Archive for the ‘Bug-out Bag’ Category

Too many mint tins

Posted: April 9, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag, Preparation
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I obsessively eat Altoids mints at work.  I don’t mean I pop one in my mouth and enjoy the flavor as it dissolves, either.  I throw 3 or 4 in at a time, and then chew them like a five-year old with a Tootsie pop.  My excuse is that its cheaper than the smoking habit I kicked a few years back.

I save all the tins (I think that’s 3/4 of why I eat them in the first place).  I have 20 odd tins in the basement with my bug out bag, and another 5 or 6 on the workbench in the garage.  The ones in the garage get used to store small parts, nuts and bolts, and the like.  Of the 20 in the basement, only three have anything in them.  One is my “fishing kit”, with a handful of fish hooks, a couple sinkers, and some fishing line.  I’m hoping I can fashion a fishing pole and dig up some bait if the need arises.  Its better than no fishing gear at all, either way.  The next tin has a Bic lighter, a box of “waterproof” matches, and a pack of new flints and a wick for a Zippo lighter.  I also have a can of Zippo fluid, but it won’t fit in the tin.  The third tin has, well hell, I’m not even sure if I have stuff in a third tin.  I plan on setting one up with a hundred bucks or so and a credit card, with the idea that bugging out may be for a localized reason, and having something on hand would be really helpful in that case.

I use more of them for other small stuff that would otherwise be easily lost in a bug out bag.  My plan is to paint them all so that their contents is easily identified by their color, etc.  If and when I actually get to this point, I will post some pictures.  If you have other ideas for tins, write me a quick note.  I know there are other ways they could be useful.

 

 

Sarge

The Barbie Bug Out Bag

Posted: February 28, 2012 by Barbie in Bug-out Bag
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Honestly, I haven’t put a lot of effort into my bug out bag so far.  I’m sure that’s a deeply shameful thing to admit, but I’ve been planning with two major scenarios in mind:

1.  An extremely localized SHTF (think wildfire or hurricane) in which I can just hop in the car and drive across the state line to the Boy Scout’s house to wait it out.  In that case, my bug out kit basically needs to be a few changes of clothes, a day or two worth of dog food, road trip tunes, and a shitload of Skittles for the drive.

2.  A TEOTWAWKI situation where there’s not really anywhere else to go, so I might as well just bug the hell in and ride it out.  For that reason I’ve been stocking up on stuff I’ll need so the Chihuahua and I can just lock ‘er up tight and bug in.

I really haven’t prepared for some kind of ghillie suit wearing, machete swinging, Man vs Wild situation.  It’s not really my style.

Sorry, folks.  You’re not going to see me eating rattlesnake chitterlings anytime soon.

Leave me in my home situation, with my stockpile and my things, and I think I can survive for a pretty long time post SHTF.  If I have to go on some kind of wilderness adventure, I don’t see it ending well (nor do I really see a point).  I’ll do what I have to do to survive, but going feral is pretty much going to be my last resort.  That being said, my focus for the bug out bag is more along the lines of “what if I get stuck in really bad traffic during an evacuation and run out of gas.”

So let’s get down to the deets:

The bag is an old North Face backpack I picked up at a thrift shop for 2.99 – it’s got lots of room to store stuff, lots of hooks and straps to hang things from, and it’s super comfortable.  As an added bonus, it’s not overly tactical-looking so hopefully people will assume it’s full of clothes and lip gloss or something.  I’m pretty happy with it, espcially for the price.

And now for the contents.  So far, I’ve got:

Two pouches of tuna fish

A four day supply of dog food in Mylar with an O2 absorber

Four emergency Mylar blankets (actually, three blankets and one I made into a dog sleeping bag)

Two P-38 can openers (why, I’m not sure)

Two cheap emergency rain ponchos

A Zippo windproof lighter I scored off eBay

A tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm (go ahead and laugh)

A spare leash for the dog

A list of important phone numbers

Several Ziploc bags (for keeping things dry)

Spare socks and undies

A packet of baby wipes

A box of protein bars

Water purification tables

70 SPF sunscreen (seriously, I’m the whitest cracker on the beach – I’ve had sunburns that rendered me incapacitated for days)

 

Clearly, I’ve got work to do.  Without a lot of intense thought, I can already see where an LED head lamp would come in handy, and some cold gear like gloves and a hat are a necessity (70 degrees feels chilly to me).  I wouldn’t mind having a Katadyn water filter bottle either.  Some cheap sunglasses might be a lifesaver, too.  And some bug repellent, and maps, a basic first aid kit, more food…

We’ll be revisiting this.

