Author Topic: NineseveN: Survival According to Darwinism (Version 5.0) - Updated 3.21.09  (Read 73962 times)

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Offline NineseveN

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Updated 03.21.2009

Some things to think about: an addendum to the original concept of this thread ~Added 12-29-2011

I wrote the original entry to this post back in 2005 and while everything is still relevant, the preparedness community has grown quite a bit since then and I think some thing we all took for granted when we first started along the preparedness path however years ago need to be stated explicitly now. Not everything in the added section below was self-evident or obvious to me when I first started preparing and I think that a lot of people think about the big end of the world and go live in the woods scenario and ignore more common, shit just happened and now I need to get to grandma's house events. In my experience, many people start out thinking that they're going to bug out to the woods and then figure out later that year that December in the Northeast is an impossible 'out' scenario without a bunch of specialized cold weather gear and training and wouldn't even be needed for most of the likely events that we'd encounter and could reasonably handle up here. Most people will end up bugging-in at a man-made structure instead of actually running to the hills.

If you're bugging-in (even if part of that plan requires you to travel to your actual bug-in location), then you need guns and ammo to provide security en-route. Don't go overboard here (it's easy to do if you like guns). One handgun and 1-3 mags and one primary long arm (semi-auto rifle or shotgun - preferably a rifle) with 6-10 magazines and a way to carry them (satchel/messenger pack, bandolier, Load-Bearing Vest and so on). Carry the most important spare rifle parts (firing pin, bolt, whatever is prone to breaking in your gun).

You need a map or multiple maps depending on your potential routes and how close you are to bordering states. Street level maps of nearby cities would also be helpful.

You'll need enough fuel in your vehicle to get you there (store fuel in fuel cans and have them handy). Know your primary bug-in locations and their distances from each other and your usual haunts (work, girlfriend's house and anywhere else you spend significant time at). Know the MPG of your vehicle/s. Take 15-20% off of that and then round down to the nearest MPG to compensate for weighing the vehicle down with supplies. If your truck gets 18MPG highway, then figure it getting 14MPG (20% of 18 = 3.6, that subtracted from 18 = 14.4 and rounds down to 14). Take the longest distance between any of the points on your list (from work to bug-in location #2, for example) and divide that by your adjusted MPG and round that up to the nearest whole number. So if that distance is 200 miles, then you'll need a minimum of 15 gallons of gas (14.28 rounded up). Add 2.5 to 5 gallons for contingencies or rerouting.

You'll need water (tor drink and clean wounds, fill a vehicle radiator and so on) and basic medical supplies (gauze, bandages, ace wraps etc...). Do not buy anything you that don't know how to use like a nasopharyngeal airway tool or an IV kit. Unless you're going to be hiking to remote locations, you can skip spending a bunch of money on a top of the line pack (or upgrading the one you have lying around) like most of us would like to when starting out and take some basic first aid classes; THEN buy more medical supplies if you know how to use more than you have. Knowing how to heal is at least as important as knowing how to shoot (and likely more so). As for water, carry as much as you possibly can. I'd suggest 120oz or a gallon per person for each day you expect to travel plus an extra 120oz/gallon (again, per person). You could do with less, but if you're in a vehicle why would you? This along with the fuel requirements help to keep your plans reasonable. If your initial plan is to travel 650 miles, then you're going to need a lot of storage space for fuel and water alone and this might make you consider something a little closer and more reasonable given your means and abilities. You should have a water source/store at your bug-in location (even if this is just access to a stream and a good water filter).

Medication is a tough subject, but again, I'd suggest taking only what you know you can use or need to. Things like common pain relievers (aspirin, Aleve, Ibuprofen etc…) and any OTC maintenance medication you regularly need (acid reducers, allergy medicines, supplements for low iron etc…). For prescriptions, you have 3 or 4 options. 1 is to use an OTC as an emergency source, if possible. If you take prescription allergy medications, sometimes OTC doses can at least lessen your symptoms and will do in an emergency if you forget or lose your prescribed medicine. 2. You could tell your doctor that you need some extra of your medicine for an emergency supply (try not to sound like the survivalist stereotype and more like a Boy Scout). 3. You could order your medicines through mail-order plans that give you 90-day supplies and make sure to keep on top of it so you have a few days/weeks in your kit that you rotate out every time you get a new shipment. 4. If none of those options work for you, then you can tell your doctor that your medicine was lost in a freak boating mishap, stolen or has otherwise gone MIA. Some medicines like pain killers, depressants, muscle relaxers and Selective estrogen receptor modulators (breast cancer meds that are popular with those who use steroids for muscle gain to combat related side-effects) might be tough and require a bit of convincing, but blood pressure, cholesterol, heart or similar medicines shouldn't be much of an issue. Note that I am not a law enforcement officer, a lawyer or in a position to know for certain the legality or illegality of the latter option, employ at your own risk. Also, things like spare prescription eyeglasses fall under this category.

Food should be a small issue (you should have a source stored at you bug-in location/s). For trips that should be less than 3 days, food choice isn't a huge deal as the human body can adapt pretty easily to a poor diet for a few days. Keep enough to keep you fed. I'd suggest beef jerky, cans/pouches of tuna fish or chicken, peanut butter and nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts) as staple foods at the very least. All are good sources of protein and fats (both are essential). Having a comfort food (for most of us, that means carbs) is a good option here as it will help you deal with the stress of whatever event is forcing you to bug out. I have rice and dehydrated vegetables/chicken stock/potatoes and a small alcohol stove for my carbs/starches, but a 4-5 cans of Pringles or a small alcohol stove and Ramen noodles would work just as well for a few days.
You'll need a couple of good light sources and spare batteries. Keep a high powered small light for carry one your person and then at least 1 larger light that stays in your primary vehicle. Keep an extra set of batteries for each light you have (more than 1 spare set is likely overkill).

You'll need a primary cutting tool aside from your smaller EDC knife. Get a good fixed blade knife, one that can be used for combat and general utility. I like a 4.75" - 6" blade size myself, but opinions can and will vary. A multi-tool and a small vehicle tool set should also be considered.

You should have 1 WARM blanket or sleeping bag per person, plus 1 extra blanket (to lay on or cover up with in extreme cold). Wool blankets can be cheap (surplus) and warm provided you have some form of shelter along the way (you could sleep in your car if you have to). You could go with sleeping pads, tents and sleeping bags as an option as well, and this will also allow you to be more comfortable should you need to sleep off of the beaten path (vehicles parked on the side of the road or close to it may attract people that you might want to avoid).

Keep a spare credit card with a reasonable limit (enough to stay in a cheap hotel for a week or so or buy necessities) if you have the credit rating. Keep some spare cash on hand as well (amount is up to you, but I'd suggest $50-$100 for every person you think might be joining you under your responsibility (children, spouse/SO, family etc...).

Chargers or batteries for your necessity-level electronics (phone, laptop, tablet or whatever you deem to be a must-have and can-only-live-without-under-the-most-dire-of-circumstances).

This list could go on and on and there are undoubtedly some items specific to your circumstances that I haven't included or talked at length about (such as toys or games or kids to keep them occupied) that should be considered but are more situational and not really necessities per se. These are just things to keep in mind when planning your preparations, a small bag or kit with the essentials planned around the most likely and reasonable circumstances beats $250 packs with $1000 worth of super-cool specialized gear all day long (and twice come shit-hit-the-fan day)…and I say that as someone who has had and used all sorts of super-cool specialized gear through the years.

Having said all of that, bugging out is still a worthwhile scenario to plan for as in almost every case, any piece of bug-out-specific gear can be made useful for bugging in (with the added benefit of helping to facilitate your travels to more remote bug-in locations). Keep in mind that gear will never make up for a lack of knowledge, ability, determination and skill. You need all 4 of those things in order to effectively utilize most gear so don't waste your money buying and energy carrying stuff you don't know how to use or won't need unless something unthinkable happens. And even with all 4 of those qualities and the right gear, you'll still need a little luck and the occasional bout of intestinal fortitude necessary to eat bugs, worms, raw meat or poop in open spaces should the worst come to pass.

Part I: Preparation H (Holy @%#$! It's Hitting the Fan!) - A Primer on Survival and Preparedness

There are a number of reasons why survival and preparedness is on the minds of many as of late. Whether it be the events in New Orleans surrounding the landfall of hurricane Katrina, fears of terrorist attacks due to the events of September 11th, 2001, the memory of the L.A. Riots after the Rodney King trial, concerns over the toll a financial meltdown in the United States would take on civilization or a general concern of civil unrest for whatever reason, the topic of survival is as much of a hot topic right now as it has ever been. Whether your concerns revolve around any of the above scenarios, mutant zombie hoards or an alien bug invasion; being prepared is not that difficult, provided you know what to prepare for and how to equip yourself to survive. In most cases, one can benefit from even a small amount of preparation and the knowledge that what normally “can't happen here” can and does wherever it sees fit to happen, which isn't necessarily when you're ready for it to.
So what exactly are we preparing for? Well, in my mind, I break it down into 3 categories of survival events:

Emergency :: - A serious situation where you would find yourself in an immediate instance of distress or danger possibly requiring a response or action using only what you normally have with you on a day to day basis. Examples of such situations would be shopping in a store when an armed robbery takes place or being the victim of a particularly violent physical or sexual assault. These situations are often rather unpredictable and it is difficult to safeguard against them aside from never leaving your own home. And of course, sometimes, emergencies can take place inside your home (or perhaps even someone else’s home) and thus, your toolbox may include not only what you have on you, but also what you have in your home (firearms, other weapons, lights, phones etc). Such things as home invasions, prowlers, power outages, minor flooding, extreme temperatures or house or brush fires (on your property or anywhere in your immediate vicinity) could be included in this category. These situations typically last only a few minutes to a few hours and generally come with little or even no warning. Most emergencies can be mitigated, avoided or easily managed given a little thought and preparation. Things such as having smoke detectors in every room and making sure the batteries are good or having a good alarm system or a dog to guard against break-ins and home invasions, or perhaps avoiding shopping trips to areas with high crime, not walking alone at night in secluded places and trying to keep yourself out of confrontations or arguments while driving or out in public can all go a long way towards keeping you out of emergency situations. Of course, sometimes, despite your best efforts to avoid them, emergencies come to you. Even if you're not actually involved in the life-threatening event, you may still consider some specific situations as emergencies. If you see a car accident, perhaps your medical kit stashed in your car for your own personal survival may be of use if you use it in conjunction with that first aid training you took earlier in the year (of course, make sure you comply with all relevant laws when administering emergency care to others). Maybe you see a child being dragged into a car across the street, the tools you have with you, such as a phone, whistle, firearm, flashlight or anything else that can be put to use may be employed to save that child's life. There's very little that you can do to reduce the probability that someone other than you will find themselves in danger while in your presence, so even if we plan and prepare meticulously, there's no guarantee that we'll always be able to avoid danger or the need to employ our gear and skills.

SHTF :: Shit Hits The Fan - A serious situation where you would find yourself in a short-term position of distress or danger such as a natural disaster (large-scale floods, blizzards, hurricanes, volcanoes etc…), small-scale rioting, civil unrest or small scale terrorist attacks. In some SHTF scenarios you may either have to bunker down in your home (or someone else’s) or escape and evade the confines of society and head for the hills (i.e. bug out). Typically, this situation would last only a short duration (3-5 days and definitely less than 30 days) but that does not preclude it from being especially dangerous on a personal level. SHTF situations can escalate quickly, often come with little warning and can deteriorate very rapidly.

TEOTWAWKI :: The End OF The World As We Know It – Situations with a severe and serious impact on a national or even global scale such as prolonged civil unrest, coordinated and persistent terrorist attacks, mass rioting or a state of war and moving on to nuclear destruction, climate shifts and ice ages; basically anything that has a societal or global impact and changes life and the world as we know it. This would typically be a rather long-term situation (30 days or more) forcing one from their home or into long-term distress and changing your way of life for an extended period of time.

Each of the above types of scenarios are not necessarily mutually exclusive in that what begins as or appears to be an emergency can easily be or morph into a SHTF scenario and then ultimately could move on to TEOTWAWKI. For example, say you are in the DMV building downtown getting some paperwork done or perhaps standing in line for an exam when you notice a couple of men walk in together, stopping just before the metal detectors to confer with each other. Suppose that a black duffel bag is on the floor by each of their feet they are both wearing hats and sunglasses and acting a little suspicious. You take notice, but do not act on any instinct you have at the time about the situation. Suppose that without further warning, the two mysterious men pull automatic rifles from their bags and quickly begin killing people. Suppose further that they then begin to secure anyone they have not killed and take control of the area. This would be considered an emergency situation to say the very least.

Now because you are prepared with both gear and skills, but also mindset, suppose that when the armed men are not looking in your direction, you quickly and quietly move to the exit nearest you (that you had already scoped out and made sure to stay close to when you walked in the door) to get out of the immediate area of danger. Things are about to take a turn for the worse however, because when you make it out of the building and onto the street you see that other buildings did not fare so well. Buildings are blown apart, crumbling and on fire; people are running and screaming everywhere and before you is a sea of terrified and injured citizens. Just then you hear another explosion…it’s time to head home or for the hills; otherwise known as the S has HTF.

Suppose further that once you get to your home and bunker in or to your Bug out Bag and into the hills, you encounter a group of men that look to be malnourished and dehydrated, they are carrying axes and one has a particularly large knife. You ask if you can help them and that’s when they demand that you to give them all of your water and food or they will kill you…you are now back in an emergency situation. You manage to fend them off and while you are reloading your rifle magazines, you power up your hand held radio to find only one broadcast coming through; “The United States has suffered catastrophic terrorist attacks on sixty-seven major cities around the country, casualties are in the hundreds of thousands…the president has declared martial law and has deployed the Army and National Guard around the country…stay tuned for more updates…”. You are now in what could very well be TEOTWAWKI.

The point I am trying to illustrate is that these situations can be dynamic and may or may not escalate into another level of distress or situation. In a prepared mind, the key is to recognize when these things happen, and also when and if they escalate into something far worse than they started out as and take action and adjust your strategies accordingly.

While all three types of situations call for some of the same survival skills (avoidance, awareness and a willingness to meet force with force if necessary), there are some inherent differences.

While a SHTF or even a TEOTWAWKI situation emphasizes one to plan for what they will need, an emergency situation emphasizes that one should plan to use what they may have by being aware of their surroundings both for tools and weapons or anything that can be used to avoid an attack and also for suspicious activity that might be the precursor for an emergency or dangerous situation.

You can only plan and equip yourself so well for most SHTF situations because we can assume that we all have school, work or other social responsibilities and needs that would preclude carrying a rifle and a 3-day pack full of supplies around every time one leaves the house. For emergencies, you plan around what you can carry; for the SHTF, you carry what you can according to your situation, your plan and your physical capabilities.

For a general emergency situation, you may be the intended victim of a sexual assault in the parking lot at night after work or you may be in a shopping mall looking for a gift for a friend. In each of these situations, the environment may dictate what types of tools you will have available to you. For example, you might have a license to carry a concealed firearm, but you are unable to carry your weapon while at work.

Since you cannot always dictate the environment in these instances, you may have to resort to a means of defense and survival in one instance that would not be available or even necessary to you in others. As an example, I routinely carry a firearm, I also carry a folding knife and usually a multi-tool as well as a cellular telephone pretty much everywhere I go; this is my general load-out for daily life. Now, I have rifles and a shotgun in my home in case of a home invasion, but out on the street I have to resort to using what I have at the time. In some cases we may not be able to carry a firearm, such as the example of being at work. I can still carry a knife and multi-tool, but if could not carry a gun, perhaps some OC spray would be in order, or perhaps a Taser if they were legal in the particular state I was in.

Because we can seldom carry all the proper tools with us during our daily lives, I put more emphasis on areas other than gear here. For instance, if you cannot carry a firearm at work, perhaps finding a well-lit area of the parking lot to leave your car in if you work after dark would be good preparation. Things such as being aware of your surroundings and making better choices about what situations you can be caught in are paramount here. Keep your eyes on what others are doing around you, make note of any suspicious activity, don’t go into particularly bad neighborhoods if you can avoid them and avoid confrontation whenever possible. If things look suspicious or don’t feel right, get out of there and if needed, reassess the situation from a distance.

