P. Edronkin

Trekking Tips: The Use of Uniforms



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Among all survival and adventure products in any store you may frequently find some military fatigues and uniforms, mostly sporting a classical olive drab colour, camouflage designs or also in black, grey or blue.

These are generally good quality items and relatively inexpensive if you compare them to their civilian counterparts; their cost - benefit ratio is usually better because you get similar functionality but for lesser money; after all, these products have been designed to be used in combat.

These clothes, however, have some disadvantages for the outdoor sportster:

1)- You will seldom find a big variety of sizes and colours; if you are keen on fashion, you will be better with civilian clothes.

2)- Ironically, camouflage clothing may become an attention-caller under some circumstances. Sometimes it may be more advisable and discrete to just use what any tourist uses.

3)- Fabrics, sewings, waterproof treatments, etc. are usually of good quality in the case of military uniforms, but donīt expect to get the latest and most-advanced technologies because armies tend to buy really big batches of uniforms and such stuff, so it its more likely that until they buy the next lot you will have to wait for a while in the civilian after market to get the newest; these technologies and advances find their way to customers somewhat quicker thorough civilian manufacturers and merchants.

But one of the biggest advantages of military clothing regarding small expeditionary groups is standartisation fo proven gear, which also leads to the formation of a stronger team spirit for various reasons.

It is no coincidence that sports teams, armies and even demagogues have been using symbols, heraldics and uniforms for quite a while.

Regarding this last point you may choose to deny any value to the use of military uniforms for your outdoor adventures, or be a little bit more practical because they do their work and they will do it for you as well; letīs think positively, you are not, after all, neither a demagogue nor a follower of a dictator, are you?

Aside from being a tool for outdoor activities - literaly - your set of military fatigues, if used by a group of people belonging to the same organisation, constitutes and identifier, a signal both for the members of your team as well as for those outside it.

Well-established groups make the most of this characteristic: uniforms are an advertisement of sorts, but even new groups may use them to entice candidates, and to propel some īespirit de corpsī within.

If you are thinking about using uniforms for your group of adventurers, donīt limit yourself to things which may be exclusively military: you may use some military gear and some coming from the civilian life in combination. Think in practical terms, and not based on ideology or fashion because, letīs face it: an overuse of military fatigues may make you look like an extremist.

But there is also an economical reason for using uniforms to equip groups, even small ones: from a general perspective, standard-issue equipment tends to be more efficient because it lasts longer.

If you have non-standard equipment (letīs say, rainproof gear), once two or three items fall to wear and tear you just throw them away, but if all your group gear is standard, you may take some parts of those largely-unusable and otherwise expendable items to use as spares.

You may even reconstruct a third unit from two that are partially damaged or destroyed; hence, standard equipment tends to have a longer usable life.

This is known as īcannibalisation;ī you end up destroying completely two units (preferably discarded ones, that is) to build a third īnewī one.

So standard equipment and uniforms may make more sense than fashion, after all.




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