Showing posts with label level 2.5. Show all posts
Showing posts with label level 2.5. Show all posts

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?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Urban E&E/ Get Home Kit

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Level 2.5 Get Home Bag Update 4/11/2015

I talked about my level 2.5 system awhile back and did a full breakdown. Since then I acquired a new bag and have trimmed the system down to a more manageable size/ weight. Anyway somebody asked for a full breakdown so here it is.
 From top to bottom:
-Burner phone with charger. I keep this as a back up to my normal phone. I'm not worried about the Gubmint listening in on me but like the layer of anonymity when buying/ selling things. 
-Little tan bag with some cash in it. Enough to buy a tank of gas and a few meals as well as to have cash to flash to buy a ride if I need to. "I will pay you a hundred bucks to take me in the general direction you are already going" type thing.
-Glock 19 with 2 spare mags loaded with Federal 115gr JHP ammo. It is in my trusty Bianchi 100 professional but there is a little Raven Vanguard 2 just in case some time I put it in the bag and forget the holster.
-IFAK. TQ, Israeli bandage, compressed gauze, nasal breathing tube and needle.
-Boo boo kit. Band aids, mole skin, athletic tape, liquid bandage, etc. Recently added some caffine pills and peptol bismol.
-Benchmade Bushcrafter knife. 
I ended up putting this knife back in. I think a full tang knife that can be pushed pretty hard has value that makes it's additional weight worthwhile.
-Piece of VS 17 panel and a whistle for signalling.
-Headlamp and extra batteries.
-Nalgene bottle and stainless nesting cup.
-Compass, map, protractor, notecards and pencils
-Sawyer water filter.
 -TP and spare socks. Not real sure why they share a bag.
-Nomex flight gloves.
-Fire kit. Lighter, matches and a couple little candles.
-Food. A couple things of tuna, some peanut butter, a bag of M&M's, some instant coffee and 5 cliff bars.
-My Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Pack.
-ECWCS wind jacket
-Poncho with stakes and 550 cord.
-The woobie this photo is taken on is also part of the system.
Not shows
-A small bag of 550 cord I overlooked in the bottom of the bag.

 The bag fully loaded.


Of course no system is ever completely finished.
Things I need to add:
-A larger (smaller scale so bigger coverage) map
-A couple freeze dried meals to beef up the calorie count a bit.

 Things I am considering doing:
-Swapping out the woobie for a thermal/ casualty blanket at least for the summer. This would save some weight and considerable bulk.

Things I would like to do but have not yet funded.
-Titanium cup
-Snugpack jungle blanket. Smaller and a bit lighter than the woobie and I suspect warmer.
-Potentially a lighter knife that is still full tang.

On an unrelated note out advertiser Lucky Gunner has Glock 23 magazines on sale for $22.95 instead of the usual 28-30. Glock mags practically never go on sale so if you have a G23 jump on this deal.

So anyway that is my bag. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Level 2.5 Get Home Bag Lighter and Faster

I started out with a fairly heavy bag. After the transition to a new bag and some lightening it was sitting at 17 pounds dry. I wasn't thrilled with that. Did some more lightening tonight. Off hand I ditched a thermal blanket (since it's in the 60's at night now), a couple bungee cords, some batteries and a fleece cap. I also swapped out some bulkier food. I'm going to replace it with lighter/ smaller more calorie dense stuff, probably 4 of those ridiculously high calorie protein bars and a freeze dried meal of some sort. Also ditched my Benchmade bushcrafter for a stainless Mora. The last part was the toughest decision but it saved some bulk and 6 ounces. Also honestly for the concept of use for this bag I am not going to be doing more than a small bit of moderate wood processing and more importantly I need that knife to do the job for a couple days in an extreme and unlikely situation. I might still end up flip flopping that one.

In any case my bag is currently 17.9 pounds wet with a bit more than a gallon of water! I am psyched about this. There is probably a pound of stuff I need to add to it, specifically some more food,  another map and a burner cell phone but coming out under twenty pounds is very realistic.

Will post a full breakdown and picture when it is done.

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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From Around The Web and Trimming Pack Weight

Fer FAL's 12 Survival Lessons from the Ukraine is definitely worth reading

T Blog did a post on trimming pack weight.I have a few thoughts on this. In no particular order.

-When it comes to weight it is important to talk apples and apples.

          -I weigh my ruck dry as in without water. Of course total weight including water (wet) matters but since water is rapidly consumed then replaced I find 'dry' a more meaningful number. 

