Showing posts with label bob. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bob. Show all posts

Friday, September 1, 2017

Real World Bug Outs Continued

Yesterdays Real World Bug Outs post got a lengthy comment from Aesop that I wanted to discuss. I will post it and my comments will be in italics.

My bug-out prep would be for 5 minutes and 30 minutes, but with kids, I could see a 15 minute instead of 5 becoming necessary.

It always takes more time to parade the troops.

Anything not important enough to grab and load in 30 minutes isn't vital anyways.
BTW, That's 10 3-minute round trips.


I think we could talk in circles about what the right time amounts are. As I look at my list the initial 15 minute time hack is way longer than I would need to do what is on the list. 5 might be a bit optimistic (where are my darn keys right now, etc all) but I could certainly call it 10. It would be 15 at least with kids. 

For the long time I need to think about it a bit more.
So besides figuring what you're carrying, break down those ten (or whatever, your house may be shorter trips than mine) trips into what you grab with each one, based again on triaging priorities. That way, if things get worse, you still got the most important stuff first.



I like the list broken down by trip idea. That is neat. 
 
i.e. Notional trip List

1) Important stuff - briefcase and B.O.B.
2) comms, backups, maps, compass, GPS, etc.
3) Weapons & ammo
4) Water and filters
5) shelter - tent, sleeping bags, etc.
6) medical
7) tools, traps, & gear
8) food
9) more clothes, boots, etc.
10) more food, water, addl. supplies

(And don't forget the carrier(s) for Fido and Fluffy, their food, bowls, leashes, waste management supplies, etc.!)


This is where the real world part comes in. We aren't fleeing the zombie apocalypse to go camp in the woods or something. Thus a need for a tent and traps and a bunch of bulk food isn't present. I'll be living on a couch or in a cheap motel eating pizza or microwave food from the grocery store. So I do not need to waste time and space on that stuff. Having some capability, like a BOB makes sense but that time and vehicle space would be much more useful for Great Grandmas rocking chair or something. I suppose the specific event and your plan will ultimately dictate. I can see myself ending up with 2 lists, one for an event during normal times and another or the dreaded zombie apocalypse.

More trips?
Make a longer list, as appropriate.

Then print it out.
Then put a house plan map, with trip number items color-coded, circled, and pre-packed into appropriate bags/bundles, on the back side.
Then make several two-sided color copies.
Then laminate them, and put them in appropriate places.


You kind of lost me with the talk of color coding and circling. Pre packing stuff makes sense though. I am pretty much there. Concur about the list. My plan is to firm it up an then do just that.

Anything not hot/cold/time sensitive, as much as possible, should be pre-staged in the vehicle(s), which saves you needless trips.

Pre staging stuff in a risky situation (there is a fire nearby, not quite close enough to evacuate yet, etc) certainly makes sense. Having your normal vehicle loaded to bug out at all times sounds kind of problematic. A full set up ready to go in a dedicated vehicle would be cool if you have one and a relatively secure place to store it.


(cont.)
Aesop said...
(cont.)
(Oh, and it should go without saying, your vehicle(s) should already have a list of items always in them 24/7/365 - tools, spares, flares, fluids, fire ext., first aid kit, etc., and a schematic of where they're stored, and what needs to be checked/replaced, at least twice a year. Just like the .Mil has done with jeeps, trucks, HMMWVs, MRAPs, APCs, and tanks since we stopped using horses. Doing this on the changes back/forth from Daylight Savings Time, which is always a Sunday, gives you winter/summer changeovers, along with swapping out stored batteries, rotating stored food, and changing active batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors, and checking your household fire extinguisher(s). All of which people have, right? RIGHT?)


I concur with this and have more or less the same set up in my vehicle.

Kids bags being "too hard" is a cop out.

I am inclined to agree with you. The difference is you and I are fairly committed to all of this stuff. Normal folks aren't. So what is an acceptable level of hassle to you is not to them.

If they grow that fast, just put one full set of clothes into the bag once a week with laundry, and swap 'em out. You're gonna wash them and fold 'em anyways, so it ain't that tough. Or even once a month.

So obviously what's really kickin' somebody's butt there is self-discipline.

Excuses are just wallpaper for a pile of crap.

The briefcase idea is always right, going back to the second Bond movie.

Having your passport/IDs, important stuff, emergency cash, and some handy weapons and gadgets in a Get Out Of Dodge case or carryall is Survival 101, going as far back as the WWI precursors to the OSS 100 years ago.


I use a small backpack so I can stuff it into my BOB if needed.

Go over each item on a monthly basis, i.e. one item per month.

E.g., on that list, in February, you'd put fresh road maps, topos, state gazeteers, etc. in your map case, put in fresh stored (NOT kept inside the devices) spare batts for your GPS and handhelds, make sure your personal CEOI (local freqs, buddies' freqs, cellphone, e-mail, and snail mail addys for family, friends, neighbors, important contacts - banks, utilities, credit card companies, insurance agents and companies, emergency resources - Poison control, doctors, hospitals, red cross, state and federal FEMA, and anything else you want/need/think is cool etc. is all up to date and current, laminated, duplicated, etc.

And everything should be in both paper copies, AND a bombproof/waterproof/disasterproof encrypted thumb drive or three. You should have some of those stored/buried/cached offsite in redundantly redundant places, with all your important records archived.

This is on my to do list.

You can also fit more photos than anyone should own on the newer high-cap drives, and save yourself toting cartons of albums of otherwise irreplaceable family pics.


