The above is a lightweight, low-cost, low-profile combat rig. I bought this just as I was leaving the Army and didn’t have the chance to use it in combat, but found it to work like a charm out on the range while field testing the SCAR rifle.
What separates the Mayflower UW rig from others is it’s emphasis on what for lack of a better term, could be called tactical ultra-light. While most combat gear these days is advertised as being “bomb proof” the UW rig is made from lightweight materials, taking a minimalist approach. After eight years split between the Ranger Regiment and Special Forces, I definitely agree with this approach. There is no need to wear body armor into every single scenario, nor is it necessary to carry eighty to ninety pounds of kit on your person at all times. A lot of this happens because commanders are obsessed with safety and fail to consider the effect that carrying all that kit has on men, weapons, and equipment. I’m not making an argument against body armor, I’m just saying that because it has saved lives in some instances doesn’t mean it should apply in all instances. Think dismounted patrols through the deserts of Iraq or mountains of Afghanistan.
In maneuver warfare, not to mention unconventional warfare, troops need to be able to, that’s right, maneuver. The inclination towards wearing every piece of armor and carrying every bit of kit, just in case, is extremely powerful. I had a Sergeant Major who said something along the lines of, “If you give a Ranger a bigger rucksack, he’s going to go ahead and fill it to the top.” It was meant as a warning. Our rucks are to damn big, and just because you have some excess webbing on your body armor doesn’t mean you need to attach something there. In the above pic of me moving that rebar out of the way, I could barely damned move. Yeah, the gym helps, but only so much when you are carrying that much in the Summer heat.
If I was to add something, it would be a place for a camelbak. No matter how lightweight you want to go you still need water. Overall I have been very pleased with the UW rig. The more experienced you become as a soldier I found that the more you ditch all the excess equipment and move back to the basics.
Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger, Special Forces Soldier and is the author of the military thriller Reflexive Fire.