What Should I Do?

Understanding Emergencies: Every Day Carry and Survival Equipment

Saturday, February 25, 2012, 5:21 PM
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Part I - Practical Survival Equipment

In this segment of the Emergency Assessment series, we’re going to discuss equipment, but not in a way that is commonly seen.

We’re going to take the information from the previous segment (Understanding Emergencies) and set up some definitions that we will use to frame what we need in order to meet emergencies head on.  If you have not yet read that article, please take a few minutes to read it now, because this article builds on the knowledge gained in the previous one.

Most of the time, this discussion focuses on what you hear when you hear “survivalists” consider their options. Typically it’s the equipment: What rifle for deer? What (this) to accomplish (that)? Our section on equipment is intentionally placed halfway through this article, because before we decide on any sort of equipment, it’s imperative that we shape our demands, and our demands are not equipment -- our demands are skills. A set of lock picks aren’t going to do you any good if you’re trying to escape a dead city and you can't tell a rake from a torsion wrench.

In short, our priorities are:

  1. A cogent assessment of the situation
  2. A detailed plan on what you have, lack, and need, in terms of skill set, mindset, and know-how
  3. The skills to perform the given task
  4. The tools to perform the given task

With skill comes mindset; with mindset comes tactical thinking. Therefore, when we are skilled, we can “think on our feet.” When you understand the objective, it becomes easier to improvise. This is especially true of firearms, though it applies equally to many other things.

In the spirit of “consistency across categories,” I arrange my equipment to correspond with the levels of crisis discussed in my previous article in the “Intensity/Duration” section, which is to say, each of the three “lines” of equipment meet the demands of their respective emergencies.

Furthermore, integration of each line should be additive -- your line two should be commensurate with your first and third line. If you’re left with only your first line, you should have the mindset, skill set, and tactical knowledge to “procure” any of the other items you may need.

Consider a few other points: 

  1. Try not to look conspicuous. Dress appropriately for what you’re doing. Carry clothes that are inconspicuous for your area, and make sure you’re comfortable (not just physically – dress in a way that you’re inconspicuous).
  2. Don’t overload yourself. Try and stick to the target weights, or define your own as needed.
  3. Make sure your equipment is secured and doesn’t rattle. Tie it down with Paracord and make sure your pouches are secure. Zippers and velcro make noise. Buttons are quieter. Keep your cell phone on vibrate, not ring.
  4. Buy quality; cry just once. Don’t buy equipment off the bargain rack to fill a perceived insufficiency -- use the skill axiom first! If you can’t overcome the deficiency with just skill (such as in an emergency like a house fire), buy reliable, quality tools to augment your knowledge.
  5. Try to find objects that are “multi-purpose,” but be aware that some things will always need to be “special purpose.”

Often enough, people ask, “What do I need?” This, of course, depends greatly on what skills you possess, your perceived dangers, and what you’ll actually carry. That said, I will do my best to make my recommendations.

First Line

Method of Carry: EDC “Every Day Carry" on person

Target weight: 1-5 lbs.

Purpose: Mitigation of immediate emergencies and violent encounters; supplementing second and third line in more protracted emergencies. Our first-line equipment is designed to provide us with readily accessible, functional tools for both everyday situations (increasing the likelihood that we’ll actually carry it) and Type 1 emergencies.

The emphasis with your first line gear is:

  • Rapid accessibility
  • Lightweight
  • Discreet (“low signature”)
  • In-fight accessibility (see the Forum for logic behind this)

Please note: If you’re not comfortable carrying a firearm, that’s fine; it's a small part of the overall preparation.
 

Components

      • Pocket knife
      • Lighter/matches
      • Thumb drive (on key ring)
      • P-38 can opener (on key ring)
      • Multi-tool (I prefer Gerber - Leatherman pictured)
      • A notepad with pens
      • A rubber band or two
      • Safety pins
      • Photon flashlight (or handheld flashlight – depending on what you prefer)

Optional

      • Sidearm (I prefer a Glock 26/19, in 9mm)
      • A reload for your sidearm
      • A fixed blade knife (I prefer a Shivworks Clinch Pick)
      • Bogata Entry Toolset
      • A Paracord bracelet - deconstructed, these can provide you an amazing amount of material to use as rope, fishing line, snare wires, or thread - the limits are only in your mind.
Second Line - Kit

Method of Carry: Lightweight satchel or low-signature chest rig
Note: NOT a backpack - a backpack is your third line.

Target Weight: 5-10 lbs.

Purpose: Putting emergency plans into effect; geared towards Moderate Intensity, Medium Duration (Type II) emergencies. For my second-line equipment, I prefer a setup that doesn’t interfere with my first line, so that the lines can be seamlessly integrated to fit the caliber of emergency.

The second-line kit serves as augmentation to the first-line equipment, providing support for tasks such as navigation and waypoints, emergency medical supplies, and equipment to improvise food and shelter.

Components

      • Water container
      • Zip ties
      • Siphon hose
      • Spare magazines
      • Head lamp
      • Flashlight (I prefer the Surefire C2)
      • Pocket chainsaw (this is an endorsement -- it rocks)
      • Snare wire and fish hooks (tied on their leaders)
      • Notepad and pens
      • Magnesium fire starting block
      • Medical kit
      • GPS/compass
      • A few pieces of silver
      • More Paracord
      • Cyalume flares
      • Water bottle
      • Idiosyncratic items (Kestrels, GPS, maps, reading material; whatever makes you comfortable)

Optional

      • Rifle
      • Spare magazines (pistol/rifle)

 

Third Line - Backpack

Method of Carry: Backpack

Target Weight: 25-40 lbs.

Purpose: Providing more advanced gear that supplements first and second line, and affords the ability to exist in transit for >1 week, depending on level of skill and need.