Learning Survival Skills

Posted: February 25, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag, Survival Skills
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As I think about what I’m going to load in my bug out bag(s), I tend to panic a little realizing that I am in no way a survivalist. I will never have a survival tv show, and I wont disappear into the woods for weeks on end to live off the land. I thought about buying tons of survival skills books and trying to learn everything I could.
Then I thought, “Fuck all that noise”. I have neither the time nor the patience for that. Once I decided I wasn’t going that route, I started trying to find another way to learn myself some useful stuff. I came up with a game plan.
There are probably a lot of people out there that are like me. You don’t have a ton of free time, and you couldn’t survive all that long on what you already know. So here is my proposal. Learn what you can, when you can, from whoever offers you any kind of knowledge. Stuff that will be vital, like basic lifesaving, you should memorize. We should all probably be able to make a fire using basic tools, as well. However, what about all that other stuff, like making shelters and creating traps to catch small animals? Try buying old military how-to books. The military put out all sorts of literature on survival, first aid, weapons maintenance and use, and anything else you can think of. These are typically paperback, and short and concise. There is no fluff. Pictures are simple and easy to follow.
I plan to buy them (they are typically cheap, and available at gun shows/surplus stores, and through mail order), and stash the small, useful ones in my BOB. I’ll read through ’em, or at least skim ’em first, so that I know whats there. My thought is that I will then have the information at hand, without having to memorize a ton of stuff.

http://www.armynavyshop.com/07-books-army-navy.html

These guys have some, but there are a lot more available.  I bought one for my SKS that covers maintenance and use.

Sarge

I was thinking about condoms recently.  Dont ask me why, but I started to think about what you can use them for.  I know fornication is the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind, but they can be used for other things.  It’s true!  If you think about what a condom was originally meant to do (keep two fluids separate, looking at it from a scientific standpoint) you realize that it has a lot of applications.  Ever been pushed into a pool and thought “man I wish my “insert electronic device” here was waterproof”?  Well a condom can be used to keep small things dry.  Lets say you have a watch that you’re fond of, but you need to ford a river.  If you had a few condoms in your BoB you could wrap up your watch to protect it.  really anything smaller than, well you know, can be stored in a condom to keep it dry and actually on second thought condoms have an amazing amount of stretch.  I mean check out this video of a kid pulling one over his head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vle-tpbJPs&feature=fvst.  You can store small fire arms in them to prevent rust or keep dirt out of the barrel of your rifle/shotgun.  Conversely if you need to keep something moist for some reason (I’m drawing a blank right now on something that needs to be kept moist other than cake, and I wouldn’t even go that far, but I suppose that you could do that experiment you do in first grade where you germinate some seeds in a bag except use a condom instead) it can be put into a condom for storage.  Condoms can also be used for water collection/storage.  Obviously they are not indestructible, or even particularly strong but they allow you to collect a sizable amount of water.  Condoms are extremely small and lightweight.  They can be easily stored and transported.  They are impermeable.  I mean really the uses are endless.  Laugh if you want but I going to keep a few with me.  And finally don’t forget to wrap you tool.

But really, don’t take my work for it.  Take his: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vle-tpbJPs&feature=fvst

On a side note I suggest un-lubricated latex condoms, otherwise things could get messy.

