Updated: Dec 14, 2020
A few days ago we were trudging through aussie bushland on patrols and looking for good guys to attack as we tried to take over enemy ground at the Rapid Vantage Milsim event at Withcott gelball field.
Starting at around 3pm on Saturday afternoon we were initially under the impression we were going to be all in and carrying what we needed for 24 hours of milsim game play. Including food, water, sleep gear (if you want to sleep) and our simulation combat gear. But as it turned out, 99% of players were camping out of game in the camp area… that
we didn’t know existed and had not planned for. So just prior to the game starting I stripped a heap of gear from my pack as I wouldn’t be needing it in the field as expected. The negative was, I had also taken my sleeping mat, chair and table out of the car before leaving home as I didn’t expect to need it, but I was completely wrong, it was now much wanted, lessen learnt, don’t remove shit, leave it where it always is.
But alas, prior to leaving home I had reconfigured my plate carrier setup from normal short game use to suit the event as I will be carrying just that and my pack.
My plate carrier will be on me at all times, where as the pack will be set aside at our in game harbour area operating base. As we didn’t know prior if it was to be a 5 minute or a 5 hour hike, we needed to try and pack light as possible because we simply didn’t know the scenario.
My whole load out with water and my food was 21kg plus my Blaster. That’s 11kg on my plate carrier and 9kg pack. Bare in mind my plate carrier had 9kg of weighted plates in it, take that away and its just 12kg.
I carried 1.5kg of water on my plate carrier and 1 litre in my pack but between my self, Iggy and C-4 we took another 3 x 10 litre drums to the harbour area.
In prep I took some of my gear from my HSGI battle belt and used it on the carrier as I don’t have both setup up all the time, some things need to be interchanged from one to the other.
My final setup was to have 4x single AR15 magazine pouches cross the front of the carrier of which only 3 will hold magazines. The 4th mag will be in the Tavor rifle and the 4th/far right side mag pouch was planned to be the pistol holster for the weekend plus my paracord tethered rubber knife housed in between pouches. My chest pocket will hold my dead rag, room for maps, phone and emergency whistle.
My right side cummerbund holds my admin pouch which will be filled with broken down muesli bars in zip lock bags, Mentos and small hand tool kit for hop up tuning. Behind the admin pouch is my pouch holding my 600ml bottle for gel storage.
My left side holds my med kit plus waterproof riteintherain note pad and pen, then my radio pouch and radio with long range aerial.
The back of my plate carrier has my 10x6inch pouch that holds my 1.5 litre camelback and room for extra gels…if we manage to secure more. Above the pouch is my tear away hook and look admin pouch which will house batteries, 2x torches, bug spray and more food stuffs.
When gearing up at the event I actually decided to not bother carrying the pistol for the game. I just didn’t feel the need for it, but once in the game I did think maybe I should have taken the pistol as the rules allowed for opportunities of last ditch efforts to get the enemy as your bleed out from a single hit.
Over all, I think the load out worked really well bar sometimes being a little awkward getting in and out of the pouches to the rear of the side panels which are just out of reach, but I managed by turning the carrier on my body a little.
In the pack I carried my food, cooking stove, gas, mug, coffee, snacks, torches, batteries, more snacks, wet weather gear, more first aid etc etc. I did end up stripping the hoochie, polls, ground sheets and sleeping gear off the pack once we found out at the briefing that we wouldn’t be sleeping in game, as I sure a shell wasn’t going to carry the stuff if not to be used. As stupid as it sounds, the 5.11 Rush 24 has so many pockets I kept not being able to find what I wanted, I ended up going through pocket after pocket and eventually find what I was looking for. I guess that’s the negative of a new setup and not using being rehearsed in the layout.
Ultimately the pack only got carried in, dumped and carried back out again, I didn’t see the bag for hours on end. But I knew where it was when I needed it ….. and it was 200m up the mountain…. Read more of that in the game wrap up article coming soon.
I had never carried the plate carrier and the back pad simultaneously before and I’m pleased to report that it was perfectly comfortable. Once on the pack straps just sat over the plate carrier shoulders and settled its way on. It worked really well. Being a broad guy with big shoulders, getting the pack off up and over the rear pouches wasn’t the easiest with out getting all tangled up, but the Rush 24 straps have quick release buckles so just a click each side and the pack was off, far easier than trying to lift it off over my plate carrier rear pouches.
To wrap it up, again I’m super happy with the 5.11 stuff, I’ve never really been able to fault it for the use I have for it. Most of it being nearly 3 years old now, and used a shit load of times, its all wearing well, essentially no wear or aging to anything bar some mucky marks and signs of use. I would not hesitate to buy the gear again if needed as I cant fault it, whilst 5.11 and all brands make improvements in design and appearance to product lines over time, I don’t feel the gear I have needs improving.