Archive for the ‘BOB’ Category

Learn your area of operations

November 12, 2009

Learn your area of operations.  I was out the other day strolling about and I realized how well I know my neighborhood and the town that I live in.  I know the streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, creeks and seasonal water.  I know the woods and fields.  I bet you could blindfold me set me down anywhere within a five mile radius and I could point to it on a map.  You should be able to do the same too.

You have to learn you neighborhood well.  You should know what wild foods are edible and where and when they grow. There is only one way to do it.   Walking is best because you see much more than you do driving.  When you are in a car you don’t even notice all of the little hills that you go over.  When you are walking or riding a bike you notice each and every hill.   Similarly, when you are whizzing by at 45 mph you can’t really check out the landscape, flora and fauna (15 points using flora & fauna in the same sentence).

When you are walking you’ll begin to notice what the same plant looks like at different times of the year.  I usually walk a lot, but with the sun setting so early during these short winter days it’s tough.  Still walking is the best way to learn the area.  Take your time. Look around.  Really open your eyes.  When you see something don’t just look at it and take it for what what it is, but ask why or why not.   Zen.  Keep an eye out for where water may be, places to stash stuff or hide if need be, places to camp or forage, keep an eye out for things you can use now or at some time in the future.   When you see those red canes leaning over in the winter remember to come back in the summer for sweet berries.  Figure out where the electrical substations, powerlines, water and sewage treatment, refineries, chemical plants, factories, police, hospitals, fire stations, reservoirs all are.

You should own some map books of your state and the surrounding states. I’m not a big fan of the folding state maps.  They’re ok, but they don’t show enough detail for me.   mapI like these Delmore maps by state.  They show all the detail you really need, but it doesn’t list the name of every side street and it’s not a real detailed topographic map.  Delorme maps do have topo lines, roads, highways, campgrounds, natural and man made attractions, state parks, recreational areas, lakes, rivers, streams, railroads and trails.  You should own a map book like these Delorme ones for your state and each of the contiguous (5 points) states.  You also need a book for each of the states that your bug out plans call for you to traverse.  Like I said these map books are great all purpose maps, but for going afield I like the the old 1:24000 USGS maps.  The USGS topo maps are what I use when I go hiking.  They show as much detail as you could ever want.  They even show seasonal water.

If you don’t know how to read a map that is one skill you don’t want to delay learning.   Having a map and knowing how to read it can mean the difference between sweet, sweet life and a cold and shivering or gaunt and starving death.  GPS units are great, but have a compass and know how to use it.

I guess what I am trying to say is GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!©

Doing what I now do. Notice all the seals in the water and moi is the only one standing?

tThe waves are supposed to be 10 foot tall this weekend because of Ida.

Scrapings from a woodpecker.  This stuff id light up pretty well with just a firesteel I bet.  You’d never see this pile of sawdust driving around.

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Fire steels

May 29, 2009

I just bought some firesteels off the Internet.  I got them from  Firesteel.com.  If you don’t know what a firesteel is, it’s basically a piece of a metal rod that when scraped makes a shower of sparks.  You take the edge or back of your knife or a scraper of some sort and kind of scrape it hard along the side of the firesteel at an angle and you’ll get some sparks.  The more practice the easier it is for you.  With one of these you can always get a fire going.  You know that you want to have multiple ways to start a fire.   A firesteel can be another tool in your fire starting kit.

Another good thing about firesteels is that they work even when wet.

p1010010I bought a set of five for I think $15.  One will go in the Get Home Bag, one in the camping Rubbermaids and I sewed one to my knife sheath.  Check it out.

p1010012I had some cordura cloth that I sewed into a little pocket just large enough to hold the firesteel firmly and I attached it to the sheath.  Pretty slick, huh?  I hope I never need to, but if I do need to desperately start a fire, the firesteel will make it easier than a fire bow.  I have been successful using firesteels to start fires.  You really need to use a different type of tinder when using a firestell though.  Lint, the stuff from a dryer, milkweed fluff, steel wool, cotton balls or something else that is light and fluffy will usually do the trick.