I recently returned from a weekend ski trip with a few friends which reminded me of something.  It can get really freaking cold sometimes.  The conditions were lovely and it was a great time, but getting back to my point, by the end of the day, the wind was picking up and the temperature at least felt like it plummeted.  This made me think about my BoB and the clothes I have packed.  I realized that I’ve packed for the spring and fall relatively well, but if I had to take off now I would probably freeze to death the first night if I couldn’t keep a good hot fire going.  If I had to bug out in the middle of the summer, I would be carrying way more clothes than I would need and not nearly enough water.  With this in mind I think I will start checking the inventory list that Sarge suggested I make, and updating whats in my BoB based on the current season.  I suppose that this would be a relatively simple concept (as I just compelted a google search and came up with multiple posts about seasonal BoBs: http://www.todayssurvival.com/forum/index.php?topic=143.0http://www.survival-homestead.com/bug-out-bag-checklist.html (this one also gives a very good checklist for a BoB)) but I didn’t think about it until this last weekend.  Good thing the nothing hit the fan.  I would suggest checking your BoB for the correct  supplies about every two to three months, or when a drastic change to your local weather occurs.  Ensure in the summer you have extra water, lightweight clothes, and sun protection of some kind or another.  In winter extra warm clothes and blankets (I suggest those space blankets that fold down to the size of a thin wallet, yet somehow can keep you really warm) and definitely some form of fire starter.  Spring and fall you need clothes that are cool enough when you’re moving about during the day, yet warm enough to keep you comfortable at night.  Again going back to my Boy Scout days, wear layers.  They can be easily shed as you warm up, and then replaced as it cools down.  It’s also a lot easier packing many thin layers of clothing rather than a few bulky layers.  They can also be removed and replaced from the BoB as necessary for season changes.  Another thing I remember from Boy Scouts is that cotton kills.  The reason they said this was that cotton can absorb an absurd amount of water, and then it takes an enormous amount of energy to remove said water.  If you are wearing this soaking or even damp cotton, guess where that energy to dry it comes from?  That’s right, you.  Wearing fabrics like wool and polypropylene will wick the moisture away from you skin, keeping your energy loss to a minimum.  They also dry more quickly as they cannot hold as much water.  So with all that in mind I suggest you go check your BoB to ensure you’re prepared for the current weather and not the weather you would prefer.

Packing Your Bug Out Bag

Posted: February 7, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag
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If you have a bug out bag on your back, and you’re on the move, the shit has clearly hit the fan.  We can assume that things will be very unpredictable for you as you travel.  You need to be sure that you know how to get to what you need in your bag, when you need it.  When you get bitten by that wild animal, or winged by the crazy with the .22 in the woods, you have to be able to get to your first aid kit fast.  When you’re about to be overrun by the undead, ammo is going to be the ticket, and you had better have it close at hand.  Clearly you won’t die if you can’t get your hands on your clean socks or your energy bar in an instant.  Keep this in mind when packing.  Put things of lesser emergency importance at the bottom.

Now, on to packing.  I’m going to assume you have at least one pair of spare socks, one spare T shirt, and one pair of clean underwear (wouldn’t your mom be proud).  The socks are the most important part of this, but more on that later.  What I like to do with my clean skivvies is create what my DI called a gunny roll.  This takes little time to prepare, makes for a nice small item to pack, and keeps all your clean drawers in the same place.  This really only works if you have some tube socks or tall boot socks (I would recommend some tall boot socks, wool if possible).  It goes like this:

1)  Lay your tshirt out, folding in the arms on both sides so that the result is a rectangle about 8 inches wide (Clearly, if you’re wearing XXL shirts, you will  have to adjust your sizing accordingly)

2)  Lay your undies on top of the shirt, near the neck hole.

3)  Lay your socks on top, perpendicular to your shirt.  Place the toe ends on the shirt, with the top open ends laying off to the sides like wings.

4)  Roll that whole thing up like a big burrito, or joint, or whatever it is that you’re used to rolling.  The tighter you roll it, the smaller the resulting package will be.

5)  Take one end of one of your socks, and stretch it back over the whole roll.  Do the same with the other end.  When you get done, you should have what looks like a sock colored football.  Success!

