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  • Web Gear

    I am a PCF with a San Luis Obispo County/CDF Fire Department on the central coast of California. This will be my first wildland season and while I have been issued webgear with two canteens and a fire shelter, my recent wildland drills have shown me that a certain level of customization is in order. Having talked to different people I have found some wide ranging approaches for setting up well rounded Web-Gear. My goals for my webgear are pretty straight forward (I think):
    -Large supply of water (I was thinking some sort of Camelbak type device)
    -Fire Shelter (required)
    -Easy access to a hose clamp (I have heard 2.5" hose cut and attached to the belt works well?)
    -Some storage for hose appliances

    Is there anything else I should be considering? I have found that with my two plastic canteens that were situated almost on the back of my belt that they were digging into me when hauling hosepacks. A drinking water reservoir situated hanging just below the back of my webgear seems like a good idea (I dont see myself spending much time sitting down) since it would stay more out of the way. What do some people here use for hydration? I have seen some water systems that go on the back but doesnt that cause problems when wearing hose packs?

    It has also been suggested to me that its a good idea to carry 100' pencil line for mop up on my webgear. It doesnt have much weight but it seems that every bit of weight that you can save helps, even if it means trecking back to the engine for mop up tools. Does anyone else carry small diameter hose on their gear?

    For tools and appliances I have seen many people use a section of 2.5" hose to store hose clamps. Is this a pretty sound way of doing it? Any other interesting ideas on the subject that might prove more useful?

    Finially, most people have said that I just need to experience a few fires to find out what works for me but I'm curious to hear what works for others and why.

    Cheers,

    Drew

    Drew

  • #2
    Although I only have experience with a shot crew, there are a few things to remember:

    1. The more water, the better. We carried 7 canteens a piece.
    2. Leave room for your lunch, sometimes you may not make it back to the engine.
    3. Not sure about the area your in, but there is always the possibility that you may get pull far from the engine. Carry enough supplies to be self sufficient for at least 24 hrs.

    It is going to take a few fires to determine what you will need with you. Take time to talk to the senior firefighters and see what they recommend. Weight sucks, but some times it is necessary. My pack weighted around 40 lbs, and that was with only the required supplies that were assigned to me. Then add a cubie and your set. Good luck with the season and stay safe.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ingkey
      Although I only have experience with a shot crew, there are a few things to remember:

      1. The more water, the better. We carried 7 canteens a piece.
      2. Leave room for your lunch, sometimes you may not make it back to the engine.
      3. Not sure about the area your in, but there is always the possibility that you may get pull far from the engine. Carry enough supplies to be self sufficient for at least 24 hrs.

      It is going to take a few fires to determine what you will need with you. Take time to talk to the senior firefighters and see what they recommend. Weight sucks, but some times it is necessary. My pack weighted around 40 lbs, and that was with only the required supplies that were assigned to me. Then add a cubie and your set. Good luck with the season and stay safe.
      What was the total carrying capacity of those 7 canteens? What did you carry for lunch?

      Cheers,

      Drew

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by aswestby
        What was the total carrying capacity of those 7 canteens? What did you carry for lunch?

        Cheers,

        Drew
        They are 1 qt, standard issue canteens. We were required to carry one MRE for emergencies. Then, depending on where we were at, either another MRE for lunch or part of a sack lunch that we were given at fire camp, usually a couple of sandwhiches and a snack of sort.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ingkey
          They are 1 qt, standard issue canteens. We were required to carry one MRE for emergencies. Then, depending on where we were at, either another MRE for lunch or part of a sack lunch that we were given at fire camp, usually a couple of sandwhiches and a snack of sort.
          Thanks! You have been most helpful!

          Drew

          Comment


          • #6
            I work a similar fuel type over here in the foothills. But I often wind up anywhere from the grass in the valley to the timber in the high Sierras. But as an engine based firefighter I set up my web gear a little differently than I did when I worked the hand crew.

            1. When I was on the crew I carried my shelter sideways behind my backside. (I know it is discouraged now but I don't really believe in them anyway.) But if you are going to be on an engine then don't carry anything behind you. You have to sit on the seat wearing the gear a lot and it will kill you to have anything back there

            2. I carry only 2 quarts of water and make sure the engine is well supplied for refills. I try not to work too far from the engine, that is a hand crew's job. When I was on the crew I carried two 1/2 gallon military bladder canteens on the belt and another 5 quarts in the backpack part but I don't use the backpack now.

            3. I have never found it worthwhile to make a hose clamp holder. It would be nice but hose clamping in a big hurry is very rarely done on an actual fire around here. I carry it in the little fanny pack and unzip it when I need it.

