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Old 06-24-2016, 05:03 PM
dompamar dompamar is offline
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Default Lessons Learned From Bug Out Bag Testing



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Hello everyone!

How many of you have actually done a field test with your bug out gear? I have to admit, that I have not tested my actual BOB and its contents overnight. I have gone on some backpacking trips and have used a lot of my gear that is currently in my BOB...But I have not done a dedicated BOB Field Test.

I've seen a lot of people talk about testing and recommend it. But I haven't seen a dedicated thread that for people to post what they learned. So I thought I'd start this thread so that people with be encouraged to do some testing and then share what their results.

I think it will be good for many of us to hear some real stories from people who have actually gone out and tested their BOBs.

What items worked?
What items were dead weight?
Did you really need 13 knives? ;p
Did you carry your BOB AND a Rifle?
What challenges did you face?
Was your bag too heavy?
Was it lighter than you thought and could you add more items?
Were you not in as good of shape as you thought?
Is one type/brand of item better than another?
What items are overlooked?
Should you have brought water instead of soda? ;p

etc...etc...

What are some lessons learned?

PS: sorry if a thread like this already exists...I did a few searches and didn't see any.

Thanks
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Old 06-24-2016, 11:40 PM
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I used to test it a lot when I went camping with my Uncle Sam. Then I went home.
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Old 06-25-2016, 05:00 AM
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I used to test it a lot when I went camping with my Uncle Sam. Then I went home.
Ditto.....
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:09 AM
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Item I overlooked; watchcap. The biggest challenge I faced was the fact that my full BoB is very obviously gov't issue (non-choco desert pattern). Now, this bag is for a serious bugout, so I'm evaluating whether or not that is actually important. My GHB is a simple blue canvas pack so it doesn't draw any attention.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:35 PM
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Good thread as many people have not. I am a huge proponent of packing light and using skills to make up for weight and equipment. I learned this the hard way in Iraw when I use to hump and jump a lot of weight. Lightweight equals more movement, less injuries, and the ability to fight with equipment instead of dropping a load and losing it if you are unable to go back and retrieve it or have to breakncontact. My bug out bag is small
Compared to many. But then again, I don't plan on living out of a bag for more than 72 hours. My wife and kids bags are equally light and keep the essentials.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:41 PM
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Good thread as many people have not. I am a huge proponent of packing light and using skills to make up for weight and equipment. I learned this the hard way in Iraw when I use to hump and jump a lot of weight. Lightweight equals more movement, less injuries, and the ability to fight with equipment instead of dropping a load and losing it if you are unable to go back and retrieve it or have to breakncontact. My bug out bag is small
Compared to many. But then again, I don't plan on living out of a bag for more than 72 hours. My wife and kids bags are equally light and keep the essentials.
I've gotten to the point where I don't even read most BOB threads cause most are so ridiculous with what they say they are going to carry. Multiple guns, 100's if not 1000's of rounds of ammo for each gun, weeks of food, etc etc. One lesson well learned from my time "camping" was that ounces lead to pounds and pounds lead to PAIN! Not to mention at my age with the shape my knees and back are in, I'm probably not going to be doing anymore long range humping with anything resembling a heavy pack. If I have to bug out, it's in a vehicle and if for some reason I did have to walk, making it more than 5, maybe 10 miles with a pack much over 30 pounds would be good for me.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:43 PM
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I agree. 85% of bug out bags are jokes.


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Old 06-28-2016, 11:45 AM
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Went to the Poconos along the AT for 2 nights, bit of a test run/camping trip. I specifically wanted to test some lightweight camping gear I picked up over the winter. Kelty Redwing bag, MSR tent, solo stove, magnesium fire starter and some grizzly gear emergency rations.

What I learned:

Kelty Redwing - It's a light bag and gets the job done, a sleeping bag compartment would be nice, but not a deal breaker.

MSR tent worked well, but I could probably get away with just the rain fly now that it's warmer and make the load lighter. I brought my bivy bag, but it wasn't necessary. Makes a good backup if something happens to the tent, so I'll probably keep it in the bag.

Solo Stove sucks... Ok it's not that bad, but I wasted a lot of time in the morning just to make some coffee. It was a good test, but I'll probably never pack it over the jet boil, last resort stove.

Mag stick, this was my first time making a fire with one of these and it took me a good 30 minutes. Add ten minutes it took me to get the solo stove going to heat some water for coffee and you have an impatient camper. I need more practice making fire, but next time I'll do it after I've had my cup of coffee on the jet boil. This also reminded me to always keep a Bic or two in the bag.

Grizzly Gear e-rats were ok, certainly would have liked something else to eat, but I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't have any adverse affects only eating those rations for two days. My farts were lethal...GAS GAS GAS! Make sure to pack a gas mask if your camping buddy decides to eat these.

