Tactical Gear 101

Image credit: Brianfreer.com.

For those of you who are preparing and want to get into the tactical arena, being tactical is, among many things, being prepared for many things when out there. You have to be prepared with the right boots and outwear, in case the weather gets worse, you have to have with you an emergency kit in case an injury occurs, you have to have a flashlight and…so on.

Tactical gear isn’t just for the military or paramilitary operations and a tactical item may be anything you want to carry and want designed to help you for the worst case scenarios, letting you accomplish your mission or survive.

Keep in mind that tactical gear doesn’t include only the gear you’d use to take down your enemy, but also the items that are reliable for helping you in case of a disaster.

The difference between tactical and everyday carry? That’s entirely to you to decide that means survival for you on regular basics. However, tactical gear is more about more challenging situations and you need to take it slow when putting together your tactical gear.

As being tactical does relate a lot on a good organization, we did put together a list for you to look over when you’re preparing or getting the tactical gear.

  1. The tactical cap

Yes, being protected by sun UV lights is important when out there in the field, especially on a hot summer day.

You’d want your cap to be easy to put on/take off, to be adjustable and made with thick materials that take the intense use. Even though thick, you don’t want your cap not to be breathable, as it’s important not to have a sweaty head on a tactical mission.

Waterproofness is also something nice on a tactical cap. If not, at least a material that dries out fast so you don’t walk around with water dripping between your eyes.

  1. The tactical vest

Even though the tactical vest was created to give protection for law enforcement and military agencies, they’ve become quite common for anyone spending a lot of time in the outdoors.

A tactical vest should be functional and comfortable at the same time, featuring plenty of variously sized pockets and pouches, giving you the chance to organize your small items, weapons, ammunitions and supplies.

When you go shopping for one, you need to give a thought about where and when you’re going to use it the most.

  1. The carrier plate

The carrier plate is a more tactical vest, as it’s bulletproof and developed especially for army workers. It protects you when out in the field and should come with plenty of accessories: ballistic plates, modular lightweight load-carrying equipment (MOLLE) webbing.

The carrier plate also comes with adjustable straps, padded shoulders, a cummerbund and a quick release. It has to be made with heavy duty materials, with durable stitching and high quality Velcro, just like a tactical vest should be also.

  1. The tactical outerwear

Your clothes should match your tactical mission, meaning it has to be helpful and to never cause you any trouble.

If you’re going when the chances for rain are high, you should get waterproof clothes/jacket that protects you from rain, without making it difficult for you to move.

Windproofness is also important for your tactical outerwear so check the fabrics before going shopping.

When you’re putting together your shopping list, keep in mind that it’s not the clothes that counts the most, but how you dress for going out on the field.

For wintertime, put on several layers that you may take out one by one. You don’t want to get all sweaty and you don’t want to be freezing either. Go with wool socks and shirts as it keeps you warm, without wicking moisture.

Stay away from cotton in the summertime as it soaks easily and dries very slowly. Get pants that have plenty of pockets so you may add some more essentials too.

Following some simple tips is going to keep you protected, comfortable and, more important, dry when struggling to survive.

  1. The tactical boots

Your boots have to take the challenging outdoors missions so they have to be made from long lasting materials, able to take the intense use.

You need boots with good grip that give you stability in the muddy or slippery surfaces. Waterproofness is important, but you need to compromise on the breathability as these two don’t go typically go together very well.

You want to be able to put on/take off fast and easy your tactical boots. Last thing you want when out on the field is the get your laces all tangled up.

Comfort is very important so trying your boots, breaking them down before going out on the field is also important. A good pair of tactical boots doesn’t give you hot spots or sore feet. If you’re having a medical condition, foot related, you want to get some that address that matter specifically.

Supporting your arch, minimizing shock for your knees, comfort even after hours of walking, and durability are the things you want from your tactical boots too.

  1. A survival kit

You always need to be prepared for the emergency so this survival kit should include what you think you may use in case things go south.

