Must-have Gear for an Airsoft MILSIM Event to Avoid Being the Odd One Out

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The Definitive MILSIM Gear List

Preparation for a MILSIM airsoft event is challenging. We all know the challenges of deciding what to bring or not to bring. You probably got here because you were googling a solution to your issue. Or maybe you simply asked your teammate to help you to get ready for a MILSIM and he/she shared this article with you.

You probably feel that this is not “your typical 8 AM to 1 PM Sunday game” and you are correct, you must do your due diligence because once this 24/48 hr (or longer) event begins you will be on your own. So what can you do to do your best at preparing for MILSIMs? How to avoid newbie mistakes? How to enjoy your game and not worry about avoidable problems?

In this article, you are going to learn about the importance of MILSIM preparation and how to do it properly to avoid the feeling of “oh damn I forgot this thing!“
Keep on reading. Airsoft MILSIMs are worth the extra preparation. As they are amazing and unforgettable experiences for individuals and whole teams.

But first things first…

Table of contents

  1. Airsoft MILSIM? What’s That?
  2. So Why is Preparation for Airsoft MILSIMs important?
  3. How Do You Prepare Properly for an Airsoft MILSIM then?
    1. Health Support
    2. Clothing
    3. Weapon-Related
    4. Survival
  4. Some tips when using sleeping bags
  5. Tools and items you will need (from most to least useful)

Airsoft MILSIM? What’s That?

Generally speaking, MILSIM is an acronym for military simulations conducted by civilians mostly for entertainment (sometimes for tactical training).

For most players, airsoft is only a quick Sunday game, an activity to get some exercise and have a good time. But airsoft is so much more than that, one of its advanced aspects is MILSIM events. These MILSIM events can host hundreds of players, hundreds of square miles of playable terrain, even whole towns and real military equipment such as tanks and helicopters!

MILSIMs can be a way to leave your daily problems, routines and job-related stress. Losing your formal dress for your cozy military uniform, plate carrier, and your favorite camo-cap.
Just imagine the feeling you get when you go with your teammates for a whole weekend, starting on Friday evening, going until midday Sunday; true undisturbed Bro-Time!

The goal of the airsoft MILSIMs is to recreate historical battles or to practice realistic scenarios. As an example, you can find a lot of good videos by googling “Vietnam airsoft MILSIM” like this one (by USAirsoft), where people dress like American or Viet Cong soldiers from the Vietnam war and the mission’s objectives are similar to real Vietnam war events from 1954 -1974.

Other popular Afgan themed events where the West meets the Middle East, players dress up like US Marines or Afghan villagers and terrorists. Can you feel the sand blowing into your face? That’s the immersion that airsoft MILSIMs are designed to deliver.

As you might expect most of the MILSIMs are organized in the US. The most popular organizers of these events in the USA are MILSIM West, Centurion, and American MILSIM.

You should try to stay well informed because tickets for most popular events can be sold out in no-time!

So Why is Preparation for Airsoft MILSIMs important?

Sometimes our guns are not in tiptop shape, not enough time or money to fully service them. A little bit of duct tape here and some electrical tape there and you are good to go, no? This can work 99% of the time but as Murphy’s law says “what can go bad will go bad” and MILSIMs hate unpreparedness. Even if your gun works 99% of the time, you should give it some love and service care before this trip. Because you certainly won’t enjoy your time if your gun goes click but not bang.

What about a new gun then? Remember that time you brought a brand new gun for a play? Weather was great, your favorite playing field and that brand new gun feel! Eager to play get some kills or even dominate the field! You can do that! But when you pull the trigger you are greeted with that awkward silence? The battery is dead because you forgot to charge it a day before.

two airsoft guns AK replicas with a helmet for airsoft with Smart Armaments patch
It’s important to have a spare airsoft gun when entering a long-lasting event such as MILSIM

Trust me you don’t want that to happen anytime but even more when you are on a MILSIM, you can’t just go home and grab new battery. Remember to charge your batteries and bring additional ones (you can always leave them in your car).

Still not convinced?

Maybe you have a well-proven gun, a whole trailer of spare batteries, you are out on a MILSIM doing just fine and dandy, your fitness pal beeps from time to time informing you that yet again you have beat your record for walking and running. But day is coming to an end and it’s getting darker and darker every minute. Suddenly you and your team are standing in the middle of the pitch black woods and no one has a flashlight Is not this how horror movies start?

But let pretend that it’s not another C class-moving picture and somehow you manage to get back to your base, maybe you lost a man or two (but let’s be honest you didn’t like them that much anyway), but nonetheless, it is a great success! As you eat your MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) bought on eBay, you are watching other teams building their campsites, tents, sleeping bags all that UNNECESSARY stuff, what losers! REAL MEN do not need to sleep! It would not be your first sleepless night right? You can do that!

MRE meal ready to eat
A photo of a Meal Ready to Eat by Pxhere.