Keeping the right mindset of awareness, avoidance, de-escalation and a willingness to respond if all other options fail are more important tools than the gun in your holster or the knife in your pocket when things go sour on you. If you follow this particular mantra, your chances of being caught in a situation of distress are greatly reduced, and if all else fails and you find yourself in a tough spot, you always have the ability to respond with what you have on you such as  your knife, gun or cellular telephone, or what you can find around you such as the scissors on the counter at the convenience store or that loose brick on top of the wall next to where your dog did his business while you were out walking him. You can do this because you are aware of not only who is around you and what they are doing, but what is around you that you can use as a weapon or tool and how you can effectively use it.

For emergencies that occur inside of your home, such as a home invasion, a house fire or a power outage in the neighborhood, you do not need to rely on what you can carry, you can use anything that you have set aside beforehand or simply happen to have at the time. Things like candles, flashlights and spare batteries, enough bottled water to last your family 3-4 weeks, a back-up generator, smoke alarms in every room with fresh batteries that are often checked, fire extinguishers, an alarm system, home defense firearms and plenty of dry and canned food can all be employed or set aside for use during or to avoid an emergency.

To further safe-guard against home invasion or robberies, keep your doors and windows locked, use an alarm system (there is a difference between simply having one and actually using it), get a dog, don’t brag about how much cash you have in the house or your firearms collection (common targets for theft by criminals), keep a firearm or two accessible at all times in order to be able to defend your life or the lives of your family and house guests if necessary, do not associate with criminals as they tend to attract more criminals and your chances of a criminal act being committed in your presence or upon you rise under those circumstances.

Now, for SHTF and perhaps even TEOTWAWKI preparations, I want to get a little more detailed as I find that these areas are generally not common knowledge the way keeping working smoke alarms in the home or avoiding dangerous areas (i.e. emergency planning) are.

Keep in mind, that while I often focus a lot on bug-out-bags and the like, I'm not suggesting that bugging out is the primary or only alternative. The beauty of a bug-out-bag is that it can be equally effective regardless of whether you bug in or out. If you stay home during the catastrophe, the items in your bag should still be of use, and if you bug out to a friend's or relative's home, you can take the bag with you. If you didn't have the items you deemed most necessary already packed in a bag, it would take time and consideration to decide what to pack if you had to leave, and you may not have the ability or time to undertake such a task. Bugging out into the woods is a last-ditch solution in my opinion, one that many others will share, so don't assume that you'll be alone simply because the wilderness seems so big. When a disaster big enough to force others to run to the hills occurs, that huge space can become quite cramped in short order.

The goal for a bug-out bag is not to live indefinitely in the woods or mountains, or at least it shouldn't be. That's pretty much impossible unless you have some very specialized and specific skills that most of us simply don't have. If things get bad enough to warrant that kind of primitive living, then you've got bigger problems than a bug-out bag and you can only carry so much so far anyway.

Having said that, I would like to focus a little bit on our primary concerns when bugging out during SHTF or TEOTWAWKI because, again, this requires a little bit of selectively special thought and knowledge. Not only do you need to focus on planning, but there are questions of what gear to acquire and how to pack it all together. If you're bugging in, then you don't necessarily have to be focused on things such as size and weight, you can store a lot more in the nooks and crannies of your home than you can carry on your back, so there's not much of a risk in getting too much for your home preps, but carrying too much (or too much of the wrong stuff and not enough of the right things) can leave you dead in the water. When going over the following areas, keep in mind this is all general information and you will need to use some of the resources listed at the end of this primer or on this or similar websites to get all of the information you need. I will not be telling you how to build shelter or find food, I will only explain that these are important, why they are important and some general information on how to approach some solutions to these issues. The items that I will be discussing are all good things to include into your bug out bag, but keep in mind that my particular set-up is tailored to me, my climate, my abilities and my plans; yours may be radically different than mine depending on your individual circumstances. Don’t just copy my list and go out and buy what I have, actually read the list and why I have what I have and ask yourself, “does this apply to me?” or “would this fit in my situation?”. The goal is for you to make good decisions, not copy a list and go shopping.

Primary Concerns For Survival:

  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Medical Supplies
  • Clothing
  • Tools
  • Intelligence
  • Arms

Water: (H2-Oh wow, it’s really that important?)

Your absolute first priority will always be water. Without proper hydration, experts say that your body can go only about three days before taking a dirt nap. However, one can easily be technically dehydrated just from fluid levels dropping a bit below normal. If you find that you are thirsty, you are under-hydrated, not necessarily “dehydrated” (neither of which are good things). Thirst occurs when your body loses a significant enough amount of fluid that the balance of sodium in your blood if offset by a small percentage (when the sodium concentration increases by about 2%). When you are thirsty, your body is telling you that things are out of balance. If you ignore this warning sign, dehydration may set in.

To stay properly hydrated, small amounts of water taken in regularly will do the trick. We are not camels, so trying to “store” water (as in drinking a gallon of water in the morning and then expecting your body to be hydrated for the day) will not work. Your body will generally push out the excess liquids within 30-45 minutes of ingestion. Drink only when thirsty, and only drink enough to keep yourself hydrated. The old adage is that the proper amount of water one needs to take in is equal to 8 (8oz) glasses of water per day, or a total of 64 ounces. This amount can vary depending on a variety of factors including your body size, the amount of sodium in your diet, the amount of physical work or exercise you do during the day and your climate (warmer climates make you feel more thirsty because you sweat more).

Symptoms of early or mild dehydration include:
  • A flushed face
  • Having extreme thirst or being unable to drink
  • Dry, warm skin
  • Not being able to urinate or only being able to pass small amounts of urine
  • Dark or overly yellow urine
  • Dizziness that increases when standing
  • Weakness
  • Cramping in the arms and legs
  • Crying with little to no tears
  • Fatigue
  • Being more irritable than normal
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth or dry tongue with thick saliva

Symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration include:
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fainting
  • Severe muscle contractions in the arms, legs, stomach, and back
  • Convulsions
  • A bloated stomach
  • Sunken dry eyes with few or no tears
  • The skin loses its firmness and looks wrinkled or lack of elasticity of the skin (when a bit of skin lifted up stays folded and takes a long time to go back to its normal position)
  • Rapid and deep breathing that is faster than normal
  • A fast but weak pulse

With severe dehydration, death follows soon if rehydration is not started quickly.

You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by increasing your intake of fluids, but severe cases need immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is not to become dehydrated in the first place. You can do that by monitoring your fluid loss during hot weather, illness or exercise and exertion and drinking enough liquids to replace what you lose. It also never hurts to add a slight amount of salt to your daily intake when you are out and about. Sweat contains around 2 or 3 grams of sodium chloride per liter. A few small packets of salt should last a week or two if you cannot get any sodium from food sources. Some potable water tablets, or water purification tablets or a portable water filter and reusable water containers will go a long way in being able to keep yourself hydrated in an emergency. All you need to find is a relatively uncontaminated water source, which if you prepare well enough you should already have mapped out ahead of time if you need to get the hell out of dodge. If you bug in, then your water stores are going to be dependent on the water company being able to pump water into your home. Since that can't always be counted on, you should store as much water as you can, preferably at least 2 weeks worth if not twice that unless you live very close to an alternative water source such as a river or lake. Though even in that situation, I'd still store as much water as I could afford to; if things get bad enough to need it, you won't be the only one needing it. Avoiding confrontation, such as when fighting over space or water from a pond or stream with desperate people, is a key to survival.

Shelter: (The house that Murphy built.)

Depending on your climate, Shelter may be a distant second priority (in temperate or mild climates with no adverse weather or storms) or an immediate necessity (unbearably hot, humid or cold regions or areas under severe weather and storm systems). In extraordinarily hot or humid weather, being completely exposed to the elements can produce conditions such as dehydration or heat stroke; in extremely cold conditions, frostbite, hypothermia and shock are of major concern. Regardless, if you’re going to be out in the wild, you’re going to need some form of shelter at some point no matter what climate you’re in. In addition to providing a barrier against the elements, shelter provides protection against dangerous animals or other humans intent on doing you harm. A good shelter will even conceal your position so that you will not need to worry much about confrontations with two-legged predators (i.e. other humans).

Look for a securely dry spot that is sheltered from the wind on medium-high ground that is safe from the risk of flooding. It is a good idea to map out a few places such as this within 0-2 days walk from your home, place of employment and any other places you may spend a significant amount of time at. Having 2-3 areas around your usual haunts mapped out and ready gives you a couple of readily accessible places to quickly retreat to and plan your next move if need be.

As far as tents and sleeping bags, go for the lightest and smallest that you can in both that will be adequate for your temperatures (i.e. a bag rated down to only 30 degrees is no good for a Vermont winter and a bag rated down to –30 is probably useless for someone in Arizona during the summer). A good subzero bag can be had in weights of 3-5 pounds if you’re prepared to pay $200 or more, a good bag comfortable down to 20 or 30 degrees can be had for much less and still be as light. In warmer temperatures, something as simple and as light as a fleece blanket or sleeping bag and a tarp or bivvy sack will be more than adequate for both a sleeping bag and tent substitute. Keep in mind that you can save a lot of weight in your pack by learning the very simple skill of making your own shelter from materials that you can find in the woods. A simple lean-to made correctly is nearly as good as a lightweight tent in most climates, especially if you can manage to get a fire going (another very important skill to learn even if you don't plan on bugging out). The ability to make fire with a variety of improvised methods as well as with tools and objects you carry on your person or in your BoB could very well be the difference between living comfortably and dying a nasty hypothermic death. Lighters, magnesium fire starters, matches and cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly are all worthy solutions to the need for heat. I'm not going to go over the various methods to make and nurture a fire for yourself, that's a subject best left to some of the reference materials listed below or for discussion on this and other forums.

As with water, if you end up bugging in, your shelter is mostly taken care of. Most of us have spare blankets a home, and any sleeping bags we have for bugging out can be used when bugging in too. Even tents can be used inside of your home in the worst case scenarios. Fire inside the home is a more problematic issue that needs to be addressed by heaters. If your power or utilities go out, how will you keep warm? If you can answer that question, then you're way ahead of most people.

Food: (Hell hath No 7-11.)

We must also not forget, that although your body can likely survive a couple of weeks without food, it is not advisable or fun to do so. Finding, identifying and gathering food is an essential skill for survival. Food sources can be plant, animal or insect. This is not a skill that I can easily prepare you for, however, at the conclusion of this primer, I will give you all the resources you need to become pretty well-versed in this and the other areas I will be discussing, provided you use those resources and have the reference materials handy when you need them. For food to supplement you until you can get to where you need to go and hunt or gather your own food, dried foods commonly found in camping and sporting goods stores, trail mix, granola, military MRE’s or just about anything that is light, compact, does not require heat or much water that can be easily stored and won’t spoil will work.

My thoughts on food selections for bugging out are:

I take something I like, but I try not to vary my meals too much. As an example, for three days I take 1-2 meal items like tuna fish and chicken in a foil pack in oil or water and I don't vary the main foods past that and one or two dry meals (dry noodle soup mixes, rice, dehydrated meals or MRE’s). I take some of my favorite granola bars, maybe some crackers for the tuna and some nuts, trail mix and beef jerky to snack on. Sometimes I also take tea bags to make tea for caffeine and some Koolaid packets to help mask the taste of the potable water, Koolaid and almost anything with caffeine are a comfort foods.

I am firmly against packing only foods that need water to prepare and eat based on my experiences where water just wasn't always available when it was time to eat. I have had to use the water I was carrying to drink, not to cook, but I needed food for energy to get where I needed to be. Yes, you can live without food for days, but you can't exert yourself while doing that, so you need to eat; you need energy. When you need to conserve your water, it’s something you simply cannot improvise. If all of your meals need water to cook or are so dry that they make you thirsty and thus consume more water, you’ll soon find yourself out of water, and unfortunately, maybe out of luck

Where I live, I have plenty of water around me, but doubt I'll have the time or desire to stop and gather water to cook every meal in a serious emergency; which is another reason that I prefer to take some foods that need next to zero prep (no cooking, no adding water, no needing a separate container to eat out of) and can be eaten on the go when needed. I'd eat MRE's right from the pouch before I bothered to cook them properly in most cases because, if I am on the run, stopping and having a leisurely meal is a luxury I’d probably not afford myself.  Another thing to keep in mind is that both human and animal predators (at least the smart ones) hang around water sources too. They know that every land dwelling creature needs water, and so do they; so hunting around the local watering holes both satisfies their thirst and their hunger should they happen to catch their prey drinking or even the trail it left behind as it made its way from the watering hole to the next destination.

I would also suggest avoiding any diversion of the diet that is too far away from anything one normally eats because of the possibility of food allergies (you won't know you're allergic to squash if you don't eat it for 5-10 years and only keep it as an emergency ration) and a sudden and drastic change in diet can cause complications or injury to your gall bladder and other areas of your body/digestive system. There's some balance to be found there, so be careful everyone and make smart choices and above all else, test them out in practice bug outs or camping trips.

Medical Supplies: (This isn't a hospital. It's an insane asylum. And it's probably your fault.)

There are two popular schools of thought on the need of medical supplies in a survival kit or BoB (Bug-out Bag). The first school is to load up on every supply you can think of, from splints to sutures to EMT shears to pain relievers and narcotics; the other school is a more minimalist approach where you only take what you might need to treat basic trauma and minor injuries. I subscribe to the second school of thought for one simple reason; out in the wild, most severe injuries will be fatal without proper medical attention by a doctor inside a medical facility. I have talked to doctors and participated in discussions with medical professionals on this subject and in the end I have found that if you cannot get access to a hospital, a critical injury will likely prove fatal no matter how well prepared you are.

As for carrying splints and specialized tools; man has survived centuries without specialized tools for medical purposes. Splints can be made from tree limbs and a sharp knife can substitute for a scalpel unless you are performing complicated surgery (which again, you wouldn’t be doing in the wild anyway). I am not trying to dissuade you from carrying any type of medical supply, if you know how to use it and you have room for it, then by all means, take it if you feel more comfortable that way. I am simply suggesting that you can be over-prepared in this area, and sustaining someone’s life for a few hours when there is no chance of getting them to a medical professional or hospital, while admirable, will be a waste of time and will likely prolong the suffering of the injured patient.

Compression bandages, gauze, a needle and some thread, pain relievers, antibiotic cream or ointment, moleskin (a godsend for blister relief), petroleum jelly (for chapped lips and skin, to put over cuts and also to use as an emergency fire-starter) are all excellent minimalist items to include in your medical kit. Be sure to also keep any specialized medical needs you have accounted for (i.e. and Epi-pen if you are allergic to bee stings, diabetes medication, heart pills etc…). Some of these items require a prescription to get an extra supply of, so talk to your doctor about your concerns if you can as he or she may be able to suggest a solution (i.e. ordering 3-month supplies through the mail so you’ll always have extra or natural alternatives that will suffice in an emergency). Even if your doctor cannot help you, if you fill your prescriptions on time at the first opportunity, you should have enough on hand at all timers to last 3-5 days, and that’s within the scope of the “bug out” concept. If the world ends as we know it, well, that’s a bridge millions of people on maintenance medications will need to cross.

Clothing: (Clothes may not make the man, but they sure do make him comfortable.)

Clothing is an important part of preparation. Our skin only goes so far in protecting us from the elements and does not insulate us from the harmful effects of the sun, rain or a cold climate very well. If you have to make like a tree and leave, you will most likely have some clothes on, so for your survival preparations, clothing to supplement what you would already have on is the key.

Clothing chosen for your Bug out Bag should be durable, versatile and cover all of the seasons and weather conditions that you might find yourself in. The common mantra is “cotton kills” when it comes to clothing for such uses because cotton does not wick moisture away from the skin and can instead hold moisture against your skin, making you feel colder because it is drawing the warmth away from you. This can lead to hypothermia (which is the condition of having an abnormally low body temperature – which is definitely not conducive to your health and well-being).

Common alternatives to cotton are; wool, silk, fleece, synthetic polypropylene, polyester or nylon and polyester/cotton or nylon/cotton blends (twill).

Wool: Wool retains a great deal of its insulating properties when it gets wet but it tends to absorb moisture and this makes it very heavy in extremely moist conditions (cotton also absorbs moisture and becomes rather heavy when wet but it does not insulate if saturated). Wool can also be irritating to the skin if your skin is sensitive unless you spend the extra dough on some of the good stuff (i.e. Merino wool or similar). Wool blocks the wind well enough if it is woven tightly. Be careful when selecting wool garments as some people are allergic to it.

