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My hiking/survival gear, explained. (Warning, ~90 pics)





ocalhoun
So, I've been saying I would for a while, and I finally got around to it; I'm going to show off and explain all the gear I carry while hiking.

Usually I hike completely off-trail, and often through very remote areas, so this pack is intended to give me the tools I need to get there, give me supplies to last 30 days, and give me supplies to handle most emergencies that come up.
It also doubles as a 'get out of dodge kit', a bag I can quickly grab, and be sure I have everything I need to survive a disaster situation. (I could also use it to quickly give me the equipment I need to rapidly disappear into the wilderness, in case I'm being hunted by someone and need to hide.)

Anyway, on to the explanation:
The system is based on a main bag, and has 3 supplement bags that can be added to it if I think I'll need them: a cold-weather bag, a dry-area bag (not pictured), and an extended-stay bag.
The various supplement bags can be clipped on to the main bag to make carrying easy.


I'll break it down by bag, then by pocket.
Main Bag
The main bag is made up of three components,
An external frame mountaineering pack (A),
A camo-pattern small military backpack (C),
and a fanny-pack attached to the frame of the mountaineering pack (B)
Various other pouches are attached (D)



D1

D1 is my camera pouch. It can hold my camera when I'm not using it, but normally it only holds a miniature tripod and a spare battery.

The uses of both the tripod and the battery are pretty obvious, though the tripod could also be used to help hold things up/together in a pinch.

B1

B1 is my right water bottle holder. In it, I keep my better water bottle, a 1L klean canteen.

This is an excellent water bottle; it is all stainless steel, so it won't change the flavor of the water, or add toxic chemicals to it. Being that it's all steel, I could even take the cap off, put it over a fire, and use it to purify water by boiling. (Or to brew tea. Brewing tea out of pine needles is a good way to get vitamins.)

B2
B2 is the front pocket on the fanny pack. I use it to store things I might need to access quickly.

The emergency blanket can be used as intended, and also used to build a shelter, or augment the insulation of clothing.
The bug repellent is a skin-cream based type, and repels for 12 hours. It can also be spread on food storage to help keep bugs out.
The medical tape is useful for attaching bandages, but it is also useful for attaching anything else as well.
The trail markers are basically thumb-tacks with white reflectors on top. They can be used to mark places I want to find again, or to mark a trail to make sure I don't get lost, or to help rescuers find me. They even work at night.
The pliers are a versatile tool. This one especially so; it has a wire cutter, round-object grip, and needle-nose all in one. Useful for making repairs, breaching fences, and essential to setting up a fishing line and extracting the hook from a fish. They can also be used to cut a communications wire as a way of signaling for help.
The butane lighter is obviously good for starting fires, but can also be used to sanitize tools.
The snake bite kit is a good addition to the first aid kit for this region. It also includes a small scalpel, so I could do very minor self-surgery.

B3
B3 is the main pocket of the fanny pack. I use it to store quick, energy-dense foods that I can replace cheaply and easily. It stores the food I intend to eat in non-emergency situations. In it right now is:
-MRE protein drink mix
-Granola bars
-Pop tarts


B4
B4 is a pocket within the cover of B3. I use it to store small, useful things that would get lost in larger pockets.

The permanent marker is good for any kind of writing I may need to do. I can leave messages for searchers, make notes on my map, or keep a log of a long excursion. It is the tool of choice because it can write on a wide variety of surfaces.
The extra batteries are for my GPS unit. It uses 2 AA batteries every 8 hours of operation, so the 6 total I carry should be enough for 48 hours. I usually also carry spare AAA batteries, which are used in all of my flashlights, but I'm currently out of them, I need to buy more.
The compass is obviously useful for navigation. I chose this one for its durable metal case.

B5
B5 is my left water bottle pocket. In addition to the pockets, both water bottles are held in by carabiner clips, so I don't lose them in the event the pack gets turned upside-down.

This water bottle is a non-toxic plastic one I've had for a long time. I'm intending to replace it with another klean canteen when I get around to it.


D2
D2 is the specially-made pouch for my hand saw.

This saw is basically a hand-powered chainsaw. It's the lightest, most compact saw I could find that would still be effective. Combined with my 50ft rope, I could use it to cut branches up to 25ft away.


D3
D3 is my main flashlight pouch. This belt-loop pouch came with the light.

The light is a LED flashlight, and uses 2 AAA batteries. It's small, light, and gives a useful amount of light.


