ToddGray wrote:Tell me what you think,
Remember, you did ask. I'm going to be honest, so please don't be offended by my bluntness.
Your ID says South Carolina, so not too cold. I'll keep that in mind.
Get a modern, pealess design like the Fox40s or the Jetscream. They can't be over blown, and they don't bitch up if soaked for a long time- this can and will.
I didn't see spare fuel. I like Zippos when I'm in the woods becuase I can use one as a pocket candle. I don't like them in survival kits becuase the fuel evaporates and there isn't much you can do about it. A Bic or two, with a zip tie under the plunger.
-magnesium fire starter stick,
They aren't idiot proof- have you used it? Cut about half the mag block off, length wise, you won't need that much, keep the side with the ferro rod. Saves weight. Add a scraper to protect your knife blade, the back of a peice of hacksaw blade or a needle file who's spine isn't rounded works great.
Are you at sea? Keep in mind that most are also still burning when they hit the ground- a forest fire is a noticeable signal, but getting cooked in your signal fire is just embarrassing. And saying "but the manual said" is the worst reason to have them in your kit. You've already got a strobe, if you really need more look into the "LaserFlare" system- expensive, but for the weight and volume it outperforms pyro AND can be used for more than a couple of seconds, without the shelf life and fire risk issues.
-Over the vest will go the US military web gear and shoulder harness.
Have you tried this configuration? I don't mean put it on, walked about the house and said "not that bad", I mean really tried it for a decent distance (5 miles or more) with your pack on. Although, under the vest it might not be so bad. If you insist on using web gear, go with an H-harness, much more comfortable and stable.
I'm going to suggest a vest or chest harness with a few, larger pouches, not a shit load of little ones, to replace the vest and web gear combo. It stands out less than web gear if you are around people, holds more than this-mine gets mistaken for a fishing vest when I wear it hiking. Another option is just put some things (like your knife and a small belt pouch) on your pants belt and add suspenders, and were your current vest over the top of that rather the web gear, and it would probably be the one I'd take.
BTW, where did you get your vest? I"ve been looking for an SRU-21 for a while but finding only badly beat on ones.
-tiny FAK with a few bandages
There is more than just a few bandages in there. Pop the seal, inspect it, know what is in it, and update what is past due or pull the things you don't need. I saw you are looking at an AMK Comprehensive- that is a BIG kit. Like Boy Scout Troop big. Their Fundamentals package is a pound lighter, and if supplemented by an IFAK will cover the same or more territory. You might also look at their "Hunter" and "Outfitter" models, they have a GSW in mind.
-1qt OD canteen
You can do better- Nalgenes are tougher, and easier to fill from shallow sources. I see you have the cup- good.
-my Gerber BFK
It isn't that big. And Jim is right, you are a lot better off using your knife to MAKE a spear point than you are with going John Rambo and lashing your knife to a stick. I know the military specification and training mention it- there is a lot of stupid bullshit that has become "doctrine" in military manuals.
-ammo pouch for multiple clip styles.
Do you have a weapon you are planning on including, or is this something you included as a possibles pouch? Looks like you still have the grenade pockets on there- unless you are going to have grenades, cut them off, they'll only catch on things.
-2ea sewing kits,
One good on is worth more than two crappy ones.
-6 spice shaker,
Get some small vials, no more than a dram. Get a big one for salt. Put your spices in those. This is frigging huge.
-military mess kit with cup,
Please tell me you put stuff in your mess kit. As for the cup, you've already got one.
-the World's Smallest Bible,
No offense, but do you honestly need it in your BOB? And I doubt the claim that it is the smallest.
The data is solidly in the "meh" category, so much of it is out of date. Not horrible wrong (other than the desert sill silliness), just obsolete (like boiling water for five minutes- once it is boiling, the germs are dead, anything else is waste of fuel and time). This is also global. Gut it, pull out the crap you don't need in your area. Stick what is left in a two ziplocks.
-laminated US map,
What degree of resolution does it have? I'd rather have a decent map that shows my area of interest and try to scrounge as needed if I have to go on far walkabout than a crappy map of the whole country.
In the package. *shakes head* This is a big stone, to.
"crampon" is a bit generous for these things, they give you traction on icy sidewalks and that's really it. Fine for what they are designed for, but they don't replace crampons if you have to go off the blacktop.
--20F fingered gloves,
Twenty below? Nothing else in your gear suggests a need like that- yes your hands might be fine, but the rest of you will be slowly freezing solid after you keel over from hypothermia. Selecting for your environment and with respect to your other gear will save you weight and bulk. And they can't replace real work gloves, they'll shred. Have your real cold weather gear in one package.
-200 waterproof matches (which I'll dip in wax later),
Shellac or lacquer is better. The Colmans are ok, but try to find strike anywheres if you can and dip those. You'll want to put them in match cases. I'd like to see a lighter and a something a bit longer lived like a ferro rod here as well. I know you have them in your vest, but they are small and redundancy is good if you can only grab the pack but not the vest for some reason.
-10 toothbrushes (need to find long lasting toothpaste... any ideas?
Are they prepasted? I know, you said they are spares- ONE (1) spare. And a small tube of toothpaste. If you want long term storability, a small thing of baking soda stores forever for this purpose and works just as well. Or proper dental powder, but that is something of a specialty item that doesn't offer much advantage to basic bicarb.
-I'll get floss later
Waxed, non braided, non scented.
If you insist on having to be sneaky, get Spandoflauge, it works, goes on as fast a watch cap, and comes off just as easily. Face paint looks suspicious, not something you want to do if you have to deal with people who aren't trying to kill you.
