What’s in your bag?
I don’t know about you, but I have reviewed many back pack checklist with numerous recommendations for ingredients to keep in your bag. We can spend hours, if not days, debating what one should include to the individuals bag for personal needs. We can debate the item, number needed, what brand and the best place to buy the item.
Below are some specific qualifiers that may impact the generic resources for a bag and what most will not consider before or during the debate is:
- Age of the individual (a younger male may be capable of carrying a heavier bag)
- Sex of the individual (may impact weight of the bag)
- Distance to be carried (a longer distance will mean more days requiring more resources to survive)
- Physical ability of the person carrying the bag
- Does the bag support more than the person carrying it
- Regional location and terrain to be traveled (flat, mountainous, season of the trip)
- Specific types of clothing, footwear, underclothes and over garments
- Things that are must have vs nice to have (moleskin vs playing cards)
- A sized and adjusted backpack that fits the user’s body size right
- Sleeping bag (weight, size, and temperature specifics of the bag)
- Quality tools (folks often buy cheaper Chinese knockoffs of tools they may need)
I could probably continue with more items but I hope you get my point to be made. When you review a list of items, stop and consider the purpose of the items. Ask “how will the item benefit you individually. Do you have another like item in the bag that will provide dual purpose uses? Then when you have your must have items identified and in the bag, weigh the bag to determine if you have available poundage and space remaining to fill your bag. Take any remaining items and prioritize them top to bottom as far as need, weight and space they require.
If you have done any type of route survey of routes you may have to use in most likely scenarios, you will know what obstacles you may be confronted with.
Will you have to cross fences, streams, creeks or water ways?
How do you plan to cross these potential barriers to your path?
Do you have a method in mind to cross the water without getting yourself and your backpack soaked?
Have you considered a method to float across larger water ways without having to walk miles and miles to find a crossing point?
Maybe commandeer a boat of sorts?
Maybe pull garbage bags from your pack and use them for flotation devices?
What level of creativity are you using to plan for these possible scenarios?
One item I rarely and maybe never see on the backpack list is a weapons cleaning kit of some degree. It can be a purchased kit or one you make up, but, you will need something to ensure the health and effectiveness of your weapon(s). At a minimum you will need some break free to clean after firing, cleaning tools, and lubricants to oil after cleaning and after inclement weather. This could be as simple as taking a few kit items and roll up in a mechanics towel and place in your bag in a convenient place. Fired or not, you should create a habit of checking, cleaning, and lubing your weapon each day before you go to sleep. Consider having and using a barrel plug for your long gun to keep dirt and debris out of the barrel.
Also, some folks pack a manual can opener, which is fine. But to control needs and weights, I passed on the can opener since I use food items not in a can (size and weight). If I need to open a can I can always place the can on a rock top or bottom down and start to twist it back and forth on a rock or pavement. The twisting motion will eventually ground down the rim of the can and the top will open to give me access to the enclosed item.
Some other key items I have identified and placed in my personal Bug-Out Bag (different from my End of Day bag) would be:
- Stanley Wonderbar (Used for pulling boards apart, removing lock hinges, and removing nails and screws)
- Medium sized bolt/lock cutter
- Sillcock Key (used to turn on water spigots located on building exteriors)
- Moleskin can be used to prevent blisters
- Eyes glass repair kit and spare glasses
- Ten yards of duct tape/Gorilla tape rolled around a pencil.
- Vaseline soaked cotton balls in a small metal can to be used as fire starter
- Dryer lint to be used as fire starter
- Small 3 oz bottles with cooking oil, salt and pepper and other spices
- Mylar emergency blankets and one full size Mylar Emergency Shelter (2 lbs)
- Activated Charcoal for treating gas and to treat poisoning. Traps chemicals and prevents body poisoning
- Solar charger attached to exterior of backpack for charging survival components while walking
- A small compact survival fishing kit
- Emergency Dental First Aid Kit and Dental Floss
- Electrolyte Replacement Pills
- Caffeine military grade gum. This provides energy and helps keep me awake
- Extra boot laces and para cord
- Liquid skin - to use over cuts or in conjunction with other first aid items
- Pantyhose – Stop laughing. These are great when you are in the brush or thick vegetation. They protect skin and also keep chiggers and ticks off your skin. You can also use them for other resourceful items
- Pencil Sharpener- Can be used to sharpen sticks, gigs, tender and make arrows
- Pepper Spray can be useful for defense against people and animals
- Pocket chain saw
- Micro Signal Mirror and Fire Starter (credit card size)
- Tin can with bartering type items enclosed (hard candy, fishing line with a hook, two pack of pain relief meds, ….)
So this gives you some items to think about for your own Bug Out Bag or gear. Again, the resources you select should be based on your mission, terrain, season of the year, distance, and ability to carry added weight to your bag)
I also hear folks talk about different theories and devices to assist in carrying the bag or a heavier bag while on terrain affording a hardened platform such as a road or path. I personally have the ability to strap my bag on to a three wheeled golf bag caddy if desired.
Practice carrying your back pack with nothing inside so you can determine the comfort level and strap settings you will desire. Then as your back adjust, start adding weight to the bag. Maybe five pounds per week until you reach the twenty-five pound recommended weight. Again, your determined maximum distance to be traveled may determine you can carry more or less weight.
Don’t lighten the load in your bag because you are only walking five miles. The biggest threat you may face is one step ahead and the extra resources you could have had, may be some other location and not with you. Don’t become your biggest threat by trying to cut corners.
Bravo Echo Out