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Task & Purpose photo by James Clark

While I was in the Marines, I served as a combat correspondent, deploying twice to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. While I had a fair amount of training on how to do my job, it never included instruction on how to set up my kit so I could work comfortably and effectively.

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade

It goes by many names: Deuce gear, TA-50, or 782 gear. Whatever the nickname, load-bearing equipment is some of the most important kit carried by infantry, special operations, and anyone else whose job is to fight on foot. Since the advent of modular lightweight load-carrying equipment and the accompanying pouch attachment ladder system in the late 1990s, the commercial and government gear market has rapidly grown, particularly since the onset of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Tactical nylon” companies are not just producing innovations in load-bearing gear, but uniforms and footwear as well. Here’s a few areas where troop gear has gotten better.

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