Showing posts with label ghb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghb. Show all posts

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 14, 2014

My Assault Pack/ Get Home Bag AKA Level 2.5 Load- Including New Comments and Discussion

Awhile back TEOTWAWKI Blog did an everyday carry bag contest. Both to support that excellent blog and provide something I felt was lacking to the conversation I participated. Have been meaning to cross post that discussion here and today seems like as good a time as any.

 This is the bag I carry basically everywhere. It is a merger of my everyday carry bag, survivalist 'get home bag and military assault pack. It has plenty of room for the usual civilian EDC lunch, laptop, paperback book, etc all for when I go someplace. Admittedly the ratio of stuff in there to spare room is pretty high but the stuff in there already covers many of the anticipated needs I would be putting stuff in there to fill the bag with anyway.
This system presumes I am carrying my normal EDC stuff and have servicable clothing/ footwear. I keep some clothes and footwear in the vehicle in case I get caught in swim trunks and flip flops.
My system is carried in a Tactical Tailor backpack. It is about a decade old so names and models have changed but I think they still make a similar bag. This thing has been used and abused and just keeps kicking. There is something to be said for buying nice once. I attached a water bottle holder, want to say Maxpedition brand.
The whole system is shown on my HPG Serape.
Generally from left to right, grouped by rough system:
Food: I set this system up with the home made MRE day of food (oatmeal, ramen, tuna, granola bars, peanut butter) in the ziplock bag but ended up puttiing a bunch more stuff in there, plus an MRE plus a small baggie of granola bars and snacks that sits in the front pouch for easy snacking access. Without doing calorie math this is probably enough food to replace energy/ calorie loss in a high output environment for roughly 2.5 days. There is also a 5 hour energy shot in there. Also pictured are a plastic spork and a metal spoon.

Clothing: 2 pair of boot socks, a pair of nomex fliers gloves, a t shirt and underoos. Also there is a lightweight poly pro top and a fleece beanie. In putting this together I toyed with taking them out as well it is June in Louisiana but they are pretty light and small. Might be good to have in case I get wet and the temp drops a bit or something. The clothing currently rides in a white plastic trash bag in case my backpack gets moist.I would like to replace this with a USGI wet weather bag or similar civilian equivalent.
Over on the other side rolled up is a multicam soft shell type jacket. They are comfortable, breathe well and are good for wind as well as moderate rain.
Lighting: Shown is a Petzl headlamp and a little LED light. In making this my daughter got to messing with the small light and I found out it doesn't work..Next to it is a small bag with a variety of batteries (AA, AAA and CR2032) plus a bic lighter.
Tools: Ka Bar. I wanted a good fixed blade knife for this system and it seemed like a decent candidate. Certainly it was the best candidate already in my inventory. It is there for heavier survival type tasks my folder might not be ideal for. Also it is sharp and could hurt someone if needed. Given that this bag is often lying around here or there I want to stick to tools that are fairly low priced. Would be hesitant to keep a $400 Busse TGLB in here but a $50 Ka Bar is an acceptable risk.
I am looking at shifting up to a slightly beefier more survival (vs fighting/ general) type knife specifically one of those beefy British MOD Sheffiield survival knives or some sort of Ontario offering.

First Aid: I have a 'boo boo kit' with band aid's, tylenol, moleskin, liquid bandaide and athletic tape. The goal is to keep me walking and treat minor injuries. There is also a chapstick in there. Next to it are a pair of spare glasses and some ballistic eye pro.
Weapons Cleaning: A small cleaning kit plus a ziplock bag with an old toothbrush and some pipe cleaners. This is mostly because I use the bag for military applications as well as general/ survival use. Still being able to clean a weapon is a handy thing.
Honestly I dislike this kit and prefer the older ones with solid metal rods but well this one was handy.
Shelter: The system is shown on my HPG Serape. It is expensive but a real useful do a lot of things piece of kit. There is a generic casualty/ thermal type metalish blanket in the  middle and a survival solutions OPSEC poncho over on the right. Next to the poncho are 4 lightweight metal stakes wrapped with a wad of 550 cord and 2 bungie cords to aid in shelter making.
Between the poncho, serape and casualty blanket I have a decent 3 season solution for the South.

Communication: A couple 3x5 cards and a variety of writing implements. Also a piece of VS-17 panel for signaling.
Navigation: Compass, a Silva base model I've had for half my life. It still points north and is light n easy to stick anywhere. The 1 gallon bag has my navigation stuff which consists of a couple maps, a protractor and a couple pencils.
Water:a 1qt steel bottle with nesting lid. For resupply I have a Sawyer Mini water filter and a bottle of purification tablets.
Hygiene: I have a roll of TP for obvious reasons. 
Cordage: There is a wad of 550 cord in a small ziplock bag.
Self Defense: This system presumes I have my normal CCW pistol. Shown are 2 33rd Glock magazines and a G19 mag. They are empty currently. Also 100 rds of 9mm ball is there. I'm still sort of feeling this one out. Honestly I'm not too concerned about firepower but the idea from Ed's post to keep a couple extended mags seemed sound, the G19 mag is just in case I forget to bring a reload or otherwise need a normal sized mag. The ammo is enough to load the Glockamole mags and the spare G19 mag plus reload my 2 edc mags.
Honestly in my area if things developed in such a way I needed them there would be plenty of time to load them. I carry 2 mags for CCW so this is not a huge concern.Got to figure this part of the system out.
To Do (at some point or another):
Replace small LED light
Purchase USGI WW bag.
Get mag pouch to hold 2 extended glock mags. Probably load said mags. Figure out how I want to carry any extra ammo.
Replace plastic spork and metal spoon with 1x metal spork.
Replace cleaning kit with a better one.
Relook food and maybe remove some through attrition.
Add an IFAK for trauma. I have the stuff, just need to put it together and toss it into the bag.
Add a pair of cheapo foamy ear plugs.
Put a bit of cash in there. I typically carry $150-200 USD in my wallet but $40 in mixed bills with a few quarters wouldn't hurt.
Get a stuff sack for the stakes, cord, etc.
I am toying with putting a hydration bladder into this system. It would boost the water capacity a lot and be handier on the go. I have a minimalist camelback and a couple spare bladders so it will not cost me anything to try.
Discussion:
My concerns in rural Louisiana are not the same as many peoples. As such you can see it is far more outdoor survival oriented than on more urban concerns of riots and such.
This bag is rather militaristic and full of multi cam as well as various USGI stuff. That is because I am in the Army and A) this setup is dual use for comparable military and civilian applications.  B) It was largely put together of stuff on hand. Aside from duplicates (headlamp, water bottle, etc) the only stuff purchased intentionally for this kit were the bag (about a decade ago for Army stuff) and the HPG Serape. The rest was already on inventory.
If I was a civilian the bag would likely be a quality Kelty/ REI type day pack in an earth tone. Ditto for the multicam being replaced with green and the USGI stuff with civilian equivalents.
If folks were interested in setting up a similar system I would recommend they focus more on type/ capabilities of stuff than exact make/ model. No real reason you should get a basic Silva compass like mine over say a comparable Brunton model that is on sale. 
Edited to include:
Part of the reason I wanted to to do this is because this bag is going to receive some attention in the near future. My goal is to make it a bit more versatile to a wider variety of more modern concerns. As such I wanted to document the original and then look at/ talk through the changes that will be made. More to follow in coming weeks. 