Silk: Silk feels nice on the skin and it is very cool and lightweight, but when it gets wet, it loses the ability to insulate, so while it’s a nice for the weight reduction, it doesn’t offer much in the way of warmth if it gets wet.

Fleece: Fleece is a lightweight synthetic fabric that is hydrophobic (does not retain water) which means that it will wick moisture away, dry faster than wool or cotton and most other natural fabrics. Fleece is also soft against the skin and a good insulator however, it is also flammable and it does not provide much of a barrier against the wind so you’ll need a windproof outer layer if you use a lot of fleece.

Polypropylene: Polypropylene feels similar to silk in that it’s slick and soft, but not so much as silk. It is not quite as good of an insulator when dry, but it is hydrophobic (like fleece) and wicks away moisture very efficiently, keeping you warmer when the climate is wet or you sweat heavily (i.e. while carrying 30-60 pounds of gear and hiking up a trail). ‘Polypro’ is one of the more popular choices for hikers, soldiers and police officers as they tend to use it as a layer under their backpacking gear or body armor and gear to keep them cool and comfortable (or warm and comfortable depending on the situation). Polypro is ultra flammable, so keep that in mind; if you get set on fire wearing polypropylene, it will melt and make the burn much worse (of course, if you're on fire, things already haven't gone according to plan).

Polyester and Nylon: Hiking or trekking pants are commonly made of nylon or polyester for their light-weight and fast drying properties. If you take a true layered approach, a pair of lightweight hiking pants in nylon or polyester are great for just about any weather condition because they're light and breathable in the heat, they shed water and dry quickly and when worn over your base layer (thermals) they can offer a great deal of warmth and comfort. A great choice in this realm would be convertible pants, where the legs of the pants can be taken off via a zipper at or around the knees, giving you a pair of lightweight shorts in extremely warm weather.

Polyester/cotton and nylon/cotton blends: These blends usually have either a 65% synthetic to 35% cotton ratio or it’s 50% for each. This gives you a level of comfort and moisture resistance as well as durability. Work pants and BDU's are commonly made of these blends, while they don't offer as much to those taking a more layered approach as synthetic hiking pants would, they're generally more durable. If ultimate durability is what you're after and you don't mind the extra weight or your pants being less breathable and quick-drying, these might be a good idea.

As long as you avoid 100% cotton garments, the key is to dress in layers regardless of fabric. If you wear only a t-shirt and a huge parka rated for 30-below zero temperatures, what happens when it warms up to 35 degrees? Way too cold for just the t-shirt, way too warm for the Michelin man look (remember, sweating puts moisture onto your skin, which sucks the warmth from you and can lead to hypothermia). Layering allows you to add or subtract layers to find the optimal balance of comfort and warmth when the climate changes. The most effective system that I have seen is the common system of using three layers; an inner layer, a middle layer and an outer layer.

Inner layer: Since this is the layer closest to your skin, and you’re gonna sweat, this layer should be something soft (for comfort) and something that has sweat-wicking properties if possible. Optimally, this layer would consist of a thin and lightweight polypropylene t-shirt, socks and underwear (shorts or boxers) combination (or thermal underwear for the cold). Silk will do, but beware that silk doesn’t wick moisture so sweating and moisture will be a concern.

Middle layer: The upper portion of your middle layer (your coat or jacket) should be something that insulates and is lightweight. A fleece jacket or something with similar properties would work well here. Anything that insulates well, is light and will dry fast if it gets wet will do fine. For pants or shorts, something durable, lightweight and fast drying will be the best choice (poly/cotton or nylon/cotton blend work pants or BDU’s).

Outer layer: your outer layer is your first line of defense against the elements, so what you choose will depend on the season and your climate. A good choice for spring and summers in wet or moderate climates is to simply use a raincoat or rain jacket as your outer layer as it will not only block out the rain, it will also keep heat in on cold nights even when it’s not raining. For wintry and colder climates, a breathable insulated coat is probably going to be your best bet; you’ll need to tailor this option according to your own climate here so the only advice that I will offer is that it should be tough and as lightweight as possible while still remaining warm enough for the coldest portions of your climate. You’ll also want to add a ski-cap or ski-mask and some gloves for the colder seasons/climates.

I personally pack one set of middle layer clothing, 2-5 sets of inner layer clothing (especially socks, dry, clean socks are a godsend in a harsh environment), and I have a separate small bag set aside for cold weather items. My thinking on the cold weather items is that I will already be wearing a cold-weather coat, hat and gloves in the winter if I have to bug out, and I certainly can’t go running for the hills in my pajamas or a t-shirt and shorts in the middle of a Northeast American winter. I have it on hand right near where I keep my BoB so that I can throw it on and go.

One last article of clothing that is oddly enough, more important than many would ever suspect: boots. Many people fail to consider these as a vital part of survival and they are making a big mistake. If you are like myself, and work in an office, you probably wear dress shoes to work. How do your feet feel after 8-10 hours of walking around the office? Imagine what they will feel like when you are navigating rough terrain, with 30-50 pounds of gear on your back for a day. A good pair of boots is essential for foot health (you cannot move if your feet are down for the count), heat, traction to navigate terrain and to prevent fatigue. Poorly made footwear, worn footwear or footwear used for one purpose and designed for another (i.e. using high heels or tennis shoes to hike up a mountain trail) will cause your body to work harder to accomplish even simple tasks such as walking only a few miles. Do yourself a favor, get yourself a good pair of boots that are comfortable and well-made and make sure they are appropriate for your climate (Gore-Tex insulated extreme temperature boots won’t do you a lot of good in Florida, and completely un-insulated boots might prove to be a problem in Pennsylvania during the winter).

You should make sure your clothing covers landscape and weather patterns that you are likely to find yourself in. If you live in an area where you have all four seasons, you will need more choices of clothing (and should swap one set of layered garments out for another just before the season changes), whereas someone that lives in a relatively stable climate (no snow or snow all the time) will be able to limit their clothing choices a little. However, this does not mean that you have to carry a wool cap in your bag during the summer; I suggest preparing 2-4 different loads (one for each season or one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter) that you swap in and out at the beginning of each season. Since I am going to recommend that you check your BoB and make sure everything is in order at least 4 times per year, doing so at the onset of each season is a good idea; this way you can swap clothing for each season in and out then as well and kill 2 birds with one stone.

Tools: (Get your damn dirty paws off me, you filthy ape!)

Aside from having opposable thumbs, the use of specialized tools is what separates us from the primate. Oddly enough, primates survive just fine without them, but we’re not primates and we have special needs because we are not accustomed to living in the wild. We are a race of cubicle dwellers and creature comfort-addicts, so any tool that you can carry that will help accomplish the tasks you will need to complete is vital to comfort and survival.

Tools such as camp axes, knives, saws, flashlights, multi-tools, shovels and the like prove to be invaluable when you need to accomplish something. Anything that makes the work you’re going to do out there easier will be a life-saver. Save your energy for other things, chances are, you’ll need it.

Be careful not to go too heavily into specialized tools however as this gets heavy and bulky fast. For example, there is no need to have 4-5 knives in your BoB, pick one large knife that will stand up to hard use, one multi-tool device and something that will saw or chop wood. A good thing to include (if you can afford the weight) is a shovel, however, you can improvise digging dirt for a small trench or to bury something small using a knife or an ax if you find that your pack is already pushing the heavy side.

As far as flashlights, light is nice, but our species survived a long, long time in hard conditions without artificial light. Including 4-5 flashlights and a whole bunch of spare batteries is overkill in my opinion. First of all, that’s bulky, second of all, that gets heavy (4 flashlights and spare batteries for each can weigh anywhere for 2 pounds to 8-10 pounds) and it’s simply not efficient, nor is it truly necessary. One flashlight (and maybe one small light as a back-up) will do just fine and there may not even be a need for spare batteries. If your flashlight runs 20 hours on one set of batteries, simply getting in the habit of checking your batteries and rotating in a fresh set 4 times per year should be enough for a 3-5 day bug out. Glow sticks are a good, lightweight back-up that don’t need batteries and will give at least a little light overnight. Also, you’re going to most likely need to start a fire, and firelight is sufficient to read by while it keeps you warm or cooks your food.

Intelligence: (Take me to your leader.)

An often-neglected part of survival preparation is intelligence. In order to survive, we need to have answers to some very important questions, and also be able to get answers to important questions as they come up.

  • What is the current status of the disaster that forced me to bug out?
  • Where am I now?
  • How do I get to a certain desired place?
  • What forces or barriers are acting against me and how do I overcome them?

This area is one part preparation and one part understanding how to gather make-shift intelligence reports when you are out in the wild. To prepare in regards to intelligence, you should ascertain some of the following information well in advance:

  • What type of climate am I in?
  • What is the logical and topographical layout of the land and terrain of my area?
  • What types of disasters is my area prone to?
  • Where are the safest places to go given a certain event or disaster?

Those questions are easily enough answered if you give them some thought and investigate your environment. In the middle of a disaster there is no time to try and figure out your next move. You should already know your next three moves the minute you need to mobilize. Spend the time between move one and move three planning your next three moves and you will always be ahead of the game.

The second aspect is how to gather important information. Tools that help you do this would include:

  • A radio
  • Maps
  • Binoculars or some type of magnified optical device to observe things at a distance
  • A compass

When your life is on the line, you need to eliminate guess work when you can because out in the world, things have a tendency of altering your plans mid-stride and forcing you to make split decisions with incomplete or imperfect information no matter how well you prepare.

Arms: (Rule number one: bring a gun.)

The importance of arms is honestly arguable. Some feel that simply avoiding and running is key to survival, and I would agree for the most part. However, given that no matter how well you navigate, or how good your evasion tactics are, chances are if you find yourself in an armed confrontation, you will need a gun; and if you need a gun, you really need a gun.

Please understand that having a firearm does not make you Rambo, evasion and avoidance is still your best bet no matter how well-armed you are; your firearm is a last resort when all other options have failed.

I prefer to take a layered approach with my firearms just as I do with my clothing. For different levels of crisis or emergency, I have different firearms selections. When I'm out and about doing my daily whatever, I can only use whatever I carry on my person daily, so that is a concealed handgun and a spare magazine or two. That’s about the extent of my options (though I do often keep a long gun in the car just in case, but I cannot always count on being near my vehicle and having access to it).

If I'm at home, well, then everything in my home is available to me. I have a flashlight and a handgun next to me while I sleep, and the gun is always near me in the same room when I am awake if it is not on my hip. I also keep a 12guage shotgun and a handful of rifles close by and ready to be put into action if the need arises.  Keep in mind, that as new products and ammunition become available, my choice in “go to guns” does change to take advantage of any edge I can get, so what works well today might only be adequate tomorrow. And, of course, being a gun guy, things come and go, my fancy gets tickled regularly, so trying to do an in-depth section on my specific firearm thoughts and choices here would be a bit counter productive. If you choose to utilize firearms for your self defense and survival, get educated and/or trained by someone other than the guy at the gun counter. There are loads of resources online for firearms discussion and information and most of those places can help you find adequate training in your area.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

As promised earlier, I’d like to share with you two of the better books that I could find that will aid just about anyone trying to survive a calamity that forces once to retreat from civilization. For a reference library while out in the field, the following books are invaluable resources for everything I have mentioned in this primer and more. Do yourself a favor and pick up the U.S. Army Survival Handbook by the Department of the Army and the SAS Survival Handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman. Read them, learn and remember what you can, and keep them in your primary survival pack for reference when the going gets tough and your mind begins to quit on you. There are other books out there, and some of them might suit you better. We have a section on the forums for people to list the books on survival that have been of use to them, so go ahead and check out The Library if you're looking for more choices in that department.

That’s pretty much it for the primer, in the next section I will cover some of my specific choices in gear for my Bug out Bag, and why I chose them. Hopefully all of this information will help you make your own choices or cause you to consider something you have neglected in building your own Bug out Bag. Be sure to check out what everyone else has posted about their bags and gear, no one person's solution is going to be perfect for you, the point isn't to mimic someone else's solutions, it's to build one of your own that made to fit your needs.

On a final note, I want to say something about what seems to be a prevailing notion amongst those in the survival community. There seems to be some very deep and very negative feelings towards what most of us would call, “sheep” or “sheeple”, basically, people who aren't prepared. One thing we all need to keep in mind is that regardless of your state of preparation, provided you survive the initial event which causes the excrement to hit the oscillating blades, one of the most important aspects to consider about disaster and survival is that people, just like fuel, food, water, ammunition, firearms and every other piece of gear or tool you can manage, are either assets or obstacles. You may not like people, you may be planning to avoid them, but unless the event referenced above is so catastrophic that you're literally playing the part of Mad Max in a post-apocalyptic world, it's entirely possible that you're going to have to deal with people to some extent. Now maybe in the end that amounts to nothing more than your husband or wife and 2.5 children, but you must consider the possibility that you're going to either need or be confronted by people outside of the group you normally manage or are a part of. This may not be part of your plan, and you may not like it, but you have to work with the assets you have, not the ones you want.

As I said, many of us who are into survival and preparation seem to detest or hold a great deal of contempt for the stereotypical sheeple, people unaware and unprepared for the very real possibilities that keep us fanatics slavering away at perfecting our survival plans and assets. The problem here is that those people outnumber us 1,000,000,000 to 1, so it’s safe to say that those of us that survive the initial event are going to have more of them on our hands than we'll know what to do with. And anyone who encounters the unwashed masses and doesn’t want to work with them, well no matter how hardcore we may think we are, when we’re so grossly outnumbered, they can always just roll right over any one of us if we decide not to play nice. I don't care how much ammunition and firearm skills you have, or how sneaky you are, you can only shoot as many people at once as you have hands to hold guns, and you'd probably have a better shot hiding from the police after a bank heist than you would thousands of displaced civilians that are frantic, desperate and scared.

Now I am in no way saying that anyone should just bow down to the displaced hordes, only that in any m
::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

My Bug out Bag and Gear

Offline NineseveN

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Survival According to Darwinism (Version 5.0) Pt II and III
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 03:55:45 PM »
Updated  03.23.2009

Part II: I Already Know Who's Naughty, So I'll Just Stick With The List

First Line EDC (every day carry) Gear:

Primary EDC light: Maglite key chain light
Primary EDC knife: CRKT M21-04 Carson
Primary Sidearm: STI 2011 Tactical 4.15 9mm

First Line Emergency Gear (get-me-home gear):

Drop Leg System:

-Strong Side (right)
Universal adjustable drop leg handgun holster
Gerber MP600 Blunt nose multi-tool in magazine pouch at the front of the holster

-Weak Side (left)
--Tactical Tailor multi-tool pouch
Spare pistol magazine
--Condor MOLLE Admin wallet
6 anti-diarrheal/indigestion tablets
1 non-lubricated condom
Emergency poncho
4 spare CR123A batteries
---Large round mint/candy tin
50 potable water tablets
1 set of ear plugs
Small Microfiber cloth
---Small, rectangular mint/candy tin
Small sample pack of CLP
--Condor Large medic pouch
Cotton balls saturated in petroleum jelly inside pill bottle
Bushnell Binoculars
Surefire G2 Nitrolon flashlight (green) – CR123A batteries
1 tuna foil pack (7oz)
3 granola bars
1 small roll of gauze
Small roll of medical/sports tape
Small bottle of hand sanitizer
Extra driver bits for the multi-tool

Trunk Gun: Mossberg 930SPX 12 Gauge Semi-Automatic Shotgun

Second line gear – Combat gear:

Primary Rifle A: M14

18.5" M14 Zombie Killer, courtesy of Front Line Armory and a bunch of minty USGI parts on an Armscorp Receiver (TFL Group Run) in a Boyd's Pepper Laminate stock. Topped off with a YHM Phantom flash hider and a Specter 3-point sling. Homebrew Magpuls courtesy of NineseveN's 3AM bright ideas given an excess of para cord and 100MPH tape.

