see if I have any pictures of me with the Berget setup, Blood Valley setup and the current incarnation that I have yet to try out. Thanks for reading through everything and I hope this was at least remotely fun and informative to read. As always, here are some pics!
Berget setup for the RACK and other kit seen as well. Could not locate better pictures but I’ll give you the short and sweet. From my POV, left hand side has Safariland ELCS M60/SAW 100rd pouch which was used for food and small items. Next up a tan buckled radio pouch (SDS Sabre Radio Pocket) for my radio, then three SDS R.A.C.K M4 Double Magazine pouches (these are probably the best mag pouches I have ever had), one SDS MOLLE II, Pouch, Grenade, Hand, pouch which I ended up using for the platoon radio (Puxing 888, fits great!) I was tasked of carrying, and on the right hand, another Safariland ELCS M60/SAW 100rd pouch which held my canteen and canteen cup. In the upper picture you can also see the OD daypack I borrowed and of course, The Lawmaker, which is a custom made by Berget Events for me. Works like the real thing too. Liking it!
Here is the Blood Valley setup. Basically the same as the Berget setup, but daypack switched for a Camelback 3L hydration (need to get a woodland one…) and the left hand side Safariland pouch was changed to Pouch, General Purpose, Large, from the same manucafturer. I also added an SDS Medic Pocket (as it says on the tag) to the right side of my left hand M60/SAW 100rd pouch.
And finally, the current setup. Again from my POV when wearing the RACK, from the left hand side, Safariland Pouch, General Purpose, SDS Sabre Radio Pocket , three SDS R.A.C.K M4 Double Magazine pouches, SDS MOLLE II, Pouch, Grenade, Hand, US GI Carabiner with some OD 100mph tape, which holds two rolls of red/black electrical tape, SDS Medic Pocket and SDS 1QT Canteen/Utility pouch.
The belt is a standard ALICE webbing belt, with Blackhawk! Dual pistol mag pouch, ALICE M16 magazine pouch, Blackhawk! frag pouch and a Bianchi M12 holster.
The two rucksack are, left to right, The Protector Corp. Pack, Patrol, Combat and SDS Large Assault Pack. I think that the Patrol pack is the Air Force version, since it does not have the US stamped on the smaller front pocket. Both packs are to my liking and now I just need to get out with them to the field.
Thanks again for reading everyone and apologies for the shadows on the two last pictures.