Summary: It was a good test run, my bag was much lighter then what I've camped with in the past and it made the whole trip just easier. Ditch the solo stove and bring a propane stove, bring a lighter and mag stick as a backup. Don't eat e-rats unless there is an emergency or you're entering a dutch oven contest.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:15 PM
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Hello, I also have a Kelty Redwing 50 size M/L. You can use the loops on the bottom to add on a sleeping bag. They work quite well.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by souldier66 View Post
Went to the Poconos along the AT for 2 nights, bit of a test run/camping trip. I specifically wanted to test some lightweight camping gear I picked up over the winter. Kelty Redwing bag, MSR tent, solo stove, magnesium fire starter and some grizzly gear emergency rations.

What I learned:

Kelty Redwing - It's a light bag and gets the job done, a sleeping bag compartment would be nice, but not a deal breaker.

MSR tent worked well, but I could probably get away with just the rain fly now that it's warmer and make the load lighter. I brought my bivy bag, but it wasn't necessary. Makes a good backup if something happens to the tent, so I'll probably keep it in the bag.

Solo Stove sucks... Ok it's not that bad, but I wasted a lot of time in the morning just to make some coffee. It was a good test, but I'll probably never pack it over the jet boil, last resort stove.

Mag stick, this was my first time making a fire with one of these and it took me a good 30 minutes. Add ten minutes it took me to get the solo stove going to heat some water for coffee and you have an impatient camper. I need more practice making fire, but next time I'll do it after I've had my cup of coffee on the jet boil. This also reminded me to always keep a Bic or two in the bag.

Grizzly Gear e-rats were ok, certainly would have liked something else to eat, but I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't have any adverse affects only eating those rations for two days. My farts were lethal...GAS GAS GAS! Make sure to pack a gas mask if your camping buddy decides to eat these.

Summary: It was a good test run, my bag was much lighter then what I've camped with in the past and it made the whole trip just easier. Ditch the solo stove and bring a propane stove, bring a lighter and mag stick as a backup. Don't eat e-rats unless there is an emergency or you're entering a dutch oven contest.
I have tried various methods and using Vaseline and cotton is the easiest way to start a fire with flint or mag fire starters. They take up little space and work like the bomb. I have put together a small fire starter kit that I keep in my knife sheath that includes these. I am sure you may be aware of these but this will make the difference in a fire within seconds vs. struggle, so I thought I would mention it.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:15 AM
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I have practiced camping and hiking with with some of my gear. I found that theory and practice have a wide disparity. That is why I have various options to bug out. Hopefully one of them will work, but if going on foot, I have a 240L wheeled trash bin with a flip lid to carry my bag in. It will keep things dry and allow me to carry more weight for a longer distance than with a pack. My wife has a 140L bin.
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:09 AM
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Hi good questions. The one question I can answer for sure. Water over soda. There are so many items on the market. I'm thinking test a few and treat the situation more as an actual bug out instead of camping. Did you have a map? Compass know any of the local veggation that was edible? Where any water sources were in the area? Did you yearn for the comforts of home? We're you mentally prepared for knowing that all the things comfort and stuff we own are now not at our disposal?
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:51 AM
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I am in the process of conditioning myself to carry my bag. There are a few hiking trails by my house that climb up bluffs (do not require any special climbing gear) that I am starting to visit on a daily basis. Those trails would be tougher than anything I would have to hike in the event of a bug out on foot. As for the contents of my bag, I have used them camping. I am good to go with my skill set and equipment.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:38 AM
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I was never in the military (regret that now) and I'm not in good health. After a lot of preliminary tuneup I'm training just to walk home 8 miles across the city. Strongly suggest everyone try their BOB with enough water in it to get between water sources on your route. That gave me a whole new appreciation for supportive shoes and filtration devices. The first 6% grade with a gallon of water almost killed me.

I got rid of almost all the crap in my bag and concentrated on fire, water, some high energy food, and first aid stuff. Even here in the PNW where it rains like goshen for six months, clean water is far more important than, say, a map of the entire US or a half shelter. I can't make it more than 10 miles a day as it is. I can imagine the back trail of discarded items that wouldn't make it to my destination unless I found a running Toyota or a wandering burro.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:07 PM
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I test myself and my gear regularly. I am with a group that does three to five "campouts" a year. Each one has some type of scenario that defines the type of gear or kit or bag that will be used on the trip. In addition to test specific gear for specific scenarios, we have different types of training on each trip, along with re-familiarization training on a few subjects.

I have found what works for me, what does not, and am always looking for lighter, more efficient gear. One thing I have found here in the high desert in Nevada is that travelling light will kill you in the heat of the summer or cold of the winter.

I can be days between water sources, with what water you do find marginal and needing purification as often as just filtration. A couple of canteens and a Life Straw is not enough.