After washing down that meal with some cola your team goes on a night mission. Turns out you did have a flashlight in your camp gear, you are using it to light the way, then suddenly fire begins! You duck and in the excitement, you turn off the flashlight and try to localize targets, but hey they don’t use flashlights! How can you track them? You hear a twig snapping so you point your light in that direction and prepare to fire but instead, you get hit. Now you must walk 3 miles back to your base to a spawn point – what a bummer!

Unfortunately, the situation repeats time after time and you are getting tired (maybe using a flashlight is not a good idea?). After another kill, you are getting very sleepy and suddenly that whole charade with setting up camp no longer looks that stupid, but hey you can lay on the ground and catch a short nap what could go wrong?

Okay, the ground is a little bit cold, not terrible, pretty comfy for now. As time goes by it’s getting colder and colder then suddenly a massive muscle contraction hits your leg! You are trying to move your leg, hoping it will help, but the pain is unbelievable! Then the same strikes the other leg! Now you can’t move or do anything, fortunately, you lose consciousness and fall asleep.

Will you wake up with a burst of sunshine on your cheek and birds singing over your head? Nope, the cold and shivers wake you up, and it’s not the end of bad news it is still night! As you try to warm up and make a fire (you would literally kill for a hot mug of tea) first rays of sunshine pass through the canopy. You feel that something is not right, as soon as that crosses your mind you can hear a rain of bullets over your head! Where is my gun? As you are thinking that, you get hit, time to pack up and head to the respawn point again.

Shaking from the cold, tired as a dog and probably swearing under your breath you decide to leave this mess and go home. As you drive home you are thinking what a terrible idea it was to come and where can you unload your airsoft gear.

But all those bad experiences could actually all have been avoided. But how?

How Do You Prepare Properly for an Airsoft MILSIM then?

You can differentiate between at least 4 categories of gear that you can bring to the game. They are health supporting, clothing, weapon-related, and survival. All of them have a similar priority for good preparation.

Health Support

I personally cannot imagine going out for 24-40 hours without at least 1 – 1.5 gallons of water to stay hydrated during the entire MILSIM. The intensity of a MILSIM is not as high as in CQB game, but you need to have the endurance to survive for a long time.

The second most basic thing is to keep your belly full, there is a reason people say “An army marches on its stomach“. That’s why it is worth bringing meals that will supply you with at least 2800 kcals a day. But, if you are as lazy as I am, you should consider searching for MREs (Meal Ready to Eat) on eBay or Amazon. I bet you will find a suitable option for you with dishes appropriate to your tastes. The price should be around $7-$8 USD per pack. If you want to go fancy just search for French RCIR, those are much tastier than American MRE’s, trust me it is a gourmet meal.

Another useful item is an energy gel it is created for rapid energy regeneration and consists mainly of basic sugars, just throw one or two bags into your gear and always keep it on hand. All you have to do is just eat it and wash it down with some water, give it 15 minutes and after that you will feel like new!

Last but not least is a personal medical kit, many tactical vests have dedicated pouches for the purpose of carrying a first aid kit with you. A personal medkit tutorial article is on my To Do list but at this time please remember to bring some basic medical utensils like bandages, antiseptic tissues, space blanket, painkillers of your choice, also isotonic and magnesium pills will save your muscles from those painful contractions. Trust me, and my experience, you will have painful muscle contractions after 12 hours of intense movement, stress, and exhaustion.

A knee hurt in an airsoft game
A knee hurt in an airsoft game

The next one on my list is…

Clothing

Don’t get fooled by the good weather during the day. Nights can be tricky unless you live in the Bahamas. You probably don’t, right? Then taking additional warmer clothes for nightraids should be a priority. Additionally, don’t underestimate the rain. There are plenty of military ponchos available in many different types of camouflage. When picking one for yourself keep in mind that the smaller and lighter the raincoat, the better it is, after all, you will have to carry it with you almost all the time.

What will be the most abused part of your body? Feet, of course! I was that kind of guy who played airsoft with regular long socks, but my airsoft life has changed since I got a pair of trekking socks from Mil-Tec designed for longer adventures. MILSIM games not the same anymore. I strongly recommend a minimum of one pair for you, too!

Weapon-Related

As in the situation mentioned earlier in this article, you wouldn’t like to face the moment when you are aimed at the enemy having 100% chance of taking him down, but the only thing you get is the silence of a dead battery.

You shouldn’t discharge your battery under certain level because it may damage it permanently. To avoid that, you can check the Battery Supervisor feature of a SIGMA AEP MOSFET by Smart Armaments.

That’s why taking a few spare parts for your gun or even a reserve AEG would not be a bad idea. Magazines? Bring them. They like to get broken or lost too. BB loader? There is no other thing in the world that gets lost so easily. Include at least 2 pcs on your airsoft MILSIM loadout list.

Airsoft equipment for a MILSIM event
Airsoft equipment for a MILSIM event

Is it possible to avoid the dead battery situation in a different way? How about by taking control by knowing the remaining battery charge and your AEG status. That again the reason I would like to encourage you to sign up for our newsletter list to get info about The Tactical Compute unit we are going to launch soon.

