A Look Inside the U.S. Army Jungle Soldier 72-Hour Bag

 October 11, 2023

The U.S. Army Jungle Operations Training Center provides a comprehensive guide to the essentials a soldier must carry for a 72-hour mission in the jungle. This article delves into the meticulous planning and selection of gear that ensures survival, efficiency, and combat readiness in challenging environments.

The Importance of Gear Selection

When it comes to survival in the jungle, the right gear can make all the difference. Sgt. Brett Bostick, an instructor at the Jungle Operations Training Center, emphasizes the importance of lightweight, durable gear that can dry quickly. The gear is not just randomly chosen; it's meticulously selected to ensure that soldiers are prepared for any situation they might encounter.

The Essentials for Camouflage and Protection

The first item on the list is face paint, essential for camouflage. Australian face paint is preferred due to its makeup-like consistency and added sun protection. Helmets are also crucial, offering protection during rappelling or firefights.

Navigating Through the Jungle

Despite advancements in technology, traditional navigation tools like maps and compasses remain vital. This is due to the signal challenges often encountered in jungle environments. The bag includes a Princeton Tec headlamp, a highly accurate Garmin 601 GPS, pace beads for measuring distance, and two types of compasses. Writing tools like map markers and a laminated map are also essential for navigation and note-taking.

Survival and Sustenance

The ALICE Rucksack contains the Colt M4, a standard-issue rifle for individual soldiers. Waterproof bags are crucial for housing dry clothes, extra food, sensitive items, and sleeping bags. The survival kit is a mini-arsenal of its own, containing a handsaw, steel wool, fire-starting items, waterproof matches, iodine tablets for water purification, and much more. Emergency food packets of tuna and chicken are also included, with a Jetboil for boiling water or cooking.

Additional Gear for Efficiency

Load-bearing equipment like the old-school Vietnam ALICE belt is preferred for its cooling advantages. It carries magazines, water, and a first-aid kit. Additional items like a VS17 panel for marking aircraft and a smaller survival kit serve as backups in case the primary kits are lost.


The 72-hour bag is a testament to the U.S. Army's commitment to ensuring that its soldiers are well-equipped for any challenges they may face. It reflects the valor and resilience required to operate in one of the most demanding environments on Earth. Sgt. Bostick's detailed breakdown serves as a valuable guide for understanding the level of preparedness and dedication that goes into serving as a U.S. Army Jungle Soldier.

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