Showing posts with label ghb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghb. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Long Day, Garden and Rucking

Today really feels like it should be Friday, not Thursday which sucks. The news that our government was pretty much spying on every Verizon Wireless customer certainly did not help matters. It's not much of a leap to guess the same has been going on at AT&T, Sprint, etc all. Cannot say I am exactly surprised but it certainly is not good news. May talk more about that later.

Produce is coming out of the garden which is nice. The birds pretty much got the tomatoes but the cherry tomatoes are getting ripe and I'm working through the lettuce and spinach. It is nice to be able to make a salad out of stuff from the garden. Next year hopefully the garden will be significantly larger and staggered so we have produce for a good part of the summer.

This afternoon once I got home from work I was going to either write something very angry, get drunk or exercise. I try not to write while angry anymore plus getting hammered is not the best idea (especially during the week) so that left exercise. Had to wait till the heat broke a bit so at 6 I went for a ruck. Did a nice 20 minute up, 20ish back walk. The timing worked out great, it was cooling down but I got back well before dark. Carried my get home bag. It is a good idea to try carrying any system you plan to potentially use. While this bag is fairly light (maybe 20 pounds) it's good to make sure it carries right. All was well.

That being said I do need to work out my hot weather gear a bit. A long sleeved cotton t shirt would be the way to go I think. Either a light tan or white. Also I did not have a boonie hat in the bag but there was one in the Rubbermaid that lives in the back of our vehicle. It is a cheapo one that worked but is less than ideal. Have one in my closet full of Army junk that is better. Need to find it and swap them.

Those minor issues aside I am pretty happy with my setup. It has what I want and is not too bulky or heavy. Will give it a look over then probably talk about it in coming days. 

On the plus side Person of Interest is on which is always fun. Even better tomorrow is Friday. Hope you all have a good night.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lines of Gear and Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags

Alexander Wolfe wrote an excellent post today discussing Go Bags and Bug Out Bags. I am going to talk about my thoughts on 'lines' of gear. In doing so we will talk about go bags/ assault packs/ get home bags and such. 

First line gear is the most basic survival and defensive gear. You really shouldn't be leaving home without it.
Military- Survival gear (knife, fire, etc) and weapon with reload. For most deployed personnel the weapon is an M4 variant but that doesn't really matter.
Civilian- EDC/ Survival gear and potentially CCW pistol with reload. You can see mine here and also a lot of other peoples.

Second line gear is your 'fighting load'. It stores ammo, water, basic first aid stuff, a small radio, maybe a more substantial knife, etc all.
Military- Old school would be your LBE or whatever and a rifle if your first line gun was a pistol. The contemporary equivalent would be body armor, a chest rig if your pouches aren't mounted strait to the vest.
Civilian- There are a lot more options but the basics are the same. Ammo, medical, maybe a more substantial knife, water, etc. This could be a direct or linear descendant of some military system of a smaller lighter setup designed to more closely suit civilian needs. War belts and Active Shooter kits fall into this category.

Third line gear is for sustainment over a longer period. Depending on how your stuff is set up and the conditions the second line is good for a short operation or up to a day or so.The third line is for sustainment beyond that time frame.
Military- Ruck Sack with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time.
Civilian- Large bag with food, water, warm clothes, hygiene stuff, batteries, maybe ammo, etc all. Set up to sustain an individual within their current environment for a reasonable amount of time. This is where the BOB AKA 'Bug Out Bag or INCH "I'm Never Coming Home Again" type systems fall.

We could quibble about what exactly should go where and other minutia. However it's basically the way our military operates these days so I do not think many folks would disagree with the general concept.

So now we are back to the Go Bags/ Assault Packs/ Get Home Bags. I will briefly discuss my thoughts on them then move forward.

The 'Go Bag' is pretty much set up to supplement your fighting load. More mags, medical stuff, food, batteries, etc all. It typically stays in a vehicle and is grabbed to resupply or if you need to bail out on foot.

The 'Assault Pack' is used to carry equipment beyond your fighting load needed for a particular mission. Potentially that could include bino's/ spotting scopes, batteries, clothes, food, additional ammo, explosives, breaching gear, land mines, signaling equipment, etc all.

The 'Get Home Bag' is a bag designed to have sufficient stuff to get a person from where they are to back home. Generally set up smaller and lighter than the 'bug out bag' though one mans BOB might be another's GHB.

So where do the Go Bag/ Assault Pack/ Get Home Bag fall into this general system?

We could analyze the exact composition of every single kit or just make it simple and call them level 2.5. That is sort of awkward but since these kits are typically a split between supplemental fighting load and short term sustainment I think it's the best fit. This is further made awkward because many civilians do not have a 'fighting load' in their general commonly carried systems. They may have a hodge podge of stuff floating around their vehicle or a few spare mags in their level 2.5 system. Also I find the conceptual level 2.5 useful because the level of sustainment is generally for a shorter period of time than the more traditional Ruck/ BOB 3rd level of sustainment.

Yes I categorize these systems in the same range. Furthermore I would go as far as to say they are just variations of the same kit adjusted to different circumstances. A soldier or contractor operating out of a vehicle will probably have a go bag. Inevitably some chow and supplemental clothing plus life's random junk (paperback book, MP-3 player, gum, flashlight, etc) can slip in there. Really while the bag might vary that isn't any different than an Assault Pack. These kits exact composition varies in part based on your fighting load. I've seen contractors who wore 2-3 spare mags for their rifle and 1-2 for the pistol (often in a ghetto made war belt from some pouches and a spare rigger belt) then carried a bag with more of each plus smoke/ grenades/ etc. If for whatever (IMO foolhardy) reason a person in a highly kinetic situation goes with way their  2.5 line is going to have a lot of ordinance in it. On the other hand a guy carrying 8-12 mags on his body has more room for a spare sweater in the 2.5 line.

