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Review: Battle Systems LLC Marker Panel, Individual, Lightweight

People have been cutting down the VS-17 Marker Panels to make them easier to handle and pack for years. The Marker Panel, Individual, Lightweight (MPIL) from Battle Systems LLC is an evolutionary upgrade to that concept but it has some additional features and functionality that make it more than just a downsized rehash of the VS-17.

This Multicam Mystery Ranch Crew Cab pack would all but disappear without the MPIL attached.

Here is the pack without the MPIL attached for reference.


I should note that I am reviewing the Mk1 version of the MPIL. A new Mk2 version that is 100% Berry Compliant will be released shortly. It will have some subtle changes but the functionality will be unchanged.

The MPIL is a 2 sided marker panel made from lightweight rip-stop nylon. One side is International Orange (Blaze Orange) and the other is fluorescent pink. Each side has a 2 x 2” color matched Velcro square that is intended to allow the user to attach an IR reflective patch.  There are paracord loops sewn into each corner.

The panel, with IR patch, weighs about 1 ounce. The MPIL 16 x 16” in its fully open position and it folds down to about 2.5 x 2.5” for storage. It comes with a shock-cord loop that is used to secure it when folded.

The MPIL is available on its own but Battle Systems also offers some worthwhile additions and packages that will help you get the most out of it. Battle Systems will be offering IR patches that can be purchased at the same time as your MPIL. They will also be offering National Molding Poli Bina Clips that make it easier to attach the MPIL to a variety of gear or to attach multiple MPIL together.

The National Molding Poli Bina Clips are a worthwhile addition to the MPIL.

The Poli Bina Clips can be staged on your pack (or any other MOLLE covered surface) so that you can quickly attach the MPIL when needed.

Be Found

I am unqualified speak to the military uses of the MPIL, though they are many. However, the MPIL’s uses are hardly limited to the military. It is potentially a very useful tool for the outdoorsman.

The MPIL is a compact and lightweight means of signaling in the event that something goes awry while you are in the woods. The ability to seen over large distances is paramount when you are lost or need rescue. Basically, when you need to be found, you need to be seen. I never walk into the woods without at least one means of getting someone’s attention.

It packs so small, that it can easily be carried with additional signaling methods. In fact, I have found that you can easily tuck a SAR Global Eclipse Signal System and a quality survival whistle into the folded MPIL to create a very compact, very light weight, and very versatile signaling kit. These items together are compact and light enough that even the most weight conscious packer can find room for them in their kit.

The MPIL, SAR Global Tool Eclipse Signal System, and a whistle make a compact signal kit that works across a variety of conditions.

At just 2.5 x 2.5″, there is always room for the MPIL.

Stay Found

Just as the MPIL can help you be found, it can also help you stay found. It sounds simple but, not getting lost is a great way to avoid needing to be found.

If your usual outdoor haunts have acre after acre of forest with little to no under growth, I envy you. Around here, the little bit of wooded area that we do have is all second growth forest that tends to be choked with dense underbrush. This type of forest makes it nearly impossible to use a sighting compass to identify a landmark on your azimuth to walk toward.  In places, it is thick enough that even the leapfrog technique of walking an azimuth can be difficult because you can’t see your navigation partner more than a few yards in front of you.

I’ll briefly explain the leap frog technique for those who are unfamiliar. When using a map and compass, you first determine an azimuth (the direction to your desired destination). Then you use your sighting compass to sight to a landmark that is on your azimuth so you can walk to it and repeat the process until you reach your destination. In the absence of landmarks or when your view of suitable landmarks is obstructed, you can use the leapfrog technique (I have no idea if that is what the technique is really called). Essentially, you use your partner as a moveable landmark. They walk out ahead of you only as far as they can be seen and then you, using your compass, direct them until they are right on your azimuth. They then hold their position while you walk to them and then repeat the process until you have suitable landmarks or your reach your destination.

Years ago, I found that having a brightly colored panel can greatly improve the efficacy of this technique because it makes the navigation partner easier to see and sight the compass against. It essentially allows you to send them further away from you in dense brush which increases the ground that you can cover with each “leap.” The MPIL is tremendously effective tool for this technique. In fact, the MPIL spends a lot of time in my favorite map case for just this purpose.

If you are lacking a suitable landmark on your azimuth, the MPIL and a partner can be use to make your own. It works in wide open fields or in woods that are choked with undergrowth.

In Use

The above uses really only scratch the surface of the MPIL’s usefulness to the outdoorsman (and we haven’t even touched on military uses). In addition to the above, it can also easily be used to identify yourself as something other than a deer in hunting season. It can be used to mark your camp or gear so it is visible from a distance. It could be used in a vehicle kit as a means of indicating that you need help or being more visible when you change a flat tire on the side of the road. The potential uses go on and on.