Combat Vest: USGI ACU FLC Vest

Holds 7 M14 magazines or 14 AR15 magazines
2 USGI plastic 1quart Canteens
1 USGI MOLLE Improved First Aid Kit (C-A-T tourniquet, Roll of medical tape, compression gauze, rubber gloves, nasopharyngeal airway, hemorrhage control compression bandage + 5 hydrocodone tablets, 7 multivitamins, 9 naproxen sodium tablets and 12 Advil gel tabs)
Generic LED light with belt clip and pouch
4 tuna packs (one 6.4oz and three 3oz packages stored in canteen pouches)
2 Grimloc Carabiners
One bandanna

Third line gear – Full bug-out-bag and any additional long-term gear

Full Bug-out-Bag: Eberlestock Phantom Pack

Sportsman's Guide Guide Gear lightweight warm weather sleeping bag (with room for a larger fall/winter bag instead if the conditions call for it)
Empty generic 2liter water bladder
Inova X5 LED flashlight (20 hour run-time) - CR123A batteries
Gander Mountain Rain Jacket
Swedish fire steel
Survival saw
OFF 100% DEET bug spray
5 spare CR123A batteries
Benchmade Rant DPT fixed blade
2 pairs of wicking underwear
3 pairs of socks
1 wicking undershirt
1 pair of Gander Mountain Teflon convertible pants
1 Large emergency tarp with grommets at the corners (Green/Metallic-foil)
7 days worth of dried meals (rice, chicken broth and veggies)
2 packages of beef jerky
2 7ox Tuna Foil Packs
7 days of multi-vitamins
1 roll of toilet paper
1 roll of self-adhesive gauze
1 small roll of moleskin
10 cotton swabs
1 32oz wide mouth Nalgene bottle
1 MSR Nalgene cup
8 zip ties
Atomic alcohol stove, windscreen and pot stand
8oz of alcohol fuel (enough for 8 meals)
Thermarest Z-Lite Long Sleeping Pad
50' of Paracord

Part III: Get the Load Out
In part two of this article, I will be focusing on the specific items that I have in my BoB as well as why I have included them and some suggestions on other things that you may want to include in yours.

Before we get to the list, let’s discuss the philosophy behind putting a BoB together. Most of us carry a map in our car even when we're traveling to a destination that we already know the way to. We carry health insurance even though most of us never expect to become dreadfully ill. Some of us, and I would argue, not enough of us, also prepare ourselves for the possible reality that we may face in regards to a situation of chaos and disaster, societal collapse, or perhaps even war on our own soil. The recent news coverage of all of the chaos during Hurricane Katrina should be all the proof one needs that sometimes hell comes to you, and it pays to be prepared and ready to move. You're going to want to set some goals for your BoB. I would start by asking myself a few questions such as how long you want the items, mainly the water and food to last you. Keep in mind that it's also important to self-assess you abilities in this area, because having food packed in your bag for 3 weeks and having no outdoor survival skills is probably a waste of space and weight in your bag. After a few days, wilderness survival isn't something that one can easily fake, and the longer you're out there the more exponential the danger of failure becomes. Most people set a benchmark at 3 days since that's a realistic goal for your average, healthy adult given cooperative weather (no blizzards) even with little to no special skill. It won't be easy, but it's doable. As you budget yourself some money for gear and supplies, consider putting some cash aside for skills training, at the very least, get some first aid training. Also keep in mind that it's easy to pack everything you can think of into a bag, easy at least until it comes time to put the pack on your back and walk a few miles. Be realistic, if you find that you're wanting to carry more than you physically can, get some exercise or do some strength training, don't fall into the trap of thinking that you'll be able to tough it out when the chips are down, it doesn't really work in your favor to take such a serious gamble like that.

Knowing your goals and your limitations will go a long way in helping you prepare and avoid wasting time and money on gear you don’t need, can’t use or is too heavy to carry. As I said previously, my goal here is not to give you a list that you can copy and have your own BoB ready to go, my particular set-up is custom fit for me, my environment, physical capabilities and my plans and it probably won’t be the right fit for most other people. Many of the items I have can be found in any respectable BoB, but the exact makes, models and quantities are determined by factors other than what others have. In order to get the most out of reading my words here, you should be examining each item I have included, why I have included it and then asking yourself if it fits with your abilities and situation.

Okay, so with that warning out of the way, let’s get down to business.


Packs and Pack Mules: Why you need one and why you'd rather not be the other

While designs considered to be grandfathers to modern backpacks come from as recent as the late 1800's or early 1900's, the concept of the backpack goes back about a long as hunting does. In much less modern times, hunters would use a cloth sack top carry the dismembered parts of their pray back to wherever it was that their family or social unit waited for them. In its simplest form, a backpack is just that, something worn on your back to pack stuff in. The thing to keep in mind is that backpacks, all of them, even the super-cheap backpacks you find at WalMart and the like, will carry stuff. Again, that's what they're all designed to do. If that's the case, you may wonder, then why do people spend a lot of money on certain packs when the $20 WalMart special will carry stuff too. Well, there are a few reasons why someone might opt for a more expensive pack.

First of all, some people just like to have expensive things, it makes them feel good about themselves. This isn't really a valid motivator for our purposes since we're going to need to spend money on a number of other things for survival and not many of us have an endless supply of cash flowing into our wallets. Aside from that though, there are some valid reason why one would opt for a more expensive unit.

In general, a sturdier pack is going to cost more than your normal WalMart bag. That's not to say that all expensive packs are sturdy and durable or that all cheap packs are weak and will fall apart on you, only that if you're striving for the ultimate in durability, you're probably going to have to spend some coin for it. Some of the top-tier military style packs are strong enough to support the weight of your body inside the strap while suspended in the air, so if you slide down a cliff and one of your pack straps catches a piece of rock or a stump, chances are the better pack will hold you while the cheap pack will likely pull apart and leave you twisting in the wind, headed downward at a high rate of speed. That's an extreme example, one most of us will likely never see, but it stands to reason that if the pack can withstand that kind of extreme torture, it should last you a long time. If you use your pack often for camping or hiking, then you'll probably want one that can take a lot of abuse.

The second reason is weight. If you're only carrying 10 or 20 pounds, almost any pack will do. However, as you increase the weight, the pack has to be designed to take more and more of that weight and shift it to the areas of your body that can sustain and support that weight for longer periods of time. Your basic soft backpack probably isn't going to be very good in that capacity, research and sturdy materials and workmanship cost money, so you're going to be paying for whatever the manufacturer puts into it. Now, a way to get past that on the cheap is to opt for a different design in a cheaper backpack. For example, frame packs are really good for carrying anywhere from 50 to even 150 pounds of weight (not for the amateur or weekend warrior), provided they're built for it. So if you have a choice between a cheap $20 soft backpack and a $50 frame pack and you're looking to carry 35 pounds, you can always go for the frame pack and you'll probably be okay. That cheap frame pack probably isn't going to be suitable for carrying an animal carcass back to camp or your wounded friend or family member the way a $500+ Kifaru pack is, but it will probably carry that 35lbs you need to haul a lot better than a cheap book bag or knapsack will.

The third reason is that some people need packs designed for special purposes like carrying weapons or other non-backpacking gear. Some of the solutions for these special needs are really well done, but they're also more expensive than standard backpacks. Most hiking packs these days have slots for skis, but there aren't too many packs that allow one to carry a .50 caliber sniper rifle, a wounded person (yes, on your back) or can accommodate hard cases housing sensitive equipment that snap right into the pack frame.

Having said all of that, for your BoB, nearly any rugged and decent quality pack will do. Packs made for hiking, camping or even military surplus packs will all work well, so find one that is comfortable and is big enough to carry all of your gear (but again, remember to be selective and carry what's within your physical abilities, as well as the abilities of your pack). As I began to discuss above, depending on the amount of weight you have invested into your BoB, you might find that a frame pack is a sensible idea. Frame packs are what they sound like, packs with frames; specifically a rigid frame that goes between your back and the pack body that keeps the pack and its contents from shifting around and being thrown off-balance. Frame packs are heavier than non-frame packs (obviously because the frame has weight to it) but they can allow you to carry more weight comfortably because they don’t allow the contents to shift and throw the weight off and the rigid frame keeps the load on the proper areas of your body (i.e. on the hips instead of the neck). If you already have a non-frame pack and you decide that you might want a frame pack, there’s no need to ditch your current pack (especially if you like everything about your pack except that it doesn’t have a frame) because you can get external frames that your pack will slide into, giving you the benefit of the frame while still being able to use the pack that you prefer. If you decide to go with a frame pack, research the different types (internal frame and external frame) to decide which is right for you.

When I started my first semi-dedicated BoB back in 1997, I used a military surplus duffel bag from the local Army/Navy Surplus Store. It was a very sturdy bag, sturdy enough that once I removed it from BoB duty, I used it on 2 vacations to Maryland and a couple of trips to Sacramento California and it held everything that I need and actually survived the baggage demons at the airport, well, until 2006 when the shoulder strap attachment point ripped during baggage handling. The bag was about 12 years old and had been drug through the mud, up ridges and across rocks, submerged in fresh and saltwater and generally abused in whatever task I asked it to perform.

About the time that I really started to get serious about my BoB planning, I decided that a backpack was more suited for the role of a bag that I needed to be able to run to the hills with. Duffel and shoulder bags just aren’t suited for climbing and hiking because they throw your center of balance off and get in the way from having so much loose bulk around your midsection. At first, I did what a lot of folks do when they first start their BoBs, I took a ‘book bag’ that I used in college and started filling it with what I thought I’d need. The little Eastport bag served me well for a number of years prior to and after becoming a BoB (in fact, I still have it); it held a lot of weight in the form of textbooks and school supplies so I thought it would be a good start. Needless to say, it didn’t serve long as a BoB. For one, it just wasn’t large enough; I couldn’t fit everything that I wanted to take with me in it and since it really wasn’t designed for that anyway, loading it up with so much weight (my first BoB weighed nearly 45 pounds) made it painful to wear for extended periods of time. It was fine for toting around 30 pounds of books in between classes, but it just wasn’t up to the task of remaining comfortable for long periods of time while hauling any significant weight.

My solution? I looked to the military for some examples of viable backpacking gear. I wasn’t interested in a frame pack at the time so the Alice Pack was out, but I did find a Russian military issue 3-day assault pack that seemed to fit the bill. It was large, tough and sturdy; just what I needed. I loaded the pack up with all of my gear (again, just over 40 pounds) and found it to be much more comfortable than the Eastport pack, but it was far from ideal. I decided that I’d shed the weight where I could and try and get used to the lack of comfort; after all, I was preparing for survival, not a vacation. The final load for that bag came in at 28 pounds as I recall. That set-up worked out for a while but as my knowledge on the subject grew I realized that 28 pounds of gear was a lot, especially considering I had only included 32oz of water and a few MRE’s in my BoB at the time.

I ended up selling the Russian pack to a friend of mine along with a Russian LBV and an AK-47 variant (VEPR K) in order to finance an addiction to FAL rifles at the time. For my BoB, I went to an old aluminum external frame pack given to me by my father in my teens. It’s a nice pack, and has held up nicely considering it’s nearly as old as I am. I added another 64oz of water and some more food and shaved down the weight by removing redundant and unnecessary items and ended up in the 30lb range (which isn’t bad at all for a frame pack).

Eventually, I outgrew that frame pack and wanted to try something new (I still have the pack though). I found what I felt was a good deal on a pack from an online retailer; the pack in question included a warm weather sleeping bag, a bivvy sack and a hydration bladder for a good price. The bag itself was nice and it served as my BoB until Tink and I started building her BoB, I gave her that bag (which she used for nearly 2 years) and I ordered a Tactical Tailor 3-day assault pack on the advice from some of my military-inclined friends. At that point, I was going for a minimalist approach to survival so a smaller pack seemed like a good idea because it would limit what I could put in it so I would have to make tough decisions on how much I truly needed something and how much of it I really needed. I was much more educated on the topic at that point than I was when I had first tried a military assault pack, so I figured I’d do okay. The end results were acceptable, the weight was 32 pounds with a winter load and 29 pounds with a spring/summer/fall load. Details of the set-up can be found further down in the archive section.

Going into 2007, I made a decision to try another route, one I hadn’t fully explored previously. I had learned a lot about what to pack and how to pack it from a number of online hiking and camping communities and since I’d already borrowed from their methods, I figured I’d borrow some of their gear style choices as well. The pack that I decided on at that point was a Kelty Comanche 5600 internal frame pack. I used that pack for about a year and a half and while I liked the pack for what it was, I decided that I wanted to try something that I'd had my eye on for a long time. So for 2009, I decided to spend the money on an Eberlestock Phantom.

The Phantom in “everything but the Kitchen Sink” configuration, complete with winter sleeping bag inside, rifle in scabbard and Thermarest sleeping pad secured to the rear.

Let me say right up front that after years and years of using them, I don't like top-loading packs very much (one of the reasons I got rid of the Kelty Comanche). I can certainly tolerate them, but they're far from ideal in my opinion. If you're camping and know that there will be a designated time that you can tear down your pack and pitch camp each day, they work fine (though they still annoy me). But when you're planning for the unexpected, those kinds of expectations aren't really healthy in my opinion. I like the current crop of military style front-loading packs a lot for that reason; because I can get to everything with relative speed and ease instead of having to unpack everything on the top to get at what's on the bottom.

For carrying heavy weight (40 pounds and up), I like a frame pack (with no preference on internal or external frames), but since my goal is to keep the weight as close to my body as possible and to stay as light as I can, I did not see the need for a frame pack here. My criteria for my new pack was simple;

1. Front loading so that everything is accessible to me in a pinch.
2. 2500 or more cubic inches of storage.
3. Suitable to be used as a makeshift rifle rest if need be.

The base pack of the Phantom fits all of the criteria above, but what makes this pack a winner is the rifle scabbard/case/drag bag that comes as part of the system. This allows me to pack my primary rifle and have my hands free or to carry a second long gun just in case; the possibilities are endless. I can patrol with a shotgun on a sling and put my bolt rifle or M14 in the pack for when things get really hairy or I can  put a shotgun or a .22 in the scabbard for hunting while carrying my primary rifle and due to the design of the scabbard and the fact that it's the closest object to the body, the weight of the gun isn't so much of an issue.

What's that I spy with my little eye? Yes, that's how far a full size rifle with a 24” barrel stows down into the pack.

If I am not carrying a weapon in the scabbard, then I can fold the bottom of it up inside between it and the backpack and stuff my Thermarest Z-Lite sleeping pad down into the empty space; strangely enough, it's a perfect fit and adds just the right amount of rigidity and stability, acting as a makeshift frame on a frame less pack. Incidentally, having a rifle in there also accomplishes the same thing, though the quality of the effect varies depending on the rifle being stowed.

The Thermarest Z-Lite fits perfectly into the rifle scabbard once the bottom flap is folded in. The covered quick release buckles make sure that the pad stays secure.

Not quite as cool as a topless girl jumping out of a cake, but an innovative use of space that's normally used for a firearm if you ask me.

The bottom flap folds in between the pack and the scabbard. You can actually removes the scabbard completely and reattach the backpack straps and waist belt unless I need to use the scabbard as a drag bag, there's really no reason to give up a perfectly good compartment to store my sleeping pad in.

The underside of the pack shows off the almost gratuitous padding in the lower back region and on the waist belt. In comparing the two photos, you can see the size difference between the fully loaded configuration with the rifle stowed and the smaller standard setup that I normally use sans rifle.

Other than the rifle, the only gear carried in my pack is what I would call my extended-stay gear; medical/hygiene supplies, sleeping bag, extra clothing, tarp, dry food, fuel, stove and extra water if I need it. With all of the heavier items such as ammunition and medical gear on my vest, this pack ends up being about 23 pounds sans water, which is very light. Adding whatever water I need still keeps the pack a respectable weight and  if I add an 8 to 12 pound rifle to the mix, it still leaves the pack comfortable enough to move, though it's on the borderline of being too heavy so I wouldn't want to add any more weight from there without ditching a few things first.

With the pack opened up, you can see the Tundra winter bag in the bottom compartment with the top compartment that houses my food being the same size. This isn't a small pack.

Using the mesh divider to keep it tucked in, I have my food packed up top since it the heaviest of the items inside of the pack. The empty space above the “pantry” was perfect for a couple of packs of beef jerky and my extra pair of pants (Gander Mountain Teflon convertible pants). I used the internal divider to make two compartments inside of the main body of the pack and utilized the internal pockets around the walls of the bottom to stash my extra socks and underwear.

The integral mesh divider is perfect for keeping my food packed in tight and close to the body, keeping the weighty items where they need to be.

