There’s no question that at some point in your military service, you have to do a ruck. Eventually, you’ll be forced to do one in the rain. While proper gear for a dry ruck is important, going on a wet ruck changes everything! Here are some supplies you should bring along and ideas to think about when you anticipate a wet ruck.
- Dry Feet: Your feet should be your highest priority. Choose socks that are made of anything other than cotton. Cotton will absorb any moisture in sight, including sweat. I’m a fan of the Fox River Tactical Boot socks. They wick moisture well, have decent padding on the sole, and come with a bunch of other neat features. If all you have is those bulky blister machines, flip them inside out. The insides are super rough as they are made of 82% cotton. But when you flip the socks inside out, you’ll get the smooth side of the sock. This reduces the chance of hotspots, which causes blisters. Also, always pack an extra two pairs of socks. You might not always be able to change your socks, but it never hurts to have a fresh pair handy.
- Well-fitting Boots: Like socks, boots are important to keep your feet happy. Boots that are too big, too small, or not properly broken in can be a real killer. You want your boots to be snug with a little wiggle room. This will allow for the feet to swell and for you to wear thicker socks. Choose a good water-resistant boot that has ports near the sole to allow moisture to squeeze out. Just like with socks, don’t automatically go for the cold-weather variety. An inner line that’s too warm can make your feet sweat, and this can lead to blisters (and even trench foot and frostbite, depending on the climate).
- Dry Your Gear: Once it starts raining, it will be difficult to keep things dry. Your ruck likely is a goner. The only way you’re going to keep it dry is if you’re not wearing it and can stick it in a poncho liner. You should put all mission-critical gear in ziplock bags. If if it is the middle of summer, you should do this every time. You never know when you’ll come across a water hazard. Ziplock bags are cheap, are readily available, and come in a variety of sizes.
- Water Gear: Standard-issue wet-weather gear is actually a lifesaver. Those rain jackets and pants work wonders! A good set of waterproof gloves will help round everything out. Just like your feet, your hands could get frostbite, so make sure the gloves fit well and are not too warm.
- Headgear: Your headgear should depend on what kind of wet weather you are facing. A baclava works wonders for protecting the face from harsh winds. Plus, it can always be pulled down if your face gets too warm. If it is raining, I found that your patrol cap works best. While they are not the most water-resistant, a good hydrophobic spray will do wonders. The bill will help keep the water out of your face, as long as the rain is coming straight down. If it’s not, just add a pair of glasses with clear lenses, spray them with Rain-X, and all the water will just bead off. If it’s snowing, a watch cap is satisfactory. It will keep both your ears and your head warm. Glasses will help protect your face in this situation as well.
A wet ruck can be very uncomfortable. But these tips and tricks will help make it a little easier to endure.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.