As a former Navy SEAL, I get asked all the time what kinds of equipment, tools and gear I carried in the field and what was my favorite.
Check out this list of some of the basic and exotic equipment that Navy SEALs choose to carry into the field to get their missions done.
On any mission you will see about every other guy wearing different gear so often no two are alike.
#10 HEAD GEAR
You will see a wide assortment of head gear worn by Navy SEALs.
If you’re out in the ocean you may wear a dive hoodie to keep the cold water off your head.
However, if you’re in the jungle you may simply wrap a green T-shirt around your head and dunk it in water to keep cool.
My personal favorite was a green boonie hat to keep the sun off my head.
I would use a bug net under the hat to keep the mosquitoes off me while laying up at a site or talking on the radio.
Head gear is all mission dependent—but kind of fun to see what guys can come up with.
#9 TACTICAL VEST
Again this is mission dependent as a water op will be different from a desert op.
For close quarters combat you will see SEALs wear a vest similar to the Law Enforcement SWAT Vest.
For jungle ops more like a harness that is more open and less hot when wearing it for extended periods.
Some of the CrossFit gyms that have LEO and soldiers have use plate carriers to help weigh them down for workouts.
QUESTION: Why do Team Guys carry carabiners on their tactical vests?
ANSWER: You can always use a carabiner for assorted things from carrying gear to getting hauled out by a chopper. Carabiners are light, don’t take up much space and easy to use in the dark when you’re wet and cold.
If the carabiner is shiny, just dust it with some flat black spray paint to avoid catching unwanted light on it. You can use it to attach gear, build a climbing harness or clip to your web belt if you are in need of extraction. You can always find a good use for a biner even if it is to open up a beer after all of your gear is cleaned.
All Team Guys will wear a watch but if you checked all the guys in the platoon—most of them would be wearing different ones.
Most guys wear a digital watch as they are cheap and not worried about them if they get lost or broken.
You will probably see more SEALs wearing my favorite Casio “G-Shock” digital watch than any other.
Close 2nd is the Timex Ironman Triathlon. Great Value. Not a big deal if it is lost during a mission.
A digital watch can be a liability as they can make a beeping sound with an alarm, so you have to turn off all alarms before a mission.
SEALs will put duct tape over the face of the watch or have a band that has a cover for the watch to make sure there is no glow.
I personally used a Casio g-shock watch back in the day and it was a cheap go to for other Frogmen.
#7 EYE GEAR SUNGLASSES
Pretty much every SEAL out there is gonna wear bad @ss sunglasses at some point in the day unless it is raining sideways.
Hanging out on the boats for a day of diving or at the range for weapons firing – you gotta have good sunglasses.
We’re big fans at SGPT of the Gator Z Sunglasses. They’re also a favorite of Josh Bridges (shown below)—an elite CrossFit athlete and former Navy SEAL.
From there you will see guys wearing goggles during desert missions to keep the sand and grit out of their eyes. Most other times they don’t wear standard eyewear during missions.
#6 HYDRATION BLADDER
Back in the old days SEALs were pretty low tech and just carried GI issued green plastic canteens.
The reality is that they work. But nowadays all of the high-speed guys use hi-tech tactical water bladder reservoir systems.
These carry more water in a more efficient manner – but occasionally they leak and don’t perform.
Either way they are an improvement and help get the job done.
#5 ESCAPE AND EVASION KIT
SERE stands for “Survival, Evasions, Resistance, Escape” and it’s crucial you’re ready. The SERE II E+E kit is a must-have gear for any Special Forces operator in the field.
The E + E kit should have at least signaling mirror, small water filter, extra map, fire starting gear and money in local currency as well as gold and silver coins.
If all else fails this will be your go-to bag when the $#@% hits the fan and you have to run for your life.
#4 KABAR FIGHTING KNIFE
Your standard MK 3 Navy Knife is great for any operation but guys carry a wide arrange of knives.
You can use the MK 3 as a tool to saw through rope and tap on the hull of a submarine if you get stuck outside the door.
QUESTION: What kind of knife was used in Zero Dark Thirty?