To me the 'Get Home Bag' is a civilian equivalent of the same kit. It is a fairly small purpose built kit designed to help you with a specific mission, in this case getting home. They tend to be far lighter on ordinance than a soldier or contractor's Go Bag/ Assault Pack. The reason for this is simple. Despite some folks Red Dawn or whatever militia porn fantasies the odds Joe Everyday is going to need a first aid kit, some chow, a coat and a flashlight are a whole lot higher than that he will need an AR with a dozen magazines. Now if you want to carry a dedicated fighting load plus a 'Get Home Bag' type setup good for you but as a survivalist do not carry the ammo instead of the sustainment stuff.

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. I am eager to hear yours.

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I did pretty good. Picked up 2 pair of boots (1x Blackhawk gently used and 1x USGI Winter new) for $40 total which was nice. Also got an Oakley backpack gently used for $20. It's going to keep my daily stuff and the GHB stuff will be beefed up and live in my TT bag. Also swapped some '06 ammo I didn't need for 30-30 ammo I can use.

Anyway that's what I have been up to. What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

With having another kid and all not a lot happened this week. Did pick up various extra hygiene stuff and OTC meds. Also replaced some batteries that had been used.

Also I did some tweeking to my GHB. I think at this point it is going to slide from a true EDC to a lives in the car GHB. Adding that $20 brand new USGI gore tex and a couple light weight tops, 2 spare mags for the Glock, 100 rounds of 9mm,100 rounds of .22 and about 2k more in calories in food. It was annoying to haul for my few strictly EDC things but now I don't really want to haul it to class and whatnot. If I was going in someone elses car or whatever I would put my few EDC things in it but otherwise it's just going to live in the vehicle/ near me. Will likely get another bag to fill the EDC in the near future.

I'm working on swapping another gun or two. Noticed two interesting phenomenons worth discussing. The first are folks who think that they can get new gun prices for their barely *cough they are all barely used come selling time cough* used gun. Sorry folks, when you take it out of the gun shop it becomes used. Period. END OF STORY. The second are the people who send you a note asking what the absolute lowest price you will take is. Most smart folks build in some bargaining room to their asking price so there is some wiggle room but come on. If you are too lazy to bargain you pay asking price or walk. Anyway these two things have been annoying me lately.

Also as a bonus I almost appreciate the guy who sends an email offering half the going price of guns. Helll no I won't sell him a Glock for $300 but can't blame the guy for trying. Guess he is sort of the used gun equivalent of the dude who asks every woman he meets if she wants to have sex. Even if the rate is 3% if he asks 100 folks week he does pretty decent.

This coming week I am getting back to eating right and serious PT which is good. Planning to review the Solo Pot 900 also. Will put some work in on my BOB and just maybe talk about my GHB.

What did you do to prepare this week?


Thursday, January 3, 2013

RE: Bags in EDC Contest

Received a comment about the rules for our EDC Contest today that is worth addressing.

 First lets review the full rules:

The broad strokes are this. I want to share and discuss the stuff we carry around every day AKA EDC. Taking pictures of our stuff and talking about it is my goal. Looking both at broad tools (pistol, folding knife, light, multi tool, etc all) and specifically digging into the this vs that of a Wambanger 29 vs a Doohickey A3.

The prizes will be as follows:
1st Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
2nd Place: 1 Blackhawk Holster donated by LuckyGunner.com ($50 value)
3rd Place:  1 Snare-Vival-Trap cough garote cough donated by Camping Survival ($17 value)

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value)

The Details:

The contest will run from today until 31 January. Typically I would have it run for a month but I want to give a bit more time since lots of folks are doing other things from Christmas through New Years. Still I wanted folks who might be off work and have some spare time to have the opportunity to knock out their entry thus the extra week.

As discussed above a submission will be a picture of the stuff you personally carry around on a normal daily basis with high regularity as well as a blurb/ essay discussing the stuff and it's role. I'm talking on your belt and in your pockets not in the car or some bag that generally travels near you but actual on body cary.

[Edited at 9:22 on 12/24 to include. Received a good question. Purses can count for women. They are a terrible way to carry defensive weapons but that is another topic. Honestly just didn't think that through when writing the rules. Guys I am still not including the Murse/ man bag/ Jack Bauer satchel or whatever. Life is not fair and you can call it sexist if you want. The reason is that women have their purses a pretty much all the time out of the home, probably at a higher percentage than active CCW holders have guns, while guys have some awkward bag that might go into the car occasionally.]

Note that I said a normal day and with high regularity. Don't try to impress folks by exaggerating. I do not want to know what your ideal hypothetical EDC is but what actually goes with you to the grocery store, movies or mom's for dinner. It would be a real upward battle to convince me you carry a Glock 34 with 3 17rd mags plus 4 33rd mags, a snubby .357 with 4 speed loaders, a 12" bowie knife, boot knife, a swiss army knife, an IFAK, a GPS, a lensastic compass, a pocket survival kit, a USGI poncho, an IFAK, an extendable baton, a mace, a taser, 3 of those lifeboat rations, binoculars, a multi tool and some other stuff on your person every day. Ethical issues aside I will call it like I see it if somebody seems to be exaggerating.

