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#226 Tactical Gear

March 1, 2021

If there is one thing on which today’s Expat Aid Workers unanimously agree, it is the need to be and look ready for any environment. And by “any environment” we specifically mean the kinds of places where you can be hardcore, take selfies with war junk, and possibly even see burqas. In other words, large, complex humanitarian crises, where the possibility of having to actually run with your Quick Run Bag (QRB) is higher than in a “development context” of yesteryear.

Now of course many EAWs are famous for creating their own fashion. But in such environments (in the “Kevlar Belt”), it is critical that the EAW present him or herself in a way that says “put together, but prepared.” Because irrespective of whether or not things turn dark at that checkpoint just up ahead, no one wants to look like the weak link on the team.

Thankfully there is a line of apparel that can help even the least seasoned EAW look like the real deal: Tactical gear.

Could almost pass for “Humanitarian”

From rip-stop “Stryke” cargo pants, $300 boots (with paracord laces), an expandable system backpack, or a belt holster for your multi-tool and combat tourniquet, the possibilities for dressing and accessorizing with tactical gear are practically endless. These days there really is no excuse for even the gender advisor or the cash and voucher specialist to look any less badass than the field logistics manager.

And it doesn’t matter that you’re not currently in or on the periphery of a war zone. In Kinshasa, Managua, or even Bangkok, few things say “I’m a real humanitarian and I’m ready for anything” quite like some tastefully worn tactical gear.

Think twice about wearing tactical gear on home leave in the USA, though. You might be mistaken for a nut job conspiracy theorist, a member of the Oath Keepers, or a garden-variety insurrectionist-slash-militia member. You’ll also want to avoid arriving at an airport in the US wearing a Condor tactical hat in “desert sand” and carrying a passport full of stamps from countries that count as Deep Field, as this could lead to potentially awkward conversations with the FBI.

In any case, the days of stinky Chacos and goofy elephant print pants at coordination meetings are over. Get some tactical gear and look like you mean business.

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