Desert Deployment gear list

Check out this list of Desert Deployment gear list used in a recent desert deployment to Afghanistan.

We try to pack light but also realize that you always need that one piece of trick gear that you left back home – so we threw in a few extra items on our last tour to the big Sand Box.

1. Get a comfortable pair of desert boots. Several of the guys in our unit wear Oakley desert boots,Bates, and several others pairs that are light and comfortable.

Desert Rats prepare for deployment to Afghanistan

2. A good battle sling for your M4 (AR-15).

3. A good clip on LED Light

4. Space All Weather Blanket are always good to have as a backup in case you need to bivvy for the night or your buddy gets cold.

5. Duck tape, 550 cord, Toilet paper,and other basic personal stuff.

6.BlackHawk holster and Uncle Mike’s Holster for wearing around every day (Drop Leg will wear a hole in ACUs over time). I also have one for my IBA so I can have my 9 mm handy when in the gun hatch going through towns.

7. Weapons lube that doesn’t attract grit and sand (Miltech or Remington Rem DriLube aerosol).

8. Two copies of addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, etc.

9. Two pairs of good boot insoles. We prefer the Superfeet insoles.

10. A good tactical flashlight (Surefire LED, even though you will get issued one with M4).

11. You will want a good headlamp with a red lamp lens for tactical purpose. A good one is the Petzl TacTikka 3-LED Headlamp with Red Flip-Up Lens

12. Spare pair of trail running shoes. You occasionally get to work out on base or walk in a secure area and a good pair of trail running shoes are comfortable and gives your feet a break from boots.

13. MP3 player with extra pair of headphones.

14. Enough batteries to last you 30 days.

15. ChapStick.

16. Lotion.

17. 30 SPF or higher sunblock.

18. Bar soap—for some reason it’s almost always in short supply.

19. Small, compact rolls of TP. A lot of places make travel size.

20. Baby wipes—30 days’ worth. Expect that the power and water will either go out, or the water will be contaminated, at least once a month.

21. Take care of your feet with Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder and Body Powder.

22. Desert Tan spray paint to camp our your gear.

23. Drink mix for 16- and 20-ounce bottles of water.

24. Weightlifting supplies.

25. Small photo album with pics from home.

26. Hand sanitizer (small bottles to put in ankle pockets).

27. More books/magazines than you think you will need.

28. DVDs, for you and to loan out for swapping purposes.

29. Tactical gloves—military gloves are sort of clumsy. (I love the $9.95 Whitewater brand gloves from the clothing sales.) Also standard flight Nomex are good.

30. Lens anti-fog agent. Shaving cream works in a pinch, but you have to apply it every other day or so.

31. Good pair of shower shoes/sandals. I recommend the black Adidas—lasted me all year.

32. Small pillow (air inflatable).

33. Cheap digital camera (at least 2.1 mp).

34. Boot knife.

35. Gerber multi-plier tool.

36. Febreze—sometimes the laundry opportunities are few and far between.

37. Armor Fresh.

38. Extra bootlaces.

39. Stainless steel coffee cup with screw-on lid.

40. Soccer shorts/normal T-shirt to sleep in, hang out in your room in.

41. Sweatshirts for wintertime hanging around.

42. A couple of poncho liners for privacy, cover for nasty mattress, etc.

43. A set of twin sheets with pillowcase.

44. Good regular-size pillow.

45. One or two good civilian bath towels.

46. Buy a good set (more than $200) of winter desert boots. All they will give you is a regular summer set and a set of Gore-Tex-lined for waterproof needs. Desert is a cold place at these altitudes in the wintertime.

47. Bring a laptop. Also may want a PSP or some other handheld gaming device.

48. Get an external USB hard drive (greater than 60 GB). You will need this to back up data to and to store movies and MP3s that you will fall in on from previous teams.

49. Get a Skype account and download the software from This is how I talk to home 95 percent of the time. If you call computer-to-computer, it is totally free. You can also Skype out from your computer to a regular phone for 2.1 cents a minute. There is nothing cheaper than that.

50. Decent headset with mic for computer (Skype).

51. Webcam for video calls back home.

52. Bring a minimum of 18 each M4 magazines per person. Nine that are loaded and nine that rest. Plan to do M4 mag changeover once per month.

53. Bring eight each 9-mm mags, for same reason above. Change these over every two weeks.

54. Order a LULA Magazine Loader & Unloader. It will be the best $14 piece of plastic you ever bought. I have 12 mags loaded at all times, and when I do change over, it will do it in a fraction of the time and save your hands and save the ammo.

55. Try to get your state to get, or purchase yourself, one 12V DC to 110V AC inverter per man for your trucks. They are crucial on mission for charging personal items, cell phone, ICOMs, and especially ANA radios (they only have rechargeable batteries).

56. Dump the IBA tactical vest you get issued. Get a Tactical Tailor MAV chest rig. (Does not matter if you get one-piece or twopiece, as you want to keep the front open for lying in the prone. You don’t want mags pushing into your chest making it hard to breathe.) I wish I had bought mine at the start. It makes a huge difference on the back and shoulders when carrying a loaded rig.


58. Bring some good snivel gear for the wintertime. Extra polypro winter hat, gloves, neck gators, etc.

59. Lock de-icer for the wintertime.

60. Disposable hand and feet warmers.

61. Canned air, lots of it for electronics, weapons, etc.

62. Lens wipes for optics.

63. Screen wipes for computers.

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