Blog Post

Thoughts on a Tracker’s Kit

I get asked a lot about “Tracker’s Kits”; you know the gear that a Tracker wears/ carries while out on the trackline, the tools they carry & of course whose kit is the best. To me the answer couldn’t be simpler: The one that you feel most comfortable in & with!

I see you; you’re eyes are bugging out of your head. Your mind is racing, trying to see if you read this wrong or not. Trust me, you didn’t!

Look, there are well known Trackers out there, and they range their “Kits” from “Gear Head”: The one that has to have EVERYTHING match & it has to be the NEWEST stuff out there, to the ones that basically wear a Ghillie suits. None are any better than the other! Although their Skill sets, & experience do vary.

Let’s take the “Gear Head”: US Army Special Forces trained. Thus the need to match EVERYTHING and wanting the newest gear comes from that background.  Seriously! Have you ever served? If you have you know that you’re using equipment that is handed down to you from the last unknown number of people who also used it. This at times leads to MANY issues. Although it also makes you reliant on the latest tech. While they are “Classically” trained to use a compass & map reading, the ease of having a GPS system makes the idea of having one that much more appealing to them. Being able to grab up the newest pouch & carrier also is “candy” to them.  Not to mention that being Army, the need to match everything is something ingrained into them from Basic Training. They LOVE to match EVERYTHING!

Now let’s look at the “Ghillie Man” Old school Tracker training! Think Tom Brown Jr.’s school of Tracking. Nothing wrong with it at all! Different type of training though, rather than “Hunting” those who would and may wish to harm, they’re looking for that missing person or game. As such the wish to become “Invisible” is at the foremost of their gear section.  They will also favor tools that would leave sign for another Tracker to easily find them. There’s nothing wrong with this! They tend to be the “Lead” on S.A.R. calls. Leaving sign for others to follow is just a safety protocol that is built into this type of tracking.

Now for me; I have training in both types of tracking as well “Skip-Trace”. As such my way of tracking is different from the two types listed, and at the same time, the same. The BIGGEST difference lies in the fact that my gear changes for the type of tracking I’m engaged in. If I’m engaged in S.A.R. type of tracking, you’ll find me wearing brighter colors than if I’m “Man-Hunting”, because I want and need to make sure that not only am I visible to those who are also searching, it also allows the party that I’m searching for to see me and not to react out of fear. I am also ready to mark my trail, via “flag tape” and have the necessary gear that I can get to and if need be transport the missing to an area that they can receive help and aid, more than my First Aid kit can provide.  Whereas if I am engaged on tracking a Fugitive, my gear is more based upon protecting myself and being able to secure the person I am tracking down, to return them to the court or prison that they are needed to be in.

Tracker kit blog

So as you can see, there is no “Correct” gear for a Tracker. I am well known for saying that each Tracker’s kit is as different as the Tracker who wears it. Always remember that Tracking is slowly becoming a lost art. As a Tracker, you are in fact an Artist! You look at the sign to uncover the sculpture, painting or song within it. Have your gear fit your style!

I’ll see you out on the Trackline!