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Get Out of Town! No... Really! (Expedition Essentials)

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posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 10:59 AM
After reading this thread, I started flirting with the idea of just what it would take to "disappear" for awhile. As a former guide I came up with a fairly detailed list of items you would need to get out of town with what is "on your back," and just exactly how to make sure everything that is on your back is going to give you the most comfortable time while you're out.

Internal frame back pack

I would recommend something over 80 liters if you're planning on an expedition style trip (A few weeks or more). 65 liters up will be good for short excursions, but will only really hold the "necessities." If you plan on packing anything extra around, you'll definitely want to buy something upwards of 80 or more. At 110, like the linked bag, you could probably fit most things in your house in a back that big. Having that extra space in your pack comes in handy, especially if you're picking up things a long the way to make your outing a little more comfortable. Most of these bigger bags come with compression straps and a detachable "day pack" making it good for all those things you might need to do without a cumbersome pack on. Most people recommend your pack to be half your weight, I usually carry up towards 60%+ on lengthy expeditions.

Water filter

The brand new one from MSR is as cool as it gets. It's the fastest flowing hand filter on the market, washable reusable ceramic filters, and along with being the fastest pump:volume, it is also the smallest. These hand filters will clean out all bacteria and viruses up to 99.8%. The only thing it won't do is filter out the minerals within the water that in excess can cause diarrhea. In an emergency, you can pump straight from a water source with a filter right onto a wound to flush out anything foreign, replacing a need for a syringe pump.

Sleeping bag

Can't go wrong with a quality sleeping bag. Montbell, Mountain hardwear, and Wiggy's are all incredible, though I'm partial to Mountain Hardwear. There's a few tricks you can use with a good solid set up for any occasion, especially if you live in an area with ever-changing conditions like I do.

One is, always just go with a synthetic bag. Most quality bags maintain their insulation qualities up to 50 - 80% if wet! If you get a down bag and it's wet, you're screwed. It won't hold any heat and it takes forever for the goose down to get dry and move organically again to fill dead (cold) spots.

Two is, you can buy two different temperature rated bags for varying conditions. For instance, you can get a 0 bag and a 20 degree bag. You can put one in the other on cold nights if you need anything that can withstand -0 temperatures. This way, even if you're gone awhile or the temperature heats up at night, you can sleep comfortably in a 20 degree bag.

med kit!

Double check to see if this comes with a Sam splint in case you need to set a bone out in the wild, or stabilize a dislocation or sprain. Make sure all your basis are covered, as well! Sutures, needles, epinephrine pens (adrenaline, comes as a prescription, but they're easy to get a hold of and have a shelf life of 2 years.), dressing, medical tape, band-aids, a syringe pump (probably the most commonly used! As you'll use it on just about any situation that deals with open wounds.), Benedryl (antihistamine), IBProfin (anti inflammatory), Aspirin (You can not only take this for pain, but if you break one in half and apply to a wet surface, it can actually cauterize a small wound if need be), and various other things. The one posted above should be more than sufficient.

Camp stove

I don't really believe in camp fires except if there is no alternative to becoming dry. This little thing is easily the most impressive piece of camping equipment I've ever bought in my whole life. You can fit the propane, stove, spoon, lighter, and towelette in the pot of this thing. It's super lightweight and it doesn't give off a flame(light) when the pot is over the stove, unlike most stoves. Fires(light) will bring unwanted visitors or attention, not only by rangers or authorities, but also raccoons, bears, or even cougars. They don't like fire, but if they've associated fire = humans = food, than it becomes a pain in the ass, especially if they gnaw through your gear to get to somethings you didn't put away correctly. If you pack 4 propanes in that huge bag, and especially with this stove. You should be good for up to nearly two months without having to refuel.