As always your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Edited to include:
I was going to write a couple of lengthy replies so it made sense to bring them up to the main page. Comments will be in italics and my replies will be bold.

Anonymous Commander_Zero said... (note Zero replied to my thoughts so my original words are normal, his are in Italics and my reply to his reply is Bold.
"Purchase USGI WW bag." - Whats a WW bag? Wet weather bag.
Get mag pouch to hold 2 extended glock mags. - I use the Maxpedition MP5 mag pouches, or the Blackhawk 3x MP5 pouch.
Noted, Though the 2x melee mags might be a casualty in the new revision.
Replace plastic spork and metal spoon with 1x metal spork. - I went with the Titanium spork. Practical yet tacticool. I have a Light My Fire Titanium Spork  in the BOB. Reviewed them awhile back. Actually I think there are a couple floating around our various kits. The downside of multiple fairly redundant systems is that I end up needing a few of the same thing. Another will get tagged onto an order in the near future.

I am toying with putting a hydration bladder into this system. It would boost the water capacity a lot and be handier on the go. I have a minimalist camelback and a couple spare bladders so it will not cost me anything to try. - Im playing with the military ones from Source and am so far pleased, esp. with their little 1-liter that will fit in a GI canteen pouch and lets me refill without taking the bladder out of the pouch.

Tossed a  CamelBak Hydrobak 50oz Black that was already on inventory into the rig. That way I could take it with and have the option to put it into/ on the bag or use it independently. Will fiddle with this system more to see how well it works.Those Source ones are nice. I had one at some point but think it got thieved by an Army buddy.


October 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM
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Blogger TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...
Ryan -

Thanks for the kind words about T-Blog. Looking forward to seeing where you're taking your bag.

October 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Alexander, The general trend will be adapting it to have some more urban type capabilities. A full set of clothes in a naked bag, burner cell phone, maybe some little E&E gadgets and potentially a multi tool.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Good article!

We have been working on our get-home bags, recently.

There is always room for improvement. I am still adjusting the food element/clothing element of our bags. It is an ongoing process.


I find our systems are rarely static. 

October 14, 2014 at 9:26 PM
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Blogger tweell said...
I've added a bit more hygiene for mine - a hotel soap and a couple wet alcohol wipes, along with a comb. The comb is handy for combing cactus off - here in the SW that can be a problem.
There's just hard candy in my bag for food. Empty calories, but non-perishable and doesn't require extra water. 3L water, because this is a desert. A multi-tool, since I can't carry one at work. 


Tweell, I often rock wet wipes exclusively for hygiene though a tooth brush would be a good idea. The multi tool I am really on the fence about. In the woods not that awesome but in town a pair of pliers and some screwdrivers can be darn handy. May include one if I can find a place to trim some weight off.

October 14, 2014 at 10:50 PM
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Anonymous riverrider said...
nice setup. this is pretty much what i was talking about using with my enhanced lbe setup. been looking for a knife sheath that drops a couple inches to clear the pistol belt and/or ruck belt. i liked it better when there wasn't any choice of gear. it was alice, suck it up. now there's too much out there to choose from i suffer from decision paralysis.
October 15, 2014 at 9:25 AM

RR, Great minds think alike. For your knife problem it is hard to give a good answer without knowing all the variables (knife, sheath, what it is attaching to, etc). Generally speaking SPEC OPS makes a pretty decent looking Spec-Ops Brand Combat Master Knife Sheath 6-Inch Blade (Coyote Brown, Short) or for Ka Bar length knives the Spec-Ops Brand Combat Master Knife Sheath 8-Inch Blade (Coyote Brown, Long). Of course they are one size fits most but if it's along fairly general utility/ fighting knife lines it'll probably fit. Another option is a dangler to go on your existing sheath. A third option depending on your budget to gear snob ratio is to rig up something with either 550 cord or zip ties. Hope that helps.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just A Quick Trip To The Store

Today after making a nice dinner of beef fajitas it came up that somebody needed to run out to the store to pick up an item. So I got ready to go to the nearest place that offered said item, a five minute drive away. Put on a belt, stuck a subcompact handgun (in holster) in a pocket, a reload in another picket, grabbed my wallet, phone and keys then threw on the first footwear I found and was out the door.

Since I was planning for the next day at work my usual knife and lighter were in the gym bag.

I got to the store and in a typical survivalist way thought "what would I do if something happened right now." Lets ignore the fact that I could easily walk home barefoot from there. Well I had the basic capacity for self defense, almost surely sufficient for a small town store at 7pm on a Thursday. My footwear were iffy, I didn't have a knife or a lighter.

However all of these things were in the modestly sized but fairly thought out set of stuff in my vehicle. My GHB, a pair of running shoes I no longer use with socks in them, a good knife, fire, food and water a plenty (I often forget to bring lunch to work or can't leave so I keep a few cans of food, some oatmeal, ramen, etc above and beyond the food in my bag) if needed.

These sorts of events happen in life and when you least expect is is when you are inevitably slammed. Establish and maintain systems to help cover for human shortcomings that inevitably occur.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers Day and My EDC/ GHB/ Level 2.5 Bag Post At TEOTWAWKI Blog

Well it is Fathers Day. Cheers to all you fathers out there. Taking care of and raising children is a heavy and at times thankless job for sure.

My fathers day was nice. Had a quiet morning, well as quiet as you can have with two little milk drunk Anarchist Rioters anyway. Went to Wally World to check for ammo. They had plenty of different stuff but I was just cruising for .22lr.  Didn't see any of it.

