Tactical equipment is designed to withstand some of the harshest conditions. But even the most durable equipment will inevitably be subject to wear if they aren’t properly cared for. So how do you make sure that all your tactical equipment gets the care it needs to keep you performing at your very best when out in the field?
To help, this guide will outline how you can extend the usable lifespan of your tactical gear by keeping a solid maintenance routine for all your equipment – from your boots to your hydration packs.
Understanding Your Tactical Gear
First, let’s start with a working definition of tactical gear. This term effectively encompasses a wide range of tactical and camping/hiking equipment, all of which are accompanied by their own specific care and maintenance needs.
Generally speaking, tactical gear is manufactured using robust materials that have been designed expressly to withstand harsh environments. are made from robust materials designed to withstand harsh environments. But no materials are going to be 100% immune to the harsh conditions you may experience when out in the field.
Because of this, knowing the best applications of these materials and how best to keep them in good condition is vital to ensuring that your tactical gear can be utilised for the duration of their usable lifespan.
Maintaining Tactical Boots and Pants
Let’s start with the foundation of any camper, hunter, or general outdoorsman: your tactical boots and pants. These wearable accessories are integral parts of your gear, as they are often subjected to the most abuse. They can be exposed to a variety of harsh elements, including dirt, mud, rocks, or plant matter. And as you may have imagined, poor maintenance of tactical footwear or legwear can significantly reduce their durability and performance. So extending the lifespan of these assets requires regular cleaning, proper drying, and suitable storage.
On a fundamental level, it’s important to remove any dirt or debris from your tactical footwear and legwear after every wear. This is crucial, as accumulated dirt can degrade the material over time. We recommend using a soft brush or cloth to clean the surface gently. For more stubborn stains, consider using a solution of mild soap and warm water. Scrub lightly until the stain lifts, just to ensure you reduce any risks of prematurely degrading the fabric due to harsh scrubbing.
Once they’ve been cleaned, it’s time to dry your footwear and legwear. It’s imperative that you never dry your boots or pants directly under the sun or near a heat source, as this may result in shrinkage, warping, fading, or other kinds of heat-related damage. Instead, air drying is the recommended method, as this will help preserve the natural shape or structure of your tactical garments.
Similarly, you’ll want to store your footwear and legwear in a cool, dry place, and again, away from direct sunlight. You’ll also want to make sure that your storage location is free from any pests or other factors that could feasibly damage your gear.
Taking Care Of Tactical Tools
Properly maintaining tactical tools like multi-tools, knives, and flashlights is vital to not only ensuring their longevity, but also for maintaining their level of performance and reliability when out in the field. Regularly wiping down and oiling or lubricating your tools after each use can help to prevent the accumulation of dirt and grime. These contaminants can significantly degrade their functionality of your tactical tools over time.
If you’re looking to thoroughly clean your tools, we recommend disassembling your tools (if possible and wherever applicable) and cleaning each individual part or component of those tools individually. Doing so routinely can help remove any debris and identify any potential blockages which could be detrimental to the tool or hinder its performance.
As we briefly mentioned, lubricating moving parts of your tools regularly is another crucial maintenance practice. Regular lubrication can help reduce wear and tear of your tactical tools, a process which will naturally occur over time but may be exacerbated or occur at an accelerated rate without proper care or maintenance. Lubricating your tools routinely can also help prevent the formation of rust or other signs of corrosion.
Last but certainly not least, keeping your knives sharp is not just about ensuring their performance; it’s also about securing your own safety as the knife handler. A dull blade can require more force to cut, which will increase the risk of accidents.
Preserving Tactical Watches
Tactical watches are built to withstand harsh conditions, yet they still require proper care to ensure their durability and functionality. Once again, regular cleaning is crucial here.
Thankfully, you can clean your tactical watches with ease by using a soft cloth to remove any dirt or sweat from the watch. If necessary, use a mild soap for deeper cleaning. Make sure to dry your watch thoroughly afterwards to prevent water damage and protect the inner mechanisms that power your tactical watch.
Keep in mind too that just because a watch is advertised as being ‘waterproof’ or ‘water-resistant’, this water-resistance rating does have its limits. Be sure to read up on the IP rating for your water-resistant watch to make sure that you don’t subject it to any conditions where it could surpass the limits of its waterproofing.
It’s also important to replace your watch battery as soon as it runs low. Delaying battery replacement can lead to leakage, which can cause significant damage to the watch’s internal components.
Hydration Packs and Water Bottles
Hydration is an absolute necessity in any tactical situation, making hydration packs and water bottles vital components of your gear. In fact, according to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, even mild dehydration can impair your cognitive function as well as your physical performance out in the field. So you’ll want to make sure that your hydration pack is ready for use at all times.
Regular cleaning of your hydration pack and water bottle is crucial to avoid the buildup of bacteria and fungi that may be detrimental to your health if ingested. Once again, we recommend using a solution of mild soap and warm water to clean them thoroughly. Be mindful of soap residue, as this could also affect the taste of your water or impede your health if ingested.
Air drying is also recommended when cleaning out tactical water bottles and hydration packs. Storing these assets whilst they’re still moist or are exposed to moisture may result in the formation of mould or mildew, which can again contaminate your water supply and impact your health. This is also the reason why water bottles and hydration packs should always be stored with the cap off – to allow air flow. If you’re worried about dust build-up, simply rinse out your water bottles/hydration packs upon bringing them out of storage.
Proper care and maintenance of your tactical gear can significantly extend its usable lifespan. Maintaining stringent care plans for your tactical gear helps to make sure that you get the most value out of these investments.