As you transition into your Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) phase of NS, it is important for you to remember that you are still liable to be called back into camp 1-2 times per year.
You’re not totally free yet even though you are no longer an NSF (Full-time National Serviceman).
If you didn’t know already, your ORNS phase is typically made up of a 10-year training cycle, where you will undergo In-Camp Training or ICT for short. This 10-year ICT cycle consists of a total of 10 yearly ICTs, that are made up of 7 High Key ICTs and 3 Low Key ICTs.
But other than that, you can also be called back for mobilization – but that is a whole other topic for another day.
The topic for today is the ICT and specifically, the Low-Key ICT. As a newly fledged NSmen, you will probably be a little unclear on what exactly to bring for your 1st ever Low-Key ICT, as I was too initially.
However, having already begun my 10-year cycle, allow me to share with you what I’ve learnt from my experience.
What is a Low Key ICT and how is it different from a High Key ICT?
To determine what you need to bring for your Low Key ICT, we first have to briefly understand what a Low Key ICT is and how it differs from a High Key ICT.
The simplest way to differentiate a Low Key ICT and High Key ICT is that one of them requires you to stay outfield, while the other doesn’t. And based on their names, you can probably guess that High Key ICTs are the ones which will require you to stay outfield.
So, what can you expect from a Low Key ICT?
For starters, Low Key ICTs usually last for only 5 days, taking place on a Monday and ending on a Friday.
You can essentially view Low Key ICTs as refresher trainings for your High Key ICTs, as most of the activities that will take place are focused around your SOFUN (Soldier Fundamentals).
This includes trainings such as:
- SAR21 Refresher – Technical Handling such as striping & assembling and Drills
- Equipment Refresher – Unit-specific equipment (Such as signal sets and sensor equipments)
- Vehicle Refresher – such as bike riding for individuals who have a military bike license
- Fire-movement drills
- Route Marches
You may also be required to participate in administrative matters such as medical reviews & briefings for upcoming mobilisations or IPPT (if you haven’t cleared your yearly requirement).
So now that we have a brief idea of what will go on during a Low Key ICT, we can answer the question of what to bring for one.
What should I bring for my Low Key ICT?
As suggested above, what you have to bring during your Low Key ICT is ultimately dependent on the activities that you have to take part in.
This information will usually be relayed to you by your NS Unit CSM (Command Sergeant Major) or OC (Officer Commanding) the week before your ICT, through your NS Unit WhatsApp chat.
Your unit may also provide you with a deck of In-Pro (In-Processing) slides which contain a packing list of important items.
Nonetheless, here is a breakdown of the different things you will need to bring & the activities you will need them for.
If you’re not sure which unit you’ve been assigned to, you can check out this guide here.
It goes without saying that you will definitely need to bring your uniforms along. Being an NSmen, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that you can wear your admin attire for everything.
Usually, packing 2-3 sets of uniforms will be sufficient, depending on the intensity of your ICT trainings and the number of activities that you have to take part in.
However, if you see that you have outfield trainings, then I would suggest packing 3 uniforms – just in case.
#2 PT Kit
A PT kit is pretty much non-essential if you are not taking your IPPT during your ICT. Unlike your NSF days, there aren’t any daily PT sessions that are reinforced – based on my experience and of those around me.
Either way, there is always the local camp E-mart for you to visit if you do need one. After all, what else can you do with your credits?
#3 Admin Kit
You should bring at least 2 admin kits into camp. There is not much to explain to this since the admin tee is such a staple attire in our army lives – whether we are wearing it as an undershirt or as vest slack.
Furthermore, it’s so much more convenient to change into your admin kit for meals as compared to your uniform, so why put yourself through all that trouble!
Admin kit over uniform any day of the week for sure.
#4 Towel & Toiletries
Even though this might seem like the most obvious thing, apart from your undergarments, this was actually the one thing that I almost forgot. If my friend hadn’t messaged me to bring spare toothpaste, I would have pretty much forgotten to bring my toothbrush, towel and soap.
So yes, don’t be like me and make use of this quick PSA to take note to pack these essentials!
#5 ILBV/LBV (Load Bearing Vest)
Arguably, the most zo-deng (bulky) thing that you could possibly pack into your bag – you hate to see it and so do I. Unfortunately, if you’re a combat-fit warrior, this is usually one of the more essential things to bring along.
Unless stated otherwise, you should probably pack this as unlike your PT Kit, the E-mart doesn’t sell this over the counter.
On the other hand, if you’re not PES fit, then you don’t need to bring it (unless requested by your unit) and you probably never will either.
#6 10-Pack + Field Pack
The infamous 10-pack and field pack usually come hand-in-hand, however during your ICT, this is not the case. You don’t need to bring your 10-pack items unless it is stated by your unit.
The field pack, on the other hand, is still a good option for packing all your stuff due to its massive capacity. I would definitely recommend using a field pack over the duffel bag as it is for sure easier to carry the field pack than lug a duffel bag around.
#7 Other Miscellaneous Items
Other than the aforementioned items, these are some other items that you can consider bringing along:
- Slippers – for when walking around your block or to the toilet
- Medicated Oil – to ward off the pesky insects at night because who likes to wake up with bites
- Cash – as some canteens still don’t accept mobile payment and cookhouse food isn’t always the best
- Tablet/ Laptop – do check with your unit first if you are required to obtain a clearance form to bring either in. During my ICT, we were not required to obtain one but this might differ for you!
In general, Low Key ICTs are truthfully quite relaxing – for the most part! There isn’t too much to stress about so you don’t have to worry.
Hopefully, I’ve been able to help you figure out what to pack for your ICT and wishing you a good time there!
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