No, not guns, knives or slingshots. Your second skin.
If you have gained a few years and are well beyond that young, dumb and immortal era…and now just dumb, here are a few items to consider protecting your hide.
GOGGLES: There are some great deals on Mil surplus goggles as well as civilian sport goggles out there. If the lead, concrete and wood chips are flying you are going to want to protect your eyes. In a fire-fight or running a chain saw your vision is your most important asset in a grid down situation. Look for vented double walled lens to prevent fogging.
GLOVES: The slightest cut or burn can quickly escalate into a serious condition in a third world environment. Heavy canvas work gloves for all of those chores you are not used to doing. Surgical or nitrile gloves for your medical or waste management duties. Lastly good fitting lightweight leather or Nomex for weapons handling, those bang sticks get blistering hot quickly with use. The older two part Mil. Surplus gloves consist of a leather outer/ wool inner has a wrist cinch. These got me though some bitter Pennsylvania winters pumping gas.
ELBO/KNEE PADS; Even if you are use to slamming yourself around, that ground can be hard and rocky to the best of us. Save your self some serious lacerations or worse, a blown knee or elbow. These are available surplus or from LE and sports sites. Look for good flexibility.
BOOTS: Got to protect those feet, especially if you are planning on hoofing it to a distant bug out location. Don’t scrimp here. get the best that you can possibly afford. Those lightweight tennies may let you fly but they wont hold up in the long run. I highly recommend Danner boots. I have had mine for a lifetime. Don’t forget a nice supply of good wool socks and foot powder to go with them.
HATS: If you are not use to spending a lot of time out doors, you are going to want a good full brimmed bush hat. It will keep the sun off of your face, ears and neck and the rain out of your eyes. A hat with brim loops will let you add foliage for camouflage. These hats are also available with a mosquito head net if you have that problem in your area. A good hat and a poly head-over will also help contain your body heat in colder climes.
RUGGED CLOTHING: Surplus military gear also shines here. Some areas you may have to operate in will turn your civilian clothes to ribbons. Military combat blouses and trousers are available in a wide variety of camo patterns. These usually come with reinforced elbows and knees, secure fasteners and a multitude of cargo pockets. LEVIS come highly recommended although the newer ones are not as robust as the originals. Navy SEALS regularly wore these with their other combat gear in Vietnam, they fit better than the baggy ill fitting issue trousers.
Military field jackets come with a collar contained zip out hood and can accept a good quilted liner that ups its cold weather capabilities. These are made for harsh conditions. The B2 bomber jacket that comes in a variety of colors is also a good cold weather jacket.
Thoughtful shopping of these items will save you a lot of wear and tear on that blood bag of yours and also save you from using up those precious medical supplies while keeping you more effective at solving the many problems on the horizon.
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I concur, D.! I wear BDU trousers most of the year because of their durability and multiple pockets to hold my EDC. My Herman Survivor boots have been keeping my feet warm since 1985. However, they are all leather and do not breathe. This past winter I broke down and bought a new pair of Rocky 1000 gram Thinsulate boots. Although the military leather glove shells no longer prevent my fingers from going numb, I still use the wool inserts under an extra large Gortex glove. Since I am one of these guys that wears a baseball type cap every single day, I ordered fleece flaps that cover my ears. With the modified hat and a hooded sweatshirt, my head is protected in the most severe winter weather. Finally, the whole family invested in goggles to meet a requirement at our gun club. Great advice on protective clothing!
I often wore my desert goggles when working outside in the Panhandle of Texas in the spring where 40-50mph winds were just ‘brisk.’ I had an old kit of helicopter ‘glass’ polishing compounds lying around and used it often to touch up sand abrasion on the goggles. The wife had mercy and ordered two sets (tinted and not) of a high end prescription/ballistic goggle by Liberty Sport which ended up in my bob because they’re too good for everyday use. She doesn’t understand but it makes me feel good to have two sets of great eyeware just setting back ready for use.
We use Blackhawk tactical gloves along with their knee and elbow pads. I loathe the look but my bob has a Tilley hat squashed down somewhere in it. Like the old song goes, that way you have rain running down the back of you neck, (rather than in your eyes) – and the top of the ears don’t burn fire engine red.
Levis and Carhart have long been part of the rancher uniform of the day. I’m leery of anything made of cotton in the coldest part of the year so we shift to wool and modern fabrics. But of course we have both long and shotgun leather chaps that have been worn to a slick sheen from decades of hard work. Chaps are probably a largely unappreciated addition to the wardrobe for a lot of this readership but if you really work in your jeans, then a pair of chaps will triple their lifespan while protecting your legs from snakes, barbed wire, spanish grass and biting insects (as long as they don’t get inside. My wife laughed at me one time when my butt was badly bitten (chaps don’t cover the butt) by insects. Chap covered legs were fine – but those jeans over my rear end didn’t. Full length chaps will keep you quite toasty in the winter as well.
Gloves, can’t have enough. Every neophyte who has had an animal yank a rope though bare hands becomes a leather glove junkie. We have gloves everywhere. Each vehicle always has at two or three pairs of gloves and at least one unused pair right along with the fencing pliers. My pet peeve is wearing gloves after someone has been careless handling alfalfa. I cannot abode alfalfa in my gloves.