When I use the term turnout gear what does that mean to you? If you’re a fire fighter this brings to mind the boots, pants and coat you don before you battle a fire. If you’re at your retreat, or even your home, this is the gear you quickly throw on to address an unexpected problem. In this post I hope to cover some gear I have decided would be beneficial to have under these circumstances and what I have acquired to use in this situation.
The best example I can use to reference this problem to everyone is well illustrated in JWR’s novel “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” (which I can assume everyone has read since you are on this blog.) During the night a group of raiders/ thieves come to the Groups retreat with the intention of taking things they have no right to have. In the book the alert person on LP/OP recognizes and identifies the threat alerts the others, who are sleeping, and they repel the bad guys by force and let God sort the rest of it out.
Now this situation has got me thinking, if I was at my retreat and some bad hombres came a knocking how would I answer the door? While I’m perfectly comfortable fighting in my Scooby-Doo boxer shorts why not get into the fight a little better prepared?
What I have done is acquire a set of coveralls (mechanic’s coveralls work great, or if you want to call yourself Maverick you can find surplus flight suits for sale) a few sizes larger than my body type to throw on in a hurry. I made sure they were roomy enough to get on quickly, but not so big that I looked like a kid in Dad’s coat. Coveralls come in snap-up and zipper design, for quicker access I recommend the zip up style. Most of these coveralls are made in twill or cotton and are very reasonable, but if you feel the need to get some flame retardant coveralls the above mentioned flight suit or even some tactical coveralls are out there to cover that need.
Next I acquired a pair of zip-up boots that also go on in a hurry. I was lucky enough to find a pair of boots, Bates Durashocks, that come in a straight lace up style and the same but with a zipper on the side for quick slip on. I like these boots because they are sturdy, comfortable and resole-able. These are the boots I currently wear for everyday use so the nice thing about having the zip-up boots is that they are the same style that my feet are used to. This makes it feel like I’m wearing my everyday boots, which has fooled my feet into thinking they are always in the same boots all the time. Now if you are wondering why I am taking the time for boots I offer these two thoughts: one, are you ever going to the shooting range in your bare feet? Why not? Because you don’t want to walk over hot brass anymore than I do. If this is a TEOTWAWKI situation a bad burn or cut on your foot could become infected and lead to medical issues that are not as easily resolved in a grid down scenario. Plus this puts you on “light duty” for a while and we are trying to minimize that as much as possible. Second, while I support staying put in an assigned defensive position while under siege I have also asked the question, what if those banditos just grabbed someone in your group and are trying to kidnap them? While I have no reservations about chasing those bad men/women while wearing the aforementioned Scooby-Doo boxers and my bare feet I would prefer to go at it with proper foot wear. I think this also answers the question of slipping on un-laced boots or a slipper. Another situation to consider is if your location is no longer viable and you need to evacuate. If your location is on fire or the situation has degraded to a point where leaving, i.e. making a hasty but “tactical” retreat then having essentials (and clothes) on you makes it easier until you can make it to one of your caches.
The third piece of equipment I have in my turnout gear is a tactical vest. They have tactical vests that zip up in the front and that have numerous other pouches that I can fill with whatever I deem essential, magazines, knives and even a pistol. These vests come in different styles and prefigured configurations, whatever suits you individually, for the dollar conscious person.
If you are just looking for a vest to serve this purpose they make some for every price range from high dollar, but high quality, Blackhawk, to less expensive brands. The point is having spare ammo on you, as well as placing magazines at shooting locations, gives you the ability to have some in the event you need to move or you even run out of your supply of stationed magazines.
I have a tactical vest that also has belt anchor points around the bottom of it which allows me attach a nylon pistol belt directly to the vest. I use this to hold my pistol holster, because I always carry a pistol on my strong side hip, and I like carrying my sidearm in the same manner in which I have trained all these years. Also by adding a quick connecting belt to this rig you add additional attachment points for other pieces of gear. If you are looking to add body armor to your tactical vest I must warn you that I have seen several different styles of tactical vest carriers and the majority of them utilize a cummerbund support belt beneath that, while adds a level of comfort and stability, adds additional time to getting yourself into a state of hurried preparedness. If I have plenty of time to get ready I would put on one of these on, but the point of this article is placing yourself in a state of readiness as quickly as possible.
The last piece of the solution that I highly recommend is practice. Lay out your gear so that you can quickly grab it and put it on. Lie in bed and practice jumping up and getting your gear on (if you can get away with it without getting banished to the couch by the wife set an alarm and run this drill in the middle of your sleep cycle.) Think about how you sleep and how you get up, place your gear in a place that makes the most sense (and won’t trip you or the wife if you have to make a midnight bathroom trip) for you to get at in a hurry. While you can never 100 percent prepare for the real deal building up muscle memory ahead of time will reduce fumbling during crunch time. With several practice sessions you can be dressed and at the ready with a weapon in hand in seconds.
Now some of you might say that you would just sleep in your BDUs and be ready to jump up to the fight, but I question if any of us will be sleeping in full pants and shirt in the middle of the summer, especially after months of monotony and long hard days of work during the day. Even soldiers will tell you that while on patrol in “hostile” areas they sleep in full gear in case a firefight breaks out, but even in areas declared a combat zone they don’t sleep in their combat gear while they are safely behind the wire.
Another use for this turnout gear is for when the SHTF. Not all of the TEOTWAWKI situations that we might find ourselves in are slow starting, like an economic collapse. Some situations we might find ourselves in are quickly transpiring (a natural or celestial disaster, or the impending zombie invasion) and throwing gear on quickly could make bugging out faster. Even going so far as to keep a pair of boots, which has been mentioned before by others on this blog, in a bag and a pair of coveralls in your trunk could be useful. I would like to think that while I quietly prepare for any conceivable future I also don’t deny myself admiring and living in the splendor of God’s world. For example if you take the family to the beach and suddenly the situation changes in some cataclysmic way being able to change from my flip fops and swimming trunks into boots and coveralls makes things a whole lot better in my mind. So I have placed an extra pair of boots, coveralls, and under garments in a small gym bag next to my B.O.B. in my trunk, because I would rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it.
I hope this article is useful to some of you out there since I have been able to get so much useful information from SurvivalBlog that I hope this gives at least a little piece back.