Components

      • Food (I prefer MRE entrees with the cardboard [for fire starting])
      • Sleeping bag or insulated blanket
      • Mylar sleeping bag and/or space blanket
      • Fixed-blade knife
      • Rope/carabiners
      • Hydration system (3 Litre)
      • Plastic bags
      • Medical kit
      • Capilene underwear, shirts, and socks (2 pairs each)
      • Stainless steel or aluminum cook-set (with utensil)
      • Fishing line/hooks/power-bait
      • Water purification (tablets, Pur Hiker/Katadyne etc)
      • Canteen with cup
      • Extra items: lighters, pens, trading items (cigarettes, silver, etc.)

Keep in mind that a heavier third line might include more food, water, a bedroll, and a better sleeping bag. This equipment should be geared towards your level of skill and individual plan to facilitate getting you where you need to be –- whether that is home after hoofing it from the office, or moving on foot to a remote location.

Part II - EDC and Emergencies: Building a Training Plan

Training For Your Emergency

Each of us has a different set of circumstances that will dictate how we prepare, what we prioritize, and what we decide to carry with us. Because the needs and comforts of each person will differ, we’ll take a very “generic” look at how I plan my training each year:

  1. Identify Deficiencies
  2. Identify Needs
  3. Research Options
  4. Attend Training
  5. Verify Training
  6. Reassess Needs

The final step is probably the most critical – many people attend one course, find that they’re ‘proud’ of their new-found skill, and then put it in a box, on a shelf, and forget about it until it turns to dust. If you’re not constantly looking to improve, the shelf-life of your skill level will expire. With that, let’s explore some of the core competencies, training opportunities, and the accompanying equipment in this next section.

Defining Skill Set

Since we’re all starting (or reassessing and restarting) from different positions, there are no “one-answer” solutions.

That said, there are two common themes in Type I emergencies -- First Aid and Self Defense -- and these two form the bedrock on which all Type I emergencies are based on. There are a number of venues where you can gain these skills, from martial arts to CPR. It’s up to you to determine the best route. What we will do in this section is define skills that will help you plan the subsequent action to remedy the identified deficiencies. These will simply be the “core tasks” that I see as necessary – there are infinitely more, but to give us a ‘broad’ look at a variety of skills, the following lists will provide a Foundation, Frame, and Firebreak for our skill-set homestead. 

Type I Emergency Skill Set:
 

Physical Fitness – From exiting a burning building, swimming to shore, or running from an attacker, your level of physical fitness is the foundation all other skills are built upon. See Chris’s terrific writeup for inspiration and a great, actionable plan: Getting In Shape: The New Me

First Aid – Knowing the ABC’s of rescue medicine, CPR, how to splint and carry, and knowing the difference between types of bleeding is the bare essential. Most hospitals have CPR classes that are free or nearly so. Many colleges, including community colleges, have First Aid classes that are affordable and brief, and you will also likely receive your CPR card.

Self Defense – Self defense, like medicine, is a subject you can quit, but never finish. It’s up to each individual to decide what they’re comfortable with in terms of the ability to defend themselves. At a minimum, take a class or two on mental awareness and some basic preventative techniques or martial arts. Situational awareness goes a long way towards diffusing problems before they start, but make sure you also take some basic precautions, starting with the internal fortress and moving your way outwards towards securing your home (Fortifying Yourself And Your Home Against Crime) and community.

If you choose to own a firearm, be sure to take a course on handling and safety, and a class in Force on Force. Learning to shoot without measuring your skill against another adversary is not going to allow you to successfully cycle through steps 5 and 6 in the training cycle. Wouldn’t it be silly to take martial arts without ever sparring with an opponent?

Type II Emergency Skill Set:
 

Rural Survival Basics: As a minimum, you should know how to purify water, start a fire and build a shelter. Knowing your local area’s flora and fauna will be very helpful as well – edible berries, mushrooms and bulbs can and will help alleviate hunger if you’re forced to live outdoors for any measure of time. Make no mistake, this is far and away the most difficult and risky proposition for a post collapse world, and should not be under-estimated. While there are many schools which teach these skills, (Tom Brown’s Survival School, Davenport’s Survival School etc) the best way to learn is to learn from someone you know who is a skilled outdoors man.

Urban Survival Basics: In the Urban environment, you might find yourself in a situation where traveling discreetly, scavenging for goods and interacting with people are your primary concerns. While there are various ways to learn these skills, many have to come through experience. OnPoint Tactical’s “Urban Escape and Evasion” is an excellent option (http://www.onpointtactical.com/scout.aspx), and in my opinion an extremely valuable addition to your skillset. That said, it’s very challenging and some of the curriculum might give some folks pause.

Advanced First Aid: From my perspective, this encompasses suturing, wound management, treat bleeding, wound packing, Tourniquet use, decompression of tension pneumothorax and IV use. These skills are geared towards working under extremely tough circumstances, such as a terrorist attack, active shooter incident or even a car accident. Tactical Response Immediate Action Medical is essentially the same as the U.S. Army’s Combat Lifesaver Course, but geared more towards the citizen, and will definitely give you good hands on skills to deal with trauma (http://www.tacticalresponse.com/course.php?courseID=36), but there are many other courses available that will adequately equip you to address these concerns.

Advanced Self-Defense: Advanced self defense takes us out of the realms of just not getting beaten up, and advances us to the ability to actively defend the family if need be. This includes the ability to manage street fights using unarmed, edged, and firearms skill sets we develop in Type 1 defense. This is a very uncomfortable stage of development, where we begin testing ourselves in force-on-force and taking more difficult challenges such as navigating buildings or active shooter situations. Classes in Brazilian Jujitsu and Shivworks ECQC/AMIS/VCAST sequence will go long way in building your ability to fight on the street or in buildings, and manage contacts while in your vehicle. (http://shivworks.com/)

Type III Emergency Skill Set:

Agriculture: food production, animal husbandry, canning, curing, gardening and permaculture.