Had a quiet afternoon then Wifey made a really nice dinner. While she was cooking I relaxed outside with the kids. Dinner was excellent. After that I had a good talk with Pops. We have a good relationship but don't talk enough. Turns out if neither person is any good at picking up the phone and making a call there are not a lot of conversations. We both recognize the problem and are at least conceptually trying to work on it so that is something.

My  EDC/ GHB/ Level 2.5 Bag post is up at TEOTWAWKI Blog. You might want to check that out.

Anyway Happy Fathers Day.


Friday, June 13, 2014

RE: Deep Thoughts: EDC Bags At TEOTWAWKI Blog

TEOTWAWKI Blog is running an EDC Bag Contest. In this post he discussed the issue at a conceptual level. I find it interesting and honestly am too worn down (seriously I think it is the humidity) to put in the effort to do one of the posts I have in the pipeline so you get my thoughts on his post. So in no particular order here we go:

1) Obviously the exact makeup of a bag type kit is going to vary from person to person based on their situation and what sort of concerns they have. A college student in Vermont will not need exactly what a cop down in Ole Mexico like Ed Wood needs any more than a subway commuter in a massive urban center will need all the things I carry down in empty Central Louisiana. You get the point.

2) While #1 is true the real variance in well thought out decent kits is a lot less than you might initially think.Any well thought out methodology such as E&E or SF Survival Doctrine (John Mosby mentioned SMOLLS-E or something, I cannot find the post though) or Dave Canterbury's 5 C's is going to have a lot in common. An EDC type kit (on body stuff plus bag if applicable) is going to include a knife, a way to make fire, a container to hold water, some food, some first aid stuff, etc. It is sort of like recipes for say wheat bread. A dozen good recipes will all be slightly different but it is in small ways such as the ratio of wheat to white flour or seeds added or exact amounts of sugar and salt, the addition of butter or raisins, etc. The point I am making is that at their core good kits are going to be a lot more alike than different. So if your kit looks radically different from that of smart, capable people with a generally similar concept of use I would recommend you rethink it and potentially consider further education/ retraining on the topic.

3) The ratio of space allocated to preparedness type items is something worth discussing. I think this depends a bit on your bag needs and a lot on your worst case scenario combined with the bags concept of use.

If you want a normal sized backpack to carry a lunchbox, a big thermos of coffee, a water bottle and a book there is not going to be much room left for preparedness related gear. So you can either be happy with a modest but well thought out kit in the smaller pouches on the bag, downsize the non prep stuff you carry daily or get a bigger bag.

4) Generally speaking for whatever amount of space I chose to allocate in said bag the categories of stuff are going to basically be the same type of stuff with larger kits getting bigger items or more stuff to meet the same basic needs. A personal survival kit could fit in any bag and I would have a water bottle for general use. A box of granola bars or comparable food plus a pair of socks and a fleece watch cap could easily fit someplace in most bags and is a pretty decent setup in and of itself. 

5) Personally to the maximum extent possible is to use preparedness functional items for everyday type use. Instead of a cheesy plastic bottle I use a stainless steel one with a removable lid. I keep some food in there that could be used in an emergency or just to replace a forgotten lunch.

This is admittedly a lot easier for me as a service member because 1) Overtly tactical type stuff is acceptable as well as common place and 2) My military as well as generally wilderness/ rural movement type concerns largely overlap. A lot of the stuff I would need for a no notice long day or overnight in the field is pretty similar to what I would need for a day and a half to two day long forced march home or a couple days stuck someplace. We could debate the exact place one type of bag or system stops and another starts. Honestly this is somewhere Alex and I see things differently.

As you will see when my entry hits the TEOTWAWKI Blog EDC Bag Contest mine is a bit more comprehensive in some areas than most. That being said.

6) Alexander is absolutely right there is serious potential for 'mission creep'. I personally had this the first time I really set up my current EDC bag for preparedness. It weighted 40 pounds, was absolutely jam packed and I was looking at tying a darn sleeping bag onto it!  Quickly I realized that while 40 pounds of stuff fit into my TT glorified day pack it would carry like doo doo. I ended up putting that stuff into an internal frame pack and it became my BOB.

While I fully recognize the problem I am not entirely sure I have an answer to it. Personally I solved my problem by establishing, or trying to anyway, a tired system of everyday carry, fighting load, level 2.5 assault pack/ GHB/ EDC and my BOB. Eventually I would like to firm up a heavy vehicle based bug out system. Knowing there is a kit that meets a more comprehensive specific need lets me accept that another system is a bit lighter in certain areas.

7) Multi functional gear makes a lot of sense here given the relative size and weight constraints. When space is limited items, especially bulky and or heavy ones being multi functional is ideal. That is why despite the expense and relative bulk I love the HPG Serape.

8) #2 and #7 being said you have to look at potential (or actual) items for what you use in the field or whatever type situations your bag is set up for while keeping items needed for contingencies. Example, After some consideration I decided not to include a multi tool in my EDC bag (or on my person). I simply do not use them often enough to justify one in these systems. Many folks look at that problem differently and I do not fault them for it.

9) Talking about gear, kits and systems is fun.

10) I am bored of writing so it is time to end this.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bag DIscussion and TEOTWAWKI Blog Contest

Alexander Wolfe is running a Everyday Carry Bag contest over at TEOTWAWKI Blog that should be fun to watch. I plan to watch the development for sure. Don't really have a bag that fits that bill anymore. Given the nature of my work the get home bag/ assault pack and the bag that might carry a lunch and water bottle from my vehicle 20 yards into work ended up divorcing. I got tired of hauling my half full TT bag into work every day full of stuff I did not need. On the same token since I was trying to keep it light I had a bunch of stuff in the vehicle anyway. Around a year ago I was garage saleing and found a nice almost new fancy name brand backpack for sale in Army palatable khaki/ light tan. Dude wanted forty and I think we settled at thirty. Bag was $100ish new. So I carry that from the vehicle to work with a book for lunch time, my lunch, coffee cup and the other various small things it is awkward to carry in my hands.

The TT bag goes with me in situations where I leave my vehicle, go into the field, spend a day driving around with someone, etc. Times I am more than 100 meters away from it are few and far between. It is set up for a pretty comfortable spring/ summer night or surviving a winter one with enough chow to eat decently for a couple days or a bit lean for 3.