Scanning photos is a great idea. I will add it to my to do list.

For one example, you can put one or more such drives in one of the cute anodized, o-ring sealed aluminum "pill carrier" tubes, go to a close relative's house outside your region, unscrew the center latch of an interior door like a closet, get a paddle bit, and put a suitable hole into the jamb. Deposit the tube, put the latch back in place, screw it down on most of the screws, and epoxy in a broken-off dummy screw head for the remaining hole(s), and unless their house burns down or washes away too, it'll be there until you need it, or get old enough to go senile and forget you put it there.



I would probably just ask them to hold onto said thumb drive for me.

If you have masonry bits and some camo skillz plus a glue gun, you can do this with a brick in a pile, a rock, a tree trunk or stump, a plug/switch box in conduit, or about 1000 other places. The places where you can stash stuff you might want, but don't want to carry are mainly only limited by your imagination.




This kind of thing definitely has some cool possibilities. I am certainly a fan of caches.

And the fatter aluminum tubes about 3" long hold 30+ quarter-sized coins. Imagine pre-65 silver, or 1/4 oz. gold Canadian Maple leaf coins, and each one is a stash of $90-9000 US dollars of actual money. Just saying.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Real World Bug Outs

My friends house almost burned down. There was a fire in the immediate area. It happened during the day when B was at work. Maggy was home with the kids. She realized it was time to get out of there. She had the kids (they are young) pack bags while she put some other stuff together. Thankfully the issue was localized so a friend was able to come over and help with the kids which gave her a lot more freedom of movement.


She mentioned that it was a good thing that it wasn't a real emergency because between their kids bags was "3 pair of underwear, 4 shorts, 8 shirts, and 28 pair of socks."



This got us talking about preparing. I mentioned maybe having some bags ready to go. She, somewhat correctly, said for little kids whose sizes change constantly that would be sort of a constant mess. After some consideration I got back to her and told her what I actually do.



For my kids I keep a kid sized backpack in the car with a full set of clothes, 2x underwear, shoes, a coat and a few small books/ toys. This is basically their bug out stuff. It sits in the vehicle because kids are messy and crazy. Also it keeps this stuff relevant because it fits a normal life role and is getting used somewhat often. 


Other things that came up from this conversation are lists and drills.


Having a list of what you should take helps in stressful situations. Do the thinking when your mind is clear. Also this may well lead you to having things more organized. For example having your important papers in a folder or briefcase with your passports, documents, cash, spare keys, etc together in the safe makes it much easier than doing a scavenger hunt.


I broke my list into 15 minutes and 1 hour. To me much less than 15 is grab your wallet, BOB and run so no point in that. The other time of 1 hour seemed realistic for needing to leave soon but having more time.


Maybe you could do 4 hours and 24 but for me they seem to be getting less likely. Unless you have a bunch of guys to help and several large trailers you will see that the 1 hour plan has your vehicles pretty much packed up.


I am going to firm up my list a little and will publish it, or maybe a sanitized version of it, later.


Drills are important. Even relatively small kids can do stuff. Also if the kids are busy it lets parents be much more productive. Even something as simple as "Get dressed, pack a bag of toys, go to the bathroom and get into the car." would be a huge help. The kid drills are something I am kind of light on. I will have to take a look at Joe Foxs Book.


Anyway what are your thoughts on real world bug out's?



Sunday, August 20, 2017

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week? Ammo Cans and BOB Reorganization

It was a pretty good week here in preparedness. Jiu Jitsu, PT and dry fire were good.

I got a deal on a bunch of ammo cans I have been sorely needing. Had a couple cases of 5.56 and some various other ammo that needed to get properly stored in cans. I had to dig around to find it all. Still fairly certain there is a case or two floating around somewhere that needs to go into cans but oh well.

Today I reorganized my bug out bag and assault pack. I worked on this recently. The resulting bag was good but the overall plan somewhat lacking. For most of my local situations I do not need a full up BOB. Having a full up 40 LB ish BOB to get me a few miles home is unnecessary and even counter productive. I need some of that stuff though.

Often survivalists end up with 2 totally separate systems. A get home bag and a bug out bag. I wasn't in love with this idea. Basically it leaves you with 2 really redundant systems. Also the BOB really needs an assault pack anyway.

The idea I had was to shift items between the BOB and Assault Bag to make it so each is useful on its own. We want redundancy in essential items anyway right? So putting one item in one bag and another in the other leaves you with 2 relatively useful kits.

I rebalanced my BOB to 2 bags. Both come in around 20 pounds so 40 total. I will likely add a few things to the BOB since it has space now but the whole thing staying well under 50 total is very realistic.

There is some playing to do between them still and I can use a few more things. Specifically I can use another sawyer water filter, a flashlight and another poncho (my last one went into a cache). Also I wish I could find my darn Ontario Rat 3 knife an the pouch it is on.

Generally I am happy with this set up. Once I get it fully sorted out maybe I'll take pictures and do an inventory. Fundamentally though I think the plan is a winner.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bug Out Bag Repacking

For the sake of simplicity I try to have a minimal amount of systems. EDC, my fighting load which is layered and somewhat modular and my bug out bag. The heavy bug out set up is not really formed into a system per se. That is on my to do list.

My bug out bag lives in the back of my jeep. That does a few things for me. First it removes the need for an additional 'get home bag' which would be yet another system to fill with redundant gear and keep track of. Second and maybe more importantly it gets my BOB out of the house so I have some redundancy there. Third if I had to haul butt what I would do is jump in the jeep and go anyway so why have another thing to load. 

