Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vehicle Gear #1 A Conceptual Discussion

Our recent post Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit got me thinking about this. It also works conveniently because that is the current push in my personal preparations. My initial goal was to beef up the first aid kit there but I decided it was as good a reason as any to re look all the stuff in my vehicle.

I say 'all the stuff' instead of implying it is a cohesive system because there are multiple somewhat independent systems in play instead of one large system. This is complicating for at least three reasons. First because we have to figure out what all we want this stuff to do. Second instead of being sub systems we really end up with different systems that live in the same place instead of say sub systems in a larger cohesive system. Third we have to be cognizant of unintended redundancy/ duplication between the largely independent systems that live in the same place.

In a most basic sense the stuff in our vehicles can be broken down by vehicle stuff or people stuff.

Vehicle stuff would be spare fluids, tire and jack, tools for basic repairs, etc. Depending on your automotive skill set, vehicle reliability and access to repair assistance this could be a little or a lot. If you have some skills and drive a less than reliable vehicle on empty roads a lot a very comprehensive kit would make sense. On the other end of the spectrum a not so handy person with a new ish car might just have jumper cables, a spare tire/ jack, a couple road flares, some fluids and a few basic tools.

People stuff is a bit more nebulous. Personally mine is roughly broken down to the following:
Overnight bag-  A change of clothes, sleeping gear, shoes, toothbrush, etc. Alternate title is 'ho bag'.
First aid- A mix of emergency first aid trauma stuff with everyday type things like band aids, pepto, aspirin etc.
Get Home Bag- Kind of a bug out bag that lives in my car.

Misc- There is some stuff in there that defies ready categorization. For instance a ziplock bag with a spare Glock mag, 50 rounds of 9mm, probably some .22lr an maybe even a .38 speed loader.  Also a set of bolt cutters and a big ole crow bar. I could arguably say it is part of one of the 4 general systems I laid out but I don't really care to.

There are other plausible systems a person could have. They might have a long gun with ancillary stuff or a robust wilderness survival set up. Folks who are often in wild places in cold winters need a sleeping bag, heavy coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc. Nothing else comes directly to mind but other options could certainly exist.

Now we have to talk about constraints. What are the constraints to stuff we keep in vehicles.
-Space. Obviously less of an issue if you drive a full sized truck with a canopy or a Suburban but more problematic in say a little sports car. In any case space is still finite and using it for emergency and preparedness stuff competes with your normal everyday use.
-Cost. If you need to purchase stuff for these systems it obviously costs money. If you pull stuff from elsewhere it is a loss there. Anyway stuff costs money.
-Risk of loss. Vehicles get broken into regularly. An awesome bug out bag with all the coolest gadgets like night vision, FLIR, sat phone, cash and weapons could easily cost several thousand dollars. For all but the richest the loss of that would be very hurtful. 

My intent is to look at all of these systems. First alone and then together. I intend to do posts on each of them.

Your input is welcome now and later if/ when I do future posts on the topic.


Aesop said...

I consider my vehicle my Level IV kit: everything from I-III, because what's in the car may be all I have, PLUS the stuff to deal with vehicle problems, which always break down to two types:
1) Car won't go.
2) Can't get through.

Type One is generally solvable with spare parts and repair tools, spare tires, extra POL, etc.
Type Two is what snow chains, sand/sand mats, bolt cutters, jacks, come-alongs, and pioneer gear (axes, shovels, chain saws, etc.) are for.

If neither Type One or Type Two are enough, lastly, you need camping gear, which could be anything from a -20 bag and a bivy, all the way to a wall tent and stove, as space allows and inclination moves you. A motorcycle will be the former, while a stake-bed truck could permit the latter. Along with fuel, food, water, and necessities for the envisioned journey.

The websites dealing with the original Rat Patrol, the British Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), are highly instructive, as their mission set was closest to what anyone would be undertaking.

A big take-away is that vehicles, like people, survive best in groups, while lone operators tend to get picked off.

Unknown said...

Simple recovery gear is a must, as well. A 25' strap with hooks and a small shovel have gotten me and/or friends unstuck several times. They take up very little room.

Also, make sure you know where to hook them *before* you need them. Pulling off a bumper or bending steering linkage would be embarrassing at best, and disabling to the vehicle at worst!


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