Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bug-Out Mobility Preps

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Those who have been listening to GunBlog VarietyCast Radio know that for the last few months, I've been working on making my room less cluttered and more organized. Finally, I get to show you the fruits of some of that labor: my bug-out preps, staged and ready to go.

The pack is on a folding camp stool, so instead of having to lift a heavy pack with my arms and back, I just follow this sequence:
  1. Squat down in front of pack
  2. Fasten pack straps around shoulders and waist
  3. Stand up
  4. Grab other things (like the stool or the walking stick/spear or a rifle) 
  5. Walk out the door.
If I take the stool with me, I can use a similar procedure to dismount. I feel that not only is this an easier method, but it's also healthier -- my legs are doing most of the lifting, rather than my back.

But what if I don't want to carry all that weight on my back? What if I'm traveling a long distance, or I need to carry a lot of gear, or a family member is unable to walk? This is why I bought a deer cart with a 500 lb lifting capacity, even though I don't hunt, and I'm pleased to report that my first use of it was a success.

Mom buys 100 lbs (!) of corn for forest critters every 2 weeks.* Normally, we each grab a 15-20 pound bag and carry it to the porch. This gets the job done, but it's tiring; the corn is constantly trying to slip out of our arms. So this time, instead of carrying the bags by hand, I instead loaded all the bags onto the cart, then pulled the cart to the back yard.
  • Was this faster than carrying each bag in by hand? Yes.
  • Was it easier? For me, no. I just ended up using different muscles by loading up the cart and then pulling it. On the other hand, it was much easier for mom, because all she had to do was open doors and gates for me and close them afterwards.
  • Note: Unless you're carrying something very large or very rigid, you'll need something between the bars to keep the contents from slipping out. I used a chaise lounge cushion, because it was handy. This worked quite well, and would also make the cart more comfortable if used as an emergency litter.
  • The wheels traveled well over the grass and dirt of the backyard, so I have a good idea how well the cart will handle off-road. 

It folds up rather tidily. The wheels can be removed with a simple locking pin, but that makes moving the cart a pain in the rear; it's far easier just to push it around like a dolly.

The retention loops on the linchpins can be used to help hold some pieces in place (such as the crossbars), but be aware that the bottom piece -- which is on top in this illustration, having been pivoted around the axle -- is loose and needs to be secured with tie-downs or held in place by hand.

The handlebar can also fold down, but I see no benefit in that for my purposes. It makes long-term storage easier, though.

There are however two caveats about this particular cart:
  1. The instructions tell you to put the handles on pointing down. I thought this was dumb from an ergonomic standpoint, so I put them on the other way.
  2. Not all of the holes line up evenly, and getting the linchpins through them was such a pain that I eventually got out my power tools and reamed the holes out with a drill bit. 

Still, for $56 and free shipping, not a bad little cart.

(We have a forest behind our back yard, and the critters include squirrels, possums, raccoons, and deer. The animals make her happy, and if things get bad, we have a source of game animals for a while.)

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