Here is the latest list of EDC Gear for the Troops:
1. Black Rifle Coffee Company Complete Mission Fuel Kit
The military’s vehicles may run on diesel, but its troops run on coffee. While chow hall coffee may do the job, let’s just say it isn’t always the most palatable substance out there.
Enter Black Rifle Coffee Company, a company founded by veterans who make gourmet, small batch roasted blends. You’ll want to drink their coffee because it tastes great, not just because you need it to survive that oh-dark-30 wakeup.
If you’re new to Black Rifle, then the Complete Mission Fuel Kit is a great place to start because it gives you four blends to sample (see right). Personally, I go straight to Beyond Black because that’s how I roll. You can get the Kit ground or as whole beans.
When you buy Black Rifle Coffee, you’re not just getting great coffee. You’re helping Black Rifle Coffee to support veterans, law enforcement, and first responders.
THE COMPLETE MISSION FUEL KIT
- Beyond Black: Dark roast
- Just Black: Medium roast
- AK-47: Medium-dark espresso blend
- Silencer Smooth: Black Rifle’s lightest roast
- Roasted daily at in Nashville and Salt Lake City and shipped right to you
2. Camelbak Sparta 100OZ MIL-SPEC Crux
I can still vividly remember those hot Alabama summers at Ft. McClellan. My drill sergeant would yell at my platoon to down multiple canteens of funky tasting water to ensure we stayed hydrated. So I’d fill up my old 1-quart canteens from a canvas Lyster bag. Times change, and there are far better EDC gear options for hydration now.
Camelbak is a little more sophisticated than my old GI canteen and canvas water bag though, and it gives you a BPA-free system that holds more water, without the funky taste, as well as a number of carrying systems like the new Sparta 100OZ MIL-SPEC Crux Pack.
The Crux gives you a 3-liter (100-ounce) water bladder along with a 33-liter gear capacity so you can carry water, food, and equipment on the go. The Crux is made from 500D doublerip Cordura fabric and comes in black, coyote, or multi-cam colors.
It’s fitted with laser cut MOLLE for adding additional gear or pouches, and has an adjustable harness and waist belt for optimal user adjustability.
- Collection: Hydration Plus Cargo
- Hydration Capacity: 3 liters/100 ounces
- Hydration Type: MIL-SPEC lumbar CRUX reservoir with Quicklink system
- BPA/BPS/BPF Free: Yes
- Quick Link Disconnect: Yes
- Gear Capacity: 33 liters/ 2,013 cubic inches
- Pack Weight: 3.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.2 x 11 inches
- Laser-cut Mountain MOLLE panels on front and sides for secure attachment of accessory pouches
- Low Rider reservoir shifts weight down on the back
- Four-zipper, full clamshell opening on main compartment
- Webbing waist belt with lumbar adjustment stows when not in use
- Multiple drink tube exit ports, for routing tube over the shoulder or under an arm
- Side-release buckles for quick release from shoulder harness, compression straps, and waist belt
- Zippered back panel access makes loading a full reservoir into hydration compartment easy
- Dual antenna ports on top of pack
- D-rings and webbing loops for tube management
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Hook-and-loop strap management
- MOLLE attachment system integrated to bottom of boot
- 500D double-rip Cordura fabric
3. Case Winkler Pack Axe
Sometimes you have jobs in the field that require a little more brute force than you can dish out with your combat knife. At times like that, an axe has been the go-to tool for soldiers for centuries.
Case’s new Winkler Pack Axe is a great choice for breaking open crates, clearing fields of fire, or cutting stakes for camo netting or tarps. Part of Case’s American Hero’s Knife Series, the Pack Axe is a collaboration between Case and Winkler Knives. Its co-designer is Kevin Holland, a Navy SEAL survival expert with more 2,000 combat missions.
The Pack Axe is a handy 15 inches long and is made from a single piece of 3/8inch thick 80CRV2 carbon steel. It features both axe head and hammer poll, and is fitted with a set of canvas micarta grips. It has a paracord wrap for extra utility.
- One-piece 80CRV2 carbon steel construction
- Skeletonized/tapered tang
- Black canvas laminate grips with paracord
- Sharp edge head/blunt hammer end
- 15 inches overall length
- 26 ounces in weight
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Made in USA
4. Cold Steel Spetsnaz Trench Shovel
Everybody knows that the military loves digging. Whether it’s trenches or latrines, or maybe even filling sandbags, there’s no shortage of things to keep an idle troop busy if you have a shovel.
While the US military has used the trifold entrenching tool for decades, there’s still a lot to be said for the old school fixed shovels like the Russian “Spetsnaz” e-tools.
Cold Steel has made its version of this shovel for ages, and one has ridden in the back of every car or Jeep I’ve had since they came out.
They’re solid and durable, work great for digging, and do a more than decent job at hacking and chopping as well. They even throw and stick amazingly well.
For 2020, Cold Steel has supersized things with its Special Forces Spetsnaz Trench Shovel. The new model features a 50% longer handle and a slightly larger shovel head.
That extra length gives you more leverage for digging and will let you get a two-handed grip in the haft for hacking. It’s still light enough for onehanded hacking and throwing.
The Trench Shovel has a rugged hardwood handle and a medium carbon steel blade with three moderately sharp edges. You can tune up those edges with a file to whatever level of sharpness you desire.
If you considered the original Spetsnaz shovel a good tomahawk alternative, consider the Trench Shovel an ersatz battle axe. The bigger size makes it a perfect Jeep or truck tool, and well suited for camping or canoeing.
In fact, Cold Steel even mentions it can be used as an impromptu boat paddle as well! At under $40 this one is a nobrainer addition to your vehicle or kit.
