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3/13/2012 3:02 PM

We recently got this query via email and got permission to turn it loose on the collective wisdom of the folks on this forum:

I am working with a class at Montana State University – Bozeman, to develop a “How-To Manual” for the creation and maintenance of a functional, easy to use, Every Day Carry kit for vehicular use.  Primarily, our target is college students, but the focus of our project is to create something that would be easy enough for a child to use, all the way up to the elderly.
The only specifications we are asking is that it be able to sustain at least one person for 72 hours.  If a product can sustain more people, or a person can use said product for longer than 72 hours, this input would be appreciated.  Situations one might encounter the need to use said kit are if you are stranded on the side of the road, run out of gas and have to walk to a gas station, etc.
What I am asking of the minds at Hill People Gear is would you be willing to answer the following questions and email me the answers?  I understand that time is valuable, but I was thinking this would take about ten minutes, most.  Anyone who would like to answer would be greatly appreciated!
The questions are as follows:

  1. First name, only, sex and age.  (These are strictly demographic questions so that we can show MSU that we are, in fact, talking to a myriad of people.  No personal information will be published.)
  2. In your experience and/or opinion, what qualifies you to be an expert in this topic?  Do you have personal experience that is relevant?
  3. What are the ten most essential items you would keep in your vehicle based EDC?  (There are no guidelines to this question; anything that the respondent would feel is necessary or relevant.)
  4. Of those ten items listed above, if you had to lose five of them, what five would you lose / keep? 
  5. How would you propose to store / transport / maintain these items?  (i.e. backpack, shoulder bag, waterproof tub, etc.)
  6. In a short paragraph detail why you chose the original ten items?  Why did you cut the five items you did?

I understand that these questions are a bit vague but this is deliberate.  There are MANY great ideas out there, and we’d like to compile them all, as much as possible.  Also, there are many great products, branded as well as not, and if you feel that they would work best, we want to hear about it.  If there any photos of products you would recommend that you would be willing to send along, that would be wonderful, with the understand that the photos might be used in the publication, with all photo credit being given to the rightful owner and photographer.
Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated and we’d like to hear back from you by the end of business (5:00 p.m. MDT) on Wednesday, 14 March 12.

*** STOP READING THIS THREAD RIGHT NOW *** If you are planning on responding to this survey, please don't bias your answers by reading other people's responses until you have formulated and posted your own response at the end of this thread. Thanks.

doing a copy / paste of just the questions above will give you a starting point for your response.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
3/14/2012 6:36 PM

>> First name only, sex and age. 

Evan, Male, 38 or 39

>> In your experience and/or opinion, what qualifies you to be an expert in this topic?  Do you have personal experience that is relevant?

Mindset. I was raised with the mentality that the wolf is always at the door and it is your responsibility to keep it at bay. Beyond that, I've lived through some scrapes and have tried to be a good student of those experiences.

>> What are the ten most essential items you would keep in your vehicle based EDC? 

First, I've got to address some of my assumptions. I reject the notion that a kit has to be usable by a child. Some elements of my kit would be, but my bias is towards tools and training on how to use those tools. I'm also assuming that we're talking about situations where recovery and re-mobilization of the vehicle is out of the question. There is a whole slew of things that one might reasonably carry for that purpose which doesn't really address 72 hour sustainment. A final assumption - the occupants are more or less dressed for the weather already.

My list is in descending order of priority.

1) Insulation. I would prefer blanket style so that it can cover more than one person, and I would prefer lightweight so it is more easily transportable. A single item that will work for more than one person is something you'll see me repeating over and over. In the case of insulation, it is shared warmth. Options include an old quilt (synthetic insulation with poly / cotton shell), Old sleeping bag (preferably square style synthetic that can be zipped all the way open to cover more than one person), and wool blankets. My first pick would be the HPG Mountain Serape because it is easily transportable, stows small, and works as a blanket, sleeping bag, and coat. If you've got the space, more is better. Without an exernal heat source, cold is what will kill you first. Heat can be tolerated for the most part. Plus, a blanket tied up as a tarp can make a very effective sun shade.

2) Water. Minimum of 1 gallon. 3 liter pop bottles make good storage containers because they are light, transparent, and a good shape for storing. My personal vehicle has 3-4 nalgene one quarts on the back floorboard, and then an additional 2 gallon jug in back. It's nice to have a lot of storage, but the 2 gallon container isn't very handily person portable.

3) Personal Locator Beacon. I haven't made this step myself yet, but it is really the quickest best way to get rescued at any time anywhere in the world. It's third in prio, because you may need the first two to last long enough for the PLB to do you any good.

4) Fire Starting Kit. Warmth, signalling. All of my fire starting kits consist of a lighter or two, flint and steel, trioxane, and a bunch of squares of bicycle inner tube.

5) Tarp. Bigger and lighter is better than smaller and heavier. Whatever you have is better than the one you don't have because you couldn't afford it. With a tarp and a fire starting kit (assuming you're not above treeline), you can survive just about any environment. Unless you're mentally prepared to start a fire inside your car, you'll need the tarp to get the most out of your fire starting capability.

6) A 3/4 length "boy" axe in good repair. This will turn wet fuel into fire via splitting, allow you to pound things, shape other tools, maybe get you unstuck, etc.

7) A big aluminum pot. Melting snow for water, purifying questionable water sources, make cold water hot to warm yourself, cook food.

8) Food. Nobody is going to starve to death any time soon, but it will give you some extra usable energy prior to the point that your body switches over and starts burning straight fat. It's also good for morale.

9) Saw with a good blade. I carry a 24" bow saw. It can do a lot of things the axe can't, a lot more efficiently.

10) Carefully chosen book. Something that is a long read, or an engaging re-read, or has religious or spiritual value to you. People who haven't ever been in that type of situation don't realize how critical positive mental attitude is, and how hard it can be to maintain. Something like a book to keep you engaged and mentally fortified can come in very handy.