D4
D4 is a US military IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit). It attaches nicely using the MOLLE/ALICE gear built into it and the backpack.

Inside is everything I need to treat a traumatic injury. Dressings, bandages, iodine (antiseptic/disinfectant/sterilizer). It also includes a 30 day supply of water purifying chemicals, and chap-stick. Chap-stick is surprisingly useful in emergencies. Not only can it protect your lips from the elements, it can also be used to treat scrapes and burns.

Sorry about not unpacking it, but it is packed very tightly, and re-packing it is a pain.

C1
C1 is the front pocket of the military backpack. It contains some of the larger items I might want to access easily:

This headlamp is convenient to use, since it leaves the hands free to work. It is LED-based and very bright, but it has another mode of operation where it uses dim red lights- extremely useful for having light without losing my night vision, and also useful for having light while not making myself more visible than needed. It is powered by 3 AAA batteries. (All my light sources share the same battery type, which gives me more versatility and makes carrying spares easier.)

This hat is a baseball-style cap with a neck-protecting flap. It is very useful for protection from the sun. Camo colored, so it is useful for hiding.

The spade is useful for any digging task, such as finding fish bait, or burying waste/trash. It can also be driven into the ground and used as a tent stake for building shelter.
The folding knife is very sharp, and has both a smooth and a serrated blade. Useful for a huge variety of things... cleaning game, self-defense, shelter building, et cetera.

Attached together on a carabiner clip are several small items;
The secondary compass is not very good, but can serve as a rough backup in case the better one is broken or lost.
The two flashlights are spares. Not as powerful as the main light or the headlamp, but they need only one AAA battery each. They could be needed if the other lights fail, break, run dead, or get lost. They can also be left as temporary markers to help find a given spot again in the dark. (They can also be left as decoys to divert pursuit in the dark.)
The tape measure may not be useful in a very wide variety of ways, but on the rare occasion it is needed, nothing else will do. It isn't big or heavy anyway, so why not?

C2
C2 is the main pocket of the military backpack, and stores my heavy/large tools.

First of all, it stores the detachable straps of the military backpack. With these, I can leave the main pack at camp, and take only the smaller pack for short trips (like hunting or fetching water), making those trips easier. The contents of the two packs would have to be rearranged to suit the different mission, of course.

Also inside is my 50ft rope. It is light and compact, yet strong enough to hold me and all my gear. The carabiner clips on each end are rated for 250lb constant load, and they make using the rope for various things more convenient. There's virtually no end to what you can use a rope for, if you use some ingenuity.

Grappling hook, folded.

Grappling hook, expanded. This folding grappling hook is very cool and fun to use. It makes my rope much more versatile and much more useful for climbing. It can be used for climbing steep slopes and trees, of course... but it can also be tossed across a river to make crossing easier, or lowered down a cliff to hook something and drag it up. It could double for a light-duty boat anchor, should I have a need for one somehow.

This small hatchet is mainly intended for chopping firewood. It can, however, have many other uses; it makes a powerful melee self-defense weapon, and can be used as a hammer. I've made it much sharper than an ordinary hatchet. It also has a nice carrying pouch, which keeps it from cutting things inside the pack, and can also be used to put the hatchet on my belt if I'm using it a lot.

There's also a towel. As Douglass Adams said, it's the most useful thing in the universe. I agree. It can be used to stay warm, used as a bag, folded into a pillow, used as a bandage, used to protect the head from the sun, wetted to put out a fire, cut into strips for tying things together, used as an insulation to touch hot or electrified objects, wrapped around a gun to muffle the sound of the shot, and if it's still clean enough after all that, it can be used to dry myself off. (Very important if I get wet somehow in very cold conditions!)

(No pocket)


This is an AK-47 bayonet. It is also useful as a combat knife, which is my main purpose for it. I keep it mounted at the top of the pack, for quick access by reaching over my shoulder.

The interesting thing about this knife is that, combined with its sheath, it can also be used as a wire cutter!

And, of course, if I have my Kalashnikov with me, it can even be used as a bayonet.
(The military trained me well on how to use a rife as an extremely effective melee weapon, especially if it has a bayonet.)


Moving on to the inside of the main pack, behind the flap that the military backpack is mounted on,


A3
A3 is the lower-right pocket, and contains fire starting materials, and extra trail markers.

The small survival lighter is waterproof and very simple in construction, just a flint, striker, wick, and fuel. It can be used to start fires even after it runs out of fuel.
The flask is full of lighter fluid. Having a supply of lighter fluid makes starting a fire much easier, especially if the fuel I'm trying to burn is less than ideal, or if the weather is bad.

