Prepping your Ranger Handbook

Insert laminated "cheat sheets"
with index cards.
You made it through RAP Week, and now you're actually at Darby -- ready to start Ranger School for real.  If you haven't prepped your Ranger Handbook by now, you are behind the curve.  The earlier you get your book ready for the field, the more useful it will be for you and the longer it will last.

Here are the steps:
  1. Laminate both covers.  You can use overlapping packing tape, but even better is a solid sheet of Lamination Paper.  That way there are no seams for water to leak in (even though it will eventually get soaked, this will keep it in better condition for longer).
  2. Wrap the entire outside in 100 Mph Tape.  Be careful not to cover the inside of the front cover, since you'll need it for the Ranger Creed (which you definitely should have memorized already).
  3. Use a pen to poke through the tape and lamination paper covering the two holes at the top of the handbook.
  4. Run 550 cord through the holes, tie each strand into a loop, and cover the knots with 100 Mph Tape or Electrical TapeNOTE: don't burn down the 550 cord so much that you can't untie the knots.  You will need to untie the cord later to insert Index Cards in your handbook.
  5. These plastic tabs hold up
    through anything, but bring
    extra just in case.
  6. Tab the sections you will need with color index tabs.  Make sure you get plastic tabs -- they'll hold up when your handbook gets soaked (as it will).
  7. As you drink from the firehose of classes the first few days, make time to prepare index card inserts for each class.  At this moment, making these cards is far more important than getting sleep.  You will use them every time you brief and every time you are in leadership -- for the rest of Ranger School.

If you are heading to Pre-Ranger, you will get a copy of the Ranger Handbook there.  You can't bring this copy with you to Ranger School.  I still strongly recommend you follow the steps above, and treat Pre-Ranger as if it is actually Ranger School.  You'll figure out how you want to prep your book, and maybe make some mistakes you'll learn from.

Good luck!


  1. Why can't you bring the Ranger Handbook from Pre-Ranger on with you to RS?

    1. Here's my best guess -- Ranger School will teach you the Ranger School way to do things, and they don't want you bringing in any knowledge or resources from the outside. Although Pre-Ranger is a great course, the classes there don't line up exactly with the Ranger classes.

      It is better, in the end, for you to start brand new at Ranger School. You can mess up your book in Pre-Ranger, learn your lessons, and make a great one at Darby that will carry you through to the end.

    2. I graduated from Ranger School in November, 1976. I can tell you for sure that pre-Ranger will only get you a course date. Actual Ranger training at Benning is a LOT different. You have to accept that you are going to be either cold, hungry, tired, wet, sleepy, or hot - all the time. It is as much a test of your mental toughness as it is your physical ability. I saw guys get dropped for sleeping in the classroom, becoming dehydrated, developing "trench foot" like symptoms, getting poked in the eye at night, losing their weapon, failing patrols, hypothermia, frost bite, insuborination, and lack of desire. It's not a place for the faint of heart. If you don't have a very determined attitude and if you're not motivated, don't even bother to apply. It's tough.

  2. Where can I acquire a copy of the Handbook that has the two holes at the top? The copy I have now is not bound the way that you illustrate above. Thanks.

    1. The copy you receive at Pre-Ranger and the copy you get at Ranger School both have the holes punched in the top. We at PassRanger are looking at publishing a version that has the same holes (as well as some additional content in an appendix) but we haven't gotten around to it yet.

  3. So we should practice this before hand then bring the materials to do it all again at ranger school? Or can we bring ours already water proofed before we arrive and not add anything to it?

  4. Are you able to waterproof the rhb at ranger school?


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