Like most guys, I like to start fires.  There is something very satisfying about starting a fire without using matches or a lighter.

If you buy some firesteels, like everything else, you need to practice using them before you depend on them.  So get some firesteels, put me in your tackle box, tool box, hunting kit or GHB and practice.

GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!! Some of the reasons this is my favorite time of year, the days are still getting longer, flowers a blooming and the air is heavy with the sweet scent of flowers. Do you recognize this plant?  Maybe you have mallow growing in your garden.

16These are nice pictures of a Musk Mallow.  The leaves are edible and nutritious.  Like okra the plant contains a mucus that can thicken soups.  Leaf and root teas are used for coughs, bronchitis and as an anti-inflammatory.    A poultice can be put on wounds.

17Have you bought your own field guides yet?  What are you waiting for?  I just picked up a new one that someone recommended; thank you M.D. Creekmore.

Water filter review

May 20, 2009

I bought a water filter called  the Pure Easy Camper’s Micro-Ceramic Filter.  The reason that I bought it was because of its diminutive size.    The filter only weighs three ounces and measures about 5 1/2″ * 1″ * 2 1/2″.  It will fit inside of a hardcase for sunglasses.  That’s pretty small. I wanted something that I could p6use when I want to travel really light.  I thought that a filter like this would be ideal for those one or two night solo camping trips.  When you don’t have a buddy to split the load with, you really need to pay attention to the weight of what you carry.

The other nice thing about this filter is that it filters down to .1 microns.  That’s about as an effective filter as I’ve seen.  The MSRs and Katadyns go down to maybe .2 microns.    I also thought it would be good in the Get Home or Bug Out Bag.   I paid $65.00 for it, which isn’t too bad for a filter.  It’s made from some sort of polymer.

So of course I had to try it out at home before depending upon it for a camping trip.  It was easy to assemble.  Not much to it really, just snap the tubes on.  The tubes are smaller than all of the other water filters that I’ve used.  The tubes are pretty much the same size as aquarium tubing, so you can’t pump a lot of water through them.p4

Here’s a shot of the filter with the tubes attached.  I should have placed a ruler next to it for scale, but remember it’s about the size of a pair of sunglasses. The intake tube has a little screen pre-filter on it.  It’s that little green triangular thing in the bottom left of the picture and it also has a float that you can slide up and down the tube to keep the pre-filter off of the bottom of the source of water that you are filtering.  It’s that kind of charcoal colored thing in the right side of the picture.

My first crack at filtering didn’t work out so well.  No matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to develop any suction.  I disassembled it, applied some silicon sealant and tried to prime it.  All to no avail.

I ended up sending it back to the manufacturer – Middleboro Water, LLC.  These folks were very responsive.  They said that they never had a manufacturing failure before.  They replaced it free of charge and FedExed the new filter to me free of charge.  Middleboro Water is a great company with great service.  Like I said no hassles (other than having to pay for postage there), no questions and I had the replacement filter within days.

Lesson here though, like I always say – is to try everything out before you depend on it.  Whether it’s ammo, a sleeping bag, stove, flashlight, firearm or a water filter.  You can’t depend on something if you haven’t tried it.

I tried the replacement filter in some stream water.   The  stream really wasn’t that dirty and I would consider drinking it untreated if need be – either let it settle in a container or dig a hole next to the stream and let the water perc up.  It did an adequate job, but I didn’t think the water tasted as “sweet” as an MSR filter.  This may improve with usage and time.  It also took an enormous amount of effort to get a glass of water, probably three minutes of pumping.  The pre-filter also clogs up pretty easily.  Next time I use it I think that I would tie a bandana around the pre-filter to act as a pre-pre-filter.  Strange enough, the collar that screws down to hold the pump handle in place kept coming loose while I was pumping.  Also, with just a little bit of use I could tell that the ceramic element was starting to get clogged i.e. it became increasingly more difficult to pump.

