Op. Iceback: Gear Prep #1

With the first coordinated training session to take place this weekend between members of the 4 teams that have already confirmed (at least some) attendance to Operation Iceback, I figured it was time to start setting up my gear. On that note, I suspect that many of my upcoming posts to Overhoppers will be on the topic of preparation for this Mil-Sim – I’ll try to add a sprinkle of non-Iceback related posts whenever possible.

This is my work-in-progress rig(s) for Operation Iceback. I’m sure it’ll change as I practice using these bits of gear… but I’ve included commentary on each item after the break below on why I’ve chose to go with the things I’ve chosen so far.


Primary Weapon

I know for a fact that I will be running at least 6+1 primary mags as the first portion of game play is projected to be around 10 hours long (reloading magazines is apparently allowed as friendly base(s), though is not allowed on the field). I’ve been told by teammates to run a magazine compatible gun, so I’m likely going to be running either my Systema PTW or King Arms M4 AEG as those are probably my best-performing guns that are actually magazine compatible with Fireteam Bro and the rest of Team RICE. That being said, I feel that there is something to be said about ammo compatibility rather than magazine compatibility as Fireteam Bro generally runs 0.30g ammo, whereas many Team RICE members run 0.28g’s… this has yet to be settled.

Head Gear

Head gear wise, I’ll be packing in my Protec Alpha helmet (thanks again for gifting this one to me, Loops – I absolutely love it) for direct action missions… but will be removing most of the stuff that’s currently mounted on there as its nearly all just for looks and only causes yet another snag hazard. Attached is the Emerson H-Nape Harness, which is a repro of the Ops-Core H-Nape that works surprisingly well considering its price (very stable chin strap system that keeps my helmet on my head). I’m considering running my Contour ROAM2 on there, though I am well aware that the glint from the camera lens does give away my position from time to time, as well as it adds bulk and weight to my head.

Boonie cap will be part of my patrol kit, though I’m unsure how much of this stuff I will actually need at this point in time.

Mesh face mask will be something I’m going to have to train with, as I’m actually very unaccustomed to wearing one – I feel that protecting my teeth from no MED <420 FPS (on a 0.20g BB) shots is pretty important.

2nd Line Kit

As 10 hours isn’t exactly a short period of time on a not-so-small 560 acre field, I’ve currently opted out of running a plate carrier as this would give me excess bulk and weight that I don’t need to carry if I want to run at full combat effectiveness. A light chest rig will remain my choice for now, though I can see the thin shoulder straps on this TMC 6-mag LE chest rig cutting into my neck if my shirt collar gets rolled over.

My United Star AN/PRC-148 radio will come in handy for this game, as a fully charged battery lasts an excess of 3 x 8 hour sessions of moderate usage (I haven’t taken note of its complete battery life much further than this so far). I’ve got a number of Z-Tactical and Element PTT’s in the TEA style, so I’ll be carrying a working back up PTT in the likely event that mine fails (these things do, that’s why they’re so cheap); that being said, I’ve had really good luck with the Z-Tactical TEA PTT for Kenwood so far, as all of mine are still in working condition over the past 1-3 years. Though I generally do not like headsets, I see it fitting to use something a little less bulky and loud than my normal H-250 repro handset – especially since we may very well be in tight situations inside the buildings, and having the enemy team figure out my position or our team’s situation by overhearing my comms is less than ideal.

As my radio does weight more than smaller UHF/VHF radio systems out there, I’m intending to balance out the weight on my left side of the chest rig with a 1 quart canteen of water. This pouch can also double as a GP/utility pouch to carry mission-essential items if I get sent out on a specific task (e.g. extra magazines, Thunder B’s, Enola Gaye Smoke Grenades). I’ve stuffed Milspec Monkey EMT Shears behind my canteen pouch instead of carrying a pocket knife – I find these very useful for cutting both fabric, as well as just about anything else that scissors would normally cut, and an added bonus is that they are much more secure tucked into my chest rig than the pocket clip on a folding knife.

I do have a distinct lack of other utility pouch space to carry extra water, food & other supplies, though I will most definitely be carrying a pack as my 3rd line to lug these bits around. I have not yet decided which pack to carry or what exactly I will be carrying in there. If there is a need to carry even more stuff, I may add my Flyye Low-Pitched Waist Pack (a “tacticool” fanny pack) and/or switch to a different chest rig or even a plate carrier.

1st Line Kit

Belt will be a riggers belt – I haven’t worn my HSGI Cobra Buckle Riggers Belt in a while, so I figured I might as well try it out again this weekend. Attached will be a Flyye Personal Retention Lanyard as vehicles are apparently going to be a part of Iceback. I have yet to test both of these used in conjunction with each other, though Jester and I will be testing out our own bits of kit that do the same purpose this weekend.

I’ll be carrying my Tokyo Marui 1911 MEU as my secondary as I know it works reliably and shoots straight… and I have more mags than I can carry for this pistol if the rules state unlimited pistol magazines. I’m undecided on a holster, though running a drop-and-offset or drop leg is definitely something I’m considering. My G-Code XST holster on a DLS is what’s pictured, as I’ll be practicing with this one this weekend.