>> Of those ten items listed above, if you had to lose five of them, what five would you lose / keep?

The bottom five.

>> How would you propose to store / transport / maintain these items?  (i.e. backpack, shoulder bag, waterproof tub, etc.)

I'm glad you didn't make me use one of my 10 items by listing backpack! The ability to carry extra things is fundamental and useful. Many backpacks don't stow in cars very well though. I think I'd choose a bright yellow NRS (Northwest River Supply) Bill's Bag. This is a durable dry bag with shoulder straps on it. Because it is duffle shaped, it will stow more easily, but still has the straps for carrying. It won't be the best load hauler in the world, but for something you may never use it is probably right to optimize for storage instead of carrying. Other than that, whatever old pack I had laying around would get the nod.

>> In a short paragraph detail why you chose the original ten items?  Why did you cut the five items you did?

Basically listed in order of critical need. Explanations of value are in the item listings. On the subject of how long this kit might sustain you... I'd take the 10 items on my list, add a rifle and some ammunition (probably .223 caliber), and be willing to set off anywhere in north America for an indefinite period of time. It might not always be pretty, but I'd probably survive.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
3/15/2012 10:35 AM

I haven't been ignoring this Evan, I'm just organizing the list in my head rather than having to edit later with the keyboard.  It's a great concept, and I hope your final product becomes a valuable resource for those who, for whatever reason,  haven't given the subject any thought of their own.

New Post
3/15/2012 12:14 PM

What 112Papa fails to mention is that he is a professional first responder with many years experience operating in a fairly rural area of Montana. When we were together a handful of weeks ago talking about the subject of backcountry medical care, his input wasn't about first aid techniques to use in that situation, it was "get them to definitive care - how best to accomplish that". I've heard the same advice from quite a few people in his line of work. I took note.

112Papa - my comment about those items plus a rifle for indefinite living was WAY off of the reservation in terms of the subject of this survey. However, in the spirit of J. Frank Dobie, "Everything that is interesting fits". That line of thought was based on a fascinating thread called "Endless Ramble" over on Kifaru. Many of the posters were hopelessly clueless about the mental realities of such an undertaking and also caught up in a romantic and false notion that such a thing is possible using what can be carried on one's back alone. Regardless, lots of interesting things came up. When I really thought hard about what firearms I'd want for such an open ended undertaking, bearing in mind that as few as possible was important. I decided that an AR in .223 is about perfect for a longarm choice. Very capable for self defense, but also a very handy foraging rifle. The light caliber is easy to carry a lot of, and is good for small game and precise shots on longer game. Pair that with a relatively heavy calibered handgun for up close defense and night time defense with the understanding you won't be carrying too much of that particular ammo, and you've got what sounds to me like a capable combo.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
3/15/2012 1:00 PM

Let me try this again, with several corrections for improved word choice and clarity...oh, yeah, and proper useage..."jive", "jibe', whatever...



Another fine example of your excellent, thoughtful work.  Thank you.

Your answers outperform the questions(as usual).  More importantly, the thoughtful conversation is useful for my family and I.  Thanks for making the point that the exercise, not the questions(and their underlying assumpotions), is the goal. 


I have similar responses to Evan's list, and concurr with his reasons.  Here's why.

I have spent part of the past 3 weeks re-thinking this issue, from several perspectives(including, as Evan put well, my assumptions).  We've(family) also gained some valueable field experinces in the same 3 week period that have helped us understand our operating environment, and our selves.  The survey's assertion about usefulness of kit for "children" makes no sense to me. 

In the past 3 weeks, we've spent time outside under winter and spring conditions.  We've spent a day with an accomplished practioner of longarms, and other similar skills.  We've observed that skills are dependent on the person and their abilities(mental, physical, etc.). 

Last summer, I observed SLG's youngest family member at an event.  That person's skill set was extra-ordinary for a person of their age(go figure, just LOOK at their parents[rolling eyes]...).  When their skill set is compared to the parents(as the original survey would suggest), fuggetaboundit.  Very capable young person.  And, a very young person.  I think anyone with a young family, or who has been around young people, would get that reality.  Like Evan, my assumptions are anchored in adult skill capable people. 

In developing my assumptions, I have considered probable scenarios.  For the purposes of this conversation, I am assuming that the response infrastructure is in tact, functioning, and not over burdened.  So, the likelihood of a rescue type response to my emergency is assumed in my reply.  I took Evan's post to make the same assumption.

I have found elements of my approach in Kummerfeldt's 'Surviving a Wilderness Emergency", recommended, and in Lundin's two books, "98.6 Degrees..." and "When all Hell Breaks Loose", also recommended(thank you, Scot, for referring me to Lundin's resources).

Kummerfeldt  makes a strong case for what you need to have with you to survive until a rescue response arrives.  He addresses positive mental attitude, skills and tools.  His PMA stuff is straight forward, and worth the read(and watch, on DVD, both affordable, devoid of commercialization, and sound, experience based, references).  My experience, and the experiences of others I have worked with, both as responders, and as don't-wanna-be victims type outdoors people, jibe with Kummerfeldt's information, and with Evan's perspectives.  Warm, dry, hydrated, signal-capable, PMA, easy to rescue.

Lundin offers another perspective, which I find practical, and do-able.  He, too, addresses PMA(note trend).  He also provides a bunch of useful background info on staying healthy while you are without your normal support systems(read, lost, er, outside your intended trip, you get the point).  "98.6..." speaks more toward immediate threats to one's survival.  ""When..." speaks to more insult to, and more disability of, infrastructure, and the resulting transfer of work to individuals(or family or social units, neighborhoods or communities).  Both add value(a lot) to this consideration.

The distress beacon(broadcast type, sat based) mentioned by Evan has been effective in the Northern Rockies.  We'll be investing in a beacon, and the service within the next 30 days.  We've selected a proven brand, in a bouyant, ruggedized model that displays, and transmits, current GPS coordinates.  The product, and service, advertise that the gps coordinates maybe transmitted to rescue organizations(distress), or to a selected group of e-mail addresses(admin message of, "here are my current gps coordinates", no text).  