I'm not going to be specific about format for the picture or blurb/ essay. If the stuff doesn't open on my windows PC I will reply saying it needs to be changed to something that works on my computer for it to be entered into the contest.

I usual edit guest posts for OPSEC, spelling and grammar. To help contestants out I can (if they want) help with editing by looking a submission over and sending it back with some thoughts to help in the editing process.

Submissions will be made via email to theotherryan@yahoo.com. 

Winners will be picked by voting in early February. Details will follow as I firm this part up in the coming weeks.

I reserve the right to change prizes, contest dates or whatever else for any reason. Also I reserve the right to disqualify a contestant or even a winner for any reason, can't see why I would do this but things happen.

If there are any questions or I need to clarify something please let me know so that can happen.

Onto the comment:

 "I read the rules and understand that purses are allowed for women but I would recommend rethinking about men possibly carrying a backpack or even a shoulder bag. I have a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old and for the past 6 years I have always had on me a daddy shoulder bag that carries all of our gear, to include EDC. And when I travel to work, all my EDC gets transferred to my day pack which is sitting right at my feet at work. Just some thoughts."

After thinking about this all day I  have got to stick with no man bags. The first reason which was my original reason is that most men who have these bags do not really carry them around with high regularity.  Women carry their purses at a higher percentage than the most serious CCW holders pack heat. Guys just don't do this with their murses or whatever sort of maxpedia tactical whatever. Check discretely on a guy who supposedly carries a man bag all the time randomly and he likely will not bat enough to be in the big leagues. You may be the exception but that still doesn't disprove the rule. Also women's clothing and fashion is such that they have a harder time fitting this stuff into their pants and shirt pockets so it ends up in the purse by default.

The second reason I thought of today is that would be a different contest. My observation is that prepared women usually have the things a prepared man would have in his pockets in their purse full of normal woman stuff. A prepared mans bag is a whole nother topic.

I have a EDC/ get home bag and it is chock full of great stuff. There is a pathfinder trade knife, a leatherman, a knife sharpener, a steel bottle and cup, an IFAK, a boo boo kit, water purification tablets, 550 cord, a compass, a headlamp, a small led light, lighters and a fero rod, about 2k in calories, a survival blanket, a boonie hat and probably some other good stuff. The point is that comparing that as well as things I could keep in my assault pack vs what another guy keeps in his jeans or cargo pants really isn't apples to apples.

So no man bags are not allowed. The EDC/ get home bag could, or even probably will, be a different contest down the road. Honestly I do not have a way to know if this stuff lives in your pockets or takes up a small part of a diaper bag/ whatever. If the stuff fits in your pockets and for whatever reason occasionally goes in a bag take a picture and send it in to my email theotherryan@yahoo.com. Hope that seems reasonable to everybody.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Layered Systems and Redundancy

I believe in layered systems. Sort of did this before really learning the concept in a more formal sense but it is easier to do well with the basic concept in your head. It sort of goes like this. Instead of having a whole bunch of stuff all over the place you have a few systems. These systems are layered from smaller to larger moving from the most basic things in your pockets to larger systems that may fit in a backpack or even a vehicle. The saying that you survive out of your pockets, fight out of your kit and live out of a rucksack is a solid starting point.

The two systems we will talk about today are my everyday carry and my EDC/ Get Home Bag. I should post pictures of this stuff and talk about why this is there and that is not but that's another post.

On Friday I reached into my pocket for a knife and it wasn't there. For whatever reason the knife just didn't make it to my pocket that morning. A further inspection showed there wasn't a lighter in my cargo pocket either. This wasn't a huge deal as I was going to use it for something minor that I can't recall. I had another knife (as well as a lighter) in my bag but didn't bother to dig it out.

So this got me to thinking. Things happen in life. Maybe you leave home in a different pair of pants or an item is lost or stolen or whatever. Within a layered system you still need some redundancy of key items. The old saying two is one one is none comes to mind. Furthermore I think these redundant items should be spread out. Having two knives instead of one sitting in my other pair of pants at home would not help. On the other hand a knife in my bag is a lot more likely to help. This also has the benefit of letting you have slightly different tools for different jobs. Maybe a Leatherman and a more dedicated cutting tool for your knives or a Lazer Bright stick and headlamp for lights.

Kind of along these lines my EDC/ GHB bags contents has been evolving.  The new Pathfinder water bottle pouch helps because it is pretty large so a lot of those little survival things can go there. A box of granola bars was tossed in giving me about 1,500 calories worth of food to make up for a couple missed meals. I'll probably do a write up on the contents when it is a bit more settled.

Anyway that is what I have been fiddling around with lately.

Do you have some redundancy in key items? What items do you consider key?




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Give Away: Prepare Wise 16 Serving Entre Sampler

Thanks to Prepare Wise today we are giving away a 16 Serving Family Entree Sampler Pack. This is a cool sized package to try out a bunch of different meals and supplement a get home bag, or 72 hour type kit. The rules for this contest are simple. Just say you want it in the comments section. The winner will be announced later this week, probably Friday.


Monday, November 5, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week and Dog Update

I spent a lot of time writing a post and shortly after publishing decided it had to go back to the drawing board. Not that my mind has changed on the issues but it didn't seem likely to go anywhere particularly productive.

So here we are. In a lot of ways this week was pretty good. The running went well. Lifting and rucking not so much. On the plus side I'm down a couple pounds. I think the illusive reasonable and fits into my life diet code may have been cracked. Will talk about it awhile down the road when things are a bit more conclusive.