A 6'x8' silnylon tarp is not going to cut it as shelter in four feet of snow, -10*F temps with 25mph winds for three or four nights. In the summer, with 100*F temps, no shade for miles, and no breeze to speak of, and high solar radiation levels because of the altitude, and seemingly every step either up or down a 6% grade or more, with ground temps sometimes 20*F higher than air temps, and you might only make three or four miles if you have to travel in the daytime before you are dehydrated, even with what seems like plenty of water.

The cold drains the calories out of a person, and the heat depresses appetite, so you have to have plenty of food in the winter just to maintain temperature, and you have to have easy to digest, nutritious food in the heat of the summer to keep you going well enough to do what you have to do.

Sure, you can "survive" on a lot less, if you are not having to do much of anything, can stay in the shade in the summer and behind a windbreak in the winter, but will you be able to carry your child, tromp through that snow, protect your family and yourself while barely surviving. I cannot, and I know it.

I take the gear I need to keep me healthy and able to function no matter what the weather. That calls for a modified game cart for me, with about 150 pounds of gear. But yes, I do have a last ditch bag that weighs less than 20 pounds, as that is all I can carry on my back due to my health.

There are situations where I still would not make it, even with the skills and gear I have, but I know I have a much better chance making it through many different things, and still be an effective person during the event. Because I have tried to do it with less, and had that barely survived and could no longer function result.

So testing in real world scenarios is very important. Of course, many will not need as much as I do, depending on their locations. But a blanket statement that one can get by for three days or longer with 25 pounds anywhere, any time, any situation is really doing people a disservice. That is why each person needs to test themselves and their selection of gear, and make realistic decisions on what to take for a given situation.

And I will take 10-liters of water with me, over knowing five more ways to find water in the jungle over the dozen I know for finding it in the desert.

Just my opinion.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry D Young View Post
I test myself and my gear regularly. I am with a group that does three to five "campouts" a year. Each one has some type of scenario that defines the type of gear or kit or bag that will be used on the trip. In addition to test specific gear for specific scenarios, we have different types of training on each trip, along with re-familiarization training on a few subjects.

I have found what works for me, what does not, and am always looking for lighter, more efficient gear. One thing I have found here in the high desert in Nevada is that travelling light will kill you in the heat of the summer or cold of the winter.

I can be days between water sources, with what water you do find marginal and needing purification as often as just filtration. A couple of canteens and a Life Straw is not enough.

A 6'x8' silnylon tarp is not going to cut it as shelter in four feet of snow, -10*F temps with 25mph winds for three or four nights. In the summer, with 100*F temps, no shade for miles, and no breeze to speak of, and high solar radiation levels because of the altitude, and seemingly every step either up or down a 6% grade or more, with ground temps sometimes 20*F higher than air temps, and you might only make three or four miles if you have to travel in the daytime before you are dehydrated, even with what seems like plenty of water.

The cold drains the calories out of a person, and the heat depresses appetite, so you have to have plenty of food in the winter just to maintain temperature, and you have to have easy to digest, nutritious food in the heat of the summer to keep you going well enough to do what you have to do.

Sure, you can "survive" on a lot less, if you are not having to do much of anything, can stay in the shade in the summer and behind a windbreak in the winter, but will you be able to carry your child, tromp through that snow, protect your family and yourself while barely surviving. I cannot, and I know it.

I take the gear I need to keep me healthy and able to function no matter what the weather. That calls for a modified game cart for me, with about 150 pounds of gear. But yes, I do have a last ditch bag that weighs less than 20 pounds, as that is all I can carry on my back due to my health.

There are situations where I still would not make it, even with the skills and gear I have, but I know I have a much better chance making it through many different things, and still be an effective person during the event. Because I have tried to do it with less, and had that barely survived and could no longer function result.

So testing in real world scenarios is very important. Of course, many will not need as much as I do, depending on their locations. But a blanket statement that one can get by for three days or longer with 25 pounds anywhere, any time, any situation is really doing people a disservice. That is why each person needs to test themselves and their selection of gear, and make realistic decisions on what to take for a given situation.

And I will take 10-liters of water with me, over knowing five more ways to find water in the jungle over the dozen I know for finding it in the desert.

Just my opinion.
+1

Sir ... What have you found to be the best, most effective method to transport multiple liters of water? Bladders and canteens? Larger capacity gallon jugs, etc.?
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:09 PM
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I use MSR 10-liter Hydromedary bags for bulk, and 40oz and 64oz stainless steel Kleen Kanteens for immediate use water.

Just my opinion.
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Old 07-02-2016, 01:10 AM
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Thanks for all of the input so far!
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:52 AM
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Oh, I forgot to add a few things. Trekking poles are very underrated when hiking with a loaded pack. I am sold on them. I have not hiked with my rifle due to hiking in a fairly busy public park. That would be frowned upon. However, I have added additional weight to my pack to simulate the rifle weight that would be strapped to the pack.
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Old 07-02-2016, 04:29 PM
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10 liters of water weighs over 21 pounds. Carrying multiples of those shouldn't cause a problem.
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