Friday, August 9, 2013

IPSC Equipment: All The Other Stuff - Part II

Okay, so this is a continuation of an article I wrote some time ago. Since that time I've competed in easily 50 matches, in different countries, and at different levels. I've also officiated at everything from small local matches to large national competitions. So I have a better grip on what "other stuff" you may need. 
Range Bags
You may recall I started out with a conventional range bag. But it didn't accommodate my every growing list of stuff, like space for spare parts, paperwork, shoes, kneepads, liquids. Now there are two schools of thought; either you're a minimalist, and you basically walk between stages with nothing other than ammo in a small bag, and perhaps a few additional items; or you haul everything with you. I fall in the latter category. I like to have a chair, umbrella, rain gear, extra shoes, a cooler, food etc. I figure if I'm there for the day, I want to be comfortable. This meant that my range bag needed an upgrade, but I didn't enjoy hauling all this stuff around. What was I to do? Well, as far as range bags were concerned, there was only one option; the DAA Range Pack Pro
It is a great piece of equipment. It holds my belt, both guns, shoes, ammo, paperwork, water, spare parts, tools, magazines, rain gear, a chair, basically everything. But it is pricey at $200.00 plus shipping. Then you have to haul this thing around. At least it has shoulder straps. Personally I prefer an easier option.
Hand Carts
My first option was the DAA Foldable Hand Cart, which is $60.00 plus shipping. I actually acquired one from Canadian Tire for CA$70.00. It works a treat, but it a little short, if you are taller. It has great wheels, and otherwise does an excellent job. Costco sells a similar one for a lot less, but it is rubbish, and the wheels are simply too small to handle rough terrain.
The only hassle with the cart is that you have to offload everything at every stage, use what you need, and then pack it all up again. I continue to use my cart for indoor events, where you don't have to haul as much stuff, but I noticed a trend at the larger US matches, and switched for outdoor competitions; a wagon.
Yes, the ultimate in gear hauling devices. I acquired mine from a sports shop somewhere, for about $70.00,  a bargain at the price. They are simply awesome, and I've never regretted the decision. These are available from various outlets, most commonly Costco. I was an early adopter and I've noticed many more of these things around. You can comfortably carry around your cooler, range bag, chairs, etc. They fold flat, and are very easy to use. You no longer have to unpack and repack, since everything is easily accessible. But beware of the lazy team mate that dumps his crap on your wagon.
Okay, I must admit, I did "upgrade" mine. I couldn't help myself, and it was for pure vanity reasons. It's the big daddy of wagons, which I acquired from Frontgate for $200.00. It isn't any better, or more functional. It is just more rugged looking and more spacious. Take your pick.
Rain Gear
It is surprising how many times you end up shooting, and working in the rain. Make sure you have an umbrella. A cheap golf umbrella will do the trick. Also, keep a raincoat handy. This helps with your working stints. For shooting, I use a DAA Shooting Vest. It fits in a way that allows me to still access my equipment, and also has a hoodie. It provides warmth and keeps me dry. But I notice they don't stock them anymore. Too bad. 
Finally, don't forget the bug spray and sun screen.
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