Part two of what to take with you for a weekend away sniping. I’ve discussed the combat side of things but at some point you’ll probably be looking to set up camp for the night. As I’ve mentioned in part one, I’m more a fan of events that shut down for the night and let you camp in peace, than the hard core Milsim events where you have to lug all that extra kit around with you. I doubt I’d be much good as a sniper carrying a 120l bergen!
So, with that in mind, here’s my kit for camping overnight at an airsoft event. Links to stuff will be at the bottom of the article. On the whole, I’m not a buyer of expensive designer kit. This is all cheap but effective kit that does the job.
Important to hold everything in I guess. I picked up a Kombat UK assault holdall in MTP pattern. It has a very good 100 litre capacity and has five external pockets as well. It has holdall straps as well as padded backpack straps so I can sling it over my shoulder to carry it rom the car to wherever it needs to go. While I carry the rifle, pistol, ammo etc in the rifle bag, this holdall carries my camp kit, rig and ghillie with ease.
The Sleeping Bag
I have two sleeping bags. One for the summer, when there are more events on, and one for the winter. Both are Snugpak bags, which perform pretty well for the price. The winter one is massive but I wouldn’t sacrifice the warmth for something easier to carry. In addition to the bags, I picked up two sleeping bag liners, one cotton one and a microfibre fleece type liner for extra warmth. I tend to use the cotton liner all year round anyway just to keep the sleeping bag itself clean, but can add the fleece liner to the summer sleeping bag to create a late spring-early autumn sleep system. No blankets, no big bedrolls or anything complicated.
Now, this is where I might differ from some players but with good reasoning. I know some players like taking authentic military tents, like canvas WW2 relics, or Polish army Laavu style tents for that pure military experience. I know more commonly, players like Kicking Mustang will rough it in a bivvy bag, beloved of the hardcore Milsim player. Me, I take a modern, lightweight backpacking tent. Not because I’m a soft shit, but hear me out…
One of the biggest influences on my airsoft is Scott Connal MBE. A veteran of many warzones, I’m part of Scott’s team,the Norvern Monkeys, who have been extremely successful under his leadership, and I’ve learned a lot about being comfortable, and having good morale, which has a big effect on your ability to fight. Do I want to rough it in a bivvy bag and wake up the next day feeling shit? No. Do I want to wake up damp and covered in bug bites in a canvas tent which has no groundsheet? Nope. I want to wake up comfortable, having had a good night’s sleep, and go into the next day feeling good, and fighting better. I did consider the idea of a bivvy bag, with mosquito net, and a protective groundsheet, and put up a tarp over the top, but when you consider how long it might take to set that all up, it made more sense to get an all in one package. I opted for a Wild Country Coshee 2 man tent, which is extremely lightweight, waterproof and quick to set up. I’ve had a couple of Wild Country tents and I’m really pleased with the quality of them. One of the other options I considered after speaking to Phil Osborne (Naunak) from Sniper Ops was a hammock style setup with tarp, but that is dependant on having suitable trees to set up in and doesn’t give a dry, flat space for kit inside, which is useful for quick maintenance etc on a night. It’s very stable in the wind and gives me plenty of space inside for me and my kit, and has a porch either side for even more kit and as a space to cook breakfast. Which leads nicely onto the next bit…
There are lots of options available on the market for cooking. I’ve long been a fan of the military style mess kits though as an all in one solution. Some sites get a bit funny about having fires, so I wanted one that ran on fuel tablets or gels. I know I could have gone for a jetboil, which boils water in seconds, or some other gas device, but if I’m camping overnight I’m probably in no rush to cook.
I picked up the Crusader Mk1 cook set from BCB bushcraft, who also make a few variations including Teflon coated sets, but I love the classic kit. It comprises of a 58 pattern water bottle and cup, which is very nice and doesn’t leak, a compact stove base, and a 1 litre cooking pot/mug.
The whole kit comes packed up into an Mtp utility pouch which belt mounts nicely if you want to carry it with you. I also found on ebay a steel handle which goes over the top of the pot, and a really nice handmade lid to keep the heat in. All in all it’s a very nice, simple steel set which should last for many years.
I have a Highlander self inflating mat to pop underneath my bag, in matching olive green. It wasnt really something I put a lot of thought into, but it’s cheap and works fine. A tarp is always useful in case you want to put a windbreak up or add a larger porch area in bad weather. I have an inflatable pillow that I picked up from a supermarket for a pound at the end of summer (always watch for shops selling off camping kit cheap at the end of summer). I take a microfibre towel everywhere with me, whether airsofting or just camping, because it dries very quickly and there’s nothing better than being able to dry off if you’re out in the rain. I have a cheap hanging light for inside the tent, and a dry bag contain matches/lighter, first aid kit and batteries. I have a British Army (as ever) Norgie shirt which is great to pull on in the evening. The only other thing I take is a Shemagh. Sometimes if it gets too cold, I wrap it around my head to sleep in for extra warmth, or use it on top of my pillow for extra comfort. Just a useful rag, if nothing else.
And that’s it. Same as the combat kit, don’t overpack things and don’t take mountains of crap along “just in case”.
Here’s some of the stuff I use :
Wild Country Coshee 2 Tent- https://www.campingworld.co.uk/Mobile/en/Wild-Country-Coshee-2-Tent/m-m-16064.aspx
Snugpak summer bag – http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/snugpak-the-sleeping-bag-tsb-product,17899
Snugpak winter bag – http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/snugpak-sleeper-expedition-sleeping-bag-product,17882
Kombat Assault holdall – http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/kombat-uk-assault-holdall-btp-camo-product,18511
Crusader cooking kit – http://bcbadventure.com/shop/4-part-crusader-cooking-unit-mk-i/