         - We also have to get on the same page as to concept of use. Since the BOB/ level 3 sustainment load is pretty ambiguous the question of how amounts of consumables, specifically food, matters. Of course a bag set up to feed a person for 5 days is going to weigh more than one designed for 2 days.

-40 pounds coming up as the number some D Boys settled on is interesting. My BOB/ level 3 sustainment load comes in a shade under 40 pounds (dry, 37 if I recall) and if I recall John Mosby's is in the same general weight range.

-The snugpack is a pretty cool little setup. I would like one for my level 2.5 bag and since they are a shade under $60 it is an easy decision.


-Cutting weight on individual items is a good plan so long as it does not compromise capabilities you want/ need.  For example swapping a 5" full tang knife for a smaller 3", lighter full tang knife would save weight with negligible capability loss. On the other hand going to a Mora would mean the fixed blade knife would have few capabilities beyond my EDC benchmade.

-Weight of food is notable. Also specifically for the little Tactical Tailor bag I bought bulk matters. I am looking at revisiting my food plan for this bag with some protein bars that are calorie dense and some freeze dried stuff for actual meals.

-My level 2.5 bag is sitting at 17 pound dry. I would like to get it into the 13-15 pound range. Will do some more shaving and then post a contents list.

-Oleg Volk did an interesting post on pistol caliber carbines. The 5.56 pistol is discussed.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Get Home Bag Revisited

 A few day ago I talked about my get home bag. It was bloated and a bit too heavy. It was 17 pounds dry and that due to an oversight (weighted it part way through the set up) did not include my HPG Serape in a pouch jerry rigged on top or some off my survival stuff in my HPG kit bag. So the total weight was probably closer to 23 pounds.

I went back and looked at it. Took out some stuff. There were a few more batteries than I probably need in there. Replaced a full roll of toilet paper with a half used one. Took out redundant baby wipes. Took out some bulkier food like an MRE and a couple things of top ramen. They will be replaced with lighter food. My food plan is to have about half eat on the go stuff like granola bars, peanut butter, etc and half dehydrated. Took out some 550 cord, that stuff is important but for this kit 20 meters or so is plenty. Took out a couple 5 hour energy shots. Took out the straps to hook the bag to body armor or a MOLLE vest. They will be stored elsewhere and added if I think there is a realistic chance of using them.

The hardest decision was replacing my HPG Serape with a wooby. The wooby is significantly less bulky and I suspect lighter. It isn't as warm but one does what one can. Between all my clothes, a fleece cap, wooby and a casualty blanket I will live through most typical winter weather down here.

I added my sawyer mini water filter, an extra lighter and a few candles.

As it stands now my bag weights 17 pounds with a quart of water in it (so 15 dry) which is right about where I want it to be.  That includes the wooby and survival stuff which was in the kit bag and moved to the backpack.

Need to add
-Silk weight top
Need to purchase
-freeze dried food in pouches 3-4 meals worth of it.

That stuff will add a little bit of weight but it will still be around the weight range I want to keep it in. Will post pics and a detailed breakdown when I get motivated to do so.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ham Radio, Gardening Plans and my Updated Get Home bag

I'm starting to learn about Ham Radio. On the plus side the test seems to actually have some useful stuff in it instead of just lines of federal code so that is good. It helps that some of it is interesting and I think a decent bit is educational.  Don't have a ton of time to study but I do have a few brief moments during the day and some time at night. Hopefully I'll be ready in a month or so to take the test.

We are starting to talk about gardening plans for the spring. Looking at bringing in some dirt and doing a slightly raised bed in one place and some pots. This year it will be a lot better planned than last (as I didn't think a garden would be possible till well past the ideal start time) and try to do 3 or so iterations of the same stuff to have a better staggered garden. Well that is the plan anyway.

I have also been working on making my new Tactical Tailor Removable Operator Bag into a leaner, meaner version of my level 2.5/ get home bag. Almost got it set up how I want. Right now the bag is about 17 pounds (dry) with a 1 qt water bottle and a hydration bladder. It is just a little bit too much bulk for the bag to comfortably handle. Generally it is slightly above my overall goal to move fast and have enough stuff to not die. I either need to ditch the Hill People Gear Serape, trim a fair bit of weight elsewhere or figure out a better way to load it all up. The hard part is that I've really made all the easy cuts. Part of the issue could be that a sub 20 pound day pack setup with a couple days worth of food and a solid setup of survival stuff is a pretty tall order. Add in the capacity to survive a 25 degree night, without significant shelter making and or a roaring fire andI'm not honestly certain it is possible. Might need to stick with the bigger day pack or even a small framed one during the winter and use the smaller one in the summer. Will play with it some more then let you know what cracks out.