Using the remaining space is my sleeping bag, in this case, a warm weather Guide Series bag from Sportsman's Guide and my personal needs bag (toilet paper, moleskin, adhesive bandages etc...). The space is actually big enough for my North Face Allegheny 40-degree bag or my Kelty Tundra 15-degree mummy bag in a compression sack if need be, but I prefer the weight savings of the summer bag since I won't be bugging out without a lot of specialized gear if it's 15 degrees out (so I can always switch the summer bag for the Tundra) and I keep the 40-degree bag in the car. Again, this is all keeping mind that I plan to be bugging in, even if it's not in my home, I'll still be inside a building of some sort unless that option is impossible.

With sleeping bag taken out here you can see the pockets lining the walls of the lower section of the pack. These areas are perfect for socks, underwear or any small supplies you have.

The large pocket running down the left side stores two bungee cords for attaching my sleeping pad to the bottom of the pack when I have a rifle in the scabbard and a spool of Teflon fishing line. The right side houses an empty generic water bladder for emergency or long-term use. Other than that, I keep those pockets empty for water or tool storage. 100oz water bladders fit inside those pockets and they're large enough to accommodate a small camp ax or machete if I find the need to take one along. There are smaller pockets running in between the large radio pockets on each side and the pack body which will also hold water bladders, though I can only get about 2 liters in each bladder while in there and it's a pretty tight fit (but a machete or ax fits perfectly in there anyway).

Not an overly obese profile for such a large pack. Notice the large radio pocket that in shit shot is mostly empty. I have everything I need with a lot of room to spare.

Another thing I really like about this pack is the fact that there are carry handles placed where one would find them most convenient, on the sides and at the top. The quick release buckles at the top and bottom are part of the attachment points for the scabbard.

The pack itself isn't necessarily water-proof, but the included rain cover which stows inside a small pocket at the bottom of the pack covers everything nicely and keeps the water out (it even covers over the rifle scabbard to keep my gun dry).

The included rain cover in this shot shows that there is a lot of extra room for it to cover the top of the rifle scabbard and a pack that's filled to capacity.

Aside from the internal storage built into the pack and the large pockets on the sides, I also added 3 MOLLE type pouches to the waist belt. On the left is a large generic utility pouch scavenged off of a Condor tactical rifle case that contains my rain jacket and a generic flashlight belt pouch that I put my Inova X5 LED light into.

I put the bulky pouch on the left to clear room to draw mu gun from the drop leg holster. This puts the pistol mag pouches on the strong side, which is less than optimal, but when I'm wearing the drop leg rig I still have a spare magazine on the weak side on the drop leg platform.

On the right, I placed a my Benchmade Rant DPT knife on the belt and attached a Tactical Tailor multi-tool pouch to the first line of PALS webbing. I then added an admin wallet made by TAG to the remaining PALS attachment points. The admin wallet is pretty simple, it's like a flat wallet with a flashlight/tool pouch on the left side and a two flat pockets on the front (one zippered, one open). I used the TT multi-tool pouch and the flashlight pouch on the admin wallet to store 2 spare pistol magazines. Being that I'm right handed, having spare pistol mags on the right side isn't necessarily ideal, but I'm warming up to it a bit with time and practice. As for the remaining space in the admin pouch, I was able to put my compass, survival chainsaw and my fire steel in the flat pockets and used the panel of hook and loop material to attach an NDE patch (which looks ultra-cool IMHO).

A knife and two pistol mags on tap is never a bad thing, unless you need three pistol mags or a bigger knife anyway.

You may take notice that while I have a tarp in my bag, I no longer carry a tent or a bivvy sack. Again, this is all precipitated on the notion that I can remain inside some sort of structure, if I need to actually head to the hills, I do have a couple of tents I can take along as well as a bivvy or I can simply build my own shelter. Building a shelter in the wilderness is probably the simplest skill one can learn for outdoor survival (though some special knowledge can go a long, long way for comfort). The shelters are very basic, but if you take the time to put it together correctly, it will protect you from everything the tent will aside from insects, though there are some natural ways to remedy most of the creepy-crawlies as well. I can do my best to avoid making camp in areas with tall grass and weeds or areas of standing water, which are magnets for bugs, especially mosquitoes. I also don't wear or pack any bright colors, which are said to attract insects. I can't do much about fragrances (which insects are also attracted to) for at least the first day or so since I do shower and wear deodorant and aftershave lotion, but once I get my first chance to bathe, that mostly goes away. Up here in the north, mosquitoes are my most likely nemesis when out and about. Good thing it's relatively simple to make the air inhospitable to mosquitoes (as well as gnats and other flying pests) by keeping a fire going, which I'll need to survive anyway. I've also burned green leaves to  produce extra smoke, which helps even more to keep the bugs away. Besides, a tent won't necessarily help me much indoors (though it can in some situations) and if I can utilize all of the above to make a primitive shelter and site hospitable, why take on the extra weight?

continued in next post....
::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

My Bug out Bag and Gear

Offline NineseveN

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NineseveN's Backup and Contingency gear (just the hi-lites)
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2006, 03:56:00 PM »
Updated  03.23.2009

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

While one certainly could get away without using any type of additional gear other than a backpack for carrying equipment, I chose to include some Load Bearing Gear because I prefer a layered approach to my systems and I also have firearms integrated into my survival plans and that means I need additional options to carry firearms related items such as magazines or ammunition. In simplest terms, much like a firearm itself, load-bearing gear is reserved for the most dire of situations, scenarios where violence is not only a possibility, but likely a probability. In short, load-bearing gear is for those times when you just need a bigger boat (anyone that misses the Jaws reference, stop reading now and go soak your head in a toilet for twenty minutes).

Just like backpacks, I've experimented with a number of different combat vest designs and I've found out two things about myself. First, I'm a fan of almost all of them; they all have their uses and abilities and for the most part, each design, when utilized in the manner and scope it was designed for, performs admirably. Second, when it comes to vests, I like them to be purpose driven. I don't need 10 different pockets filled with all kinds of small odds and ends of specific survival gear, I consider a combat vest in the same way I consider a sling, it's an integral tool for fighting with a rifle, nothing more, nothing less.

Now, don't get me wrong about that last part, I still liked using the vests designed or set up to be more versatile, I had thereisnospoon at Armchair Tactical put an M83 pattern vest designed to hold rifle magazines and all of my field camera gear, and it works well for the purpose it was designed for, but as a primary fighting rig, I prefer something set up with that purpose, and only that purpose in mind.

So with that in mind, this item is at the heart of my preparations for extreme circumstances. It's basically what the name of the rig entails, it's a Fighting Load Carrier vest. It doesn't house any integral gear for survival aside from rifle ammunition, medical supplies and some water. My idea of a combat vest is one where I can remain combat effective while wearing it. If the vest is too heavy, I can't run very fast or maintain any semblance of agility. If the vest is loaded with too much, it becomes bulky which makes moving through tight spaces (in between cover) or going prone problematic. If you have one, take a break from reading this and go put your combat vest on and grab your rifle of choice. Now try stepping into your closet or through a hallway with a few boxes or pieces of furniture in it. Try climbing through a window or into the bed of a pickup truck. Now drop down to the floor and go prone and crawl across your living room. Next, try high-stepping over small obstacles on your floor. Finally, try shifting your weight to the extreme forward, backward and left and right angles and see if the momentum carried by the mass of your vest throws you off balance, even a little. If any of those rudimentary tasks is difficult or cannot be done with speed, then in my most humble of opinions, your vest may be too heavy or bulky and you may no longer be combat effective.

Now, I'm well aware of what an active duty soldier carries on their body and in their vests while in combat, but in all likelihood, you're not a soldier. You're not in the physical condition to do what they do day in and day out and you generally don't have as many mission essentials in your gear as they do. You're probably not going to be bugging out with crew served weapons or highly specialized communications gear.  You're probably not going to be wearing ballistic plates, a helmet or any other protective gear, though I do suggest at the very least, you invest in a set of protective knee pads as an injured knee puts you pretty much out of commission.

Another reason is that wearing a bladder on my back with my main pack on top of it is uncomfortable and it doesn't allow me to secure the backpack the way it should be so that it rides correctly and doesn't shift around. I have two water bladder compartments inside the backpack and a I have a standalone hydration carrier for use with the MOLLE vest or even alone if I need one. I also have two 1quart canteen pouches on the back of my vest, so I can carry my water any way I like when not wearing a pack, and when it comes time to put the Eberlestock on my back, I can transition the standalone bladder carrier and my canteens to the backpack and still keep my ammunition and medical supplies out front, just where I need them. When I'm not wearing the pack, I can carry a total of 164 ounces of water, which is more than enough for drinking over short periods of time. With the pack, I can carry up to 264 ounces of water, which is most certainly overkill unless I'm heading to a place where I cannot be sure that I have a water source to replenish my stores.

This particular vest, a USGI MOLLE FLC vest, was donated to me by one of our very own, my good friend Insurrection. He was one his way back to Iraq this past January and before he left, he gave me his old issue vest because he was being outfitted with the new issue vest and didn't need this one any longer. It's still in great shape despite spending some quality time in the sandbox previously, but I still needed to add and remove a few things to get it set up how I wanted it as my mission essentials are vastly different than his in some ways.

The underside of the vest panels are pockets with mesh facing inside towards your body. Maps, documents, flat food items or anything else pliable and relatively low profile can fit into here. The pocket runs the entire length of each panel and is closed off with hook and loop fabric.

In keeping with the notion of having gear that is adaptable to different rifle platforms, I chose to use USGI MOLLE-style double M4 magazine pouches to carry my M14 magazines in. Each pouch is designed to hold two M4/M16 magazines, but as luck would have it, they'll also accommodate a single .308 magazine (M14, FAL) instead. There's just enough extra room to make magazine extraction simple with the M14 magazines, but not enough for the mag to shift around and become unwieldy (this is partly due to the inclusion of elastic sewn in near the mouth of each pouch). I have seven of those pouches spread out along the front of my vest, giving me the capacity to carry 140 rounds on my body while maintaining a relatively flat and low profile rig that is easy to maneuver and go prone or crawl in. If I pick up an AR-style rife, I can carry 14 magazines on the vest, giving me 420 rounds of ammunition to work with, which is about what I'd want if I were designing this for the AR rifle in the first place.

The magazine pouches easily accommodate a single M14 magazine, and with the homebrew Magpuls as seen in the photo above, extraction of the magazines is a relatively quick and painless process.

The canteen pouches attached behind my hips each hold a single, 1quart plastic canteen with some pare room inside. I included three 3.5oz and one 6oz tuna foil packs, two in each of the inside the canteen pouches. It's not much, but in an emergency, it's enough to get me through for a day or so, and I can always load the pockets up with four more. Each canteen pouch has two small pockets on the side that close with hook and loop material. I chose to leave those empty and simply use them for expedited storage of small items (batteries, pills, potable water tabs, compass etc..) if I find I need it. I attached a couple of grenade pouches to the rear-middle of the belt portion of the vest in between the canteen pouches and right now I'm using them to store a few small non-essential odds and ends. If I need to put on the Eberlestock pack, I have to empty the canteen pouches anyway since the canteens interfere with the belt on the backpack, so I can simply dump those items or transition them into some of the extra space in the Phantom.

The medic pack is mostly stock with the items it came with, but I did add some alcohol wipes and a few packets of anti-bacterial ointment along with a pill bottle filled with painkillers (hydrocodone), naproxin sodium, Advil geltabs and a few days worth of multivitamins.

My upgraded USGI Improved First Aid Kit, everything a wounded boy needs, besides a miracle, a doctor and a pretty nurse.

Finally, I wanted to attach a light to the top portion of my vest, facing down, so that I could read a map or document or check things out in my hands without using them to hold a flashlight. A tactical weapon light is often too bright for this (try reading a laminated map in the dark with 120 lumens shining on it), so I used a generic LED light with a belt clip the I wove in between PALS webbing to keep it secure. I put the light on the left side as to not interfere with shouldering a rifle.

The low power LED light fits just right when clipped from underneath the PALS webbing on the vest. Perfect for document reading without blinding yourself or calling too much attention to your position.

The vest is indeed heavy, as one would expect it to be carrying 64 ounces of water, 140 rounds of 7.62 ball ammunition and various medical supplies, but it wears well. I keep the vest riding high and tight across my abdomen, which takes most of the weight off of my shoulders, making it rather comfortable despite being heavy. Using the M4 magazine pouches for my M14 magazines forces me to run one single magazine per pouch, but that nets me a very slim profile which is ideal for going prone or moving fast in the real world where obstacles abound.

Anyone with any experience with combat type vests would likely agree that this is a very low profile solution.

The FLEGMHKMCER - First Line Emergency Get-Me-Home and Keep Me Combat Effective Rig...well doesn't that just roll off the tongue like fiberglass?

The goal of this rig was simple, a small piece of emergency get-home kit that can still be worn, and thus combined with the rest of my system. Since I have a backpack and a combat vest, the only places where this kind of a kit could be worn were my waist on a belt or on my legs in a drop-leg system. Since my pack has a waist belt to help support and stabilize the load in the bag, I considered the waist my last option. I've used belt loads before (our very own Moderator, Ire, inspired me to try one out for about a year and a half), and it's not that I dislike them, it's just that they can be cumbersome when driving or sitting and they make wearing a full pack with a waist belt troublesome. It can be done, it's just not always easy. And of course, I have PALS attachment points on the generously sized waist belt of my pack, so that left even less room for an off-pack belt system.

I've tried drop leg rigs before, mostly only strong side holsters, but I figured I could put together a suitable rig that could carry a reasonable amount of weight so long as I could add some shoulder straps to help carry the load and take it off of my legs (which, in my experience, helps keep the holster from tugging too much at the belt and sliding down to the knees).

I had a Tactical Tailor padded belt with PALS webbing left over from the recently mothballed belt setup, so all I needed were some sort of suspenders, a MOLLE drop leg platform, some pouches and a holster. The holster part ended up being pretty simple, I wanted a universal type holster, one that I could adjust for different handguns with lights attached or not. While I normally carry my STI 2011 daily, I don't always have the TLR-1 light attached to it. The light usually rides on my Walther P99, which is set-up for home defense, but I knew that I would likely want the light on whatever sidearm I happened to be carrying and since this was to double as a get-home emergency kit, I couldn't always be sure which of my 3 main sidearms I'd have on me. I needed the holster to accommodate my 1911 single stack, my P99 and my STI with or without a light. An added bonus to that was that those 3 weapons run the gamut of handgun sizes and profiles, so if hose three could fit, all but the largest guns like the Desert Eagle and the smallest of small guns such as a Bersa Thunder or the tiniest baby Glocks should fit just fine. You never know what you're going to run into in an emergency.

The holster itself is a Tornado Tactical universal holster, which is on the cheaper side but it seems sturdy enough for my purposes. If I were using this rig day in and day in for a year or two in some foreign country or as part of a law enforcement detail, I might consider going for the more expensive holsters, but for the purposes I had in mind, the Tornado Tactical unit should hold up just fine.

Fitting the holster to different guns is a breeze. Drop the gun in, fold the bottom front flap back across the gun, fold the rear flap over top of that and secure it with the hook and loop material, and then wrap the front top flap over the entire assembly and secure it with the hook and loop attachment points.

On the weak-hand side, I used a generic MOLLE platform to attach two Condor brand pouches, a medic pouch and an admin wallet. I also added a spare Tactical Tailor multi-tool pouch that I had on hand which houses a pistol magazine nearly as well as a dedicated magazine pouch will.

For the shoulder straps, I had Tink sew in some regular compression straps that I had left over from a previous project. This gave me everything I needed in shoulder straps; weight support with quick release buckles.

Fastex quick release buckles at the front of the shoulder straps

Rear attachment points of the compression straps:

I keep the rig, a Tactical Tailor Hydration Carrier and Source 100oz bladder in the car along with some other essentials in a large Rubbermaid tub. I can grab my rifle or shotgun and strap the drop leg rig to my body and ready to roll in under a minute. In a worst case type scenario, the rig along with the other essentials already in the car can sustain me for a coupe of days if I can't make it back home right away (though that's pretty unlikely). Once I get home, the combat vest and the backpack both fit well in conjunction with this rig, giving me everything in my mobile prep to utilize as I see fit. All in all, it's pretty slick system that works given the goals and constraints I decided on as I put it all together in my head. I also chose a pair of Alta knee pads to include with the rig. I know what you’re thinking, knee pads have “mall ninja” written all over them, but you know what, an injured knee has stationary target (i.e. sitting duck) written all over it too.