Admittedly at just under twenty pounds my bag is pushing the limits of being comfortable for an uuber rugged glorified childs school pack. I would upgrade to one of the MOLLE II multicam medium assault packs which are slightly bigger and have a frame but am loathsome to pay the money. I do not need the additional space and would guard against filling it just because and suffering BOB mission creep but for a long walk the comfort of better straps and a light frame would be nice.Those things are just expensive though. 

Do you have an EDC bag? What sort of stuff does it carry? What about a slightly more survival oriented bag of similar size?

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?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Long Day, Garden and Rucking

Today really feels like it should be Friday, not Thursday which sucks. The news that our government was pretty much spying on every Verizon Wireless customer certainly did not help matters. It's not much of a leap to guess the same has been going on at AT&T, Sprint, etc all. Cannot say I am exactly surprised but it certainly is not good news. May talk more about that later.

Produce is coming out of the garden which is nice. The birds pretty much got the tomatoes but the cherry tomatoes are getting ripe and I'm working through the lettuce and spinach. It is nice to be able to make a salad out of stuff from the garden. Next year hopefully the garden will be significantly larger and staggered so we have produce for a good part of the summer.

This afternoon once I got home from work I was going to either write something very angry, get drunk or exercise. I try not to write while angry anymore plus getting hammered is not the best idea (especially during the week) so that left exercise. Had to wait till the heat broke a bit so at 6 I went for a ruck. Did a nice 20 minute up, 20ish back walk. The timing worked out great, it was cooling down but I got back well before dark. Carried my get home bag. It is a good idea to try carrying any system you plan to potentially use. While this bag is fairly light (maybe 20 pounds) it's good to make sure it carries right. All was well.

That being said I do need to work out my hot weather gear a bit. A long sleeved cotton t shirt would be the way to go I think. Either a light tan or white. Also I did not have a boonie hat in the bag but there was one in the Rubbermaid that lives in the back of our vehicle. It is a cheapo one that worked but is less than ideal. Have one in my closet full of Army junk that is better. Need to find it and swap them.

Those minor issues aside I am pretty happy with my setup. It has what I want and is not too bulky or heavy. Will give it a look over then probably talk about it in coming days. 

On the plus side Person of Interest is on which is always fun. Even better tomorrow is Friday. Hope you all have a good night.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lines of Gear and Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags

Alexander Wolfe wrote an excellent post today discussing Go Bags and Bug Out Bags. I am going to talk about my thoughts on 'lines' of gear. In doing so we will talk about go bags/ assault packs/ get home bags and such. 

First line gear is the most basic survival and defensive gear. You really shouldn't be leaving home without it.
Military- Survival gear (knife, fire, etc) and weapon with reload. For most deployed personnel the weapon is an M4 variant but that doesn't really matter.
Civilian- EDC/ Survival gear and potentially CCW pistol with reload. You can see mine here and also a lot of other peoples.

Second line gear is your 'fighting load'. It stores ammo, water, basic first aid stuff, a small radio, maybe a more substantial knife, etc all.
Military- Old school would be your LBE or whatever and a rifle if your first line gun was a pistol. The contemporary equivalent would be body armor, a chest rig if your pouches aren't mounted strait to the vest.
Civilian- There are a lot more options but the basics are the same. Ammo, medical, maybe a more substantial knife, water, etc. This could be a direct or linear descendant of some military system of a smaller lighter setup designed to more closely suit civilian needs. War belts and Active Shooter kits fall into this category.

Third line gear is for sustainment over a longer period. Depending on how your stuff is set up and the conditions the second line is good for a short operation or up to a day or so.The third line is for sustainment beyond that time frame.
Military- Ruck Sack with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time.
Civilian- Large bag with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time. This is where the BOB AKA 'Bug Out Bag or INCH "I'm Never Coming Home Again" type systems fall.

We could quibble about what exactly should go where and other minutia. However it's basically the way our military operates these days so I do not think many folks would disagree with the general concept.

So now we are back to the Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags. I will briefly discuss my thoughts on them then move forward.

The 'Go Bag' is pretty much set up to supplement your fighting load. More mags, medical stuff, food, batteries, etc all. It typically stays in a vehicle and is grabbed to resupply or if you need to bail out on foot.

The 'Assault Pack' is used to carry equipment beyond your fighting load needed for a particular mission. Potentially that could include bino's/ spotting scopes, batteries, clothes, food, additional ammo, explosives, breaching gear, land mines, signaling equipment, etc all.

The 'Get Home Bag' is a bag designed to have sufficient stuff to get a person from where they are to back home. Generally set up smaller and lighter than the 'bug out bag' though one mans BOB might be another's GHB.

So where do the Go Bag/ Assault Pack/ Get Home Bag fall into this general system?

We could analyze the exact composition of every single kit or just make it simple and call them level 2.5. That is sort of awkward but since these kits are typically a split between supplemental fighting load and short term sustainment I think it's the best fit. This is further made awkward because many civilians do not have a 'fighting load' in their general commonly carried systems. They may have a hodge podge of stuff floating around their vehicle or a few spare mags in their level 2.5 system. Also I find the conceptual level 2.5 useful because the level of sustainment is generally for a shorter period of time than the more traditional Ruck/ BOB 3rd level of sustainment.

Yes I categorize these systems in the same range. Furthermore I would go as far as to say they are just variations of the same kit adjusted to different circumstances. A soldier or contractor operating out of a vehicle will probably have a go bag. Inevitably some chow and supplemental clothing plus life's random junk (paperback book, MP-3 player, gum, flashlight, etc) can slip in there. Really while the bag might vary that isn't any different than an Assault Pack. These kits exact composition varies in part based on your fighting load. I've seen contractors who wore 2-3 spare mags for their rifle and 1-2 for the pistol (often in a ghetto made war belt from some pouches and a spare rigger belt) then carried a bag with more of each plus smoke/ grenades/ etc. If for whatever (IMO foolhardy) reason a person in a highly kinetic situation goes with way their  2.5 line is going to have a lot of ordinance in it. On the other hand a guy carrying 8-12 mags on his body has more room for a spare sweater in the 2.5 line.

To me the 'Get Home Bag' is a civilian equivalent of the same kit. It is a fairly small purpose built kit designed to help you with a specific mission, in this case getting home. They tend to be far lighter on ordinance than a soldier or contractor's Go Bag/ Assault Pack. The reason for this is simple. Despite some folks Red Dawn or whatever militia porn fantasies the odds Joe Everyday is going to need a first aid kit, some chow, a coat and a flashlight are a whole lot higher than that he will need an AR with a dozen magazines. Now if you want to carry a dedicated fighting load plus a 'Get Home Bag' type setup good for you but as a survivalist do not carry the ammo instead of the sustainment stuff.