Another butane lighter... These have turned out to be less reliable than I had hoped. I'll replace them eventually.
There is also two extra packs of trail marking tacks. (mentioned above)

A2
A2 is the top-right pocket. It contains sanitation supplies.

The toilet paper roll is a detail many would forget, to greatly regret later. This one is designed for campers, and has no cardboard tube in the center, which saves a lot of space.
The soap has insect-repellent properties. Bug-repellent soap is my long-term strategy for avoiding bug problems. Having both cleaning and bug-repellent in one item is convenient, and saves space in the pack.

A1
A1 is the lower center pocket of the main pack. It is quite large. I use it to store my food and food gathering equipment.

First, a 220yd spool of 40lb-test fishing line. I don't carry a rod and reel, as it would be too bulky. Line alone is more versatile anyway; I can use a stick as a rod, tie lines to overhanging trees, use it for 'jug fishing', or just throw the line in the water. It could also be useful for building shelter or repairing parts of the pack. It can even be used for stitching wounds, if I straighten out one of the fish hooks, and cut the barb off the hook.

My fishing tackle is stored in a small, waterproof tacklebox. It is packed with foam to prevent the little pieces from making loud rattling sounds everywhere I go.
The compartments are all labeled in the picture, and pretty obvious for their uses. I assembled this custom kit piece-by-piece with the goal of being able to gear it towards a wide variety of fish and fishing methods. It doesn't contain many lures, because usually fish bait can be found anywhere that fish can, if you look hard enough.

My 'spice rack' is a collection of waterproof keychain pill bottles connected together with a carabiner. It may seem superfluous, but it can make the difference between 'disgusting' and 'palatable', and can also make eating similar things every day less of a drudgery. Roasted grubs: nasty. Lemon pepper roasted grubs with a hint of garlic: still disgusting, but much more tasty. ^.^ Each container is etched on the bottom to remind me which one it is.
I carry a larger container of salt, because salt has many uses besides just a seasoning. It can be used to disinfect a wound, preserve food, and even ward off evil spirits. It is also a vital nutrient, and is essential for water retention and prevention of dehydration.

My spice rack is customized to my tastes, and to the types of food I'm likely to find in the wilderness.
The 'spicy' is red pepper flakes; being spicy can cover up many bad flavors.
The poultry seasoning is delicious on any type of bird, and can also add a different flavor to other foods.
Garlic is a favorite of mine, and useful on a wide variety of food.
Steak seasoning can improve the flavor of nearly any meat, and is also good on roasted vegetables.
Lemon pepper is good on fish, as well as any kind of bird, and on many vegetables.

This nesting spoon, fork, and knife set is compact, and would make eating and cooking easier.

This boy-scout style mess kit contains a variety of small aluminum pots and pans. It would give much more versatility in cooking and eating. I leave it wrapped in paper to reduce rattling, and the paper would make good tinder for starting a fire.

I keep two MRE's (meal ready to eat) inside. They have water-activated heaters for a hot meal on the go, and they contain well over 1000 calories each, in small light packages. They last for years before going bad. These are my emergency rations, for when I need food but don't have the time and/or ability to get it. Since I'm a light eater, these would see me through two days of work, or 3 to 4 days of relaxing without giving me any of the problems caused by lack of food. Rationed miserly, they could last a week; that would be slow starvation, but slow starvation is better than fast starvation.

A6
A6 is the front, upper-middle pocket of the main pack. Smaller than A1, I use it to carry shelter building/repair materials.

These two small straps could be used to fasten shelter components together, but they have other uses as well. Their bright color makes them useful for flagging tape, and they're just the right size to use for a tourniquet should I (god forbid) need to use that. The metal rings on the end can be used to fasten them.

This twine would be my main material for holding together a shelter. I chose such a thin twine so that I could carry a great length in a small, light package. If I need more strength, I can just wrap it around multiple times. It, also, is a bright color, and could be used for marking.

This is a heavy-duty belt, the type used by physical therapists to hold their patients up. It could replace any of the large straps on the pack, be used as a belt, or be used to fasten together some part of a shelter than needed a lot of strength.

A7
A7 is the largest pocket of the main pack. I keep it empty in case I find something along the way that I want to carry with me.


