Showing posts with label Camping Survival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping Survival. Show all posts

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ammo Delivery Day!!!

Today a couple boxes showed up at my door. The first was 200 rounds of Remington Premier Gold Match 168 Grain plus a bit of overage to zero a scope and the second was a case of 7.62x39 Wolf.

The Wolf was sort of an impulse purchase based on the ban on some Russian AK's. It honestly shorted the prep fund which means some other projects will slide to the right but I'm not sad to have my ammo situation a bit better off. In 2 months things will be moving fine and I'll still have the ammo.

It might seem like I've gone into overdrive on ammo lately. In part I am making up for a tendency to not get something squared away before buying the next cool new gun over the years. Also my biggest take away from Firearamagedon was the need to have some ammo for training, test fires, zeroing new optics, etc that is separate from my operational stash. Obviously this meant buying ammo.

Furthermore I have tentatively penciled in some sort of a gun related hysteria for the general period of the 2016 election cycle. It makes sense to purchase a bit more ammo now then go harder into food or the titan ready water barrel system I really want a bit later.

Remember smart people buy when the prices are low then hold or sell when they go up. Suckers miss the low points and only buy when prices are way up.

Have you been taking advantage of the good prices on weapons, mags and (excluding .22lr) ammo?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stormy All Over

The weather here in Central Louisiana has been crazy. This morning it poured down rain, calmed down for a bit but was still a cool mid 70's and dark. This afternoon it dumped down rain again. I suspect we've had a few inches of rain today. When it rains like this everything floods down here. The general lack of meaningful terrain combined with the clay soil makes for water pooling up all over the place in fields, slightly low points in roads and the like.

As to the world it is all pretty much going to hell in a hand basket.

Pretty much the entire Arab world is a mess. Specifically Syria and Iraq have significant issues as of late. I have been meaning to talk about them in detail but that is for another day.

The Israelis invaded Gaza early this morning their time. This most current bout of that old fight seems to have started with 3 Israeli teenagers getting killed which lead to various retaliatory measures which were answered with rocket attacks. That led to the Israeli ground invasion.

Oh yeah and somebody, probably Russia backed paramilitary and or Spetznaz rebels, shot down a commercial airliner over Eastern Ukraine. It was a Malaysian flight (talk about bad luck after the Lost plane crash) that seems to have been predominantly full of Dutch people. For one this goes to show  the chaos of that situation. For two this sort of incident can draw the public eye and lead to other nations getting involved. Reference the Lusitania.

Our friend Harry talks about all this stuff as well as how our economy as well as our Southern Border are entirely screwed

Some days are certainly worse than others but this one does not seem good.

Here at TSLRF we recommend investing in canned food and shotguns. For those who already own a smooth bore or two put your money into shotgun shells.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pre Power Outage Test, Drill and Checklist Sorely Needed

We get power outages down here when it rains heavily, especially for a few days in a row. Usually it is an hour or two. It has been raining real hard and flooding south of here so my threat meter was pegged a bit higher. If power dropped it could be widespread and maybe even last awhile. 

The weather down here has been nuts for the last few days. It's like a monsoon or something. Tons of rain and thunder/ lightning all over the place. We had a couple blips in the power. It seemed prudent to take some steps. Here is what I did. Not saying this was really thought out or perfect by any means, it is just what I decided to do between aproximately noon and two.

-Started the dryer to finish the load that had been sitting in the washer from this morning. (Incidentally I was trying to get ahead on chores so I'd already washed clothes and ran the dishwasher.)

-Went to the store for a couple bags of ice. One to toss in the freezer and another for the cooler.

Incidentally and almost surely due to the power brown out's the small stores card reading machine was down. Between the ice and some snacks it was $9 something. The guy was apologetic and I paid cash. That left $143 in my pocket. I considered hitting the ATM but didn't bother. We keep cash at home so it wasn't a concern. If a hurricane was coming I'd grab more cash, mostly so we could spot friends or co workers some if needed. Left the store.

-Plugged in the power supply.

-Plugged in Goal 0 battery powered lantern I'm testing.

(More on both of these later after I do some more testing)

-Nuked some leftovers for lunch.

-Filled up the bathtub water bladder. These things are pretty cool and can really work for semi predictable events like hurricanes or power outage. I really need to save a bit of coin then swing by Titan Ready Water to get a couple of 55 gallon barrels or even better one of their hydrant storage systems to boost out water storage to more acceptable levels.

-Took a shower.

After that I was pretty much done with everything I wanted to do. The storms are supposed to continue through early tomorrow. I don't really care much as I'm prepared for what is expected.

Again note that I'm not saying these actions were perfect. I had a realization that we might lose power then acted.In fact I'm open to your thoughts on what I could do better. My realization is that it would be awful handy to figure out what, in order of priority I would want to accomplish then make a list so it is easy.

Do you have a checklist for power outages? Pre outage and post or just one of them? If you don't mind sharing I would be quite interested in what is on your list. By all means answer in the comments section.

Thoughts?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Official Results

To recap here is what the excellent prizes are:

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

 The winners are:

Mike P-18
Kang-16
Carry Alert-15
Prairie Patriot-10
Meister-9
Jake-8
Max Velocity-6

If you won please contact me using the email your post was submitted from  and include your mailing address within 7 days. Note that #1 gets to pick between the Lucky Gunner stuff or the HERC so please specify. I realized I still need to figure out the wild card so I'll do that ASAP. 



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #21- Kang

Today I am proud to bring Entry #21 of our Fighting Load Contest by Kang

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry that will be posted. Voting will start early next week. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


My Fighting Load  -- Kang














This is my complete fighting load, including chest rig, plate carrier, battle belt, rifle, and 'assault pack'. The rifle is a bushmaster/rock river AR mutt with an eotech 512 (because AAs are easier to find), a magpul STR stock for carrying replacement batteries, light, BUIs, single/double point sling and ready mag system that lets me carry 2 mags on board for extremely rapid reloads (excuse the pink tape...). To Be Done: the rifle is lined up to be painted once temperatures permit.