            4. I carry 1 or 2 50' sections of pencil hose, a nozzle, and a 1" NPSH to 3/4 hose reducer in the fanny pack also. That stuff is light and saves a trip back to the engine. I do prefer 1" if I can though.

            5. I carry a beanie in the fanny pack also. You can be busting your arse and sweating, all of a sudden the sun goes down, the fire dies down, and you can find yourself very cold. The beanie helps a lot.

            That's all. I keep it light, I let the engine do most of the carrying for me

            I don't carry food on my person. However I do make sure the engine has at least a dozen MREs and plenty of water as stated, also at fire camp I always get at least 2 lunches per person if not 3. You never know how long it will be before you see civilization again. I will not eat the MREs unless I have been without food for 12 hours and it looks like no resupply. I do actually like them but they are for emergencies and expensive so I try to stretch them as far as possible.

            Also one item that is absolutely essential is a folding canvas chair, you know the type. When out on the fires you will spend a mind boggling amount of time absolutely idle. You want to conserve energy in this time not run around like some hyperactive kid so the chair makes it all the more comfortable to sit around taking it easy. Make sure you continuously sip lots of water during this time, you will need it later.

            And finally any chance you get to eat, $#!+, shower, shave, or sleep, take it for all it's worth, you never know how many days it will be before you get that chance again

            Boy I have sure rambled this time but I got a lot to say about this subject, the simple things like the chair make the time spent out so much better

            Birken

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BirkenVogt
              I work a similar fuel type over here in the foothills. But I often wind up anywhere from the grass in the valley to the timber in the high Sierras. But as an engine based firefighter I set up my web gear a little differently than I did when I worked the hand crew.

              1. When I was on the crew I carried my shelter sideways behind my backside. (I know it is discouraged now but I don't really believe in them anyway.) But if you are going to be on an engine then don't carry anything behind you. You have to sit on the seat wearing the gear a lot and it will kill you to have anything back there

              2. I carry only 2 quarts of water and make sure the engine is well supplied for refills. I try not to work too far from the engine, that is a hand crew's job. When I was on the crew I carried two 1/2 gallon military bladder canteens on the belt and another 5 quarts in the backpack part but I don't use the backpack now.

              3. I have never found it worthwhile to make a hose clamp holder. It would be nice but hose clamping in a big hurry is very rarely done on an actual fire around here. I carry it in the little fanny pack and unzip it when I need it.

              4. I carry 1 or 2 50' sections of pencil hose, a nozzle, and a 1" NPSH to 3/4 hose reducer in the fanny pack also. That stuff is light and saves a trip back to the engine. I do prefer 1" if I can though.

              5. I carry a beanie in the fanny pack also. You can be busting your arse and sweating, all of a sudden the sun goes down, the fire dies down, and you can find yourself very cold. The beanie helps a lot.

              That's all. I keep it light, I let the engine do most of the carrying for me

              I don't carry food on my person. However I do make sure the engine has at least a dozen MREs and plenty of water as stated, also at fire camp I always get at least 2 lunches per person if not 3. You never know how long it will be before you see civilization again. I will not eat the MREs unless I have been without food for 12 hours and it looks like no resupply. I do actually like them but they are for emergencies and expensive so I try to stretch them as far as possible.

              Also one item that is absolutely essential is a folding canvas chair, you know the type. When out on the fires you will spend a mind boggling amount of time absolutely idle. You want to conserve energy in this time not run around like some hyperactive kid so the chair makes it all the more comfortable to sit around taking it easy. Make sure you continuously sip lots of water during this time, you will need it later.

              And finally any chance you get to eat, $#!+, shower, shave, or sleep, take it for all it's worth, you never know how many days it will be before you get that chance again

              Boy I have sure rambled this time but I got a lot to say about this subject, the simple things like the chair make the time spent out so much better

              Birken
              Great! Thank you!

              Drew

              Comment


              • #8
                I work as a seasonal with CDF and have been on a few fires.as an engine slug i found that there are two schools of thought with reguards to webgear. go light, and make frequent trips to the engine or go heavy and carry the things you might need on the line. I go heavy cause I dont like to make alot of trips to the engine if I'm on the line. I also bought my own web gear cause I can use it for volunteering, wolf pack is a good brand, a bit heavier but tougher then the FSS stuff, and is CDF approved. A camelback is part of my web gear which carries 2 liters, I carry a compass, signal mirrow, whisle, fusee's, hose clamp, shelter, radio harness with radio, cellphone, camera, wire cutters for cutting fence or repairing fence. I have no need for food cause we are typiclly not too far from our engine so the bag lunch's can chill there. like said before you will find what works for you after a few fires. good luck maybe i'll see ya on a big fire.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You know I forgot to mention, there are a lot of brands out ther but I prefer the FSS stuff, it is comfortable enough, it works well and best of all it is FREE...to me anyway...I make it a general rule not to spend my own money to buy stuff my employer should buy for me.

