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There is a lot of great civilian state-of-the-art outdoor equipment out there. The shelves of REI are filled with it. But much of it really won’t stand up to serious hard use and the test of time. It’s fine for walking on trails and camping in cleared campsites, but you’ll quickly shred it if you put it to sustained punishment like hunting or actually living outdoors.
Military gear usually holds up well, but in the past it’s not really been state-of-the-art. You’ll note we’ve chosen the Army’s venerable LC1 rucksack – the “Alice” – as our logo. It’ll hold up, but it’s not exactly the most comfortable thing to hump your gear in.
Lately there’s been a dramatic improvement in military gear and you can get a lot of great stuff from companies like Eberlestock, Kifaru, Crye Precision, Blackhawk, Snugpak and of course Wiggy’s, to name but a few. But the very best stuff will typically drain your bank account pretty quickly! That level of quality and durability may be called for if you’re serving in Afghanistan, and some folks there can even afford it, but most of us back in the states cannot.
So Tactical Backpacker looks for the ‘sweet spot’ in each category of the equipment we review – the most bang for yer buck so to speak. Sometimes you do have to pay for enough bang, but many times you’re only paying for a name, or for features you’ll never use outside of a combat zone.
Our extensive experience in the military and living outdoors in the Colorado Rockies has shown us what works. The writers at TB review outdoor equipment with an eye to what will survive years of hard use and yet still be affordable. We’ll address other areas as well such as defending your home against intruders and building effective custom medical kits. We have our own beliefs and opinions of course, but we’ll also link you to other experts when that’s more appropriate (see “Sites We Dig” on the menu bar, for example.)
About camouflage; you’ll notice that a lot of what we recommend is camouflaged or is otherwise in some subdued, natural color. Mostly this is just the nature of the category of equipment we are reviewing and recommending. But honestly we avoid the sorts of colors you’ll see on the trail these days – the flame oranges and royal blues – because we aren’t really all that interested in standing out in the woods. Whether we’re Jeep camping, backpacking, hunting, or actually living in the woods like Lone Aspen does on a regular basis, we just think it’s better to blend in.
So that’s the Tactical Backpacker system; the most reliable, most durable, least expensive gear we can find… the most bang for your buck.