busy

I’ve been busy lately, but I haven’t been forgetting about the blog. Been thinking about what the next post should be about, and real life got in the way. Pesky thing. Maybe people’s bug-out bags? I recently went back home to the big D and found that only one of my oldest friends does NOT have a bag ready. I have a few opinions about the concept, though honestly more about the contents than anything else.

I keep seeing something that I’m finding a little disturbing: why are people packing so much? I’d like to hear the lists people are putting into them and what the rationale is for a lot of it. I’m personally of the opinion that I’d prefer not to have the bag at all as it’ll likely be filled with things I’ll find myself relying on – crutches, if you will. A few field guides and enough gas in the tank to get out of Dodge – or at least far enough away that the abandoned car won’t be found for a few hours – would suffice, I would think.

If there’s more than one reader, I’d love if they compared notes! Let’s see them comments!

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I'm learning a few new things from a few new people, whether they know it or not. View all posts by gblogswild

4 responses to “busy

  • Bill

    The bother with BOBs is that you can’t be certain which disaster you are preparing for … like the Japanese who might have been fully prepared to deal with an earthquake … but were caught totally off-guard when all the water in the world showed up, too.

    It makes a big difference, too, if you are hoping the State Police will find you or if you are trying really, really hard to keep that from ever happening.

    This ramps up the weight.

    There are three day BOBs (which should actually, according to FEMA, be at least 5-day BOBs) and there are “that’s it, I’m outta here” BOBs.

    I’m an “outta here” sort of guy — with a wife.

    You can’t carry 3 days worth of water if you are going to carry much of anything else. Do the math. That’s 24 pounds for minimum cooking and drinking needs alone. Even that is a light load … pour out a gallon of water in the morning and make that do until the next morning – cooking, drinking, hygiene. It’s sort of okay if you are more or less stationary, but add any level of serious exertion to that and see how much of that water is left for anything but thirst.

    So you have to carry a means to make more because you only have two days between you and the onset of disorientation / delirium.

    Boiling works, but there are circumstances where a fire – even a hobo stove or a Dakota fire hole – is ill-advised, so a first-class filter is a good idea, else at least some chemical means of killing the nasties. A penny stove might work, if you prepared one ahead of time and have fuel for it. But even that could be chancy. A solar still works. Slowly. Too slowly for someone on the run. Ditto for plastic bags around tree leaves. Or are plastic bags crutches?

    So where DO you plan on getting (at least) a gallon a day of safe drinking water from?

    If you are planning on making a run for it, what season are you prepped for and how long do you think you might be living out of your bag? I think that not being able to choose the season or, possibly, even the destination or route, argues in favor of a 4-season sleeping bag / bivy. A -40 F. bag is about right. I know about snow caves, etc. But I’m not counting on getting to choose where I encamp or having hours to set up and conceal it. Neither am I counting on having a buddy to assist. That -40 may have to be in a relatively exposed location on small rations.

    If you are fleeing with someone, you have to allow for their survival in the event you get separated … so figure on some dupes. I carry the main tent, my wife carries a smaller tent. We each have a mess kit and multiple means of starting a fire (flint, lighter, magnifying glass, matches. We each have a decent first aid kit but are looking to ramp that up (if I’m a fugitive, even if I CAN walk, it would be a bad idea to flash my insurance card at the nearest county general hosp.) with training to match.

    Yeah, I’m reading Army field manuals, but it’s tough to get practice sitting in my office. In my neighborhood, it’s not especially safe to spend the night in your own backyard.

    We are taking monthly classes in edible wild foods (I recently foraged my first wild mushrooms from the front lawn. Yea! — From BOOKS!).

    Next week we are looking to take a CPL (CCW) class so as to deal with large mammals and hostile reptiles. Our bug-out plans call for heading into rattlesnake country that is also inhabited by bears, cougars and murderers.

    Our current packs are 35#. They have about a weeks worth of food, a days worth of water (3 liter backpack bladder + 40oz.), enough powdered Gatorade for about 3 weeks along with some tea, hot chocolate and instant coffee, one full change of clothes with extra socks, various sharp-edged things, tents and rain gear. They DO NOT include the 4-season sleeping bag, firearms (plural), hiking boots or ammunition. I am deliberately leaving some items off the list. Call me if you want more details.

    Each mile I put between me and that abandoned car adds >3 square miles to the search area. If I can move for a week, undetected, and then blend in with others who are NOT fugitives, I stand a chance, however slim, of never being noticed at all.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Bill

    Addendum: While prepping a BOB, you also need to solve the problem of acquiring a stockpile of any prescriptions you might be relying on … especially if going ‘cold turkey’ is a bad idea. A guy who is counting on blood thinners on a normal day, for instance, doesn’t want to run out while he is also dehydrated and stressed. Aspirin is an okay substitute if you can tolerate them. If so, lay in a decent supply and rotate your stock at least yearly. (BTW, a wet aspirin rubbed against a wasp or hornet sting is effective at neutralizing the pain … it changes the pH.)

    All in all, I don’t see “a good knife, a good flint and a pound of jerky” as being a good survival strategy … simply because better tools are available. Even Louis & Clark took guns and a BUNCH of food … besides all the bushcraft skills they already possessed.

    Can you read a compass and plot a course on a map? Do you own the topographic maps you might need? (1:24,000)

    Once you step off the highway, it’s a new ballgame.

  • gblogswild

    I don’t attack the idea of the bag. In fact, I think it’s a good idea. I simply believe that the skills to replace the items in the bag, which include the knowledge of where to find the replacement materials and their methods of collection, are more important that the materials that are actually contained therein.

    I won’t go on record stating that “a good knife, a good flint and a pound of jerky” is a good strategy. I would, however, suggest the inability to live without any item in the bag camouflages a hole in the skillset.

  • obscureblogger

    Granted that the inability to live without a particular item is a deal killer. That is the thinking behind carrying, for instance, multiple sharp-edged things, each of which have multiple uses. (I tried my machete out for the first time today. It’s a nice concept but I need better steel … 10 minutes whacking dulled it.)

    ISTR that a full battle pack for a Marine is in the neighborhood of 60 pounds or so … and that is with re-supply presumed. I will also grant that training (by any means available … even armchair) is worth its weight in equipment. My wife and I plan to start hiking the AT as soon as we get settled in our new home. Even just a few nights at a time will fill in huge voids in our reading.

    BTW: in re foraging; I just tried some purselane for the first time today. It’s quite palatable and a nutrition powerhouse (albeit short on calories). http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html

    It’s one of those “weeds” that we’d do well to plant instead of pull.

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