First response will be in regards to Smurf's very thorough (but large and weighty) backpack)
Originally posted by enlightened_smurf
I would put together a fairly large backpack that would contain the following :
From my own personal survival backpacking experience, you're talking about a pack weighing anywhere between 150-200 lbs, and having dimensions of
roughly 50 cubic feet. Unless you are in military condition, I don't think it'd be reasonable to assume you could go too far with that kind of
weight load, even in a good backpack. In my prime of health as an Eagle Scout, an 80 lb backpack was about all I could manage over long distances.
This is the hardest tradeoff, weight/space/utility. When you have to live entirely off of ONLY what you can carry, scavenge, or hunt, your every space
and weight decision, vs the utility of what you are bringing, is critical.
I recommend going on several training backpacking excursions with your overall goal being 10 miles through nearby wilderness (nearby being anywhere
you can drive on half a tank of gas or less in your most likely vehicle) to acclimate yourself to the local terrain, become familiar with the more
obscure natural landmarks and features of your area, and to understand exactly how much weight you're willing to carry and what you'll need.
Before a 2-week 50-mile survival trek in Philmont, New Mexico (an area with zero support in the event you get lost/injured/etc.) we had a year's
worth of training campouts, once a month, working up to it.
Let me say this: when travelling with a pack, weight is EVERYTHING. By the end of the first day, you will be eyeing your toilet paper and wondering if
you can make due with sticks and leaves instead.
Among the first things to go by the wayside were MREs. They're heavy, usually about a pound per, and they're bulky, taking up about half a cubic
foot of space. Instead, they got replaced with instant oat-meal packets, which can replace a week's worth of meals in the weight and space of one
MRE. Now, by the end of two weeks, I hated oat meal. I hate it to this day. I can't look at a bowl of oat meal without wanting to throw up. But for
two weeks, I lived off 2 lbs of food that fit entirely in a side-pocket of my pack.
Your water will be the next thing to go. Water weighs a little over 8 lbs per gallon. 3-5 gallons of water is going to weigh between 25 and 45 lbs.
That's an insane amount of weight to add to your pack, not to mention you never carry water -in- your pack, because you will, without fail, get
everything else in your pack wet. Instead, limit yourself to two 1-liter canteens which you clip on your belt, at the hips, to evenly distribute the
weight. These are your "travel" canteen and your "emergency" canteen. You travel till you find water. Then you treat the water by boiling it or
Next is ammo. Keep in mind, you're talking about lead. Ammo is heavy. A box of 100 rounds might weigh as much as or more than your weapon. You don't
need that much. You're not going off to war, you're ensuring survival in the event of a brief crisis. If your wanting to stockpile munitions and
arms in the event of anything longer, you're better off stashing it away in a waterproof cache somewhere and trying to make your way back to it
later. Personally, I can't imagine using more than 2 clips for a pistol if I'm just trying to escape to obscurity except in the case of zombies,
which we can hopefully all agree is the least likely of our possible Sitaution X Threats. Same with your rifle. Fill the magazine and have enough to
refill it once more. If you get into a prolongued shootout, you're pretty much dead anyway. Personally, survival-wise, I'd only take a .22, -maybe-
a box of 36 rounds, and hope to god I never needed to use it for anything other than a quick meal or hasty defense.
If your hunting skills rely entirely on guns, you're screwed in Situation X. You're better off learning how to rig traps, foraging for veg and grub,
and fishing. Those are silent methods of obtaining food. If you're shooting at your food every night, guess what can hear and identify those
gunshots? Men can. And they'll want your stuff.
Next is rope. Don't buy cheap help or nylon rope, get silk rope. It's the lightest and strongest rope you'll find, IMO. It's also useful for a lot
more than you would think. If you wet a silk rope, it's damn near unsnappable. Used with a lever, propeller-style, it's an incredible pry-bar. Last
on rope, make sure it's weighted to handle you + 200 lbs (for either your pack or an additional person), as you may have to use it to descend or
ascend a steep drop.
I'll try and make a list of what I carried in my pack for soft-survival trips. "Soft" meaning, I got to use a backpack. The hard-survival trips
were far worse.