Anyway those are some of the things I have been up to. What have you been up to?

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?

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Did you Do To Prepare This Week?

Wifey started a fall garden
I am working on updating my level 2.5 assault pack/ get home bag
Working on our family fishing skills
Packet up a ready to go set of hygiene stuff
Acquired a new holster for the Kahr CW9
Physical fitness has hit center stage. We are working on getting healthy and
fit by eating better and moving more.
We went camping this weekend. Along this line of effort we put together some
stuff that will likely evolve into our camping/ heavy bug out setup.

Next week my plans are to:
Fill up the BBQ propane tank
Get some more water containers
Order some more long term storage food
Get to a tentative revised plan for my level 2.5 bag
Keep hitting fitness hard

What did you do to prepare this week?

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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Friday, October 10, 2014

Battle Belt and Level 2 Thinking Revisited

I am reviewing a battle belt package setup for a guy. More info will come about that later and for the sake of the rest of this post it isn't really important, except that it got me onto the topic of battle belts.

The MOLLE fun and comfort of these has taken off in recent years. Some folks run a battle belt like a big foamy pistol belt with just a couple mags on it. Others like Max Velocity use them as a new school LBE. Mine, which I am too lazy to find a good picture of is sort of in the middle.

Carrying your equipment around the waistline held up mostly by the shoulders is probably the most comfortable overall option. However it comes with couple real limiting factors. This option is, in all but the lightest pistol belt like configurations, is unanimously voted to be a an uncomfortable, and in some cases even physically impossible option for vehicle based operations. It is difficult to get in and out of a vehicle, buckle up, move inside, etc with a huge ole tire of gear around your waist.  Not something you would want to do then spend hours in a vehicle day in, day out. Less frequently mentioned is the disadvantage in urban operations. Try climbing through a window with a big ole LBE/ battle belt around your waistline. Additionally the added width makes you more likely to get snagged/ caught up on stuff moving through buildings.

Another issue with the battle belt is that, for most people, it limits your options in terms of backpacks that can be carried.  For level  2.5 day pack/ assault packs pretty much any option works fine.  However for level 3 sustainment loads the only real widely available option is the ALICE. Note that I said for most people here; obviously individual load out's and body types matter here.

So while I really like the battle belt, or as I prefer to call it war belt, for dismounted patrolling and with a level 2.5 load it sucks for being in and around vehicles and is at a disadvantage if you are truly living out of a ruck. The more I think about it the more I am less and less certain this should be my primary fighting load. Honestly it sort of feels like it could be more of a nitche piece of gear.

 We talked about this awhile back. In the meantime I built a battle belt. What has made me rethink previous potions?

Honestly I am really tired of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. To be more clear I am tired of trying to jerry rig and work around the inherent limitations of the ALICE pack. Not saying they are exactly a bad pack, lack of comfortable aside, just that they are what 1960's technology? Lots of things have come a long way since then in terms of materials, fasteners and ergonomics

So what does that leave me for options. I can't claim credit for this concept as I stole it from John Mosby.

-Something along the way of a pistol belt with a couple reloads and a knife. This is really the wild card. I have a cobbled together setup now. If I were to have a system show up at my door tomorrow it would be an Endom MM belt, a Costa Leg Rig (reviewed by TEOTWAWKI Blog), a  Safariland drop holster or at least for awhile the Safariland 6125 I already own and a pair of very light/ thin suspenders.  Somehow or another I will slap a knife on there. The concept is to have what I would call an enhanced level 1 load in a package that can work with a real decent backpack. I don't think the suspenders would be needed for weight but to let me drop the belt an inch or so and to hypothetically prevent the darn thing from maybe falling around my ankles if I moved a certain way or whatever.

-Chest rig, probably the Blackhawk one I already have.

-Stripped plate carrier

-Some sort of a new, yet to be purchased, backpack to haul my sustainment gear.

The end result would be a scalable, vehicle compatible setup that allows the use of a quality modern pack. Or that is the goal anyway. It is good to have goals.

So that is where I sit with all of this stuff today. Likely in the near future I will put some money where my mouth is. Thankfully I own many of the components listed so this setup could be elevated from pieced together to fairly intentional for $150ish.

Thoughts?

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.
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