As you might expect due to this filter’s small bore and stroke, you have to pump a lot for the amount of water you get.  Not good for a group of thirsty people.  You have to pump maybe 200 times (although I wasn’t counting) to fill up a one liter bottle.  You have to pump much more with this filter than with other larger filters.  p7I’m thinking of replacing the aquarium type tubing with some wider surgical tubing with the hope of getting a better flow rate.

The filter also came with a nice little storage bag with pull ties on it, a little bit of sandpaper to clean the ceramic element with, some special silicone sealant and simple, easy to follow directions.

p8

It does disassemble very easily.  You just unscrew the collars and can pull up the pump handle and the ceramic element.  You can see how dirty the element got with minimal usage.  This is crap that you don’t want to drink.

All in all, the filter was a bit of a disappointment.  It will  get the job done, but it’s small size isn’t a big enough benefit to make up for its shortcomings.  I think that you are better off sticking to a normal size filterI like the concept and the company seems like a good company, but I would wait for the second generation to come out.  There are still a few kinks that need ironing out.  The company, Middleboro Water, LLC, did back up their product 100% so I would not hesitate to buy another of their products. Their service was also great.  I just think this particular filter needs a few more design improvements.

However, if you need to travel fast, light and solo the Pur Easy Camper may be the ticket for you, but make sure that you have a back up means to clean water too.

In summary, it’s a good filter for specialized purposes, (light and fast solo on foot travel) otherwise carry a larger filter.

Get outside everyday!

P1010101This little tree is a survivor.  Look at it growing through a crack in this rock.

And this was just a cool looking root that was all worn down.  It reminded me of a topo map.

p1010103

Backpacking

April 27, 2009

Went backpacking this past weekend.  We headed to Mount Greylock State Park.  At just about 3,500 feet Mt. Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts and it’s part of the Appalachian Trail.  So we donned our 45 pound packs and hit the woods.  Unlike car camping when you can bring anything and everything that you may ever want to use, backpacking is way different because when you backpack you carry everything with you – food, tent, stove, sleeping bags, water.

The weather was especially nice for this time of year, but because it was well into the 80’s we had to drink copious amounts of water.  It was impossible to drink enough water.  The trees didn’t have any leaves on them yet so there was hardly any shade even in the woods.  We ended up hiking 12 miles the first day and just two miles the second day.  A twelve mile hike with 4,000 foot change in elevation is pretty tough.

Backpacking is a great way to figure out whether or not you are able to bug out big time if the need arose.  When you backpack you think about the weight of every single thing you carry. This is the trailhead where we headed up from.

p10100031That peak in the distance is the destination.

I see a lot of stuff on the Internet about folks thinking they’re going to bug out with their molle bdus and what nots.  I see some folks write about carrying a full battle load of ammo, something like 12 or 15 30 round mags.  Hahahahahahaha!!!!! You gonna carry your eight pound AR15 too?  Hahahahahaha!!!!!  HAVE YOU EVER TRIED IT!?!?!?!  Ammo is freaking heavy.  Guns are heavy.  Magazines are heavy.  I had a S&W model 60 and 20 rounds of 357 and that was heavy.  When you are lugging stuff on your back every ounce makes a difference.

You may be carrying 15 full 30 round mags, but then you won’t be carrying enough food, water or gear.  It’s gonna be one or the other.  You will have to make decisions about what can fit and what you can carry and what will need to be left behind.  Me?  I’d rather have a change of clothes, some raingear, a tent/tarp, stove, food, maybe even a saw or camp axe then my binky gun.  I think I’d use my camping gear a lot more then my binky gun.

This is the lean to we stayed at.

p1010006We set the tent up on 1/2 of the lean to.  My other buddy slept outside in his bivy sack under the stars.  It was a great spot.  The elevation of the lean to was about 2,200 feet.  The view from the lean to.

p1010007There was a roaring stream, Pecks Brook, about 50 feet from the lean to, so we had the pleasure of listening to rushing water the whole time we were there.  In the lower left hand corner of the picture is snow, more to follow about that later.

