Best Navy SEAL Equipment and Gear

By Navy SEAL Veteran Brad McLeod

The Best Navy SEAL Equipment and Gear: 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.

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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.

But keep in mind…

On any mission, you will see about every other guy wearing different gear so often no two are alike.

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hat, navy seal head gear, navy seal gear, navy seal headwear

You will see a wide assortment of headgear worn by Navy SEALs.

From a boonie hat to tactical baseball caps a Shemagh or black balaclavas —it’s all mission dependent.

If you’re out in the ocean you may wear a dive hoodie to keep the cold water off your head.


…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.

Let me tell you…

Headgear is all mission-dependent, but it’s always kind of fun to see what guys can come up with.


Again, this is mission-dependent as a water op will be different from a desert op.

For close-quarter combats, you will see SEALs wearing a vest similar to the Law Enforcement SWAT Vest.

For jungle ops…

…it’s 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 use plate carriers to add extra weight for workouts.

QUESTION: Why do Team Guys carry carabiners on their tactical vests?

ANSWER: You can always use a carabiner for a wide variety of purposes, from carrying gear to getting hauled out by a chopper.

Carabiners are light, don’t take up much space, and are 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 you wouldn’t be worrying about them that much if they get lost or broken.

On the other hand…

You will most probably see more Navy SEALs carry 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.

Now, remember this:

A digital watch can be a liability as it can make a beeping sound with an alarm, so you have to turn off all alarms before a mission.

SEALs usually 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.

In case you’re wondering…

I personally used a Casio g-shock watch back in the day and it was a cheap go-to for other Frogmen. If it got damaged or lost it was no big deal as it only cost $25 (US).


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.

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 a direct action mission. Then there are the night vision goggles, too.


Back in the old days, our SEAL team was 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.


SERE stands for “Survival, Evasions, Resistance, Escape” and it’s crucial that you’re ready.

The SERE II E+E kit is a must-have gear for any Special Forces operator in the field.

For your information…

…the E + E kit should have at least a 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.


No good Special Forces guy travels far without a good 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 military-issued knives that the team guys have used?

ANSWER: Hah. 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 over the years.


All of the guys will usually carry an M4 tricked out with an ACOG, Aimpoint or EOTech and light.

The chatter is that…

…Bin-Laden was dusted with an EOTech (for all you EOTech haters out there).

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.


You must have a good tactical backpack or all of your gear will be tough to haul and end up weighing you down.

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 tactical backpack fits the bill to get the job done.


Without good boots, you’re worthless in the field.

If your boots don’t fit properly and your feet become blistered and slow you down, you will become a liability to the team.

Having the proper footwear is critical to mission success.

If your feet are messed up…

…then you can’t move out and complete the mission.

You will also want to make sure that you are matching the type of boot to the mission.

If you are boarding a ship you will want to make sure you have a tread that will not slip on an oily metal ship decking.

On the other hand…

…if you are carrying a load and traveling through desert and cactus, you will need a high boot to protect your feet and give you ankle stability.

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 issues 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 lightweight shoes instead of heavier boots.


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.

Let me tell you…

…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 operators will spray black paint over the words to help them blend in.

Runner Up #2 SWIM FINS

As an Operator, you’re going to want the most badass fins made that have a really wide blade to propel you underwater.

In case you didn’t know…

…SEALs get issued a wide variety of swim fins, but if they have to pick one out of the supply rack, most always go for the IST Military Rocket fins just about every time.

You can’t go wrong with these fins.

Team guys also carry extra paracord in case the strap breaks.


We used the issued lights for some missions, yes. But it’s 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 lens flashlight like the ones Navy SEALs use?

ANSWER: You can get a similar one that Frogmen use here.


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 are using?

ANSWER: The photo shows an 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 the weapon.

Weapons can also cost a 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.


bradBrad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness. After passing Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp at BUD/S, he failed a math test and was kicked out of training.

A year later, he returned, graduated, and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams.

Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you take hold of your dreams and realize your goals and finish the drill.


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