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. I am eager to hear yours.

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I did pretty good. Picked up 2 pair of boots (1x Blackhawk gently used and 1x USGI Winter new) for $40 total which was nice. Also got an Oakley backpack gently used for $20. It's going to keep my daily stuff and the GHB stuff will be beefed up and live in my TT bag. Also swapped some '06 ammo I didn't need for 30-30 ammo I can use.

Anyway that's what I have been up to. What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

With having another kid and all not a lot happened this week. Did pick up various extra hygiene stuff and OTC meds. Also replaced some batteries that had been used.

Also I did some tweeking to my GHB. I think at this point it is going to slide from a true EDC to a lives in the car GHB. Adding that $20 brand new USGI gore tex and a couple light weight tops, 2 spare mags for the Glock, 100 rounds of 9mm,100 rounds of .22 and about 2k more in calories in food. It was annoying to haul for my few strictly EDC things but now I don't really want to haul it to class and whatnot. If I was going in someone elses car or whatever I would put my few EDC things in it but otherwise it's just going to live in the vehicle/ near me. Will likely get another bag to fill the EDC in the near future.

I'm working on swapping another gun or two. Noticed two interesting phenomenons worth discussing. The first are folks who think that they can get new gun prices for their barely *cough they are all barely used come selling time cough* used gun. Sorry folks, when you take it out of the gun shop it becomes used. Period. END OF STORY. The second are the people who send you a note asking what the absolute lowest price you will take is. Most smart folks build in some bargaining room to their asking price so there is some wiggle room but come on. If you are too lazy to bargain you pay asking price or walk. Anyway these two things have been annoying me lately.

Also as a bonus I almost appreciate the guy who sends an email offering half the going price of guns. Helll no I won't sell him a Glock for $300 but can't blame the guy for trying. Guess he is sort of the used gun equivalent of the dude who asks every woman he meets if she wants to have sex. Even if the rate is 3% if he asks 100 folks week he does pretty decent.

This coming week I am getting back to eating right and serious PT which is good. Planning to review the Solo Pot 900 also. Will put some work in on my BOB and just maybe talk about my GHB.

What did you do to prepare this week?


Thursday, January 3, 2013

RE: Bags in EDC Contest

Received a comment about the rules for our EDC Contest today that is worth addressing.

 First lets review the full rules:

The broad strokes are this. I want to share and discuss the stuff we carry around every day AKA EDC. Taking pictures of our stuff and talking about it is my goal. Looking both at broad tools (pistol, folding knife, light, multi tool, etc all) and specifically digging into the this vs that of a Wambanger 29 vs a Doohickey A3.

The prizes will be as follows:
1st Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
2nd Place: 1 Blackhawk Holster donated by LuckyGunner.com ($50 value)
3rd Place:  1 Snare-Vival-Trap cough garote cough donated by Camping Survival ($17 value)

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)

The Details:

The contest will run from today until 31 January. Typically I would have it run for a month but I want to give a bit more time since lots of folks are doing other things from Christmas through New Years. Still I wanted folks who might be off work and have some spare time to have the opportunity to knock out their entry thus the extra week.

As discussed above a submission will be a picture of the stuff you personally carry around on a normal daily basis with high regularity as well as a blurb/ essay discussing the stuff and it's role. I'm talking on your belt and in your pockets not in the car or some bag that generally travels near you but actual on body cary.

[Edited at 9:22 on 12/24 to include. Received a good question. Purses can count for women. They are a terrible way to carry defensive weapons but that is another topic. Honestly just didn't think that through when writing the rules. Guys I am still not including the Murse/ man bag/ Jack Bauer satchel or whatever. Life is not fair and you can call it sexist if you want. The reason is that women have their purses a pretty much all the time out of the home, probably at a higher percentage than active CCW holders have guns, while guys have some awkward bag that might go into the car occasionally.]

Note that I said a normal day and with high regularity. Don't try to impress folks by exaggerating. I do not want to know what your ideal hypothetical EDC is but what actually goes with you to the grocery store, movies or mom's for dinner. It would be a real upward battle to convince me you carry a Glock 34 with 3 17rd mags plus 4 33rd mags, a snubby .357 with 4 speed loaders, a 12" bowie knife, boot knife, a swiss army knife, an IFAK, a GPS, a lensastic compass, a pocket survival kit, a USGI poncho, an IFAK, an extendable baton, a mace, a taser, 3 of those lifeboat rations, binoculars, a multi tool and some other stuff on your person every day. Ethical issues aside I will call it like I see it if somebody seems to be exaggerating.

I'm not going to be specific about format for the picture or blurb/ essay. If the stuff doesn't open on my windows PC I will reply saying it needs to be changed to something that works on my computer for it to be entered into the contest.

I usual edit guest posts for OPSEC, spelling and grammar. To help contestants out I can (if they want) help with editing by looking a submission over and sending it back with some thoughts to help in the editing process.

Submissions will be made via email to theotherryan@yahoo.com. 

Winners will be picked by voting in early February. Details will follow as I firm this part up in the coming weeks.

I reserve the right to change prizes, contest dates or whatever else for any reason. Also I reserve the right to disqualify a contestant or even a winner for any reason, can't see why I would do this but things happen.

If there are any questions or I need to clarify something please let me know so that can happen.

Onto the comment:

 "I read the rules and understand that purses are allowed for women but I would recommend rethinking about men possibly carrying a backpack or even a shoulder bag. I have a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old and for the past 6 years I have always had on me a daddy shoulder bag that carries all of our gear, to include EDC. And when I travel to work, all my EDC gets transferred to my day pack which is sitting right at my feet at work. Just some thoughts."

After thinking about this all day I  have got to stick with no man bags. The first reason which was my original reason is that most men who have these bags do not really carry them around with high regularity.  Women carry their purses at a higher percentage than the most serious CCW holders pack heat. Guys just don't do this with their murses or whatever sort of maxpedia tactical whatever. Check discretely on a guy who supposedly carries a man bag all the time randomly and he likely will not bat enough to be in the big leagues. You may be the exception but that still doesn't disprove the rule. Also women's clothing and fashion is such that they have a harder time fitting this stuff into their pants and shirt pockets so it ends up in the purse by default.

