The Second 3 – Loading up the 3-day Bug Out Bag [the BOB]
So let’s talk about what you should plan to carry if you have to move over land on foot for three days.
Our emergency kits included the following:
► Your basic tool – a knife (and whetstone)
► Starting a fire – a lighter (and magnesium fire starter)
► Purifying water – a Life Straw
► Storing water – a canteen
► Cooking – a set of pots and pans
► Three days of food (and a small can opener)
► Some fishing hooks and fishing line (a small fishing net)
► Shelter – poncho and poncho liner (bungee cords, parachute cord, hammock)
► A small medical kit
► A weapon – pistol, shotgun, and/or rifle (and accessories) all the ammo you can comfortably carry
On your person, you will have your wallet (some money, credit cards, ID) and some appropriate clothing for hiking. Some comfortable hiking footwear is a must.
Upgrading your emergency kit to a 3-day BOB. While are emergency kit was probably ten to twenty pounds, we are looking to go no more than 40 pounds at this point.
► We recommended a folding lock blade knife in the emergency kit. For your 3-day bug out you can upgrade to a sturdier full tang knife. You will probably strap this to your belt or your thigh on your non-firing hand side. You can still keep your lock blade knife in your pocket. If you have a group, several people in the group should also be assigned with some heavier tools: a full sized axe, a saw (folding or the survival saws – for light duty), a shovel (folding e-tool or a D handle). And you should have one or two multi tools (like a Leatherman) among the group.
Full tang knives
Heavier tools - Hatchet - you will spend about $20-40 dollars for this tool. I included a couple of brand names below
You might consider a tomahawk as a dual purpose device for self defense assuming you plan to train on how to use it. For a full size axe the Estwing below was Amazon's choice and has several great reviews. If you want a wooden handle axe, I included Cold Steel's Trail Boss. Both are under $40.
I am going to skip posting some machetes here other than to say you should look for one that is 20-25" in length and had a heavier spine - you want some weight behind it when you swing it. I will move right to saws. I prefer a folding saw for the Bug Out Bag. If you want to go really light you can just bring some saw blades and make you own bow saw. Another light option is a wire saw or hand operated chain saw. These are neat and compact but you are really looking for something that will cut through wood quickly with as little effort a possible. If you want to go big - go for the Silky KatanaBoy with a 19.7" blade (this is on my Christmas wish list). At just under $200, it is a beast. Moving to something a little smaller, the Silky BigBoy Professional Series 2000 has a 14" blade.and is just over $50. If your budget is limited or you just want something smaller I included the under $20 SOG folding saw and the under $10 Fishkar 7" below.
And a shovel rounds out your equipment. While you can get a folding camping shovel or a multi-purpose, You want something sturdy. Digging is no fun to begin with, Digging with a tiny flimsy shovel is just aggravating. The trade off is weight for performance. Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get you a full sized D Handle shovel. Only need one for the group.
► You can augment your fire making capability with a couple of methods of starting a fire. You want three ways to get a spark or flame: your Bic Lighter was one, add some waterproof matches and the fire steel with striker. SPOILER ALERT: the fire steel will always give you a spark. Wet weather, cold weather, It always works. You may want to carry some tinder to catch the spark and build some flames. Tinder is light weight and you can pick some up as you are walking (dry leaves, grass or twigs) and just stuff them in a pouch or sack for use later. You can use your knife to feather wood and make shavings. But Vaseline soaked cotton balls or lint from your dryer stuffed in an old prescription pill bottle also make good tinder. And you can cut small pieces off a Duraflame log and carry that as tinder. There are all sorts of commercially available tinder but I don't believe it is necessary to spend money for this. Personally I am not so much into the hand drill, the friction plough, or the bow drill. But if you are reduced to these methods, they work…. with effort.
► Everyone should have a Lifestraw or similar device. The drawback is you can’t store the purified water, you suck from a source and then move on. So getting a portable microfilter pump is a good upgrade in this scenario. You only need one or two for the group plus a spare filter cartridge. Plenty of good models out there Katadyn, Sawyer, MSR. All are fairly compact and light. Augment with some water purification tablets (small and light). But you should plan to boil water each evening and fill up your canteens to capacity, top off before you depart in the morning.
► Everyone should have more than one canteen. One can be plastic or Nalgene and one should be metal so you can heat up the liquid. Total capacity should be a gallon which when full will be eight pounds. But since you will be drinking as you move, your pack gets lighter! As long as you get to another water source before they go completely dry. I like the water bladders in the backpack (with the sipping straw) so I can hydrate on the move. Nice to have but not need to have. Canteens can be strapped to the sides of your backpack for easy access. Have your partners pull them off for you and then return them once you are done drinking (but you will have to return the courtesy!)