Energy Production: solar & hybrid generators, wood gasification, biofuels

 
Costs and Practicality

This list may seem long and costly, and it is.

The skill sets presented in this series are meant to be the foundation that, if practiced properly, will ensure that your basic needs are met. It is incumbent upon you to develop those skills. 

Turning these words into practical, useful skills will require an investment in time, energy, and patience. It will cost money, pride, and comfort. But as you invest in yourself and build confidence in the things you can accomplish, you’ll see the investment return all of what it’s taken.

The journey of self-development is very long, lonely, and at times will have you questioning your motives, intent, and possible outcomes. It should be harsh, painful, rewarding, and humbling.

The training you complete is an investment in your most integral asset: yourself. Budget for it as you would any other expense, and continually view it as a way to weather yourself against the unexpected challenges.

Some of the simplest things you can do are:

  1. Take martial arts.
  2. Take good care of yourself physically.
  3. Find two courses per year that you’ve never taken before; budget for and attend them.
  4. Consider equipment only after you’ve identified need. Continually re-assess yourself based on your observations.
Skill Set, Mindset, and Tactics

This is a point I return to over and over again because I want to clearly emphasize -- especially after talking about gear -- that owning equipment but never training speaks to a mis-allocation of time, money, and priorities.

Many people do not like to train because it compromises their self-image. To be hurt physically by someone who trained harder than you, to be challenged mentally by being forced into an austere situation, such as urban escape and evasion or a woodland survival class, is not comfortable.

It is also important to recognize that some skills are based on knowledge and experience, and others are more physically intensive, demanding more repetition. At this point, you should have a good understanding of what possible emergencies exist.

We have presented situations not to fear them, but to understand them. The clarion call of this particular addition to the Survival 101 series is this: You’ve been exposed to some fundamental skills, you’ve been exposed to some of the calculus behind preparation, and we’ve loosely defined sets of emergencies that could impact us -- so it is now time to take action.

While it is important to assess yourself for strengths, weaknesses, and abilities, it is of far more value to test yourself and to know how to handle emergencies.

With these things in mind, it’s critical to set realistic priorities that focus on what is practical, realistic, and uncomfortable. Don’t fall into the routine of taking classes over and over again. If you find yourself comfortable with the material, you’re not being challenged.

Think of how ridiculous it would be to take 'Writing 101' over and over again. You could turn in the same work, modify it to the teachers’ expectations, and correct yourself ad infinitum. But will it improve your ability to write?

In this same way, martialism, physical fitness, primitive survival skills, and experience in dealing with adversity must be continually nurtured and pressed beyond what you know.

"The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things." 

~ Miyamoto Musashi

Cheers,

~ Aaron 

Related content

21 Comments

SPAM_ferralhen's picture
SPAM_ferralhen
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 151
this is great. thank

this is great. thank you

last week i assembled my bug out bag , whatever stuff that i've assembled over the last few years....it is impressive but at 59 yr old, female, i could n't pick it up....it's sitting on my couch right now . ready to go . it's intention was to put in my vehicle so i could hike 10-20 miles back to home base( the most i travel from my home). i've been walking each day for the last couple of months, and have a comfortable routine of 5-8 miles/day in a couple of hours as my max.

as i do this, every 2 weeks it seems i can add more mileage to my prep.a little more, a little more.then a rest.

do i lighten the load? no it's content is similar to suggestions in this article.

but maybe.i keep my mind open and perhaps i have added too much luxury to my bag.

do i get more in shape? yes. the 20 lbs i need to shed is just about the amount that my bug out bag is. if i can walk 8 miles at 150lbs now, then i could walk 8 miles with a 20lb backpack on, if i weighed 130lbs

it takes more time the older we are to safely get into shape. check with your doctor, figure out what you are working with and get busy. ask anyone who survive aushwitz(sp)...training wasn't only for the young.

i can not stress this more. the more in shape and strong you are, the more options you will have should you need them. the more advantage.

those of us who are older...never fear....we can learn and store information too , that we can teach and share to those who still have youth and can do.

knowing is a key to survival

good article

Retha's picture
Retha
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Posts: 65
Fantastic!

Excellently presented! Great value here! Thanks.....

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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Posts: 1122
EDC when traveling

Aaron,

I have a question.... have you found it necessary to change or adjust your kits when traveling, and if so what are some examples of said changes?

My own experiences over the past 7 months or so traveling on a regular basis has played some hell on my EDC items, and to a lesser extent my larger kit / bug-out-bag.  Going between several states (not to mention several countries) has necessitated leaving out some items to the point where the EDC usefulness is somewhat compromised.  This is most apparent when it comes to defensive tools or even pocket knives, and this is usually either a result of variation in local laws or TSA policy.  On a recent trip to NYC I couldn't even bring my carry handgun much less carry it, and I had the same situation last week when I took a train trip to the mid-West on short notice to buy a car.  My conceal carry permit lets me carry concealed when in Colorado visiting the in-laws or when travelling through Utah, Wyoming, or Idaho, but I can't do the same when visiting family in Washington or Oregon. 

My stripped down EDC:

- Wallet: minimum of $50 (or 60,000 tugriks when in Mongolia) cash, at least one debit and one credit card, auto insurance card, passport info card (just a card with my passport # and exp. date), and postage stamps.

- Mobile (smart)phone, USB cable phone charger, spare micro-SD card.

- Cheap plastic lighter.

- Small notepad/planner and pencil.

- Key ring with USB drive, Swiss-Tech Micro-Tool, pocket flashlight/laser pointer.