I should probably further define my goals from this bag. My goal is to be able to sustain and move through an urban or small town environment in order to get home or out of danger. What it is not: some kind of wilderness survival bag or military ruck sack aka sustainment load. Why? Well I'm not going to run off into the woods to try to make a cabin an eat squirrels n stuff. I'm either going to be trying to get home, hold up till I can get home or get safely out of some sort of danger. If getting out of danger I'll most likely end up in a Motel 6 a town or a couple hundred miles away depending on the event. Also my bag isn't especially like an infantrymens sustainment load (though there are commonalities) because in my civilian capacity being realistic I am unlikely to do anything like that.

It weights in at 32 pounds with 1 quart of water so 30 dry. Has a full change of clothes, sleep stuff (one module is my impromptu overnight kit aka hoe bag), couple days of food, medical, water filtration, etc.

A downside of it living in my car is I won't keep really high value stuff like cash, pms, my NOD, etc in it. That stuff is packed in a small book bag in the safe. Unless I get a much more secure way of storing stuff in my car like a truck vault which at $1,500 isn't happening soon, or the risk on a oven day goes up it will stay in the safe. Not perfect but such is life.

Notes for myself.

Need to add but couldn't readily find in my place:
-10 meter roll of 550 cord/ duct tape

Need to buy, realistically doable:
- Poncho (I'm on the fence about this)
- Kansas and Missouri state maps
- Burner phone x 2
- Phone charger cord
- Encrypted thumb drive
- Water purification tablets

Wish list aka too expensive to just go get or illegal:
- Lots and lots of cash
- Several fake ids with drivers license, SSN card, passport, etc.
- 9mm silencer
- Dedicated Glock 19 and a folding stock AK. ( AK because with a folding stock I can slip it in a small bag like a cheapo collapsible chair bag and strap it on the side of my BOB). Cost and security are issues here.
- NOD dedicated to BOB
- FLIR
- Small battery charger for above
- Fake mustaches

What's in your BOB? What creative ideas have you used to solve problems with finances and legal limitations?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Patricks day Tab Clearing

It is Saint Patrick's Day. I don't have much to say and the net where I am is spotty so I don't want to write something big then lose it. So it is a tab clearing day.

-Glock Pistols what breaks and how to fix it

-Surviving in Argentina: The Bug Out Bag

Very relevant for a localized and urban scenario. Leaving a city due to riots you won't need a case of MRE's and a fishing pole in your ruck. Backup documents and cash are more important.

-Kenny Lane AKA Knuckle Draggin My Life Away is selling stickers to help displace costs related to his upcoming move to Tennessee.  I respect that he is actually offering goods for sale instead of e begging. I'll be ordering one to go on my gun tool box and you should do the same.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RE: Max Velocity Gear: Patrol Packs & Sustainment Loads

A valid post worth thinking about.

Many people speak of these huge bags and it is very clear they aren't ever actually carrying them.

It is so easy to just say 'more, more' and keep adding on stuff. Actually carrying the bag is a good counter to that train of thought.

The balance between weight and redundancy in important areas is a hard one. Having complimentary items in different layers of a system is the answer I like. Maybe a folding knife in your pocket and a fixed blade in a fighting load.

The right gear/ logistical set up for a given situation always varies a little bit. Still a well thought out kit will be mostly the right answer. It is too easy to add another days food or slim down the shelter, etc as needed.




Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Importance of Inspecting Bags

These days my Rucksack just stays packed. We do not go to the field every other week or something but I use it for road marching once a week and just like to keep it ready to go. At this stage in my career I have accumulated enough spare socks/ t shirts/ etc that the ones in my ruck can just stay there. For the latest round of field time I almost just grabbed my ruck and took off. Decided it would be a good idea to look in it and I am glad I did.

I was missing a couple key things:

For whatever reason I didn't have a sleeping bag or a woobie or anything like that. Granted this is Louisiana in the dog days of summer so the gore tex bivy could have worked and just sleeping in my clothes would have kept me alive but some sort of insulation makes for a comfortable sleep. I put in my HPG Mountain Serape.

Also for reasons that escape me I have one pair of socks in my bag and they were mid weight and made of wool. When I took out the rest of the winter module I must have missed them. While wool can be worn in any season all but the lightest garments are punishing in this heat. I kept that pair of socks and added 3 lighter pair.

There was a bottle of anti inflamatory pain killers in my ruck. The gel tablets had melted together into a big ball. So those need to be replaced with non gel tablets. 

Those additions made my ruck pass a quick initial inspection.

During the field problem I identified the lack of a medical kit in my ruck as an issue. Granted there is one in my level 2.5 get home bag but that was not with me. Need to add at least a basic boo boo kit. Those supplies can back fill stuff in my level 2.5 GHB when they are used together. Picked up the stuff for a boo boo kit today.

The point is not to assume. For systems you use semi regularly you really need to inspect them /at some interval, and before every major use.

Thoughts?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Many Survival Bags/ Kits Do You Need?

This video brought the question up and I got to thinking

Personally I have two. I have a level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag (old bag shown as the new one is pending a post) and a bug out bag. We also have some stuff in the family hauler and there is a BOB for Wifey. I don't really plan on adding any more kits unless they are for caches. A cache like Meisters 'Minute Man Cache with a rifle, pistol and BOB would be awesome.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Interesting Discussion on Assault Pack Sized Systems and Rucks at TEOTWAWKI Blog

TEOTWAWKI Blog has been discussing different types of sustainment type systems of the smaller 'assault pack' type as well as the larger more traditional ruck sack type ones. I discussed this general topic not too long ago in

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited 

and before that with

Field Gear, Fighting Loads, Assault Packs and Bringing It All Together

so you can see my thoughts. Now for the T Blog posts; Bug out Bags and Vehicles which led to Bug Out Bag discussion continued. The second post went a long way to clarify the thoughts of the original post.

