Monday, January 19, 2009

Joe's Winter BoB

I cannot begin to count the number of times in the past two years I have been asked to describe what is in my BoB. My standard response was “just Google ‘bug out bag’ – mine’s nothing special”. That’s still good advice but since I was switching over my BoB from it’s former home in an ALICE large to a ruck I bought from Cabela’s I figured I’d take some pictures and let y’all see it and explain some of my thought processes behind what I do.

You can click on the photo and zoom in to see details if you need to. Okay starting at the top left. There is a stool. It weighs very little and every time I go to the field during wet weather I thank myself for bringing it. I spray painted it camo (I do that a lot.) Sitting on that are a 2 quart and 1 quart canteen. The 2 quart has a strap and inside the cover I keep a large trash bag, some chow and some matches – it is an emergency bug out kit all on it’s own in case I have to drop my ruck and run light. The one quart has a canteen cup to cook in inside its cover. Both have bottles of water purification tablets taped to the lids and are splashed with camo (Krylon) paint. There is also a sleeping pad – a must in extreme cold to insulate you from the ground. I only carry it in winter. Below that and a bit right is a Coleman stove – also a winter item. I carry it to make warming beverages quickly and without muss, fuss, or smell.

Next we have my food bag which contains what you see in the food picture. In that snap you can see my German mess kit – I like it because it has a cup on top and a pot with a bail (over the top handle) so I can hang it over a fire. That is my brew kit and contains coffee, tea, hot cocoa, soup base and a spoon and fork. Next to it you will see two packages that I think of as a day’s food and below one of those packages laid out. Each package contains about 1,700 calories – a bit light but far from starvation rations. A tube of peanut butter and a tube of honey –max calories in a tight package. The clips broke so I fixed it with duct tape. One can of pork and beans for when I have a fire and am feeling sorry for myself.

Two ponchos with cords attached to the grommets. I make a big hooch out of these (one would suffice but I like to spread out). Beneath is a ground cloth (really to protect my Gore-Tex sleeping bag cover. I used to use an old shower curtain but this is lighter. German Goretex pants and a Gore-Tex parka. If I could only take one shelter item this suit would be it. I have slept in it sitting back against my ruck against a tree. Not great – but I stayed dry. On top of that is my “Big Knife” it’s a parang and it has served me well especially when everything is wet and I need to get to the center of wood to find dry stuff for a fire.

Then we have gloves, a wool cap, a neck gaitor, long underwear (light and medium tops and bottoms) and a wool sweater. Layers are your friends in cold weather.

Back to the top is my new ruck. It certainly feels more comfortable and it holds more than my ALICE (so I don't have to stuff it) plus it has a place to attach my sleeping bag (not pictured but it’s a military 3 bag system with a goretex cover). It came with a 100 ounce water bladder and drinking tube so I won’t strap my old Camelback to this one. I had a piece of camo net in my ALICE to camo it when we dropped them temporarily. I’ll eventually spray paint the inside of my new ruck but I want to make sure I like it and it works (and I don’t have to return it) before I modify it. Below is a boonie hat – it breaks up the head/shoulder outline decently and it’s a good hat. Down is a Katadyn filter (it’s heavy and I need a lighter one). A five liter water bag for when/if we establish a campsite. Headlamp (hands free light – gotta love it) batteries, pocket knife with saw and a sharpener.

Two lighters with (here’s a secret I think I invented – watch someone will publish it now) bicycle inner tube – slice of a piece of rubber and you have a great tinder/fire starter. Heat tabs for getting wet wood going, candles, and a container of vaselined cotton balls (tinder).

A sling rope with snap link for when I need heavy duty rope. 550 cord and decoy line. Weapons cleaning kit because I don’t carry one on my combat harness. Compass, bible, AM/FM/shortwave/Wx radio – crank or solar powered plus it will charge a cell phone – haven’t used it yet (my daughter gave it to me for Christmas this year). Notebook, pencils 100mph and duct tape and a pocket Constitution.

Back to the top Those two bags are mini-BoBs I am working on – not part of the BoB proper. I may post about them later.

Pocket Litter
Fanny pack and a bunch of stuff I consider “Level One Gear” ( I keep it on my person) I store it in the fanny pack inside the BoB and at the first opportunity I transfer it to my person/pockets. .22 pistol and a box of ammo. A cammo head net, Power Bars, monocular, ear plugs, large pocket knife with sharpening stone in sheath, Vaseline cotton balls with flint rod attached, large flint rod, spoon, lensatic compass, Mini Maglite, anti fog for my glasses, camo stick, Leatherman super tool, lighter, 550 cord, large bandana, ziplock bag.

Trowel and toilet paper, foot powder, socks, underwear (shorts) t-shirt. Changing undergarments is important in a long term situation to prevent CRUD. I’m big on changing socks when needed also. Trash bags.

Clothing Bag
Everyone in my family has a clothing bag attached to the outside of their BoB. This is in case we must flee in our pajamas or immediately upon exiting the shower. If we are dressed appropriately already we can just jettison the bag. The clothing roll is a pair of pants, underwear, socks, t-shirt, long sleeved shirt – all in “earth tones”. It is rolled up and secured with a large bandanna and a belt. In winter we change the boots to heavy goretex boots and add a coat. We also have a bottle of water. This is to chug (as much as possible/needed) prior to moving out on foot.

Beneath that is a pair of glasses with a prescription in the case, a contact lens case (in case I start out wearing them) and lens fluid. A toiletry kit containing soap, tooth paste/brush comb and razor. Next to that is a first aid kit – heavy on the large dressings and ace bandages. Females add feminine hygiene items.

In the background is my poncho liner but I don’t think I’m going to pack it in my winter BoB anymore – I’ll switch it with the sleeping bag when warm weather comes. In the past years, this is what I carried (except for the ALICE) during our Winter BoB exercises and it works fine.

Do I need everything here? Probably not. Have I used everything here? At one time or another, I have – that’s why I chose it.

Okay so there you have it – Joe’s Winter BoB.

If you want to discuss it or have questions - stop by the forums.

And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. – Joshua 2:16

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 13/3/09 19:13, Blogger McClarinJ said...

Similar to one I put together. You've inspired me to unpack it and review the contents. I keep a pair of snowshoes strapped to mine and have a Mosquito Hammock w/ rain fly inside. I sacrificed backpacker's stove and fuel for other stuff, including a very fat first aid kit with scalpel, sutures, hemostats, and aquarium antibiotics (no prescription needed). I combine my ruck with a belt pouch with hatchet, binocs, holster, magazine pouch,etc.


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