Chest Rig



  
   
The chest rig is an HSP D3 chest rig, it carries 4 rifle magazines, 2 pistol magazines, multitool, admin stuff (notepad, pencils, etc) and an Israeli bandage.  To be done: I need to purchase another tourniquet to go in/on my chest rig.

Battle Belt




The battle belt is an HSGI sure grip padded belt with riggers belt.  It carries 2 Esstac single mag pouches for quick reloads and 1 Esstac pistol pouch.  A dump pouch, tear away first aid pouch (with israeli bandages, tourniquet, gloves and other stuff), a 1 liter water bottle pouch that holds my 1st line survival gear (steel water bottle, cordage, firestarter, compass, water purification, folding knife, gun lube, etc) and has a giant Shadowtech bushcraft blade whose name I don't recall (I can't say enough good things about Shadowtech's blades, check them out).  Finally a G-code holster carries a Springfield XDM9 as my backup firearm. To Be Done: I need to replenish my stock of Datrex ration bars after I introduced them to my daughters.

Plate Carrier

       The plate carrier is a Mayflower from Velocity Systems.  I have ceramic front and rear plates, and steel side plates.  The D3 chest rig snaps directly onto the plate carrier, and additionally, I have two 3 magazine pouches in the side plate pockets (for a total of 14 AR magazines, if required and 4 pistol magazines), and a 'flat' style Source 3 liter hydration carrier attached to the rear (I've found it's really hard to carry packs with one of the standard cylinder style hydration pouches on your back).

Assault Pack

 


      Last is the 'assault pack', which is a Tactical Tailor bag whose name escapes me.  It carries a standard camelback 3 liter hydration bladder (total of 7 liters of water immediately available), enough ammo for 10 magazine reloads in bandoliers / stripper clips, a Striplula for rapid reloading, poncho, cordage, headlamp, spare batteries, food, and firearms cleaning kit. To Be Done: more food, I think. See Datrex bars above... Also, I just realized I carry no additional 9mm ammo.
The best aspect of the D3 chest rig is how modular it is.  I can carry just the rig on its own, strapped to the plate carrier, as in the above pictures, or I can even attach it directly to the assault pack.  I can wear just the chest rig under a jacket or even a sweater if I'm trying to be low profile.


 The assault pack even fits quite nicely on the back of my 3rd line gear pack.

Ryan here: As always thanks for the entry. I should note Kang used this setup at Max Velocity's 5 Day Combat Rifle and Contact Drill /Patrolling class and it worked well for him. As to the setup I like it a lot. Modular and good for a variety of situations. General notes:
1) Do not see a way to purify more water. He could have a little bottle of the purification pills someplace and have overlooked mentioning it. If not I'd add some and or a small filter like a Sawyer Mini.
2) The assault pack has plenty of ammo which is great but I would look at the clothing situation. At a minimum a set of spare socks would be prudent.
3) You mentioned an IFAK type kit but what about more common injuries? Some band aid's, asprin, moleskin, etc is a good idea.
4) You hit on it (think it got eaten) but incorporating some food into your fighting kit and more into the assault pack is a good idea.

With those modest additions (that can probably be found lying around in 20 min at home) this is an excellent setup.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Post #20 Chris's Go To War Rig

Today I am proud to bring Entry #20 of our Fighting Load Contest by Chris formerly of AK.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 Awhile back Chris sent in a post on his budget travel rig. Now we get to look at his primary setup.  

Ryan,

The first submission I put in was my "on the road" low quality comblock kit that lives in the trunk as I was travelling.  Now that I'm home I figured I'd share my primary rig.  I'm not trying to game the system -- just figured I'd get some feedback and maybe give some ideas.

I have a flexible setup which revolves around a few key components:
- 3A Vest
- DBT "Victory Vest" slick plate carrier
- Tactical Tailor Mini Mav Chest Rack
- Eagle War Belt
- FLC
- LAPG "Zombie Hunter" bag

The idea is that you layer with whatever is needed so you can adjust your profile as needed.  Some examples:
- "Low Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor under sweatshirt or soft armor with LAPG Zombie Hunter bag close to hand, and normal CCW/duty belt.
- "Medium Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor with Tac Tailor MiniMav, plus LAPG zombie hunter bag close to hand.  I call this medium profile because even under a sweatshirt, a chest rack + PC is going to show.
- "High Profile" Vehicle Ops:  Slick PC with FLC
- "High Profile" Dismounted Ops:  Slick PC with War Belt and Chest Rack.  Option to ditch the PC and/or chest rack depending on METT-TC.

I'll walk through the contents of each of the key components next.

3A VEST
- Sourced from BulletProof Me.  Nothing fancy.  Just a basic NIJ 3A soft vest.  Pairs well with the mini mav or LAPG bag for a lower profile.

PLATE CARRIER
- Diamond Back Tactical Victory Vest.  DBT went out of business and sold off their gear at pennies on the dollar.  It is all made in the US, GI spec stuff.  I picked up a bunch of PCs (some slick, some with molle) for about $20 each.
- 3A inserts:  I repurposed NIJ inserts for the soft frag armor.  The vest is intended to take special SPEAR or BALCS cut armor but the NIJ stuff fits fine; I just get a little less coverage.
- Plates:  I run medium SAPIs and have steel as a spare/training set.  My wife runs 8x10 level IV ceramics with steel as a spare/training set.

MINI MAV
We each have similar mini-mav chest racks.  These are pretty low profile and can fit under a bulky sweatshirt as well.  The idea here is that I could run with nothing but my standard CCW stuff and a mini-mav and be able to fight.  From left to right as pictured:
-  Tactical Tailor small radio pouch with FRS/GMRS
- TT tourniquet pouch with CAT
- Velcro for ID/morale patch on triple shingle (20 rders)
- Single mag pouch:  Usually used for a Surefire G2X but will also fit a pistol mag or multitool

Future thoughts:  I am considering swapping out the 20-rd shingle for a full-size 30-rd shingle and putting an admin pouch on the front.  The admin pouch would let me store key documents as well as give one more flashlight/knife sized pouch at the cost of increased bulk in the front.  Right now the CAT is "squishy" so it isn't bad to get prone.