- Leatherman tool ***

- Folder knife ***

Changes: I have had to essentially eliminate my carry handgun from EDC because the majority of the time I'm in a state or country that doesn't allow it.  I no longer carry my Zippo lighter and strike-anywhere matches because of frequent air travel and TSA , but a plastic lighter is a fair substitute.  Other changes include frequent removal of my leatherman and/or folder knife because of either airport security or local laws regarding knives (Mongolia and many US states are ok, but China and Korea generally not). 

-----------

And lastly just a general comment, I think a good 21st century addition to the "optional" category with EDC are a smartphone (inexpensive ones will do), travel phone charger/ USB cable for said phone, and if your phone takes one a spare micro-SD card (with a SDcard/USB adapter so one can easily access it from a computer if necessary).  The value of having a device/kit that serves as information gathering tool (via a nearby wifi hotspot or subscribed data plan), a data viewing/storage/transfer tool, a decent camera, and (in some cases) a GPS in a small package is hard to ignore.  My whole smartphone "kit" fits easily in one pocket, and I've found it very useful when traveling.  It's usefulness is not so much in dealing with emergencies (a regular mobile phone is fine for that), but rather in avoiding potential emergency situations by checking maps & directions, road/weather conditions, news reports, etc.  It helped me quite a bit a couple weeks ago when driving from NY through the mid-West when there were some vehicle pile-ups and extremely icy roads.  At the very least it saved me time and headaches, and possibly helped me avoid a traffic accident.

Looking forward to your next article,

- Nick

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Posts: 2311
TSA/Travel

Nickbert,

Ironically, I read your reply on my phone in the Airport.
After hitting the ground, it took me about 5 minutes to chamber the G26 and get my knife, first aid kit, EDC pouch and multitool situated =D

Trick of it is, within the US - Avoid NYC. Avoid Chicago, and avoid LAX.
Fly into New Hampshire, Las Vegas or Lambert, in STL. Check your firearms in a box that will accomodate the rest of your kit.
I only flew with 1st line this time, but have used the same approach in the past. More often than not, TSA won't even bat an eye. Walk in like you own the place, declare your firearms as an afterthought and make sure you have all your ducks in a row:

1. Have your ammo seperate from the firearm.
2. If you have it in magazines, keep them discreet.
3. If you are cool with traveling with unloaded magazines, a box of ammo is no trouble.
4. Keep your "weapons" away from your "tools" - I have a double sided case. Side A is for blades and firearms, side B is for my EDC stuff I don't want waltzing through Airport Security with me.

I put everything in the case - belt, pouches and all. One time, I went through security with the belt and pouches, and the guy gave me a hard time when he saw them.
"What're the pouches for?"
"What's it to you?"

Quite frankly, I use leatherman pouches for the spare magazine and my multitool, because it attracts less attention, and is a bit more secure if you take a tumble, or get into a scuffle. Last thing I want is my reload flying out of my pouch if I'm staring a disaster in the face.

A lot of guys frown upon retention as a slowing agent - it is. For you, and for Murphy.

If you're abroad, we can look at EDC in a different way, and modify the tools as you've done, but keep in mind that the Firearm Owners Protection Act validates your Concealed Carry license in ANY state, provided you're in transit (loose term, if there ever was one) and you're legal at your starting and arriving destination.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOPA#.22Safe_Passage.22_provision

Washington has a statute that says anyone may carry concealed if they're going to a shooting match or event, or working in a gun store. Have the officer prove you're not going to a shooting match. Get a copy of the statute and keep it with you.

Washington is also "shall issue". It's fairly cheap (~$60/5 years, less to renew) and lasts a while.
Oregon takes some verbal judo to get an out of state permit, but it can be done. Find a reason, play it up, and present it to the sheriff. Worst case, he tells you no.

Lastly, there are rules and then there are rules. I'm not saying break the laws, but have a plan and do some advanced research, and you can beat the system at it's own game. That's why we have this system =D

Cheers,

Aaron

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nickbert
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Couldn't avoid NYC that time

Couldn't avoid NYC that time unfortunately as I had business there, but I like your thinking about alternate airports.  Just to be clear, the Safe Passage Provision applies only to firearms in the vehicle where they're not immediately accessible, right?

I've declared firearms and carried ammunition in my checked luggage probably close to a dozen times and have that routine down pat.  What I did not know was that I could get a conceal carry permit for Washington state without being a resident... thanks for that tip!  Alaska's conceal permit requires being a resident, and silly me I assumed most other states did the same. 

Oddly enough (or maybe not), my EDC in Mongolia without my carry handgun actually feels a little more "right" as my EDC with handgun at home in AK.  I think part of that feeling is the different circumstances and different (likely) potential threats.  There the primary threat are pickpockets and the occasional drunk or young hothead eager for a fistfight, and my skillset in the use of firearms in stress situations is bare-bones compared to my hand-to-hand confrontation skillset (though even that has a lot of room for improvement).  The other part of that feeling I think is as you hinted at with comfort zones.... I do find a small part of myself secretly relieved at not having to go beyond that comfort zone of mine.  Which of course means the proper course of action is to tell that part of me to shut its piehole, go out of my comfort zone, and take the next available (comprehensive) defensive handgun class and perhaps the Shivworks ECQC.  Hopefully convincing my wife that it's a worthwhile expense won't be more challenging than the courses themselves 

Thanks for the input,

- Nick

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thatchmo
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baksheesh

Last time we traveled to the mainland, I carried a wee bit of gold (british sovereign) for both me and my sweetheart.  Just thought it might be handy, maybe to insure a seat on "the last plane home" or something like that.  Keep it separate though- at one point I thought I had spent it out of my coin purse.  About the size of a quarter you know....Aloha, Steve.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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EDC et al

Nickbert,

Let me apologize for the last post - it was less geared towards you (I know you've got a good bit of experience) and more just a general reply in case other folks had similar questions/concerns.

