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Your Essential Overseas Deployment Checklist

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Photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ray Lewis/Released

Got a deployment coming up?

On top of all your standard-issue equipment, we can recommend an entire arsenal of gear to bring along. Make sure you’re ready for the trip, prepared for any down time you might have, and most importantly, geared up for getting the job done. Here’s a quick and easy guide to checking off every item on your deployment checklist.

DEPLOYMENT BAG

If you’re heading out for the long haul, make sure you’ve got the right bag for the job. Here’s two that stood out to us:

Fox Tactical deployment bag

FOX TACTICAL – 3-in-1 Recon Gear Bag

Sized 26″ x 13″ x 9″, this spacious deployment bag is loaded with tons of compartments for all your gear. With the hideaway straps, it can be worn as a backpack or carried over the shoulder.

Tasmanian Tiger range pack

TASMANIAN TIGER – Range Pack MK II

This modular backpack is designed for missions intended to last several weeks. Detach the front pocket to use as a daypack for shorter journeys.

BACKPACK

The right backpack can double as the perfect airplane carry-on as well as the bag you use to haul gear from the base to the objective.

5.11 Tactical backpack

5.11 TACTICAL – Rush72 Backpack 2.0

The external pocket zone expands to fit a standard issue bump helmet. Use the MOLLE webbing to attach even more pouches and gear, and enjoy the cloth-lined sunglasses pouch for protecting your shades.

Tru-Spec deployment backpack

TRU-SPEC – Elite 3-Day Backpack

Hydration tube compatible, and with tons of MOLLE webbing, it’s a tactician’s best travel companion. (It’s also especially popular as a civilian emergency bugout bag.)

SUNGLASSES

If you’re headed somewhere bright and sunny (in other words, somewhere sandy and crappy), make sure you grab a reliable pair of shades. We’ve got a variety of uniform-compliant frames to choose from that also look totally cool, which is arguably more important than being uniform compliant.

Tactical Oakley deployment sunglasses

OAKLEY – Ballistic Det Cord ANSI Z87.1 Sunglasses

With ANSI Z.781 certified lenses with comms-compatible earstems, this is an operator’s frame, through and through. Looking for a rundown on ballistic eyewear? Check out our comprehensive guide here.

All metal Gatorz tactical sunglasses

GATORZ – Magnum Blackout Sunglasses

An all-metal, uniform-compliant frame built right here in the USA. Slightly pliable for a custom, perfect fit that only fits your dome.

KNIFE

As one former Ranger told us, “You use a knife for every ten bullets you shoot in the military.” Make sure you bring along the right one.

Personal defense dagger by Benchmade

BENCHMADE – SOCP Drop Point Knife

A quick and deadly self-defense knife that’s perfectly sized to run on your plate carrier. The specialized sheath design integrates into gear and MOLLE webbing while keeping a low profile.

Spyderco folding knife

SPYDERCO – Tenacious Folding Knife

This mid-sized SPYDERCO folder is designed for tough jobs, with a durable G-10 laminate handle that’s ergonomically shaped for fatigue-free cutting. An affordable, EDC folder built for getting the job done.

MULTITOOL

You won’t know what you’ll need it for until you actually need it. For all the little screw-ups and fixes that may arise on your next deployment, be the servicemember who can actually unf**k the situation.

Leatherman tactical multi-tool for deploying

LEATHERMAN – MUT Multi-Tool

A multi-tool built specifically with shooters in mind. It even has a bolt-override tool for clearing jams from your ejection port. Cool, right?

Leatherman trauma shears for medics

LEATHERMAN – Raptor Trauma Shears

A particular favorite among EMS members, the Raptor is a medic’s best friend, and includes a MOLLE-compatible sheathe for carrying on your chest rig.

DEVICE PROTECTION

The last thing you want to deal with on deployment is a busted screen, because getting an insurance replacement is basically impossible overseas. Take the necessary precautions and defend your phone.

Otterbox iPhone case

OTTERBOX – Defender Case for iPhone 12/Pro

You can’t go wrong with Otterbox. The grandfather of phone defense, this case offers superb protection and shock absorption. Phones go through a lot on deployment. Make sure yours has the best.