Survival

Okay, we all have been there already in the part of discussing the importance of proper preparation for the airsoft milsim. Your long-term endurance and survival during a MILSIM, will be directly attached to your equipment. So what sort of equipment will you need?

For sure you will need a tent, but which type of tent? Let’s make some assumptions:

  1. Your campsite is stationary for the whole event, and maybe you have some kind of transportation, so the total weight is not that crucial. If so, you can consider automatically deployable tent. Usually those look like flat circle when they are collapsed. The best part of that is an automatic deployment, it literally takes few seconds just take the cover off and throw the tent in a place, put some spikes down and Bob’s your uncle! Folding the tent is slightly more difficult because you need to know how specifically to fold the tent back to that nice circle, after some practice it may take you under a minute. Also, you can find very cheap auto-folding tents as low as $20 USD, but please be aware that cheaper ones usually are only slightly waterproof, so bigger downpours can be a problem.
  2. If you need high mobility, a lightweight tent is your friend, but please mind that cost of the tent grows proportionally to its lightness. If you don’t need high rain resistance you can also find very cheap chinese tents that weighs about 2-3 lbs and you can always bring some tarp to put over your tent. Of course, if you have a budget and you want the best ones. You can get a professional tent (under 1 lbs) with carbon fiber and gore-tex material, but in my opinion if you are going to use that tent only once or twice a year cheap chinese one might be more efficient.

Next is a sleeping bag. In case you haven’t looked there are many different types from cheap ones to freaking expensive ones. Which one should you choose then?

That greatly depends on the expected night temperatures, but there is one major rule of thumb, which is “better be safe than sorry”. If you will get too hot in your sleeping bag you can always unzip it. On the other hand, if your sleeping bag is too cold you cannot do much about it.

My opinion is similar to that from tent selection part – if you will use it only once or twice get something cheaper (but still warm) the second best option is military surplus – you can find great quality (gore-tex and advanced insulating materials) sleeping bags for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Some tips when using sleeping bags

  • Don’t go to sleep if you are cold. Do some movement exercise to warm yourself first. That way you will be way more comfortable all night.
  • Change your clothes – after a whole day your clothes may be damp or cold and that is the worst thing to have in your sleeping bag.
  • Wearing less clothing may get you a warmer night – that may seem counterintuitive but bear with me – air is great insulator and if you have thick clothing, you will not be able to heat the sleeping bag.
  • Eat something before going to sleep – I know that you are not supposed to do that, but that is under normal circumstances. Your digestive tract produces a lot of heat when it’s working.
  • Keep your nose outside the sleeping bag! Water condensing inside your sleeping bag is a very bad thing!
  • You should put something under your sleeping bag to insulate it from the ground. You can use special foam mat or just some clothes, remember that ground sucks your heat 10x as fast as air!

Tools and items you will need (from most to least useful)

  1. Multitool – as the name suggest that are multiple tools combined into one handy unit. Knife, pliers, can opener and saw are the must have, other tools like scissors screwdrivers, etc. are just good addition. Please mind that cheap multi tools are craptastic and you really should get a Leatherman or Victorinox, or get Gerber if you can’t get other two.
  2. Matches and lighter – you always need the ability to make fire.
  3. Mosquitos and tick repellent – sure it won’t be necessary if you are going to a desert but any other climate and you will be swarmed by mosquitoes in the evening. Ticks are quite underrated, they don’t bite painfully or swarm you but just read about the illnesses that they carry, scary, huh? For mosquitoes and tick repellent I strongly recommend DEET 25% or more, any other product does not work as well (or even at all, like that eco friendly herbal sprays). Additionally you can cover your gear (tent also) with Permethrin. This stuff is amazing! If any bug touches the Permethrin-covered textile, that bug has literally seconds left to live! But there is one downside if you have a cat don’t use it because it is also toxic for them, dogs are safe though.
  4. Stainless steel cup – you can boil water or heat food in it,(do not buy double wall insulated one cos you will not be able to heat anything inside!)you get a titanium one if you want to be fancy.
  5. Spork (a fork and spoon combined) you don’t really need it if you have a MRE but it is nicer to use than plastic one and you can even get a stainless steel or even a titanium one in china for $2 USD
  6. Map – these days everyone has Google Maps and gps on their phones but phones can run out of batteries, and then you are lost.
  7. Flashlight with spare batteries. It’s dark at night, trust me.
  8. Hat – pack it, especially in summer. In addition to protecting your skull from sun it looks great and blurs your head contours making you harder to spot.
  9. Radio – very useful to communicate with your team, please also remember about an earpiece
  10. Flashing red light – very useful to mark that you are going to spawn point especially at night it will save you some pain from bullets. Obligatory at some MILSIMs
  11. Instant cold and instant heat packs – very useful for joint and muscle pain. Also heat packs can help you stay warm at night.
  12. Saw (bigger than that one in your multitool ) useful to cut some firewood or clear a camping site.
  13. Shovel allows you to dig foxhole and flatten the camp site.

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