The second reason I thought of today is that would be a different contest. My observation is that prepared women usually have the things a prepared man would have in his pockets in their purse full of normal woman stuff. A prepared mans bag is a whole nother topic.

I have a EDC/ get home bag and it is chock full of great stuff. There is a pathfinder trade knife, a leatherman, a knife sharpener, a steel bottle and cup, an IFAK, a boo boo kit, water purification tablets, 550 cord, a compass, a headlamp, a small led light, lighters and a fero rod, about 2k in calories, a survival blanket, a boonie hat and probably some other good stuff. The point is that comparing that as well as things I could keep in my assault pack vs what another guy keeps in his jeans or cargo pants really isn't apples to apples.

So no man bags are not allowed. The EDC/ get home bag could, or even probably will, be a different contest down the road. Honestly I do not have a way to know if this stuff lives in your pockets or takes up a small part of a diaper bag/ whatever. If the stuff fits in your pockets and for whatever reason occasionally goes in a bag take a picture and send it in to my email theotherryan@yahoo.com. Hope that seems reasonable to everybody.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Layered Systems and Redundancy

I believe in layered systems. Sort of did this before really learning the concept in a more formal sense but it is easier to do well with the basic concept in your head. It sort of goes like this. Instead of having a whole bunch of stuff all over the place you have a few systems. These systems are layered from smaller to larger moving from the most basic things in your pockets to larger systems that may fit in a backpack or even a vehicle. The saying that you survive out of your pockets, fight out of your kit and live out of a rucksack is a solid starting point.

The two systems we will talk about today are my everyday carry and my EDC/ Get Home Bag. I should post pictures of this stuff and talk about why this is there and that is not but that's another post.

On Friday I reached into my pocket for a knife and it wasn't there. For whatever reason the knife just didn't make it to my pocket that morning. A further inspection showed there wasn't a lighter in my cargo pocket either. This wasn't a huge deal as I was going to use it for something minor that I can't recall. I had another knife (as well as a lighter) in my bag but didn't bother to dig it out.

So this got me to thinking. Things happen in life. Maybe you leave home in a different pair of pants or an item is lost or stolen or whatever. Within a layered system you still need some redundancy of key items. The old saying two is one one is none comes to mind. Furthermore I think these redundant items should be spread out. Having two knives instead of one sitting in my other pair of pants at home would not help. On the other hand a knife in my bag is a lot more likely to help. This also has the benefit of letting you have slightly different tools for different jobs. Maybe a Leatherman and a more dedicated cutting tool for your knives or a Lazer Bright stick and headlamp for lights.

Kind of along these lines my EDC/ GHB bags contents has been evolving.  The new Pathfinder water bottle pouch helps because it is pretty large so a lot of those little survival things can go there. A box of granola bars was tossed in giving me about 1,500 calories worth of food to make up for a couple missed meals. I'll probably do a write up on the contents when it is a bit more settled.

Anyway that is what I have been fiddling around with lately.

Do you have some redundancy in key items? What items do you consider key?




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Give Away: Prepare Wise 16 Serving Entre Sampler

Thanks to Prepare Wise today we are giving away a 16 Serving Family Entree Sampler Pack. This is a cool sized package to try out a bunch of different meals and supplement a get home bag, or 72 hour type kit. The rules for this contest are simple. Just say you want it in the comments section. The winner will be announced later this week, probably Friday.


Monday, November 5, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week and Dog Update

I spent a lot of time writing a post and shortly after publishing decided it had to go back to the drawing board. Not that my mind has changed on the issues but it didn't seem likely to go anywhere particularly productive.

So here we are. In a lot of ways this week was pretty good. The running went well. Lifting and rucking not so much. On the plus side I'm down a couple pounds. I think the illusive reasonable and fits into my life diet code may have been cracked. Will talk about it awhile down the road when things are a bit more conclusive.

My EDC/ GHB is pretty much set as is the car kit. Right now I am running some stuff in the normal bag I haul around every day and just making sure to bring it when I leave the house. This helps keep the amount of 'my crazy junk' in the car to a minimum and is more useful when I have to ride with someone else or whatever. I have a bit of tweaking to do and will write about this stuff sooner or later.

Project AR Upgrade showed up which is pretty cool. It was test fired and zeroed which was big fun.

Slapped some night sights on the Glock 19 which was cool. Picked up one of those new Ruger 10/22's and a Galco Matrix paddle holster also and purchased 200 rounds of .357 magnum ammunition.

Still trying to weigh different options and make some choices. I'll probably do a post and ask your thoughts shortly.

Coming down the pipe: This week I will lift 3 times (1 down), do 3 PT oriented workouts (1 down), run 3 times (1 down) and ruck twice.  Looking to do some trial stuff on our various alternative cooking methods and fiddle around with the little solar charger we have. In the next week or two I will announce a contest. Still lining up prizes and figuring out some details but it should be pretty solid.

Dog is working out really well. He is very easy going and low maintenance. Nudges one of us when he needs to go to the bathroom and generally fit right into the family. Kiddo is still learning how to be nice to the dog but that is a work in progress.

Dog is not exactly a fierce warrior beast but he definitely pays attention to where we are and shows decent guard dog potential. He rarely barks (3x in a week I think) but seems to do it at the right times. That being said most of the home security benefits of a relatively large dog are as a deterrent. The goal is not necessarily to make an impenetrable fortress (thought that is a fine idea)  but for your place to be a higher risk for the crooks) than the one across the street so they rob them instead.

Anyway that is what has been going on this week and a view of what's coming up.




Monday, October 29, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. Ordered the majority of the stuff for Project AR Upgrade as well as some rifle plates. Hit the gym, did some running and ended up losing almost a pound. Put some energy into getting the first version of my GHB reestablished as well as the car kit. Also we picked up a bunch of food to put away.

I'm going to give something new a shot. Talking about my goals for the upcoming week here may help me think through what I want to do the next week and then stay accountable for that.

This week in terms of fitness I plan to lift 3x, run 3x and ruck twice. Going to work on solidifying the GHB and car kit. I am thinking a pretty stripped down get home bag that is sort of an EDC/GHB blend. Just grabbing it every day (or leaving it in the car) is a simple option. For longer trips a heavier dedicated kit will come along. That is however a topic for another day. Also I am going to order some stuff. Been doing some looking and am still trying to prioritize. Might just pull the trigger on a War Belt. Then again there is some long overdue stuff. Also I need to do a review on the Solo Stove which is a pretty cool piece of kit. If I get really motivated I will try to finish up our emergency food box.

