Packing the BOB/ Go Bag etc Part 2
Or maybe you found this one post and are wondering exactly what Im talking about.
I have 3 bags packed, and for different uses, which honestly is starting to get out of hand IMO.
So, I have my truck bag, for trips off the pavement, which is the bag I show in my linked post above for unexpected over nights, or weather changes in the bush.
Then I have your standard overnight bag with clothes suitable for most civilized places, with the accompanying shave kit and that’s in a small duffle bag.
The third is my bush belt which I covered here and that’s not changing at all. Its just a small kit I have attached to me when Im doing other things off the pavement.
The reasoning for this combination is reality, not some post apocalyptic fantasy novel. I am more likely being in the city, and having to stay overnight in the Embassy Suites, than I am going to be slogging cross country on a black bag mission.
Your bags should be something you use all the time, not packed then thrown in a corner, or your trunk waiting for you to find what has gone bad. When you really need it, is the wrong time to find out.
So take some honest self assessment here and see why my bag is actually a better and more useful idea than the classic BOB
So, reality vs fantasy
I have my truck bag, containing a small FAK, a poncho liner and poncho, socks and long underwear. This is for normal storm weather coming up when Im off the pavement and don’t want to try to cross flash flood areas. My time expectations? 8-12 hours to let the flood areas drain so I can get back to the truck. Snacks, and a small butane stove and pot. Gore tex top and bottoms and gaiters etc.
This looks like a lot but this is 2 packs.
What goes without saying is of course a roll of TP and a package of wet wipes in every bag.
I really shouldn’t have to keep saying it but every post somebody will write and ask. Its like the small baggie with a Bic lighter and 550 cord. Its just there. Its always there and it is in everything.
It better be in everything you have as well.
This is a layer and treated as exactly that.
Gore tex top and Gaiters are on top under the flap. Lightweight fleece jacket tied outside. Need to get a small pack cover for this pack to keep it all together moving through the bush.
The rest of what’s in the bags
Duffle but going into the Ruck
Hygiene kit of course
I have a pair of pants, a pressed set of Cargo type Khakis, 2 polo shirts, socks, underwear and t shirts, sandals and a heavy sweat shirt. Sometime I throw in a pr of swim trunks and sweat pants for casual wear mornings at the hotel or friends house.
Cargo pants aren’t just for the tac guys any more, they fit in most areas and don’t draw much attention even in urban ares.
Clothes that will let me fit in the morning after….whatever occurring in the daily life and casual travel.
I justify this loadout because I might get tied up with a meeting, or at friends and don’t feel like driving home. You can use whatever you like to convince yourself. Anti Trump riots, somebody protesting gas prices, flat tires whatever.
Some think a BOB should be sacrosanct, never used, never unpacked or opened.
I think they are idiots.
Gear used is gear maintained, it forces you to think about what needs to be there and after a while you see a whole lot of what you don’t need.
I pack all of these items in dry bags, just like the sleeping bag because if I have to get out and walk they will not be soaked, creating more problems later.
While we are on it, lets talk about dry bags
I get dry bags where I find them, I have sizes from 50 liters, which is really huge and unnecessary in your pack. As Ive covered in other posts here, a big dry bag exposes everything you have in it to getting wet when you open it. Smaller bags, color coded or labeled with a tape and sharpie will keep the majority of your gear dry when your pack is open in the rain or snow.
Also, a smaller bag can be put inside your jacket as you bend over to keep the wet out, resealed and then back into the pack. Almost like you planned that way.
However, a big bag is useful on occasion for items like Extreme cold weather gear sets including boots and I keep it just for that. I need it, I grab the big blue bag and I have dry outer layers and boots right now.
Todays good thing to remember
If you use a big dry bag for outer gear and boots, keep 2-3 large garbage bags on the top inside of the bag so you have a dry place to put gear and more important , to stand on while you change clothes. Your feet will freeze to the ground if you stand with bare feet or wet socks on frozen bare ground or asphalt/concrete.