Outdoor clothes and good shoes

"Cotton kills!" Stick to nylon or other synthetic materials. They dry fast and wick the elements fairly well. Wool does an incredible job and has proven itself for years. It also holds up way better around fire than synthetic materials do. Wool does have it's drawbacks, as it's heavier, doesn't dry as fast, and doesn't compress as well in the pack, but it's not a bad choice for socks and the like. A month trip out should be a breeze with two pairs of trail pants, a reliable shell, cold coat, gloves/glove liners, a beanie/hat, thermal tops and bottoms(I suggest neoprene), and some undies if you want, but I don't really bother if I'm on trail. I'm a minimalist, but it's better to be safe than sorry.


I prefer an 8x6 heavy duty tarp, as I can adjust my shelter for weather, but one man tents are an option for those who don't want to tie knots. A small tent is perfect for someone who just wants to find a plot and crash. Not nearly as versatile as a tarp and good shelter building knowledge, but perfect for expedition camping.

Misc hardware

There's a bunch of little stuff that can and will absolutely save your life. Headlamps, compass, GPS, iodine (back up water purification), water bottles, cordage, butane lighters, etc... All the little things come together in a big way.

Headlamps will be a huge help at night, and as they are around your head, you can easily use your hands for whatever need be. The only drawbacks of a headlamp is it can be seen for miles given the right circumstances and battery life is fast, especially on long night hikes avoiding the heat in the day time.

Water bottles are the ultimate survival essential. Nalgene IS the ultimate outdoor water bottle. It's nearly unbreakable (and you even get a free shirt from them if you manage to break one!), plastic, and is made so that whatever liquid you had in the bottle before you dumped it out or got rid of it does not bind to the inside.

A compass is the backbone of any trip. As long as you're checking your map and backing it up with your compass, any trip should go smoothly. Iodine tastes like metal, but it's better to stay hydrated with pool tasting water than to not have any potable water on hand.

GPS is a godsend every now and again, especially in canyons or hilly terrain. The only drawbacks are the battery life. They're constantly pinging off satellites while you have them on, and that takes a lot of energy out of it's supply. I usually use these intermittently (5-50 miles depending) if I'm feeling iffy about my route, but I know some people who walk with their eyes fixed to the thing just in case. I'm not sure on the logistics of GPS tracking, but I would like to know if the signal from the unit could be triangulated by a third party, like a cellphone. You know how big brother is...

Cordage is just glorified string. It's heavy duty stuff, similar to parachute chord. You can set up shelters, string traps, tie useful nots, hang wet clothes, etc... A little piece of cordage can go a long way in keeping a person alive.

Butane lighters are incredible. You can refill them, thus, carrying your gas with you and the flint won't burn out. They also light under harsh conditions, so you're not there turning it over with frozen hands for 10 minutes before you can get your stove started. Cheap BIC lighters are fine too, as I pack a few of those away just in case.


Obviously besides water, the most essential. The best way that I have found to eat on trail without wasting incredible energy looking for berries or setting traps for small rodents (not my style anyway.), is to buy bulk dehydrated foods! It's not only cheap, but with a few gallon bags of beans, soups, rice and oatmeal, along with a bunch of snack foods is the most efficient way to eat "out there." Since they're dehydrated, you save a considerable amount of weight. That is what the game is all about! Packing to get the best bang for your buck/pound. A month supply of food should run no more than 15-20 pounds. If you wanted to stretch out your expedition a little longer, carrying 30+ pounds of food shouldn't be too cumbersome, either. Snack foods should consist of carbs, proteins, and sugars. Fruit leathers, Jerkies, granola bars, fruit snacks, Tuna packs, etc... Drink mixes are good to have around as well. Powder Gatorade, fruit drink mix, Taang, lemonade, tea, milk, and the like will also be perfect for an outdoor scenario. Any powder or dehydrated food won't go bad because it's dehydrated, so as long as it doesn't come into contact with water, it should last you for however long you're out on the trail.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 11:21 AM
Loose Ends!

Along with a sleeping bag, you might want to grab a sleeping pad. I prefer a "hard pad" rather than a blow up variety. I've had both and even though the blow up ones are slightly more comfortable, the hard pad will take a beating without popping or going into failure overnight leaving you on the ground. Hard pads of the roll or fold type are so much easier to manage as well. You don't have to spend forever blowing them up, or letting the air out, rolling them up, and finally put them in their compression sack. Makes setting up and packing up go by so much faster! Hard pad all the way! Even when it may only be a month you're going to be camping.