My EDC/ GHB is pretty much set as is the car kit. Right now I am running some stuff in the normal bag I haul around every day and just making sure to bring it when I leave the house. This helps keep the amount of 'my crazy junk' in the car to a minimum and is more useful when I have to ride with someone else or whatever. I have a bit of tweaking to do and will write about this stuff sooner or later.

Project AR Upgrade showed up which is pretty cool. It was test fired and zeroed which was big fun.

Slapped some night sights on the Glock 19 which was cool. Picked up one of those new Ruger 10/22's and a Galco Matrix paddle holster also and purchased 200 rounds of .357 magnum ammunition.

Still trying to weigh different options and make some choices. I'll probably do a post and ask your thoughts shortly.

Coming down the pipe: This week I will lift 3 times (1 down), do 3 PT oriented workouts (1 down), run 3 times (1 down) and ruck twice.  Looking to do some trial stuff on our various alternative cooking methods and fiddle around with the little solar charger we have. In the next week or two I will announce a contest. Still lining up prizes and figuring out some details but it should be pretty solid.

Dog is working out really well. He is very easy going and low maintenance. Nudges one of us when he needs to go to the bathroom and generally fit right into the family. Kiddo is still learning how to be nice to the dog but that is a work in progress.

Dog is not exactly a fierce warrior beast but he definitely pays attention to where we are and shows decent guard dog potential. He rarely barks (3x in a week I think) but seems to do it at the right times. That being said most of the home security benefits of a relatively large dog are as a deterrent. The goal is not necessarily to make an impenetrable fortress (thought that is a fine idea)  but for your place to be a higher risk for the crooks) than the one across the street so they rob them instead.

Anyway that is what has been going on this week and a view of what's coming up.




Monday, October 29, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. Ordered the majority of the stuff for Project AR Upgrade as well as some rifle plates. Hit the gym, did some running and ended up losing almost a pound. Put some energy into getting the first version of my GHB reestablished as well as the car kit. Also we picked up a bunch of food to put away.

I'm going to give something new a shot. Talking about my goals for the upcoming week here may help me think through what I want to do the next week and then stay accountable for that.

This week in terms of fitness I plan to lift 3x, run 3x and ruck twice. Going to work on solidifying the GHB and car kit. I am thinking a pretty stripped down get home bag that is sort of an EDC/GHB blend. Just grabbing it every day (or leaving it in the car) is a simple option. For longer trips a heavier dedicated kit will come along. That is however a topic for another day. Also I am going to order some stuff. Been doing some looking and am still trying to prioritize. Might just pull the trigger on a War Belt. Then again there is some long overdue stuff. Also I need to do a review on the Solo Stove which is a pretty cool piece of kit. If I get really motivated I will try to finish up our emergency food box.

Well that is what I have been up to and what should be coming up this week. What did you do to prepare this week?


Friday, August 24, 2012

EDC and Get Home Bag Thoughts

I have been walking around a lot lately. Aside from some low impact/ intensity gentle cardio this time is good for thinking. It is pretty easy to let my thoughts wander while walking down a strait sidewalk. All this time I have been carrying my EDC Tactical Tailor bag. It isn't really EDC like the knife and lighter that live in my pockets. It is EDC like when I need a backpack it is the backpack I grab.

[On a tangent I just don't have enough good things to say about that bag or the company in general. They do not seem to make the exact bag I have anymore though it seems to have been slightly updated as their modular operator pack. Also this is a darn good lesson along the "buy nice, once" school of thought. My bag cost $110 approximately 8 years ago (the comparable bag now sells for $200ish, another lesson maybe). I remember because it was a huge sum of money to me back then. That being said 8 years later I am still using it happily. Theft, loss or massive damage via fire or shrapnel damage aside I think getting about 10 more years out of it is likely. I have never had an issue with the zippers despite literally shoving the contents down with my foot and forcing them closed a few times. The straps have never had issues despite carrying far more weight than is reasonable for such a bag. Aside from a few dirt stains I am too lazy to scrub out, slight smoothing out of the little fibers on some straps and some scratches on the buckles it looks just like it did years ago. It has never failed me despite being pushed beyond the reasonable limits of what is essentially a beefed up book bag. (Not saying this bag is somehow inferior to anything on the market. Quite the opposite in fact; I would give it even money against all comers. What I am saying is that the "assault pack" category of bags are essentially overgrown beefed up book bags and we all need to have realistic expectations about what they will do. If you expect them to do what a 4,000 cubic inch bag with a full frame and heavy hip pad will do then disappointment is in your future.]

Like any company I cannot say every product Tactical Tailor makes is for you. I can say they do not skimp on any part of the process from planning useful well thought out gear, buying good material to properly assembling it. My only relationship with them is that over the years I have spend a few hundred dollars on their stuff. The reason I went on this tangent is to A) to mention that I really like this bag, B) point out the benefits of buying quality gear and C) to recommend a source for said gear I have been very pleased with. End Tangent.]

I have talked about get home bag's before 1, 2, 3and John Mosby chimed in on the topic also. No need to totally retread old ground. Check out the older posts if you have not read them already. Anyway like I said before getting all distracted I have been doing some thinking.

First after a lot of consideration I do not see any reason to spend a bunch of money on a bag that is basically just going to sit in my car. Especially since a very nice bag is usually there anyway. Even if money wasn't an issue it just doesn't make sense. My plan is to put together a nice little get home bag in the used alice pack I bought. I will take the basic packing list from my last one (things get disassembled when you move) and build on it to make a more squared away one. Not a full up 45 pound BOB but a bit more than a running home bag. Not exactly sure how that will crack out but that is a problem for another day.