Here’s what you may include: duct tape, 550 cord, fire starters (matches and a lighter too), salt, sugar (Oral Rehydration Salts), pocket knife, wire, compass, lock pic or bobby pins, pencil and notepad, fishing line and hook, a plant guide and a map of the area.

  1. Tactical First Aid Kit

There are several things that you have to have on you, but it’s up to you how many items you put in this first Aid kit. You may find it all prepared or come up with one on yourself.

Here’s what it may include:

  • Stainless steel tweezers and shears
  • Triangular bandage
  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • Conforming PBT bandage
  • Large gauze pads
  • PVC protective gloves and medical tape
  • Large adhesive wound dressing
  • Medium gauze pads
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Sting relief wipes
  • Poly bags for medicine
  • Medium and large bags for contents

The kit itself should be made of water resistant nylon and waterproof pouches so that it protects the medical supplies

The zipper should take the intense use also and the kit should be MOLLE compatible so that you may attach it to your backpack or belt loop.

  1. The tactical backpack

Whether you go with a backpack for a one-day mission or with a rugged one that is especially made for a several day mission, a tactical backpack has to come with several features in order to support your efforts when out on a mission.

A good tactical backpack is made with long lasting and thick materials so it takes the heavy-duty use. The stitching has to be well and reinforcement in the stress points is fundamental too.

Many tactical backpacks come hydration bladder ready so you may take the water worry away. Drainage holes are also important as you don’t want to walk around with a wet backpack.

You want a tactical backpack that comes with plenty of pockets on the sides so that you may have fast and easy access to your essentials. The organization is fundamental on a tactical backpack so get one that helps you organize your gear efficiently. The secret pocket for the most important items, the Molle compatibility, the loops are also something to consider when buying. You want to be able to attach and detach more gear, if ever in need.

Comfort is also very important so look for backpacks that have the right amount of padding in all the right places. Adjustable shoulder straps, chest straps or waist straps do increase your comfort when on the go.

Breathability is also to be noted when making a choice, especially during summertime. As for waterproofness, if the backpack isn’t waterproof, at least you want it to have a built-in rain cover. Don’t forget about a built-in compartment for your sleeping bag.

For those of you who also take their laptop on out on the field, a backpack with a laptop compartment, that is versatile and well-padded is a feature to look for as well.

The heavy duty materials, the craftsmanship and the functionality count the most when it comes to your tactical backpack so double check all the boxes.

  1. The tactical watch

What type of watch you get depends a lot on where and when you’re going to go and how much you’re found of the new technology.

Either way, you may want a watch that takes the heavy abuse, a few splashes and even takes a fall or two. Apart from a tough build, you’d want your tactical watch to feature a compass, a barometer and a GPS system.

The display isn’t that important, what works for you better is up to you.

Tough, reliable and ready to for the most challenging conditions, a tactical watch should be on your shopping list too.

  1. The tactical flashlight

The right gear can make the difference between surviving or not. A good tactical flashlight is rather small, but tough and able to take a few drops.

The light should be adjustable and getting through the various modes should be easy and fast. A strobe and SOS mode on your flashlight is also very important. You want the light to travel far too.

You may get tactical flashlights that come with rechargeable batteries and some that come with batteries that are very easy to find. Which type you want to go, it’s up to you.

The attaching system of your tactical flashlight is essential as you want to be able to use it, no matter the situation. The flashlight has to have a rugged body, with a good grip, leaving a sturdy feel in your hand, always ready to light up your way.

  1. A tactical pen

You’re not going to make much writing when out in the field, but why not be ready? Even though most tactical pens are very good for writing too, they’re better of breaking a window or glass.

A tactical pen doesn’t take much space and may even get you out of trouble in many situations.

  1. A tactical knife

How well you’re good with the knife is also up to you. If you’ve got the experience, you may know by now which model you’re going to go with.