The water bladder with 3 large tuna packs and a knit cap stuffed inside.

The Naked Truth: No One Wants to See You Nude When the World Ends

For my cold weather outer coat, I chose the veritable M65 Field Jacket and Liner, which I wear every day during the Winter and on the cold days in the Fall. You can buy these at nearly any army surplus store. They are comfortable, rugged and warm, so it is hard to go wrong with one. One thing to watch out for is the difference between “military style” clothing and “military spec”, there is a huge difference. Military style clothing is simply not built with the same rugged materials or craftsmanship and it will generally not stand up to abuse like a true article of military gear will. Alpha Industries is the current manufacturer of the true military M65 coat, so look for that brand if you want the toughest coat you can get for the price range (complete with liner it should be easily under $150.00). If you purchase this coat, be sure to get the Alpha liner as well, it increases the insulation of the unit (warmth is good), is removable, can be worn as a light jacket on its own, has elastic cuffs on the sleeves and has two large inside pockets that I use to stow my gloves and ski cap so that I always have them but they’re kept out of the way. The M65 coat has 4 huge outer pockets (two on the sides, two on the breast areas) and one small inside pocket I use to keep a pen and some paper, a high collar and an integrated pull out hood that will keep your head dry. I also keep an extra M-65 liner inside my pack for added insulation and I use that as part of my layered warm-weather gear. Other jackets and coats will work, provided they are suitable for the variety of seasons in your native climate and will stand up to some abuse.

When dealing with climate zones that have an actual winter, make sure you plan for that particular season and include some items to keep you warm in a separate bag. How cold your climate gets will decide the level of protection you will need. I live in the Northeastern United States, so I had to include some wool socks, thermal underwear, gloves and a balaclava type ski mask in another small plastic bag in order to ensure that I wouldn’t freeze to death as long as I grab that bag. I don’t keep these items in the pack because I won’t need them unless it is winter time, and if it is winter time, I’m going to need them as I walk out of the door, not hours later. So I have them set aside so that I can quickly put them on before I leave.

For my warm weather outer layer clothing, I pack an extra M-65 coat liner (the warm, breathable part of the coat). In warmer weather, a shirt and an undershirt is usually plenty of clothing; if the temps drop a bit (like it can on spring or early fall evenings) then I slip the liner on and put my rain gear over top of it for protection against the wind and for insulation. If it’s warm and raining, I just leave the liner off and toss the raincoat on. As you can see, the layered approach gives me a lot of options and helps to keep me comfortable in a variety of situations. As an added bonus, the liner is soft enough to use as a pillow if folded up into a large rectangle.

As far as my middle layer clothing, I’m currently packing a pair of Nylon hiking pants that can be converted into shorts on the fly and a long-sleeve industrial work shirt made by Dickies. Dickies clothing stands up to tough abuse (much like military BDU’s) yet it looks rather inconspicuous in case I need to blend in with a crowd and the hiking pants are lighter and dry quicker than any blended fabric ever will (they’ll also blend in just fine. I generally buy my clothing in earth tones (olive/greens, browns and khaki) in order to allow some camouflage while out in the woods.

For my inner layer clothing, I keep some heavy-duty nylon socks (5 pairs), some Microfiber underwear (2 pairs) and a polypro undershirt. All of these items wick moisture and feel comfortable against my skin, which is a ‘win’ in my book. I also have a pair of standard synthetic thermal underwear (tops and bottoms) for colder times of the year or to sleep in on chilly nights.

Keep in mind also that having a good pair of boots with proper support is a very important part of being able to survive while keeping mobile. They allow you to comfortably and easily deal with a variety of terrain, they keep your feet warm and dry, and they prevent foot fatigue and injury. I am currently using a pair of Danner Sharptail Pro 8” chukkas for daily winter duty, but to be honest, any good pair of boots will do. I like the Danner boots because they look rather inconspicuous underneath a pair of khaki dress pants so I don’t stand out wearing these to work every day (boots are no good to you if they’re at home) and Danner boots are rugged and probably some of the best made boots out there. I suggest first breaking them in for a few days or so and then wearing them regularly to make sure your boots still fit good and that they are still in good condition. I also have 2 knit caps that I pack year round; one in my Emergency drop-leg rig and one in my main pack (it's part of my cooking system so it handles double duty). Even in the summer, some evenings can get cold enough that something as simple as a knit cap goes a long way to keep your warm and keep you from getting sick.

There's No Door Out Here and That Ain't Dominos

In order to live, we need to intake fluids and eat. There is really no way around this, so we’re going to have to carry some water and emergency food. In total, I carry 164 ounces of water at maximum between my 100oz bladder and the two 32oz canteens on my FLC vest. I also have a spare 70oz bladder in my backpack for use while pitching camp.

For my main dishes I carry dry meals consisting mostly of rice or instant potatoes with an assortment of dried vegetables, chicken broth and various seasoning. Rice isn't the most nutritionally complete meal, but it will fill you up. You're not going to be malnourished because you ate mostly rick for a few days, but I still pack some multi-vitamins and 3-5 packs of foil-sealed tuna fish and chicken probably any supermarket. Each of these packages has a 2-year shelf life, do not need refrigerated until after being opened and they’re tasty (if you like tuna and chicken anyway). They pack flat, are relatively lightweight and in total give me plenty of protein and calories worth of energy. One of the things I like most about them is that they’re not dry (they tuna comes packed in your choice of water, vegetable oil or sunflower oil) so you can eat them on the go with no preparation and you don’t need to use your water to cook them and since they have water and moisture in them, you’ll actually get some of your fluid needs out of them unlike dehydrated foods. I usually have a package of saltine crackers to go with the tuna fish as well (tuna on crackers is a fine BoB meal). I carry 8 or more of the dry meals, sealed in meals in freezer bags that need hot or boiling water to make, which is where my MiniBull Design Atomic alcohol stove and 8oz of fuel come in handy. I put my rice-based together from the base materials, but many of the packages of Lipton or Knorr side dishes need nothing but boiling water to prepare and if you can get your water boiling or at least extremely hot in a fire, you can portion these sides out in Ziploc (or whatever brand) freezer bags, place them in a knit cap or something to insulate and then just pour the water in and seal the bag for 5-10 minutes for a hot and tasty meal. This concept is known as freezer bag cooking. A couple of useful links for it:

One of our discussions on the subject:
A helpful website dedicated to the topic:

The MiniBull Atomic stove hard at work.

For snacking I carry a hearty stash of granola bars, fruit snacks, beef jerky, nuts, candies or trail mix to nibble on during my travels and supplement my regular meals. I probably carry more food than I'd actually need in 3 days since I've been working on reducing my normal food intake over the last year, but I'd rather more than I need than not enough in this case since the food itself weighs next to nothing. If you're a heavy eater and a little (or a lot) overweight, you'll increase your chances of survival exponentially if you can reduce your normal portion and calorie intake. This has survival implications in an emergency (how long the food you can pack will last) as well as in your every day life (being overweight increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes among other things). We talk a lot about surviving the disaster, but we should always be focusing on survival in both the short-term emergency and the long run. Making healthier choices where we can aids in both endeavors. Now, I'm far form a health Nazi, I smoke, I drink on occasion and I eat fatty, tasty foods every day. But I've reduced how much I eat in one meal, lost a good bit of weight and I feel much better than I did a few years ago, and as good as I did in my early twenties, which is saying something since I'm 32 now.

For emergency energy, I sometimes carry some survival bars that weigh in at a whopping 3600 calories each. These are similar to Coast Guard survival rations and offer enough calories to keep me going for a few days. The survival bars taste like clean socks, which means they’re not nearly as bad as dirty socks, but clean socks don’t taste like pork chops so some intestinal fortitude may be needed if you plan on eating these as anything other than a last resort.

I also carry 13 days worth of potable water tablets (i.e. water purification tablets) in my drop-leg rig to make sure that I can decontaminate the water I come across and make sure it is safe to drink or use to clean wounds. These pills are small (they fit into a bottle roughly 1/2 the size of a cigarette lighter) and you really can’t afford to go without them. To help mask the nasty taste of the cleansed water I have used small Koolaid packs to add some flavor; it still doesn’t taste great, but it’s better than drinking the sterilized water without. I also carry some other beverage items such as tea bags or hot chocolate to use in my thermos (when I take it with me) on cold nights or mornings. Filling a thermos with boiling water at night and wrapping it up in your pillow or sleeping bag will keep you a wee bit warmer during the nights with a nasty chill and you’ll have warm water or tea/hot chocolate to wake up to. The potable water tablets are not perfect though as they require about 30 minutes to work before you can drink the water, so keep that in mind when choosing between a filter and the tablets for your water filtration needs. I went with both, I also carry a Katadyn Hiker Pro in my Eberlestock Phantom pack, so I should be rolling in clean, drinkable water no matter what happens.

The Katadyn Hiker Pro in action.

Firearms: Click-Click, BOOM!

“The unarmed man is not just defenseless, he is also contemptible.” --Machiavelli

Whether or not you include firearms in your emergency preparations is an entirely personal choice. I value my safety and I have seen what kinds of acts our fellow human beings are capable of when the chips are down (rioting and looting in New Orleans during Katrina is an excellent example of this), so as I go, I go armed. If you are not familiar with firearms, before you go running off to buy some guns, make sure you get some training and education first.

Basically, whatever I am currently carrying normally will double as my emergency sidearm as it will be the one I am most comfortable and familiar with and most likely to have on me at any given time. Currently that's most likely to be my STI 2011 listed earlier in a homebrew leather/kydex hybrid IWB rig. I do carry my custom Springfield Armory 1911in an Andrews Leather MacDaniel II leather IWB in the winter on occasion or in a Survival Sheath Systems Quad Magazine horizontal shoulder rig for during deep woods activities. For times that require deep concealment, I take my trusty and comparatively tiny Walther P99 AS on my hip in a homebrew leather/kydex hybrid rig (just like the one my 2011 rides in).

As noted above, my general trunk gun is a Mossberg 930SPX. This time around, I decided to go with a semi-auto shotgun and ditch the pumps. It's not that I don't like pump shotguns, I just don't think they're necessarily more reliable in a practical sense and auto feeders are faster. Mossberg had recently come out with the 930 SPX model line, and after seeing a bunch of positive reviews, I had to pick one up.

Aside from the sling and the stock pouch, the only thing I felt needed added to the gun was a piece of cloth tape wrapped over the bolt handle. The stock handle is a bit small and shaped in a way that hurts my fingers after working the action more than 5 or 6 times. The tape solves that problem.

As it's currently set up (as pictured), the gun holds 7 rounds in the tube, one in the pipe, 3 in elastic loops on the Eagle stock pouch and  8 inside the Eagle stock pouch pocket. One thing I really like about this gun is the inclusion of the LPA adjustable ghost ring sights. Everything I need in a shotgun can be found in this offering from Mossberg when it leaves the factory. Extended magazine tube, ghost ring sights and a picatinny rail on top of the receiver (where the rear sight is attached) in case I want to add a red dot to the gun. Personally, I find little need for a red dot optic with these sights, especially in daylight where the fiber optic front sight is very quick to pick up. This particular gun was just about right for me from the factory, no adjustments to the stock were needed; the gun points fast and naturally for me.

The LPA adjustable rear sight

The fiber optic front sight on an overcast day

The Specter 3 point sling and Eagle stock pouch with cheek pad make this gun easy to carry and shoot comfortably.

I pack the gun in a green UTG soft rifle case which carries 3 shell belts holding 25 rounds of 12g shotgun ammo each stored in the large front pocket of the case.

I picked this soft case up for $65, which I think is a steal. It's well-padded, keeps the rifle or shotgun safe and secure and the backpack straps on the rear are something that I'm surprised aren't more prevalent in soft rifle cases as they make hauling a rifle, especially over long distances (or while climbing over obstacles) pretty easy. In terms of SHTF prep, carrying your main gun and packing one if you find it along the way seems like a good option to have. As they say, two is one, one is none.

PALS webbing on the front gives the user the ability to attach any mission essential items that they want to keep close to the weapon, such as ammunition, tools or maintenance and cleaning supplies.

The backpack straps are an awesome addition.

Just as before when I chose the FAL as my primary long gun, I wanted a rifle that was chambered in .308 Winchester (7.62 NATO) because I like the performance and options it gives me. It is more than adequate up close, it doesn’t kick too much in a semi-automatic rifle and it is good to kill man or, if necessary, beast out to 500-600 yards. While the military may preach terminal reliability out to as far as 800 or even 1000 yards, most normal folks would have a near impossible time making those shots without a bolt-action rifle and a magnified scope even if they had the skill and training to do so. I sold off the FAL to someone who is loving it more than I ever could have and replaced it with a custom built M14. I've always wanted and M14, I just found the cost of entry into the rifle to be prohibitive. But over the years, I've put as much into my FAL as I would have spent on an M14 and to be honest, I prefer the standard style stock of the M14 and Garand as opposed to rifles with Pistol grips. That's not an old-timer thing, I'm not old, I'm just used to putting a lot of rounds through shotguns and bolt-actions rifles, and they all have standard stocks in my collection. Like almost everything else I've spent considerable time with, I did not dislike the FAL. Quite the contrary, I think it's one of the finest battle rifles to ever grace the earth, it just had a few inherent features that I preferred to do without. I don't like rifles that have the charging handles on the left hand side. I run my rifles by using my right hand to charge the action, remove and load magazines and clear malfunctions. Part of this is due to familiarity with working bolt actions weapons, where everything is done with the right had except some manipulations of the scope (depending on what scope you run). The other part is simply due to necessity, I normally field heavy rifles, you'd be hard pressed to find many people out there that could hold an M14 up with the right hand only while the worked the gun with the left. That kind of stuff works for the AR rifles and even the AK clones, but once you get into Garand or M14 territory, it offers nearly no advantages. It does offer and advantage on the FAL if you can manage to hold the gun up since the charging handle is on the left side.

I had this gun put together using an 18.5” barrel, which is perfect for a .308 battle rifle. There isn't much of a loss in velocity for standard .308 loads when going from 24” down to 18”, in fact, based on some tests done by Tactical Operations (makers of some of the finest, most accurate bolt action rifles on the planet), 18” might be the optimal barrel length for the .308. When taking that info into consideration, it's almost impossible to pass up on going the route of a shorter barrel, it makes the gun easier to maneuver and swing and the M14 balances very well with the shorter tube out front. The specifics on the gun can be found at the beginning of this post, the only thing not listed in there is the fact that the rear sight needed drilled out slightly to get more of a ghost ring sight picture as opposed to the aperture while using the HK style hooded front sight. It's quicker to aim and get hits with a little larger of an aperture in the rear and it's just as accurate with longer range shots if I do my part.

I have a few backup guns as well, most of which are listed above. I've seriously pared down my firearms collection over the last two years, keeping on hand only what I can and will use. A gun I leave behind does me no good, and a gun I can't afford to shoot because I spend all my money on my 2 primary calibers (9mm and .308) and my 2 backup calibers (.45ACP and 30-06) just doesn't make practical sense. Of course, these days, I'm spending more time and money with the .22LR guns and Airsoft for force-on-force and trigger/sight picture training. Financial survival is as important as emergency survival, going bankrupt doesn't work into the plans any better than drowning in a hurricane with 50,000 of my closest neighbors.

Keep in mind that I continuously review my options in all aspects of my gear, including my firearms and it is possible that something else may come along and make sense to me to include in my survival plans (for instance, a lighter rifle with the same handling as the M14 and similar firepower and accuracy would catch my eye).

If you choose to include a firearm, it is imperative that you get educated on the firearm itself and firearm safety as well as making sure you actually shoot the guns enough to become proficient with them. Taking some courses on rifle or handgun operation and proficiency never hurts either. If you can’t hit what you want when you need to, you just carried 20 pounds of guns and ammo for nothing. Think about that before you spend your hard-earned cash on weapons. Also, make sure you will be able to pull the trigger when the time comes, if it does. It’s easy to ignore that aspect of carrying a firearm, but in my opinion it is one that needs to be thoroughly thought about and resolved before you take on the responsibility of arming yourself. What good is it if you can’t or won’t use it? It might serve as a visual deterrent, or it might make a nifty club for some terrorist or goblin to beat your face in and then turn around and shoot your traveling companions with.