Tactical iPhone case

ELEMENT CASE – Black Ops X3 Case for iPhone 12/Pro

It stows cards. it has a kickstand. It has a durable clip. It even has a built-in window breaker in the corner in case you wanna use your phone as an emergency rescue tool. This thing ain’t messing around.

GLOVES

Durability and protection without sacrifice tactile mobility. The right pair of gloves is essential for combat units.

Mechanix tactical gloves

MECHANIX WEAR – Men’s M-Pact Gloves

You really can’t go wrong with Mechanix gloves. The armored thumb and index finger both provide durable gripping power in dry, oily and wet conditions.

Viktos tactical gloves

VIKTOS – Operatus Duty Gloves

Touchscreen compatible trigger finger and thumb comes in handy for operative your devices without having to remove your gloves. Even badasses gotta hit up the ‘Gram from time to time.

WEAPON/RIFLE SLING

Speaking of combat units, how’s your pew-pew situation looking right now? These slings are designed for maximum operational readiness.

Magpul rifle sling

MAGPUL – Gen 2 MS3 Single QD Sling

A heavy duty, reliable sling for any standard rifle platform, with a steel paraclip lever hardened for extreme resistance to wear and corrosion.

Fox Tactical rifle sling

FOX TACTICAL – Tri-Point Combat Sling

With multiple attachment components, you can adapt how you carry your weapon to your personal preference. Weighs about a half pound.

WATCH

If you’re staying in touch with someone back home, it’s useful to have a watch with multiple time zones. Plus, it never hurts to get one that’s tough as hell.

Casio G-Shock military deployment watch

CASIO – G-Shock Military Watch

You knew a G-Shock would be on this list. Oversized, impressively shock resistant, and featuring 29 different time zones. Because you know, the US military gets around.

Garmin tactical smartwatch

GARMIN – Tactix Delta GPS Smartwatch

An ultimate GPS watch packed with more tactical features and high-tech talents that the intel guys at the Pentagon probably want one for themselves. Our personal favorite function is the waypoint tracking feature that drops “bread crumbs” so you can find your way back home.

PLATE CARRIER AND CHEST RIGS

If you’re heading into a combat zone, you’ll likely be issued a plate carrier. But some service members prefer to get one that fits better than the standard issue kind. Want more options than just these two? Here’s the Top Ten Plate Carriers of 2021.

5.11 Tactical plate carrier

5.11 TACTICAL – TacTec Plate Carrier

Our most popular plate carrier accepts medium or large ballistic plates and comes in a variety of colors. Feel free to accessorize.

Rothco plate carrier with MOLLE webbing

ROTHCO – Men’s MOLLE Plate Carrier

This Rothco vest is built to be rugged and lightweight, and designed to offer ballistic protection with four plate armor pocket inserts. The padded shoulder straps are adjustable and offer a more comfortable fit all day.

BOOTS

Here’s another gear item you’ll get issued. But it doesn’t hurt to add a backup pair to your deployment checklist. Try one of these uniform-compliant pairs:

Under Armour military boots

UNDER ARMOUR – Men’s Valsetz RTS 1.5 Tactical Boots

UA ClutchFit tech wraps your ankle with a lightweight “second skin” for powerful support and incredible feel. Or as incredible as one can feel while deployed in a hellhole.

Oakley military boots

OAKLEY – Men’s Light Assault 2 Boots

An 8″ stack boot with a lace lock system for keeping laces in place even during long hours on patrol. Just remember, you’re standing there in defense of freedom and the gleaming light of democracy.

JACKETS

Didn’t your mother always tell you to bring a jacket? Don’t let her down.

GovX performance pullover for deployment

GOVX – Men’s Performance 1/4 Zip Pullover

The perfect cool-weather pullover to wear around base when you’re out of uniform. Athletically designed and moisture-wicking, it’s perfect to throw on after a good workout too.

Heavy duty military jacket for deployment

ROTHCO – Men’s Special Ops Tactical Soft Shell Jacket

The three-layer construction deflects wind, wicks away moisture, and retains heat. Packed with pockets for storing essential gear, it’s a true operator’s jacket.

