Going to the field for a week or three? Quality gear is essential — your life depends on it. While good equipment isn’t cheap, an investment in the following gear will improve your outdoor experience while keeping you safe and comfortable.
You need a high-speed bag if you are going to carry high-speed gear. The OAF-96 was built for people who are serious about what they do — hunters, survivalists, military contractors, etc. Designed and field-tested by combat veterans from the U.S. Special Operations community, this American-made bag comes with all the bells and whistles you need to remain offline for an extended period of time.
The bag boasts the following features, which differentiates it from the typical hiking bag: two side pockets for 100 oz. water reservoirs, a laptop compartment, cut-to-fit RF welded antenna ports built to accommodate various sized VHF/UHF/HF/SATCOM antennas, a detachable waistband that is similar to a repel seat and the strongest silent pull zippers on the market. Remember, you can’t afford to have your gear fail.
Bonus: OAF is owned and operated by a group of young veterans.
Think your iPhone is going to get coverage in the middle of the boonies? Think again. Sat phones, which once cost an arm and a leg to operate, are now affordable enough that anyone can (and should) carry one into the field. There really isn’t any excuse to not have a sat phone on an extended trip into the backcountry as this communication tool could a save your life and will allow you to keep your family and friends updated on your whereabouts and condition.
Like any other phone, prices and plans vary. Subscriptions, rentals and prepaid phones are available. Iridium Communications is a great place to start your search as they carry a large selection of sat phones and satellite access points.
ATN PVS7-3 Generation III Night Vision Goggles
You’ll be ready to conquer the dark (up to 225 yards of it) with a pair of ATN PVS7-3 Generation III night-vision goggles, which are identical to the AN/PVS-7 NVGs U.S. troops use in combat. Features include a sacrificial filter for objective lenses, additional mounts and a run time of 10 to 20 hours on two AA batteries. They are also waterproof to 39 inches for 30 minutes.
AquaLink Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
From March 1995 to July 2003, the U.S. Government only authorized PLB use in Alaska. It was a test period to gauge the effectiveness and capabilities of the technology. The program saved about 400 lives and there were very few false calls, proving to the government they were worth allowing in the rest of the U.S. Now, you can get them at just about any retailer that sells outdoor gear. While there are several models and manufacturers to choose from, a model like the AquaLink PLB is a solid choice as it is waterproof. It also floats, making it a great piece of gear for your boat, too.
How does it work? The AquaLink PLB should only be used as a last resort since once it is activated it will fix your position within 100 meters and then relay a distress call, via satellite, to the nearest search and rescue unit. Each owner is assigned a personal ID so that rescuers will know whom they are searching for. Features include: a powerful 406 MHz signal to relay your signal and a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light that will guide rescuers to your location.
Sylvan Sport Go
Anybody who takes a motorcycle or ATV on extended outings should consider the SylvanSport GO. The lightweight pull-behind camper (it’s more of a tent on wheels) can go just about anywhere your ATV can. It is a few steps up from roughing it, but you won’t feel too much like a “glamper” because of the practicality of this camper. The trailer has room for all of your extras, such as fuel, and will allow you to bring back any bounty you may harvest while in the field. With this, you can find a spot, grab your OAF-96 Backpack and then head out for the day. You’ll be happy knowing you have a comfortable spot to return to at the end of your day.