This represents a real thing that has been called “Christmas Tree Syndrome” in some circles, and I’ve made at least one comic about it before– all the extra little things they give you to stack into or strap onto your rucksack. Each thing is new and improved and cool and “only” weighs a couple pounds or so, but the powers-that-be just keep stacking them on.
And the thing is, many times the stuff is actually good and useful, even if only for brief periods. Some of this stuff is dictates by policy of your immediate unit; some things are required from much higher echelons. Sure, sooner or later you use it all but for the 15 minutes of good use, there’s hours of lugging it around.
Here I’ve portrayed night-vision goggles, a sleeping mat, extra machinegun ammo, a radio, a flashlight, and a box of batteries to feed all these things. Of all these things I feel that the batteries represent the worst violation of the laws of unintended consequences. Fancy new gadgets such as lasers, range-finders, and so on all need batteries, and those take up a lot of space and end up weighing a lot once gathered together. Some things, like night-vision goggles, also need other gear such as helmet straps in order to work effectively. Every new things sparks a domino effect of more things that are needed to go along with it.
Recently the Army has been experimenting with robotic “mules”, either walking, rolling, or tracked robots that carry soldiers’ heavy rucksacks for them. Sounds great, right? But we all know what is going to happen: as soon as the robot takes on your 85-pound rucksack, some Sergeant-Major or Lieutenant somewhere will realize that your now-empty back can carry a whole ‘nother 85-pound rucksack with even more cool gadgets.
Go, go, gadget back pain!