Well, I just spent two weeks in the field and had a chance to test some gear in a field exercise. I wore this gear for the better part of twelve to fifteen hours a day. Sorry, no pictures but I'm sure most of you will be familiar with the gear.
-First: I wore Blackhawks DOA Vest over flak jacket. I bought the vest over three years ago but this was the first time I put it through it's paces to such an extent. The biggest asset that this vest has is all of the pouches to store extra gear. However, this is also it's biggest weakness. I found my self stuffing the pockets with unessentials and basically waying myself down. I didn't use the two back pouches since I was in a humvee the majority of the time. The mag pouches were great and held my seven mags tightly yet easily accessable. I'm thinking about going with and Eagle Plate carrier to replace the DOAV. When someone comented on the vest my reply was that it is too bulky.
-Alta Tactical Elbow and Knee pads: Got a great deal on them from Botac but I found the retention straps on the knee pads to strech after so much use. I'm still searching for a good set if anyone has any recommendations.
-Magpuls: Excellent!!! When needed to do quick mag changes during live/simulated fire I found myself way ahead of the rest of my fireteam. I'll definately keep using them.
-Under Armour Cold Gear Beanie: My favorite of the gear I tested. Tested it in temperatures ranging from 31 degrees to 69 degrees. Fit perfectly under the kevlar. Kept me coconut warm even when riding the the gunners position. Also wore it while it was warm comfortably.
-Rayovac Headlamp: Bought this at Walmart and had redlight, LED, and normal settings on it. Used it everynight and during the day rummaging through my gear in the low light conditions of our tents. Excellent. I'm going to buy a few more for the car, office, and home.
-Nomex flight gloves: I used a black pair the whole time and was quite happy with them. My only complaint was that when it got soaked the dye bled on to my hands. A couple of chemical hand warmers left in them over night dried them out. I'll keep using them until I find a better alternative.
-Blackhawk Hydrastorm Predator: Used this as my go bag in the Humvee. Quite happy with it. Kept all the essentialls that I need in the field and allowed me to move some of the items from the DOAV to lighten the load. Held up well to rugged use such as being thrown around a humvee, ground and into and out of fighting positions. My only complaint is that I need to upgrade to a newer model that has the molle strips.
-Camelbak Thermobak: Not much to say here except for excellent! Consider it essential gear.
Well that's all I can think of right now. If I think of anymore gear I used I'll pass it on.