A Little Weight List

There’s been a lotta talk about load weights lately (pic stolen from CA @ WRSA by the way). Years back there was a soldier loads study done in Afghanistan by the folks at the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL).  For the unaware the CALL guys try and capture tips and info that will benefit the military as a whole.   I dug a copy I had out and pulled the weight list they came up with and cleaned a lot of the stuff that you wouldn’t normally carry (anyone out there got a CLU or MWTS?).  Anyway I’m putting this up for posterity and maybe you’ll find it useful.

  •  Advanced Combat Helmet 3.25
  • ALICE Ruck w/frame (empty -Large) 6.00
  • Aviator Gloves 0.81
  • Battery, AA 0.81
  • Battery, AAA 0.94
  • Battery, D 0.31
  • Battery, 9V 0.375
  • Bayonet M9 w/Scabbard 1.62
  • Belt, Rigger Rescue 0.1875
  • Bivy Sack (MOLLE) 1.31
  • Bivy Sack Cover (MOLLE) 2.25
  • Black Gloves 0.1875
  • Black Heavy Sleeping Bag 4
  • Black Silk Underwear Bottoms 0.31
  • Black Silk Underwear Tops 0.44
  • Bolt Cutters 18″ Commercial Issue 3.31
  • Boots, Desert Camouflage-Altama Brand 3
  • Boots, Desert Camouflage-Belville Brand 3.75
  • Boots, Combat Black 4.0625
  • Boots, Winter w/Inserts 4.9375
  • Boots, Rubber Overboots 2
  • Butt Pack, MOLLE 0.50
  • Canteen Cup 0.50
  • Canteen, Plastic 1 QT w/Water 2.50
  • Chapstick 0.0625
  • Chemical Light (ChemLite) 0.125
  • Close Combat Optics (Aimpoint) M-68 0.375
  • ACOG (TA01)  10 oz.
  • Cold Weather Fleece Bibb Overalls 1.25
  • Cold Weather Fleece Top 2.31
  • Cold Weather Gloves 0.25
  • Cold Weather Glove Liners 0.125
  • Combat Life Saver Bag 6.75
  • Compass, Lensatic 0.25
  • Cover, Field Pack 0.81
  • Boonie Cap 0.1875
  • Camouflage Uniform Bottom (BDU) 1.5625
  • Camouflage Uniform Top (BDU) 1.50
  • Patrol Cap 0.1875
  • Drawers, Cotton 0.1875
  • Elbow Pads 0.0625
  • Entrenching Tool 2.50
  • Entrenching Tool Carrier 0.50
  • Expandable Baton (Large) 1.25
  • Expandable Baton (Small) 0.75
  • Field Dressing, Israeli 0.1875
  • Field Dressing, Standard 0.25
  • Field Dressing Pouch 0.25
  • Flashlight, weapon mounted 0.25
  • Foot Powder 0.1875
  • Global Positioning System (Civilian) 0.3125
  • Gloves, Intermediate Cold Weather 0.25
  • Gloves, Intermediate Cold Weather (Flyers) 0.375
  • Sun, Sand, and Dust type Wiley-X Goggles 0.1875
  • Gortex, Cold Weather Bottom 3.4375
  • Gortex, Cold Weather Top 4.0625
  • Gortex, Light Weather Bottom (Wet Weather pants)1.25
  • Gortex, Light Weather Top (Wet weather jacket) 2.5625
  • Grenade, Smoke 1.1875
  • Holster, Weapon M9 1.50
  • Identification Tags 0.3125
  • Interceptor Body Armor with SAPI plates (2) and no neck guard and no crotch guard 17.50
  • Intravenous Therapy Kit 1.50
  • Kevlar Ballistic PASGT Helmet 3.35
  • Knee Pads 0.9375
  • Laundry Bag 0.75
  • MagLight 0.1875
  • Magazine M9 0.25
  • Magazine M4/M16 w/ 30 Rounds 1.375
  • Magazine, M4/M16 w/30 Rounds (Canadian Thermold) 1
  • Meal, Long Range Patrol 1
  • Meal, Ready To Eat 1.50
  • Medic Bag 19.50
  • MOLLE, Ammunition Pouch 5.56MM 0.1875
  • MOLLE, Assault Pack 3.0625
  • MOLLE, Bandoleer 0.375
  • MOLLE, Canteen Pouch 0.375
  • MOLLE, Grenade Pouch 0.0625
  • MOLLE, Rucksack 8.25
  • MOLLE, Side Pouches 0.50
  • MOLLE, Sleeping Bag Carrier 1.0625
  • Multi-Tool (e.g., Leatherman) 0.50
  • Neck Gator 0.0625
  • Night Vision Goggle, PVS-7D 1
  • On-The-Move Hydration System (MOLLE camelback) 0.75
  • Pace Cord 0.0625
  • Pad, Sleeping, Self-Inflating 1.3125
  • Patrol, Sleeping Bag 2.4375
  • Pistol, M9, 9MM 2.50
  • Pocket Knife, Personal 0.25
  • Poly Pro Bottom 0.5625
  • Poly Pro Top 0.6875
  • Poncho 1.3125
  • Poncho Liner 1.875
  • Rifle, M4, 5.56MM 4.24
  • Rifle, M14, 7.62MM 12
  • Scope, Spotter M144 2.75
  • Sewing Kit 0.0625
  • 12 Gauge Shotgun Round 0.0625
  • Skedco Litter 17.50
  • Sling Rope 0.75
  • Sling, Weapons 0.375
  • Small Arms Protective Insert Plates (SAPI), each 4.50
  • Snap Link 0.25
  • Socks, Wool, Pr. 0.1875
  • Socks, Various Fabric, Pr. 0.3125
  • Stuff Sack 0.8125
  • Toilet Articles 2.50
  • Towel 0.50
  • Undershirt, Brown 0.375
  • Weapons Cleaning Kit, M16 0.3125
  • Watch Cap 0.125
  • Waterproof Bag 0.1875
  • Wrist Watch 0.1875