The T blog definition of "bug out bag" falls into my level 2.5 umbrella.  These bags are certainly handy. They are small/ light enough to be handy and come everywhere with you. They can reasonably (minus water) sustain a person for a couple days under most conditions. Even if the consumables are expended the tools and gear can be useful even if your tummy is grumbling.

These bags really fall short when they run out of consumables. Not an issue for a fairly limited scenario, like say making the 30 mile trek home if you cannot drive, but if the scenario is more open ended it is obviously problematic. Also these bags are entirely inadequate for cold weather as they do not contain sufficient cold weather gear or a genuine cold weather sleeping bag. I hesitate to give an exact temp but certainly 32 degrees and probably upwards to 40ish though the environment and what people are used to matters a lot.


A full sized hiking/ backpacking type backpack or as many many military types would call it a ruck is larger than any of the level 2.5 assault pack type systems though not necessarily that much so. These type bags have been used by many different groups from the military, hunters and of late recreational outdoorsmen for a long time. In the last 50 years or so generally have some manner of a frame and more robust padding to help support the weight of the bag.

These bags offer the capacity to hold more stuff than smaller bags. This means larger and more robust tools as well as more consumables and better clothing/ shelter options. These bags will let you survive much more comfortably and for a longer period than smaller systems.  My BOB list can be seen here.

It is worth noting the two types of systems we have described are points along a spectrum. A 20 pound assault pack is going to be different than a 40 pound ruck which would be different from a 75 pound ruck. Generally speaking along the ruck lines I find a pretty sweet spot in the 37-47 pound range where you have most of the capabilities of a real sustainment load without being too heavy/ bulky/ cumbersome.

On the discussion of using the two together. Currently my two bags are set up to use separately. One is in my vehicle and the other is with our survival stuff. If I were to transition to using them both together I would need to do a marriage style combination of stuff and then put the newly redundant stuff towards another purpose. Or I could just make it easy and get a basic earth tone type backpack to toss into my ruck empty (note I have a bag that work work for this). The right answer is that my ruck should include a dedicated smaller bag with a modest amount of well thought out stuff in it to use for short day trips if I leave the ruck in a base camp or temporarily cache it.

Anyway I hope this discussion has given you something to think about.










Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Assault Packs, Rucks and Sustainment Loads Revisited

I tend to break down these different loads into the fairly well recognized 3 tired system (level 1 survival, level 2 fighting and level 3 sustainment). The primary reason I do this is that due to a lack of common vocabulary different names such as get home bag, assault pack, bug out bag, etc all mean drastically different things to different people. The end result is that unless a common terminology is established we are talking apples, oranges and potatoes instead of apples and apples.

The day pack/ assault pack arena really muddles the waters. Personally I bend convention and call them level 2.5 because they do not cleanly fit in either category. Depending on the use they may be an extension of a fighting load to carry stuff that does not fit in a LBE/ Chest Rig/ whatever or special equipment. This might be machine gun ammo or a spotting scope or whatever. On the other hand this might be a light sustainment setup with a few snacks and a jacket, some extra water and a poncho/ poncho liner to roll up in. Often the load in these bags is some combination of the two or a
murky in the middle item. Anyway right or wrong I call this assault pack range level 2.5.

In recent discussions I have talked about overall tiered gear and specifically my level 2.5 bag a couple of notable comments came up. Specifically I recall comments by River Rider and Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog.

The main point of their comments was that both ended up going with smaller lighter sustainment setups more akin to my level 2.5 'assault pack' than a larger more traditional rucksack. River Rider mentioned weight as an issue and that he was not as young as he used to be. Alexander Wolfe mentioned the speed of lighter systems and leveraging modern technology to get similar capabilities
(to larger/ heavier items) in smaller and lighter packages. Note I do not mean to disparage either of these fine individuals or their ideas even though we might not agree on everything. It is more that I want to talk about the pro's and con's of lighter vs heavier sustainment loads in no small part because the idea has been stuck in my head for two days.

Personally I went through this struggle myself about 2 years back. I was trying to come up with a 'be all end all' system that covered the capabilities I needed yet was still relatively light and easy to carry. I ended up with more or less the worst of both worlds in a pack that weighted close to 30 pounds but did not really fill all of my goals. To complicate matters I tried to do it in a frame less 'assault pack'. It just didn't work.

The end result is that I personally moved to two different sustainment systems in the form of the level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag and a true level 3 Rucksack. Furthermore for my concept of use these bags need to be more independent than purely tiered. So instead of items existing in my BOB
and flexing to the assault pack as needed, the pure tiered approach, there is a decent amount of redundancy between the two systems. The reason for this is the lighter level 2.5 bag is compact enough that it often comes with me and is not a hassle to haul around. If I were to start using them together I would likely need to do a marriage style combining of stuff then leave behind/ trade off/ etc the left over redundant items. [I suppose another option would be to treat the level 2.5 bag as an offset of the ruck and get a simple little backpack to roll up and stick in my level 3 bag as it's companion assault pack. Not a bad idea really. Might just do that next time I see a cheap but decent earth tone day pack. Think Chris mentioned something like that] Basically in realizing a system could not meet the top end of capabilities and stay within a weight range that was conducive to moving as fast as I might want to in some situations.