As to the TT bag I EDC it can use some work also. I am just tossing out ideas here but if it has a personal survival kit,a steel water bottle and cup, an IFAK as well as a bandaid and asprin style boo boo kit, a poncho an all weather blanket (like the good space blankets), say 2k calories in food and a spare pair of socks that would be pretty awesome. If I do it right then most of the bag will still be available for everyday junk AND I will have a nice setup if I need it.  I envision it almost like a light long hunter/ bush craft type style setup.

Really the ideal situation for me (aside from living a charmed life where I do not need this bag at all) would be to transfer whatever everyday minutia and work junk is in my TT bag to the car or whatever and empty the contents of the ALICE bag into my preferred bag. That being said both my EDC bag (albeit as a much smaller system) and the GHB need to be able to stand alone. I do not want to depend on anything in the EDC bag because while it does come with me very often it stays at home sometimes too.

Anyway that is where I am with bags and kits today. As always input is appreciated.




Monday, August 13, 2012

Vehicle Kits, Get Home Bags, Modularity and Systems

I have been thinking and talking about get home bag's lately. Part of the reason is simply because I was building one and since have been tweaking it. Also aside from whatever may be in your pockets this is the system I see folks actually using the most. Bug out bag's get all the love but I am way more concerned with getting Munsoned in the middle of nowhere than needing to leave home in a hurry or whatever. YMMV.

My get home bag tends to live in our vehicle because it is how I get places and I am rarely far from it. If riding in a carpool it and my normal EDC bag of junk like a coat, lunch, etc get combined and a few things might get stashed at work, like a spare functional set of clothes and footwear.

I do usually keep some stuff in our vehicle. There is a Rubbermaid tub with a flashlight, spare batteries, some tools, coats, some water, some oil and coolant, first aid kit, warning triangles, etc in the back. We also each have dedicated bags with things like a knife, light, lighter, etc. To be honest at some point I went a bit overboard. The back of our full sized SUV is almost full of "my crazy stuff" as Wifey calls it. Things definitely need to get pared down however considering our timeline here it is more like they will be reassembled leaner and meaner on the other end.

Honestly I focus a lot more on the 'kit' than the vehicle part. The vehicle is where this stuff lives as it is a good place to haul stuff and is usually pretty close at hand. I think the contents of a "vehicle kit" could be easily broken down into stuff for you and stuff for the vehicle. The contents of both kits should logically flow from your overall situation. If  you might get stuck for 4-5 days in the hinter boonies during a frigid winter a lot more kit is required than if you work 5 miles from home in balmy South Carolina. Your vehicle side of the kit's contents will depend on need and skill. If you are a mechanic who regularly drives a 30 year old truck in very isolated areas it would be hard to have too comprehensive of a kit. On the other hand if you aren't very handy and drive a newish reliable car on frequently traveled roads very little stuff is needed.

Back to Get Home Bags. John Mosby recently talked about a personal shortcoming in the GHB/ vehicle kit area. Definitely worth reading and if it applies to you taking action. Read about my GHB development here. I think the concept of a get home bag is sound. However, it's contents need to fit your situation and the distances you travel from home. My get home bag will shortly be put into a dedicated bag whose entire job is to sit vigilantly in my vehicle. Some basic survival stuff will still live in my EDC bag because I haul it around a lot. A knife, flashlight, lighter, matches, a few granola bars, etc do not take up much space.

My get home bag is really stripped down and minimalist. This works because I stick pretty near home far more often than not. If I worked 50 miles from home or regularly traveled long distances a more substantial kit would be necessary.

I think different kits might fit better for different situations. I have a stripped out assault pack right now just so I could be a  bit more comfortable on a long walk home. If I was going 50-100 miles from home something more akin to a backpacking setup/ BOB/ rucksack would make sense. The kind of thing that has a couple days of water, food for several days and enough clothing/ gear to meet all of your basic needs for a pretty long time. Maybe I don't want to keep that bag (and the one for the Mrs.) in our vehicle all the time since we really don't need it that often. If we went driving across rural northwestern Canada in the winter more gear would be prudent.

I think that using systems which already exist may be the best way to fit this need. No point in reinventing the wheel here. Sticking with EDC/GHB a la assault pack/ BOB aka rucksack somewhat layered systems may be a good way to fit a wide variety of potential situations/ needs.

Anyway those are my thoughts on kits today.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Get Home Bag, Walking and Life Update

I am not sure if it has been mentioned explicitly yet but our time in Europe is almost done. We are very happy to be headed back to the US. Travel and some experiences here have been great but a lot of everyday stuff is a hassle. Also the level of regulations, rules and such here does not mesh with my nature at all. We saw a lot of places and missed some good ones. Particularly we are bummed about not getting to Ireland but that is how things worked out. There is more travel here than we could have done even if time and money were not concerns. In any case it is about time to move on to the next chapter in our lives. We will be spending about a month catching up with folks in the PNW. After that we are headed to the Southwest. More on that later.

We have been walking a lot lately. The weather is good now and it is a solid way to get out of the house and doing something. I do not recommend walking as a form of exercise unless you are A) elderly, B) recovering from a serious injury/ illness, C) crippled or D) seriously overweight and or out of shape and working towards running a la couch to 5k or a similar program. However that does not mean walking is not without benefits. Most of the benefits are not really physical. Getting outside and spending time with your family in the area you live in is a good thing. If somebody told me they walk as a form of exercise who did not fit the above categories I would try to coach them towards a better path, potentially with some mocking involved. If somebody told me they walk regularly to get outside and for active recovery from more strenuous workouts like running or rucking or for some additional low impact/ intensity cardio I would say that was a great plan.