EDC could really be branched out into a few seperate topics, including daily training and regiments. Might be interesting to discuss that.

Cheers,

Aaron

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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regimen

Aaron Moyer wrote:

Nickbert,

Let me apologize for the last post - it was less geared towards you (I know you've got a good bit of experience) and more just a general reply in case other folks had similar questions/concerns.

No worries.  My experience is quite hodgepodge and varied anyway, so I know just enough to be aware that I don't know s#!* 

Quote:

EDC could really be branched out into a few seperate topics, including daily training and regiments. Might be interesting to discuss that.

Good idea.  \

The only regimen I have (that I'm consciously aware of anyway) is when I leave the house.  For me it involves taking a quick minute to think where I'm going, where I MIGHT go on the way there or in addition to the original destination, and what will be sensible or not to carry there.  Am I going to a bar, or child care area or school, or government building? (for those who don't know this is critical with conceal carry).  Am I walking there, driving, or taking a taxi?  Which city or country am I in?  Is it day or night, warm or cold?  I then check to see if there's anything I need to add or leave behind.  Sometimes it requires carrying my little Gerber knife (just under 2") instead of my larger folder or it requires leaving my Glock at home, or sometimes it means I make sure I have a pack of hand/foot warmers or LED headlamp in my coat pocket.  Probably the oddest addition or modification I've made is always carrying a few throwing rocks in my jacket pocket when walking in Ulaanbaatar.  It may sound a little silly but there are some half-feral dogs roaming around, and while they're usually no problem there have been times they get a little too close and you need more than a shout to get them to leave.

I like your notion of using a leatherman pouch for your extra mag.  I do the same for my folder knife now instead of using the pocket clip.... otherwise it's too tempting a target to grab for pickpockets, or most especially, my toddler 

- Nick

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nickbert
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carrying gold

thatchmo wrote:

Last time we traveled to the mainland, I carried a wee bit of gold (british sovereign) for both me and my sweetheart.  Just thought it might be handy, maybe to insure a seat on "the last plane home" or something like that.  Keep it separate though- at one point I thought I had spent it out of my coin purse.  About the size of a quarter you know....Aloha, Steve.

I think that's not a bad plan if you're travelling in the US.  Unless I'm really far from our home areas I'm usually comfortable with just bringing a handful of silver coins, but there have been a couple times I've carried two gold Maples with us "just in case".  Travelling to the contiguous US when living in HI or AK or Puerto Rico certainly counts as far IMO.  I've never had the TSA bother me when carrying a small amount of silver or gold coins, or even had them notice it at all for that matter.  Not that TSA generally has any legal basis for confiscating anything like gold or silver coins or detaining you over it, but these days it's risky to take anything for granted.

It requires a lot more care when it comes to travelling internationally though.  In addition to any rules the foreign countries in question have, the US requires filing a particular Census form if bringing more than $2500 in commodities outside the country, and this is in addition to the FinCen 105 form required if the value of said coins is above $10,000. 

- Nick

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Wendy S. Delmater
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just wanted you to know

Hi Aaron., Just wanted you to know that my husband is using this article to put together a "get home bag" for in his work van. He can be as far a a week away (if he had to walk back) and he found this to be a good guideline.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Posts: 2311
Get Home Bag

Safewrite,

How did that project go for him?
I'm curious to hear, and I'd like to see what others do different or have taken from this information. I know there is a lot of variation...
Kevin Reeve of OnPoint Tactical suggests a screwdriver instead of a siphon, for example, but I prefer the siphon.

Also, as Nickbert pointed out, locale has a lot to do with what you carry.

I was just reading a post by THC over on the Definitive Tactics Thread, about a Argentine Radio show host who was bushwhacked by some home invaders who'd taken his son hostage outside and then brought him in to use as ransom.

Everything about that screams "Type 1 Emergency", and is just the kind of situation that keeps me encouraging people to be as "hard" of a target as possible.

I've been very busy the last few weeks, but I want to start adding examples of emergencies and hopefully we can scruitinize them to see what worked, what failed, how things could have come out better for the protagonists, and how we can learn from the experiences.

The Understanding Emergencies threads have been underwhelming for me, and perhaps a bit much for others, but I still hope there's opportunity to learn here; about the triad and equipment. Hopefully there will be some interest, and no need, rather than the other way around.

Cheers!
Aaron

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joesxm2011
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Layering Supplies

Aaron,

What I took away the most from your article was the benefit of organizing your bags in layers that build upon themselves.  It also reinforced the idea of making sure to have high quality rugged equipment.

I had purchased a Go-Ruck GR1 ruck sack to be my main bag.  After reading you your article I ordered the small bag that can attach inside or outside of the GR1 using the molle system.  Both also have carry handles so you can carry them like luggage if you want to.

The small bag is only 3x5x8 inches but it seems like it can hold a lot of stuff in several separate pouches.  

Go-Ruck stuff is not cheap, but it seems really well made and is made in the USA by a small company started by an ex Army Special Forces guy.  I rationalized the extra cost as a way of helping out a veteran to get his business going.

I still have three cheap backpacks that I bought from Emergency Essentials and then built up in parallel so I would have three redundant bags for different locations or to be able to give to someone else that might need one.  I will keep those, but my primary kit will be my Go-Ruck.

I have loaded the GR1 with some old bed spreads and three bricks, giving a weight of about 20 pounds.  I try to wear the GR1 when I go for walks to build up some stamina for carrying a pack.  It was quite a surprise how hard it can be to carry a mere three bricks when you are not used to it.

Once the wood splitting and stacking season is over and I get my income tax sent in I will re-read your article and build up the primary GR1 with real supplies.