This brings up an interesting point. Weight gives you (at least the ability to have) more capabilities but it also slows you down. If this push pull relationship is not handled carefully you can get to a feedback loop where you are slower so the trip will take longer and since the trip is longer you
need more stuff.

It can be said that you want to pack a certain system/ bag with a specific scenario in mind. In the survivalist speak you could say a bug out bag needs to be designed specifically for the scenario in terms of range, climate, etc it is to be used in. Obviously a long distance trucker driving across the
northern Midwest needs very different gear than a person who lives in Florida and works 4 blocks from home. An individual scenario needs to be taken into account. However I have some concerns that 'if it fits your scenario' can be taken in silly directions and becomes the system equivalent of 'shooters preference' run amok or the tactical equivalent of "everyone gets a trophy" no matter how uninformed or even stupid their setup is. Generally speaking right answers from different smart people look a whole lot alike which sort of goes against the "whatever fits your scenario" argument.

For a specific discrete event it would make sense to look at your kit to add or remove items as needed, obviously within reason. However I find that, especially for kits/bags/systems regularly carried for contingencies, this could rapidly become onerous. I am not going to dump my level 2 bag every day based on the days plans. "Well, I will need to add 2 granola bars for today because I am going an extra 5 miles from home, it is warm outside so I do not need a jacket, yadda, yadda, yadda." That is just not realistic. Honestly if I replace stuff that gets used, make sure nothing goes bad and do the seasonal gear shift I'm doing well. I find that coming up with a solid plan that fills my general perceived needs and just sticking with it is probably the best option for normal every day stuff.

To the discussion of your more assault type bags vs a full sized ruck/ hiking backpack:

In general it is important to prepare not only for the conditions you plan to face but those you could reasonably face. This means more food, clothing, tools and equipment than you know you will need.

Case in point: The winter before last I was hiking up in the Huachuca Mountains kind of a scenic work out as I was carrying my BOB. At the time I was alone in the house and it was a Saturday afternoon. It started to rain then snow. As I was jumping rock to rock across a tributary I casually wondered "what will happen if I break my ankle right now?" There was no way I could get out on one leg. The answer was that in two or three days I would have be found. They would have found me with a nice shelter set up laying in my sleeping bag by a fire, probably sipping a hot beverage and playing solitaire. With a 20 pound assault pack I would have been alive but cold, hungry and pretty unhappy.

Bigger heavier systems are going to have more capabilities than smaller ones assuming you make semi reasonable choices for stuff. It is true leveraging newer lighter items and dual use stuff helps.
However without ridiculously gaming the scenario those gains are not that enormous. The gaps I find most problematic in smaller systems in order are lack of cold weather clothing/ shelter, lack of provisions and lack of tools. Along this line you can get away with a lot lighter systems in warmer
areas. Valid points can be made about the need for some of this stuff. However there is danger of going down the 'capabilities' slippery slope where folks say 'well I have a cutting tool' and somehow convince their self a razor blade has the same capabilities as a full tang 8" survival knife and an ax or that a little tin foil emergency blanket 'shelter' the equivalent to a Swack Shack and a military sleep system.

The consideration of speed/ ease of movement certainly favors lighter systems. I agree with this if it makes sense for the scenario (vs a bigger system with more capabilities). To me in this context making sense would be that the lighter bag meets your perceived needs with a reasonable margin for
error.

I guess my biggest reservations about the smaller sustainment load are a) it is not a replacement for a heavier sustainment load for a variety of realistic situations, especially in cold weather and b) that it could be chosen not because it is the right fit but because it is easier to carry around.

We should not discount the idea of using a larger bag and leaving it in camp, an ORP or caching it for the times we need to move faster. This might let you use a smaller bag in more of a traditional assault pack role filling it up with the items you will need for that day or maybe overnight scout.
Inevitably the 'but a ruck is heavy!" whine comes out. The answer is physical fitness in general and with a particular focus on moving over ground in general and carrying a load. Also while it is not nice to say if you lose 20 pounds of excess butt and or belly that 20 pounds of food/ clothes/ gear you could carry for the same amount of effort. Unfortunately less fit people do not somehow magically require less food/ clothes/ gear than fit people do. Bear this in mind when considering your body weight and physical fitness level.

Like I mentioned earlier I ended up with sustainment type systems in both of these loose categories. To which one I pick for a specific situation there is sort of a loose decision making/ risk assessment, most of the time I choose the smaller of the two. The bigger bag tends to come out when I am
going way out into the hinter boonies or in winter. 

Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Large Bug Out Back/ Ruck Conversation

I am looking at purchasing a large backpack/ ruck for my level 2 (sustainment) load. I have a ton of packs but they are split between various modern commercial ones that for one reason or another (size, color, configuration, etc) do not really work to optimally suit my needs and a stack of ALICE's I picked up on a deal. Honestly while the ALICE has a lot of value and is hell for stout (though like anything they do break) they are quite unpleasant to carry and offer limited options for side pockets and such. The ones I have will probably all end up in caches eventually.

Note I know what ALICE packs are and probably have more miles under them than most folks so please don't bother suggesting to carry one. Aside from not being comfortable they do not offer the pocket setup I desire. Yes you can modify them but that turns into spending Ferrari money on a Fiat in a hurry.