Although we could have probably drank the water right out of the streams because there was plenty of melting snow and ice, we filtered it just to be safe.

p10100091It was an MSR Sweetwater filter.  I haven’t used this brand/model before, but it was easy to set up, easy to pump and easy to store.  The water also tasted great.

This was a very difficult hike.  Mt. Greylock is a steep mountain.  Not only is it steep, but the top 1/3 of it was still covered in snow and ice and due to the big ice storm from the beginning of the winter the trails were covered in brush and the tops of trees that snapped off under the weight of ice.

Right near the summit was a cool stone.

p10100132So because there was still so much snow and ice on the trails it was real slippery.  I was with two friends and each of us fell at least once.  I bashed my arm pretty well.  One buddy fell and slid maybe five or eight feet and bashed his side pretty good.  I’m still applying triple antibiotic to my rock rash.

p10100161At the top is a war memorial to veterans.  This picture is a view from the top of the stone memorial.  That road you see there is for people to drive to the top.   The DCR ranger that we spoke with said they were getting money from FEMA to clean up after the huge ice storm.

There was also a little pond near the top with hundreds of frogs in it, doing their reproductive thing.  The music they made was beautiful.

p10100171Do you see all of the froggies floating?  The ripples at the top of the picture is from two frogs dancing.  After we got to the summit we decided to hike the ridgeline, so we went across the ridge over three other smaller peaks and then down into the canyon and back to our campsite.

A view on the way down looking at the top.

p1010019To the right of the radio tower you can make out the veterans memorial.

p10100202I like these little paths that folks make.  You can see a little snow still in the woods.

I’m telling you the hiking was extremely treacherous.  The mountain is steep anyways which makes it tough, but near the top that old snow and ice made it almost impossible to get any traction.  It would have been very easy to break an arm or leg or crack your skull.  Then like I wrote above, because of the ice storm the trails were covered in brush and debris.   To go 10 feet forwards on the trail we would have to go off trail bushwhack and then try to hook up with the trail up ahead.  It would have been very easy to get lost.  It took much longer than we expected and we had to walk further and harder than we expected due to all the trails being obstructed every five feet.

What happens is you are walking on the trail and it’s blocked off with the tops of some trees that snapped under the load of ice so you try to parallel the trail.  The problem is you think you go back on trail, but you are actually following a dry stream bed or animal trail, before you know it you are far off the trail and good luck to ya.

p1010029This is one of the waterfalls right by our campsite.  We got to listen to this the whole time and we didn’t have to go too far to get fresh, cold water!!  Added bonus one of my buddies brought a few oil cans of Heineken.  He tossed the beer in the stream earlier and when we got back it was like 45 degree.  That was one of the best beers that I’ve ever had.

And a pretty stream near the bottom.

p1010032So what lessons can be applied to survival situations:

