Combat Light

Hey look, the dotmil crew discovers the minimalist backpacking discipline.

“Load should be no more than 1/3 your body weight.”

I have done the entire TN section of the AT with less than that, though I was not carrying a rifle and ammo.

When I was a young lad, I like many others, had that somewhat eccentric relative who would go into the woods with his poncho, a Ka-bar, some paracord, and a .22lr. He would stay for what back then seemed weeks at a time, living comfortably (this is of course very relative) off the land. I always admired his skill set and did my best to mimic and endure it during my own times in the hinterland.

When my girls and I go out for an afternoon or a day, we do not take full kit. We grab whatever is in the golite pack and venture fourth with our bushcraft basics and simply enjoy the outdoors. Same thing when I hunt. No need for tons of kit. Just take what you need and what you can use well.

This takes discipline.

Can you do a 10+ mile day in the mountains and sleep in relative comfort at night in a hammock or under a poncho shelter? Can your body adjust and thrive on jerky, dried fruits, and nuts? Will that give you enough energy to sustain you for the next evolution of your journey? Are you adept at finding water sources and making them safe to drink? Can you start a fire without a match or lighter? Now, step back a bit and can you do that barefoot?

While these skills may not directly impact your ability to fight, they do allow you to comfortably step outside modernity and thrive.

If you are a keyboard jockey that thinks, “when the time comes I will be ready”, you are sadly mistaken. You will be zombie bait.

It is better to try this now, versus when you have to have the skill.

Start slow. Start easy. Work up to it.

About 10 years ago I found myself traveling the world doing IT consulting. Between the 44 weeks a year I spent on the road, the plush hotels and expense account dining, I found myself with high blood pressure, diabetic tendencies, 305lbs, and a 44 inch waist. I started slow, I took it easy in the beginning, and eventually I shed the weight and fixed the other issues. It can be done.

The above would be part of combat light. It’s a key component to the overall plan.

“Physician, heal thyself.”

It starts with you, and in many cases it will start slow.

Get off the couch, walk away from the keyboard and get moving. Time is indeed short.