Contents of a Military Backpack

Contents of a Military BackpackSoldiers in the US military carry MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment) backpacks. The MOLLE is designed with attachments which can be removed or added to the pack to take away or expand the load carrying capacities. The content of the backpacks depends on where the soldier is being sent, purpose of mission and length of time spent in the field. Much of the equipment found in soldiers' backpacks is similar to what civilian backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts carry.

Water, MREs and the Ten Essentials

The MOLLE is equipped with hydration sacs. Soldiers carry a minimum of two liters of water within the MOLLE. Soldiers also carry MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). MREs have self-heating packets to warm the food while in the field. In addition, soldiers carry extra power bars or chocolates, or high energy drinks and snacks. Along with the extra food and water, the United States military recognizes the ten essentials and has soldiers carry sun protection, an emergency bivy or space bag, fire starter and fire kit, head-lamp or flashlight and sunglasses.

Communication Gear and First Aid

Modern soldiers are connected. Within the MOLLE, soldiers carry GPS units, two-way radios or satellite phones, cell phones or smart phones and even reinforced, field-worthy laptop computers. First aid kits are small and among the contents are antibiotic creams, bandages, pain relievers, gloves and SAM splints. Troops also carry blister treatment kids, burn ointments and sunscreen.


Clothing, Weapons and Personal Items

Soldiers' feet are well-regulated. Soldiers carry extra socks to keep their feet healthy by warding off fungal infections and other ailments that can result from long hours spent in combat boots. Soldiers carry their issued Ka-Bar survival knife, considered the last line of defense after the side-arm. Soldiers carry up to six magazines of ammunition for their rifles. Many modern soldiers carry MP3 players, replacing the harmonicas associated with earlier wars.


Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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