A knife is definitely another essential that I totally left out. I carry two. I standard/serrated blade and a Leatherman wave. Come in totally handy, and anything you'll do out in the wild, a knife will more than likely be involved. Gathering toilet paper, cutting cordage, cleaning slivers/other wounds, cutting sutures, carving tools, leaving markers, possibly self defense, and maybe skinning and processing small woodland animals (bastard) if things get a little tight on food.

I'm personally buying the 110 liter bag pictured above, as I have a 70 from the same company that suites me quite well. I need the extra room for ammunition and a handgun case. The side straps seems like they'll fit a rifle perfectly snug against the side of it, as well. I'm buying a semi .243 for the "just in cases." I am vegan, but who knows how that will work out in an emergency situation.

With the rifle, I'm probably looking at 90 lbs. Which is heavy for a pack, but if you pack it right, it can feel much lighter. With the frame structure of a good pack, it puts most the weight to your hips. I've rucked a 85 pound on my current 70 liter pack and it wasn't bad at all. I had to walk 10 miles over ridiculous terrain before I started to feel the strain in my shoulders and lower back. A few months of food and all I need, 75-80lbs plus guns and ammo is not bad at all.

I just think it would be good to have a bag, packed and ready to go, regardless if it's for camping or something else. You have essentials that will never wear out, food for the rough spots, and a good back up plan chuck full for an all out "survival" situation.

The going gets tough, you go on vacation.

[edit on 21-9-2008 by DeadFlagBlues]

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 01:22 PM
I do not have anything to add here other than:

This was easily the best thread on this topic I have read.

If I was a mod, I would give you some applause. For now a star, flag and the knowledge that I will now be seeking out your threads specifically is all I can offer.

Great job.

posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 01:41 PM
Thanks a lot, man! I'm glad you liked it! I'm not too big into the "situation x" thing, but I love the outdoors, and I just figured with all this "what do I do, the sky is falling" talk, I might lend my thoughts to people who might need direction or are genuinely concerned if they feel they would need to do this sort of thing.

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 09:12 AM
Not a bad groove man, I like some of your thinking, but when you mentioned humping a months supply of food... WTF!?
That's just a bit crazy, plus how many firearms and ammo do you need, one firearm is enough, and two weeks of food is good, unless you're going on a catche mission.
90lbs of kit? Dude, I was in the forces and that is a lot of heavy sht to hump and carry!
That's over 40 kilos!!!!
How are you supposed to run for any distance or cycle with that on??!!
I know you're not into SITX but the topic title suggest otherwise mate.
Ok, pack size is about right 110 litres is good.

But that much weight needs addressing, trim your gear down to about 50 - 60 lbs ALL IN, so including a weapon plus ammo 60 lbs tops.
So ditch all your firearms bar the one you need for hunting, that should keep the ammo weight down too.

I think if you were on SITX mode you'd be a If I had to hump 90 lbs of kit you'd be wasted by the first week of being on the move.

But good to hear you are prepared so if it works for you it works for you.

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 05:13 PM

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 08:01 PM
Very true, man. I understand most people have weight concerns and aren't in the shape to carry upwards of 60% body weight. I hear that you should be able to carry around half your weight on your pack. Running would be no option for long distances with a 80-90 pound pack. You could definitely lighten it up by burying some of your food, marking it on a map, and coming back to it if you needed to. The longest I've ever been on trail consecutively was 6 weeks. I rucked 20+ pounds of dried goods, and ate wild berries and onions a lot of the time just as I went a long.

For if ever I'm leaving, I'll run into very few people, and probably not enough to run from, especially with the firepower I have with me. But, if you were to ruck that much weight, it would make for a hell of a basecamp, and you could use the day pack for short outings.

