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The Differences Between Warm Weather Army Field Training and Hiking/Camping
Johnny Ngai

During the summer months in the mid 1980s, I received my basic army training in Kentucky, North Carolina & Georgia. I learned the following differences between recreational hiking/camping and warm weather army training.

Recreational hiking/camping trips are usually 1 or 2 day trips with a carrying load of less than 10 lbs and a range of a few mils a day. Army patrol training could last 1 or 2 weeks with a carrying load of 20. or more lbs and a range of 10 miles a day.

Campers usually have lights at their campsite and they take a shower before going to sleep in their tent. Army trainees sometimes just change into a clean set of cotton underwear in total darkness & sleep with their field uniform & boots on (shirt partially buttoned, belt & boot lace loosen for comfort). Many hikers spent $100 or more for a pair of hiking boot. 9 out of 10 army trainees keep their feet pain free by keeping their toe nails short, adjusting their boot laces to suit their feet and wearing their $80 army issued utility boot with a pair of $4 army issued wool blended cushioned socks.

Hikers sometimes wear T-shirts & shorts for coolness & comfort. Army trainees always wear long sleeve shirts & pants to protect themselves from poison or thorny plants. Some Recreational campers use their $150 two person tent a few "nice" days a year. Army trainees use A frame tents similar to the $22 ones sold in discount stores. I believe that the biggest differences between army training & recreational camping/hiking are that army trainees carry unloaded rifles at all times and train in any weather, and hikers and campers usually only go out on nice days.

If army trainees can stay dry & pain free using only inexpensive army issued 'camping & hiking" equipment, why do people who only hike or camp only a few "nice' days a year need to go to a hiking/camping store for pricey equipment. The last time I visited an EMS (Eastern Mountain Sport) store in Feb. I found that their low end $50 day pack is constructed just like my well used & tested $25 K mart day pack. A bottle of 16 oz standard propane fuel cost $2.20 at K mart but is $4.20 at EMS

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