Friday, February 6, 2015

My Bug-Out Bag: Part 6 of 6

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Welcome to the final post in my What does Erin have in her Bug-Out Bag series!

Last week, I showed you what made up the top half of my BOB's main compartment. This week is the bottom half, along with some miscellaneous items I couldn't get to fit.

Looking down at the second layer, you can see both the rear pocket which holds the water bladder (and other things) and the front access panel. On top are a mismatched pair of kevlar-nomex oven gloves that I got at my local supermarket. One of them has grip stripes, making it useful for lifting hot and smooth things like camp stoves and pots, and the smooth one can either assist in that manner or be used as a pot holder (in case I wanted to eat inside a tent, say) without worrying about prolonged exposure melting the grip surface.

With the gloves removed you can see how I have things arranged. Below this is just a zippable partition separating the main compartment from the sleeping bag compartment.

From top, clockwise:
  • Two survival books inside a drawstring pouch made of waterproof poncho material
  • A broken-down MRE, supplemented with other lightweight items like soups and teas
  • My first-aid kit (explored in detail here)
  • 3 days' worth of socks and underwear in a waterproof bag

I didn't waterproof the first aid kit because I wanted to be able to access it in a hurry, but upon reflection I think that may be foolish. I'm going to stick it inside a gallon Ziploc bag when I'm finished writing this -- it's not a perfect solution, but it's a good compromise and should protect it from everything except a dunking. 

Here are the contents, spread out. You can see that my two books are the SAS Survival Handbook by Lofty Wiseman (now in its third edition -- the one I have is only second edition) and Wilderness Living by Gregory Davenport.

Why those two books?  They're dense with information, are easy to read, and are tougher than regular paperbacks yet are lighter than hardbacks. I should probably have a dedicated book about medicine/first aid, but I have yet to find one that I like yet fits into my bag. However, you'll note that my medical kit, which is portable, has several books in that vein.

To the left of the books is a small backpack that folds into a fist-sized package. I keep this in case I need to go foraging for stuff -- firewood, berries, etc -- or I just need a way to carry something without hauling my entire BOB around. To the right is mesh bag with drawstring closure that I'd put wet clothes in to allow them to air-dry.  Both of these bags are pushed into the corners of the bag, and are therefore hard to see in the pictures.

This is the hydration compartment. The thing in the orange bag is a tent, and the Power Pot (from last week's post) sits right on top of it.

The tent is a Stansport "Black Granite" Star-Light Tent with Rainfly, which I will confess I haven't tested yet. If I don't like it, I'll take it out and replace it with something else; the quest for the ideal backpack tent at a budget price is a bit of a Holy Grail for me.

It's a two-person tent; having spent some time in one-person tents during driving rainstorms, I can tell you that they can get a bit claustrophobic after half an hour. I'd rather carry the extra weight and have extra room for myself and some gear that I want kept dry.

Also present:
  • A set of game knives (questionable quality, but they were free, and if I get anything better I'll replace them
  • Tent stakes, because the bent metal roundstock pins that come with tents are pretty craptastic
  • 100 feet of paracord
  • Two shish kabob skewers. (Why? Listen to my GBVC segment for an explanation.)

To conclude this article, here are some item that I really want to include in this bag, but I just can't find the space for.

  • My Ruger Bearcat with 150 rounds of .22 LR ammunition
  • Marksman slingshot and 1/4 inch shot
  • 35L dry bag. The size is awkward -- too large to hold my sleeping bag and still fold down to a reasonable size, and not large enough to be able to swallow my entire BOB for waterproofing. I'm not sure if going up to 40 L would actually help anything, and the smallest is 20L. I think I need an 8-10 L bag to fit the sleeping compartment. Still, a dry bag is a handy thing to have.
  • Cutting board
  • Mezzaluna. Sure, you look at it and laugh, thinking it's just for mincing herbs and trimming pastries. But I look at it and think "modern-day Ulu knife". 
If anyone can suggest what I ought to remove in order to add some of these, I've love to hear what you have to say.

And if you've made through this entire series -- thank you! I hope it was informative as well as entertaining, and I look forward to feedback from you as to what I should add, remove, replace or rearrange within my Bug-Out Bag. 

Have a great weekend!

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