The D-Day Heavy Challenge is in the record books. Before I publish my AAR, this is what I packed.
- Rocky S2V boots. I got these on Sgt. Šileika’s advice, and they were champs.
- Originally I was planning on wearing my GORUCK MACV-1s, figuring “what could be better for an event than a boot made specifically for that event?” But they kept sliding me down hills, sporting less tread than some basketball shoes, and I had to retire them for safety reasons.
- Finnish M05 liner socks. I’ve tried lots of socks, including expensive ones, and these are the winners. They’re also dirt cheap as wool socks go. I brought two extra pair and was very happy that I did so.
- Fox River liner socks. Brought two extra pair of these too.
- My beloved 70+ year-old Swedish LK-35, the “moose head” pack. This gorgeous old thing deserves a future post all its own.
- Jellybro compression tights with built-in knee pads. Recently I’d skinned up both knees, so these were valuable. And I really appreciated the added warmth because the weather turned out much more severe than I’d expected. These were great.
- Slingshot knee sleeve. This helped with stability for a knee I was worried about, but it had its drawbacks. More in the AAR.
- British surplus Underarmor-type base layer.
- Surplus German cotton quarter-zip. I LOVE these things!!!
- Surplus British “combat shirt.” This is lightly padded, and I hoped it would protect my separated shoulder when carrying logs. However, I turned out not to need it and it pretty much stayed in my pack.
- Surplus French nomex jacket that I used for a windbreaker.
- Tailwind. The strategy was to get most of my calories from this. That was working OK, but I needed a denser mixture than the one I used (2 scoops per liter), and I needed more electrolytes too. More on this in the AAR.
- GU. Lean Solid Girl turned me on to this stuff, drawing from her past as a marathoner, in one of several pivotal pieces of advice.
Hat and Gloves:
- Rothco boonie hat. I’ve tried every boonie hat under the sun, and for me Rothco is the clear winner.
- I meant to bring a fleece toque too, but I left it behind.
- Mechanix gloves, of course. I tried replacing them with two kinds of German surplus gloves, but the Mechanix shine because they pull on and off quickly when my hands are wet.
- 6 spare feet of webbing. This routinely proves so valuable for carrying/lashing/repairing stuff that I’d call it one of my most valuable items.
- DD waterproof bags, which are decent but don’t open and close as fast as I’d like. If you have a brand you like, please let me know.
- Hommit hydration bladder. In hundreds of miles I’ve never had one break or even leak. I’m very happy with these and I’m sticking with them.
- Petzl e+LITE head lamp. I don’t like headlamps on GORUCK events, so this little minimalist number is perfect, and despite its delicate looking appearance, it’s proved tougher than my Double Diamond headlamps.