Additionally I am disinclined to go with a MILSURP MOLLE ruck due to A) being in blatantly military colors and B) while better than the ALICE not being on par with quality civilian models for comfort and ability to easily carry weight.

Concept of use is a big heavy duty pack with a decent amount of pockets as well as some comparability (MOLLE/ PALS webbing would be a plus) with a modern suspension system IE decent hip belt, shoulder straps, overall fairly comfortable and in an earth tone but not blatantly military (ie ACU/ Multicam/ etc) pattern.

Cost is not a driving factor but the budget  of roughly $330 does not currently allow for uuber high end brands like Eberlestock, Mystery Ranch, Kirafu, etc. Also the idea of dropping $400+ on a pack then payout out the behind a la carte to get some basic side pouches bothers me a lot. I COULD save for another month or two and be in that price range but it would take a compelling argument to justify the additional cost.

The pack I am looking hard at is the Kelty 7850 formerly known as the 128. It is a big, actually huge, pack from a quality modern company that is not completely overtly militaristic. There is a legitimate argument that people should get their stuff together and then get a bag that fits it to avoid the inevitable good idea fairy bag filling. That being said I have been carrying and living out of rucks for a long time so I understand the weight math. Additionally my life situation (specifically kids) is such that I want the ability to flex to add some stuff above my baseline setup.

The new Marine FILBE pack in FDE AKA brown seems to be nice but I haven't  seen them available for sale complete with frame yet without the assault pack and hydration system (both of which are fine kit, that I do not need). Also if prices are close I would take Kelty over .Mil any day.

Am interested if any of you have experiences with these packs or similar alternatives.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Things On My Mind

1) Adjusting my systems to factor in both rural and urban type considerations. Having system(s) that will work if I get stuck in the woods or have to crash land in a city. Obviously regional considerations apply. Zero in Montana does not need subway tokens in his bag and a guy in Arizona probably does not need snow shoes. However to say that everything is situational and individually dependent is a cop out. That is the 'everyone is great' of preparedness.

There are certainly right as well as wrong answers. The real question is how to balance competing demands to fit the various scenarios you may face.

2) Toying with getting some sort of a .40 S&W probably a Glock to beef up the Operational Cache. While the .38/.357 DA revolver is the standard for one group of people I am in at home my friends there seem to have unintentionally standardized to .40 S&W, specifically Glocks. Not high on the list bit it is something on my radar if a deal pops up.

3) Got my hands on some Brad Thor adventure/ spy type books at a garage sale for .50c a piece and am working through them. Enjoyable stuff for sure. Some reviews and thoughts will follow in due time.

4) Think we are taking the first real (not just Walker and I in the back yard) family camping trip next month. Should be an excellent forcing function to get some of our stuff relooked and then test it out.

5) The AR Folding Stock Adapter has intriguing possibilities, especially for a shorter AR. You do have to open it to fire more than 1 shot but still being able to get an AR into a (fairly) normal sized backpack opens up a range of possibilities.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a really productive week here. I packed away all the 7.62x39, 5.56, 9mm and 12 gauge ammo that has been accumulated over the last few months into ammo cans and updated the inventories. Over the years I have learned to do it all at once. I put the ammo into cans, write the contents on a piece of tape on the side with a market, update my inventories, throw in some silica gel and am it's all done. Not doing it this way seems to mean some part of the process gets messed up.

This time I had a few silica gel packs from something that got shipped to us. Recharged them in the oven and they were good to go. You can buy the silica gel packs for a very reasonable price if a free source does not appear. I have also used silica gel cat litter before (though I would absolutely not do so for food or food related products). This step is arguably not necessary but it makes me more comfortable so I do it on everything that is not sealed from the factory or in a spam can.

Also reorganized my level 2.5 gear (assault pack/ get home bag) and bug out bag AKA level 3 sustainment load. Some was an adjustment to a more summer load with fewer warm clothes as it is unlikely I will wear wool gloves or a heavy sweater here in Louisianian for awhile. Another component was balancing the two setups which are in theory complimentary to each other. Big fun was had.

Relooked my vehicle setup too. Tossed out some less useful things for our current situation and added some more that fill holes. Also a way to bring preparedness into cleaning out a vehicle.

Also started the garden. It is later than is ideal but is due to circumstances beyond our control. Still good to get it moving. We are looking at getting a coop and chickens with part of our tax refund.

So what did you do to prepare this week?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. I ordered the stuff to move forward with Project 870 which is long overdue. Also picked up a castle nut wrench and a wool blanket. Repacked the Bug Out Bag which is good. While not explicitly blog related I worked to knock off eating out. Right now I'm home alone so it's easy and very tempting to just grab something. Last week I ate out once on Friday night so that was good. Got a chef salad for lunch today because I was craving something fresh and green like crazy. Only halfway went shopping last week so fresh and green haven't been on the menu for awhile. This week I'm going to dial it up a notch and try to keep cooking but work in more veggies n fresh fruits. Suppose this means I do need to go shopping pretty quick here, like tomorrow. Between that stuff, finishing Point of Impact and some projects at home I've been a pretty busy beaver.

This coming week I am going to finish the project at home. Hopefully the stuff for Project 870 arrives this week so I can get going on that over the coming weekend. Other than that it's just sustained excellence on all fronts.

What did you do to prepare this week?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Night Ramblings

I found myself in Walmart the other day. Needed a haircut and some light work on the family hauler and there is only one place to do both of those things around here. Turns out everybody else had the same idea! So I was waiting for both things and looking at the ammo situation.