My get home bag setup needs some work. The primary issue is that I really like my Tactical Tailor bag and use it regularly. I like that bag for the task but it can't be in two places at once. This makes having it in the car with a variety of stuff loaded into it problematic. I have a couple of ideas. First a couple side pouches to hold 1 quart water bottles will help free up space in the main compartment for normal life stuff. (Regardless of what I do the bag needs this MOD anyway.) Second sooner or later I need to swap out that bag or get a replacement for normal everyday carry use. Something I have considered is putting most of the stuff that is in my GHB into something else like a wet weather bag or trash bag and then putting it into my TT pack if needed. Mostly this stuff is a full set of clothes with boots, socks, gloves and a hat. I keep this stuff in there because regularly I go on short trips in less than fully ideal clothing and the option to change into suitable clothes for walking is a good thing. I mulled this a lot but despite being an easy and ideal solution it came up short because while I carry the TT bag around a lot while using it as a normal bag it doesn't ALWAYS MAKE IT INTO THE CAR. Inevitably the day I needed it is the day it would be in the hall closet. So the question is what to do. The short term answer is pretty much covered. I ordered a used medium ALICE pack awhile back for $10. It will be a very inexpensive solution and such will likely fit for awhile. Not as nice or comfortable but for $10 instead of $150 that is to be expected. Still a rugged bomb proof pack. Down the road a nice high end bag like the TT or something from Hill People Gear would be great in this role but I will not be able to justify the expense for awhile. Likely I  would use the TT for a GHB and something a bit smaller for typical every day type use. Since I don't see any traction on this for at least 6 months or more likely 12 there is some time to think about it.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Running to the Store, Vehicle Kits and Cases

This evening we made a quick trip to the store. It was shortly after dinner and Wifey wanted a drumstick. So we headed to the store, pretty much in the comfortable at home clothes we had been wearing. I had a pair of shorts and a t shirt on with crocks on my feet. Wallet and keys were put into my shorts. I got to thinking about how I would be hosed if anything happened and maybe should grab a knife or something. Then I remembered that we have a pretty good set of stuff in our vehicle. We all have a change of good practical clothes and footwear. I have a good knife in the GHB as well as a bunch of other usefull stuff. Bliss washed over me and we went to the store for icecream.

I have had some serious good fortune to stumble into some quality cases lately such as a hardigg footlocker, and a genuine halliburton briefcase. The fundamental purpose of cases is, just like any sort of packaging, to contain and protect things. Different stuff has different needs. Ammunition and food need to be protected from moisture and oxygen. Ammo cans and big plastic buckets fill these needs nicely. Neither of these products are particularly vulnerable to impact or shock (like bouncing around the back of a truck, not electric) within reason.

However some items are and they require different sorts of containers. Of course you could say wrap an item in bubble wrap and stick it into an ammo can or pursue some other home solution. I can speak about pelican/ hardigg cases with some experience. These products are great but rather expensive. There are other companies like Otter that offer seemingly comparable products at slightly lower prices but I have not used them.

I look at containers as insurance for the items inside. As such it is worth paying attention to the costs involved. A $20 case to hold a couple hundred dollar camera makes sense, especially if the last camera and maybe one before that would still be alive if it had been in such a case. A couple hundred dollar case to protect a hundred dollar Mosin Nagant wouldn't make sense like it would for say a Steyre SSG with a Night Force scope.

Like a lot of folks I have accumulated a few fairly expensive electronics. A GPS, some radios and a solar charger to be specific, as well as the usual camera, video camera, laptops, kindles, etc. Probably a few thousand dollars in stuff and we don't have anything really cool like Gen 3 night vision, FLIR, etc (yet!). If we had to leave in a hurry during a nasty storm or whatever a big pelican case to put that stuff into would make the odds of our equipment surviving go up significantly. For small items that you want to use a lot like camera's a little case is pretty darn handy. Also they are lockable and fairly secure which could be useful.

Personally most of my case needs are met for the time being. I would like a nice rifle case big enough to squeeze a pistol and just maybe a second long gun in. Being able to securely move around a couple guns and have them take some knocks with minimal risk of losing zero appeals to me.

Anyway you might want to put some consideration into how you will protect valuable and useful but relatively fragile stuff under less than optimal conditions. A few cases may be in order.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I picked up some moleskin for the get home bag. Also ordered a pair of black berkey elements for the filter, a couple surplus swiss poncho's, another compass and a Cold Steel Pipe Hawk. Yeah I decided to give the hawk a shot. Worst case it is sort of a cool thing to have anyway.

The biggest thing of last week is that I got back to a pretty normal exercise schedule for the first week after getting sick. Running, sprinting and lifting. Good times.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Week in Preps, Free Downloads, Kits and Other Stuff

I couldn't quite decide what to write today. I didn't want to skip a week in preps/ what did you do to prepare this week but there is other stuff floating around my head also. Anyway you are going to get all sorts of stuff today.

This week I finished up the kit/ bag that I have been working on. That meant buying the last few things like plastic bags and granola bars, digging around closets and storage to find things and just taking the time to get it all put together. We will revisit this later. Also we put some more money into our emergency fund. In the last couple months we have increased it by about 40%. Mostly this was needed for the fund to keep up with our family and life situation.

