It is my humble opinion that the full current 24/72 hour gear misses the realism mark with its current list.
The 72hour gear can now be a duffel bag that's left in the vehicle...
MRE=one-serving; Mountain House=three-servings or more.
The problem with "community" gear is"Who pays for it?""Who stores it?"For food "Who buys it?" "Cooks it?"
BUT, it's us very inexpensive to buy pasta, oatmeal, dehydrated chili, etc and preportion one's one servings into very hefty zip lock bags. Usually, warm to hot water is good enough. You don't need boiling water that would melt through a bag to rehydrate most foods. And if you do have time, sit down and prepare it in small mess kit. You can always use mre heater units with homemade mres.
MREs are car camping food at best, and at that, much healthier and quality food can be carried in a vehicle. Military surplus is often not the best choice these days for what we do. If it's free, that's one thing. But I see too many newbies run off to surplus stores for Alice packs when are far, far more comfortable and utilitarian packs can be had for the same price elsewhere. If we want to be looked upon as a competent SAR resource, to an extent, we need to look and train like the professionals do. A 10 person Coleman tent might be what a newbie already has sitting in his garage, but it's a poor choice for SAR. A tactikool vest with trauma plate may look the part, but it's extra weight that tires a person out.
Let's not make SAR cost prohibitive,
Also, mREs are bulky and generate a lot of trash.
Buying chili, pasta, etc. and packing them into zip-lock bags takes me time I could be doing other things. Plus these bags are not as long-lasting as MREs.And having to pack a mess kit, no matter how small, is as bulky as packing MREs, if not more. And when / how do I clean it? Am I going to carry soap dish in my 24-hour pack? Or in my 72-hour pack? So I have to put a dirty mess kit in my 24-hour pack if my dish soap is in my 72-hour pack...
People have their gear stuffed in their trunk for months at a time - another reason MREs are usually used - they have a shelf life of 1-10 years (usuallyabout 3-4 in reality, 10 years re freezing).
Who is responsible for the custodianship of an airplane? Who is the custodian of wing van, or radios, or issues laptops? Not a new concept here. You want to be part of your squadron's Ground Team? Welcome aboard. Now you have some additional responsibilities.
Part of legitimate military training is teaching our war fighters to think for themselves. Sometimes they carry their own modified gear into the field. We are not war fighters, but the concept of making your own gear ----- especially as it relates to the wee- long and intellectually challenging activity of pouring a cup of pasta into a zip lock bag --- is not unheard of or unreasonable.
But don't expect most members who are active in SAR 2-3 times a year to be making pasta every night hoping "tomorrow is the day".
In the VAST majority of missions, the members are walking 40 feet from the van with a vest, l-per and compass, eating atMcD's and never touching most of their gear, which is really only there for the most grave of emergencies.
Dry pasta in a zip lock will last six months. In a humid car trunk.
Then the required gear list should reflect this, meaning duffel [FTFY] duffle bags with a spare uniform and some change for McDonald's. You aren't going to spend 72 hours in a cap van, or sleep in it for three nights then. Gear should reflect this.
A good example is when CAP radio people get bent out of shape over not saying "over and out" all the time when using radios. That is the most common indicator they have never used a radio in a real intense SAR situation. Professionals drop that because it gets in the way of passing important traffic. I would know. I've been directly saving lives over a radio for years now. In many ways, the way I see CAP train for SAR tells me that many of the trainer's have not actually done SAR before, or at least front line SAR before. I feel CAP shines more at a mission base level, and is less adept at the tactical level. Of course, your mileage will vary on this.