The bottom line is that’s a lotta shit.  Too much shit.  I’ve carried most of that crap (along with a lot of other stuff) during both training and deployments and hated it.  The jist of what I’m trying to get to is the study found that soldiers approach loads typically were over 75% of their body weight.  That’s way too much weight for the average person that isn’t conditioned to carry that kind of load.  Hell given the wrong conditions (110 degree heat) and it’s too much load for a lot of guys that carry it.  Years ago when I was a young skeeter wing DICK we did a squad live fire at the end of a 10k (just over six miles) approach march carrying everything we owned and were going to use in some good old North Cackilacky heat.   As soon as we dumped our packs and staged for the assault I watched my Team Leader flop over and start doing the shake rattle and roll – heat stroke.  Needless to say we were down one because bouncing back from heat stroke ain’t exactly something you can do one the spot.  I’ll add this – my TL was one of those guys that was tougher than anyone (“I don’t need to drink water” types).  Kiddos water is life.  Ammo is life.  First aid is a lifesaver.  Focus on those 3 Fs: Food (incl. water), Firecrackers (ammo) and First aid.  Unless you’re operating in constant sub freezing temps and need protective gear the majority of rest of that crap is weight (not all of it but really an e-tool?  Would a garden trowel work as well?).  And there’s an old saying: “Ounces are pounds, pounds are pain”.

Here’s an online copy of the weight study for those interested souls.


About Treaded

Semi-retired career and contract troop. I own and maintain my own small ranch out here in beautiful rural America.
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16 Responses to A Little Weight List

  1. Toaster802 says:

    Here is another resource worth reading on the subject.

    Thank you for your valuable opinions and knowledge. For those who care to listen they will make a difference.

    “If you ever want to get out of this place, you will listen to people who KNOW.”
    –Doc, Hamburger Hill

  2. Aesop says:

    I’m calling Shenanigans on “Rifle, M4 – 4.24”.
    Either that’s a typo, or it comes with the Above Top Secret SOPMOD negative G Helium-filled buttstock. Or maybe a 4″ barrel?

    Thanks for posting the list. Sadly, nobody wearing stars listens to CALL, just like they ignored S.L.A. Marshall and “The Soldier’s Load” from WWII and Korea before they went into Vietnam. Hell, someday someone will find some old parchment from a centurion of the 10th Roman Legion pointing out that his men were loaded down like jackasses too, and unable to fight when they were attacked. Which was ignored.