Today I noticed that John Galt's The Day The Dollar Died blovel is being offered as a free PDF download. I really enjoyed reading it the first time. Being able to read it at my own pace, not all broken up, will be nice. I strongly recommend it. Now onto kits.

So like I said I got done building the kit I have been working on. It started out to be a get home bag. I am not exactly sure what it turned into. Maybe there was a sort of mission creep but it definitely got bigger, heavier and more comprehensive than I planned. While it fit into my Tactical Tailor assault bag it was too heavy for such a bag and carried badly. I put the contents into one of the smallish packs I got from REI awhhile back. What I have is sort of straddling the fence between what I would consider a pretty comprehensive and relatively heavy get home bag and a slightly minimalist bug out bag. It has stuff to purify water, change clothes, sleep in reasonable (spring/summer, winter would need a different module) comfort, treat a variety of injuries and all of that good stuff.

I am not sure if I am thrilled with it or unhappy. In any case it definitely did not fit the intended purpose. If I commuted 50 miles one way to work every day it would probably live in my vehicle. However I do not do that. I do like the setup but am not entirely sure what I will do with it. Maybe it will stay the same or change or get parted out. For the time being it will be my bugout bag. Down the road I think it might get slightly tweeked and become Wifey's bag.

After putting that bag together and realizing the problem we just talked about I immediately set out to making the sort of get home bag that I actually need. So I put together a pretty light get home bag.  One that fits my life. I was determined not to let it suffer from any sort of creep. Basically I took my TT assault pack, tossed in a pair of boots, socks, some water and a bunch of various bars to munch on.  Of course the usual suspects like a knife, compass, fire making stuff, etc are present. Much more geared toward a 25 mile walk than a multi day treck.

Thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

I may get around to doing posts on these. However I want to mull recent developments and maybe fill some gaps first. It might be awhile as I am lazy when it comes to that sort of posts.

Gas prices are down some here. About 30 cents from the high if memory serves me correctly. I noticed that gold shot up a bit recently but silver is still well under $30 which is a pretty good deal. It may stay there and may not, I can't say.

Anyway that is about all I have for now. Hope Monday wasn't too painful for anybody.



Monday, May 21, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Some weeks you end up buying a bunch of stuff and this was sure one of them. Prices seemed right so we bought silver and gold. I got a bunch of stuff to finish off the get home bag which I am pretty psyched about. I ordered a Nalgene bottle  with matching steel cup, another knife sharpener, some more water purification tablets, one of those heavy duty emergency blankets, too much stuff to remember or list. I will probably talk about it at some point once things arrive.

Also  we seem to be fiddling some with alternative transportation. I got a bike, though sadly not a sweet Harley. Also I found a small wagon, like to pull the kid around in. It is pretty cool. It has little seats and a place for him to put a sippy cup. We took it out this weekend and he really liked it. Being able to move him and a bit of stuff in a way that he is happy with is significant. Also the wagon led to a slew of Oregon Trails jokes which was big fun. These little steps may just take us somewhere.

Anyway that is what we were up to this week. I hope you all did some good stuff. Remember it isn't just about buying things. Exercise, learn and practice new skills, network and build relationships, work on your tribe. Just do something that makes you more prepared than you were last week.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Random Thoughts on Kits

I have pretty much pulled everything we have lying around or locally available for my GHB. Everything else will get ordered today or tomorrow. Stuff is chosen and funds are available but I am on the fence about a couple things that may go in the order. These new "sawyer"  water filtration systems look promising and for the price I may give it a shot.
I have noticed a few things about kits lately that seem worth discussing:

The name a person uses for a specific kit almost meaningless but we have covered that already. It's purpose is probably a lot more meaningful anyway.

There seems to two sort of schools when it comes to kits. There is the "generic" kit school and the specially designed school. The generic kit folks would say that a get home bag aka GHB should have these things. The specially designed folks would want to know a bunch of stuff like where you live, how far you are trying to go, what your plan is, etc. I think they are both sort of right. The generic kit folks are right in that they probably give a 75% solution for most people. Kits need stuff like a knife, fire, water and water purification, shelter (clothes and or sleeping), etc in varying quantities. The specialized folks are (outside of a rare person with terribly unrealistic plan) right in that kits should be driven by your skills, situation and plans. More often than not, excluding a rare person with a really unique situation, the specialists just end up adding and/ or subtracting a few things from the generic kit lists anyway.

In putting things together I have definitely realized you need redundancy in common items. I do believe in a sort of modular nesting concept where your EDC blends into a sort of survival kit, which flows into a get home bag, maybe all this contributes in some way to a BOB, etc. However life doesn't always work that way and each kit should be able to stand alone, certainly in key areas.

That means you probably need stuff like knifes, flashlights, water bottles, etc in some quantities. Not necessarily the same exact items but broad areas to fit different kits. The perfect flashlight to be on your key chain is not the one you want to use to set up camp at midnight. This means you probably want to think about the roles and expectations of tools in different kits.

To further complicate things you really want stuff in kits to be dedicated equipment. To me the whole point of a kit is having a thought through and organized set of stuff ready to go and in the right place when you need it. Otherwise you don't have a kit so much as a bunch of good stuff strewn all over your house, car, storage area, etc all. This means you either need to be really good about borrowing and replacing stuff, which nobody ever actually does, or have additional redundant stuff for common use.
The exact bar for what to get a spare of and what not to is based on our situation. For most people I think something like $50 or so makes sense. So that means the knife/ flashlight/ socks/ waterbottle/ etc all in a kit need to stay there. Certainly in the case of big ticket items like GPS's, guns, sleeping systems, etc common sense dictates some things may have to be added to the kit before taking it out or borrowed as needed. A big prominent tag on the front of a bag that says what to add and where it is located is a good way to make sure you remember those items.