Thanks for the articles. They are appreciated.

Joe 

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A. M.
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Posts: 2311
GoRuck

Joe,

The GoRuck setup looks like a really solid bag. Price being a non-issue, this is exactly the kind of bag I try and use for my go-to kit. It's nondescript, low profile and based on the specs, should be as rugged as you could want. We're issued a very similar bag that was a quick favorite for it's lightweight and versitility. Unfortunately, mine got stolen =\

Especially for a lightweight bag to pack around town or in the country.

How have you got it set up in terms of what you carry in it for EDC?
Will you keep it with you or is it a dedicated travel rig?

Post up some pictures! 

Cheers!

Aaron

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joesxm2011
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Posts: 246
Joe's Bag List - part 1

I currently have the three small packs from Emergency Essentials and have yet to migrate to my Go-Ruck bags.  Here is a rough overview of the equipment I have in the EE packs and my on-person gear.  Note that one pack has the nicest equipment and some of the others have cheaper equipment.

As I am writing this post I am realizing that I need to better distribute my equipment.

On person:

Second set of keys in a nylon silent belt mounted key holder.  I locked myself out of the house once and decided to add this.

Folding "utility" knife with sturdy 3.75 inch blade that has a special lock to keep it open and not fold on my hand.  I practice opening and closing using only one hand.  Small Swiss Army "Executive" model with a few little tools.

Nuke-Alert radiation alarm.

Surefire LX2 LumaMax tactical flashlight. I am constantly using the flashlight in many more situations than I ever imagined.

Primary cell phone and a spare burner cell phone on a second carrier.

This is pretty much my office worker load-out.  I need to come up with some more things for when I am not at work and maybe hiking and doing things outdoors.

In trunk of car:

Cabela's Dry Box with various first aid supplies, several bottles of water and lifeboat ration bars.  The lifeboat bars were selected because they can stand the heat of the trunk in summer.

Cabela's Dry Box with various Cyalum sticks, emergency space blankets, some tools etc.

Primary EE pack, in trunk of car:

First Aid for boo-boos: bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment, tweezers etc.

First Aid for burns:  burn lotion and some burn sterile pads.

First aid for larger cuts and gunshot wounds:  Celox gauze, Israeli Bandages, Tactical Response Ventilated Operator Kit (torniquet, bandages, needle for tension pneumothorax).

My computer seems to be about to restart for Windows update and I can't figure how to stop it so this will be part one and I will post part two later.

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joesxm2011
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 246
Bag List Part 2

Continuing the EE pack in car trunk:

Hand sanitizer, sun screen.

Most of the ointments and sun screens are all in little packets that I got from EE so that they do not take up much space.  I organize them in zip-lock bags of various sizes.

Supplies to provide warmth.  Magnesium blocks, broken hacksaw blade to scrape block with, small jar of petroleum jelly, some sappy wood fire starting tinder.  Space blanket, emergency poncho in tiny package.  Bic lighter, waterproof matches.  Some dryer lint to mix with petroleum jelly for starting fire.

A good book on this subject is

http://www.amazon.com/98-6-Degrees-Keeping-Your-Alive/dp/1586852345/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332380273&sr=1-3

The space blanket can be used to keep you warm, but can also be used to keep things cold.  When we had the power outage due to the early snow storm last October I buried all of the food from my refrigerator in a snow pile and put the space blanket over the pile to reflect the sun.  By the end of the week the yard was completely melted but the food in my snow pile was still good as new.  It was amazing.

Drinking water supplies:  Katydyn Pocket Filter, collapsible plastic water bottle-pouch (1 quart), Katydyn water purification tablets, metal cup for drinking and boiling water.  One or two small bottles of water.

Pencils wrapped with duct tape.  One or two utility knives and a Gerber small folding saw.  Toilet paper (in plastic bag).

Compass.  Surefire Saint Minimus headlamp.  I also learned the value of a good headlamp during the two week long power outages.  I have several of the less expensive ones, but the Surefire Saint is the cream of the crop and miles ahead of the competition (but you pay for it).  A couple tiny cheap flashlights.

Food:  one pack of lifeboat bars.  a couple of MRE's broken down to save space.  a couple Mountain House camping FD food pouches.  Depending on the situation I can either munch the bars or have a delicious dinner after boiling water in the cup and making the MH meals.

Tooth brush and dental floss.  Spare pair of socks. Mole skin for foot blisters.

My friend who is on the state emergency response task force told me that he has gotten wet when deployed and that he keeps a full set of BDU pants and shirt in one of those bags that you can suck all the air out of with the vacuum cleaner to make it small for packing.  I think I will add that to the GR1 pack, or at least keep a set of clothes in the trunk.  I normally throw extra clothes in the car, but this will be a formal outfit that always stays in the car.

I was surprised how much stuff I could cram into the little EE pack.  I think it is something like 14 x 8 x 6.

I have a Wiggy's sleeping bag and a Wiggy's Bivy tent.  However, the bag is much too big for the emergency pack and the bivy tent is probably also to bulky.  I love the Wiggy's bag and after sleeping in it to stay warm during the power outages I just kept on sleeping in it all winter so that I could keep the house really cold and save money on oil.  I bought a silk cocoon bag liner so I would not need to wash the bag as often.

I am still trying to decide how to handle the sleeping bag and shelter part of the emergency bag.  One idea is to get an ultra-lite down bag, but they are expensive and I think it is not good to store them compressed for a long time.  I have toyed with the idea of keeping it loose in the trunk and then stuffing it when I decide to use the pack.  The other idea is to get some low end space-blanket sleeping bag and shelter and just rough it when living out of the pack.  I could keep the better sleeping bag in the trunk for times when I am stranded in the car, like a snow storm.