WAR BELT
This is a medium USMC surplus molle belt supported by a Tactical Tailor "fight light" harness which is super comfy, even under armor.  I have a total of 5xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag on here.  Combined with the minimav that's 8xM4 mags on board.  Otherwise I envision this as a dismounted patrol load suitable for a day or night out.  From left to right, as pictured:
- Tactical Tailor "kangaroo" magnapouch.  Holds an M4 mag and a pistol mag on top in "quick draw" fashion.  These are expensive so I just opted for one on the centerline.  I shoot pistols right handed and rifles left handed so there's no ideal place for the fast reload (my rifle reloads should be on the right, and pistol mags on the left) so I figured centerline with a bias towards the fast pistol reload was a compromise.
- Double M4 pouch (USGI surplus)
- USMC surplus canteen pouch.  Upgraded with nice Nalgene brand 1qt canteen.  Side pockets hold water purification tablets and matches.
- 100 round SAW pouch at small of back.  Currently empty.  I can stuff it with mission-specific gear.  As a default some snacks and maybe spare socks go in there.  As it is on the small of my back I don't like to put hard metal things there but you can fit 3xM4 mags easily.  My NVD would fit too.
- Surplus IFAK pouch.  Set up as a combined IFAK/patrol pouch.  The front subdivider has a compact TK4 tourniquet (not as good as the CAT but compact), an H&H Israeli-style compression bandage, triangular bandage, and an NPA.  All the stuff I'd want quick access to.  The large big compartment has a baggie with first aid "boo boo" stuff:
Sterile Gloves, 3xAspirin Doses, Medi-Lyte (electrolytes for dehydration), Diamode/Loperamide (diarrhea medication), Bug Sting Wipe, Antiseptic Pads, Alcohol Prep Pads, Two 2" gauze pads, 3" wide elastic wrap, 2x4" moleskin strips, EMT Shears

That won't sustain you long but should be good for a day or two until you can get to a bigger medic supply stash.

The IFAK pouch also has some misc "patrol" stuff:  Mylar blanket, Single-use poncho (green), 4 oz emergency water pouch, Water purification tabs, Uncle Ben's DEET Bugspray Wipe, SPF30 Sunscreen Wipe, Cyalume Milspec Glowstick, "Foamie" Ear Protection.

- Tactical Tailor MOLLE holster.  This is sized for a Beretta 92.  I do not like this holster in this application.  It rides way too high for an easy draw.  Additionally, our primary household sidearm is the S&W M&P, and TT doesn't make a pouch for that.  My wife just has a cruddy condor pouch on her belt for now until I find/finance a better solution.  There's some good low-ride MOLLE holsters out there but they seem pricey.
- Single grenade pouch riding on TT holster.  Currently I have a $10 NCStar 8x monocular in there.  It seems to work fine.  The location is easy to access.
- Double M4 mag pouch.  For mags, and my NVD will also fit in there.

My wife's rig is identical except her belt is smaller, so she is down two M4 mag pouches.  Her kangaroo pouch rides on top of a single M4 shingle though, so she has a total of 2xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  Given that her primary role is close escort for kiddo she doesn't need as much ammo anyways, so a self-protection load is sufficient.  With her mini-mav she's up to 5xM4 mags.

I can easily layer this with the minimav plus an assault pack (for more gear such as a woobie and poncho, or even goretex) or a simple camelbak carrier.

Future thoughts:  I am considering adding two double mag shingles, one on each side of the buckle.  This would either up the mag count by four, or let me replace a double M4 mag pouch with a double pistol mag pouch for a flashlight and multitool without losing AR mags.  Right now between the war belt and minimav I don't have a good way to carry a multitool or other knife.  I'm also a bit worried that if I lost the minimav and was down to just the belt I'd have no light source other than the glow stick.  So ditching a double M4 pouch for some utility pouches seems reasonable, especially if I offset the lost M4 pouch with some shingles.


FLC

The concept of the FLC is vehicle mounted ops which require something more robust than the minimav.  The war belt is just not super comfortable in the car when seated.  The pouches are empty as I currently only have enough gear (other than mags) to keep one set of LBE stocked.  I'd have to transfer the stuff off the mini-mav/war belt onto the FLC.  Total mag carriage is 10xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  

The detail photos show the left and right sides of the FLC.  The side on the wearer's left is equipped as follows:
- Double pistol mag pouch, for pistol mag and surefire
- Double M4 mag pouch x 2
- Canteen pouch (identical to battle belt)
- Up on the mesh vest:  Small radio pouch for GMRS, grenade pouch for monocular

The other half of the FLC on the wearer's right has, from centerline out:
- Double M4 mag pouch x 3
- IFAK pouch set up as on war belt
- Up on the mesh vest:  Multitool, CAT, grenade pouch for admin items (will fit a basic flip cell phone)

The FLC is paired with a thigh drop holster.  I have a Serpa drop leg left over from work which also carries a spare pistol mag, so currently use that until funds allow a nice Safariland.

I am considering dropping 2xM4 mag pouches and replacing with a 100 round SAW pouch for more utility storage space for stuff like nomex gloves and a stripped MRE.  That would drop the total M4 mag count to 6.

Finally, I had a bunch of ACU pouches laying around so I got two cheap ACU FLCs from ebay and set them up similarly as backups.  They will be stashed in cars soon, I think, unless I can think of a better cache setup.

NOT PICTURED:  "LAPG Zombie Hunter Bag"

LAPG has some neat bailout bags.  They are super simple but pretty handy.  Contents of mine:
- 3 x M4 mags
- IFAK pouch contents set up as on war belt
- Compartment for handgun (I don't like off-body carry but it is an option)
- Compartment for radio (CB handheld or GMRS) -- normally the CB lives in the car but it could move to the bag if the threat level increased
- Water bottle
- Cheapo "tactical" light
- Ear Pro

The zombie hunter bag can be used to keep a lower profile, or to supplement the FLC/mini-mav in a vehicle-ops mounted role.  If you have to dismount you can grab the bag on the way out for a few more reloads.  They also work great as range bags.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I feel like this gear lets me adjust profiles from low, to medium, to high.  I can be comfortable for dismounted ops or in the car with similar rigs.  Coyote brown is nice as it blends with lots of colors/environments, and it isn't camo pattern (any LBE will draw attention from onlookers; camo LBE doubly so).