Since most of the stuff we are talking about here is fairly inexpensive this redundancy really isn't a big issue. Also it is helpful with overall redundancy in that if you have 4 good knives the odds you will end up losing or breaking them all is slim. The process of figuring out what works well for each nitche could help the old "equip a friend" stash. A knife/ flashlight/ pouch which is slightly less than perfect for your situation is a lot better than no knife/ flashlight/ pouch.

Another thing that it is worth remembering is that you don't have to get the absolutely perfect best stuff on the market right away. I certainly do not recommend junk as it is alwys false economics. The thing is that you can replace servicable stuff with better stuff piece by piece over time. A $40 knife can be replaced by a better (or maybe just cooler if we are being honest) $85 knife around your birthday or a $75 on sale pack can be replaced by a perfect $400 pack when you have taken care of some other things and have the ever rare surplus cash lying around. This will also help with the whole redundancy thing and the "equip a friend" stash.

Even if you are not so worried about getting home or bugging out or whatever putting together kits is a pretty good way to really look at what you need in context instead of just a bunch of stuff on some big list.
In terms of general themes on the short term you are mostly looking at disposable stuff. You are carrying food to get you to wherever. Water is sort of an exception because it is so darn heavy. For just about any sort of plan you need to be able to make questionable water safe to drink. TP, baby wipes and generally stuff that is going to be consumed is the short term answer. All kits need some of this stuff if just for emergencies and convenience. However at some point a plan just cannot be supported by stuff on your back and you need to transition to things to get food, make shelter, etc.

Maybe you have a ridiculous cross country bug out planned. Of course you hope to use a vehicle and may even have some caches but the odds of that failing or needing to take substantial detours are high. In any case for this type of situation stuff like a .22 rifle, fishing gear, some traps, etc would probably be good to have. Even if you are super duper prepared and live at your "retreat" having a "grab in case of being overrun" bag is probably smart.  Anyway that is all I have to say about that.

Thoughts?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day and a Week in Preps

Well happy mothers day to all the mom's out there doing good things. We did some family stuff today, gave Wifey her present and I made dinner. A pretty nice quiet Sunday really.

Very little happened this week. I have been fighting a nasty cough. Focusing has been difficult and I have been sleeping a lot. As such not a lot got done.

I added a few things to the ghb that is being built. Mostly stuff that has been lying here or there around our place. Also I picked up a handful of snickers bars for the bag. Next week I am going to order a few odds and ends to complete the kit.

Anyway that is what has been going on here.

I hope you have a wonderful mothers day and did great stuff this week.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bags, Forums, Bugging Out and Acronym's

I have been spending a lot less time on social networks lately. I like to communicate with family and close friends and see their pictures and all that but do I really need to spend time figuring out what is going on with that random guy I partied with a decade ago or played a sport with in Junior High? Probably not. Anyway this has lead to a reallocation of my interwebz time which has lead to me hanging out on Zombiehunters and Survivalistforums. I am theotherryan on both of them if you want to drop me a line or whatever.

The concept of kits is hit on pretty hard in both of these places, or maybe it is where I seem to gravitate as that is my focus right now. In any case I have seem some interesting things.
Some folks get real heavy on one thing or another. Sometimes it is radios/ communication but it almost always seems to be knives. Do you really need 2 folders, a multi tool, a small sheath knife, a big sheath knife, a machete, a hatchet and a saw in a 25 pound car kit? I don't think so. Anyway...
I have seen a lot of debate and some bickering on the exact role of different kits.

I think a lot of the discrepancy is that folks are using terms to mean different things, like a lack of common definitions to make sure like terms are used to mean the same thing.

Also this is definitely not a one size fits all sort of thing. What makes sense for a trapper working 500 miles from anything in Alaska does not make sense for a guy in the urban jungle of Atlanta. My get home kit when I worked 50 miles from home is very different than it is when I live 5 miles from work.

The idea of "Bugging Out" comes up pretty regularly. Some folks see that as synonamous with what I call Batman in the Boondocks ie the grab a rifle and a ruck and a big knife and go live in the woods plan but I do not. Bugging out is practical for most common regional and localized disasters. As CZ says the first rule of surviving disasters is to not be there. I don't care what sort of doomstead or group you have if nuclear aids rain and indestructible rapist robots are coming it is time to go.

Bugging out is a great strategy for a hurricane but a bad one for the mythical and highly unlikely TEOTWAWKI Mad Max end of the world. Also it is worth noting that in all but the most extreme situation you want to have some sort of a destination in mind. In the event of a hurricane a Holiday Inn 500 miles inland is a great plan. In the event of the unlikely TEOTWAWKI a Holiday Inn would not work and you should probably talk to Aunt Sue about your plans to show up at her ranch.

You certainly can make some choices to live in a low crime area with a relatively low population, away from disasters like Hurricanes and Tornado's but every area has weaknesses or potential risks. If you have to leave in 20 minutes or an hour or 12 hours it would be aweful helpful to have some stuff put together. First it will save you time and second you will make better decisions before the fact than you will under stress while trying to wrangle the kids and animals.

I have got to start taking some pictures of my kits with lists for you guys to check out and critique. Motivation will come eventually.

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