Many…Okay…most of us have almost two decades worth of Pelican cases stacked somewhere in or around our houses. If you have kept up with the purging of gear over the years, we commend you! Next time your OCD runs that rampit…we could use some help in chucking a good 90% of the stuff that was once cool that still collects dust.
As you open these cases, they can tell a story about what you have done or in some cases, where you’ve been. Much like ribbon bars on our uniforms, the story of our gear can be told by camouflage, holsters, body armor and helmets. All of which can put you in specific places to anyone who knows better. If you read our last article about the evolution of combat helmets, some or all of each can be found in the manly air tight tactical totes.
In 2004, we went to Dicks Sporting goods and bought pro-tec skateboard helmets; prior to heading out for many of our first contracts. They were both cool and practical (for the application in which we would use them) and most importantly, they were not the PASGT that seemed to have found themselves in supply rooms ready to be issued.
With a little spray paint and Velcro…we had insta-cool! The lighter, non-ballistic helmets proved to be decently effective for minor bumps but after a few head injuries caused by 10k lb up armored vehicle crashes; companies got smart with the construction of what we would come to know as the “bump” helmet. Companies like OpsCore are now making non ballistic bump helmets from high strength carbon fiber, and the old injection molded lids are back to half pipes and street tricks!
Not a tinfoil hat
Hoarding the 17 years of gear that we have, some have accused us of being a prepper, a hoarder (probably more appropriate), conspiracy theorist and at one point; accused of being downright crazy. The fact of the matter is this; anyone who is at all involved in voluntarily inserting themselves into harm’s way, may be a bit of each. This is partly the reason in keeping hold of the gear that has kept your ass out of the ground for so long, being self-reliant.
The Combat helmet doesn’t need to be just for combat operations. Basic survival and preparedness…not for the zombies; although we all are patiently waiting for them, but more for the inopportune time where a helmet is needed, yet we don’t have them.
Simply converting any tactical gear into basic survival gear is relatively easy…after all combat after we peel back the layers, is survival, and eliminating as many variables to ensure we get home safe with everything the god gave us at birth, mind included.
Tornados: Living in tornado alley, helmets are one of the staples in our bug out kit. With spring and summer, come bad weather…really bad weather and comparing a nasty tornado to the Heifa street in 2004/05 Baghdad…I’ll take the desolate pre-attack indicators all day long over a typical F2-4 twister in Illinois.
In typical shit head gun fights, you can pretty much determine the outcome…mother nature will get you every time. That is; if you are flippant about your strategy in combatting her! If you have extra helmets, it might not be a bad idea to stash one in your go bag for the trunk of your car or disaster kit for home. If you have neither, you are already behind the power curve. This helmet is protecting you from flying and/or falling objects, so make sure you fit it just as you did back in the day. It would be our recommendation that a hands-free illumination device be attached to the helmet, power could be knocked out and it always seems like tornados hit at night. We have helmets stashed for everyone in the family…again better to have them and not need them, then need them and not have them.
Hurricanes: The life-threatening effects of a hurricane may not be as immediate as tornados. With hurricanes, flooding is the main threat. We can take Hurricane Katrina for an example. According the CDC; one of the main causes for non-fatal injuries during the most catastrophic natural disaster of our time were falls attempting to get away from the flooding. Incorporating head protection in your emergency action plan can and ultimately will prove effective.
Hurricane Isabel struck the east coast in 2003. As we sat in our barracks rooms and watched full sized dumpsters and Marines crotch rockets be thrown across the parking lot like they were toys, it dawned on me that mother nature can be a massive bitch when she wants to be. Back then I drove a Grand Am GT which was damaged during the storm, as a steel garbage can appeared out of nowhere and lodged itself into my back window and sat the rest of the storm out in my backseat…The kicker to the entire storm is that we were not in the worst part.
During natural disasters, most of the time we cannot control where we are, or what we are doing. We can take the necessary steps to ensure survivability such as seek shelter or simply have a few items on hand that can help stack the scales in our favor. Having one of your old helmets on hand just in case can be one of these steps.
I know there is an emphasis on natural disasters here, but the fact remains that if you can think of a scenario that is applicable to your lifestyle where a helmet may be needed; at some point, it probably will be. From hanging tree stands in preparation for deer season, to climbing rocks, or simply living where mother nature tends to pick on the most, helmets do not need to be worn as much as they are in combat, but having one handy keeps you ready. Don’t be so quick to get online to sell the extra gear you have acquired. You will not get what you have into it. Especially on some of the Facebook buy, sell, trade pages…some of these kids will beat you out of a chem light…It’s happened! Evaluate what you have, ask yourself if it can be stowed away for a worst-case scenario, and make your decision from there. Some of it just may need spruced up a bit.