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Basic equipment

Basic equipment
Photo: Private Krüger, Arctic Ranger sniper
An Arcitc Ranger's basic equipment is similar to the basic military items used by all Swedish infantry soldiers. Some important differences are the bigger backpack and the extra combat sack. On the above photo you can see an Arctic Ranger sniper with some of his basic equipment. He is laying in a so called "lone wolf" shelter, made from a rain cover attached to a tree. Next to him is his sleeping bag with the sleeping mat under. On the grass in front of him is (from left to right) his small field bottle, a fully assembled ethanol stove with handle, an extra pot for the stove (with eating utensils in it), and the lid for the stove (with a pack of crackers in it). To the right of the tree is his backpack, which as you can see is almost empty.

A complete description of all the basic equipment carried by each man in the field is listed below. In addition there are certain items that each man does not need to bring, but that you still need in the team, such as axes. This extra equipment is listed at the bottom of this page.


Backpack
The standard "70LK" backpack used by many Swedish rangers. It is 70 litres (4300 cubic inches), consisting of a main sack on an external steel frame. It has two big side pockets, which usually contain a thermos and a fuel bottle. It also has a smaller back pocket and a pocket in the lid. The frame is good for attaching a radio or bulky ammuntion, such as mortar or grenade launcher shells. The sack is way to small to fit everything, so you end up strapping a lot of gear on the outside, such as tents (picture at right) and camoflage nets. The backpack is green, and in the winter you cover it with a white snowcover for camoflage. LK70
   
Combat sack This is a small 30 litre (1800 cubic inches) sack that you normally store inside (or usually on top of) your main backpack. When you go on combat missions or longer patrols, you bring your combat sack instead of your big backpack. Inside the combat sack you will have the most necessary gear such as rainclothing, food, and warm clothes, as well as things used on your mission like explosives, mines, laser rangefinders etc.
   
Combat harness The standard combat harness of all Swedish forces. Includes pouches for magazines and grenades, and a 0.7 litre field bottle. The field bottle is not used in the winter (the water would freeze). On the harness you also have the standard infantry gas mask.
   
Helmet
HelmetThe basic kevlar helmet of all Swedish forces. The camoflage colored helmet cover is reversible, and is white on the inside. When it's winter you simply turn the cover inside-out. The green side of the cover has a an extra roll-down neck protecor, that is used in a chemical environment.
   
Entrenching tool The basic foldable infantry shovel, made of steel. In the winter you attach an aluminum blade to the shovel so you can dig snow faster and be able to make blocks from the snow.
   
Knife A Swedish made Mora knife, with a plastic handle. It is used for all kinds of cutting, but is not very usefull for heavier work such as chopping, or as a combat knife. Therefore many men use their own knifes, usually larger knifes (Gerber, Cold Steel and other brands) as well as smaller tool-knifes such as Leatherman.
   
Flashlight This is a standard army green flashlight. It has two filters, a red and a blue. You almost always use the red filter, to avoid detection. It has a strap with two holes in, so you can attach it to the buttons on the front of your snowsuit, which enables you to work with both hands. The flashlight is essential in an environment when the sun never rises above the horizon for large portions of the winter.
   
Sleeping bag A heavy (and warm!) sleeping bag containing down. In the winter you have an extra outer sleeping bag, containing synthetic filling. With double sleeping bags you can comfortably sleep in a non-heated tent or a makeshift shelter at -35° C (= -30° F).
   
Sleeping mat
(with rain cover)
The sleeping mat is a foldable foam mat that you sleep on to insulate your body from the cold ground. To put it on your backpack, you fold it inside a rain cover and strap it between the lid and the sack on your backpack. The rain cover is used for making various shelters. You can use it as a 1-man rain shelter by attaching it to a tree (see top of page for a photo of this). Read more about this raincover in the "Tents" section.
   
Thermos A 1 litre stainless steel thermos. You fill it with hot water and add a powdered soup, which you drink during a break. It is a good idea to cover your thermos with tape, so it easier to screw off the top with your mitts on (it's very slippery otherwise). In the summer you usually use an ordinary 1.5 litre platic bottle instead of the thermos.
   
Ethanol stove
StoveThis is like a civilian 1-man storm stove. It is all made of aluminium, and consists of a base (that protects the burner from the wind), two pots (1 and 0.7 litres), a handle (to lift the pots) and a Trangia ethanol burner. All the parts can be placed inside the large pot for easy storage. In addition to the stove you have a plastic bottle with fuel. Since ethanol isn't a very effecient fuel you don't use this stove in the winter. Instead you use a 3-man kerosene stove (see below).
   
Cup/utensils Consists of a 0.4 litre plastic cup and a utensil set with fork, knife and spoon. Since all the food is dehydrated powder, you leave the knife and fork at the barracks and only bring the spoon.
   
Hygien This consists of the necessary hygien items used in the field, such as toothbrush and tooth cream, soap, shaving equipment and a towel. In the winter you usually don't bring shaving equipment, because your face freezes very easily if it's shaved.

 

Extra equipment

In addition to the above listed equipment, a ranger team will bring some of the bellow listed equipment. Ranger teams are made up of 2-4 (usually 3) groups, each with 3 men, making a team either 6, 9 or 12 men. A 3-man group should be self-sufficient, and therefore all groups in a team have identical equipment.


Binoculars: The standard 6X zoom binoculars. It is used for spotting during sniping, searching for the enemy when on an ambush, and can be usefull when navigating in mountain terrain. In the winter you usually tape it with white tape for better camoflage. You generally have one binoculars per 3 men.
   
Axe A small axe, with steel axehead and wooden handle. Used to chop down trees and hammer tentpoles into the ground. This is especially usefull in the winter when the ground is rock-hard. You also use it to split firewood, which you use in the wood-fired stove at the main base (read more about this in the "Tents" section). You have one axe per 3 men.
   
Ranger saw A collapsable saw with an extra sawblade in the handle. Used to saw down trees and saw snowblocks. You have one saw per 3 men.
   
Kerosene stove A 3-man kerosene stove, used mainly in the winter. The stove consists of a pressure tank with a hand operated plunger pump (to raise the pressure), a burner (with built-in cleaning needle) and two pots (each about 2 litres). Since kerosene isn't very flamable you need to pre-heat the stove with ordinary ethanol. Once you get the stove running, the effect is very high, about 3000 watts. As you might guess, you have one kerosene stove per 3 men.
   
Snowshovel This is a large, white painted snowshovel. You usually have this only at the main base, since this is the place that you will be doing the most digging, such as digging out for a tent and ATV.


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