Sunday, January 14, 2007

BOB Campout

You should have a “72 Hour Kit” – everyone should. Your government says so. Check out or . Basically this is a kit (typically stored in a kid’s book bag, day pack, or some such) which contains everything you need to survive if you have to grab it and evacuate your home into the cold dark night. Authorities recommend you have things like a flashlight, some food and water, medical supplies, and so on. Those of us who are really “into preparedness” have BOBs – bug out bags.

A BOB is a 72 hour kit on steroids. Most are capable of sustaining life for good bit longer than 72 hours. BOBs are very personal things and we never tire of “tweaking” them. There is even BOB theory. Another subject for another time perhaps. This post is the result of how a few friends and I spent our weekend.

We attended the annual National Winter BOB campout. Actually, we invented it a few years ago. You see, anyone can go camping in the summer or fall. But one does not assemble a BOB merely to camp – oh no! A BOB is one vital component for surviving a possible TEOTWAWKI event. It will allow us to flee approaching danger at a moment’s notice and start again somewhere else. Did I mention our wives and children have BOBs also? No? Well they do. They much prefer autumn BOB campouts…

Jesus Christ, speaking with his disciples in Mark 13 (it’s a book and chapter in the Bible – check it out) describes the ultimate TEOTWAWKI event and tells his men, “pray your flight come not in winter”. You will note He did not say, “You will not have to flee in the winter time”. He left it open as a distinct possibility.

Bad things happen in multiples and we feel compelled to be prepared for bad times. So, a group of us from multiple states all got together at a place in the mountains to test ourselves and our gear – in winter conditons. The weather was the worst one can have in my opinion – it pretty much constantly rained – at times poured – for three days. The temperature remained in the mid to high thirties with occasional dips to 30. Yeah. We were praying it would drop 10 degrees and snow – at least snow is dry. Sort of.

We hiked in to the spot in the photo and immediately set up shelters. Next order of business was fire. BIG FIRE. In our little private scenario, we were doing what the military calls “passive survival” – which means there are no bad guys out there to worry about. It also means we could build fires, didn’t have to pull security, and could generally have a good time. As much as one can in 37 degree downpours…

One of our tribe gave us a great class on trapping and we all got the opportunity to help set a trap line along a creek – a creek which rose a lot over night. We did not end up with any coon to roast over our large fire…

We spent a good bit of time gathering wood, stoking the fire and solving the world’s problems. We were all survivalists and we were all Christians but we as a group held divergent views on number of subjects – which made for fascinating conversation.

Over the course of three days and two nights several tips or lessons arose:
o Waterproof garments are your friend – it can be Gore-Tex, or PVC rain suits, or ponchos.
o Waterproof boots are your very good friend.
o Bigger is better where tarps are concerned.
o My BOB is too heavy – I need to get stronger or go lighter.
o You can start a fire in pouring rain – with soaked wood.
o Trioxene heat tabs are your friends.
o A large rock (think “school bus”) makes a great fire/heat reflector
o Backpacker stoves are your friend.
o One is none and two is one – glasses, lighters, tarps, knives, socks.
o Dry socks in the sleeping bag are your feet’s friends.
o Drinking water is not a problem when it runs off your tarp into your canteen cup.
o A small stool/chair in/on the BOB is a wonderful thing.
o If you carry a weapon – you should carry a maintenance kit in your BOB
o Nothing beats time with friends – even freezing rain.

There were several things in my BOB I did not use:
Sweater, first aid kit, .22 pistol, most of my food, space blanket, poncho liner, water filter, water storage bag, binoculars.

We all had extra gear in our vehicles that was availible (after a good hike) if it was needed. This was, after all, a test and an exercise - a method of learning. If someone had had a catastrophic gear failure (they didn't) we would have been able to deal with it. Use your noggin - stay stafe.

The bottom line (at the bottom where it belongs) is this - get out and test your gear and test yourself. Do it now while there is time to react, adapt, and improve.

The final exam will be a no-notice affair.

Have a question or comment? I'd love to hear it - I may even publish it.

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 15/1/07 12:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome. Field tests can't be beat for shaking out the shortcomings in your gear. Someone else steered me to your blog and I just dropped a link to it from mine at

My blog deals more with Every Day Carry (EDC) issues, like carrying a good bit of survival gear into the workplace with you and having it on your person everywhere you go. The BOB is still vital, but under some circumstances you might not be able to get to it. Those are the challenges that I'm addressing in my blog.

At 16/1/07 18:09, Blogger viridari said...

I'm not sure why all of my comments are suddenly showing up as "anonymous". If something was changed in the last 24 hours on this blog I think it is breaking the comments and removing credit from the comment contributor. :(

At 16/1/07 19:26, Blogger Joe said...

Hey viridari - I have no idea why you aren't showing up anymore. Perhaps it's because I switched to the "googleblog" today.

You're cool. I want to link to your blog - it's just that, unlike you, I'm a computer idiot.

I tried earlier and one of my three gimme links, instead of changing to your link, just disappeared.

wanna help a brother out?


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