(No pocket)

My walking stick is attached to the pack with a carabiner when I'm not using it. It's a very good stick, light, collapsible, with a carbide tip to give traction even on rocks. The top is a camera tripod attachment, and that's usually where I have my camera when hiking, so it will be very easily accessible. It has a wrist strap that helps keep it from being lost in a fall, and that wrist strap can also be wrapped around the barrel of a gun to give a more stable shooting position. The walking stick is also my first line of defense in case of a surprise attack, from man or animal. Swung or jabbed, it could buy me enough time to get out a better weapon. And, of course, it's useful for walking. It helps take the strain off the legs, and greatly helps with stability on steep slopes or extremely rugged terrain. It can also be used to test the depth of water or snow. It could even be used as a make-shift fishing rod.


D5
This small pouch holds a cheap little multi-tool.

It has all the pliers types of the larger one, in smaller form.
It also has a small serrated blade, smooth blade, can opener (not that I carry cans), flathead screwdriver and phillips screwdriver, as well as a small light.
It is useful as a backup to the main pliers, a backup to the other lights, and the screwdriver attachments might come in handy if something needs to be repaired or disassembled.


Cold Weather Bag

The cold weather bag is a small duffel bag with only two compartments. On my most recent trip, it proved to not be durable enough, and developed some small tears. So, I'm looking for a good replacement for it now.

E1
E1 is the front pocket of the cold weather bag. It is quite small, but I use it to store a couple convenient items.

This 'beanie cap' is good for keeping the head and ears warm.

These gloves are handy; they quickly convert from mittens to fingerless gloves... That way I can quickly convert from maximum warmth to maximum dexterity, and back again. Very useful for doing work that sometimes needs lots of dexterity when it's too cold to not wear gloves.

E2
The main pocket of the cold weather bag holds the more serious winter gear. It also has lots of spare room for packing a heavy jacket.

It contains a second emergency blanket, to augment the one in the main pack.

This face mask keeps the lower face (nose mouth and neck) nice and warm in even the coldest conditions. Very good to have.

These ski goggles keep the wind off my upper face and eyes, which is especially important in a blizzard when snow might be blowing so hard that I can't keep my eyes open. The tinting protects against snow-blindness, which could be a danger in the prairies around here after a heavy snow. The strap in the background is usually wrapped around the goggles to protect the lens from being scratched by the other stuff in the pocket.

Two pairs of thermal socks. These socks are very cool- they chemically produce heat when exposed to water. The sweat from my feet can activate them, and keep the feet nice and warm even when trudging through snow. With two pairs, they can be put on both hands and feet to protect against frostbite.

Heavy, fur-lined German army mittens. They're a large enough size that I can wear them with gloves on underneath. Worn double-layer, they can keep my hands warm even in extreme cold.

Light-weight gloves that can be used when it is only mildly cold. They can also be used in very cold conditions when manual dexterity is nonetheless essential (like when shooting).

Dry-Area bag
This 'bag' is simply an extra-large, flexible sided canteen, in the slightly dated US military style.
It can be carried by the shoulder strap, or attached to the backpack with MOLLE gear.


Extended-Stay Bag
The extended stay pack is intended to augment the consumables in the main pack, and extend it's range from 30 days to 90 days, and to make stays longer than 90 days more comfortable.


F1
F1 is a small pouch that just holds a couple spice containers, so I have refills for my spice rack.


F2
F2 is the front pocket of the pack, and holds more spice refills, including a large container of salt.


F3
F3 is the middle pocket, and holds a variety of smaller items.

More toilet paper.

Extra MRE condiment bags. These contain napkins and wet-wipes, small amounts of spices, instant coffe (bad tasting, but contains useful caffeine), laxative gum, matches, and a few other odds and ends. All useful stuff for long-term rugged camping.

Two extra bars of bug-repellent soap.

F4
F4 is the largest pocket on the extended stay pack, and holds the larger items.

A camo-colored tarp for making an inconspicuous shelter. It could also be useful for a wide variety of other tasks.
Things like wrapping food, collecting rain water, insulating from snow, converting to a camouflaged poncho...

An extra spool of twine, to augment the one in the main pack.

A sealed package of multivitamins, to prevent malnutrition in a long term situation.

Two extra water bottles (empty), they can make camp life more convenient by making the necessity of water-runs less frequent.

Other
Some of the other things I carry, which don't fit in any other category.

A small GPS unit. It was reprogrammed by 'wilderness ghost' a third party company. The most useful thing they added was topographical maps of the entire USA, which mesh together with road maps. It is waterproof and can run 8 hours on 2 AA batteries. (I carry 4 more batteries to replace those.) Having topo maps is essential when not following roads or trails. All streams and lakes are marked, and the elevation markings it has are often the only features to guide by.