  • Carry water, carry lots of water, carry different ways to purify/filter water, carry containers that can be filled with water.
  • Bring a compass and map and GPS.  Stop frequently to mark your route so you always know where you are.  It is very easy to get lost in the woods even on trails.  The trail you think you are following may not be a trail at all.
  • Use walking sticks hiking or ski poles.  Using these things helps you keep your footing and takes a lot of stress off of your knees.
  • If carrying long arms and gobs of ammo is part of your plan when you GOOD then you better try it out first.  Go ahead, load yourself up and start walking.  When you carry your load upon your hips and shoulders every ounce makes a difference.  Leave the 200 rounds of ammo behind and only bring what you need.  I’d rather carry a filter, cookware and a mess kit,  a fixed blade, a camp axe or saw, a stove, a sleeping bag, tent and first aid kit than a bunch of bullets.  Ammo weighs a lot!!
  • Have a few different ways to start fire.
  • Carry more food and water than you think you need.
  • The terrain and obstacles can change drastically.  It was 85 degrees and perfectly sunny outside and we were battling snow and ice underfoot.  Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • If you go with others, it’s a bad idea to let any one person carry all of any single thing i.e. every one in the group should carry some water, some food, some way to start a fire and so on.  Things get lost and people get separated from each other.    If someone carrying all the food was to fall into a stream their pack would be dumped like a lead weight so they could swim to shore.  Say bye bye to your food in that case.  Split everything up.
  • Just because it’s a warm day doesn’t mean that you won’t hit snow and ice at higher elevations.  Prepare for it.
  • You could look at a map of the terrain, but still not know what to expect.  You could have walked your path of escape 100 times and still be surprised by damage that last year’s ice storm cause.  Point being it took us three times as long as we expected it do because of all the branches and trees obstructing the trail.  Nature isn’t static.  It’s forever changing.  You have to expect everything to take longer than it should.  If you expect it to take you 1/2 a day to hike home or to your bug out location, plan on it taking a whole day or two and pack enough food/water/clothes to be out on the road for a day or two, not the 1/2 day expected under perfect circumstances.
  • Forgot about this one – if you have bad knees or elbows you should wear a brace of some sort.  I like an elastic one on my right knee.  It helps a lot.  You may also want to think about leaving a brace, if you use one, in your BOB, backpack or GOOD kit.

So more than eight good hours on the dusty and we’re back at camp eating, telling stories and watching the fire.  Happy trails to you – may you not have stones in your shoes, know thirst or the buzzing of flies.

p1010023

School bus

March 5, 2009

It seems like whenever I drive in the morning or the afternoon I get stuck behind a school bus.  You know that feeling when you’re in a hurry and you get stuck behind the bus for what seems like three miles and 20 stops?  Why don’t kids have to walk to school anymore?  When I was in elementary school I walked 1.25 miles each way to school.  I was 6 or 7 years old and I was walking both ways to school.  Even in the winter.  When is the last time one of your lazy ass kids walked a mile?  I remember we used to try and take an unauthorized shortcut.  Even back then I hated the System and still do to this day.   It even made no sense to a six year old kid to have to take the long way. If Katie the Crossing Guard caught us taking the shorter unauthorized way there was Hell to pay.

These days you never see kids walking to school, except kids in the city.  Now it seems like every kid gets to take the bus, has a car or get his parents to chauffeur him.  What’s the problem with young Americans?  No wonder kids are so fat these days.  Walking to school is good for kids.  Kids don’t get nearly enough fresh air either today.  And not only does each kid get to take the bus, but the bus stops at the end of every kid’s driveway too.  In middle school I got to take the bus.  I hated it the whole time.  We even had to walk to the bus stop.

Which reminds me, you don’t see kids playing outside anymore either.    Sure you may see kids if they’re playing some organized sport like baseball or soccer, but I never see kids playing street hockey or capture the flag.  This isn’t good either.  My parents couldn’t drag us in from outside.

We have lost our pioneer spirit.  What lazy ass, fat, dumb American now has the guts to head out on a trip like Lewis & Clark? I read we knew more about the moon prior to Armstrong setting foot on it than Lewis & Clark knew about there destination.

We deserve what we reap.

I don’t like the whole school choice thing either.  Stop wasting money on shuttling every kid from one end of town to the other and spend the money on teachers, books and technology.   All cities and towns are poor enough, end school choice.  Even beyond the transportation issue though I don’t like school choice.  Kids should go to schools in their neighborhood.  If the local school sucks than fix it.

Stop driving your kids and make them walk or ride their bikes.    In the long run you’ll be doing your spoiled little darlings a favor.

So Bernanke comes out a week or so ago and says that the economy should turn around later this year then the Fed releases a report saying that the economy is worsening and the recession is deepening. Bernanke obviously has no idea what he is doing.  He isn’t even cognizant of what his own team is doing.  Is he tripping?

