March 13, 2016

Carrying Around Your Kit

One of the most important pieces of your kit is the item you use to carry it all in.  Being on a farm in what is considered “extreme rural” Wyoming, I've no real need for a “bug-out bag”.  Bug-out planning is beyond the scope of this article, although some readers in less desirable locales, such as cities, may want to consider finding a more sustainable location that they may be able to reach during less than ideal situations.   Around here, the primary functions of one's kit falls somewhere in-between woods runnin' and getting home.  Some survivalists intent on having a cool-sounding abbreviation for every thing call it a "GHB" (Get home bag.)  GHB is also the abbreviation for the central nervous system depressant gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, used to treat narcolepsy, but I digress. Anyway, both functions are pretty close to one another in that the carrying device should be able to comfortably carry your essentials, and have enough space for a few select items you might find along the way.  The composition of those essentials will be left for another time, so for now we can look at different bags and packs.  I like the “Nessmuk system” in which one carries a small pack along with a musette-type bag for smaller items that are used more frequently and should be more readily available.  I also tend towards military surplus kit as it is rugged, inexpensive (unless buying collectibles), and gets the job done.

We'll start with the mundane.  Here is one of the two bags I use the most:
Picked it up on clearance at a Home Depot.  When I'm working around Casa Giardino di REDACTED, this is what I toss all my tools in.  The red top keeps me from losing it in the Sage Brush and Prairie Grass.  Running a homestead of any sort requires maintenance. Things break or need adjustment. Maintenance requires tools. Tools require something to be carried around in and kept in one place.  For me, this kit is as important as a bug-out bag would be to some.

The ever-popular CountyComm Maratac Bail-Out Bag, a/k/a "Preppers Briefcase".  Morale patch optional.  Great for a car kit, but there's better options for something you might have to lug around for any substantial distance.

A few pieces of military surplus field gear that would be suitable for use as a musette bag.  From top to bottom: SAW pouch, waist pack, sustainment pouch.

East German and repro US WW2-Korean War vintage field packs.  Perhaps suitable for a day trip or minimalist Nessmuk-type arrangement.

More modern commercial milspec "assault packs" made by London Bridge and (the now defunct UPDATE: Still in business.) SoTech.  Top one is one of the author's more-favored woods-running packs.  Bottom one is author's range bag.

Like everything else in self-reliance and preparedness, what you call it and who makes it doesn't matter as long as it's reliable and gets the particular job done.  When I was just getting started in all this, I bought a surplus Medium ALICE pack (sans frame), at my local army navy store.  I put my kit in it, and when I wasn't using it for woods running, it stayed in the trunk of my car for "just in case."  It did what was asked of it.

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