Here is where I was hiking, down a logging road which is literally right next to my house. I decided to go about a couple miles down and set up camp in no particular place. Weather conditions at the outset (7:30pm) were fair. 61 degrees F with a 3 mph wind. My clothing was pretty adequate; I donned a boonie hat from my pack to keep the giant swarms of noseeums away. I still inhaled about half a dozen. Mosquitoes abound in my AO but I drenched myself in DEET, so I was safe on that front. I set down to camp at about 9pm, as it was starting to get dark pretty fast.
The bag: 5.11 Rush 72 loaded to a hair over 40 pounds. This shit was crazy uncomfortable in short order - it is about 3000ci yet has no suspension system. You feel it fast. I've done long walks with it when it was something more like 20 pounds, so this would be where I recommend you keep it, if you have one. If you don't, and you need to do some serious rucking, just avoid it.
Things I used to start a fire: SOG hand axe, Primus PowerLighter, vaselined cotton balls. Not a whole lot to discuss here. The cotton balls are pretty much guaranteed fire in a bag. Anyone who hasn't made themselves up a whole shit-ton of these things is doing themselves a serious disservice. The PowerLighter is awesome and will start basically anything on fire right then (1300 degrees Celsius has that effect - it is basically a tiny butane torch). I have never once got anything to catch fire using a fucking firesteel and it was getting extremely dark so I went the easy way out on this one, sue me.
Things I used to make shelter: Therm-A-Rest Z-lite pad (R size), 6x8 tarpaulin, USGI poncho, USGI poncho liner, ABS plastic tent stakes, 550 cord, Nite Ize Figure 9 carabiner. I have never been a scout and all the camping I can remember was out of the trunk of a car, so this was a crash course in shelter building. I strung up 550 cord between two trees at about 2' height and draped the tarp over it, securing it with stakes, which in effect made a really cheap and shitty pup tent of sorts. The Figure 9 carabiner was great at keeping the line extremely taut. Under it went the Z-lite pad, then the poncho. I don't have any type of sleep system, so the woobie was all I used. In all honesty it was actually pretty comfortable, which I solely attribute to the Z-lite.
Other things: MSR Pocket Rocket stove with Jetboil 4-season fuel canister, GSI stainless steel cup, Mountain House meal (beef stew!), Snow Peak titanium spork. Kick ass setup, lots of people on this site using it, so no reason to go into a lot of detail here. For illumination I used an Energizer brand 6-LED headlamp. On the initial red setting, it's pretty great for using around the camp, and it changes angle, so pretty handy. Unfortunately you have to click through 3 more settings, all of which are bright light, before it goes back to the OFF position, which is annoying. For bug-out situations where light would compromise your security, it would be a lot more than just annoying.
Lousy picture. You can kind of see the Pocket Rocket and the MH bag.
So, this sounds like it went well, right? Well, it didn't. I got everything squared away, had myself some Mountain House, and laid down about 9:30pm. The NWS says it was 57 degrees out at this time, so I was fairly comfortable even in just a woobie and T-shirt (I had jammed my hoodie into the 10L stuff sack the woobie usually lives in, to service as a pillow). However by 10:30, it had gone down to 52 F, and it was noticeable. Besides that, I was just unable to go to sleep - every tiny sound alerted me. It was pretty goddamn miserable so I just went home - if it had been that I could sleep and it was just cold, or I couldn't sleep and it was warm, I probably would have stayed out.
Key things I guess you could take away from this:
- Poncho liner is adequate for a quasi-sleeping bag until about 60 degrees F, probably a little less if you have legitimate clothing. Know your AO, particularly the average temperature at a given time of year, and kit up accordingly.
- You may not be able to crash out and sleep as easily as you could want, so bring headphones and a music player, or earplugs, or even sleeping pills if you have to; in a bug-out situation, you may not know when you can get to rest next, so it is vital that you are able to actually fall off if you have the opportunity to.
- The Motorola Droid takes horrible pictures in the dark.
- Some gear that sucks: the Rush 72 (when overloaded), and that Energizer headlamp, if only for the fact that you have to cycle through every single mode.
- Gear that rules: Primus PowerLighter, Z-lite pad, vaseline and cotton balls, Pocket Rocket.