Well that is what I have been up to and what should be coming up this week. What did you do to prepare this week?


Friday, August 24, 2012

EDC and Get Home Bag Thoughts

I have been walking around a lot lately. Aside from some low impact/ intensity gentle cardio this time is good for thinking. It is pretty easy to let my thoughts wander while walking down a strait sidewalk. All this time I have been carrying my EDC Tactical Tailor bag. It isn't really EDC like the knife and lighter that live in my pockets. It is EDC like when I need a backpack it is the backpack I grab.

[On a tangent I just don't have enough good things to say about that bag or the company in general. They do not seem to make the exact bag I have anymore though it seems to have been slightly updated as their modular operator pack. Also this is a darn good lesson along the "buy nice, once" school of thought. My bag cost $110 approximately 8 years ago (the comparable bag now sells for $200ish, another lesson maybe). I remember because it was a huge sum of money to me back then. That being said 8 years later I am still using it happily. Theft, loss or massive damage via fire or shrapnel damage aside I think getting about 10 more years out of it is likely. I have never had an issue with the zippers despite literally shoving the contents down with my foot and forcing them closed a few times. The straps have never had issues despite carrying far more weight than is reasonable for such a bag. Aside from a few dirt stains I am too lazy to scrub out, slight smoothing out of the little fibers on some straps and some scratches on the buckles it looks just like it did years ago. It has never failed me despite being pushed beyond the reasonable limits of what is essentially a beefed up book bag. (Not saying this bag is somehow inferior to anything on the market. Quite the opposite in fact; I would give it even money against all comers. What I am saying is that the "assault pack" category of bags are essentially overgrown beefed up book bags and we all need to have realistic expectations about what they will do. If you expect them to do what a 4,000 cubic inch bag with a full frame and heavy hip pad will do then disappointment is in your future.]

Like any company I cannot say every product Tactical Tailor makes is for you. I can say they do not skimp on any part of the process from planning useful well thought out gear, buying good material to properly assembling it. My only relationship with them is that over the years I have spend a few hundred dollars on their stuff. The reason I went on this tangent is to A) to mention that I really like this bag, B) point out the benefits of buying quality gear and C) to recommend a source for said gear I have been very pleased with. End Tangent.]

I have talked about get home bag's before 1, 2, 3and John Mosby chimed in on the topic also. No need to totally retread old ground. Check out the older posts if you have not read them already. Anyway like I said before getting all distracted I have been doing some thinking.

First after a lot of consideration I do not see any reason to spend a bunch of money on a bag that is basically just going to sit in my car. Especially since a very nice bag is usually there anyway. Even if money wasn't an issue it just doesn't make sense. My plan is to put together a nice little get home bag in the used alice pack I bought. I will take the basic packing list from my last one (things get disassembled when you move) and build on it to make a more squared away one. Not a full up 45 pound BOB but a bit more than a running home bag. Not exactly sure how that will crack out but that is a problem for another day.

As to the TT bag I EDC it can use some work also. I am just tossing out ideas here but if it has a personal survival kit,a steel water bottle and cup, an IFAK as well as a bandaid and asprin style boo boo kit, a poncho an all weather blanket (like the good space blankets), say 2k calories in food and a spare pair of socks that would be pretty awesome. If I do it right then most of the bag will still be available for everyday junk AND I will have a nice setup if I need it.  I envision it almost like a light long hunter/ bush craft type style setup.

Really the ideal situation for me (aside from living a charmed life where I do not need this bag at all) would be to transfer whatever everyday minutia and work junk is in my TT bag to the car or whatever and empty the contents of the ALICE bag into my preferred bag. That being said both my EDC bag (albeit as a much smaller system) and the GHB need to be able to stand alone. I do not want to depend on anything in the EDC bag because while it does come with me very often it stays at home sometimes too.

Anyway that is where I am with bags and kits today. As always input is appreciated.




Monday, August 13, 2012

Vehicle Kits, Get Home Bags, Modularity and Systems

I have been thinking and talking about get home bag's lately. Part of the reason is simply because I was building one and since have been tweaking it. Also aside from whatever may be in your pockets this is the system I see folks actually using the most. Bug out bag's get all the love but I am way more concerned with getting Munsoned in the middle of nowhere than needing to leave home in a hurry or whatever. YMMV.

My get home bag tends to live in our vehicle because it is how I get places and I am rarely far from it. If riding in a carpool it and my normal EDC bag of junk like a coat, lunch, etc get combined and a few things might get stashed at work, like a spare functional set of clothes and footwear.

I do usually keep some stuff in our vehicle. There is a Rubbermaid tub with a flashlight, spare batteries, some tools, coats, some water, some oil and coolant, first aid kit, warning triangles, etc in the back. We also each have dedicated bags with things like a knife, light, lighter, etc. To be honest at some point I went a bit overboard. The back of our full sized SUV is almost full of "my crazy stuff" as Wifey calls it. Things definitely need to get pared down however considering our timeline here it is more like they will be reassembled leaner and meaner on the other end.

Honestly I focus a lot more on the 'kit' than the vehicle part. The vehicle is where this stuff lives as it is a good place to haul stuff and is usually pretty close at hand. I think the contents of a "vehicle kit" could be easily broken down into stuff for you and stuff for the vehicle. The contents of both kits should logically flow from your overall situation. If  you might get stuck for 4-5 days in the hinter boonies during a frigid winter a lot more kit is required than if you work 5 miles from home in balmy South Carolina. Your vehicle side of the kit's contents will depend on need and skill. If you are a mechanic who regularly drives a 30 year old truck in very isolated areas it would be hard to have too comprehensive of a kit. On the other hand if you aren't very handy and drive a newish reliable car on frequently traveled roads very little stuff is needed.

Back to Get Home Bags. John Mosby recently talked about a personal shortcoming in the GHB/ vehicle kit area. Definitely worth reading and if it applies to you taking action. Read about my GHB development here. I think the concept of a get home bag is sound. However, it's contents need to fit your situation and the distances you travel from home. My get home bag will shortly be put into a dedicated bag whose entire job is to sit vigilantly in my vehicle. Some basic survival stuff will still live in my EDC bag because I haul it around a lot. A knife, flashlight, lighter, matches, a few granola bars, etc do not take up much space.

My get home bag is really stripped down and minimalist. This works because I stick pretty near home far more often than not. If I worked 50 miles from home or regularly traveled long distances a more substantial kit would be necessary.