Now you have a couple gunny rolls made up, along with all the other crap you intend to stuff in your bug out bag.  Here is where we create what I like to call “flotation chambers”.  This is another concept I learned from uncle Sam.  Everything going in that sack, that you don’t want getting wet, should go into a ziploc bag.  You can use a variety of sizes to fit different items.  This offers three benefits.  1, your shit stays dry when it rains or you fall in the river like a dumbass (pretend you won’t make some ass mistakes while bugging out.  I know I’m going to have to learn the hard way, often) 2, you have bags you can use to gather or store food that you find along the way, 3, your bag has a bunch of little water tight pouches in it.  These water tight pouches will help keep your ass alfloat when you fall in the river, or when you get in the river intentionally to cross it, or whatever.  Either way,  you’ve turned your bug out bag into a PFD.  Bonus!

Next up, lets line the bag.  This part is easy.  If you have some extra coin to spend, buy yourself a waterproofing bag at an outdoor store.  It needs to be big enough to fill the main pouch of your bag.  If you don’t have the coin, use two heavy duty garbage bags, one inside the other.  Once you have used your waterproofing bag to line the inside of your pack, load it like you would normally.  This creates another moisture barrier, and gives you some more bags in which to store shit should the need arise.

Now, one last suggestion for that bag of yours.  In the main pocket of the bag, right on top, you should have a list of what you have and where it is in the bag.  This way, if you forget, or if your spouse needs something, or whatever, you have a reference sheet.  Store it in a ziploc to keep it dry.  You may never use this list, but you might use it, and it might just save your life.

Sarge

“Lead, follow, but stay out of the zombies way’

Status Update

Posted: February 4, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag
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Yeah, not that kind.  I’m talking about the status of my ability to survive the “un-survivable”.

In the weeks since we went live batshit, I’ve committed myself to actually preparing for some bad shit.  Until that point, I had planned and thought, and taken no real action.  That time has passed.  The point of shit is that it never hits the fan on a Saturday morning when you’re wide awake and ready to load up and roll out.  It happens on Tuesday at 7:52 pm when Susie’s at soccer and your wife isn’t talking to you. 

I previously showed pictures of BOB.  I’ve started my collection of stuff with which to load BOB.  I haven’t started in a logical place.

First off was this baby:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-38_can_opener

I know, its tiny.  I can promise, as I have used one, that it works well to open a can.  It is light weight and easily stores.  Buy 4 or 5 of ’em.  They’re cheap, and available all over the place online, as well as at a lot of outdoor and military surplus stores.  If you’re not on a first name basis with the guys behind the counter at these two locations in your town, you’re not preparing hard enough.  (Mike, at the local military surplus place, by the way.)  Attached to the P-38 is a flint, as in flint and steel, as in, make sparks to start fire.

I added a pair of spare combat boots as well.  (You’ll find that I really like military stuff.  Its never the lightest gear, but its often the most durable, and a lot of it is very affordable).  I also added a Gerber multitool, a Gerber fixed blade knife, and a Buck fixed blade knive.  I love knives, and I really like Gerber because they make durable stuff that is reasonably priced.  Additionally, I just bought a small 1 AAA battery flashlight and a $2 pair of leather gloves.  A set of leather gloves are great when trying to cook over open fire, repel down a cliff, or what-have-you.

Along with the work on BOB, I also began my vehicle loadout planning.  At a local gun show (an awesome place to find reasonably priced firearms and out door gear) I bought two medium sized and one large sized military ammo cans for $20 total.  I already have a small one.  These are great because they are very good at keeping things inside dry, and they are extremely durable.  They are not, however, all that light.

I have a large plastic footlocker from my time in Iraq that I plan to load up with spare clothing, a tent, etc.

So, there you have it.   Aside from the pile of ammo I’ve been stowing away for about a year now, that is my gear.

Check this baby out.  We should all buy one.

http://www.mossberg.com/products/default.asp?id=28

In the coming weeks, I intend to go deeper into what will probably make it into BOB, cover the easy way to use 550 (or para) cord to make multiuse survival gear, explain the right way to pack up a BOB in terms of organization and planning, and cover an alternate form of travel.  I will also add whatever random crap comes into my scull while I stare at a computer screen all day in my cubicle.

