Saturday, August 4, 2007

Bug-Out Baggery

Or simply, Further Preparedness Notes.

Today I made another trip to Hull Street Outlet to pick up a few more just in case items and hoped that this time I wouldn't receive...the look. Fortunately, the gear I had in mind was harmless enough:

--one of those plasticized, grommeted, green/silver tarps in 9' x 11', which is a great all-around utility item. Not only will it keep bird poop off the car windshield, but it makes a great ground cloth for tents, sleeping bags, and lying on hillsides watching the Perseid meteor shower with Christina Ricci and Scarlett Johansson (yeah, that'll happen!) In a pinch (and with a little ingenuity) it can be used to construct an emergency shelter.

--a U. S. Army intermediate weight sleeping bag (mummy configuration, allegedly good to 15 deg. F), cover, and rubberized sack for storage. I debated getting the "extreme cold weather" version, but figured additional blankets and warm clothing trumped the inherent problems of down fill (once wet, down is damned hard to dry in the field and clammy sleeping is not high on my list of fun things to do).

--a Condor 3-Days Assault Pack, which is Condor's tacti-cool name for some of their intermediate-sized backpacks. Sure, it's probably not practical for serious backpacking or anything, but I think it'll work well on the rare occasions I go camping and especially as a Bug-Out Bag. Prior to today the only backpack/rucksack I own is a Boy Scout Yucca Pack purchased in 1966 or so and its failings are legendary, though the young Indiana Jones/River Phoenix carried one in Last Crusade.

--a Coleman Sportster II Dual Fuel Stove--"dual fuel" as in Coleman Fuel (aka "white gas") or unleaded gasoline. Not that I go camping all that frequently, but I have found that more and more places are banning open air fires, so it's a nice thing to have. For emergency purposes, well, let me tell you--one winter the gas lines in my neighborhood froze, which I didn't know was even possible, and I spent about three days wishing for some way to heat food and water--your meal choices are somewhat limited without a stove and as for shaving with cold water...well, let's just say it was an experience I'd prefer not to repeat. Incidentally, this particular stove can be found at Wal*Mart for significantly less than Coleman's list price or even's (and Amazon's reviews are encouraging).

Now, if I can just find a few people willing to try a Bug-Out Campout...


Alexis said...

You might want to carry your BOB around with you to see how heavy it is before you use it for anything.

It's easy to load a lot of stuff in them and then after 25 lbs and 1 1/2 miles later people find out it's too heavy.

I know you are very intelligent and have weighed/worked out with your bag on already. But just in case you got seduced by the BOB like many of us do I thought I might mention it.

Don't forget to pack the body powder in the summer time. You don't want raw bits or boots from sweating.

G. W. Ferguson said...

OMG! Body powder! I didn't think of that, but you're right; that would be a necessity in a bug-out situation.

Yeah, I'm in the throes of figuring out what's essential in a BOB and what would be merely nice to have but too weighty to carry. Being practical-minded, I'm ignoring the bathroom scales and making these decisions by seeing what happens when I actually lug it around on my back--which is often a revelation.

Probably what will happen is I will subdivide things into (1) very basic survival/first aid kit (carry in pocket), BOB (maximized for portability on foot), and stuff for the car not meant for carrying on foot.

You're right; the BOB is very seductive and must be tempered with common sense.

Will you fit?

Alexis said...

One of thing I have noticed is for some reason people stuff toilet paper rolls in the bag. You are suppose to get a plastic bag and take off several sheets at a time and put them in there. I have put those in my front pockets on my Alice bag for easy access.

The thing is it helps to ration the toilet paper and saves it from water and dirt.

I also try to make use of pockets and my belt. That way I am carrying small items often used on my person.

The next mistake I see is people using regular backpacks!

You have the right ideal about how to figure out what to take.

Being 5'2 I just might fit into your BOB!