After reading Aaron's article I see I have some more to do and need to organize my load better into smaller grab and go units that can be mixed and matched to meet the mission profile.

Aaron, thanks for prodding me to write this post.  Writing the post has helped me to focus on what I have and what I am missing and need to address going forward.

Sorry for the lack of pictures.  When the GR-1 is ready I will try to take some pictures and figure out how to post them to the CM site.

Joe

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Silent_Sweeper
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Posts: 1
Rare items?

Hi,

I'm just using Google Shopping to find your Shivworks knife, and the "Bogota Entry Toolset". I think I understand why the toolset isn't coming up, but the knife? Checked Shivworks homepage-- no product like that. Shopping search also returns nothing like the knife pictured above. 

Could you help me find these items?

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2311
Where to buy...

Silent_Sweeper,

The Clinch Pick is a pretty rare item these days. As far as I know, they're out of production, so you'll probably have to keep your eyes open for a used one. www.totalprotectioninteractive.com has a 'swap shop' you may want to check. I've seen them there from time to time. 

Other than that, it'll really be luck.
As for the Entry Toolset, www.serepick.com is where I got mine. That said, the set they're selling now is not the same as the one I have (which I like quite a lot).
Cheers,

Aaron 

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A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 2311
UPDATE: GoRuck, Backpacking and Inevitable Discovery

For anyone who is interested,

I've retooled my concept of second line to appear less "military" and more practical, which I believe more accurately reflects the types of emergencies we're likely to face. These emergencies, which are less "proactive" and significantly more "reactive", are defined less by ongoing chaos as they are by unforseen circumstances. As such, it's less likely that you'll have time to "kit up" and head off to face whatever scenario just unleashed itself.

To emphasize this, I've considated my 2nd line into a very simple leg rig which can be snapped onto a belt in seconds, adds only a couple pounds, and provides the equipment necessary to negotiate the threats faced in Type Two Emergencies - which recall are dangerous scenarios in which you are not the direct or intended target, but carry a heightened risk of Type One Emergencies.

While this type of equipment is normally associated with military users, the benefit is that it can stay in your third line until needed, and then, used with or without your pack as the situation demands. Also beneficial, is that the leg or belt rig doesn't interfere with wearing the backpack, which means that there is no concern that you won't be able to access your equipment while wearing the combination.

My main reason for reconsidering this smaller "GOOD" (Get out of dodge) option is that even lower signature options - such as messenger or utility bags - have become synonomous with "gun people" in a way that the fanny pack and photographer's vest did. They might not be proof positive you're dealing with a gun person, but there's a strong liklihood that someone carrying a bag in Khaki, Green, or Gray is trying to discreetly subscribe to the tacticool school of thought.

As a general rule, I try and maintain a neutral appearance in tense situations. I don't want to look like a shrew, but I don't want to walk around puffed up and looking for a fight either - so gear that presents the latter image is contradictory to my overall strategy.
For the task, I chose HSGI's Subload platforms. The main reason is that leg rigs are prone to flopping around, and it's no fun running when it feels like you've got a 15-pound trout attached to your thigh. The diamond mesh webbing on HSGI's subloads is bar none the best I've used, and I carried HSGI equipment to war, where I wore it every day. I have absolute confidence in the equipment's durability and wear-ability.

There are two options that fit my ideal, and are modular enough to alter slightly depending on your needs.
First, the EOD Leg rig:

This rig holds a good amount of equipment and can be stocked according to your specific needs. While these pictures depic "military" looking colors, the rig is also available in more neutral offerings. The MOLLE webbing is a dead give-away that you're wearing something designed for the battlefield, but again, the notion is to keep this in your pack until unless you have tasks at hand that might call for immediate equipment that you do not, or are unable to carry on your 1st line.

If you're more discerning or have special requirements, HSGI also offers a Modular Panel that you can tune to your specific wants. I have mine set to carry a trauma kit and a small amount of Ammunition, as this equipment is designed as emergency support during altercations. There are all manner of lines of thinking on this, from "Why would you need that?" to "That's not nearly enough".
Suffice to say, my experience has never been in high volume gun battles, and I do not want to engage in those at all...
I also don't want to find myself lacking ammunition or medical supplies, should a "Low probability, Extremely high risk" situation arise.

About a year ago, I made the fateful decision to trade in the MOLLE covered tactical nylon issued in droves, and buy a pack from Saddleback Leather... a decision based on the extreme durability of leather and Dave's "100 year Guarantee". The idea of buying things made by handesand that will last my children most of their lives is appealing, and symbolic.

I've been putting in about 10-15 miles on my ruck per week, on average, with some adventuring mixed in, so I've got some updates on my impression of it.

1. The quality is amazing. Truly. The leather is still rigid and tough, and now that the bag has started to break in, it's a pleasure to use and I've easily consolidated all my second line equipment into the outer and inner pockets of the pack, pictured below empty.

While the interior looks deceptively small, I'm able to fit a waterproof kit bag with various supplies, a cookset, a Katadyne water filter, an adventure medical kit and a few articles of spare clothing in the bag... and that's in addition to the outside pockets, which hold calories and a Nalgene bottle with canteen cup.

Without all the jargon and elaboration: This bag holds everything I need to hit the road and fend for myself for an unspecified amount of time.

2. It's extremely comfortable and wears nicely. You'd think a rigid piece of leather would have a tendency to get uncomfortable, but this bag holds itself very well. I've had loads of up to 55lbs in it, and run standard at 35lbs, and it stays nice and high, while staying snug to the back. It moves with you, so there's very little compensation that needs to be done if you're dynamic; whether climbing rope, hiking overland or rumbling - it doesn't make itself a nuissance.