There is some real question if they work or not. Snaked don't go out looking for humans to bite, keeping your eyes open and your sleeping bag snug will prevent all but a tiny number of bites. And even then, the odds of there actually being venom injected is lower than most people think. And while I haven't read anything that is seriously suggesting they do harm, there is quite of bit of analysis that just don't work.
Check it carefully. Very few of these are water resistant, and most can't survive a three foot drop to the floor more than once or twice. And lot of them aren't what they seem. If you are going to get one, get a good shake or dynamo light, don't waste time with crap.
-MX-991/U military flashlight,
They were ok in 1970. In 2008, you have to actually try to do worse- they are freakishly heavy for the light they throw, there is no excuse to need D cells in your pack at this point. You can get a light with the same brightness and duration that runs on a pair of AAs or AAAs now that weighs less loaded than a set of batteries for this thing. And that uses LEDs as well, so you never need to worry about the shitty bulb in this thing breaking. A headlamp would be better.
> 4ea 12hr chem lights, 2ea 8hr chem lights
Pull a couple out and replace them with one or two electronic light sticks. I like the Krills, they aren't the brightest but they are comparable to a chemlight about a quarter of the way through it's service and they run for a couple of days on two alkaline AAs. The Glo-toob is smaller and brighter and can survive literally be shot out of a cannon, but the battery is a little harder to find. The Garrity and similiar cheap ones work, but they are disposable and not very happy after getting wet. All of them have two advantages over a chem light- they can be turned off, and even if you leave them on they last longer.
-Signals are ok, but I'd like to see a mirror and/or a hi-viz panel as well. Strobes don't work as well during the day. But, you are an order of magnitude better off on signals than most people are.
-No tarp. Even a couple of large garbage bags (which you should have anyway) will go a long way. Avoid the mylar sheets, they are worthless in my experience, but the sportsman/casualty blankets of woven nylon with "mylar" one side are extremely good. The AMK Heatsheet is the same size as the mylar sheets, and while not as good as the much larger and heavier ones is leaps and bounds better than the mylar. The Heatsheet is also orange, so it will do as a signal panel.
-Repackage your duct tape. Add some zipties and some wire for mending and improvising, along with a couple of needles big enough to take dental floss or fishline.
-No fish gear other than the gill net. Did I miss something? Gill nets do produce more than hooks do as rule of thumb, but there are times when it doesn't hold true. An small thing of tackle and a couple of sewing machine bobbins of braided line will help, and will have enough room to also put a good sewing kit in.
-I saw a mention from your canteen to a gas mask. OK if your canteen is issue, but if you are out of the military unless you have a specific and immediate need for a gas mask, I put CBR gear into the same category as NODs and rigid body armour- if you need it in your BOB, you need to either be in a war zone or to rethink your tactics and priorities.
-Swap some of your MREs for freeze dried stuff- you can get three meals of freeze dried into the same space as one MRE and it weighs less. And strip your MREs down. You don't need all the accessory kits and the things are over packaged. You should also have a brew kit.
-I didn't see anything for water purification. I'd put that ahead of a tent.
-The little "sleeping bag" is bulky for what it is, put it in a compression sack and if need be sit on it while someone tightens the straps. Or just replace it with something like the Thermolite bivy
. Smaller, lighter, more effective.
-Axes are a personal thing, but I want you to honestly evaluate your need for one. They are heavy, and if you aren't on the ball, a hell of a lot more dangerous than a lighter saw is, or even a chopper like a machete or a kukri. You also don't have the means to keep it sharp with what I see here, and a dull axe is more dangerous than a dull knife. If your plan is to get to the "great uncharted and build a cabin", you need to seriously rethink your plans, as in just start over. There are places and times where you pretty much do need one, but I'm not sure South Carolina is one of them.
-You need the ability to carry more water, there is no two ways about it. Water is heavy, but it is critical.
-Spare glasses if someone needs them, safety glasses if they don't- easier to prevent an eye injury than to "deal" with one.
-Other than the toothbrushes, I didn't see much in the way of hygine. I don't means razors and deodorant, I mean soap. Keeping your skin clean keep you warm and the germs outside of you.
-Unless your get out of dodge plan has a specific need for radios, dump them. CB is dead, and I've yet to see a FRS that was worth beans (line of site and over used, so crap range and no security). You'll get more value out of a small AM/FM set that has SW or weather capabilities, in all honesty, as it is an intell source. If you really want two-way, you can get SW smaller than the CB and has decent range- the entry level license has had morse and most of the technical stuff pulled out, at this point is easier than getting a drivers license.
-Toilet paper. Everyone forgets the toilet paper.
I'll be honest. I think you've got a good start, but there is a hell of a lot that could improved by using modern technology and non-USGI gear in a lot of places, but there is very little here that I think is honestly bad (other than your flashlights). I think a serious re-eval of your gear is critical given the current weight of your pack and the admitted short comings of your gear, and possibly some adjustments to your plan, or with shelter and proper water it will be heavy enough to be a liability. And you seriously need to hike with the pack over webgear and vest combo, it sounds like trouble waiting to happen.
I like the pack, it isn't USGI, so you are less likely to be mistaken as AWOL or a "nutball survivalist" by authorities when combined with your other gear. Other than the web gear (which might be manageable), nothing here really sticks out. Which is a good thing.
"Even if it's only the handful of people I happen to meet on the street or in my home, I can still protect them with one sword."
When a man go no longer speak without malice intended lest he cause offense, that is when truth starts to die.
There are three kinds of man- Man the Toolmaker, Man the Tool User, and man the tool.