14 December 2006

Ranger School Tips: The Packing List

The packing list is key -- fine-tuning it to the climate, field testing your equipment (immersion, shock, tie-downs), knowing when the shakedowns are, getting rid of what doesn't work, knowing what you can get by with. I won't go item-by-item, but here are some stand-outs:

  1. BDUs only. ACUs get filthy and do not ventilate as well; zipper front/mandarin neck. With the BDU, you can unbotton a couple front buttons to cool off and not raise attention. Get cateyes and nametapes sewn to patrol caps and trouser bottoms (above right hip pocket) before you go.
  2. Boots: Wellco 790 TRPs will seperate at the toe; they are working on fixing this. Bellevilles and anything with the 'Tuff-Kushion' type sole are best for movements; light and well-cushioned. You need one set of well-worn Panama jungles to fall back on. 'Leathers' are open to interpretation; something with leather in the upper will fly.
  3. Waterproof wallet: Ranger Joe's. Bring max amount of cash, a waterproofed card w/ your family #'s, bank #'s. Waterproof any pictures of loved ones.
  4. Buy an engraver (Dremel makes one) and emgrave everything that's metal/plastic. Even working pens will become greed items. Your knives/lighters will disappear unless marked. Borrow a label maker and make a slew of "LASTNAME/****" labels to stick to everything that you can't engrave. Use a Rub-A-Dub marker to mark everything else.
  5. Buy everything you can at Commando's Military Supply - better prices, better service, free soda. Ranger Joes for the 'status card;' their's is made by 'Sua Sponte,' the one sold at Commando's is poorly designed.
  6. Buy used BDUs at the surplus place next to Commando's. Get ones w/ old NCO rank impressions. Get them tailored if they don't fit right; AAFES can take the seat in. You're going to get chafed, bad.
  7. "Letter-writing material" is an overly broad category; exploit it. Bring scissors (full-size), a hold punch, split rings (for your Ranger Handbook). Bring 5x8 index cards cut down to 5x4; they fit perfectly in the Ranger Handbook. Bring pre-stamped (index) cards; write your family while you're waiting in lines. You won't have any 'quiet' or 'alone' time. Bring the smallest 'Rite In The Rain' book available, to write down important information/addresses. Use a larger book or 5x8 index cards in a clip for mission planning.
  8. Extra brand gum. The flavor lasts for hours. Watermelon tastes most like acyial food, followed closely by sour apple. You will be able to trade for whatever gum you like. Extra is not available at the shoppettes in phase, so have your folks send it to you.
  9. Vivarin. Caffeine supplements are, of course, strictly forbidden. So is tobacco, but it's there, and in quantity. Do NOT take anything harder than caffeine; ephedrine is UNSAFE.
  10. Shakedowns: don't hide anything in your socks; you're going to do a 'foot check' at the start of Mountains and Florida. Anything around your beltline is safe. Hiding places in your gear can include the inside of TOE M-16 magazines, and inside hollowed-out packs of baby wipes. Use your imagination. If you know Benning, you can cache items. If you're caught, you're done. Do NOT hide anything inside your Camelbak.
  11. Innova LED light, NOT Photon. Photon will get wet & rust out. It's held together by tiny screws. Innova (much cheaper) will open w/ a thumbnail.
  12. Treat your BDUs with Permethrin. It's available from surplus stores in a .5% concentration. Sawyer's makes a 'single-application' kit for $7. This is an unecessary expense, because it's also available from True Value in a 38% concentration; 'Hi-Yield 38.' Wicked stuff; mix a capful with a trash can full of hot water and soak all your BDU's/patrol caps. Allow to airdry. The ants will avoid you.
  13. Uni Power-Tank pens -- same as the Fisher Space Pens, at a fraction of the cost. Pressure-fed ink, so will write on Rite-In-The-Rain paper w/ no problems.
  14. Sewing Kit is also a broad category. Buy 50 lb. test fishing line and big needles (w/ thimble) at Wal-Mart; you'll be able to punch through rucksack flap and LBE strap without a problem, and you won't have to re-sew your gear every phase. Time = sleep.
  15. Save the hot beverage bags that come in the new MREs; they're very heavy-duty and perfect for socks / ICOM radios.
  16. Cut a 2 1/4" mountain bike inner tube into 1/4" circles; these are the same as the 'Ranger Bands' at the PX. Bring a baggy of them, use them on anything you don't want to come apart in your gear; viz the travel sport 60+ sunscreen being secured with these. Also good for keeping razor and blades together, keeping pens together, soundproofing webgear, etc..
  17. The terrain model kit is another item you have some flexibility on. Pictured is Jeff Arleque's terrain model kit, which corresponds more or less to the goofy symbology used at Pre-Ranger and Ranger (Benning & Mountain phases). It helps to use the same colors/shapes used in the classes during your orders. Make your kit look like this, & laminate all pieces.


MTBradley said...

Recently discovered permethrin as I was reading up on malaria prevention prior to a trip to West Africa. I would love to make greater use of the stuff now that I am back in the States in deer tick country. Your’s is the only recommendation for the use of the 38% solution which I have seen. Four years on from this post, would you still recommend its use?



Author said...

the concentration (one capful in a garbage can full of water) is the same as the 'single use' applications, at a fraction of the cost. yhe math wasn't hard. no regrets; no increase in concentration used, and no ill effects in 2010 if that's what you're asking. have a great trip to SA!

James Creedon said...

This page was a great resource for me when I was getting ready for Ranger. With all the questions I've gotten since then about the packing list, PT, etc., I started a new site: www.passranger.com.

Hopefully it'll be a helpful add-on for your readers.