► Your group should only need one cooking set but having a spare for redundancy is not a bad plan. Everyone should carry their own mess kit.
► Food: ok the simple answer is to buy nine MREs per person and be done with it. MREs weigh between 1 and 1.5 lbs so roughly 12 pounds at the start of your trek (and down to zero by the time you reach your destination). But if you know there are places along your route (you planned your route, correct?) that you can fish or gather food, you might be able to get by with less. If you were really prepared, you might have even cached some food along your pre-planned route. Bottom line is MREs are not the most tasty of rations, you can make your own “MRE” with food you find more palatable or use freeze dried camping rations that will weigh less (but then need water to reconstitute). Pack enough for three days and supplement with food you can forage along your route.
Some other options: SOS Rations are Amazon's Choice and their best seller is Grizzly Gear, I included Datrex as the serving size is a little smaller (200 cal versus 400 calories for the first two
► Ways to get more food: your team should have more than one fishing kit. Many rods and reels are light weight and break down so you don’t have to be reduced to using a wooden dowel to secure your fishing line. Put together several lures and other gear in a small box (there are plenty of small fishing kits in a box available in stores or on line). One person can have a small trap or snare kit that can be deployed when you overnight. Nothing like fresh meat for breakfast….
These will fit in your cargo pocket
If you are looking for something a little more compact, try the ReadyMan Wilderness Survival Card or a Paracord Grenade
You can also get a snare kit
► I didn’t mention mylar blankets in the emergency kit and I should have. While I look at these more as a medical item, if the nights get cold, they really help retain the heat. And they are so small and lightweight, they should be a staple in your kits. Note they are also pretty flimsy so they might not last. Upgrade your sleeping gear to a light-weight sleeping bag rated to the weather in your area. Include an inflatable travel pillow. A ground mat would be nice but it is bulky. You can use a trash bag for a ground sheet if you need to. One person should carry a lightweight tent for the group (such as a four-man tent for a group of four or one two-man tent between each pair of people in the group). Bring some bungee cord or paracord so you can stretch out some overhead cover in the rain (some Hefty contractor bags if you don’t have a tarp or visqueen).
You should also pack some spare clothes: spare socks are a must, especially in cold weather. Even in cold weather you will work up a sweat. When you stop, you need to change your socks and under garments at a minimum. You will be surprised how quickly you cool down when sweaty, especially once the sun goes down. Getting into dry clothes will keep you warm and comfortable. Hypothermia will kill you faster than dehydration or starvation, it only takes a few hours.
For cold weather you will need to strip down for movements to minimize overheating. But have appropriate gear to bundle up for when you stop: watch caps or baklavas, gloves or mittens, seasonal jackets, windbreakers, fleeces.
► Small medical kit: no change other than augment as needed with prescriptions and plenty of ibuprofen for aching muscles.
► Weapons: no change, just make sure they are ready to use if the need arises. Ammo is heavy so you may wish to add this last to top off your load.
Other items to upgrade your emergency kit to a BOB:
Commo: a hand crank or solar AM/FM radio so you can monitor the news and the weather (assuming stations are transmitting).
A set of short range walkie talkies so a recon element can report conditions up ahead or when someone from the party goes on an excursion (to find water, gather wood, etc) they still have comms with the main party.
Other signal devices such as a signal mirror or a VS-17 panel. Again both are small and light. You only need a couple for the group.
A flashlight like a miniMag or a head lamp with extra batteries for each person. Use these sparingly as once your batteries run out, these are dead weight.
A compass (if you didn’t have one already) and a map of your area that cover your primary, alternate and contingency routes. A GPS assuming the system is still working.
The Grand Finale: Ok, now take this list and lay out all the gear and then pack it up in your BOB. How much does it weigh? Can you carry it for three days? Adjust accordingly.
Now go out for a walk around the block with all your gear, is the load balanced? Are all items properly secured on the BOB?
Next, build up with longer and longer hikes several times during the week until you can go on a three-day hiking trip with your BOB. See how far you can move in a day with all your gear and then set up camp at night. Use all the gear to test it out. If you didn’t use it during the three days, re-evaluate if you need it at all.
By this time, if you are not divorced and your kids still talk to you, you and your family should be well on your way to being a full-fledged Omega Men and Women.
De Oppresso Liber