General Gear Modifications and Tips

Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Most of these tips are not my own. They have been collected from multiple sources including the “Ranger Digest” book series by Rick Tscherne.

  1. Get a mountain bike (bicycle) or other rubber
    tube and cut it into slices. Each slice should look like a rubber band. These are known as ranger bands and are useful for hundreds of things. Some of these uses are listed below.
  2. Give yourself a quick access mag by rubber banding one to your stock.
  3. Route headset cables and hydration bladder tubes with ranger bands placed around the shoulder straps on your kit.
  4. Secure loose strap ends with ranger bands, Velcro strips or tape. This prevents them from catching on vegetation and other items while you walk.
  5. Attach two or three mags together to create assault mags. These are not usually carried in pouches, but are instead carried in the weapon and are used to give the soldier a large amount of firepower at the beginning of an engagement.
  6. Add extra pockets to the shoulders of your BDU jacket for better access to gear. Add extra layers of fabric to the elbow and forearm areas to make them last longer. If you don’t want to learn to sew, any tailor can do this for you. This is often called a RAID modification.
  7. Add extra pockets to the lower leg or front of the thigh of your BDU pants to carry more gear. Make a pocket on the inside of the pants in the knee area and insert closed cell foam into it. Just like that, you have a kneepad that can’t fall down. For more control of the kneepad placement, add a strap around the back of the knee to tighten the leg down in that area.
  8. Attach a pouch to the stock of your rifle for quick access to gear. Good items to put here are mags, grenades, 40mm rounds, a gps receiver or other items you need at a moment’s notice.
  9. Theaters and sports arenas use “gels” to tint lights different colors for performances. Use the same to change the color of your flashlight for close to free.
  10. Cover your flashlight lens with a thin plastic or cardboard and cut a small hole in it to lessen the amount of light emitted from your light. This will prevent the light from giving your position away when you use it to read maps. You could also make a cover with a symbol or shape in order to communicate with other units or show others what unit you are in.
  11. EMT shears can be invaluable for general cutting and cut some things much quicker than a knife. Helicopter troops have been known to keep them in their boots in case they need to cut themselves out of their harness after a crash.
  12. E-Tools have sharp blades when they are issued. Be sure to sharpen yours regularly so that it continues to perform at capacity.
  13. Cut part of the fingers off on one or more of the fingers on your gloves. This gives you the dexterity of bare fingers while retaining the protection of gloves. Be sure to wear snug or even tight fitting gloves when using this trick as loose gloves will allow dirt and debris to get inside through the cut off fingers.
  14. Use your poncho as a shelter. It’s not as warm as a tent and you’ll need some sort of ground insulation but it is a lot lighter to carry around than a tent! This works great in mild to moderate weather. Here are some examples.
  15. If you don’t plan on using your poncho as a shelter, leave it at home. Modern rain suits and lightweight tarps pack smaller and work better in heavy rain.
  16. Once you’ve got all your kit ready for your next game put it all on. Jump up and down, dance like an idiot, crawl on the ground and do a somersault. Is everything still attached? Good. Did you notice any extra noises? Did anything flop around? Secure that gear!