There are a few drawbacks, and I'd be remiss to neglect mentioning them, so here's the things I'd improve, if given the chance:
1. I'd use subdued hardware. The polished stuff that comes standard on the pack is definitely a great way to catch some sun glint, which makes the pack easier to see from a distance. Not a horrible problem, but also not ideal if you've got to move and don't want to be see.

2. There's no drainage grommets. This is the main problem I see with the bag. Being leather, going under water is going to turn your backpack into a giant cup. That's not only dangerous, but without drainage, it could damage your equipment, and sock a lot of extra weight on your back.

Apart from these minor considerations, I couldn't be happier with the pack.
It's been getting a lot of use...

...and in each of these pictures, I'm still carrying a full compliment of 3rd line equipment.
Here it is used in conjunction with the Second Line rig for shooting:

Joe,

Since we talked last, a close friend of mine also picked up a GR1 backpack, and has been using it as his urban EDC. It is an excellent piece of equipment. Very well made and the organizational layout is very functional and intuitive. GoRuck also has a Daily Training Plan as well as a Six-Week training plan that I recently did for fun. It's pretty legit, and *most* of it doesn't require an investment in equipment.

Cheers,

Aaron

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joesxm2011
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 16 2011
Posts: 246
Go Ruck

Aaron,

I have been very happy with my GR1.  Last month I took it on a plane trip and it fit perfectly in the overhead carry on bin (although TSA was a bit perplexed by some of my EDC gear in the ruck).

I am too old and weak to be doing the Go Ruck Challenge, but I suppose I would benefit from the training plan or perhaps any sort of plan that keeps me doing more PT.

I am toying with setting a goal of doing the Go Ruck Light next year.  However, a recent class with Redback One proved that I am totally incapable of dragging dead weight and defnitely behind the curve on physical strenght and endurance.

Is HSGI the same company as High Speed Gear?  If so, I have bought some of their products and find them good.

Since we last spoke I have taken a few introductory trauma care classes, so the idea of having a small IFAK with an Israeli bandage, some Quik Clot, a couple HyFin Chest Seals and an NPA either on my belt or on the light weight grab equipement appeals to me.  The tourniquet would either be in the IFAK or stand-alone on the belt, preferably one TQ in each location.

Thanks for continuing to supply information.

Joe

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A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2311
Progress

Joe, 

That's pretty excellent to hear. How did the Redback One class go? 
I think even doing a GoRuck light would go a long ways towards overall preparedness and physical fitness specifically. Carrying a pack over distance is one of the more applicable skills/abilities in my opinion. 

All,
I think I really tuned out once the thread was updated, but there are some very good comments.

FeralHen,
Have you found a load that's comfortable for you to carry and sufficient for your needs? 
Have you found a chance to get out and walk with the pack? 
I'm very interested in hearing how this worked for you, if you have the chance.

Wendy,
How did your husband's get home bag turn out?

Thatchmo, 
I keep some Baksheesh as well. Some in cash, some in coin, and some in Bourbon. 
Any other ideas of trade goods?

Aaron

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joesxm2011
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 16 2011
Posts: 246
Redback One Class

Aaron,

I had signed up for a three day Tactical Combat Casualty Care class from Redback One earlier in the year, but it was cancelled due to not enough students.  Jason Falla who runs Redback One is former Australian SAS and was a senior instructor at Blackwater after that.  I think in SAS he was certified as a medic, maybe like the 18D in US SF.

At King 33 I had taken a CPR and a one day Buddy and Self Aid class, so I had dipped my toe into the subject.  Jason took a couple hours each day around lunch and reviewed the material from the TCCC class. Basically we go some lecture, but no hands on.  It was still very good.

Lately I have become a huge believer in the idea of packing away skills before packing away supplies.

Even a rudimentary level of medical ability will be a good skill to have, so I am trying to learn as much as I can.

The same goes for building up some stamina.  Like you said, being able to hike with a ruck sack is a primary skill.  I use my GR1 as my general gear back to go to my weekly King 33 training and for when I go to weekend classes.  It is not packed as a "get home" or "get away" bag.  I keep a smaller cheaper pack in the car for that purpose.  What I am starting to do is to put these two 5lb bean bag weights into my GR1 bringing the total weight up to 19 lbs.  I try to carry the 19 lb ruck as much as I can when out walking.  It is taking some getting used to, but I can do about a mile now (compared to my usual two mile walk without it).

I also took a really good course from a guy named Mike Pannone.  He was previously in Delta and later trained the Air Marshalls after 9/11.  The class was called something like Covert Carry Pistol and basically covered how to carry concealed and to draw from concealment (plus a lot more).  Over the weekend we did close to 500 draws from under cover garments.  It was 40 degrees, heavy rain and 20 mph wind for the first day, so we got a lot of experience.

I also trained in the winter with King 33 where we practiced drawing while wearing parkas and gloves in 20 degree weather and 8 inches of snow.  You would be surprised what you find out about your techniques and your gear doing this sort of thing.  Better to find out now than later the hard way.

Of the traveling trainers, I have found that Northern Red (now called Invictus Group), Redback One and Mike Pannone were all very good.  The first two market themselves and can be found via Google or Facebook.  Mike Pannone markets via Alias Training, who also markets several other good trainers.

What I am finding from carrying the 20 lb ruck and from reading some other blog posts on the subject, is that you had better thin down your ruck contents to the bare minimum if you expect to carry it for any distance, especially if you are weak like me.

My new priority is: 1) heat making materials and minimal shelter (poncho and liner); 2) water and purifying equipment; 3) basic first aid kit; 4) minimal food like life raft biscuits; 5) some protective equipment; 6) second set of clothes or at least socks and mole skin.  I have not actually packed this, but I am guessing that I will be close to 20 lbs with just the minimal amount of this.

I figure if you are looking to carry it for two or three days, you can cut way back on carrying food.

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