The weekly unemployment claims figure just came out – initial claims are still over 600,000 and continued claims are still over 5,000,000.  We’re supposed to be happy because they both dropped by a little bit.  Santelli had an interesting comment that although claims are the highest since 1981 (or something like that) that the workforce is much larger now than it was then.  I feel like asking him is the way we calculate unemployment the same?  No it isn’t.  The government massages the numbers down.  The good folks at Shadow Stats calculate an unemployment rate of near 18%.

My wife works with maybe eight other women.  Over the past year the husband or boyfriend of every single one of them has lost his job at some point.  Ask your own friends, family and neighbors and than let me know if you believe the BS government pablum about unemployment being at 7%.

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, which mean more attention than our Fed chairman, you know things are bad and getting worse.  Act appropriately:

  • Cut your expenses where you can
  • Diversify your income
  • Buy extra non-perishables every week – food, water, candles, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, TP, etc.
  • Stock up a bit on imported things that you buy (which means just about everything) – nothing wrong with having an extra pair or two of jeans, sneakers, boots, BVDs and jackets.
  • Get a firearm and learn how to use it
  • Learn some new skills
  • Get some camping equipment – stove, sleeping bags, tent, cookware, lantern, knives, axe, sleeping pads
  • Have an escape plan – local, state and out of state – make sure your family is in on it and knows what to do.
  • Have battery powered radio/tv/walkie talkies/flashlights and a bunch of batteries
  • Do some Internet research on Get Home Bags and Bug Out Bags.
  • Buy some extra propane or charcoal if that’s what your grill uses.
  • Get Outside Everyday!

Get out everyday!  This is the good and the ugly.

m1Here is the good.  Beautiful sunny, blue sky day.  I was skiing down this trail.  It looks steep, but it is twice as steep as it looks.  I took a good face plant.  Oh well, no falls no balls.  Believe me it was a trudge skiing to the top of the hill.  Although it was maybe 28 degrees out because the high March sun was shining the snow was sticking to the bottom of my skis.  The trail going down is on the northside so it was still fast.

This is the ugly.

m4Had to go into the city yesterday and I saw this smokestack spewing death.  The plume was blowing towards a residential area where poorer people live.  There are many three families and small apartment buildings right downwind of this balck crap.  If you want to talk about survival and you live near where something like this spews poison on you 24/7 move, at least move someplace upwind.  Forget about your survival kit and move someplace safer.

Revolving doors

February 14, 2009
lynn

Deputy Defense Secretary Lynn

This one makes me puke.  Really.  The more things change the more they stay the same.  “In yet another violation of Barack Obama’s “strict ethics rules banning lobbyists from his administration, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a major defense industry lobbyist to be second in command at the Pentagon. The nation’s new Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, comes directly from the lucrative world of big time lobbying for the world’s largest missile manufacturer, Maryland-based Raytheon Co. Incidentally, Raytheon happens to be one of the Pentagon’s biggest missile suppliers thanks greatly to Lynn’s efforts.

Prior to registering as a lobbyist Lynn worked as the Comptroller at the Pentagon under President Clinton.  So he’s in government, then lobbying for private interests and now back in government.  That’s just not right.  There needs to be some sort of time exclusion that prevents people from dancing between public and private interests.

WTF! WTF! WTF! Business has such a stranglehold on our government that We The People are being chokedBusiness as usual in DC for those whom we elect to represent US.  WTF!?!

changePutting a former lobbyist in charge of which defense contractors get what plum contract is one thing that both Republicans and Democrats agreed on, “was confirmed by a vote of 93 to 4 on Wednesday.”

They can’t agree on ANYTHING else, but when it comes time to putting a fox in charge of the chickens at least 93% of them agree it’s a good idea.  Of course, because it’s all about the money.  Money talks and BS walks.

At least one senator wasn’t happy, “Grassley, who voted against confirmation, called into question Lynn’s work as Pentagon comptroller during the Clinton administration. As chief financial officer, Lynn “advocated very questionable accounting practices that were obviously not in the public interest,” Grassley told his colleagues on the Senate floor.

