This isn’t about the god awful shit that I either returned or chucked in the bin, this is about those little bits and pieces that are not the easiest to talk about and don’t exactly warrant a full review. There’s always those little items that you think “huh, that’s neat” but you can’t find much ti talk about, this article (and future additions to this series) are about those little bits of gear that can absolutely make a difference.
Ferro Concepts PTT Retainer
Jesus, even I couldn’t write more than a sentence or two about this! It’s small, hides under your MOLLE and retains your U94 type PTT or other small items. You could probably achieve much the same thing with an elastic band or a zip tie, but it’s also something I’ve used for many years and it’s done the job so well that I barely remember it’s there. Exactly what you want from a little gizmo like this. Available from most good gear suppliers, don’t overthink the colour, just buy it.
TacBelts UK Team Armband
I actually play more games at Spartan Airsoft than anywhere else, but one of the things I’ve never liked about filthy casual skirmish sites (filthy casual skirmishers aside) is the inevitable rush to either grab the right colour armband or be forced into repping some shonky Airsoft brand by using one of their armbands and possibly the worse option, having multiple arm hairs or loop field ripped out by using gaudy coloured duct tape.
These custom elastic bands from TacBelts UK are adjustable, easy to apply (even without help) and have a handy hook patch on the rear face to stick to your raid modded/Crye type pocket. Available in a range of colours to suit your local field and with your name (around 3/4 letters long) or logo of choice.
SISU 2.4 Gum Shield
Loosing teeth isn’t fun, some appear to wear it as a badge of honour but honestly… You can be mistaken for a crackhead with half a tooth missing, anything more than 2 gone and all I can hear is Duelling Banjos or the theme tune for Tiger King. SISU was a recommendation from a good mate, and it’s the brand I’ve used since. It’s saved my face more than once and after a while you get used enough to it that talking isn’t really that hard. Simply heat in hot water, form around your teeth and wait till it hardens before removing.
5.11 TDU Belt
Over a decade old and still going strong, with out a doubt it’s my most used and indeed hardest working item of gear. The inner brand snob in me wants to buy a Spiritus Senko, the realist in me knows that it won’t do anything this cheapo one doesn’t do.
Made exclusively from plastic, you can smile and wave through airport security whilst others are forced into figuring out how to remove a Austrialpin Cobra buckle from a 1.5” belt loop without “dropping trou”.
Maxpedition Pocket Organisers
Again, another item I’ve used for over a decade. From my Airsoft “field” toolkit to my camera accessory bag, I use several of these bags to carry small and easy to lose items. Maxpedition makes these in many sizes and colours, but even the largest is small enough to fit in a cargo pants pocket.
Nalgene 1ltr Widemouth Water Bottle
I’ve had one for a couple of years now and it’s a real step up from most of the shit water bottles around. I’ve tried my best to kill it but without any success, they’re seemingly indestructible. Perfect for the great outdoors, the widemouth allows easy addition of electrolytes or angel delight and also allows you to use the bottle as a waterproof storage box if you’re needing to keep stuff dry. Bonus cool guy points for getting one of the Spiritus Systems branded bottles.
Wayfarer Boil In The Bag Meals
There are but a handful of universal truths, my personal favourite being that Death, rubbish and taxes are guaranteed, as is the dodgy aftertaste of long life rations. Wayfarer make meals that give civilians the same flexibility to move and eat as the military’s operational ration packs, but without the same inhumane ability to clog up your arse for three days and then unleash a turd which has all the appearance of three coke cans stacked on end.
The puddings are an overpriced waste of money in my opinion, but the All Day Breakfast and the Chicken Tikka are arguably the best start and end to a day outdoors fun, other than Anna Kournikova sitting on your face.
Tokyo Marui Speedloader
The best of the bunch, they work universally with almost every replica on the market, they don’t tend to jam (except with Nuprol ammo cough cough) and are probably the only ones where the feed lips don’t evaporate into dust after half a dozen uses. I’ve got several (an M4 mag shaped one and multiple pistol mag shaped), not because I break them, but because I’m an idiot and always misplace them.
Blue Force Gear Dapper Inserts
Generic little bands of elastic that are stitched to a hook backer, gear for loading shit in place inside your loop lined pouch or bag. BFG make multiple types of Dapper, some for mags and there’s for pens. Choose what meets your needs. Probably a cheaper alternative elsewhere, but these are guaranteed to work.
Posca Paint Pen
Want that cool little armoury number on the side of your stock? Say no more, Famalam. Posca sky blue is the one you’re after, it doesn’t dry out or change colour like a fucking mood ring either… So that’s reason enough to buy it over the Sharpie Paint Pen.
So there we have it, a short selection of things I love, but really couldn’t write more than a few words about. The tactical stuff is all available from Tactical Kit, the general outdoors stuff I usually grab from either Cotswold Outdoors and for anything else… eBay.