The coordinates can be transmitted in several formats for several purposes.  First is a distress signal to rescue organizations.  Second is an admin message sent to a user defined select group of e-mail addresses. This feature offers additional functionality.  At the least, this function is a courtesy to family, saying, "I am okay, and here are my coordinates".  This is a reasonable accomodation to a family that is supportive of participation in a variety of 4 season outdoor activities.   Additonally, by using the admin function and simple, pre-defined codes,(ex. multiple "I am at the following gps coordinates" in a pre-determined arrangement) the list of messages can be expanded to include "urgent" needs(ex. "stuck, but not hurt", might be, 3 "I am at these GPS coords" messages within 1 hour from the same location).  After receiving such a message, our family and friends might launch a "family and friends go help 112Papa get un-stuck mission".  Not an emergency, and perhaps, preventing an unnecessary launch of scarce rescue assets for a LWHUA situation(living with head up ass, similar to DWHUA, driving with head up ass, except with out the vehicle, sometimes).  Scrapes, as Evan referred to them.  Call it respect. 

We're interested in the experiences of others with similar beacons.

And, we're interested in the perspectives, approaches and arrangements used by others to address the questions at hand.

Evan, could you offer a little more info on your choice of caliber and rifle, particulalry why you made the choices you did for the situation being discussed?



New Post
3/15/2012 2:10 PM

Name Thom, age 59 (for a couple of more months) and sex male.

 I am no expert other than I have been in the woods and on the road a lot in my years on earth. Is anyone an expert if they haven't been in or purposely placed themselves in this kind of situation and successfully gotten out (taking notes along the way)? I have spent a few unintended nights out and have "rescued" a couple of folks that had made poor choices and got themselves into this kind of problem, that is about all. Forget about kids being able to handle most of the stuff on my list or the situation. If they are stuck somewhere for 72 hours without an adult it is gonna be a toss up as far as their survival.

These are the kinds of questions that are almost impossible to answer without a lot of ifs and qualifiers. Time of year, area, amount of traffic, reason for the problem in the first place could greatly influence what one would wish to have on hand for this kind of exercise. Cold, hot, terrain, people (in and out of group if there is one). It really boggles the mind to try to imagine any scenario that the same ten things would be appropriate for.  I will take a vague stab.

Items (this is assuming I will just need to stay alive for 72 hours and I am not in danger from animal or human just environment).

1. H2O gotta have enough to last and this is where the ifs come in. If it hot and there is none available you need more. If water is available you need less. DUH! If it is cold and snowy a way to melt snow into water is probably more important than gallons in the bag. Maybe water purification equipment if water is abundant is more important than actual gallons on hand. Could be good for more than one person.

2. Proper clothing for the conditions. Again a qualifier..... what are the conditions and don't you already have them with you automatically (not if you are my wife!)? Might be able to accomodate more than one person if necessary.

3. Fire, the ability to make it for signaling and warmth. A few different fire starting devices/methods for redundancy. Again will probably cover more than one person.

4. First Aid kit for any injury current or in the future. As little or as much as competency and space allows and conditions may warrant. More than one person, probably.

5.Tarp for protection from both precipitation and sun. Those nasty blue ones are fine for both and are cheap and light but also are really obvious which is great for rescue visibility. Think you gotta hide, go with something else. Good for more than one person if big enough.

6. Good shoes for the conditions and how far I gotta go. If I must be mobile for whatever reason foot health becomes a necessity (Cody Lundin and his bare feet be damned). If I can stay with the vehicle and expect rescue and it is warm enough I could go the barefoot route otherwise I need shoes/boots especially if cross country travel is necessary for rescue.

7. Warm blanket, sleeping bag or covering of some sort as a supplement to proper clothing. Condition dependent again and maybe good for more than one person.

8. Container (s). If I am mobile and need to carry water/melt snow/ purify. Metal if possible in the form of bottles or plastic and a pot. Would probably handle more than one person.

9. Light a flashlight of some kind for both signaling and vision at night if it becomes necessary. Usable by anyone if they know how

10. Compass (with a map would be better), maybe I need to go a particular direction to get out/help. Usable by anyone if they know how.

When I look at this list 2 things jump out........  1. I try to have most of this list covered whenever I go out especially if I am going to be off the main drag so to speak, and 2.  I tend to manipulate the list depending on what I think I may encounter (an example... The west side of Oregon is wet and finding water isn't a problem but I might want a method of purification. The east side is dry and I would probably want my water with me. It would all depend on where I was expecting to be.)

The 5 things I think are most important and I would keep are 1-3, 5, 6 as the bare minimum but that is very situationally dependent. For most things I think I could deal with those. I almost always have good clothes and shoes (and most of that other stuff too) with me so maybe I would see it differently. The list might then be 1,3,5,7 + one other..... who knows maybe 1,3,4,10 + one other.

Carrying those items..... some kind of pack or bag would be nice but in a pinch fashioning something from the tarp, blanket or clothing would probably get me by if I had carry stuff with me.

As I and probably you all can see everything is a trade off and really dependent on what situation you encounter, best just to be prepared for what you think might happen. Trying to pick the most broad range of useful items is way to hard and I believe can't really be done. Most of us would probably have most of what we would need anyway. It is best to just have it all with you!!!

Now my head hurts (if I could drink I would have one). Oops I left booze off my list (a necessity if there ever was one under some circumstances)..... 11. whiskey !


New Post
3/16/2012 12:21 PM

(Note this was written over the course of several days as I had a few minutes here and there. I apologize for any continuity issues in advance.)