Don’t be fooled by the differences between the two major American political parties.  There is no difference in the things that really matter.  Everything else is a wedge issue for those driven by their own ideology.  Don’t vote for ANY Dems or any Repubs.

And Carl Levin on the subject says that, “Lynn’s situation “is not unique,numerous nominees to senior positions in prior administrations, including nominees as secretary of defense, have served in similar industry positions.”  Yeah, that’s comforting.  How about a little oversight Mr. Levin.

And President’s Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex Speech, which I would argue is actually now the military/industrial/media/government complex.  There is a revolving door from government to business to media to government to media to business.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

My GHB

November 7, 2008

My walking pic of the day-

Fox scat

Fox scat

I believe this to be fox scat (crap).  The fox diligently placed it on top of a rock so everyone in the woods could see it and smell it.  Fox like to do this with their scat.  Notice the seeds in it.  It looks like this fox has been eating berries.

I keep a bag in my car to provide stuff that I may need if I end up having to walk home.  I’m usually no more than 20 miles from home and usually not too far from my car.   I don’t anticipate having to spend more then one night away from home.  Probably not even.  So my Get Home Bag is designed around these specific needs: walk no more then 20 miles and only having to spend 1-3 nights away from home.  I also have a fair amount of stuff in my car that isn’t shown.  That’s another post.

The first thing you need to do in the event of having to run home is to make yourself safe.  After that, you need to unpack everything you have with you, your pockets and the contents of your Get Home Bag (“GHB”).  Take an inventory.  Figure out what you have and the multiple uses that each item has.  Slow down.  Bad decisions are made in haste.

This is my get home bag.

Get Home Bag

Get Home Bag

As you can see it’s a waterproof SealLine 20 liter bag.  I have other bags in my car that I can put it into in case I want to go incognito.  Carrying the SealLine bag through urban or suburban areas would attract unneeded attention.  I usually have a black messenger bag with me that I could stuff the SealLine bag into if I needed to.

The contents:

GHB1

GHB1

Here we have a survival blanket that has all kinds of survival tips written right on it.  Even though you know everything, when you are under stress you forget or can’t recall stuff.  It’s good to have everything written down.  Next are a few rubber gloves, a dust mask and toilet paper in a zip loc bag.

GHB 2

GHB2

Here are a few large plastic bags with a rubber band around them.  The yellow thing is a reflective survival sleeping bag.    A cheesy tube tent and cheesy rain poncho.  I keep them packed in their plastic bags because it’s good to have bags in the brush.

GHB3

GHB3

Here is a NuWick candle in a can.  Packed inside of the can are the wicks and a lousy pack of matches.  NuWick should supply waterproof matches with its product.  NuWick knows it’s a survival item so they shouldn’t get chintzy with the matches.   The thing in the zip loc bag is an alcohol lamp/stove.  The black thing is a small pot/large cup to heat stuff up with.  The handles collapse around the pot.  The thing with the yellow handle and black rod is a flint fire starter.   The shiny silver thing is an old fashioned waterproof match holder packed with strike anywheres and a piece of course sandpaper for striking.

GHB4

GHB4

Upper left corner are two sets of plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic wrap.  Inside the zip loc bag (I love bags.) is a survival saw.  You can’t depend on these things, but it’s light, cheap and small so why not pack it?  Don’t depend on them though.  If you think that you will HAVE to use a saw on your way home get a better one.  You can rip the rings off the end of these survival saws with a teeny bit of pressure.  Bottom center is a small bottle of Purell hand sanitizer.  Bottom left corner is a Platypus bag wrapped with a rubber band.  It’s basically a collapsible canteen.  The Platypus bags can be boiled, frozen and rolled up very small.  These things are great.

GHB5

GHB5

The silver thing in the black case is a small radio.  It picks up AM/FM/TV and shortwave.  It’s digitally tuned.  I think I got 2 for $20.  When I’m walking home I want to be able to listen to the news.  The other thing is a headlamp.

