The Essential Gear and Equipment that All Army Soldiers Receive
When entering into the military, no matter the branch you’ve enrolled in, you receive a great deal of personal and specialized gear and equipment that will help you carry out your missions. While we have dove into some particular items, such as the Extended Cold Weather Systems and the Plate Vests, in this blog, we’re going to be giving a high level run down on all of the items issued in the beginning.
Since each branch varies in terms of items, we decided to first start with a high-level, overview look at what the army will receive.
The Army: Here to Defend Our Nation
Before diving into the equipment and gear, it’s essential to fully understand what it is that the army does and what they are required to. That why when reviewing the necessary equipment, more of the pieces issued out will make sense.
The army was in fact the oldest service and branch of the US Military and came to fruition in 1775. It was originally created as a way to protect and serve the 13 colonies, however like most things, this branch has evolved to be much more.
The core goal of this branch is to serve the American people, defend and protect the nation as a whole, and protect the vital interests that the nation has. It also is required to fulfill the national military responsibilities that comes its way.
To be incredibly clear, the Army’s mission is: “to provide necessary forces and capabilities to the combatant commanders in support of the national security and defense strategies.” And this doesn’t mean that the Army simply sticks to their own missions and requirements. This branch is also used to serve and provide logistics to other services, helping them accomplish their mission as well.
Though the army may be the oldest, it does not mean that their gear and equipment is old or outdated by any means. In fact, the soldiers are, like every other branch, given the best of the best to help them stay safe and carry out their duties. So, let’s dive in to see what it is they receive.
Fighting Load, Personal Gear, Non-Essential and Small Personal Items
Did you know that soldiers can carry up to 68.9 lbs in their fighting load? That’s a great deal of gear and equipment to carry, especially when they are on a mission or are on the battlefield. This is why the Army along with pretty much every other branch of the military, limits the amount of personal memorabilia that every soldier can have on them, so that they can carry the equipment and gear necessary to beat the enemy.
To break down the gear that Army soldiers are given, we’re going to look at each category separately. As mentioned above, there are 4 categories, some of which the equipment may overlap: a fighting load, personal gear, non-essential gear and items, and small personal belongings. Starting off first we have the fighting load.
The Fighting Load
Every wonder what is required and needed from a soldier in order to win in battle and take down the enemy? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to go through now. The fighting load is the load or full equipment roundup that a soldier is expected to carry, that will help him or her in battle. Now, while the missions are crucial and the load is rather heavy, again can reach up to about 68.9 lbs, it is important to note that the load is not too heavy where the soldier is unable to move, fight, and work, as well as that the soldier has been trained to work with this kind of load before.
In the fighting load, you will find:
- Army combat uniform complete with a t-shirt, socks, belt, boots, and a patrol cap.
- The advanced combat helmet
- Field load carrier or also know for short as the FLC
- Knee pads
- 56-unit basic load which include 210 rounds and 7 magazines
- Advanced target aiming light
- AN/PAS-13 (V)1
- AN/PVS-14 (MNVD)
- Soldier plate carrier system (for more information on these, check out our blog here)
- Small arms protective inserts
- 1-quart canteens; comes in a set of 2 in which both are filled with water
- Meals that are ready to eat
- M67 fragmentary grenades
- Bayonet w/scabbard
- First aid kit
It’s a long list, however every item mentioned is crucial during combat and can leave the soldier in a disadvantage if he does not bring it. What may or may not be surprising is that the heaviest items on this list, in order from heaviest to lightest include Small Arms Protective Inserts at 16 lbs, Army Combat Uniform at 7.8 lbs, and the 5.56-unit basic load at 7 lbs.
Personal Gear/Rucking Gear
For those of you who don’t know, rucking is another term for weighted marching, in which the soldier goes through a set of drills and training while carrying their personal, or rucking gear, in a rucksack. This is a huge test for not only physical fitness but also for mental strength as well.
A great deal of this gear includes personal items, such as their belts, rucksack, and socks, however there are also items provided that will help make the long journey and treks more manageable (notice we did not say easier).
For the personal/rucking gear, a soldier will receive:
- Ruck plates: used to add weight and resistance to your ruck as well as helps to save space
- Hydration bladder; helps ensure the solider remains hydrated during the journey
- Boot insoles: important to alleviate foot pain such as Plantar Fasciitis
- Hip belt
- Anti-chafing balm: for long walks and journeys, this is an essential item to keep your body refreshed and chafe free, alleviating any pain that may be caused
- Rain jacket
- Reflective bands
- Compression shirt: helps to protect against chafing and regulate body temperature
- Trekking poles: helps keep the soldiers stable, especially on wet terrain
As you can easily see, there is a great deal of equipment that a soldier must be able to carry and will use throughout their time in service. Though much of the equipment listed can be found in local shops and stores, our online store included, the Army and other military branches are set on maintaining a certain level and standard, which is why they choose to provide their soldiers with the equipment, rather than having them bring it to the base with them.
Fun fact, for those who are interested in up leveling their cardio, rucking has become a popular cardio workout in the fitness industry. Individuals will purchase a rucksack, some essential equipment, and weights to create a new level of fitness for themselves that is mentally and physically grueling, but incredibly rewarding. If you are interested in rucking, be sure to check out our lineup of personal items and gear to help get you set up with the equipment you need.
Personal Memorabilia and Non-Essential Gear
There are two other categories in which the soldiers are able to have gear from. The first being non-essential gear. This breaks down into non-essential items that soldiers can choose to add to their pack should they feel useful. Items from this category include:
- Spoon/knife/fork set
The other category refers to the small items that soldiers are able to bring with them to help remember and stay close and connected to their families. These items can include small pictures or lucky charms, small books and bibles, or any other items that helps them feel connected to home. While the Army won’t allow for a great deal of memorabilia, they understand the importance of allowing the soldiers to have that one, or two, key items that mentally lift their spirits during their time away.
Overall, when joining the Army, it’s safe to say that the branch provides a gear deal of equipment and gear that is essential to not only live and be clothed, but also fight and beat the enemy at hand. It also helps to be allowed to include one or two special pieces from home within that gear kit that although may weigh nothing, can be incredibly monumental in keeping the soldier going each and every day.
As mentioned before, if you are interested in any of this gear or if you’re interested in adding rucking to your workout regime, be sure to take a look at our online store which has a great deal of military grade gear and equipment available.