I just figure you might as well pack all that you'll ever need, in case of an emergency, because most people don't know how to hunt, trap, or fish (trap) without a rifle or fishing pole and going out there with a heavy pack will be better than going out there thinking you're going to adapt or play Rambo, and all of us that have tried that know that what can happen, will happen, and at the worst possible time.

I was thinking in a group of 3 - 4 people, the food load would be equally divided, as well as the medical kit, tent/tarp, gps, etc... In a group setting your bag would be lighter and more widespread through out.

When I packed that 85 pounder out, it was in varied terrain, packed to the hilt, with a soaking wet 60 meter rope on the back, helmet, climbing equipment, 2 sat phones, a gps, a spot tracker, a walkie talkie, 5 liters of water, 20 pounds of food, and all the rest of my junk. I had to rappel with it on, I had to climb a few spots with it on, I had to run a silt river with it for 3 miles, and I'll tell you... I thought it was going to be a lot worse.

It's all preference. It'd probably be a good thing to go camping and just see where your weight threshold lies. I know my absolute max would probably be 100 pounds, moving turtle slow, not being able to maneuver much, and breaking a lot.

I've noticed a lot that my stamina with a pack on increases on trail and doesn't decrease. If I'm rucking a pack out, it will be a pain in the ass for the first few days and then, probably due to muscle memory, it's kind of a part of you.

And as far as guns.. I'll carry the .243, 50 rounds of ammo. The Glock 23 with another 50 or so. Ammo is dead weight and heavy for not being used all the time. I'll have to put the ammo on a scale and see how much it's going to set me back and pack accordingly.

posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 08:11 PM
reply to post by WatchRider

I was just thinking, if you're on the move, and not looking to base every few days, the perfect weight would be around 60-70 pounds with ammunition. You could still be agile, fast, and not have to worry about removing your pack to climb, or down climb. 90 pounds would be a joke if you were ever trying to cut through some crack canyons, that's for sure. I am still ready to ruck 90 pounds, but more than likely I'll be anywhere from 60-80 depending almost entirely on food and circumstances. I can make it a week on 2 pounds of dried goods and whatever I find out in the wild., but that's just getting by. Allowing me enough energy from day to day.

If I want to get away for months, I know exactly where I'm going. Wild berries all through out spring, summer, and fall. Wild onions all year long if you know where to look. The nutrients from the onion alone could sustain someone for awhile. It also makes eating the same dehydrated soup night after night bearable. There's springs everywhere which is a plus. Pine and cottonwood canopies.

Just talking about it makes me want to take a month off and leave right now.

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 11:37 AM
Great thread sir!! Been wanting to see one like this!!

We have been putting together our own gear, and as I am a long distance backpacker, weight IS an issue to me. If I may, I'd like to give you an example of some of the gear I do have......and why I chose it. Please feel free to comment, criticize, etc.... Some of this is merely backpacking gear, some of it is SitX gear, some can serve as both.

Backpacks- Osprey 85 (me) 110 (hubby). I also own a Gregory Deva 60 for my long distance needs- I find I can fit easily a 10 day's supply of food/gear into this and still have room, in a 3 season situation. Osprey is a lighter weight option, yet carries like a dream! Just my own personal choice of course. Many backpack makers have great gear.

Tents- for 3-4 season useage, we chose Henry Shires Tarptents. His tents will stand up to most storms, a decent snowload, and are nice and light. (2-2.5 lbs) For a true 4 season tent, I would probably choose North Face. But to save weight, Henry Shires Tarptents absolutely rock. They set up quickly and provide all the protection one needs from the elements.

Sleeping bags- paired with something like a Sea to Summit DrySak, a down bag is still the most light and viable option out there. Once truely wet, NO sleeping bag will keep you warm, although synthetic bags do keep you warmer longer if dampish. (experience) Down bags can be dried out, if one knows how to do so. One can also pair a sleeping bag of questionable temperature rating with a decent liner and add warmth as well as the ability to keep your bag somewhat cleaner- thereby extending its life, also. We chose the "Ghost" -40F/C rated bag by Mountain Hardware. I also own an REI -5 rated down bag paired with above drysak as my regular backpacking bag, as it weighs less than most 20F synthetic bags.