GHB6

GHB6

Here is a shank of parachute cord.  It can be stripped down and the inside strands used for whatever.  In the middle is a shank of poly rope.  At the bottom is a little roll of duct tape.

GHB7

GHB7

At the top is a Swedish Mora knife with a sheath that has a nice belt clip.  The knife is very sharp.  It was only $9 or so from Smoky Mountain Knife Works.  A Gillette disposable razor and a cheap slingshot.  Also, floating around the bottom of my GHB are probably about 50 ball bearings.

GHB8

GHB8

This is a Survival Straw.  These things are great.  I can drink out of a puddle if need be.  You can get cheaper ones, but they are probably just filters.  In which case you may also have to treat the water with bleach, iodine or other chemicals.  This Survival Straw has some sort of silver in it that also kills the bugs and viruses.  This is the kind to get.  http://www.thestrawoflife.com/.  You can find it cheaper so look around.  Once again, save the bag it comes in and the directions.

GHB8

GHB8

This is the food I carry in my GHB.  On the left is a bag of raisins and brown sugar.  It’s like the ingredients for hooch in the can.  On the right is more food double zip locked.

GHB9

GHB9

The zip lock food bag unpacked.  At the top two packs of Swiss Miss hot cocoa, a pack of tuna, the black round thing is a small glass jar of honey, two gold and black packets of Earl Grey tea, four or five hard candies, a pack of Top Ramen, four things of Cup a Soup, the things running vertically are three packs of soup bouillon.

GHB10

GHB10

This is a one liter Nalgene type bottle.  It came packed with first aid supplies.  I got it for about $10.  Of course I had to supplement it with more stuff.

The bottle unpacked is below:

GHB11

GHB11

A pair of tweezers, a cheap compass, a bag with wet naps, an orange cheap whistle, a small roll of first aid tape and a red Bic lighter.

GHB11

GHB12

On the left in the little baggie are first aid type wipes, antibiotic, burn and stingeze.  At the top the little blue pills are an anti-histamine, to the right is a pack of Advil, in the middle anti-biotic Neosporin, a bunch of brass safety pins and at the bottom is a little shank of poly string.

GHB13

GHB13

Here we have a bag with assorted bandages and gauze pads, a pair of scissors, in the center is a disposable razor knife.  You know the kind it has like ten blades that snap off.  The bottom left is a small zip loc bag rolled up and secured with a rubber band.

GHB14

GHB14

At the top left is a triangle bandage in a bag.  The top right is a small pack of tissues.  Bottom left is a bag of anti-septic towelettes.  The bottom right is a small container of aspirin and Immodium.  You have to know not to take aspirin if bleeding is a risk, but to take aspirin in the event of stroke or heart attack.  if you didn’t know this you are weak in the first aid area and need to bone up.  Not trying to be critical.  I just am by nature.

GHB15

GHB15

At the top left are eight Micropur water purifying tablets.  The top right are some disposable brush ups to keep your teeth clean and get rid of foul tastes or just make you feel more human.  The bottom right are 4.0 Ethilon sutures.  The bottom right is a first aid guide.  I’m pretty good with first aid, but under stress I may not be thinking right so it helps to be able to read.  Keep directions.  An example, you may be suffering from hypothermia and not recognize it because one of the symptoms of hypothermia is confusion.  You start reading your little first aid guide and realize that confusion is a sign of hypothermia.  Light then dawns on marble head and you recognize that you need to take corrective action.

GHB16

GHB16

The last items in the one liter bottle is a pack of straight needles and a spool of black thread.

You get that pics GHB11-GHB16 are the contents of the red one liter bottle.

You need to occasionally unpack everything so you know what you have and also to check the batteries.  The whole thing weighs about ten pounds and measures 18″ * 9″ * 8″.

Cost = Priceless.

Mens sarne incorporo sarno.