Best Defense

Some more thoughts on the soldier’s load and how to reduce it

By Ryan Woods Best Defense office of packing light Speaking of personally acquiring civilian gear to use (I have zero idea how common it is or what kinds of limiting/precluding rules there are, it sounds like it happens a fair bit) I have some tips for saving money: Everyone in the military can get a promotive.com account ...

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By Ryan Woods

Best Defense office of packing light

Speaking of personally acquiring civilian gear to use (I have zero idea how common it is or what kinds of limiting/precluding rules there are, it sounds like it happens a fair bit) I have some tips for saving money:

Everyone in the military can get a promotive.com account with a DoD email account (it is a manufacturer’s proform clearinghouse…generally 40 percent off MSRP, a great deal for some brands and more expensive than common retail on others, caveat emptor). Even if you don’t want it for any kind of tactical gear, there’s some sweet rec gear open to that team as well. (I am not affiliated with them in any way but do have an account.)

Along similar lines, a quick call to other brands (tactical or rec) might well yield access to their actual proform, often at much deeper discounts than 40 percent off. Usually marketing or customer service controls access.

Failing that, it is often possible to get wholesale/proform prices by going directly to a manufacturer with a group buy (generally need 10+ purchasers), eg: if everyone in a unit wants a pack (or one of several packs) from a manufacturer.

BTW, I appreciate all the responses they have been very interesting for me. One thing that still sticks in my craw a bit is the insistence that the weight of stuff is a given and/or necessary. The weight of a thing is not generally a feature, it is rather a byproduct of other engineering requirements or lack of thought. So far, I’ve got bullets and probably some minimum weight on a hand grenade where the actual mass of a thing has a beneficial component, not that both can’t be optimized to be lighter necessarily. Sorry to hammer on this, but I cannot count the number of things where I didn’t think about the weight of a thing until I got something lighter and realized how much better it was both in use and in the carrying.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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