Much of the MPIL’s usefulness is derived from how simple it is to attach to various objects. The paracord loops at each corner allow you to use just about any kind of clip or lashing to secure the MPIL. It will attach to some packs without additional hardware (especially any Mystery Ranch pack with the Daypack Lid). The National Molding Poli Bina Clips make it easy to attach to just about any piece of gear whether it has MOLLE webbing available or not.

It is also very simple to attach multiple MPIL together to form a larger panel. The Poli Bina Clips make this especially easy. Battle Systems will likely be offering some form of a multipack of MPIL and Poli Binas once the Mk2 version is available that will facilitate this type of use.

The IR reflective patches that are available expand the capability of MPIL to include low and no light signaling. I would like to see Battle Systems introduce a visible light reflective patch as well since it likely has more relevance to the outdoorsman market than the IR reflective patch.

I have found a way that I like to fold the MPIL that allows me to quickly deploy it as a small square, rather than unfolding it all the way to its full size. This is useful for the above mentioned leapfrog technique where you may not actually need a huge aiming point for the compass. This method can also be used so that the IR patch can be exposed with just one fold instead of fully opening the panel. Additionally, the panel can be folded so that the IR patch is visible without unfolding. Then it can be secured to a pack or gear in this folded state for use as a sort of make shift “cat eye” or “ranger eye.”

The MPIL can be used a “cat eye” when it is hung from a backpack while still folded.

Wrap Up

I hope you are getting the idea that the MPIL is ridiculously versatile. When every ounce counts, you want the items that you are carrying to be able to be used in multiple ways. I think it is an incredibly useful part of any well rounded survival/signal kit.

Check out the Marker Panel, Individual, Lightweight on BattleSystemsLLC.com.


Killer Key

We have spoken at some length on various tools that can be used to bypass locks. At JTT, we consider this to be an important skill that any responsible person should be familiar with. I recently came across an interesting tool, the Killer Key, that does the opposite of bypassing a lock: it can actually lock it permanently. The ability to control access like this may be just as important as the ability to bypass a lock.

The Killer Key is simple to use. It is scored so that the user inserts it into a lock and bends it, a section of the key breaks off and remains lodged in the keyway. It has a large notch that allows the pins in the lock to drop which effectively locks the broken section in place, permanently disabling the lock. This locks out those on the exterior of the structure but can not lock in people on the interior.

The Killer Key is available for Schlage® or Kwikset® keyways which covers a vast majority of the key styles in the USA. This seems like it could be a valuable addition to an E&E or urban survival kit.

Check out the Killer Key on VigilantGear.com.

SAR Global Tool Tri-Sig

SAR Global Tool continues their tradition of making signaling equipment that is easy to carry, stylish, and works across a variety of conditions. Basically, they make signal systems that you have no excuse not to carry because they integrate with your life so easily. That is certainly the case with the new Tri-Sig that is being released today.

Tri-Sig is short for triple signal which gives you a clue as to the functionality of the device. It can be used to signal or be seen 3 different ways: a highly polished #16 stainless washer that acts as a signal mirror, 1″ disk of reflective SOLAS tape, and 5/8″ disk of mil-spec lume tape (glow in the dark). All three of these materials are attached to a triangular piece of textured G-10. The signal mirror is aimed via a rivet in the center of the Tri-Sig.

The Tri-Sig can be carried a number of different ways. It can be used as a zipper pull, key fob, or even a pendant around your neck. The Tri-Sig comes with a stainless steel screw gate link with a break strength of 220 pounds for attaching it to various objects like zipper pulls.

Check out the new Tri-Sig at the SAR Global Tool Blog.

The Defilade Bundle from Fight and Flight Tactical

Fight and Flight Tactical is offering a new bundle that includes a Defilade pack, one of their brand new GP Mini Pouches, and one of their brand new Tailgate Organizer Pouches. Both pouches are designed to fit perfectly on the Defilade but are also versatile enough to be useful for other purposes.

The GP Mini Pouch is a small pouch that offers internal organization and a full clam shell design. The organization is in the form of elastic loops and loop lining (Velcro). It has a very small footprint that makes it perfect for the side of the Defilade but it would also work well as a small admin/GP pouch in just about any application.

The Tailgate Organizer Pouch (TOP) is designed to fit the footprint of the Defilade’s beaver-tail storage area. It also offers internal organization in the form of elastic loops and loop lining (Velcro) with the addition of some pockets. The TOP is a fairly large pouch that offers a lot of organization potential.

All of these items combined make for a pretty impressive EDC pack. Check out the new Defilade Bundle on FightandFlight.com.

RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holder

RE Factor Tactical has introduced a Tourniquet Holder with some interesting functionality. They claim that it is the first tourniquet holder that is designed to be carried either overtly or covertly.