It was actually pretty good. Lots of .223, 7.62x39, .308 and of course all the shotgun shells and hunting type calibers you could want. A guy was talking to the dude working behind the counter. Guy didn't now what type of ammo his SKS shot but wanted to buy some. Dude said 7.62x54R but Guy was not exactly convinced. I said it was 7.62x39. Walmart Dude was happy somebody else was dealing with his problem. Guy was not entirely convinced. He asked if I was sure to which I replied that I was. He asked the same question a similar way. I said I was absolutely positive and would bet him a thousand dollars cash on the matter. Guy was convinced. That narrowed it down to caliber. Dude had both steel cased (Wolf I think) and brass cased ammo. Guy wasn't sure about the difference.

That lead to a 2 minute discussion. Since Guy didn't reload (thank God!) we agreed steel cased would suit his needs at a much more agreeable price. Guy bought 3 boxes and we both went about our days.

Today I had to run some errands and ended up at a surplus store. Got a castle nut wrench which I am long overdue for purchasing and a used USGI wool blanket, picked up the blanket for $10 which I was pretty happy with. After that I went to scout out a place to do some camping. It looks good. In my time driving around the woods here I definitely realized the longest line of site you get here is under 200 meters with under 100 being more common. That's bumped my desire to acquire a precision bolt action rifle, lately boosted by the book I am currently reading Point of Impact (Thanks Zero and Harry Flashman!), down a big notch. Short of improbable shots down a strait road, in a field, etc Project AR could easily dominate any shooting tasks here, hell an iron sighted 30-30 would do around 90% of it just fine and a shotgun could cover 70% or so.

I may go camping tomorrow but it depends on how far I get on a project at home. As a kid and teenager I absolutely loved camping. I went at least monthly forever and for multiple years about every other weekend. Then I joined the Army and subsequently started sleeping outside all the time for work it ceased to be any fun. Since then I could probably count the amount of times I've slept outside on the ground, outside of work,  on one hand. Each time involved family so I was pretty much stuck. Now I am for better or worse at a place in my career where I have been removed from that sort of thing for awhile. I sort of miss it.

That is good because incidentally Walker seems to be expressing an interest in camping. He went with Mother in Law in the drive way a week or so back. Except he noted it wasn't real camping because "the truck didn't move and we didn't sleep in a tent" (She has a camper and it was going to be 20 that night) but he seemed to have fun all the same. So maybe we'll start doing some of that in the yard then ultimately out and about. He is getting towards the right age to start doing more outside stuff. We've got the gear so that is not an issue. Anyway we will see where that goes.

Today while going over my BOB I made some changes. Added a few pouches to give me more readily accessible space. Aside from that mostly it was transitioning to a winter setup admittedly a bit late. Added a pair (top/ bottom) of silk weight long underwear and a wool sweater. I took out a waffle top that had been my sole piece of cold weather gear (for summer in AZ). Swapped a desert pattern goretex for a multicam shell to better fit the area. Also added a pair of wool gloves. If I am smart in the spring when I ditch that stuff I'll put it all in a box or bag to make the transition easy in the future.

I realized some holes that need to be filled today going through our gear. They are going to be listed not so much for you but so I can remember in a month or whatever when I want to fill them:
3x wide mouth stainless steel water bottles (1x ghb, 1x everyday 1x wifey)
1x nesting cup for 1q bottle with carry pouch
3x Louisiana state maps (or a western central LA type map if I can fine one larger than parish but below state sized)
3x eastern Texas maps if available
1x trowel
2 pair wool socks
a kydex belt holster that will hold a Glock 9 with a light yet be reasonably concealable. The big Safariland is great for a battle belt, duty, OC role but I'd like to have a holster (raven concealment, bravo concealment, etc) that could hide under an oversized shirt or a sweatshirt. Should get a pair of good mag pouches along with it.

Tomorrow or the next day I'm going on a monster rant about Bushcrafting. I think bushcrafting is to camping what crossfit is to exercise. They do so many good things but also do some really silly things and take it all so seriously. That should be a fun talk.

I pulled the trigger and ordered the stuff for Project 870. Brownells matte black Alumahyde, Elzetta light mount, GG&G rear sling mount and a half dozen essetac cards. I can procure a light locally and have some slings in my box o gun junk. Think I ultimately want to use a Magpul MS3 to have the 2-1 capability but I'm not sure. Looking forward to getting that all set up.

Realized that one of my not explicitly defined but over arching goals for this year is to have all the guns I currently own set up how I want them to be. Of course there is some evolution as new products come out, we test stuff, yadda yadda yadda but instead of buying another gun or piece of kit I want to get the stuff I have all squared away.

Got some Lone Star beer the other day. One of those cliche Texas things I had to try. It is pretty good straddling the line of being flavorful without too heavy or busy.

Anyway I'm bored of writing now so it's time to wrap this up. Talk to you all later.


Monday, December 2, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a good week here. Ordered a gun safe, a bunch of AK mags and some shelves for the garage. The gunsafe and shelves were planned, stuff we've been waiting to pull the trigger on for awhile. The AK mags were an impromptu buy based on an excellent price.

Added a few small things to the BOB. Need to get a machete and a mosquito net then it is good to go. Organized some stuff which was good. Split a bit of firewood.

Other than that not a lot happened. Thanksgiving ate up Thursday and Friday. This weekend we didn't do a darn thing which was really needed. Next week I am going to focus on getting some traction on the book. This month was nowhere near as productive as I wanted but given that weekends went to home improvement projects that was to be expected. Honestly we needed to get our residence set up a lot more than I need to finish a book. Hoping to get it done this winter.