Conclusions: Look, It's a 'Jump To Conclusions Mat'!

My primary strategy revolves around bugging in, preferably at my home of the home of a friend or relative. While I am young and fit enough to hike it out into the mountains, I can't carry the things I have at home or that are present in most other homes. I can carry most of my dry food stores out to the car and drive off to another location though, and that seems to be like the most probable situation for me to be faced with, so my gear setup now reflects that.

My old systems, which are archived below are still viable, but in the course of this experiment, my needs have changed. In order to adequately prepare, we must first assess our needs, then gear up and plan around that, not the other way around. If you're looking for ideas on a survival kit, bug-out bag or a get-home-bag, each of my set-ups is a good place to start, though if you look through the NDE forums, I don't doubt that someone else has a more specialize rig set up for their individual circumstances that might fit you almost to the proverbial “T”. My advice is to read and learn, then plan and purchase...then try moving around in what you've put together for the distances you intend to use them for. After that, don't be surprised if you adjust and reconfigure periodically (or even often), most of us do that. And in that process, each time we learn a little more about what works and what doesn't, and what's possible and probable. That's a great state to be in.

In closing, I want to stress that it is entirely up to you what you decide to put in your emergency bag and there are a variety of sources for good suggestions on what items you may want to include (just Google “bug out bag” or “emergency kit/bag”) or discuss it here at with our resident Bug Out Geniuses (or BOGs). Keep in mind that things such as this should be tailored to your individual abilities and needs. If you have a family, especially if you need to include children in your plans, the game changes drastically. Children have very special needs depending on age and you need to consider that when you plan your disaster response. My BoB does provide enough supplies to aid 2-3 healthy people to survive for a couple of days at a very basic level given even very dire circumstances, however, it is always nice if those you travel with have their own supplies too. My girlfriend, Tinkrbell on the forums, has her emergency kit together because we live together, and if I need to leave, chances are, so does she (I’ll let her post her set-up when she’s good and ready).

She is a good case of having special needs. Though she is not a child, she is allergic to a number of things. When deciding on food items for her, we had to keep that in mind. Also, she has an Epi-pen in her purse because of her allergy to bee stings. The plan in this scenario should be to have one in the emergency kit as well.

As far as medical supplies, I did cover my philosophy on that in the first part of this article. Take what you can carry, but understand that getting too specialized (scalpels and defibrillators) is likely in vain if you cannot get immediate access to a hospital, which is unlikely in the event that you actually need to deploy you survival kit. The BoB allows you to avoid society, so using it is assuming that you have to do just that, and you won’t be finding a hospital out in the wild.

It is a good idea to inspect your BoB and rotate perishable items each season. Not only does this ensure that you have the proper supplies in the best possible condition, it also allows you the ability to add seasonal items to a pack and remove useless items or reduce quantities of certain items that won’t be needed during certain times of the year. As I said earlier, I would suggest doing this 4 times per year, corresponding with the change of each season so that it will be easy to keep a familiar regimen. It is also imperative that you actually practice bugging out because under extreme stress, you will default to whatever you have been trained to do or what you’ve trained yourself to do. Make it into a weekend camping trip where you and the members of your survival party have to rush out with only what you have in your Bug out Bags and survival kits and then head for the hills. At first, it is a good idea to keep comfort supplies and emergency materials in your vehicle during these outings as sometimes we think we’re capable of more than we really are. Let’s not get hurt out there, okay? Also, doing this only in the summer or when the weather is nice is cheating, disaster does not only strike when conditions are favorable, so seeing what you can realistically handle in the heat, cold, snow and rain is going to be necessary. Again, use baby steps and make sure you have a safety net of supplies close by in your vehicle or in the campsite, but only use them if you must.

Also, keep in mind that there are advances in materials and tools all of the time, it is a good idea to continuously analyze the items in your kits and look for ways to improve your BoBs (such as saving space or weight, or finding better food or medical supplies that come to the market).

Have fun and stay safe.
::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

My Bug out Bag and Gear

Offline NineseveN

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NineseveN's Contingency and Backup Gear
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2006, 03:56:18 PM »
Updated 03.23.2009

Contingency and Backup Gear – Everything else but the kitchen sink

Supplies always in the vehicle:
Rand McNally laminated map of Pennsylvania
Gander Mountain self-inflating sleeping pad
Slumberjack camp pillow
Armchair Tactical hammock
North Face Allegheny 40 degree sleeping bag
Gerber Camp Ax
USGI medic bag (IV kit and various medical supplies)
Rocky Alpha Force zipper-side boots
Alta Knee Pads
Spare STI magazine in the console with belt holder

3-day/60second bag: ACU 3-day pack
This is a simple idea, a pack to house anything I need quickly (like in case of a fire) or for wearing with my MOLLE combat vest to carry mission essentials. Don't get me wrong, I have no delusions of being Rambo, but in a situation where I'm locked down in my bug-in location and the need arises to head out over a short distance to pick something up (food, fuel, water, whatever), I like having a small spare pack that I can toss on my back to house such items without needing to carry my full pack, which is too bulky for small items and requires emptying before I can utilize it in this manner. It's just a simple, small backpack, nothing special, at least not until you need one.

Backup vest: TAG Gladiator
Holds 60 shotgun shells, 6-8 M14 magazines or 6-8 AR15 magazines
Cold Steel Defender II push knife mounted on left chest strap
2 TAG Nalgene sized utility pouches
2 Condor large utility pouches
Integral bladder compartment on the back housing a Platypus Hoser 3l bladder

Offensive Contingency Rifle: Savage 110FCP McMillan .308

Harris Ultralight BRM Series S bi-pod, Burris Xtreme Tactical 2 Piece bases, Burris Xtreme Tactical low rings, Super Sniper 10x side focus scope, Butler Creek flip covers, Eagle Industries stock pack
Carried in the Eberlestock Scabbard/drag bag

Spare Rifle: Remington 7600 Pump Carbine 30.06
Usage: Backup weapon, woods rifle or primary long arm for others

Sidearm B: Walther P99 9mm with Streamlight TLR-1 Weapon Light

Housed in a hybrid IWB holster or a Condor universal drop leg holster
5 magazines (15 rounds each)
Backup handgun or sidearm for others

Sidearm C: Custom Springfield Armory 1911 Govt model (Robar NP3 finish and XS Big Dot night sights)
Housed in an Andrews Leather MacDaniel II IWB holster or a Survival Sheath Systems kydex quad magazine shoulder rig
6 primary magazines (Wilson 47D 7 rounders)
Bedside gun, backup gun, woods gun or sidearm for others
::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

My Bug out Bag and Gear

Offline NineseveN

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NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism Archived
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2006, 02:09:04 PM »
Last Updated 03-23-2009

While my gear selection has evolved, I like to keep whatever archives I can regarding my older systems so that maybe someone can get an idea from it. What works for me now may not be what works for someone else, but something that I used to have or do might be just the ticket, or at least sufficient enough to spark an idea on their own preparations.

The pack that I chose during version 3.x of my preparations was a 3-Day Assault Pack from Tactical Tailor. For the most part, their pack is your typical 3-day pack (similar to a book bag that students use to haul their books and such around at school), a large main interior compartment, a medium outer compartment and a flat document pocket on the very outside of the pack. It’s classified as a medium-sized frameless pack (total capacity is 2100 cubic inches) and is large enough for several days’ worth of supplies. The large main compartment has an internal pocket at the rear to hold a hydration bladder, plus two covered openings at the top of the pack for snaking a drinking tube to the front of the pack straps where you can get to it without much fuss. The inside of the pack is lined with blaze orange fabric to make locating items inside easier or for use in emergency signaling. The pack has 3/4" padded shoulder straps to make heavy loads more comfortable, which is a godsend when wearing one filled with 35 pounds of gear for a few hours.

What makes this a little different than packs like book bags or the ones you normally get at sporting goods stores other than it being built like a tank comparatively is that it has PALS webbing attachment points stitched into the sides and outside-rear for MOLLE gear pouches or other MOLLE compatible accessories. This allows the user to attach a wide variety of extra storage compartments or specialized pouches for different types of gear, making it very versatile. This stuff gets tested and used by soldiers in our armed forces and it’s built tough enough that I never had to worry about it falling apart on me if I were running for my life. Like most of their other gear, at the time of this article the pack was available in Olive Drab, Black, Woodland Camouflage, Tan, Multi-Camouflage, and Digital ACU.

I upgraded the pack by taking advantage of the PALS webbing and securing two large utility pouches to the sides of the pack, increasing my cargo space and also giving the pack a wider stance as to help balance the weight. I had considered adding an external frame to the pack, but I never did because it was comfortable enough, even when fully loaded at 35 pounds (maximum). What I did end up doing was affixing a Thermarest Z-Lite sleeping pad to the inside of the pack where it contacts my back which was not only a convenient place to store the pad, but also, since it folds accordion style, I used it as a semi-rigid frame for the pack to keep it from sagging or shifting its weight around. In essence, it functioned as a dense frame for the pack, while not as rigid or effective as a true frame, it worked well enough to make the load more comfortable and having the Z-Lite situated that was also added a little bit of extra cushioning between my back and the pack, which is nice when carrying heavy loads.

I chose to try and keep the pack as stiff as possible because that helps to prevent erratic shifts in balance and weight distribution. In order to achieve this, I took my summer bedroll (my emergency tarp, fleece sleeping bag and bivy bag) and rolled it up as tight as I could. Instead of hanging it from the top or the bottom of the pack like you see most people do, I filled my internal compartment with the roll by standing it upright inside the main pocket of the pack. I then proceeded to fill in the spaces around it with any flat and flexible items that I had such as spare clothing until the pocket was as full as it was going to get without using grease to cram more stuff inside. I then utilized the outer pockets and pouches to hold the rest of my gear. The result, combined with the sleeping pad between my back and the pack, was a very rigid piece of equipment that balanced nicely and didn’t shift around too much making the heavier loads and longer hauls easier.

For version 4.x, I went and put the Tactical Tailor 3-day pack on reserve duty as a 60 second bag and outfitted a Kelty Commanche 5600ci frame pack for primary BoB duty. When I began looking at gear for version 4.x, I tried on a number of packs at my local outdoor equipment supplier and found that the Kelty gave me the best fit and so that’s what I went with. I’ve used Kelty products in the past (sleeping bags, tents etc…) and I’ve found them to generally work well, especially for their price. Combine my previous personal experience with the brand and the lifetime warranty on their products and I felt like I had a winner. The Comanche 5600 is so-named because it features 5600 cubic inches of internal space (2300 cubic inches more than the Tactical Tailor pack including the external MOLLE pouches). I figured that I could use the extra internal space to house my Thermarest Z-Lite sleeping pad and my sleeping bags (warm or cold weather) inside the pack along with some extra dried food. In my previous BoB, the pad served as a makeshift frame so it was fastened to the outside of the pack and I didn’t have an abundance of food (part of my minimalist approach). In essence, the pack’s extra internal volume allowed me to put everything I had in my previous BoB along with some extra food and a couple of new items in it with a little room to spare. The new pack weighed in at 44 pounds the first time I tried it on loaded, which isn’t too bad for an internal framed pack considering the pack alone weighs a good 3.5 pounds more than the TT bag when both are empty. Even at that weight, it was pretty comfortable, not perfect, but at least as comfortable as my much lighter Tactical Tailor setup…but I wasn’t done yet.

The other thing that I really liked about this pack (and most frame packs) is how adjustable it is. Not only can the lengths of the various straps be modified through the use of buckles (just like any other pack), but the frame stays can be bent to the contour of your back to ensure a proper fit and the suspension can be made to fit taller or shorter individuals with ease. The former involves bending the stays over a table or in a vice (they’re aluminum, so it’s not terribly difficult to do) while the latter is accomplished by moving the shoulder strap harness up or down along the path of the frames (effectively moving the shoulder area up and down on the pack to provide a custom fit according to the user’s height or torso length).

When you adjust a pack for the user’s height, you accomplish two things; first, you keep the center of gravity of the load in the proper place (up high) and you ensure proper load balancing by placing the majority of the weight on the hips instead of the neck and shoulders. This kind of fitting can be somewhat accomplished by cinching the waist and shoulder straps tight on a frameless pack, but one can only get it so tight before it becomes uncomfortable, difficult to get in and out of and ultimately cuts off the circulation of the body. The waist belt on a pack should be high on the hips to the point where the buckle covers the belly button area in order to ensure that the load is placed evenly and correctly on the hips. If the space between the shoulder straps and the waist belt on a pack is too short, the waist belt will ride too far above the hips and place all of the weight on the neck and shoulders.  If that space is too tall, the pack will ride lower on the hips and pull the weight away from the back, which can be painful on the neck and will cause load balance and comfort issues. Frame packs are generally modifiable so that one can custom fit the pack to the user.

The Comanche 5600 is a pretty standard pack as far as the layout is concerned. It’s a top loading pack with a single large interior area for the majority of your gear. At the bottom of the frame (behind the waist belt area) a medium sized compartment is included for your sleeping bag and any other lightweight gear that you can fit. That compartment zips shut and there are two mesh pockets on the outside of it where one can put damp items to allow them to dry off as you hike.

One the outside of the pack, there is a shallow pocket on the back for rain gear or some light snacks and a flat pocket underneath it for maps or anything else light and flat that one might have to pack. On the sides of the main body of the bag there are two, long cylindrical pockets for lighter weight items like a tent or tarp. To top the bag off, there’s a large bag that attaches to the frame at the top that can be taken off and worm as a fanny or waist pack (I put my food into there) and serves as a lid to the main body. In the end, I found that having a pack that large encouraged me to put things in that I didn't really need, so I had to keep my focus when packing my gear in, making sure to toss anything I didn't really want or need. I actually liked the pack, but I wanted to try an Eberlestock Pahntom pack and really had no need to keep two large packs. Tink still has the Women's version of the Commanche, a slightly smaller pack contoured to a woman's frame, and she likes it more than the other packs she's gone through in the last 4-5 years.

Also in version 3.x and 4.x, one of my primary pieces of load bearing gear was a Tactical Tailor Modular Padded Belt. I still have this belt as part of my load in version 5.x, but I have it set up in a drop-leg rig now instead of as just a belt. The reason that I initially chose this belt was because it incorporates PALS webbing so that MOLLE gear can be attached to it just like the 3-day pack. I decided to utilize the attachment points by adding two large utility pouches at the rear of my hips to house two 32oz Nalgene bottles full of water with some small items included in the spare room. The outside of the pouches also include some PALS webbing which I used to attach 1 small utility pouch on each serving as housings for Gerber multi-tool, compass, flashlight, magnesium fire starter, potable water tablets and a few other small survival necessities that I wanted to keep close to me at all times.

I then attached a large SAW pouch on the left-hand side (also from Tactical Tailor); the pouch is designed to hold 200 rounds for the M249 rifle or similar, I used it to house some food items, my binoculars and some other miscellaneous items (the entire list of the contents follows this article).

I used the empty space on the right-hand side to leave room for my handgun holster and also to attach the sheath for my KA-BAR D2 Combat knife.

In order to attach the last 2 things that I wanted to include on this belt, I had to do things slightly backwards in that I turned the belt around and when I wear it, I buckle it in the back (I still do this in version 4.x). That gave me another 10-12 inches of real estate on the front of my waist to work with, which I used to secure 2 rifle cartridge holders from Cabela’s. These pouches hold 20 rounds of rifle ammunition each by using the plastic or foam inserts that come inside the boxes when you buy the ammunition from the store and they can also hold loose shotgun shells as well. The pouches can also be used to store miscellaneous items such as snack foods if I decided not to use them for the ammunition at the time.

This set-up has come to be known as the “Krieg Belt” in honor of our Moderator on the forums Ire, (formerly known as Krieg Hund) for inspiring me to outfit a belt after he posted his set-up on the forums.

Originally, as far as my middle layer clothing, I chose a pair of double reinforced knee work pants and a long-sleeve industrial work shirt made by the Dickies company. I still use the shirt, but I swapped the pants out for lighter and more versatile nylon hiking pants that can be converted into shorts on the fly. Dickies clothing stands up to tough abuse much like military BDU’s yet it looks rather inconspicuous in case I need to blend in with a crowd. I bought these in earth tones (olive and khaki) in order to allow some camouflage while out in the woods. That was a definite plus for it, what I did not particularly like about them was that they were heavy and did not dry as fast as the hiking pants would.

