The 10 Best Deployment Bags
A Brief Look At Historical Tactical Gear
No military force of the ancient world better displayed this orderly approach to equipment than the legions of Rome.
The haversack would hold cooking gear, rations, correspondence, tobacco, and more.
Little is known about prehistoric combat. Based on contemporary descriptions of and archeological evidence left by the so-called barbarian tribes that remained extant well into the Iron Age -- the era when other civilizations were rapidly developing into ordered societies -- it is safe to assume that the weaponry and gear used by the earliest groups of warriors was anything but uniform.
In the final few centuries before the Common Era commended, many armies began to adopt more standard armaments and gear, an approach that led to easier planning and execution of tactics on the field and easier logistical management of troops on the move, in camp, and in training. No military force of the ancient world better displayed this orderly approach to equipment than the legions of Rome. During the peak centuries of Roman power, roughly the years 200 BCE through the 4th Century CE, Roman soldiers dominated much of the known world, in no small part thanks to their high quality and uniform equipment.
The typical Roman soldier carried weaponry including the famed Gladius (a short sword) and a Pilum (a spear). The soldiers also wore nearly uniform armor, usually consisting of chain mail worn beneath segmented armor over the torso, with greaves often protecting the legs. The larges shield carried by a Roman warrior was perhaps the greatest key to the success of the Roman army en masse; when grouped together, the shields produced a formidable wall.
One of the lesser known but no less important pieces of gear carried by the Ancient Roman soldier was his sarcina, a Latin word simply meaning "pack." Within a soldier's would have been, at a minimum, a cloak, a pot for cooking, a tin plate, a satchel for holding rations, and rudimentary utensils. The sarcina, therefore, contained everything a soldier needed to make a bed and to cook and eat a meal; it was the forerunner of the modern soldier's deployment bag.
Soldier's have carried their gear in a variety of ways throughout the centuries separating Ancient Rome from the 21st Century. A knight riding off to the crusades in the 13th Century would have a loose leather satchel in which he carried likely carried a wooden cup and bowl, a piece of flint and steel for making fire, and often some devotional objects. During the American Civil War, soldiers carried their gear in a haversack which was usually made of canvas treated with tar to help it resist water. The haversack would hold cooking gear, rations, correspondence, tobacco, and more.
A soldier's gear carrying options improved throughout the 20th Century, with the principles ergonomics and weight distribution marching in lock step with the adoption of new and better materials. Today's soldier can bring his or her equipment toward the front line in a range of different deployment bags, and civilians too can benefit from them gear carrying advances made throughout the long years of military endeavor.
Using A Deployment Bag For Travel
There are many reasons the recreational (or business) traveler might opt for a deployment bag instead of a more standard piece of luggage, such as a roll aboard suitcase or a duffel bag. Unlike most duffel bags, which tend to feature only a few pockets, most deployment bags feature multiple compartments, making it easy to keep your belongings sorted and organized.
While not suitable for multiple day, multiple mile hiking trips, many deployment bags are a great choice for the camper with a relatively short trek into their campsite.
And unlike many rolling bags, most deployment bags are easily slung over the shoulder or even worn as a backpack, features you will appreciate when the smooth, paved roads and sidewalks end and you're hiking over varied terrain.
For the traveler who will pass through and over everything from the airport to the city to the sandy beach during his or her travels, a deployment bag with wheels, a handle, and a shoulder strap is a great idea. These varied options allow you to always carry your gear in the most convenient manner.
While not suitable for multiple day, multiple mile hiking trips, many deployment bags are a great choice for the camper with a relatively short trek into their campsite. Their divided compartments can be used to separate clean clothes from dirty clothes, and they can carry enough gear, including provisions, flashlights, first aid kits, and so forth, for many days in the field.
Choosing A Deployment Bag For Tactical Use
If you're a solider packing your gear prior to an actual deployment or a first responder readying your kit for emergency response (or you're a survival-minded person looking to have a kit ready in the event of a disaster), it's a good idea to first consider all the gear that's essential to your situation, then to choose a deployment bag into which to pack it.
For the solider likely to march for miles with all their gear, a bag that can be worn comfortably and which features multiple easy adjustment points is critical.
Deployment bags vary widely in size and storage capacity, and many that look large may feature smaller actual cargo space than you think based on how many pockets and compartments they have. Make sure you consider the size of each slot or pocket in a bag and consider the gear you need to stow rather than looking at a deployment bag's overall size.
Also consider which is more important to you given the situations you might face: ease of access, or ease of carrying. If you're an emergency responder, chances are you will only be carrying your bag a short distance after exiting an ambulance, helicopter, or other vehicle, thus a bag that is easy to open and access is crucial. For the solider likely to march for miles with all their gear, a bag that can be worn comfortably and which features multiple easy adjustment points is critical.