HSGI Rifle TACO Pouch will be slipped onto the riggers belt, and will likely be a hip-height magazine carrier. I like having a primary magazine at this location as I find grabbing mags while prone from my front a little difficult in some situations. The TACO can also double as a utility carrier, it does expand to fit and retain smoke grenades and Thunder B’s if the mission requires it, or it can be left empty and remain collapsible if it is not needed.

Flyye Dump Pouch (CSM style, though the opening is more heavily reinforced to keep the lip open than CSM’s, hence why I usually choose to use my Flyye dumps over my CSMs) is a fairly regular bit of my load outs as I can stash anything in there, from spent magazines to gloves to evidence to water bottles to pretty-much-anything-that-fits-in-this-pouch.

4 responses to “Op. Iceback: Gear Prep #1

  • lupo

    I would recommend rolling with more water. A 1 qrt canteen will probably run dry pretty quick. With a field so big you will want to carry enough so that you don’t want to have to RTB to resupply. Without vehicles you would probably be looking at an hour round trip if your moving fast. In a 10 hour game that means your taking yourself out of the fight for 10% of the op. Temperatures in the area in the middle of august could also pose an issue for hydration. I would recommend running with a 3 ltr hydration system (low profile) and having 1 or 2 stripped down MRE/IMP style rations with some energy bars taking the place of they canteen. They are roughly the same size/weight. 10 hours isn’t a long time but travel is going to eat up a lot of it. Having a bit of food and extra water on your second line will allow you to stay on the front end for longer periods.
    Water and food are the biggest thing in any large field sim. its always better to have it and not need it , then to need it and not have it.
    My kit list for previous 10+ hr sims was the following.
    3ltr camelback with 2 MRE’s in storage with heaters (for overnight)
    Extra AEG battery (just incase)
    Chest rig with the following
    12 low caps
    Radio with extra battery (just incase)
    2 broken down MRE’s (meals only ,with heaters)
    Map of AO
    Pistol and 2 extra mags.
    4 smoke grenades (small tactical)

    • juicy

      Thanks for your feedback, Lupo. Much appreciated.

      I am intending to run 2x 3L bladders in my pack, in addition to the canteen on my person at all times – I figure that it’ll be really hot and with little to no shade coming from the tiny Sub-Alpine trees, I’ll need to be drinking lots.

      As to food, I don’t know much about MRE’s and the like. Could you explain a little more to me about that? I generally carried a box worth of powerbars and granola bars to give me quick calories throughout the longer games I’ve played (up to 9.5 hours in one go thus far).

      Maps and compass are something that I just realized were missing from my kit last night – I’ll be getting on that ASAP.

      My concern with extra water and food supplies carried on my 1st/2nd line kit is that they add bulk and weight that may only be getting in the way if I’m moving inside/through buildings. I guess I’ll be stuffing small smokes and sound grenades in a GP/utility pouch for these situations, and/or carrying food and water for patrols.

  • lupo

    The us MRE is a military ration. They are basically an entire meal with sides and fixins (if you will). They come with the following items.
    Entree – the main course, such as Spaghetti or Beef Stew
    Side dish – rice, corn, fruit, or mashed potatoes, etc.
    Cracker or Bread
    Spread – peanut butter, jelly, or cheese spread
    Dessert – cookies or pound cakes
    Candy – M&Ms, Skittles, or Tootsie Rolls
    Beverages – Gatorade-like drink mixes, cocoa, dairy shakes, coffee, tea
    Hot sauce or seasoning – in some MREs
    Flameless Ration Heater – to heat up the entree
    Accessories – spoon, matches, creamer, sugar, salt, chewing gum, toilet paper, etc.
    What most guys do is break the MRE down before the op. Packing only the Entrée , MRE heater and maybe some of the stuff you want to add to the entrée (like hot sauce!) As a whole kit it is large roughly 8″x10″x4″. However broken down into entrée and heater ,the meal is actually more like 4″x6″x 1/2″ which basically allows you to carry 4 meals with heaters in a canteen pouch and more in a saw or medium util.
    The meals themselves are ok. They lack flavor and the texture is always something strange. They can either be boiled in water or heated with the provided MRE heater. The heater requires maybe an ounce of water to chemically activate. Typically you would open your meal pack box , ready your heater and then tuck it into the box with the meal foil pack to heat it up efficiently. The heaters get really hot! so do be careful , they take around 5 minutes to heat the meal and do expand because of the reaction.
    It is always nice to have an actual hot meal when the temperature starts to drop.
    There are certainly better options for taste , MEC and some other outdoor stores will have better camping meals. But for size and ease of heating the MRE certainly takes up the least space.
    Most of the 10+ events I have attended were with the a chest rig and camelback combo.
    Either an HSGI warlord with a camelback transformer , TT Mav with source or TAS/PPM assaulter chest rig with a TT hydration pouch.
    Pretty standard configuration of 4 triple mag pouches flanked by medium utils.

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