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Friday, May 24, 2013

Gearing Up! A trip to the surplus store

Here we are again, time for another article.  This time another in the Gear Up! series of articles, aimed at reviewing and recommending items to help player carry their gear.  This time, we talk about a couple basic items that make up my present loadout.

First up: Pouches!  Pouches are interesting things, coming in many many shapes sizes and uses.  Each has an intended use in their design, and each can be used in other interesting and unintended way.  However I believe the pouches being discussed today are being used in their originally intended method.  Both of them are made by Condor Outdoor.

The first up is the Condor Modular Style Deployment Bag.  I grabbed  this bag because it looked good for odds and ends: tool kit, first aid kit, keys, cell phone.  Things I either didn't want in pants pockets because they could damage the pants, injure me, or be easily broken if landed on or struck in the heat of a game.  It has four pockets, two on the ends, two on the main body.  I haven't even figured out how to fill this thing yet.  Just a few basic screwdrivers, some snack bars, my cell phone and first aid kit inhabit it now, probably charging gear for my stampede.  It has webbing on ALL of the outer pockets for hanging odds and ends off of.  The bag has a carry handle on it that can be folded out of the way and is backed with PALS straps, allowing the user to use it in just about any application.  It's a blank slate that can fill nearly any number of needs from belt mounted to mounted on a PALS rig.

Second is the Condor 3-fold Mag Recovery Pouch.  This one is pretty much without frills.  It's a pouch, that you dump your empty mags into.  Or pretty much anything.  I am using it for its intended purpose, when I swap mags the empty goes into the dump pouch, to be reloaded later, or at least to not leave them on the field.  One that doesn't use a mag fed blaster could easily find the utility in it, carrying loose darts in it, without flattening the darts as pants pockets tend to.  Much like the other pouch it is fully belt and PALS compatible, allowing the user to mount it as they wish and keep it up where the contents will not be flattened in the course of play.  One could even use a pair of them, full mags in one pouch, empties in another, or possibly loose ammo in one and empty mags in another for reloading.  Or you could carry your odds and ends in one of these instead of the deployment bag.

Last, we bring you an oldie but a goodie.  The Natick Labs MOLLE II Fighting Load Carrier.  This little rig for a time was standard issue in the US army, designed to provide PALS load carrying capability while distributing the load over the wearer's body, and keeping the wearer cool.  As a man that has never used any other load carrying system I can't compare it to others, however when I proceed to review other systems the FLC will be the baseline.  I love how easily the vest can be adjusted and fitted to the user, the front is covered with PALS webbing, and is largely constructed from mesh to keep  from retaining the wearer's body heat.  The back is wide open with only adjustable straps back there and a drag handle.  The entire belt is wrapped in PALS webbing, to which I have attached my afore mentioned pouches.  Once adjusted the rig distributes the load of the packs I've added quite nicely, and in the absence of mag carriers for my Stampede's mags, I've hung Magstrike mags from the webbing on the front.  Being left handed the mags hang from the right hand side of the vest, and don't get in the way in the least in spite of the relative bulk of those mags.  I like to think of it like a combat tuxedo vest!


  1. You're not left handed, you just shoot left with long arms. That being said, it'd make adding a righty rigged pistol easy.

  2. indeed it would, however at present i don't carry a sidearm as part of my foamsport rig, making the difference between my rig and a purely lefty rig negligible.

  3. I've been using a MOLLE rig for most of my outdoor Laser Tag stuff. I do Nerf indoors, and I've always found that the simple mobility of a t-shirt and shorts is best for our fast-paced games. Every time I think about getting some sort of indoor setup for carrying extra ammo and blasters, I just think of how it would get in the way. Then again, it's really about what suits your games, regardless of whether you look like a SWAT officer or something.

    For our outdoor Laser Tag games, I use a MOLLE rig that has a hydration pack carrier built in to the back. Most of the pouches get used for storage of my phone, radios, simple repair tools, spare batteries, and an array of flashlights. One of my favorite pieces is the MA36 MOLLE Roll-up Fold Utility Pouch. It folds away nicely and it's there when I need to carry extra stuff. I loan out radios during outdoor games sometimes, so I'll dump all the radios in that pouch and, when we arrive at our starting location, pass 'em out and fold up the pouch.

    BTW, really enjoying the blog. Keep it up!

  4. Thanks 'Zook, I plan on keeping in T-shirt and shorts, what ever helps me stay cool and mobile. We started looking at building rigs because it can be an unmitigated pain in the ass to carry spare mags without some kind of carrier as 18 round stick just don't fit nicely into cargo pant pockets, and we found we needed our off hand free for reloading, and opening doors.

    I picked out my FLC because it was affordable, and designed to contribute minimally to body heat. That last one is important, this is South Texas afterall. As I said in the article due to its open back nature O think of it like a combat tuxedo vest. It does however have the webbed load carrying belt that can move non critical pouches to the sides and back.

    Thanks for the compliment. We do after all think of ourselves as following in your footsteps. While I can't speak for others, I choose not to just re-blog the news. There are other blogs for that, ad nauseum. I choose to blog about how it affects the games.

    I would be curious to see some of your load-outs for games, and how you carry reloads



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