Practical Equipment: the Speed Bag
(Follow-up to my post yesterday)
Did you do your homework? To recap,
… consider what you would carry into combat if you had thirty seconds to get out the door of your house with your rifle and an effective combat load to do battle with an enemy. Write it all down and collect it. Lay it out in front of you and figure out a way to carry it in one simple bag.
Now, here’s how I look at the problem.
You need to be able to shoot, stay hydrated, and fix yourself if you get wounded. That means you would need to carry ammo, water, and a first aid kit. Ideally, you would carry all these items in a single bag, but if they were all in the same pocket it would get cumbersome. You might reach for a spare mag and grab a water bottle first – not good.
Now we have a more clearly defined problem: how do you carry a set of magazines, a canteen, and a first aid kit in one package with partitions to separate each item? Oh, and do it cheaply. I’m all about cheap (price, not quality).
Well, thank the US Armed Forces for ALICE and MOLLE. The military spent a lot of time dating ALICE, but when it was evident that she wasn’t pulling her weight, they ditched her and started dating MOLLE. Both girls have their problems though – ALICE tries to make one set of outfits fit every situation, and MOLLE has way too many accessories for her own good. Both end up needing help, but together they can bet quite the twosome.
Please refrain from the crude sexual jokes at this time.
What I’m talking about is this:
I call this a Speed Bag, and it holds the following:
- 6 M16 magazines (4 if equipped with 7.62mm magazines
- 1L Camelbak Better Bottle or commercial water bottle
- 1 energy food bar
- 1 IFAK blowout kit
- sling, bag and case carrying, qty 1
The heart of the package is the ModGear water bottle pouch (Cheaper Than Dirt item MOLLE-010). It has a big padded pocket to hold your water bottle and a pouch on the front to hold your energy food bar. The sides and front have a MOLLE-style PALS grid to hold all those other accessories you’ll need.
To each side is attached an ALICE-style magazine pouch. This can clip on to the PALS grid using the ALICE clips, or you can buy the PALS adapter doohickeys. They hold 3 M16 magazines each, or if you cut out the little separator ribbons (some pouches don’t have them) you can put in two M14 or similar shaped magazines. Other pouches can be attached as well, custom made for your magazines.
On the front I place the first aid kit. Note that this is not a boo-boo kit for fixing cuts; the one I am building up (and recommending to new militiamen) is the one that’s useful in treating gunshots. The only thing I’d add to it is a pair of Trauma shears, the same kind EMTs carry around in their pants legs for cutting clothing off accident victims.
The bottle pouch has 2 d-rings near the top for attaching straps, which is what I’ve done here. This allows me to grab it quickly and carry it without my hands. The pouch also has PALS straps on the back, so if you wanted you could hang it over your shoulder and attach it to your belt. To the strap I would lash my bayonet, if I had one for my AR (a M7 is in the mail from CTD, it was a Christmas gift to myself).
Once it is all assembled, it does weigh a noticeable bit, but it is significantly less than a full ALICE belt and suspenders or MOLLE vest, and I can keep it with my battle rifle at all times. The total cost for this little project is approximately $30 (probably less if you have some of the ubiquitous ALICE pouches lying around), plus the medical kit (which can run into the $80 range, but can probably be assembled for less if you shop around carefully).
Consider this piece of kit as a useful thing for deploying at a minute’s notice, or for keeping in your car.