Clothing- I totally agree...cotton KILLS. We own a selection of synthetic clothing, including thermals etc, being able to layer and such at will. I also own raingear and winter wear to supplement whatever weather one could run into. All sox are merino wool based, although being a bit heavier, wear better, and keep one's feet dry and generally blister free at the end of the long hiking day.

Boots- no trail runners here. We chose Merrill 3/4 height boots- lightweight, sturdy and waterproof. Comfortable right out of the box, they need only minimal break in time, mostly just to get the bit of stiffness out of them.

Stoves- I own the Whisperlite International- easy to fuel- it uses nearly anything available from HEET to deisel and white gas, one could fuel it from leftovers from people's ditched cars in a Sit X situation. I also own a cannister stove for my backpacking trips, but those are only good down to a certain temp unless you want to sleep with the cannisters. The Whisperlite International is good in any temp, and any conditions. Also purchased the maintanance kit for each stove, for spare parts/tools.

Water purification- Katydyn water filters and Aqua Mira. Actually, in most cases, a bandana and Aqua Mira are one's best bets, and the lightest weight options. The Katydyn is more of a backup. Filters are washable with the Katydyn too, but in any case, filters only last so long and then must be replaced. Nothing lasts forever, unfortunately. I could easily carry enough Aqua Mira for many months, and not carry alot of weight.

As it stands right now, my base weight, before food/water/consumables, for a 2 week backpacking trip, is under 15 lbs. That includes ALL necessities for a 3 season trip. Adding cold weather gear would bring it up to around 20 lbs. But it still all fits into my Deva 60. However, I agree that if one needs a SitX type set up, one would need something more significant in pack size, say an 85 for women and something around a 110 for men.

Thanks again for a great thread!! Glad to see it here...STAR AND FLAG!

Soul Sista

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 12:05 PM
Isn't that -40 from Mountain Hardwear incredible? 2 of my friends have it and it is incredible. Half down, built in liner, and built in bivy That thing is awesome, but huge. It's definitely a lot lighter than my -40 synthetic. I haven't packed that thing around for a long time, though. It's more my winter donor bag. I use the two bag system. I always have two on me, just in case. It's not burdensome, as they're both super light, high efficient synthetic bags. Some people totally stand by down, and I've been in a situation with a fellow guide that has proven to me that I should probably stick with my synthetic.

I have some Northface winter boots and some Sportivas for everything not 6 inches of snow. I totally prefer the lighter footwear as soon as opportunity presents itself. And if my bag is anywhere near 60 pounds, I am a regular Flash Gordon. I figure at 90 pounds with arms, I will be fine for slow/moderate, long distance treks. I've been doing some logistics behind my bag, and I think I can sufficiently cut down to 70 pounds armed. I think I'm going to liquidate most of my clothes and just stick to the necessities and a back up in case the clothing is compromised, instead of living with my house on my back. I do absolutely pack two or three times the amount of food I need on a trip. You never know when you might come across who is in need of food and water, or maybe a rodent attack.

Down or Synthetic, it's really preference and weight issues. As long as you have a tent, tarp, or are good at natural shelters (brackish domes, quinzees, trench) you should be fine. I made it 3 weeks straight in the Uintas last winter. It had a 6' snowpack, snowed every 3 or 4 days, and I was stuck in a white out one day. Funnest/funniest camping trip of my life. Those elements could have killed us through-out that day, but just being diligent and playing it safe will save your life regardless of the gear you have.

You should check out "the Reactor" from MSR. I have that stove. It can boil water in two minutes, and boil a liter of snow in under five. It's the most incredible piece of equipment I've ever bought.

Thanks for reading!

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 01:23 PM
Don't forget a simple sewing kit.
A stitch in time saves nine!

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 03:10 PM
I have checked out the Reactor, but I think since we have already spent the money on what we have, we will stick with that, since it is so versatile, fuel wise. I do own a SnoPeak cannister stove also. The SnoPeak boils water incredibly fast too.

