Media packing checklist
Here is the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command list of required and recommended items for embedding in Afghanistan. Some of these are specific for Afghanistan, but many others are good recommendations for any conflict area.
- Protective ballistic vest and helmet (Any journalist arriving without this equipment will not be permitted to travel on ISAF transport, both in Kabul and around the theatre of operation).
- Eye protection (goggles or shatter proof glasses)
- Proper field gear for the weather conditions at the time of the embed
- Some mountainous locations easily vary 50°F
- This website can help you start your planning.
- Sleeping bag
- Field pack / Back pack
- Do not bring suit cases or boxes that are not easily carried on the battlefield
- All media are expected to carry their own equipment and gear
- Canteen, water bottle, or hydration system (a must-have, even in the winter months)
- Purification is not required; most camps have bottled water, but the distant camps will have a common potable water source
- Suitable clothing
- Bring suitable clothes for hiking and that can have layers added or removed easily. Bring enough clothing for your embed and do not expect to have the ability to buy what you need while embedded.
- Military Style Clothing/Uniforms (complete or pieced) are not authorized. This is for your safety, wearing a uniform identifies you as a member of military organization, making it difficult to distinguish you as a non-combatant.
- Waterproof boots
- Your boots will be needed for hiking. They should be comfortable and durable for mountainous conditions.
- Wet weather gear
- Recommended that you bring both top and bottoms for wet weather gear
- Cold weather gear
- During the winter months temps will drop below freezing (Oct-April).
- Flashlight (or headlamp) with red lens and extra batteries
- Necessary reporting equipment
- Personal medical and hygiene necessities
- Recommend bringing a small first aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Lip Balm
- Shower shoes/sandals and towel
- Laundry bag
- There are laundry facilities on some of the larger Forward Operating Bases but you will not have laundry facilities available in some of the smaller FOB.
- Ear protection (ear plugs)
- Power converter to allow use of 110V and 220V outlets as required.
- A reflective (runners) belt may be required on certain installations.
- Please take into consideration where you are going and the season of the year.
- The winter months can be extremely cold at night and moderate to extremely cold during the day. The more mountainous the colder it will probably be.
- The spring starts off cool and wet and ends hot and moist.
- The summer months are hot, dusty and dry during both the day and night.
- The fall is cool and dry until the end when it starts to snow in the mountains and the temperatures quickly drop.
- Know your blood type. It is recommended that media representatives wear medical tags stating your blood type, allergies and any pre-existing medical conditions that you may have.
- It is strongly recommended that you are vaccinated for the following diseases: Standard Vaccines: Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Polio, Rubella, Tetanus, H1N1 influenza A.
- Additional Vaccines: Typhoid fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal Meningitis, Tetravalent, Influenza
- Journalists are strongly advised to gain experience and training in operating in harsh and hostile environments and come suitably equipped and clothed for such situations.
- All visiting journalists must ensure that they have adequate travel and equipment insurance, and must provide proof of health insurance. ISAF does not provide insurance.
- If, in the opinion of the unit commander, a media representative is unable to physically, psychologically, mentally, or emotionally withstand the conditions required to operate with the forward deployed forces, the commander or his/her representative may limit the media member’s participation to ensure both the reporter’s and the unit’s safety. Disputes should be raised through PAO channels. The PAO community will work as the honest broker but the ultimate decision to accommodate media is held by the commander.