I struggled with how to answer these questions for several reasons. First I have a strong dislike for the concept of 10 essentials and the often associated Xhrs of survival time. I understand it is a way to give people a basic idea of what they may need to survive, but I think the basic concept is lost in translation, and for most folks it becomes a magic carpet or blankie. It comes to mean, for most folks in my experience, that if I have my 10 essentials and can just hold out for Xhrs then I have nothing else to worry about. In essence it becomes a hardware solution to what is in reality usually a software problem. It is both indicative of, and results in a bad mindset, and you will hear more about mindset. Before everyone gets up in arms, understand that I am not saying that the 10 essentials are not a good way to stimulate thought and communicate the basics that a person should have, but rather they are in my opinion just a simple/basic starting point and not the finishing point that most see them as.  The 10 essentials are also worthless without the first item on my list and in most case that item is not even considered by those touting their survival kit. The other component of this is the Xhrs part. If you only plan with a set end in mind you won’t be prepared to deal with a longer situation. In essence you are relying on someone else for your survival and safety, which is failure in my opinion. I always want to be over prepared never under.
My second issue is the way I think about gear. To steal a term from anthropology, I think in terms of tool assemblages. For instance in my mind my kit bag, which carries my possible, is a single item. Granted it has smaller items in it, but in my mind they are all part of a single assemblage or item. The components of that assemblage may change overtime as my needs change or new items become available, but the mindset driving this single item remains the same. Everything in my truck falls into tool assemblages and if I ran down what was in each tool assemblage while a good comprehensive list, it would ultimately fail the goal of this report. With that in mind I am going to try and think in terms of specific items, which is against the way I process information and think about things, which is very categorically. 
The final issue I struggled with was the generality of the question, and who it was geared towards. For instance during the winter I worry less about water and more about warmth and mobility (i.e. I always have at least a pair of snowshoes in the truck during the winter if not both snowshoes and karvers) whereas in the summer more water is definitely a requirement. The other component of this is who is the person I am addressing? Is it the guy I have seen on the side of the road in flip flops, shorts, and a hoodie during a blizzard trying to fit chains on his tires, or is it the guy who is dressed sensibly for the weather at hand with comfortable shoes that protect the feet and can be walked in, a warm jacket, head protection, gloves, etc…? I decided the only way to deal with this last issue is to define my terms. I am going to make the assumption that the person driving the vehicle realizes the importance of appropriate dress for expected and potential weather conditions. That way I don’t have to spend time listing out what should be already present in the situation (i.e. sturdy comfortable shoes that can be walked in, garments that are acceptable for the environment, etc…), but can rather focus on those things that augment what the person already has as a matter of common sense.  This means I also expect the person to have a sturdy sharp pocket knife in their pocket at a minimum and also most likely a multi-tool. I also expect them to have basic vehicle equipment like a spare and the means to change a tire (standard equipment when you purchase a vehicle), and snow chains if indicated by the season. Finally, I am going to assume that folks are smart enough to have toilet paper/napkins/paper towel and hand sanitizer in the vehicle.
The questions are as follows:
First name, only, sex and age.
Scot, Male, 35
In your experience and/or opinion, what qualifies you to be an expert in this topic? Do you have personal experience that is relevant?
I am an Eagle Scout, worked for the Forest Service for 5 seasons, lifelong backcountry and remote country travel and I have been stuck a couple of times and helped others get unstuck a couple of times.
What are the ten most essential items you would keep in your vehicle based EDC? (There are no guidelines to this question; anything that the respondent would feel is necessary or relevant.)
1.     My mind, and this breaks down into two components first is skills/knowledge and the second is mindset. All of the Gucci kit in the world is worthless without the ability to use it. The skill to use an item is often more important than the item itself because if you understand how to use a given item not only are you more efficient with that item, but if you don’t have it you can often improvise. Those with skills will often be less equipment oriented and therefore more able to cope if they don’t have what they need. On the other hand it can be as simple as understanding how to use what you have. My brother knew a guy in college who had the idea of going walkabout in Australia over the summer until he found a teacher of the didgeridoo. My brother convinced him to at least take some basics. When he got back his response to one question was that he was hungry for a few DAYS until he figured out how to use the can opener on his pocket knife. Another example, is knowing how to change a tire, because if you don’t, what is a minor inconvenience might become a serious situation. Finally if you have the appropriate skills and knowledge you will be less likely to end up in a given situation because you will know your limitations and capabilities, which brings us to mindset. 
In order to survive you have to have the right mindset. I have heard this addressed in the rule of 5s. First concentrate on the first 5 minutes, than the first 50 minutes, and then the first 5 hrs and then the first 5 days, etc….   For me it is simpler, you have to have the mentality that you are going to be able to deal with whatever comes, are prepared to deal with whatever comes, and you just take one thing at a time. It is easy to become overwhelmed and start to panic, but if you just slow down and think things through you will be alright. Now don’t mistake this for the inability to make a decision, but rather that you need to think your decisions through and not rush around blindly. Indecision is as big a killer as lack of skills and knowledge or panic. In large part your skills and knowledge will allow you this mindset, but even if those are lacking a positive outlook is key. Another factor in this is a self sufficient mindset. If you have the mindset that I only have to survive Xhrs you might be signing your own death warrant. At a certain point it may be appropriate to abandon the vehicle and strike out. You have to have the skills and knowledge to know when that is.  This means you don’t rely on others to save you, but rather you only rely on yourself. If others end up helping fine, but you are the ultimate master of your own fate. This means I am not thinking in terms of hours and rescue and simple survival. I am thinking in terms of living longer term till I can return on my own terms. If you have ever been on a business trip and mused about the route home you would have to take to make it home under your own power then you get where I am coming from especially if you are say in Hawaii or Europe. 