  3. I’ve got a hard-copy of the study. It’s an important document, I agree. I think the most valuable lesson it offers, is a way to look at what you NEED to carry in each tier, versus what inexperienced guys THINK they need to carry. For new leaders, the need to develop a standard packing list is pretty critical. Everyone wants to be the cool “G” and do what he wants. The reality is, there’s GOTTA be some kind of commonality for a unit to function effectively.

  4. Toaster: That’s a helluva resource. Will post at WRSA once Bracken’s latest has had 24 hours. Thanks.

    LF: Ditto your piece, which has been added to the original post as an addendum.

  5. Grenadier1 says:

    Ditto that Toaster: That source is spot on in the fight light concept. His load out is so similar to mine it makes me feel like I might actually have a good idea every once in a while.

  6. light29id says:

    The problem with load is that you have paranoid PL/Cs, CCs and Bn Cdrs plus staffs that a) are not going to have what they need when they need it and b) terrified that they won’t be resupplied and will end up like Custer so they then try to stuff 20 pounds of shit into a five pound bag. Example, the medium ALICE served the Infantry well for years, even during Vietnam. Then along comes SF with their ALICE Large and some staff prick gets the idea (and most likely a medal) to make everybody have one so we can…What? STUFF MORE SHIT INTO IT! This goes the heart of what they teach at TBS. Brand new Butter Bars are told not to turn their Marines into pack mules because that makes them combat ineffective but then in the next class they’re terrorized by what happens when there is no resupply of food, water, ammo, batteries, etc. Guadalcanal and Khe Sanh being the prime examples so what happens? The poor trooper turns into a pack mule then abused by his NCOs that he can’t cut it. I was in a NG Light Division and what we were required to carry wouldn’t be considered “light”.

  7. Pingback: Mosby: Corrective Thoughts On The “Combat Light” Meme | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  8. overhill says:

    There ain’t nothin’ light about light infantry!!!!
    RVN and Desert Storm

  9. Phoenix8 says:

    It happened in 107 B.C. Go to wikipedia and look up “Marian reforms” about Gaius Marius reforming the legion.
    Quote: “The century carried with it all the arms and accoutrements required to feed and maintain it as a fighting unit. Each man was responsible for carrying his own supplies, weapons, and several days worth of rations. The sight of these soldiers with heavy packs on their backs earned them the nickname, “Marius’ Mules”. This change drastically reduced the size of the baggage train required as support and made the army much more mobile.”
    Well, they got rid of the four-legged mules and turned the soldiers into two-legged mules. I have my doubts about any increase in mobility.

  10. Teresa Sue says:

    Are you still out there, or has one of your steers dragged you off a cliff? Just wondering….;)

    Miss Violet

  11. Just an ol' chicken farmer says:

    Boy is that ever wisdom, having read and absorbed your blog for some time now, I finally realized that I was putting off marching with a pack as part of my exercise regimen, and of course congratulating myself on my otherwise satisfactory progress ( in my defense, centex summers are a real mother, at twenty I would have started and sweated out the heat, at almost 5 decades I figured i’d better wait for cooler weather before launching into things….so last week I finally started the marches….holy crap. I understand now, believe me, I understand, I got pain in places I forgot that I had places. Started with a mile and 50 lb. pack, figure I should work up to a minimum of 5-6 miles and 100 lbs. Does that sound reasonable?
    Thanks again for all the great info!

    • Treaded says:

      For weight/distance you have to evaluate your AO and what your requirements are. Are you going to have to walk 20 miles with everything you absolutely have to have to fight and survive? Or can you make it 5 miles with a light load to a cache? Base your training program on that assessment and train on the terrain you’ll be operating on every chance you get..
      Smart way to train is start off by breaking your distance and weight into fractions (i.e. 14, 1/2, etc.) and work it up from there. You’re probably going to hit a wall at some point or possibly an injury – remember the body heals differently as we get older so taking time off to heal from an injury is time wisely invested. When we were young we could push through those injuries but even I’m finding out they come back to haunt you. The wall? Drink water and drive on.

  12. Pingback: A Little Weight List | _

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