COMBAT SHIRT

The combat shirt is designed to be worn next to the skin, without a T-shirt, underneath body armor. Over time, it’ll mold to your torso and become your go-to every day shirt. (It’s how you get that action movie “Operator” look.) The sleeves come with hook and loop for nametape and grade insignia.

Vertx combat shirt

VERTX – Men’s 37.5 Combat Shirt

A form-fitting and breathable garment that captures and releases moisture vapor to keep you as cool as possible in hot environments.

Tru-Spec combat shirt

TRU-SPEC – Men’s Tru Combat 1/4 Zip Shirt

Made of No Melt, No Drip CORDURA Baselayer fabric, a 60/40 cotton nylon blend that defends against flash fires. You can never be too careful.

BASELAYER AND APPAREL

Underwear and socks are just as important as the outerwear you bring on deployment. A pair of socks can make or break you on long patrols, so choose the right pair. Same goes with underwear. Here’s what we recommend.

Under Armour training t-shirt for deployment

UNDER ARMOUR – Men’s UA Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Made of lightweight UA Tech fabric for a soft, natural feel. Get ready to rock some PT.

GovX performance t-shirt for deployment

GOVX – UPF 50+ Performance Tee

The ideal daylight training shirt. With built-in UV defense, this is the ideal daylight training shirt. Plus, the tech mesh inserts at he shoulders offer cooling ventilation.

WEAPON CLEANING KIT

Take care of your gun, and your gun will take care of you. If you’re deploying to a combat zone, you’ll need the right kits to make sure your pew-pew operates in peak condition.

Gun cleaning kit for deployment

CLENZOIL – Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Packaged in a convenient zippered pouch, this universal gun kit doesn’t take up too much space in your kit, and covers popular sizes ranging from .22 caliber all the way to 12 gauge. Good enough for any arsenal.

Gun oil for deployment

CLENZOIL – Field & Range Solution with Trigger

Cleans, lubricates, and prevents rust and contaminants from fouling up your weapon. Ideally manufactured to work great in both hot and cold temperatures. Because your weapon doesn’t care what the weather’s like.

USB DEVICE CHARGING

Outlets can be a little tricky to locate in some areas. Take matters into your own hands and bring along portable charging gear to stay connected.

Portable USB power pack for deployment

GOAL ZERO – Sherpa 100Ac 120V Power Bank

When you’re downrange, sometimes you don’t have easy access to wall outlets. Because sometimes there are no walls. Solve that problem with this portable pack of power from Goal Zero.

Durable iPhone cord for deployment

OTTERBOX – Durable Charging Cables

While you’re at it, upgrade your standard charging cables to something that can withstand the rigors of wherever you’re deploying to. Braided nylon resists frays and tangles so much better than the stock cable.

HEADPHONES & AUDIO

Whether you need some headphones for some alone time traveling to and from your destination, or you want to blast some tunes in the barracks, having music along for your deployment can be a huge morale booster.

Wireless earbuds for deployment

JAYBIRD – Vista 2 Wireless Earbuds

If you enjoy training during your downtime at the range, rock these wireless earbuds designed for athletes and runners. Sweatproof and rugged, they’ll last you years of hard use.

Portable speaker for deployment

SPEAQUA – Barnacle Vibe 2.0 Speaker

The appropriately named Barnacle uses suction to attach to standard surfaces like countertops and shower walls. And then it blasts tunes straight into your face. Nice.

BATHROOM STUFF

The finishing touch on your deployment checklist? The little practical things—like a reliable pair of shower shoes— every servicemember needs.

Body lotion for men

AMP HUMAN – PR Lotion

PR Lotion is designed to maximize training and recovery by unlocking bicarb, a natural electrolyte that improves muscle function and helps combat fatigue. It’s Super-lotion.

Shower shoes for deployment

OLUKAI – Men’s ‘Ohana Koa Sandals

When it comes to showers, you might want to practice the same kind of habits you practiced in college. Get off the floor.

Check off your deployment checklist right here on GovX and stock up for your mission.

Header photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ray Lewis/Released. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.