Big picture I want to continue to get more gear to round out the FLCs so they are "grab and go" ready all the time, but surefires and leathermans are expensive.  I also need to continue to work towards fixing the pistol situation on the war belts, and ditching the SERPA for my FLC rig.  I also do not have a great way to carry a knife right now other than maybe a multitool.  I have some KABAR adapters for my mini-KBAR but no good place to attach them.

To keep costs low, I used USGI surplus where possible and supplemented with Tactical Tailor as needed, taking advantage of their annual 30% off sale to get the key gear that just couldn't be sourced with cheap surplus.  TT is not too bad if you stick to the smaller utility pouches and their "fight light" line.

Please feel free to weigh in with any questions, spears, or comments.

Cheers,
Chris


Ryan here: As always thanks to Chris for playing. He liked doing the first post so much he did a second one! Thoughts in no particular order.

Why the Mini Mav vs a rig that can hold more mags? Most folks will go lighter on the warbelt and heavier on the chest rig. If the rig held 2-3 more mags you could arguably eliminate the need for the FLC kit (except as a backup). 
On the subject of the Mini Mav I disagree with the 20 rounders and would replace them with 3x standard 30 round magazines post haste. That gives you 30 more rounds on the kit.  A small admin pouch would be a good idea. 

War Belt: Yeah I have that same holster. They are OK but sit pretty high. Personally I keep my mags on the off hand side so all my rifle mags are on the left side. The exception is my second pistol mag as it went where it could fit (the other option was not having it). 

You mentioned not having a place to put a more robust knife. Why not on the War Belt? You could Jerry Rig it so the knife was just below the belt (thus not taking MOLLE space) and held on my a couple of big zip ties or something. 

The bail out bag should have some food in it, probably some clothing too.

Agree with ditching 2 mags from the FLC to create an admin pouch for some food and various stuff. 

I love how your system is modular so it can work for a variety of situations. 

Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fighting Load Contest #19 by John Dozier

Today I am proud to bring Entry #18 of our Fighting Load Contest by Crankjob.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.

The contest is closed and this is the second to last entry I am tracking. If you sent one in and have not seen it please get with me ASAP.  Voting will start later week. It will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 

 

In the attached image you will see my fighting load. It is a work in progress.
Starting with the weapons: my AR15 is a cmmg lower with a Palmetto State mid-length upper. For optics I have an Aimpoint comp m2 mounted with a LaRue QD mount, and mounted on the left side of the rifle I have a flashlight for illumination. My Coldsteel SRK and Gerber multi-tool I carry on my belt. My glock 17 is mounted on my plate carrier, but I am not sold on it staying there.
The plate carrier is Condor and holds front and back AR500 steel armor. These are heavy but durable and very affordable. Coupled with the hard armor is a level 2 soft armor wrap-around vest.
The chest rig is a Blackhawk low profile model, with 6 rifle mags, 2 pistol mags, and a small IFAK. I plan on adding additional mag pouches, a radio pouch, and improving the IFAK when possible.
This kit is very minimalist, and I am not including information on my clothing or pack. I chose to make this kit very modular, and easier to conceal if necessary. I can conceal both sets of armor under a fleece jacket or softshell easily. I am not sure about the weight, but I would estimate the armor, ammo, and plate carrier/chest rig combined are under 40 lbs easily. And before anyone asks, yes I exercise regularly, including lifting weights and hiking with 30-50 lb packs. I would also recommend running hills and a good diet for anyone looking for PT advice.
I would appreciate any constructive feedback, thank you.
Best regards,
John Dozer

 Ryan here: As always thanks for playing. Let's see. Like the rifle, everything you need and no silly stuff bolted on. Good call not going cheap on the optic. Personally I'd rather run iron's for an extra couple months and get something reliable than buy a $100 red dot that is sure to fail in some way or another. Yeah I am generally not a huge fan of PC mounted handguns though they do have a place. I'd want a small concealment belt type holster somewhere in there to give a low profile option. Also personally I would look at the soft armor and vest more as a this or that than a both option but that is just me. Otherwise not a lot to add.

Thoughts?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tom of Camping Survival Talks Water Filtration


Another excellent video from Camping Survival. The approach Tom lays out would be a fine way to go for really nasty (hurricane, Africa in general, etc) water. While one could argue it is a bit 'belt and suspenders' redundant it's important to note this is a multi layered approach that will let you develop an approach that works for different situations.

In my mind it would go something like this depending on your situation. Cloth pre filtering with a shemag or a t shirt is only really necessary if there are a bunch of floaties (pine needles, etc) or the water is muddy or otherwise filled with sediment. Next I would be inclined to go with some sort of water purification tablets for real quick/ light trips. Easy to have a small bottle of them in a daypack in case you happen to need them. They often have an after taste of varying degrees. You can try a few different kinds to see which are the least unpleasant for you. The simplest option is to just deal with the slight after taste. The next option in my mind is to mix your water with something. Those little pre measured gatoraid/ ice tea/ flavor drink packets would be good for the short term and could provide some arguable benefits.

In a more static home disaster type situation bleach would be easy to substitute here.  It is lower cost and at 16 drops of bleach to a gallon the half empty jug o bleach under the sink could purify a whole lot of water. The only downsides of bleach are that it has a shelf life and is (though more in larger quantities used for cleaning) relatively bulky. I think there are powdered chemicals that store better and can be used in it's stead but have not really looked into it. (Need to do that.)

If you just want to taste good old water a filter is an excellent approach.

Personally we have a few options at home for filtration and purificatiion. The smallest are a life straw and a mini sawyer, with a Katadyn Pocket Water Filter as our larger model for a longer term situation or a small base camp setup. We also have a Big Berkey for our home setup. The lifestraww and Sawyers (think we have 2) are designed to be replaced when the filter goes. We keep a spare set of elements for the Katadyn. Those things are super rugged and used by a lot of folks like the Red Cross in Africa. We need to get a spare set of elements for the Berkey. Additionally most of our systems include the ambiguous bottle o tablets.