Sarge

 

“If its on sale, and it will help you survive, buy twice what you know you’ll need.”

Bug-out Bag: the Basics

Posted: January 27, 2012 by boyscout556 in Bug-out Bag
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Be Prepared, the Boy Scout motto and really the whole reason behind this site.   Having spent 7 years in Boy Scouts, and having attained the rank of Eagle Scout, a few things were drilled into my head by fathers that wanted to relive their younger years vicariously through there sons.  I mean really, go to any Boy Scout troop and I’ll bet 75% of the boys don’t even want to be there, but their dads are making them, mostly so the dads can go on the trips.  Either way, even being forced to be there, I still learned some useful skills, a few of which I might still remember.  First aid (trust me Scout Masters are obsessed with it), pioneering (knot tying, lashing etc. for those of you who were never forced to learn it.  I can lash a 30 foot tower together, not that it will ever help me), orienteering (map reading, using a compass, etc.  I don’t know what’s wrong with Land Nav but hey); all useful skills when you’re trying to survive in the woods.  One of the biggest things they repeated, other than first aid, was what should be in your backpack every time you go on a hike; The Ten Essentials.  This was a list that the Boy Scouts of America (and many other outdoors organizations) thought was so important that every Boy Scout (at least in my Troop) was required to carry them on every hike.  I mean let’s face it, that guy that lasted 72 hours and cut off his arm, (he cut off his own fucking arm) could do that because he had a knife with him.  If he didn’t have a knife he’d still have both arms, then again he might also be dead.  Now, thinking back, I realize that these ten items are really the basis of any bug out bag minus the guns and ammo.  And yes guns and ammo really are a necessity for a proper bug-out bag.

The Ten Essentials were:

  1. a pocket knife/multi tool
  2. first aid kit
  3. water bottle
  4. fire starter
  5. trail food
  6. extra clothing
  7. rain gear
  8. map and compass
  9. a flashlight
  10. sun protection

The first thing you notice is this list is meant more for a day on the trail rather than a few days of survival, I understand that.  I’m not saying “put this shit in a bag and you’ll be Bear Grylls”.  But it does provide a great basis.  If Bear actually packed this stuff he wouldn’t be drinking his own urine or giving himself an brackish water enema (seriously, here’s the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtIG4TuVnvg).  Upgrade the trail food to a few days’ worth of MREs or the like, add some extra bottles of water (or go with the enema, your call), a second larger knife (easier to cut off your own arm, you know, get you out in 60 hours instead of 72), etc. and you have the bare necessities of a bug-out bag.  Obviously a true bug-out bag will need a few more items (like ammo and a radio for starters), but if you just don’t know where to start I think this is the place, ten things packed easily into a backpack, that can be ready to go anytime.

And for those of you who ask “why do I need a gun, these ten items seem like enough, and guns scare me” just remember that there are assholes like me that will say, “what no gun?”  and take your shit, cause let’s be honest, when the SHTF it’s a dog eat dog world out there.

Bob

Posted: January 25, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag
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Today, I want to introduce you to my friend Bob. Bob is an ALICE pack, who saw prior military service. Perhaps Bob should be named Alice, but whatever. Bob is the sad start to my BOB. As of now, he is in pieces. He contains nothing.

The point of a BOB is to have your shit ready to roll when SHTF. So, Bob is useless to me at this point. In my mind, I regularly think through the stuff that should be in there. I never write it down, and its always changing. What I do know, is that it will contain the WAC. WAC is Water, Ammo, Chow. It is in that order, because I think thats the order of import of the items.

My problem is that I like guns. I own four. Each uses different ammo. My fear is that Bob will become an ammo chest, with no room for anything else of use. With that in mind, I’m trying to decide which guns go, and which ones stay, and which ones I can convince my loving wife to carry.

If anyone has suggestions, or a list of what they have, or whatever, for their BOB, lets get some ideas flowing. I need to do something, or TEOTWAWKI will arrive, and I’ll have a big, empty BOB.

P.S. what kind of pack are you using for a BOB, and why?