Yes, a sewing type repair kit is also a part of my gear kit, as is good ole fashioned duct tape! Dental floss is tough and works well for making gear repairs, as does duct tape.

For lightweight line to make clothelines from, tie off tents, etc...I have several 50 foot lengths of Kelty "triptease" line- at 1 oz per 50 foot and tough as nails, it is indeed worth its weight in gold.

For something 4 season to sleep on- we chose the Exped 7 down airmats, well rated R-factor wise and they fit inside your pack, and are about 1/4 the size of most sleeping pads, as well as lightweight.

Alot of one's gear has to be tailored to the terrain that one will be in, or anticipates being in, and the weather factors involved. I myself in the situation you describe, anticipate having to carry about 60-65 lbs, which is about half of my average body weight. I could do that comfortably at this point, with a decent pack.

Depending on the situation next spring, I will be making a big trip out onto one of the big trails.
Should be a fun time.

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 03:26 PM
Reading your posts makes me wanna get out and do something too...just to get out of the house and out into the woods. Been cooped up too long already.

Like I said I generally carry a fairly light load, 15 lbs or so before consumables, about 25-30 after, so I travel fairly light. That means I can move fairly fast, too. But that is just a backpacker's load, not climbing or mountaineering. I'm not strapping any extraneous gear to that.

Did my hiking in the Badlands this summer- the Maah Daah Hey trail is an interesting trail, and they have added onto that one by 45 miles now. Not many actually hike that one, its mostly bikes and horses. The Badlands offer their own unique challenges.

posted on Sep, 25 2008 @ 11:32 PM
Instead of carrying a ton of food, just get a good book on edible plants of wherever you live. More gear aimed at hunting/trapping means you can feed yourself over a longer time.

We should just abandon this existence. Abandon your home and your mortgage, abandon your car and your car payment, abandon all your utility bills. Stop working, stop paying taxes. Boycott this government. Escape into the wilderness and live free. Travel with like minded individuals. If you've never gone deep into the woods with a gathering of hippies and social rejects, then your missing out. Its like a whole new world with none of the soul crushing intolerable fascism that our modern society forcefeeds us.

let rome burn. Life goes on.

posted on Sep, 26 2008 @ 12:52 AM
It's hard for people with a family to do that. America has become complacent out of necessity. Look at the number of single family parents there are, because a father didn't want the responsibility of raising something he helped create. It's hard for most people to duck out and leave the status quo behind. It's even hard for me to think about leaving my "stuff" behind. I'm prepared to do so and have a game plan if we bottom out here in a few days, but better believe if my car isn't in the same place when I come back, heads are going to roll. Haha.

I had written a little bit about gathering/hunting. From a survival perspective, no way in hell your average Joe can afford to go without food while he tries to hunt and trap animals as he's reading it out of a book. I've practiced making traps and fish dams, and have learned how to gather from my favorite area pretty well, and I'd have to say... It would be incredibly hard to sustain one's self if you didn't have any back up nutrients in the process of learning those skills. A good natural skill set is always a good back up, though! Always!

posted on Sep, 26 2008 @ 06:59 AM
Well I for one am in pretty good shape as far as car payments, mortgage etc... goes...everything is paid off, and my kids are all grown. *whew* No credit card bills either. No, we aren't rich, but we didn't get ourselves into debt over the years.

One factor to consider in the woods, especially if one is backpacking, is that one's caloric requirements are much higher than if one is sitting on one's lazy butt at home- figure at least double, and in some cases even more, what your requirements are, vs your "normal" lifestyle. Sure, one can "live off the land", but most folks would have no clue how to do so right away, and while it's a skill that can easily be learned by many, one must have backup supplies while learning one's environment.

Just remember, if what they are telling you on the news is bad, its MUCH one is going to hand out the entire story. I'm seeing things like references to the Great Depression now....thank goodness I listened to my grandmothers, who both gave me their lessons from their lives. Both of them lived through that troubling time. I thank goodness for my skillset I learned on the farm too!! It could very well serve me in good stead in the times coming up.

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