Do you have a plan to make water safe for drinking and cooking?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last Call For Fighting Load Contest Entries

 Our Fighting Load Contest is wrapping up fast. Between field time and technical issues it went on longer than planned but now we are closing it out. This is my last call for alibi posts that were sent but have for whatever reason not been published. If you have not seen it on the blog I am not tracking it.

Also given that I was not exactly timely in this it isn't a big deal if you for whatever reason did not previously submit an entry and now want to do so. If you submit an entry between now and Friday at noon I will publish them. So if you wanted to play and didn't get to it here is a chance to do so. Any posts I get will be published rapid fire. Voting will start early next week.

To recap here are the prizes and details.

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).

For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry or Max's  Battle Belt discussion. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time.

 Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

Disclaimer: As far as this contest is concerned I am a totalitarian dictator albeit a benevolent one. I reserve the right to remove, add or change prizes, edit entries, reject entries, scrap the results of voting or otherwise do whatever I want at any time with no advance notice. I will also retain rights to use all entries on the blog or in other way's. While I'm a reasonable guy and will listen to your concerns there is no appeals or arbitration process. Whatever I say goes so if you don't like it then don't play.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Camping Survival Memorial Day Sale

Camping Survival is offering 5% off site wide if you use the code "memorialday".

 They also recently added some new selection to their lantern line The UCO candle lanterns are a pretty cool piece of equipment, far superior to cheaper models, and come in a variety of colors.

They are also stocking bulletproof clip boards. At first I thought that was sort of silly. In the time it's taken to write this my opinion has changed. One of these would be awful handy to keep in the back of an everyday or school bag given the whole active shooter risk these days. Given that they are light, compact and affordable it is a handy option to have.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maine Prepper Talks Combat and Survival Knives, I talk Knife Fighting and My Preferences




I heard a great quote once on soldier knives "Soldiers buy these $300 super SERE SPECOPS Tier 1 fighting survival knives then they use them to whittle stakes to make a poncho hooch, open MRE's and boxes." This does not mean that we do not need, in rare occasions significant capabilities, but just that we should be a little more realistic about what is a genuine need and what is a want. By all means use quality tools but the difference between a $50 Ka Bar or $80 Ontario RAT and a $300+ Busse, Randall, etc is not likely to be an issue in your survival over any number of ridiculously unlikely situations.

Don't get me wrong I like nice knives. Have always loved them and as I go on in life and finances allow I indulge in them. I own 3 Benchmade's, an Al Mar and a beautiful custom Camp Knife. Have a serious knife crush on the Busse TGLB. Want to get another Benchmade folder and for no real reason an Emerson. However at some point we do have to  look at if we are paying for a functional tool or a cool name (Busse) to make us happy and brag to our buddies or folks on the net about.

Personally I view knives as tools for well cutting things. Specifically I use them for everyday camp and life tasks such as preparing food, cutting small pieces of wood for whatever, 550 cord or rope and the like. Stretch these tasks a bit and you've pretty much hit the 'survival knife' arena. 

As a soldier I carry a rifle that holds 30 rounds and reloads rapidly plus sometimes a pistol with spare mags handy. As a civilian in normal circumstances I carry a handgun of some sort, in abnormal times I would carry a rifle that holds 30 rounds and a pistol that holds 17. In my opinion the whole 'shoot once then let em have it with your tomahawk' mentality stopped being meaningful when relatively large capacity rifles that reload rapidly came into play. Based on these weapons relatively large capacity and speedy reloading it is a lot more likely I will just shoot somebody who is close to me. If that doesn't work and they also fail at shooting me I'd try to bring a handgun into play, then a knife before going to hands. There have been anecdotal cases of people using bayonets or in some cases going hand to hand after that date but the ratio of those circumstances is honestly not very high.

I look at knives to suit my given purpose first with some consideration for defensive capabilities as a distant second. Why do I say this? Well people have been killing each other with pointy objects for a really long time. If we looked at ratios in terms of relatively modern life (say post 1900) I suspect far more people have been killed with their time and place's equivalent of Pakistani gas station folders and Chinese steak knives than super CQB folders and SWAT Survival fixed blade knives.Yes, that speaks more to the readiness of these knives in homes and pockets than their effectiveness vs quality knives (sort of like how more people are killed with .22lr Saturday night specials than say HK or SIG.45's.) but the point is that basically all pointy knives can cut and thus kill people.

Put it like this, if I am holding a shovel nobody is going to kick my ass cuz well I would smack them with the shovel. It doesn't mean a shovel is the best weapon, just that it is a tool that can function as a weapon if needed. Knives are the same way. I carry a folding knife all the time to cut all manner of stuff in everyday life and be there in case of a survival situation. If need be I will repeatedly stab someone in the lower part of the torso or neck with it.

Generally I carry a single blade knife which clips to my pocket and opens with a convenient thumb stud. I do this not because I'll really need to stab somebody with it but because invariably when I need to cut something I'll be holding it with the other hand. This, aside from it weighting a pound or something, is why I do not carry a Buck 110 everyday.  For everyday tasks and of course self defense I need to be able to get to a knife one handed.

Awhile back John Mosby and American Mercenary discussed knife fighting. I am too lazy to go find their posts and link to them but both guys are in my blog roll. I sort of meant to address knife fighting then but never got to it. Anyway to make it as simple as possible do not read or watch cheese 80's videos about dudes fighting with knives in some south east Asian opium den. If you want to spend 5, 10 or 20 years learning Asian knife fighting (Kali, Escrima type stuff) that is totally cool. If you do not want to do that just go all singer sewing machine on the bad guy. Knives you would reasonably carry regularly are not big and heavy enough to slash very effectively. They will cut into skin but will not go through bone or get deep enough to incapacitate somebody quickly. With very rare exceptions you need to get deep into the body to get to the places where a normal sized knife will do sufficient damage to kill someone. Slash somebody and they'll almost surely live. Stab em once and their odds of living are good. Stab them a dozen times then shove your knife in their carotted (sp) artery and twist then it's all she wrote.

The difference between lethality and incapacitation is important here. It is worth touching on the 86 Miami Shoot Out here. Let's say you "defang the snake" slashing the heck out of somebodies limbs as they expose them to attack and it is going well up to the point that they will likely die but that guy with the cut up hands bashes your head on the concrete till you die you well, lose. He might bleed out or die of an infection later but it doesn't help you much.

