I happened to stumble across this post, wonderfully titled TACTICAL COMMENTARY: You Are Not a Navy SEAL Sneaking up on Someone, so When You Say “Velcro is Too Loud” You Sound Like an Idiot
So I ask, what do you need for a 4 day operation scouting for the Taliban on the Afghan/Pakistan or Iran/Iraq border? If you didn't have "water" as your number one answer you might want to start thinking about what you really need.
I admit that I am kind of a geardo, I like playing with things that are all new and shiny. But after I humped a 16oz Swamp Rat Knife Works "Mischief Six" around for a while I swapped it out for the much lighter Benchmade Nimravus (by dropping brand and model names I have firmly established my geardo street creds). When you really need a knife a fix blade is awesome, but at the end of a long mission everything seems a metric ton heavier. Some of my veteran squad leaders only carried a multi-tool and others carried a fixed blade as well.
But all that tacticool stuff that seems like it would be just the ticket under the bright lights of the PX usually gets worn for a little bit, and then the guys who go outside the wire strip it down to necessities. Water, batteries, food, ammo. And then all the crap you have to carry like body armor and extra stuff for the rest of the team. I will admit I always carried my compass, even when we only had digital maps of areas in Iraq where we were operating.
It is funny, but in the movie "Platoon" one scene that sticks out is when the FNG reports to the squad leader that he is ready for patrol and the squad leader starts pulling off all the crap he doesn't need on the load bearing equipment. Flashlight, spoon, can opener, etc.
Although I guess if the FOB ever did get overrun the guy with a gajillion ready mags would be pretty popular. And as far as SEALs go? I used to think more highly of them before the reality rubbed off the reputation. Reading the stories of SEAL ops in Vietnam and how the SEALs would snicker when they went into an AO and conducted an op without telling the land owning unit seemed really cool when I was 15. I mean how cool is that? Conducting independent small unit operations? Seems like real warrior shit or something.
Then I grew up and got some experience. Seals are aggressive blunt instruments. Sure they can sneak around and kill people but they absolutely suck at working with a larger team. Imagine an Iraqi sitting outside an Iraqi Police station and talking on a cell phone, sounds suspicious right? So the SEALs shoot him with a sniper rifle from 700 meters away. Cool long distance assistance right? Until you find out it was the Police Chief's brother who was waiting to give the Chief a ride home from work.
Now the land owning unit has to explain how some cowboy SEAL sniper killed one of the good guys and potentially made an entire tribe unfriendly to the US. Not so cool.
SEALs are a small community, and word gets around when anyone in the organization screws up, and it brings down everyone. For a while 160th refused to fly SEALs around A'stan because they couldn't figure out how to get out of a helicopter without cutting through the seatbelts. It is the little things like that. And don't get me started about Rangers, they have problems too.
So to sum it all up, professionals carry the necessities and even high speed operator types can be complete and utter douchebags.