Toying with the idea of putting together a nonfiction "best of the blog" type book. It would be a compilation of articles covering my foundational beliefs about different subjects such as weapons, gear, food storage, finances, fitness, insurgencies, etc all. Cost is TBD but would be in the McDonalds value meal to six pack of decent beer range. Does that interest anyone?

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Emergency Use Vs Longer Term Survival, System Compatability and Overall Gear Thoughts

Imagine if you will a continuum between the shortest term emergency we can think of (say an hour or two) all the way to a true Hatchet style long term survival situation.

Shorter term situations inherently lend themselves to carrying just the things we need.

Example, lets say I work 10 miles from home and am a pretty fit guy but not a marathon running champion (a reasonable description of me). Something happens, say a disaster in which a bridge a half mile from work goes down or is blocked. Thankfully this being Louisiana and not near the Mississippi it's not a huge water obstacle. Lets say it is the dry season so the water is shallow enough to walk but vehicles aren't getting through. There are no reasonable alternative routes so I'm walking home. Well what do I need? A comfortable set of seasonally appropriate clothes with a hat, good broken in boots, and a couple quarts of water. Some munchies to replace a meal or four would be nice. A weapon would be good as I just might need it for self protection. A flashlight in case it gets dark before I make it home. Really I do not NEED anything else for this scenario. I'll be home in under 3 hours hoofing it and that's if I can't hitch a ride with somebody.

On the other hand there is a breaking point where you simply cannot carry enough consumables to rely on them. One can't carry enough food to walk hundreds of miles or live for months as well as the other stuff they will need. I hesitate to say there is an exact breaking point but it is more of a gradual transition from consumables to tools and equipment to gather food, traps, fishing stuff, etc all. For example I do not carry trot lines, a cast net, 110 conifer traps, an ax and a cast iron frying pan all the time, though I would if I was going to the woods for a year.

On the low end I still like to be fairly tool heavy (as Dave Canterbury said). To me there are two primary reasons for this. First of all I like to keep a variety of capabilities all the time, cutting stuff, starting fires, carrying water, heating up water/ cooking, etc. The basic stuff to do this is within arms reach at work being a Power Point Ranger getting ready for some briefing. Second short term emergency situations can very easily turn into longer term ones. Situations start out bad then get worse. Lets say a violent conflict makes it so I cannot get back home and there are no good options in other population centers (Partisans in Central/ Eastern Europe during WWII come to mind) so I'm headed to the deepest darkest woods in the area. All of a sudden I need tools more than another box of granola bars.

Based on this my kits tend to include: a good fixed blade knife, some sort of container I could cook in, cordage, flint and steel (lighters too of course), some sort of shelter plan, etc. 

System compatibility is important. All your stuff needs to work together in it's intended pattern of use. This means your holster, fighting load (if applicable), ruck sack, etc all have to fit together. Carrying a handgun with modern type hiking backpacks that rely heavily on a big padded hip belt is difficult. Your options are to put the gun in a fanny pack, strap it to your pack's hip belt, put it in the pack or employ a chest rig/ hill people gear kit bag. A normal holster simply is not in the cards.

Honestly this is what led me to the current tiered system I am employing. I redid my fighting load into a war belt plus a plate carrier with (to be determined) pouches or the TAP. I have an assault pack/ get home bag as my level 2.5. It lives in my car but could be attached to the ALICE (which would suck a lot) or configured as needed based on the mission. Lastly is my Bug Out Bag.

Not saying the way I did it is the only way. There are a lot of ways to skin the proverbial cat. What matters is that your gear is compatible with the stuff it is going to be used with. Testing it is really the way to figure out of it will in fact work together.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I was swamped at work this week which hurt the eating healthy (when the boss says "We aren't leaving and we're getting Pizza" it takes a stronger person than I to eat the healthy leftovers in their lunch box with boxes of fresh pizza 6 feet away.) and fitness routines a fair bit. On the fitness side a rest was probably due though so that is OK.

-Got the war belt adjusted and ordered a Safariland 6285 which should finish that system off. Well till I figure out how to stuff another ammo pouch on anyway.

-Put some work into the ALICE Pack that's going to pull Sustainment Load/ BOB duty. Component list here if you are curious. Just cleaning up some corrosion on the metal parts then spray painting it to protect from future occurrences of the same. Other than that I'm looking at some changes for being down here. Skeeter net and juice for starters. Probably going to swap the hawk for a machete. I'm not in swampy Cajun land but lots of brush and small trees seems to be the rule here. Also recently purchased a 2 quart canteen which is going to be added to the side when I get around to sticking it on there.

-Other than that we are still working to get our home set up how we want. Lots of small scale DIY stuff going on here with more to come. Will talk about that later.

-Spent a good chunk of today organizing the garage. Have been working in there off and on for awhile but for whatever reason the efforts today really showed. Instead of stuff EVERYWHERE covering the floor we now have a few piles of like type stuff (tools, camping gear, gun stuff, kid stuff) to sort out and figure what we're going to do with. It's not there yet but I see the probable final solution of a nice organized space which is great. Going to hang some stuff on walls and from the ceiling which should help even more.

-As part of my organizing effort I have a working "to the cache" pile. A couple changes of clothes, a couple blankets, spare Solo Stove that type of stuff. Plan to sort it out, fill any glaring omissions then take it there this week.

So that is what I have been up to. Given that all the action happened this weekend I would say it was a pretty productive week.

What did you do to prepare this week?
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