 This is an interesting point. In a lethal fight it is best to kill the other guy(s) as rapidly as possible. If you screw around hoping to out skill somebody thus avoiding any injuries instead of just killing them and being done with it you risk their friends showing up, slipping on a rock doing something cool you saw in a Van Dam movie or them getting lucky. Honestly this whole strategy reminds me of a guy who took 2 months of boxing classes that wants to hang back and throw jabs to avoid potentially taking a shot while KOing the other guy.

The point of where I am going, pun intended, is that 1) All knives are inherently lethal. Presuming they are sharp and pointy they can stab and kill people. 2) Look to a knife's primary purpose first and self  defense second.

My personal preference for knives is as follows:
1) The point should be roughly in a line with the hilt. In a combat perspective this is for stabbing. For me it is more that when I aim a knife at something to cut it I want the darn point to go where my wrist aims it. Exceptions are for special use knives like butcher knives.
2) Knives should have a grip that you can hold onto, particularly if they are for field or 'fighting' use.Wood and leather are good, G10 is good, textured plastic is good. Smooth materials like ivory or non textured aluminum are probably less good.
3) Folding knives will have a lock of some sort. The exception is for tools like multi tools that have a knife blade almost as an ancillary feature to the pliers, screwdrivers, etc.
4) Fixed blade knives will be have a tang that runs through the handle to the hilt. At a minimum a thin 'rat tail' tang but the ideal situation is a tang that is the width of the handle all the way to the hilt.

The Mora is worth discussing here because they are a useful tool that does not meet my preference. They are a fixed blade with a half to 3/4 handle rat tail type tang. Honestly I consider them a very affordable beefier version of an everyday carry folding knife. They are a great light to medium duty belt knife at a price that allows them to be almost disposable. Presuming normal knife use you will probably never destroy a Mora.

5) For a general use knife 3/8th's to 1/4 is a good width. I think proportion is significant here. My big ole camp knife is 1/4 inch thick but it is over a 9.5 inch blade with a total length of 15 inches. I probably wouldn't want a quarter inch thick knife with a 3 inch blade.

6) For a general use knife I favor lengths between 5 and 7 inches with a half inch or so error on either side for good tools like the Mora or  Ka Bar.

7) For outdoor or tactical use I favor stainless steel or coated carbon steel blades. The ease of cutting and ability to resharpen of  non coated carbon steel knives is great but they are hell to maintain in wet environments.

 Not so long ago I took a Mora to the field for a month. It was great till I had to work for half a day setting up tents in the rain. To the point my carbon steel mora companion got wet and rusted. In general I think folks who do not get to choose when they go to the woods need to be prepared to get wet. I'm looking at getting the same military companion knife in stainless steel.

8) Do not bring a knife to the field you are not willing to use. Going full in with a ka bar will get you a lot more than worrying if a Busse will get scratched. I'm not saying you shouldn't bring an expensive knife to the field just to do so if you will actually use it. If you are so worried about it getting scratched then be honest, call it a safe queen and get another knife to use.

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #18 by Crankjob


Today I am proud to bring Entry #18 of our Fighting Load Contest by Crankjob.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry I am tracking. If you sent one in and have not seen it please get with me ASAP.  Voting will start soon and run for about a week. It will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


Hello Sir,
Here's my entry, also included some pics of the kit being worn, in case that helps.
So what we have here is a kit that is designed to be versatile, kinda cheap, kinda lightweight, legal in most states, and in 3 common calibers: 30-06, 12 gauge, and .357 magnum.

Here's the rundown:
Rifle- a used Savage 110 in 30-06 caliber with a Nikon 3-9x scope w/ flip up lens covers, leather Ching sling, and cheap-o bipod.  I made the cheek rest with closed cell foam, duct tape, and camo-wrap.  I've managed to put a couple sub-MOA groups onto paper with this setup, and it cost less than $400 for the whole shebang.  The 30-06 has alot of bullet drop, but carries enough energy to be dangerous out as far as 900 meters.  A BDC reticle is important to get the most out of this cartridge, and carry a ballistic table/BDC chart for your scope/cartridge combo!

Shotgun- a Mossberg 590 Mariner w/ choate Mark IV stock.  The safety location is kind of annoying now, but I treat it sorta like an AK safety (i keep my thumb wrapped around the pistol grip, and use my index finger or whole hand to flick the safety button forward and back).  There is a Streamlight Microstream AAA flashlight duct-taped to the magazine tube.  It's not especially bright, but it's better than nothing.  I used some closed cell foam as a shock absorber/ spacer and it's been working well for more than 100 rounds.

Sidearm- a Ruger LCR in .357 magnum, with Crimson trace laser grip.  (I also keep an empty pocket holster in my pocket in case I gotta ditch the battle belt).

Ancillary gear:
Water- behind the rifle is a mil-surplus Camelbak with 96 ounces of water

Backpack-  a Kelty, some discontinued model.  Inside I keep extra ammo, a cook pot, home-made MRE of 4,000 calories, along with basic supplies such as lighter, cordage, AAA batteries, wool socks, gloves, fleece hat, headlamp, tarp, extra clothing, sunblock, a whistle, binoculars, laser rangefinder, etc., while leaving room so I can stow the clothes I'm wearing.  it's just a little bit of the basics to keep me going.

Ear pro-  Howard Leight Impact Sport

Battle Belt- A Blackhawk molle belt. From left to right: shotshell pouch w/ buckshot, shotshell pouch w/ slugs, 5.11 6x6 pouch containing IFAK with zip-ties and a good quality glow stick attached externally, Camelbak pouch containing a metal nalgene style bottle, Glock field knife, nylon flap holster and a nylon shell pouch containing speed strips.


What I like: The guns are all California/ Massachusetts/ whatever-dumb-state legal, and use common ammunition. 30-06 and 12 gauge slugs can potentially penetrate many types of cover, body armor, and engine blocks. If needed the rifle and shell-belt can be ditched or handed off to a buddy and I'm still pretty well armed.



