For a SHTF Gear Loadout, Consider a Front Load Vest
Dr. John Woods 02.22.18
Preppers and survivalists have a need to carry gear and supplies with them. This is a minimal duty task for military personnel in the field, and also special units of law enforcement are known to be equipped similarly. One of the most prevalent ways to carry essential gear such as rifle magazines, perhaps a service pistol, and other supplies for immediate and handy access is via the front load carry vests or harnesses. Should preppers and survivalists utilize these carry modes?
These load bearing garments come in a wide variety of styles and formats as well as from a daunting array of manufacturer’s from all around the world. Most of these front load systems are forward oriented vests or front pocketed cargo pouches with attached shoulder harness straps to ease the burden of carry. The weight of carry can become an issue with these.
Common trade names and marketing labels for these units are usually names such as tactical chest rig, plate carriers, tactical SWAT vests, law enforcement vests, Molle rack vest, carry harnesses, or front load bearing packs or something likewise. Most are made from nylon, cotton mixes, or other synthetic fabrics. Most have a manner to adjust the fit for the user.
Some front load carrying rigs are simple affairs with a shoulder carry harness attached to a front cloth panel with magazines pouches sewn on, or models with Molle attachment straps to affix external mag pouches. Molle straps allow the user to configure the vest anyway they wish to serve their mission purpose.
Other front load bearing units are full-fledged vests that zip close up the front. Some of these have quite extensive features including pouches to carry a radio or communication gear, a pistol holster, pistol magazine pouches, a flashlight pouch, baton pouch, an ammo pouch or AR-15 or similar magazine pouches. Some offer elastic holders to carry 4-6 shotgun shells, and even an elastic rifle cartridge holder sewn up on the shoulder strap.
Other add-on features might include pouches to carry immediate need medical supplies, bandages, and a water canteen or water hydration system built into the back of the vest. Usually additional pouches or small compartments can be added for other supplies as well.
If considering one of these front load units, be sure to buy one that is well made and uses heavy stitching and pouch closures. Pick a color for your environment, black, O.D. green, desert tan, or mil-spec camo. Be careful not to overload the vest which can lead to quick carry fatigue.