Ask me how I learned that little tidbit of knowledge.
BOB/ Go Bag Rafts
Also as I get reminded of when I talk about dry bags- they make great swim bladders for floating your ruck when you have to swim a water obstacle.
If you take an unexpected swim, it will hold you up, not drag you under.
You will still have to get the pack off your back as the pack will use the heaviest part ( you dummy) as a keel . That means the pack will float on the surface, holding your head under water.
Hold onto the straps and get it off your back, then use it as a redneck life jacket.
The ones I use most are the small ones, 10 liter and smaller. I put like items together and they pack well after squeezing the air out and stacking in the pack at the bottom. The larger 20-30 liter bags I use to separate clothing packed specifically for my trip and the dry bag becomes a laundry bag for the trip home. No need to carry separate bags.
The yellow bags you see in the pic are 6 mil plastic garbage bags. I got mine by taking a box of donuts to the county road crew on one early Friday morning. They are great for keeping things dry, and if they get a hole in them, you can carry spares folded up neatly in the bottom of the bag.
And the ” in between”
I drive to northern Az 2-3 times a year.
I live at 5000 feet elevation, with little precipitation most of the time. In the trip north, figuring 6 hours of driving I drop to sea level, then back up to the Continental divide at 7300 feet outside of Flagstaff.
So I have gone from 50 degrees, to 90 in Phx and then to the high 20’s and 2 feet of snow outside of Flagstaff on I 40.
When I 40 closes from excessive snowfall its a parking lot. If I get off the highway there are ways around but you really need to know the area, and sometimes the secondary roads are closed until the local plows get out.
So the “in between” gear.
Sleep system in a dry bag, that in a canvas laundry bag on the floor in the back seat of the truck. I also have a sleeping pad, rolled up attached to the side of the big bag.
The sleep system is in 2 bags because I know me. The dry bag keeps liquid out of the sleeping bags. The laundry bag keeps the dry bag from abrasions and its a neutral grey/green color so if its tied on the pack its not like a marker panel.
In the truck on the back seat is ALWAYS a case of bottled water. Behind the back seat there are another 12 bottles of water so there is a supply no matter what happens. I also have a 16 cup stainless steel pot with lid, I can melt snow if I need too. It rides in the large pack, with a spice kit and a spoon. Always carry your spoon and spares never hurt.
In the pack is an Otter box with instant coffee, soup, bullion cubes and of course my pot is there with 2 stove bottles. I don’t keep much for food in the truck, differences in temperature in Az are just too extreme to leave even freeze dried food in there for very long, so I have a mesh bag with 8-10 meals in it I can grab. It hangs on the inside of the kitchen door, I can throw it in the truck, no fuss at all when I go farther than work or the store if I feel I need it.
Also is my heavy fleece jacket, spare wool socks, 3 pairs of insulated gloves, a knit cap and gore-tex socks. Why the gore-tex socks? I normally wear unlined, un insulated leather boots which I keep heavily oiled with Huberds Shoe grease. But I also know how fast snow and slush will work through leather and I despise wet feet. I also have a set of Wiggy’s Snow pacs I got for free when I bought my sleeping bags. Great for cold, sitting in the truck and if you keep them clean you can pull them off when you get into the sleeping bag and not get the bag wet in the truck
I can camp in the truck 2-3 days and not bat an eye. Remember we are talking reality here. The plows will open the roads, and that’s not changing soon. Im not planning on camping until spring and this is not a realistic goal for you either.
How much room does this actually take?
My Kifaru MMR works well for this kit, and the advantages are obvious when you see it packed.
The bag is less than 1/4 full with the basic gear, so I bring it inside, pack the rest of my clothes for the expected length of my trip.
This also encourages regular repacking as I pull things out and wear them. The basic items are spares in case Ive forgotten anything and stay in the sleeping bag compartment on the bottom of the bag. I use them as the “Always in the bag” gear, then the top 3/4 of the pack is my duffel bag for the trip.
Packing the BOB/ Go Bag etc Part 2