The last component of this is if you have a the proper self sufficient mindset and good skills and knowledge you will know your limitations and be less inclined to take risks that are unwarranted and can result in disaster. A man has got to know his limitations, and then push them a bit, but know them. 
2.     Water – pretty simple water is the stuff of life and next to air it is the thing you can live without for the least amount of time. I keep a minimum of 3.5 gallons in my truck at all times and a minimum of 1 gallon in a rental care for a short day trip. I also always have the means to procure more water with me (typically iodine tabs). If you live in the desert or are going to be traveling there I would bump this up by 5+ gallons. Smaller portable containers are also a must in case you have to leave the vehicle.  For larger containers I prefer the military style plastic containers in 2.5 or 5 gallon sizes. They are sturdy, easy to hand carry, and slim so you can put them behind the seat or other smaller space.
3.     Insulation – Keeping warm is a very powerful mental tool. If a person is warm and comfortable it is a lot easier to wait out the hours. In addition, you limit the issues related to exposure and hypothermia, which can be a big issue on even a warm summer day given the right conditions. In the past I have used everything from puffy pants and a puffy jacket, a sleeping bag, a blanket, and now use a Mountain Serape. I like the Mountain Serape for the versatility it provides. Given the design it can be used for all the previously mentioned uses. It is also light and compact so it is easy to take with you.
4.     I am going to cheat at this point and call out a tool assemblage since I think everyone should have one of these. Call it what you will, but for me it is either referred to as my possibles or kit bag. Basically, it is a single bag that has the basic essentials to survive a situation, and a convenient means to carry them. My possible includes the following:
·         GPS and Compass – for navigation
·         Lightweight stocking hat and gloves – warmth to the extremities
·         Multi-tool – fixing stuff and a knife to complement any other knives I have with me (remember that a knife is one item I assume a person is going to have.)
·         Signaling mirror – allows me to signal for help and also start a fire given the right conditions
·         Fire starting kit – tender (inner tube squares), a couple of lighters, flint and striker
·         Water bottle rolled up with iodine tabs already in it
·         Headlamp – handy to be able to see at night for both psychological and practical reasons
·         Whistle – signaling
·         Cordage – I carry two different sizes
·         Other stuff that I use regularly, but aren’t survival related they are just comforts and handy – ear protection, spare ammo for my side arm, pen, cheat cards (med and range), spork
These first four items where no brainers, and leaped to mind very quickly after that it got a lot harder for me to pick and choose. What this exercise proved to me is how big a self reliance and self rescue mentality I have. I found myself really struggling with prioritizing the ability to go mobile and self extract, or tools related to extracting the vehicle. At this point the reality is I would just list the next two items as my day pack and extraction kit, but in the interest of making this work the way it was designed I am going to try to not do that even though it is the real answer.
5.     Shovel – I am a pretty firm believer that the majority of folks who get stuck or in trouble could self extract their vehicle given a shovel, skill, energy and will power. A properly maintained tool can also allow you to do some crude chopping. My personal preference is an older style military shovel with the wood handle and pick. I chose this one over a long handle shovel for a couple of reasons. First I can get under a vehicle on my belly and use it. Second the ability to change the angle of the shovel from straight to hoe mode allows me to dig and scrap in tight places. Third it was cheap and sturdy as all heck. Finally, the short handled does allow me to do a ton of prying and potentially break the handle. It is a self imposed limitation on leverage made prior to the situation when I might be inclined to push things. 
6.     Day pack – I am not going to cheat and list it as full.  This allows me to pack up my stuff and move out.
7.     Cook kit which in my case also includes several packages each of instant coffee, tea, and hot chocolate as well as two packages of dehydrated potatoes with some dehydrated meat. Again for me this is a single item, and does not include the food I actually plan to eat on a trip. This is the extra emergency stash that stays with my stove. My cook kit also includes a trangia alcohol stove, extra alcohol, a lighter, flint and striker, windscreen and a pot
8.     Rifle – signaling, food procurement, protection if needed. This is a long term living item and does fit in the Xhrs scenario of most, but as I have stated I think that is a poor mindset. Spare ammunition goes without saying. My current choice in this category is a Marlin 16” 30-30. I chose this rifle for several reasons. However, the most important was size, legality, and availability/price. There are a number of other choices that would also be good, but this is one I am comfortable with.
9.     Come along. A poor man’s winch. I have moved a lot of very big items with a good come along. This addresses self extraction.
10. Tow strap – this coupled with a passing vehicle and or come along, shovel, etc… gives you self extraction
Of those ten items listed above, if you had to lose five of them, what five would you lose / keep?
At first I rejected the notion of this because these items and a lot more are standard in my vehicle.  They are in there 100% of the time and don’t come out. However, I then put it in terms of using a rental car for business travel, which I do from time to time. What I do in those situations is throw in:
Kit bag, Day pack (includes water, cook kit, insulation, tp, spare items like heavier gloves and stocking caps, a hand axe or bush knife, etc…), and a rifle case with a rifle and spare ammunition if I am leaving from home. If I am flying then getting in a car the rifle is not taken. What that means is I am only losing the vehicle specific extraction items, which does not concern me as I am staying to paved roads in good weather. If the weather is iffy or I am going somewhere I might get stuck I take my own truck.
How would you propose to store / transport / maintain these items? (I.e. backpack, shoulder bag, waterproof tub, etc.)
The vehicle extraction stuff lives in a single hard box in the bed of my truck, I have a canopy. Water and insulation live behind the back seat of my truck, as does the rifle. Spare ammunition is stashed in the various storage spaces around the vehicle. My kit bag and day pack are just set in the truck (and the day pack is always packed so while some of the stuff like the cook kit are only in the pack other stuff like water and insulation are actually redundant being in both places.
In a short paragraph detail why you chose the original ten items? Why did you cut the five items you did?
See above

