Here is my 2021 Sniper Adventure Challenge Gear List, or what was in my pack for the race. This is the most thorough listing I have ever posted on the net, along with details of the items and weights of the subcategories.
Pack – Attack Pak – 60oz
One of the most important items in my gear list is my pack. For the entire time I have been a Sniper Adventure Challenge competitor I have run an Attack Pak. This year marked another year where I heavily modified my gear with the direct assistance of Alex over at Attack Pak and what you see below is an alpha version of a potential pack (if they decide to implement this design). In an effort to reduce weight, I removed the sheath gear attaches to and attached everything directly to the frame. This is a special frame made from HDPE rather than ABS so I wouldn’t have to worry about cracking during the match.
The rifle attaches directly to the frame in the rear under the main storage sack which attaches to the edges of the frame.
The entire empty pack with pistol holster and chest rig weighs under 4 pounds. Could I shave off more weight – definitely possible, I was working on this up until the week before the race, so I didn’t have a lot of time to get it optimized.
Map – Self Printed Maps using Caltopo – Topo map weight in Opsak – 6oz
I have printed my own maps since my 2nd time competing in the Sniper Adventure Challenge. Having control over your map is a huge advantage. The main advantages are being able to control size, scale, features and map types. Every year we discover an issue and each year we try something a bit different. Some of the things I have learned over the years:
- Keep the main map simple
- Verify the Scale of the map matches your protractor
- A larger map is easier to read
- Get an image map (Satellite or Aerial Imagery)
- Print on durable waterproof material
The maps provided by the race are very confusing and include lots of different grid lines besides the main UTM grid we use to navigate. During nighttime land navigation this can lead to problems plotting points and determining routes. If you print your own maps, you can also control the frequency of the contour lines. For example the standard USGS maps use 40 foot contour lines. In Caltopo I can print maps with the following contour line intervals [ 10 foot, 5 meter (16.40 foot), 40 foot and 20 Meter (65.61 foot) ]. If you have a larger map, printing more frequent contour lines can help you see terrain features better which can help you navigate better.
Printing your own map also can let you highlight features you think might be important. For example, I like to try to identify water sources in advance by using Satellite imagery. I also highlight structures like buildings, powerlines and railroads. These give me objects of more certainty to help navigate from since they seldom change.
Additionally the USGS maps from the area are old. So items on them like roadways and buildings may not have been updated since the 1970’s. This is where image based maps really shine, helping you understand where the features are currently located, not where they were 80 years ago…
To keep our maps clean, we run them in an Opsack, which is like a very large super strong zip lock bag from Loksak.
Compass – Suunto MC-20 USGS Lensatic w/ laynard – 3oz
I run the Suunto MC-20 which is a mirror compass -meaning it has a sighting mirror (which also doubles as a signal mirror), and also has adjustable declination.
Protractor – MapTools 1:24K Pocket Slot Too – >1oz
Normally I run the MapTools 1:24K slot tool. I run it with a piece of string through the center so I can measure bearings on the map as well as plot points.
However for 2021 we ran 1:12000 scale maps, and there are no nice slot tools for 1:12K maps, so we used the MapTools Aerial Photo Corner rulers which have a 1:12000 scale. We went with the larger scale to get more detail on our maps which were very large this year (36″x60″)
Map Pens – Pilot FriXion erasable ink >1oz
We need to be able to plot points our our maps, and if we mess it up to erase them. Because our maps are printed on waterproof material (typically some form of plastic) we need something that will write on them, but also erase. You will need to perform testing on your maps to figure this out, for us the Pilot FriXion erasable pens worked great.
Rangefinder / Binoculars – Steiner M830r LRF – 38oz
I am VERY weight conscious of my gear. In 2020 we ran these binoculars and I was going to drop weight by running Leica CRF’s and Ultravid compact binoculars. After discussion with Tyler (my partner) we decided the weight penalty of these binoculars was well worth the advantages they bring.
Without making the blog post too long, these LRF Binoculars are REALLY good. They range out to 8 Kilometers. This matters because it allows us to always get a range on anything on our map. I list the rangefinder here under Navigation tools because it is so important in helping determine where you actually are on your map. They also work great for our shooting stages as well, so it is one piece of gear that does double duty, which is ALWAYS a plus!
ABC Watch – Casio Pathfinder PAG-240 – 2oz
A watch accurately set to local time is a piece of required gear for this match. While you could find and run a lighter watch, we want the ability to check Altitude which you can get from an ABC (Altimeter, Barometer and Compass) watch. That is another piece of information to help us identify if we are in the correct location on the map, and since we know the elevation of the point we plotted, we can compare current approximate elevation with the map.
JP Rifle with Compass Lake 12.5″ barrel
Walther PPQ M2
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants and Outdoor Research Echo Hoody
First Aid Kit
Electronics and other Gear
incomplete – will try to get done later…