The tourniquet holder utilizes 2 straps that can be weaved into MOLLE webbing, secured to a belt, and that hold the tourniquet (TQ) horizontally. This horizontal mounting position makes sense for placing the TQ high on the center line of the wearer when wearing it overtly. The straps are tied together so that the user needs only to pull in one place to release the TQ rather than pulling two separate straps. The straps have elastic sections that allow the RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holder to fit a wide variety of TQs.

The back of the RE Factor Tactical Tourniquet Holder is covered with hook material so when you need to covertly carry a TQ, you can locate the holder inside of a loop lined bag. Internal loop fields are becoming more and more common in EDC, police, and military bags.

Check it out at REFactorTactical.com.

Elzetta Low Light Tactical Training & Zombie Shoot

Elzetta Design, LLC is pleased to announce an affordable and fun opportunity to gain valuable tactical firearms training for low light conditions.  The Elzetta Low Light Tactical Training & Zombie Shoot will be held on October 27, 2012 at The American Institute of Marksmanship (AIM) in Cave City, Kentucky.  Tactics for overcoming the darkness with pistols, rifles/carbines, and shotguns will be taught by professional AIM instructors at their world-class facility.  Following the day of serious training will be a just-for-fun live-fire Zombie Shoot to hone the low-light skills learned in the classroom and on the range.  In addition to the Training & Zombie Shoot, there will be vendors, product demonstrations, and door prizes.  Special guest, History Channel’s Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann, will also be at the event. More information is available at www.ELZETTA.com/ZombieShoot.htm.

Zulu Nylon Gear Indy Satchel

If you are a big fan of the Indiana Jones film franchise or just a fan of cool nylon gear with classic styling, you are going to love the Indy Satchel from Zulu Nylon Gear. This new bag is a modernization of the classic WWII British MKVII gas mask bag that is the constant companion of Doctor Jones.

The exterior looks surprisingly original even though the materials are all very modern (double layer 1000D nylon and milspec hardware). The interior sports some modern organization potential in the form of a large loop field for use with hook-backed pouches. There is also a slip pocket on the interior that has a hook and loop closure and webbing loops on the back for attaching a waist strap (not included).

The Indy Satchel is a limited edition that won’t last long. It is not accessible from the main Zulu Nylon Gear website, you can click here to be taken to a special page on the Zulu Nylon Gear website.

Duffel Bag Backpack Project

Here is an interesting project. Matt Arrell of Home Combat Magazine is gathering funding for a project that would turn used military duffel bags into useful EDC backpacks. Since the bags would be made from used duffel bags, they would be tough and no two would be the same. Matt shared some of the initial drawings with me and these bags have some real potential.

You can learn more and get on board with the project at indiegogo.com.

Update: The initial drawings for what the bags will look like have been shared on the indiegogo page and there is a new video with more information.

Custom Kydex Makers Adopting the G-Code RTI Hangers

The G-Code RTI system is about as slick as it gets. It allows you to quickly and easily move kydex accessories like holsters and mag pouches from one mounting solution to another. It is an extremely adaptable and modular system that can be attached to everything from MOLLE webbing, to belts, to drop leg hangers, and everything in between. Now, the RTI Hangers appears to be enjoying some level of standardization as it has been adopted by 2 custom kydex benders: Off the Grid Concepts LLC and Fury Carry Solutions.

This type of standardization is very good for the consumer as it broadens the availability, cross-compatibility, and versatility of a system. I hope more companies in the industry will begin to follow this example.

Off the Grid Concepts LLC

Fury Carry Solutions


SAR Global Tool Giveaway

Spencer at SAR Global Tool was generous enough to provide some gear to give away to you Trigger Jerks. I have a Moon-Glow Micro Eclipse and 3 SAR Eclipse Signal Systems (SESS). If you are keeping track, that is 4 items which mean we will have 4 winners.

The Gear

Spencer has a gift for making gear that is extremely functional and extremely good looking. The Moon-Glow Micro Eclipse is no exception. It is a piece of function and wearable art. It looks cool around your neck and could really save your bacon. Stay tuned for a more complete review at a later date.

We have reviewed the SESS before on JTT and it is easily one of the coolest pieces of gear to cross our desk. We have 2 of the SESS/c versions and 1 SESS/b to giveaway. You guys are going to love these things.

The Rules

1st prize will be the Moon-Glow Micro Eclipse and 3 runners up will receive an SESS. We will draw 4 numbers at random to determine the 4 winners.

Comment on this post with a number between 1 and 2000. Use a working email address when you comment (we will use it to contact you). If you choose a number that has already been chosen, your entry will be discarded. One entry per person only.

This giveaway will be open until July 13th, 2012.


Comments are closed. Stand by for winners.


The winning numbers, according to Random.org, are:

  • 1258 – Closest is Rob with 1250 (1st Prize)
  • 1354 – Closest is Andrew H with 1342
  • 420 – Closest is Jay with 413
  • 1780 – Closest is Mike with 1776

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