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/16/2012 12:38 PM

Unlike some folks, cough BigPapa112, cough ;), I prepared my list prior to reading other folks responses. What is interesting to me is to see folks with skills pretty much reject some of the premises of the questionnaire.  That right there is a response that should be taken into account. That being said, the only real change I would make is to switch in an axe instead the pack instead of expecting the shovel to do double duty.  That and if I made the same assumption about the vehicle being out of commisson, and didn't struggle with making a single list out of two seperate lists, truck extraction and personal equipment, I would have made some different choices. For instance no need for a shovel then, but an axe would be a good addition, I would have added shelter (my current choice is a bivanorak which is in my day pack), etc... Basically what I did was figure out what I have in my truck and what I take when traveling in a rental car and tried to decide what I would be willing to cut from the list of what I actually have with me, which is way more than 10 items, and something I am working on adding to (for instance I just bougth a compressor and I am looking at adding additional tow straps and other extraction equipment).

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/17/2012 10:03 PM

1. Jason, male, 41

2. Semi-avid outdoorsman, with "life"  getting in the way of actually living outdoors as much as I'd love to.  I don't have any uber-cool "creds," just more experience than some guys and less than others.

3. My top 10: ***This assumes that I'm wearing season/weather appropriate clothing***

1. 4qts of water.  I drink a gallon a day under normal living.  I'd want at least that much in a survival situation. I'd also want the means to purify additional water as I go.

2. Plastic tarp.  8x10 would probably suffice.

3. Fire making kit (lighters, matches, steel, and vaseline cotton balls)

4. A zero degree Wiggy's sleeping bag.  They're bulky and heavy compared to other brands, but they're bomber, and I can crawl into mine wet and cheat hypothermia.

5. A large fixed blade knife (12-14" blade) and sharpening stone.   WIll work OK for chopping and battoning, with less risk of injury than a small axe.  A folding saw would cut wood well too but not split.

6. Food. I've got blood sugar issues, and seriously doubt I could live w/o some calories.  Bringing food with me would save time in looking for some while on the move.

7. A firearm.  I can't think of many survival situations where having the means to protect myself, kill food isn't a good idea.  For a beyond 72hr scenario I'd run a stainless 10/22 with a brick of ammo.  Perfect for small game, and I could make it work for larger meals too.

8. A First Aid kit.

9. A Leatherman Supertool 300!  It's like a toolbox on your belt.  It could be used for simple repairs (and thus maybe avoiding an emergency situation).  It could be used to get in or out of confined area, or break into an area that contained life sustaining supplies.  Thinking rural AND urban here.

10. My Bible.  Timeless, underread, and I can't think of a better book in a "I might be dead soon" scenario.  Also keeps the mind from going kooky.


4. The bottom 5

5. Glad this was a separate question so I didn't have to include a ruck in my top ten.

6.  I tried my best to place the top five as the top five.  The second five I could shuffle around a little.  Ultimately I'm an over-packer anyway, so shortening my list down to ten items was painful.  A Top 20 list would be more my thing, but ultimately, there's my list, and I'd fight to survive with any or all of the ten items. 

As someone wiser than me once said, "the more you know, the less gear you need."  I strive to improve the Supertool between my ears, since without it being equiped as well, I'm a gonner regardless of gear I choose to bring along.

Now I can finally read everyone else's answers and see what glaring errors I've made in my list.  I'd love to add a large caliber pistol, 50ft of 550 cord, a wool sweater, wool blanket, a Mt. Serape and silnylon poncho, a cook pot, a multi-fuel stove, a smaller 3-6" fixed blade knife, a bow saw, a cell phone and PLB............(grin).

forumPoster is not the actual poster. If you are the actual poster, please make another quick post claiming this post. Sorry, too much moderator overhead to change the attribution on this post.
New Post
3/18/2012 9:17 PM

I'm the mystery forum poster for the above post.  I was timed out when I hit submit, and everything fell apart from there.

With a Super Tool 300 on the list I assumed everyone guessed my identity...........(grin).

New Post
3/19/2012 10:45 AM

Despite his proclivity for compensator tools, it would be hard to find someone with more real world experience on the super slabs of the west than Jason.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/19/2012 2:34 PM

Ha!  I look like a gorilla in a clown car driving my little Tacoma, and I had the smallest caliber rifle at the rondy.  I left my one man Hillie at home this year, but it would normally garner the "he'll never fit inside there" award at any get together.

The Leatherman Wave is arguably the most popular model in the lineup-----------based on talking FTF, forum chat, AND Leatherman's website.  It has 17 tools and weighs 8.5oz.  My ST300 weighs an additional 1.1oz but I get 19 tools, which is actually THREE more tools the way I count it, because no meat eating American male should depend on those silly little scissors for anyting.  Furthermore, the ST300 has replaceable wire cutters which is a very worthy feature IME after galling the jaws of my original Super Tool.  

I can poke fun of myself as well as anyone, so no biggie.  I just saw this as an opportunity to plug the ST300 because it's a darned nice multi-tool IMO.  My theory is; if you're going to mess with a multitool, and all of it's compromises vs. conveniences, why not pack the one that covers the most bases.  Otherwise, carry a whole tool box or nothing at all.

New Post
3/21/2012 12:28 AM

I’m writing this under the vague parameters and limitations given: 72 hours, vehicle issue, and ten (10) minute response time.