- Weight: 36.3 ounces
- Thickness: 2mm (shovel head)
- Handle: Hickory
- Steel/Material: Medium carbon steel
- Overall Length: 30 inches
5. Combat Flip Flops Floperato
Your mom may wear combat boots, but that’s probably only because she doesn’t have anything else to change into, like the Combat Flip Flops Floperator sandals. Sandals are great to change into after a long day in hiking boots, and they’re also great for flopping around the house.
Combat Flip Flops makes a number of quality styles in both men’s and women’s sizes. But the basic Floperator is what I turned to when I wanted a good pair of sandals for my boy, who would otherwise go barefoot and feral if I let him.
The Floperator is ruggedly constructed with a rubber outsole, EVA mid layers, and a molded arch support, mated to military-grade tubular nylon uppers, so these aren’t your two-buck disposable sandals that you see at your local chain stores.
They’re available in coyote and shadow gray in Men’s and basic black in Women’s. They even have Velcro sections on the straps for attaching morale patches, like the Combat Flip Flops American flags, available for $7 in both full color and subdued options, or any other strip style patch of your choice.
When you buy a pair of Floperators, you aren’t just getting a great pair of sandals; you’re also supporting a business that gives back to war torn nations around the world.
When you buy a pair of sandals, you help send an Afghan girl to school through donations to Aid Afghanistan for Education, a charity that helps women and children who would otherwise be denied an education.
Do your feet, and a kid in Afghanistan, a favor and check out the Floperator the next time your travel-sore feet need a break from their stinky boots.
- Men’s sizes 7–15, Women’s sizes 5-11; half sizes available
- Proprietary rubber outsole & EVA mid-layers
- Injection molded arch support
- Military-grade tubular nylon upper
- 2 5/8 x 5/8 inch morale patch
- Funds one day of school for an Afghan girl
- Lifetime warranty
6. KA-BAR Krunch Spoon/Stra
Every year KA-BAR comes up with a new gadget that’s quirky but usually surprisingly handy. The item always has the iconic KA-BAR-style ribbed handle mated to whatever the tool of the year is.
In the past there have been ice scrapers, bottle openers (I get a lot of use out of that one), and even a Spork complete with a hidden knife inside the handle for cutting up that tough hunk of meat that the Army calls a steak.
This year’s entry is going to be one that you either get, or you don’t: it’s the Krunch, an adult cereal spoon. When I first heard about this one last year at Blade, my eyes lit up. I am the target audience for this EDC gear item.
Cereal is a mainstay for me, and it fills the food void not just at breakfast but any time I need a quick, trouble-free meal. Cereal for lunch? You bet. Dinner? Yeah, that happens. Late night snack after getting home late from work? Oh yeah.
The Krunch is a big, bad, man-sized black spoon capable of tackling the whole grain fodder of your choice. But that’s not all! It also has a straw built into the handle so that you can drink your cereal milk, soup broth, or any other liquid as well.
The KA-BAR Krunch is made in the USA of food and water safe Creamid (whatever that is) and is dishwasher safe. Even if you aren’t a crazed adult lover of cereal, it’s a cool spoon and will work great in your lunchbox or camping gear. At under $9, it’d make a neat gift too.
- Weight: 0.1 pound
- Overall Length: 7.25 inches
- Tang Stamp KA-BAR
- Handle Material: Creamid
- Country of Origin: United States
- Width: 1.75 inches
7. Tactical Medical Solutions TacMed Pocket Medical Kit
It never hurts to be prepared for a serious injury. Tactical Medical Solutions can cover that eventuality with its TacMed Pocket Medical Kit. The PMK gives you the tools to cover a traumatic injury on the spot.
The compact kit is designed to fit in the trauma plate carrier on a Kevlar vest, in a uniform shirt pocket, or even in the back pocket of your jeans.
It contains an SOF tourniquet, an Esmark bandage, a Beacon chest seal, and a pair of surgical gloves along with your choice of either regular compressed gauze or Combat Gauze.
- 1 SOF tourniquet Gen 4 (Rescue Orange)
- 1 Esmark bandage
- 1 compressed gauze or Combat Gauze
- 1 Beacon chest seal
- 1 pair black gloves
MSRP: $53.09 – $92.90 (depending on gauze option)
8. TOPS Hammer Hawk Axe
Being able to break in and out of places, or into things, can be critical in an emergency scenario. So having a durable entry tool among your EDC gear is a good idea.
The Hammer Hawk axe from TOPS Knives definitely fits that bill, and it’s also one of the more stylish tools in its class. Designed by none other than TOPS President Leo Espinoza, the Hammer Hawk is as serious a tool as you get.
Constructed of a single piece of 3/8-inch-thick 1075 steel and fitted with green canvas Micarta scales, there is nothing delicate or subtle about this piece.
The 4.5-inch cutting edge is backed by a hammerhead poll. That, along with its morethan-2-pound weight, means it will smash or hack through whatever it needs to.
Despite the brutal functionality of the piece, there’s also an aesthetic to it that you don’t generally expect on entry tools: a detailed arrow design set into the recessed area of the head.
The Hammer Hawk comes with a two-piece leather sheath that allows you to carry it on your belt or pack, and it’s made in the USA at TOPS’ Ucon, Idaho, facility.
- Blade Length: 4.5 inches
- Overall Length: 14.5 inches
- Blade Thickness: 0.38 inches
- Blade Material: 1075 RC 56-58
- Blade Finish: Acid Rain
- Handle Material: Green canvas Micarta
- Weight: 36.3 ounces
- Weight w/Sheath: 42.3 ounces
- Sheath Material: Brown leather
- Made in USA