ANSWER:It is a TOPS blade.
QUESTION: Do you have a list of all list of all military issued knives that the team guys have used?
ANSWER: Ha; I am not sure on that one. I would have to go back and do some research for that as that could be hundreds of different kinds of gear.
#3 WEAPON AND OPTICS
Recently Team Guys have been carrying the SCAR weapon system also.
Old school guys would just use iron sights and not worry too much about it.
QUESTION: What do you think of the Aimpoint vs ACOG or EOTech?
ANSWER: It is personal preference as some guys use the ACOG and some love the Aimpoint.
#2 TACTICAL BACKPACK
Back in the old days we used A.L.I.C.E. packs and eventually moved up to the Berghaus packs.
Team guys today use a variety of packs and the Kelty Map tactical backpack fits the bill to get the job done.
#1 LIGHTWEIGHT BOOTS
If your feet are messed up then you can’t move out and complete the mission.
It is no secret that the Navy SEALs have used the Bates 8 Inches Durashocks Boot as a workhorse boot for the past decade plus. They are standard issue at BUDS after many years of testing and abuse.
QUESTION: What were the running shoes that the guys in DEVGRU wore on the Bin-Laden raid?
ANSWER: I think you mean the Vasque Juxt Multisport Shoe. They wore these light weight shoes instead of heavier boots.
Runner Up #1 TACTICAL GLOVES
You will see guys wearing a wide range of gloves depending on the mission.
These will of course keep your hands from getting torn up and blistered but also keep them a little warm or less exposed.One great glove is the Hard Backed Glove that provides a bit of padding to the back of the hand. Here’s our review of the Rothco and Mechanix gloves.
Popular gloves for the guys are the Mechanix gloves and Outdoor research gloves. Check out the photo of the Team guy at the top – he doesn’t even have the words “Mechanix” blacked out.
Many guys will spray black paint over the words to help them blend in.
Runner Up #2 SWIM FINS
SEALs get issued a wide variety of swim fins but if they have to pick one out of the supply rack they will go for the Aqua Lung Rocket fins just about every time. You can’t go wrong with these fins.
Team guys will carry extra paracord in case the strap breaks.
QUESTION: Do Frogmen use altimeters? Which altimeters do they use and where can I get one?
Runner Up #3 FLASHLIGHT
We used the issued lights for some missions but always something with a red lens so you could read maps at night without messing up your night vision like white light can. It also can’t be seen from far away. White light would make you too much of a target.
QUESTION: Where could I get a red light like Navy SEALs use?
ANSWER: You can get a similar one that Frogmen use here.
MORE NAVY SEAL GEAR AND TRAINING QUESTIONS
QUESTION: What are the best books to read before going through BUD/S training?
ANSWER: We are a bit biased and suggest: Freak Frogman Workouts by SEAL Grinder PT Founder Brad McLeod Former Navy SEAL.
We also suggest Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs.
QUESTION: What is the rebreather that you see some operators using?
ANSWER: The photo shows a MK25 rebreather unit. The team guys also use a Draeger rebreather that is made in Germany has been used for decades in underwater combat swimmer missions.
QUESTION: How much does it cost to outfit a team guy operator?
ANSWER: It cost about $500k to initially train a candidate to prepare them for a team. Each mission is different but a gear kit can be thousands of dollars from head to toe not counting weapon.
Weapons can also cost thousand more with an M4, top shelf pistol and knife.
QUESTION: Where can I find out more info on the SEALs and becoming one?
ANSWER: You can get info about joining the SEALs here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brad McLeod is married with two kids and an all around average family guy. His SGPT motivational audios have been downloaded in 30 countries around the world.
He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and despite training all the wrong ways – made it to Navy SEAL training in Coronado, California.
He flunked out of Navy SEAL BUD/S training after making it over half way through (6 months of grueling training). After a year in the Fleet Navy on the USS Cleveland (LPD-7) he came back to graduate BUDS and serve on SEAL Team Four.
His story is simple–Don’t Ever Quit on your Dream! Put one foot in front of the other and fall forward.
Proceeds from this website go to help raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation on CrowdRise.