My name is Allen. I am a 41 year old male and I’m quite certain that I am not qualified to be an “expert” in this, or any other, cryptically vague query.
That off my chest, I have a lifetime of - and passion for, remote outdoor adventures, mostly solo, nearly always self-propelled. Accordingly, I have the necessary mindset and learned skills that ought to afford me some grace in the eye of the researcher when it comes to sustaining myself for a mere 3 days time, especially if in a vehicle based predicament.
1)      A proper mindset and a modicum of prior training in the fine art of staying alive.  Without, Mother Nature can be a cruel culler.
Okay, with that most important ingredient out of the way, let’s start in with the basics: Shelter, Water, Food. In that order. We humanoids don’t do all that well without ‘em and thrive when we do.
2)      Shelter…hint: You’ve already got one. It’s your vehicle. Don’t leave it unless you absolutely have to do so...and I’m not even going to touch that tar baby and waste my time unless the researcher wants to further clarify the parameters. The trunk of your car or lockbox of your truck ought to have emergency shelter augmentation that would include a lightweight tarp and a sleeping bag, blanket or some other means of insulation rated to the anticipated expected conditions. The former would be suitable for covering broken windows or to be set up to allow for a more comfortable extended existence while awaiting help. The more eye-catching the color, the better.
3)      Water…largely situation dependent depending upon environment but one ought to have at least two to three gallons of water and a filtration system.
4)      Food…Carb/Fat/Protein dense bars, preferably individually foil wrapped. Lots of them.  I know for a fact that one can live off them just fine for a lot longer than three days while roaming the backcountry. Waiting around indefinitely Kummerfeldt style in or near a ready-made shelter for assistance or aid…no problemo.
The purpose of the three I’ve mentioned thus far are expressly for allowing the human body to exist and relatively easily retain and maintain reasonably normal body temps and functions.   When the weather conditions and exposure are so cold that it is impossible to maintain body heat without burning excess energy reserves (if that’s even possible) and going hypothermic, then a means of creating external heat is essential…and that means Fire.
5)      Any decent fire starting kit ought to have one or two butane lighters, cotton balls/pads/whatever saturated in petroleum jelly, storm-proof matches and a firesteel system that will reliably generate lots of hot sparks. Since you’re talking vehicle EDC, a Duraflame log or two might well be thrown into the mix to get some wettish fuel dried and in a more readily combustible state.  Alright, that’s it for Fire…no need to belabor the point or  purpose.
6)      A decent sized stainless or titanium pot. Getting warm mass inside your core, be it food or beverage, is helpful if you’re slipping into the realm of hypothermia or would like to avoid it altogether.
7)      Signalling. Use a cell phone or your Onstar, Mbrace, etc. Call ASAP for help while your batteries still work. If you are going to be travelling in an area with spotty or no coverage…have and use a Spot Messenger or other BLP. The year is 2012. Nuf said unless this response demands that one kick it old-school with signal fires, mirrors - of which there are generally at least three to five big ones on most vehicles.
8)      Tools. We’ve come a long way since having to make our own out of stones and wood. Any reasonable person ought to already have a knife on their person and a multi-tool near to hand, so I wouldn’t necessarily count them. In addition to a small axe and a non-shortstroker saw, it’s a darn good idea to have at least a shovel, a tow strap, a cum-a-long and a good jack in the vehicle.  It’s an excellent idea to have said tools at hand to dig out a fair amount of bog and replace it with some sturdy pine runners to float your truck back out - especially if you are of stubborn Scotch/Irish ancestry that damns you to wait until a good tire sale at Schwab comes around again. Just sayin.  ;)
9)      Save Lives: First aid kit.
10)   Take Lives: Weapon. You just never know if the guy that pulls up in the windowless van is going to be an incredibly helpful Good Samaritan, or…Chester the Molester. Only a fool would allow themselves to be defenseless. My impact weapon of choice is a 230 grain projectile. Alternatively, a 124 grain projectile. Failing either of those preferred concealed carry choices, I would happily entertain the notion of an inexpensive semi-auto .22LR rifle.
I went a smidge over ten minutes, but that’s my “Ten in Ten” for vehicle EDC. But since I’m all for cheating Death, I'd add a means to strike out down the road whence I came while comfortably carrying the aforementioned 2-9...and more.
New Post
3/21/2012 1:19 PM

Allen I think you should put that "getting unstuck" equipment at the top of your list! Sorry I couldn't resist. "Impact weapon of choice 230grains" I like it.

New Post
3/21/2012 11:25 PM

Thom, you're not thinking of this particular occasion are you?

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
3/22/2012 12:58 AM

Interesting perspective Evan. Thank you.

Whew! I'll bet that poor bastard, however seexxy (emphasis mine), loved him some shovel time.

Anyway, in keeping with the spirit of the thread and the forum, we ought not pass too much judgement on the guy that drove that heavy diesel rig outfitted with nearly bald tires into a carefully disguised tank trap while laden with a few excess hundred pounds of coolers full of communal rondy food, beverage, shelter, firewood, ammo, steel targets, etc.  I mean really, clearly he's an idiot and any disparaging remarks would be hardly sporting.

Instead, we should seek to learn from those that should know better and still get stuck shortly after the picture above while driving a nearly empty 4WD Toyota truck outfitted with fancy oversize offroadish tires.


New Post
3/22/2012 12:34 PM

Bushcraft wrote

Instead, we should seek to learn from those that should know better and still get stuck shortly after the picture above while driving a nearly empty 4WD Toyota truck outfitted with fancy oversize offroadish tires.

I will rise to the bait as it will allow me to point out a couple of things that are germane to the conversation.  Oh, and just so no one is kept in suspense I have had my tundra stuck, but it wasn't on that day or that trip.