An Olympus 1050SW camera is my camera of choice. Its metal casing is waterproof and drop-proof, which has saved it several times. Since it is so durable, I can put it on the top of my walking stick and not worry about damaging it. It takes decent pictures, including all the ones in this topic (except for the one of it). It is also quick and easy to start up, for quick shots; it turns on automatically when the manual lens cover is moved.


Arsenal
I carry a variety of guns, depending on the situation; here they are:

JA 380

This is a Jimenez Arms JA380. It's a cheap, compact, .380, semi-auto pistol. It doesn't pack much power, and only 6 rounds fit in the magazine, but it is small enough to fit in my pocket. This is my usual concealed-carry weapon, and the one I most often take on hikes. Mainly I keep it for its intimidation factor: people can be scared off because "he's got a gun!", and animals can be scared off by the loud noise of a warning shot. In case I actually need to use it, I keep it loaded with high-quality hollow-point bullets. With the hollow points, it would be adequate against a man, dog, or mountain lion, though it would still be pretty useless against a bear.
In a pinch, I could also use it for small/medium game hunting.

XD 45

This is my heavy-duty pistol. It is heavy, expensive, large, and powerful. The Springfield Armory XD series is an excellent modern semi-auto pistol design. The .45 caliber gives it plenty of power, and the magazines can hold 13 rounds, enough to devastate nearly anything. I've installed a laser sight on it- the laser doesn't help in bright sunlight, but in any other condition, including well-lit indoors, it shows up well and allows me to aim at targets faster, and lets me aim accurately from unorthodox positions. Of course, I practice using the iron sights as well. I normally keep it loaded with hollow point bullets, great for tearing apart human-sized targets. I also have full metal jacket rounds for bears and shot-shell rounds for small game though.

Mosin Nagant

This is a WWI era Russian rifle. It happens to be the rifle with the longest continuous war-time duty; it was used in WWI, and is still being used today by Afghans who can't afford an AK-47. I keep it because it is my only gun that is effective at long range. It is also the best suited gun I have for medium/large game hunting. It's a bolt-action with a non-detachable 5 round magazine. Once the magazine is empty, it can be loaded one shot at a time, from the ammo carrier on the stock. It's a very simple and durable gun- made to be used and maintained by untrained peasants in horrible conditions. Field stripping is ridiculously easy: open the slide, pull trigger, done. It also has a very nice bayonet- notice that the bayonet is an off-center weight. The gun is designed to compensate for that; without the bayonet installed, it will always pull to the side. This particular specemin was built in 1943, for WWII. It was never used in the war though, and the Soviets stockpiled it away for cold-war contingency. Lately, they cleared out the obsolete stocks, and sold this one, and it eventually made its way to me. It's a very cheap gun- it only cost $99. Quite a bargain for a rifle this powerful.



AK-47

The Kalashnikov is my '$#%& hits the fan' gun; my first choice for serious combat. This one is a semi-auto variant that I've made a few modifications to. (I have not converted it to full-auto, but that would not be difficult to do if it became necessary.) It came with a vertical front grip, which I prefer. I added four 40 round magazines, to give me plenty of shooting time: 160 rounds. I added a bayonet, mentioned earlier, in case the threat gets too close, or I run out of ammo. I added a very powerful green laser sight (5mw, when the usual power for laser sights is .1mw or so) it is visible even in bright sunlight. In the dark, even in clear air, the beam itself is visible, and its range is far beyond the effective range of the AK. I've also added a cheap 4X scope, on a mount that doesn't block me from using the iron sights. A nice extra feature is that the stock has a compartment for a full field cleaning kit, which I acquired. Like most Russian guns, it is very simple, very reliable, and very durable.

Ammunition Comparison

(From left to right)
.380 hollow point- my everyday choice for self-defense. The .380 round is not very powerful, but with hollow-point bullets it is adequately effective.
.380 full metal jacket- This would be my choice if forced to use the .380 pistol for hunting.
.45 shotshell- This interesting round is a shotgun shell for the .45 pistol. It contains a light birdshot, and would be useful for hunting small game.
.45 hollow point- This is my first choice for a self-defense pistol round. It is devastatingly effective against human-sized targets.
.45 full metal jacket- This would be my round of choice if forced to defend against a bear with only a pistol. With 13 shots, I could probably at least cripple a bear enough to allow me to escape.
7.62x39 soft point- This is the round my AK fires. Reasonably powerful, and the soft lead point expands on impact to cause greater damage. I sometimes also stock FMJ and HP rounds of this caliber, but I didn't have any on hand this time.
7.62x54R full metal jacket- The monster on the far right is what the Mosin Nagant fires. It's a very powerful round, I've seen it punch through 1/4 inch steel as if it were just paper. It's comparable to most large, high-powered hunting rifle calibers. One drawback is that it isn't widely available in ballistic-tipped variants, making it a less appealing choice for hunting.