The entire rig, with ammo, 1 gal of water, food, clothes, boots, EVERYTHING weighs under 50 lbs, and the weight is spread out evenly. I could conceivably breach into a building with the 12 gauge, set up a fire position for the bolt gun, and still have a CQB weapon. It doesn't interfere with climbing, hiking, or going prone at all, and I can access all the equipment pretty easily.


What I don't like: Good at distance, good up close, not so good from 100-300 meters.
Limited capacity; If I shot all 3 guns dry It would be only 18 rounds, then I need to reload (and they all reload slowly) . The shotgun is slow to deploy from the scabbard, I'd have to draw my little 5-shot sidearm for a surprise close-encounterLimited suppressive-fire capability.
A little bit sloppy with all the straps and buckles, and the shotgun muzzle bumps around when I'm in tight spaces.

So that's my rig as of today, I should say that it takes about 15 minutes to go from my skivvies to full gear.  This gear setup is of course not as kick-ass as having an AR, but I'm sure many readers are in a similar situation, with a couple hunting weapons and looking for ways to integrate them.
Also, I keep all of the elastic shell-holders empty so they don't stretch out, with the shells kept in ziploc bags nearby and all the web gear is in one duffel together.   For the middle-of-night quick access, I have the shotgun locked in a wall-mount and a belt of shells hanging next to it.

Thanks Ryan, and good luck to the other contestants!

- Crankjob



 Ryan here: As always thanks for playing. I have a question and a thought
1) You mentioned legality in anti gun states. That can be a concern for folks who live in or near such areas. It lost me when you mention California AND Massachussets, given that they are well pretty far apart. Do you find yourself traveling in/ through anti gun states frequently?

2) Not entirely sure how I feel about the LCR (actually I am entirely ambivalent about it but I digress) or a comparable J framed type revolver in this role. On one hand the system could certainly support and arguably benefit from a larger hnadgun. On the other hand if an '06 and a shotgun won't solve it the negligible difference between a mid sized and small handgun probably won't. Also the smaller handgun would be handy for being discrete like going into a gas station or something, especially if CCW is not exactly legal in the area.

Edited to include 3) Generally speaking when I see a 2nd long gun as part of a load out it is for a specific purpose on an as needed type basis. Example a sniper would carry his sniper rifle and an M4 for personal protection, though the trend towards semi auto bolt guns on the AR platform is making that unnecessary. A breacher carrying a pistol grip 12 gauge is another example. However as a general rule a 2nd long gun is probably ovverkill for a man portable kit. 

Thoughts?

Lifestraw Video by Camping Survival




Got Lifestraw?  For folk who want a more traditional filtering experience they also have the Sawyer Mini.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Smokin Deals and Cool New Products From Our Advertisers

9mm 115gr Blazer FMJ for $320/1k

5.56 62gr M855 PMC for $380/1k

Both of those are solid buys in terms of price. If you need ammo, aside from .22lr, the situation is solid and you should buy soon.  Don't come into the next gun/ mag/ ammo shortage madness in anything less than the best place you can afford. Should things go all Patriot Dawnyou will wish you'd picked up at least a case of each.

Lucky Gunner also has these cool 'battle packs' of 9mm. 300 rounds of ammo in 6x 50rd boxes wrapped inside of a sturdy plastic battle pack. Perfect for an operational cache. They are also available in 40S&W for guys like Max Velocity and .45acp for folks into that.

LPC Survival still has the whole line of Berkey filters. Our Big Berkey is a big part of the families water purification plan. Also they have Tattler reusable canning lids.

I have been meaning to purchase some 'fish' antibiotics from Camping Survival for awhile now. When I do a pocket constitution will be a likely add on.

Max Velocity is still training people. Probably a good idea to schedule a class before the summer heat hits in full.

Airsoft Atlanta has all manner of stuff. They have airsoft gear if that suits your fancy. They also have a lot of more practical gear from a variety of manufacturers including Blackhawk and Condor

Hurricane Season coming has me thinking about a more robust water storage setup like a Hydrant System. A 2 barrel system would fit easily in a garage and provide a months worth of water for 3 people or more like 3 weeks for 4 people. Titan Readywater also makes and distributes the HERC tea candle oven. I may be doing a T&E on one of these in the future.

When you make a purchase please consider doing so from the folks who support this blog and be sure to tell them I sent ya!!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lifestraws At Camping Survival

Camping Survival has a good deal on Life Straws. These are a cool piece of kit are affordable enough you can have a few stashed here or there.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #17 by Chris

Today I am proud to bring Entry #17 of our Fighting Load Contest by Chris formerly of AK.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.

The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

I am currently traveling, so I could not share my primary rig.  However, I did want to share the rig I keep in the trunk of the car.  It was designed to be inexpensive so I can have several copies:  I have a similar set of gear prepositioned in each car, at the office, and so on.  I think it could also serve as a suitable setup to leave in a cache or similar application.

NOT PICTURED:  CHANGE OF CLOTHES
I have a gym bag with an old pair of boots, good socks, a base layer, and cargo pants with each rig.  The idea of that is that if I get stranded somewhere and I am wearing impractical clothing I can immediately change into something more suitable. If I have to move on foot I don't want to be stuck with shorts and sandals.  So the assumption is for the rest of this gear that I'll have decent clothes on.

ARMOR (<$140)
Pictured is a police surplus carrier I got for ten bucks or so off EBAY and steel level 3 plates from TheTargetMan which have been RhinoLined to mitigate spall and frag.  The plates were $125 shipped.

I have ceramic plates at home, but the steel plates are ideal for the trunk/cache application.  They are inexpensive, temperature insensitive, and not fragile at all.  You can bang them around in the trunk of the car with no risk of cracks or damage.  I also use them for PT; they work great to do some basic cross-fit type workouts in a hotel room.  For example, throw on the plate carrier and do squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.

On the downside, you need to be aware of frag/spall issues with steel; the RhinoLiner seems to help a lot, but the testing that has been done is not full-up lab vetted.  Additionally, steel is generally only level 3 and can have issues with AP ammo or 5.56 green tip at close ranges/high velocities.

