Category Archives: Gear & Stuff

Equipment reviews and commentary I’ve written through the years based on my experience in the military and law enforcement professions.

SnugPak Sleeping Bag 32 Degree

As the faithful readers of the Blackwater Tactical Weekly know I once spent two weeks in New Orleans on contract to Blackwater. I’m home now and have had a couple of days to contemplate the gear I was issued to use while in N.O.. Certainly, the conditions varied from comfortable to, ah, less-than-comfortable, but the gear I was issued was sufficient to keep me at least able to survive. One of those items was a SnugPak Lite Sleeping Bag. Right on the stuff-sack itself it shows that the bag is rated to 32 degrees for comfortable sleeping, or down to 18 degrees for simple survival.  Continue reading

The Irreplaceable Poncho

When I went into the Army as a Military Policeman in 1982, I was issued half a tent, otherwise called “a shelter half”. When I asked what I was supposed to do with half a tent I was told, “Find a buddy that has a matching half.” Together we made a whole tent. When I went into the Maryland Army National Guard some years later – in a Light Infantry unit – I wasn’t even issued half a tent. I was issued two ponchos, one poncho liner and one sleeping bag. When I asked about shelter I was told to make a “hooch” out of a poncho. Then I was told that the sleeping back was optional in the field. “Fight light; freeze at night.” Oh, joy…  Continue reading