I had owned the truck in question about two weeks when I showed up at the Rondee. When I was shopping for trucks one of the things I repeatedly found was that the vast majority of trucks now come with street tires, much like the ones on the truck in the picture.  You know the stuck one. I asked the salesman of a couple of differet dealerships/brands why their trucks didn't come with an all terrain tire, which used to be standard on trucks.  In each case the answer was basically the same.  Sales and market research has proven that the vast majority of trucks are no longer used in the traditional roles of trucks and seldom if ever leave the pavement.  Their research has shown that trucks are basically being bought these days by guys who don't want to be mistaken for soccer moms in SUVs, but in reality use their truck exactally like the soccer moms use their SUVs (i.e. around town and on the highway).  They place an emphasis on ride quality and sound reduction, both of which you get from street tires.  One salesman even admitted that the tires on their trucks is actually a softer compound made especially for them than other tires of the same model and brand so the rider is even softer and quieter.  I have no way to confirm this or deny it, so I won't name the brand.  The way around this is to buy the fancier models, but the issue there was that the fancier models invariablly had a lot of stuff I didn't want or need at a premium price.  My issue is that I use my truck in a traditional way which means I am frequently hauling stuff (dogs, gear, bikes, etc...) and my truck is off pavement pretty darn near every day.  For my uses a street tire just won't cut it.  As a result the day after I bought the truck I was at Les Schwab for a new set of tires.  I chose an all terrain tire with a good reputation for both on road and off road use.  Basically the type of tire that used to be standard on a truck.  I decided against a mud terrain tire, which I have ran in the past, as I just didn't need what they bring to the table at the expense of gas mileage and noise.  Although I will be the first to admit that the ride and noise on all terrain tires and mud terrain tires is a lot better than it used to be, and the mud terrains I had previously saved Evan and I from what could have been a very ugly situation.  I also bought tires in the most common size available for stock work trucks because they where cheaper that way than going with a smaller size like came standard on my truck.  Ironically, what used to be standard both in size and design is now considered an off-roadish oversized tire or a "work truck" tire.  At this point I can state my first point, which is to set up your vehicle for the intended use. If your intended use is to drive around town and run down the highway then street tires are probably going to be fine for you provided they aren't bald.  If your use has you off road than use an all terrain tire, and if you are going to be in the mud a lot use a mud terrain tire.  However, once you have choosen your setup be aware of its limitations. 

As evidenced by the picture, a bald street tire isn't going to help you keep from getting stuck, and may contribute to it. Off pavement it has very limited use even if it isn't bald.  The second point to be learned is that if you are driving a big heavy truck, and mine is one as well so I am not pointing fingers, and the ground looks soft and saturated don't drive on it.  The truck in quesition did and well..... I took one look at the ground prior to getting to camp, and decided that no way was I going to try to turn around anywhere, but on packed areas. When I got to camp I saw I had made a wise decision.  Would my tires have made a difference? I don't know because I didn't chance it and I didn't get stuck.  Another point, was that if I understand correctly, the guy driving the truck above had decided to leave out all of his self rescue gear as he didn't think he would need it. Luckily others didn't make the same mistake and a group effort got him out.  So know the limitations of your choosen setup and don't exceed them, and be prepared in case something happens. 

The last point I am going to make is to make sure that equipment from one vehicle works on another before you need it to.  As I said at the begining, I have had my current tundra stuck.  About every three years I get stuck in the snow.  In each case it is because I get overconfident driving on packed snow and mistake something that looks packed for snow that isn't really.  Around here once you break through the pack you are in what amounts to very dry powder, and it gives absolutely no traction.  The real answer is to chain up before going into the snow, but I am lazy so never really do.  In each case it was shovel and bough time until I had enough room to get the chains on and then I can just drive out. The chains I had in my truck where left over from my last truck (2003 Tundra), and originally had been used on a dodge.  They fit those tires just fine.  However they didn't fit my current truck.  I am far from a tire guy, but as I understand it (based on what I was told at Les Schwab after the fact) my current truck has a bigger wheel so even though the tire is techincally the same size something changes due to the wheel size change and they wouldn't fit my current tires.  I made the assumption that since they fit on the Dodge and 03 Tundra, and my current Tundra has the same tire size as those had they would fit my current tires.  However, I never checked. As a result, shovel and bough time took a bit longer and then I used some NRS straps as spacers to hold the chains on.  They worked to get me unstuck, but I immediately went and bought a new set of chains and tried them to make sure they would fit.  Once again I had what I needed in the truck to self extract, well Evan did a lot of the digging, otherwise I would have just been waiting for someone to come by or heading out until I got mobile reception.  Another trick that might have helped me in this case was airing down the tires, but the issue is here you want to be able to air back up when you get back to pavement. I have no experience with this, but I did just get a compressor for my truck so in the future it can be another tool in the tool box, and something to experiment with. 

To sum it up: 

Choose the correct gear for a task, and don't exceed that task, but in case something happens make sure you have the correct gear to deal with a situation.  Finally, check your equipment out before hand don't make any assumptions.  

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/22/2012 12:55 PM

My ADD started to act up, so I kinda skim read that mongo post, but your '03 Tundra was a kick-azz practical, well thought out rig Scot.  The tires were very appropriate for the vehicle.

My  '97 Tacoma came with pathetic little Pirelli street tires which did make it ride nicelly, and give good power and throttle response.  BUT I'm convinced it's more a ploy to save X number of dollars per rig and maximize profits in the same manner that the airlines did by eliminating peanuts from the menu.  They were dumped as soon as I got home.  I've got two sets of tires for my Tacoma, pre-mounted on factory rims.  Fall through spring they're BFG Muds, and summer time (or this year w/o a winter) Les Schwab Open Countries.   But most guys around here buy tires to use, and even the soccer moms appreciate good rubber.

I've got MUCHO respect for the Toyo Open Country M/Ts on my work truck.  Mud, nasty rock, or snow seem to be no match for them.  Icy roads are another matter, but mine are siped or studded.  When I wear out my BFGs, I'm buying the Toyos to run rear-round.  They're expensive but very worth it to guys who get off the pavement a lot.

New Post
3/22/2012 1:03 PM

He was talking about my current Tundra with the current tires, which are the same size as my 03 Tundra, that are on it that you saw at the winter rondee. I will say I wish that the wheels where smaller so I had a better side wall ratio, but I am not going to drop 1500 plus on wheels.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/22/2012 1:19 PM

Oh.  Your current tires didn't seem that  "fancy and offroadish" to me, just practical all-season as I recall.  I you follow the same formula as your last Tundra, you'll have it looking (and performing) very nicely.

I haven't done the actual math, but I'm guessing your current OEM rims are valuable enough to offset a fair chunk of new rim sticker shock.  An added benefit would be the continued use of your old chains, along with cheaper tire cost every time you re-arm with new rubber.  I'm only a semi-cospiracy theorist, but I've notice a pattern in the tire industry where they're making odd sized tires that cost a lot more while actuall delivering less materials.  Give me a basic 15" or 16" rim ANY day.

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