Whether you go with a boot knife, a neck knife or a foldable knife, it’s completely up to you. What counts the most is that you’re able to use it fast and easy and that you may attach it or keep it close to your body for the emergencies.

What blade you pick, what kind of handle you want doesn’t matter. What matters is that you may use it in a blink of an eye and you know how to get the best out of it too.

  1. An all-weather memo book

Sometimes it’s important to write down notes, directions or anything that is related to your tactical mission. An all-weather, rain or shine notebook where the ink doesn’t run is a go getter for your tactical gear.

  1. A tactical pocket pouch

You may want to put all your smaller essential in one compact container that fits a pocket, a bad or a pack, whereas it’s very easy to hang from a strap too. It has to be made of durable materials, with good stitches and great versatility too.

  1. Some paracord

A steel ball wrapped in double-duty paracord may become a reliable tourniquet for the emergencies or for other various situations when out in the field.

  1. A tactical wallet

You’re not going to go shopping when out on the field, for sure. But a military-grade wallet, made with aircraft aluminum is going to hold your bucks in the safest way.

  1. A tactical bottle opener

This is definitely one optional item to include in your tactical gear. Whether you get inventive if eve in need to crack a cold one, or you know for sure you’re going to do it, this is one item that you may throw in your tactical backpack too.

  1. A tactical radio

A tactical radio has to rely on handheld applications. It may come with a larger base station transceiver, but it needs to be highly portable, easy to use, and versatile and to have a rugged build. You should be able to use it both in the field or at home too.

  1. A fast pack EDC

You may get a webbed over pack with MOLLE straps as your simple day pack that includes only the very essentials for a one-day mission. You may also very well turn this pack into a multi-purpose arsenal ready to go, just the way you need it. Either way, it has to be easy to attach/detach, with a good organization for your essentials. A heavy duty material and a rugged build should also be checked on when selecting one.

  1. A defense pocket pistol

Hopefully, you’re never going to have to use this one, but, it’s better to have it on you for a close-range defense. A pistol made of aluminum/titanium is a reliable piece of tactical gear. You may want to get one that is sized for the boot and build so that it never rusts, with an easy firing mechanism and a construction that ensures a good shot, no matter the situation.

  1. The tactical helmet

Most militaries helmets are made at the moment of Kevlar, as it’s lighter than the metal. A good tactical helmet has an ergonomic design and presents an impressive list of features: nigh vision options, lights, various devices that may be attached to it.

You may also find helmets made of Carbon Fiber or impact resistant plastics. Comfortable, protective, versatile and reliable is what you want your tactical helmet to be.

  1. The Go bag

This type of bag is going to be different from one person to another. Some like it to be big, some go for the smaller ones, and no matter the model though you want it to be long lasting, portable and well organizes.

What you could put in it:

  • Extra ammunition

You should always be prepared so adding a few more bullets in your Go Bag is always a good idea, as it’s also the best place to store the extra ammo.

When your primary goes down, you do want to have on you some extra mags for the secondary.

  • Batteries

You may need batteries for your flashlight, GPS, radio, cell phone or any other electronic gear you may have on you.

Remember that there’s no such thing like having too many batteries on you, anyway.

  • Water

If your backpack isn’t hydration bladder ready, you may want to get a separate water bladder. Staying hydrated it’s an important step when trying to survive also.

  • Water purification tablets

When your water runs out you may want to be sure that the water that you just found out in the woods is safe to drink and these tablets are going to do it for you.

  • A signalling kit

If you’re lost, it’s important to mark your location with some bright and shiny things. This kit may include a bright orange marking, IR panel, pen flare, IR strobe or a VF_17 panel.


Robert Dwayne

Robert Dwayne

To say that I am an outdoors enthusiast is probably an understatement. I am hyper passionate about everything outdoors: hiking, survival, hunting. On this website I am sharing my stories and experiences, and I hope you'll find inspiration to take up your own adventures!