The point of the thread is to show gear that you're actually using, so that if you're taking your BOB somewhere and never use anything out of it, you can tell what you actually need. I know for myself I had a lot of stuff on my first trip to Iraq that I never ended up using, a Camelbak being one of those things (oddly enough). In between trips I shed and swapped out some things that just proved all around more useful for my situation and environment. Things like swapping out my sleeping bag for a poncho liner, dumping the Camelbak since we have tons of bottled water around, and adding a couple of high-powered flashlights to my gear were from lessons learned in the field, not read on a website. Some things stayed the same of course, from the packs I used to the Ka-Bar that I seem to be using almost daily. Off-hand between the two deployments these are the changes I made:
excess bulky clothing
Surefire flashlights (darkness sucks)
more paracord (300' this time)
extra first-aid items like bandages and such
Another thing I learned is that if you don't have decent strap management, you can get your ass whipped by a Kifaru pack while riding in a Blackhawk with the windows open, damn rotor wash. Gotta solve that issue when the next paycheck hits. My favorite new addition to my gear though is that my E&E now has some of my own blood on it, nothing makes you feel like you put your stamp of ownership on something than bleeding on it
The ideal goal is to see what people use in certain situations that help them more than others, and how their gear has been affected by it's use. The reason I posted mainly about my packs is that for bugging in and out of country twice, loading on helicopters and going from FOB to FOB, having a nice carry system has been a dream for my back. I don't use the whole set-up all that often but when I need to use it, my body really thanks me. If you spend $50 on a pair of boots because you didn't want to drop $200 for a high-end pair, how did they hold up when you took them out and used them? All the pics of brand new gear is fine and dandy, but I'm more interested in seeing gear that's seen field use and lived to tell the tale.
Thanks to you guys for posting pics, I'd like to see more stuff that's been around the block a few times. Hell some of the stuff they are selling as brand new in the PX here in Iraq looks as though it has more miles on it than the gear that people are posting.
And Woods, I'm with you on the Kayak. I've been looking around for a good kayak to play with and fish off of when I get back to the states.