Man wearing a tactical gear vest for preppers in a beautiful outdoor setting.

SHTF Preppers' Guide to Tactical Gear

If you're in search of the ideal tactical gear loadout for outdoor adventures or personal protection, know this: there's no one-size-fits-all. Tactical gear choices are often personal and hinge on unique needs for specific scenarios. Fortunately, gearing up tactically doesn't have to empty your wallet.

Selecting the right combination of gear for your tactical setup is crucial. If you're new to the world of tactical gear and unsure where to start, this guide is tailored just for you.

Being Prepared

If you’ve come across the term “prepper” for the first time, you’re probably wondering, what’s that all about? Simply put, it’s all about your survival. A prepper who invests in tactical gear has a survivalist mindset and chooses to be ready for a SHTF situation.

While prepping is all about living off-grid and has to do with forward-thinking in terms of food and water sources, it also has a lot to do with staying alive, and that’s where investing in tactical gear comes in.

Rather than going through the essentials of a bug-out bag, here we’re going to emphasize the other gear you need to be readied for a survival situation.

Tactical Gear

Whether you expect to be fleeing a hairy situation or hunkering down at your property, having the right tactical gear is going to be essential for you to stay alive. Obviously, we’re talking more than just tactical boots (although, it wouldn’t hurt to invest in some).

Tactical Vest

So, what’s the purpose of a tactical vest? It is a load-bearing vest that also provides storage options for carrying weapons and supplies. The purpose of a tactical vest is to keep the wearer secure and comfortable, with the ability to keep whatever they need within reach while still being hands-free.

Choosing the right tactical vest is a crucial part of putting together your tactical gear mainly because all of the other tactical gear you choose will have to be compatible with the design of the tactical vest. While tactical vests are common among the military and law enforcement, there’s a growing number of civilians who have also adopted its use mainly for the higher level of protection it provides from knives and small arms.

Regardless of what type or size of tactical vest you choose, the one thing that they all have in common is the MOLLE webbing system that enables wearers to attach various pouches and compartments to the vest. Many tactical vests also come with various features and hydration packs that have been built into their design. However, the idea of using a tactical vest is to improve its design by including pouches and various other attachments according to one’s preference.

Setting up Tactical Gear

One common mistake individuals make when putting up their tactical vest is overloading it with pouches and other tactical equipment they won't even need. Having too much stuff on your tactical vest will make it needlessly large and heavy, limiting your mobility. Not to mention that it will make it more difficult to obtain the necessary equipment.

When putting up a tactical vest, keep in mind that less is frequently more and that the space on the MOLLE vest is limited. Carry just the necessities and mission-critical equipment that you are certain you will require, and set the tactical pouches and other attachments accordingly.

What Goes on a Tactical Vest?

A tactical vest is nothing without the pouches and attachments that you add to the vest. Mag pouches are a great addition to any tactical vest, especially if you’re going to be carrying a handgun or a large firearm.

These pouches come in various sizes making it easier for you to find the perfect size that’s able to fit as many magazines you need without it getting in the way. The number of mag pouches you add to the tactical vest is mainly going to depend on the number of firearms you’re carrying and the amount of trouble you expect to be in.

It is recommended to carry three extra mags every time you plan on carrying a firearm just in case, but there are those who aren’t comfortable with anything less than 8 mags at a time. The number of magazine pouches will depend on the number of mags you’re carrying. According to experts, placing the sidearm mags on the belt is more convenient and easy to access. The same rule goes for rifle mags as well.

Also, the mag pouches need to be positioned in a way that makes it easier to access them at a moment’s notice. To make sure that the weight is balanced on the tactical vest it is advised to place the mag pouches in the center of the tactical vest and not to one side. You can also divide the mag pouches on either side to make sure that the weight remains balanced.  

A Medical Kit

First aid supplies are essential tactical supplies to have on hand, and you'll need more than band-aids. A tactical medical kit contains both general first aid and trauma materials such as chest wound closures and tourniquets.

If the worst-case situation occurs, you will most likely be cut off from community services, including medical treatment. As a result, you'll need resources to treat certain serious medical ailments, such as a gunshot or knife wound. In the medical kit that you keep in your go-bag, you can get materials for sewing wounds and treatment for allergic reactions.

Along with a medical kit, the utility pouch is another mission-critical attachment where you can keep anything from your notebook to your pen, compass, or maps of the area. In short, anything that you may need access to, but can’t fit in the mag pouch or medical kit goes in the utility pouch. It is recommended to always keep the utility pouch towards the left of the tactical vest but below the shoulder.

Mind the Shoulders

Another common error that many beginners make when it comes to setting up their tactical gear is not keeping the shoulders free. When setting up your tactical gear it is important to keep in mind that your shoulders need to be kept clear of any tactical equipment or attachments that would impede movement.

Having gear attached in the area of one’s shoulders can seriously hinder one’s movement while making it more difficult to quickly reach crucial equipment. Furthermore, having gear attached at shoulder level will also interfere with one’s aim, making it harder to shoot, which is the last thing you need, especially if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

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