Not every car and cache has a set of steel plates, mainly due to expense.  The rigs in climate controlled environments just have a level 2 surplus soft vest with expired panels and a stab level 2 panel, which can be had very inexpensively if you buy in bulk.  I put together a few soft vest setups for about forty bucks each.  The expired panels are a bit questionable, and I have nice unexpired level 3A panels at home and for work, but for a cache I feel comfortable enough with an expired level 2 vest...  It certainly is better than nothing!
 
 
CHEST RIG ($20 + mags & ammo)
Pictured is a Type 56 Chinese chest rig.  They go for ten bucks or so.  Mine has three AK magazines in the main pockets.  The smaller pockets have an NPA, oral rehydration salts, gauze/bandage, an Israeli bandage, and a tourniquet.  My nice rig has CATs, and I usually carry a CAT in my level 1 gear, and these cache/travel rigs make use of the less expensive TK4; I bought a bunch in bulk and got them for ~$5 each.  I had the rest of the medical stuff laying around.

One small pocket is empty.  I usually use it for a monocular, small radio, flashlight, or cell phone once I get out to the field.  I guess I could preposition a ten dollar TracFone with each chest rig but haven't bothered to do so.

CANTEEN CARRIER (<$15)
The canteens cost me about ten bucks each.  They hold 2 liters and have the shoulder strap.  I've added some extra gear to each canteen carrier:  three glow sticks, a whistle, matches, and water purification tablets.

BACKPACK (~$25)
I got a set of East German field packs for about two dollars each, surplus.  I've stuffed them with all sorts of useful stuff:

Map: Copies of parts of USGS topo map.
Compass: I tossed in some coghlan brand cheapies I found at a big box store.  Is it a great compass? No. Will it find north? Probably. Cost: $2.
Sunglasses and Sunscreen: I picked up bottles of SPF 50 in travel size for <$1 each. Amazon has tinted safety glasses (Pyramex Alair Safety Eyewear) for $2.50 with free shipping. Cost: $3.50.
Extra Clothing: I went through the closet and pulled out some old clothes. Each ruck has two pairs of boot socks, two pairs of gym socks, and two undershirts/tshirts. The bad thing is that most of this gear is cotton. Cotton is bad. The good thing is that it was free, because I needed to clear the old stuff out of my closets anyways. I would also like to add some underoos in there but just cleared out the dresser, so those will have to wait. I threw in a ball cap for each bag too -- I have a bunch laying around. Cost: Free.
 
Bandanas: I also tossed in two orange bandanas (Bandanas by the Dozen (12 units per pack, 100% cotton) for about $1 each. Bandanas are super useful for lots of things, and the bright orange color is good in an emergency to draw attention. Cost: $2
 
Gloves: I threw in a pair of wool glove liners for each bag. Wool is good as it is non-flammable and warm. The bail out bags I keep in the car have leather work gloves, so you could use the liners to double up for extra warmth. Cost: $1.50.
 
Belt: Finally, a sturdy belt is not something we always wear but is something that has many uses. I shelled out for a new, basic rigger's belt for each bag. Cost: $2.50.
 
Headlamp/Flashlight: The Bailout Bags in my cars have good minimags and/or surefires. So, for the ruck, I am throwing in a handful of lightsticks (Cyalume SnapLight Industrial Grade Chemical Light Sticks, White, 6" Long, 8 Hour Duration (Pack of 10). They cost about a buck each. I am including 2xwhite, 2xgreen, and 2xred. I am also tossing in a mini-GI style light ($2.89). Cost: $9.
 
First Aid Supplies:  Each car has a $20 basic first aid kit.
 
Firestarter: I am including 2xemergency candles. Cost: <$1.
 
Matches: I tossed in a box of matches. Cost: About $0.30 per box.
 
Knife:  I am hesitant to include sharp objects in the rucks as they will be left unsupervised around kids. So, for the rucks, I'm including a set of blunt tip kid scissors. Cost: $1.
 
Extra Food: I tosses an MRE in each ruck. I also threw in some granola bars and instant oatmeal packets. Cost: Free, I had all this in the pantry already.
 
Soap & Shampoo:  I added some travel cleaning supplies from a hotel.  Cost:  Free.
 
Stickers, colored sharpies:  I added some stickers and sharpies.  The sharpies are good for entertaining kids (let them draw) and for many more practical uses.  The stickers are a good way to distract kids.  Cost:  Free, had stuff already.

FIREARMS
The rifle paired with all this is a beater AK-47 "trunk gun."  I keep it stashed with an additional four magazines for a total of seven mags (four with the rifle, three in the chest carrier).  I figure one of the four mags goes into the rifle, then the other three get stuffed into cargo pockets or into the ruck sack, as the chest carrier can only carry three mags.

I also assume that I'll have my CCW pistol on my person.

CONCLUSION
This is definitely not a perfect rig.  My "western" MOLLE gear at home is significantly nicer.  However, for well under a hundred bucks (plus armor/mags/ammo), you can have a serviceable fighting loadout stashed in your car or office.  Moreover, the gear is very compact and fits in a medium sized gym bag, so it doesn't take up much space in the trunk of my car.  I've used this rig on a few field days out in the woods and while not super high speed, it is serviceable.

Even if you have a "nice" setup, I think it is well worth having an extra set of gear stashed in the car or in a cache.  This setup is an example of a low cost setup that most people can put together and stash away without breaking the bank.
 
End Post:
 
Ryan here. As always a big thanks to Chris for participating.  I like this setup. Most of my back up rigs are either built from the surplus gear box or US MILSURP specifically ALICE stuff. Doesn't make the Combloc stuff any better or worse, though it has an obvious edge in supporting the AK platform,  I just don't have much of it. Incidentally it occurs to me I have that same backpack in my operational cache.

As to stuff to add, change, etc all. The only big thing I can think of is that depending on the type of holster used for carry potentially a second, more tactical type holster could be beneficial. Many IWB CCW type holsters do not work particularly well when a plate carrier, chest rig, etc are added. Also they aren't the best for long walks, etc. An outside the waistband holster with some element of retention might be handy to have. Aside from that hearing protection was not mentioned (though it would be easy to overlook) and that could come in handy.

All in all a good rig and one that anybody can afford. 

Thoughts?

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