Monday 21 January 2008

In your pack

Main compartment contains my clothes:

  • 1 pair convertible pants/shorts (zip off bottoms) and belt
  • 1 long sleeve t-shirt - inner layer
  • 1 moisture wicking/breathable t-shirt - inner layer
  • 1 fleece - middle layer
  • 1 M65 jacket - outer layer
  • 1 pair wool socks
  • 2 pair cotton socks
  • 1 pair of underwear
  • Added large Italian military wool blanket

I also store the FM 21-76 ‘Survival’ and FM 21-11 ‘First Aid for Soldiers’ manuals, along with three 55 gallon heavy-duty drum liners in the same compartment. There is even enough room for Yellow bottle of HEET (methyl alcohol fuel), and a few energy bars. Kit itself is made up of the following:

  • Assorted large and medium bandages plus Maxi pads for large wounds
  • Added Israeli Trauma Bandage
  • Added two 4″ ACE elastic bandages for sprains
  • Cloth medical tape
  • Several scalpel blades
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ant-diarrhea medicine
  • Half roll toilet paper
  • Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
  • Leatherman Core Multitool in a belt pouch
  • Bushnell 8×25 Monocular
  • 17% Capsicum pepper spray
  • 550 paracord
  • Aquamira Frontier Emergency Water Filter - removed
  • Added Katadyn Vario
  • Sharpie permanent marker
  • 2 yards of duct tape
  • Two BIC Lighters
  • Inova X1 Flashlight with batteries
  • Two Lithium Ion AA batteries for flashlight
  • Large Safety pins
  • Heavy-duty black thread
  • Heavy-duty waxed boot/rucksack repair thread
  • Heavy-duty sewing awl; 10 assorted needles
  • P-38 manual can opener
  • Magnesium fire starter - removed
  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • Travel-size toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Three 35 gallon draw-string trash bags
  • Three N95 face masks

{Update 05/15/2011}. Pack has been switched to a Swedish Army surplus external frame rucksack.  The stock hardware has been upgraded with USGI MOLLE II shoulder straps and hip belt.  AK-47 bayonet has been replaced with a Buck Omni Hunter knife.

{Update 10/01/2010}. Went through the bag again… Permanently removed light sticks.  Added one more Bic lighter, an Israeli Trauma Bandage and an East German AK-47 bayonet.  Bayonet is a all-in-one knife, wire cutter and light-duty sawing tool.

{Update 5/21/2008}. After more reading about Combat Medics and first aid equipment, I added the following to my list:

  • Gold Bond Medicated body powder. Soldiers use foot powder to keep infection and smell out, and I figured it was a wise idea. Gold Bond foot powder contains 1.0% Menthol as the main ingredient, the rest is mostly talc. This comes in a blue bottle. I found something similar: Medicated Body Powder; 0.8% Menthol and 5.0% Zinc Oxide. Zinc Oxide is and anti-itch agent in Calamine, and I can kill two birds with one stone by using the body powder instead of foot powder.
  • Petroleum Jelly. This can be used for chapped lips and skin and added to tinder for firemaking. It is NOT to be used on burns because heat gets trapped by the jelly, and does not aid healing in any way. It can be used on burns and cuts during the healing process to keep skin protected.
  • Dental Floss. Good oral hygiene is paramount, and it can be used as thread or fishing line.
  • Elastic Bandage. ACE is the most popular brand, but most manufacturers are similar. I have a 4″ roll for sprains, to hold gauze dressing in place on an open wound. Elastic bandage is better than gauze because it is washable and re-usable.
  • Fast Orange hand cleaner with pumice. I bought a couple of small (7.5 oz) bottles for the BOB and my regular camping pack. It is very convenient to clean your hands without having to use water before a meal, or if there is a first aid emergency.
  • $2 leather palm Work Gloves.  I believe these will be used more than any other item… except for clothes.  I have another pair in the camping pack, and they are used pretty regularly when gathering firewood and other manual labor.  Blisters are a pain in the a$$…

{1/21/2008}. For the BOB pack I am using a first generation woodland camo MOLLE II Assault Pack. I have tried several variations of school backpacks, gym bags and military packs. None seemed to fit the bill. They were either too small, too weak, too large or too uncomfortable.

I actually bought this Assault pack as compliment to the full MOLLE II Rifleman’s set (which has been sold due to it’s size and complexity). The Assault pack was the best feature of the whole set. I decided to keep and use it for my BOB. Some time has passed, and I added on the MOLLE II Buttpack for extra space. It now has a US Army poncho and poncho liner inside (Ranger Roll).

Some of these items have to be checked every year or so. I test the flashlight once or twice a year to make sure the batteries are still good. Pepper spray is good until 2011, and lightsticks have to be changed every 1-2 years (removed*). Some people suggest a painter’s face mask from a hardware store. This is something that may be added if space permits. I am strongly against increasing the size of my BOB, so time will tell. I do not plan on adding a sleeping bag at all. Creature comfort is not a priority, and the Ranger Roll will suffice as a makeshift bed, and keep me warm and dry in rainy or cold weather. There is no reason to put as much stuff as possible in the BOB, extra stuff means extra weight, which means you have to carry more food to compensate for used energy. As far as food goes, here is a list of things I consider for the BOB:

  • PowerBar energy bars.  Twice the calories than a regular granola bar. They have to be changed out every year or so. I buy replacements at the beginning of camping season, and rotate my stock. These energy bars are my favorite emergency food, they taste good, do not require cooking, and very energy dense.
  • Chicken and Beef Bullion cubes. This is a delicious hot beverage on a cold day. Cubes do not take any room, and I can easily put a few dozen inside the cook pot, along with the alcohol stove. Tea bags complete the hot beverage assortment.
  • Mayday 2400 calorie emergency ration.  This was added in December 2010.  Came in a $5 Coscto purchased emergency kit, which has been modified, and some components removed.  This is basically flavored saw-dust like bar packed with calories.  Level 3 emergency food; level 2 being the PowerBar, and level 1 being regular granola bars.  That’s the order I would eat them in.

3 Responses to “In your pack”

  1. MOLLE II Assault Pack | CampingGearReview Says:

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  3. Cal Says:

    I have been using Mountain House products for 33 years, both civilian products as well as the military LRRP’s rations they made in the 70’s. They do require a lot of water to reconstitue, so investment in a good water filter system (MSR or Pre-Mac both meet military specs) and purification tablets is a good idea. The meals taste great and are very user friendly as they prepare in their own pouch. Meals come in 1 and 2 person sizes, and a wide menu selection. You will want to try them at home before using them in the field. the troble with trying them out is leaving them alone for field use, they taste that good. These products have a 10 year shelf life at room temperature so rotation is not a large concern, but it is best to use the older ones first. I use a Sharpie marker to write the purchase date on the packages for this purpose. They do require prep time so I also carry a couple of field stripped MRE’s as they can be eaten cold and on the move or if you need to save your available water, until you find a water source.

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