I also had a pair of Rocky brand Alpha Force zipper boots because I liked the zipper sides, their waterproof guarantee (dry feet is next to godliness) and their quality. The inclusion of zippers down the side allows me to tighten the laces to fit and then unzip the sides and leave the boots open. This way, I can quickly and easily get these boots on and they should still fit right. Fumbling with laces under pressure or stress is not a good idea in my opinion, I am sure I would have enough to worry about if I ever had to deploy my BoB and run for the hills. I now have them in my car BoB for those very reasons.

For version 3.x and 4.x, I chose to incorporate a piece of load bearing gear, a Tactical Tailor MAV (Modular Assault Vest) 2-piece rig for toting around my FAL ammunition in case of some sort of attack or civil unrest. Constructed from 1000 denier cordura nylon and seams double stitched with nylon thread, the vest is built to withstand a heck of a beating. The Modular Assault Vest may be purchased as a complete unit with pre-selected pouches, or as individual pieces so that you can customize your kit. The vest comes in one-piece or two-piece configurations. The one-piece unit wraps around the front of your body and then buckles in the back, the two-piece unit also has a buckle in the back but it is cut in half at the front and 2 quick-detach buckles allow the user to put on and secure the unit much as they would putting on and zippering a coat (from the front). Both versions include quick detach buckles up front coming vertically down from the shoulder straps so that the unit can be dumped posthaste if needed.

I chose to build my own vest since the magazine pouches that come with the complete unit will not fit the magazines for my rifle (the vest comes with .223 magazine pouches by default) and I took that opportunity to include some upgraded components. The units come with 1.5” nylon shoulder straps, which are not padded and in my opinion, also not very comfortable once the vest is loaded down with magazines and whatnot. Now, for soldiers this likely is not a problem as they have the ballistic rifle plates (bullet resistant plates) inserted into a vest that goes on underneath their load bearing gear and above their clothing. I don’t have such a set-up, so I needed a little more comfort. Thankfully, Tactical Tailor makes an item they call the “X-Harness” for use with the MAV. The X-Harness is a one-piece padded replacement for the shoulder straps on the MAV that adds comfort and stability to the otherwise near-perfect rig. It forms a fat “U” shape from the back and then up over the shoulders and down the chest on each side ending in quick disconnect buckles that attach to the main portion of the vest body on each side. The rear of the X-Harness and the pieces that drape down over the chest have PALS webbing for attaching small pouches if one is so inclined and the unit also includes a tough “drag handle” at the neck area in case you are hurt or wounded and someone needs to pull you to safety.

As far as pouches go, I originally had this unit set up with all of sorts of gear and equipment, which I later moved to the belt setup above. At that point, I wanted my vest to serve the role of simply handling ammunition for my FAL rifle (again, to keep things layered). In the end, I had 4 double magazine pouches for .308 rifle mags (FAL, G3/Cetme, M14 etc…) to hold a total of eight 20round magazines (160 rounds total) on the vest and nothing else, which made it a little lighter and a bit more comfortable. There was nothing wrong with the MAV, I just wanted to try something new. After having spent many years going through gear and figuring out ways to make it all work for me, I have no fear in trying something new and relinquishing some tried and true to a reserve role (or sometimes just taking a huge leap of faith and getting rid of it completely).

::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

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Offline Berek

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 04:24:59 PM »
Just a thought, you could save some weight by dropping the Hatchet and Machete and use an SP8. The SP8 can be used as both, and has a saw back. It's shorter than the machete you show and 1/4" thick. The end is also sqaured for chopping with minimal sqing if necessary...

Just my $0.02....


Offline NineseveN

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 05:56:28 PM »
Just a thought, you could save some weight by dropping the Hatchet and Machete and use an SP8. The SP8 can be used as both, and has a saw back. It's shorter than the machete you show and 1/4" thick. The end is also sqaured for chopping with minimal sqing if necessary...

Just my $0.02....

Nooo! Not my Khukuri!!! From my cold, dead hands damn you!!!! RAWR!

Okay, um, yeah.

Actually, I did think about that, and I might go that route eventually (or something similar) to save some weight, but I dunno man, the axe I could live without on the pack (the Khukuri will do the same job with a little more work), but the big-friggen curved-knife-o-death comes with me until I get my Swamp Rat;D

besides, the axe provides balance.  :P

In all seriousness, I'm doing some major revamping on my gear between now and the end of July, so things will be changing a little. Good suggestion. I like the Ontario knives.

::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

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Offline mitchshrader

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2006, 10:21:03 PM »
I don't know your intended use, nor physical capability.

That's a lot of gear, and sturdy enough to hold up to a lot of use. If it's appropriate to your physical condition and desired purposes, it seems commendable.

My first impression is, and this isn't intended to denigrate your choices.. a fella would have to be CQB trained, and in 40 mile hike condition (marching in full gear a MINIMUM of 20 miles a week, in one shot, and 40 miles once a month) .. to KNOW that they weren't overloaded with that rig.

Now, you may well be the hoss that can tote that two days, and fight at the far end. I ain't. And, I'll opine, many who thinks they is, ain't.

I am not a bit sure I could tote it two hours, and fight at anything like an efficient level.

My general thought isn't 'what does a soldier wear'.  My general thought is, what does a scroungy ol' hill country boy with 3$ cash money wear, IF he can get it?

How basic, how minimal, how ordinary, how LEAST.. can I get, and maintain control over my capabilities?

And moreso, what exactly do I INTEND?

I love a 10 gauge auto shotgun. It flings a hunk of lead that'll go through BOTH car doors, and the guy driving, just fine. It has authority and sincerity.

I can't feature carrying one, on a bug out, unless I had a trained monkey to carry the ammo. and he'd have to be a real HEALTHY monkey. It just don't fit with hurrying and scurrying..

Cause you CAN, isn't any sign you really really want to plan it that way. There's sure a lot to be said for the concept that a single shot 22 is the best survival firearm. it has the virtue of shrinking your cojones, and that's ALWAYS a good idea when survival is the plan.

Less may not be more, but less may darn sure be smarter. If you can do 75 lbs, do 50. sez me. you'll live longer.

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 12:11:21 AM »
Nooo! Not my Khukuri!!! From my cold, dead hands damn you!!!! RAWR!

Okay, um, yeah.

Actually, I did think about that, and I might go that route eventually (or something similar) to save some weight, but I dunno man, the axe I could live without on the pack (the Khukuri will do the same job with a little more work), but the big-friggen curved-knife-o-death comes with me until I get my Swamp Rat;D

besides, the axe provides balance.  :P

In all seriousness, I'm doing some major revamping on my gear between now and the end of July, so things will be changing a little. Good suggestion. I like the Ontario knives.

I have the benefit of living 5 blocks from their factory and they have a nice selection of 2nds. There were a few that I purchased that the only thing wrong was a blemish in the grinding process. A .5mm waiver in the grind on the mock edge and they reject... Plus I know the ppl that work there, so... :D


Offline NineseveN

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 02:00:35 AM »
I don't know your intended use, nor physical capability.

That's a lot of gear, and sturdy enough to hold up to a lot of use. If it's appropriate to your physical condition and desired purposes, it seems commendable.

My first impression is, and this isn't intended to denigrate your choices.. a fella would have to be CQB trained, and in 40 mile hike condition (marching in full gear a MINIMUM of 20 miles a week, in one shot, and 40 miles once a month) .. to KNOW that they weren't overloaded with that rig.

Now, you may well be the hoss that can tote that two days, and fight at the far end. I ain't. And, I'll opine, many who thinks they is, ain't.

I am not a bit sure I could tote it two hours, and fight at anything like an efficient level.

My general thought isn't 'what does a soldier wear'.  My general thought is, what does a scroungy ol' hill country boy with 3$ cash money wear, IF he can get it?

How basic, how minimal, how ordinary, how LEAST.. can I get, and maintain control over my capabilities?

And moreso, what exactly do I INTEND?

I love a 10 gauge auto shotgun. It flings a hunk of lead that'll go through BOTH car doors, and the guy driving, just fine. It has authority and sincerity.

I can't feature carrying one, on a bug out, unless I had a trained monkey to carry the ammo. and he'd have to be a real HEALTHY monkey. It just don't fit with hurrying and scurrying..

Cause you CAN, isn't any sign you really really want to plan it that way. There's sure a lot to be said for the concept that a single shot 22 is the best survival firearm. it has the virtue of shrinking your cojones, and that's ALWAYS a good idea when survival is the plan.

Less may not be more, but less may darn sure be smarter. If you can do 75 lbs, do 50. sez me. you'll live longer.

The goal of course is to continue to reduce the weight, and yes, I can wear this rig about 8 hours walking or standing with minor rest (could do ten but after a day or two it might hurt a little). When it was 90 pounds, it was doable, but not comfortable after about 6 hours. The thing is, the advancements in the way this kind of gear is designed does allow one to carry more weight than ever before because the key to carrying anything heavy is balance, which is why a 40 pound TV is hard to carry up the stairs but 2 twenty pound weight plates are not; one can be easily balanced between two hands and held at a position that is conducive to keeping the weight from shifting where the other is very easy to inadvertently shift and lose balance. This gear balances near perfectly, and further refinements and positioning of the heavier items will optimize this. 75lbs sounds like a lot, and it is if the weight is not evenly distributed.

Losing 25 pounds just isn't viable for me (losing 10 pounds is in the works, anything less than that is hardly noticeable), that would require losing water (not an option) or tools (more or less essential) or the rifle and ammo. Can't skimp on the water, could slim the tools down if need be, and the rifle could be about 2 pounds lighter if I took a light weight bolt gun, but bolt guns are not the poster children for defensive use. I could move to a different caliber, but then I would lose every advantage I get with the .308. The FAL is a runner, and it has been proven to run reliably with over 10,000 rounds of surplus without a cleaning. The .308 is great on 2 legged varmints and also works just as well on Deer and other medium-sized game. And that was the goal, a rugged, reliable weapon with defensive capabilities that could also serve to hunt medium game. A .22 could be used for small game, but so can snares, and fish, boiled with the skin on are, in my opinion, better survival food than most small game for the nutrients and protein anyway.

At 6'2 and 230 pounds, carrying 75lbs is about 1/3 of my weight, which when balanced, isn't really much at all. But hey, losing weight in your gear is a good thing; provided it still serves the purposes you'd want it to. It continues to evolve and the current revision should be complete by July, so I'll update the post then.

::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

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Offline Perfessr

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2006, 08:01:46 AM »
I don't know how you plan on carrying the rifle but a pair of hiking sticks will help move all that gear with less fatigue.  Do you have a sling or are you going to cary it at Port Arms all day.

Offline NineseveN

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 08:29:32 AM »
I don't know how you plan on carrying the rifle but a pair of hiking sticks will help move all that gear with less fatigue.  Do you have a sling or are you going to cary it at Port Arms all day.

The rifle is slung, and I have rather different set-up currently (working on version 3.0 :)). I'm waiting for some final pieces of gear and my new camera before I update the post though. Walking sticks or hiking sticks do indeed help combat fatigue and if need be, they can be crafted on the fly; however, if you have some hands free, it might be a good idea to have some handy beforehand. I have slimmed down my gear and made it a lot more modular (I am trying not to take more than I need for any given situation).

Also, under the new system, the rifle is reserved for the most dire of circumstances, I have other tools in the tool box so to speak.

P.S. Welcome to the forums!
::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

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Offline donut

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2006, 07:44:16 PM »
Each 20 rd (steel) mag of 308's weighs 1.5 lbs, did you know that? As best I could see, you only weighed in with one mag? 20 rds is not going to get you very far, you know. So your load-out wt is actually going to be at least 6 lbs more than you think.  I'd start cutting way back, if I were you. An obviouis way to reduce wt is a skinny barreled AR-15, which would save you 6 lbs, right there (counting mags and 90-100 rds on tap).  The 308 has no range advantage over the 223 at all at night, or in thick cover.  A smart man will never be out of one or the other of those advantages, if shtf.

Offline OggyDoggy

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2006, 08:03:42 PM »
Each 20 rd (steel) mag of 308's weighs 1.5 lbs, did you know that? As best I could see, you only weighed in with one mag? 20 rds is not going to get you very far, you know. So your load-out wt is actually going to be at least 6 lbs more than you think.  I'd start cutting way back, if I were you. An obviouis way to reduce wt is a skinny barreled AR-15, which would save you 6 lbs, right there (counting mags and 90-100 rds on tap).  The 308 has no range advantage over the 223 at all at night, or in thick cover.  A smart man will never be out of one or the other of those advantages, if shtf.

I seek clarification donut... while I understand your point that the AR15 and its .223 catridges are lighter well enough, NineseveN feels like he needs a .308.  He says earlier in this thread he doesn't want a smaller gun.

You say the .308 has no range advantage on the .223 at night, why?  This depends almost entirely on what kind of optic we mount on his rifle, what kind of nightvision capability he has, and the terrain he is operating in.  Assuming we had unlimited budget for such things, the .308 still has further effective range.  Where I grew up, you could make some very long shots at night in the open country provided you had the right scope for the job.

Thick cover - once again you assume something that may or may not be true for the same reason.

While it's true the reduced weight is in the .223's favor, that doesn't imply that it is somehow going to be the same as or better than the .308 regardless of the conditions.

I favor the .223 myself, but I don't confuse its advantages.  Superior ballistic performance to .308 is not going to happen just because the conditions or terrain changes.  The level of performance he wants can apparently only be found in .308, so what you're suggesting here just seems like a non sequitar.  It's like someone telling you their car's brakes aren't working well and you tell them to purchase an SUV:  your suggestion doesn't address the problem.

Also, I'm quite sure he weighed in his entire loadout and not just one magazine.
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Offline NineseveN

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Re: NineseveN's SHTF Gear - Survival According to Darwinism
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2006, 08:26:14 PM »
Each 20 rd (steel) mag of 308's weighs 1.5 lbs, did you know that? As best I could see, you only weighed in with one mag? 20 rds is not going to get you very far, you know. So your load-out wt is actually going to be at least 6 lbs more than you think.  I'd start cutting way back, if I were you. An obviouis way to reduce wt is a skinny barreled AR-15, which would save you 6 lbs, right there (counting mags and 90-100 rds on tap).  The 308 has no range advantage over the 223 at all at night, or in thick cover.  A smart man will never be out of one or the other of those advantages, if shtf.

Not sure what you're talking about, but yes, I weighed in with everything. 1 mag in the gun, 6 in the vest. I weigh everything meticulously down to the ounce.

As for the .223 VS .308 debate:
I don't see a need to worry about whether or not .223 is equal to or less than .308 at night. It matters not. I'm no cowboy, if I can avoid ya, I will. At night, in terrain that I know very well, good luck getting close enough to me to force me to engage. The problems arise with engagement when one can see someone at a few hundred yards (i.e. daylight), at least in my neck of the woods. .308 is superior to .223 as far as terminal ballistics are concerned, that's just the way it is. Regardless, if one is more comfortable with a .223 due to recoil impulse or platform, by all means, go for it and I promise I won't poo-poo your decision. I find .308 out of a FAL to be a pussycat, but again, I am 6'2" and 230 pounds, YMMV. This is not a he-man thing, most folks applaud the 12guage shotgun and using 00 buck and slugs, which I find to be simply too much to get back on target fast enough, so I don't own one or plan on using one in a SHTF capacity.

With that being said, my rig is nearing version 3.0, some weight was reduced, but I won't skimp down to .223 simply because it's lighter (for a lighter rig, I'll go for a 30-30 lever gun and just under 100 rounds of ammo at maximum, more like 50-60 most likely). I don't imagine taking a shot under most SHTF situations, because avoidance is the key to survival...I know I say this a lot, but neither you nor I are Rambo (unless you really are, but I doubt it). My biggest problem to contend with in my bug out area is the proliferation of black bears, not UN troops. .223 just doesn’t cut it as a defensive round for Black Bear, but .308 and 30-30 do. I don't have brown bears or anything larger like that to worry about, if I did, .45-70 or a 12guage would likely be the go to gun.

::. Every normal man must, at times, be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats. .:: -- HL Mencken

My Bug out Bag and Gear