I think different kits might fit better for different situations. I have a stripped out assault pack right now just so I could be a  bit more comfortable on a long walk home. If I was going 50-100 miles from home something more akin to a backpacking setup/ BOB/ rucksack would make sense. The kind of thing that has a couple days of water, food for several days and enough clothing/ gear to meet all of your basic needs for a pretty long time. Maybe I don't want to keep that bag (and the one for the Mrs.) in our vehicle all the time since we really don't need it that often. If we went driving across rural northwestern Canada in the winter more gear would be prudent.

I think that using systems which already exist may be the best way to fit this need. No point in reinventing the wheel here. Sticking with EDC/GHB a la assault pack/ BOB aka rucksack somewhat layered systems may be a good way to fit a wide variety of potential situations/ needs.

Anyway those are my thoughts on kits today.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Get Home Bag, Walking and Life Update

I am not sure if it has been mentioned explicitly yet but our time in Europe is almost done. We are very happy to be headed back to the US. Travel and some experiences here have been great but a lot of everyday stuff is a hassle. Also the level of regulations, rules and such here does not mesh with my nature at all. We saw a lot of places and missed some good ones. Particularly we are bummed about not getting to Ireland but that is how things worked out. There is more travel here than we could have done even if time and money were not concerns. In any case it is about time to move on to the next chapter in our lives. We will be spending about a month catching up with folks in the PNW. After that we are headed to the Southwest. More on that later.

We have been walking a lot lately. The weather is good now and it is a solid way to get out of the house and doing something. I do not recommend walking as a form of exercise unless you are A) elderly, B) recovering from a serious injury/ illness, C) crippled or D) seriously overweight and or out of shape and working towards running a la couch to 5k or a similar program. However that does not mean walking is not without benefits. Most of the benefits are not really physical. Getting outside and spending time with your family in the area you live in is a good thing. If somebody told me they walk as a form of exercise who did not fit the above categories I would try to coach them towards a better path, potentially with some mocking involved. If somebody told me they walk regularly to get outside and for active recovery from more strenuous workouts like running or rucking or for some additional low impact/ intensity cardio I would say that was a great plan.

My get home bag setup needs some work. The primary issue is that I really like my Tactical Tailor bag and use it regularly. I like that bag for the task but it can't be in two places at once. This makes having it in the car with a variety of stuff loaded into it problematic. I have a couple of ideas. First a couple side pouches to hold 1 quart water bottles will help free up space in the main compartment for normal life stuff. (Regardless of what I do the bag needs this MOD anyway.) Second sooner or later I need to swap out that bag or get a replacement for normal everyday carry use. Something I have considered is putting most of the stuff that is in my GHB into something else like a wet weather bag or trash bag and then putting it into my TT pack if needed. Mostly this stuff is a full set of clothes with boots, socks, gloves and a hat. I keep this stuff in there because regularly I go on short trips in less than fully ideal clothing and the option to change into suitable clothes for walking is a good thing. I mulled this a lot but despite being an easy and ideal solution it came up short because while I carry the TT bag around a lot while using it as a normal bag it doesn't ALWAYS MAKE IT INTO THE CAR. Inevitably the day I needed it is the day it would be in the hall closet. So the question is what to do. The short term answer is pretty much covered. I ordered a used medium ALICE pack awhile back for $10. It will be a very inexpensive solution and such will likely fit for awhile. Not as nice or comfortable but for $10 instead of $150 that is to be expected. Still a rugged bomb proof pack. Down the road a nice high end bag like the TT or something from Hill People Gear would be great in this role but I will not be able to justify the expense for awhile. Likely I  would use the TT for a GHB and something a bit smaller for typical every day type use. Since I don't see any traction on this for at least 6 months or more likely 12 there is some time to think about it.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Running to the Store, Vehicle Kits and Cases

This evening we made a quick trip to the store. It was shortly after dinner and Wifey wanted a drumstick. So we headed to the store, pretty much in the comfortable at home clothes we had been wearing. I had a pair of shorts and a t shirt on with crocks on my feet. Wallet and keys were put into my shorts. I got to thinking about how I would be hosed if anything happened and maybe should grab a knife or something. Then I remembered that we have a pretty good set of stuff in our vehicle. We all have a change of good practical clothes and footwear. I have a good knife in the GHB as well as a bunch of other usefull stuff. Bliss washed over me and we went to the store for icecream.

I have had some serious good fortune to stumble into some quality cases lately such as a hardigg footlocker, and a genuine halliburton briefcase. The fundamental purpose of cases is, just like any sort of packaging, to contain and protect things. Different stuff has different needs. Ammunition and food need to be protected from moisture and oxygen. Ammo cans and big plastic buckets fill these needs nicely. Neither of these products are particularly vulnerable to impact or shock (like bouncing around the back of a truck, not electric) within reason.

However some items are and they require different sorts of containers. Of course you could say wrap an item in bubble wrap and stick it into an ammo can or pursue some other home solution. I can speak about pelican/ hardigg cases with some experience. These products are great but rather expensive. There are other companies like Otter that offer seemingly comparable products at slightly lower prices but I have not used them.

I look at containers as insurance for the items inside. As such it is worth paying attention to the costs involved. A $20 case to hold a couple hundred dollar camera makes sense, especially if the last camera and maybe one before that would still be alive if it had been in such a case. A couple hundred dollar case to protect a hundred dollar Mosin Nagant wouldn't make sense like it would for say a Steyre SSG with a Night Force scope.

Like a lot of folks I have accumulated a few fairly expensive electronics. A GPS, some radios and a solar charger to be specific, as well as the usual camera, video camera, laptops, kindles, etc. Probably a few thousand dollars in stuff and we don't have anything really cool like Gen 3 night vision, FLIR, etc (yet!). If we had to leave in a hurry during a nasty storm or whatever a big pelican case to put that stuff into would make the odds of our equipment surviving go up significantly. For small items that you want to use a lot like camera's a little case is pretty darn handy. Also they are lockable and fairly secure which could be useful.

Personally most of my case needs are met for the time being. I would like a nice rifle case big enough to squeeze a pistol and just maybe a second long gun in. Being able to securely move around a couple guns and have them take some knocks with minimal risk of losing zero appeals to me.

Anyway you might want to put some consideration into how you will protect valuable and useful but relatively fragile stuff under less than optimal conditions. A few cases may be in order.

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