                  Birken

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We have a detatchable pack style of webgear made by Ruffian, its a nice pack. When working around the engine I just use the webgear, I have a 3 liter camelback, one of the new fireshelters (new, improved and even bigger than the old ones). It also has a beltpouch for a few items, clear safety glasses in case we're out after dark, a small roll of P-cord, roll of flagging. first aid kit and a couple packs of peanuts, jerky, payday bar etc (usually left overs from sack lunches) in case I get the munchies, for real food I have to go back to the engine. If we are tooling up to hike into a fire, I have the pack, in the pack I keep 2 MRE's, a sweatshirt, 2- 1 Qt canteens, another roll of flagging, a headlamp, box of AA batteries, bigger bag of jerky and a few other small things that escape me at the moment.

                    In my radio harness I have a compass, notepad, signal mirror, frequency book, spare clamshell and usually the IAP if I'm on a larger fire.

                    We use gasner packs so there is really no need for hoseclamps most of the time. We do have a couple in belt pouches for when we work with CDF.
                    Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 04-25-2006, 10:47 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I may be an asst. capt on an engine, but my line gear hasn't changed that much from when I was on a handcrew...

                      I use an eagle gear pack, and carry
                      • 4 qts of water, sometimes more,
                      • a few clif bars,
                      • MRE - gutted to only what I consider worth carrying,
                      • Toilet paper (i keep it in a freezer ziplock bag
                      • a box of batteries,
                      • approx. 100' of Parachute cord,
                      • various flagging - spot fire, hazard tree,
                      • a small first aid kit,
                      • and the common parts easily lost/broken on a chain saw - bearings, starter cord, spark plug, bar nuts, E-clip (all kept in one of the plastic first aid kit containers)
                      • a thermal shirt,
                      • mini-binoculars,
                      • extra canteen lid or 2,
                      • small rainjacket that packs into itself
                      • spanner wrench clipped to carabiner on the outside
                      • space blanket in outside pocket against my back
                      • extra pair of gloves -just broken in, not brand new stiff
                      • headlamp and pelican stealthlite


                      there may be a few other things, but that's the highlights. These things are usually (except for when I take it out and forget to replace it) in my pack on every fire - I don't have the detachable style. I didn't list a fire shelter because it is there, no questions asked.

                      Hope this helps. The biggest drawback to a larger pack is the strange desire to want to fill it full of stuff that may only see the light of day when you wear out the pack and transfer stuff from the old to the new.
                      Last edited by RxFire; 05-11-2006, 02:05 AM.
                      IACOJ
                      Stopping controlled burning DOES NOT stop the burning, only the control!
                      http://www.wy.blm.gov/fireuse/fums.htm

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've seen the Eagle pack from when I was on the hand crew but I would think having to take it off and on every time you sit in the seat would be a real hassle. I like the GSA because I keep everything on my sides and nothing goes around behind me. Also have you Federal guys been inflicted with the new blue, extra large, extra heavy fire shelter yet. I bet that makes a lot of packs that had a built in fire shelter pouch for the old size obsolete.

                        Ah I remember the good old days when you could carry the same old fire shelter year after year, nowadays there is some critical update once or even twice a season it seems

                        Birken

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Birken,

                          Actually our interagency fire zone refused to put them into service... we found that the they did NOT fit for taller firefighters (6' + ) and larger bodies... and when we had folks who were both big and tall, the problem was compounded.

                          We don't have all that much hopping in and out of the engine... and when we do, we often just hang our pack off the mirrors or a tall valve assembly unless we are going a considerable distance.. then we just put the pack away in the compartments. We are an area much like the Lassen and Modoc NF's.... Great Basin/Ponderosa Pine zone.
                          IACOJ
                          Stopping controlled burning DOES NOT stop the burning, only the control!
                          http://www.wy.blm.gov/fireuse/fums.htm

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My crew had all the Eagel packs modified to fit the new shelters. Now the really chafe your *** a lot. Im 6'4 and I was able to sqeeze into the normal big blue shelter. I know that this season they are upgrading and us big guys have to carry an even bigger shelter. More chafeing I guess.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We started issuing the new shelters last year and as mentioned they are smaller (deployed) than the old ones, this is because they are going with two sizes, the large shelters are supposed to be issued this year but I don't have mine yet.

                              The new shelters are noticably larger and heavier than the old ones but they say they will work much better, personally I don't plan to find that out. Also much more expensive, about 3x the price of the old ones. The old style shelter is still good for now but I have heard they will no longer be acceptable in a few years (2009?).

                              Comment

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