(In addition to the guns I have now, I'm interested in getting a semi-auto shotgun (possibly the Siega12- an AK that shoots 12 gauge shotgun shells, because of its durability and high magazine capacity). I'm also considering replacing the Mosin Nagant with a more accurate (therefore more expensive) hunting rife.)

Conclusion
That pretty much sums up my survival/hiking gear. I hope you enjoyed learning about it. And if you're an adventurer or survivalist yourself, perhaps it gave you some ideas.
Be sure to tell me what you think about it! Building this topic was hard work; I'd hate for it to be wasted.
Oh, and if you're wandering what the background of all the photos is, that's a work-bench I haphazardly built out of 2x4's and a sheet of cheap plywood. Not fancy, but cheap and effective, and built to just the right height for me.
speeDemon
wow, thats a very long and informative post! but for some reason(call it my immaturity) I still end up thinking about just one hing, how many enemies do you have? Razz Smile
deanhills
I'm completely bowled over Ocalhoun and thank you for all of the detail. How many years did it take you to perfect the details? And it looks as though the process of perfection is ongoing? OK, so when you travel in your truck, how do you keep all your gear safe, i.e. the ones that you don't carry with you? Or do you generally only travel in areas where there are no other people? For example you mentioned a base camp? I gather that you would leave your truck in one place, then hike up to a certain point where you put up your base camp with all the ancillary bags and gear? And then do the serious hiking with your main bag? Have you had a situation yet where the gear at your base camp was not there anymore when you returned? How about the truck? Have you ever had an occasion where you had to use your gun to warn off people? Or had to use it on animals that were in the attack mode?

Did I miss a cell phone? Although I guess you won't be able to get a signal for the cell phone in the remote areas where you are hiking?

The saw is amazing! And the spices, what a fantastic idea! The pots and emergency rations. And even back-up for spices if you have to stay longer. I'm crazy over your camo coloured hat so that you won't get sun in your neck, and probably cover your face up as well. The variety of gloves is amazing. I particularly like the ones that can change from full mittens to fingerless gloves.

I imagine you don't carry the bigger guns with you when you are hiking .... Smile Looks as though you would be able to build your own guns if needed one day. You probably would completely change the traditional design to make it multi-functional?

Awesome stuff this Ocalhoun .... Bondings should give you a free Domain just for this posting! Applause
deanhills
coolclay wrote:
I also carry a snowpeak 1.9oz butane/propane pocket rocket style stove with me. Great for quick heat, when you don't want to start an actual fire or you can't.
Thanks Coolclay. Wish you could give us more details, but learned a lot from your postings too. You should write a book on all of this. Have you ever had occasion to use the surgery kit on yourself? Or on an animal that has been injured? What are your weapons of choice for self-defense? Smile What do you use for sleeping at night? I.e. just a sleeping bag?
coolclay
Wow Ocalhoun, what can I say (I wish I had enough free time to develop a post like that Shocked ). But nice work it's a solid setup. I have a slightly similar setup. Of course I don't keep mine setup 24/7 because I use the items too regularly, and my trips vary to a high degree (from high altitude alpine hiking, to extreme cold weather mountaineering to 110deg desert expeditions) so I pack accordingly to save weight. At some point in my life when I don't live such a transient lifestyle I will setup a permanent ready to go 24/7 pack.

Anyway here are a few differences/things that I have you may want to consider.

1. a magnesium/flint stick for ease of fire making when your lighters no longer work, and it's lighter than carrying around a bottle of fuel and they work remarkably well

2. Lightweight water filter or UV sterilizer, I don't know if you've ever tried drinking iodine sterilized water but once you do, you'll never want to do it again, plus filters and UV ster. are fairly cheap nowadays. I got a Katadyn used but almost new water filter on ebay for $30.

3. At least some light source not dependable on batteries or a small solar charger and some rechargeable batteries. I built my own AA charger out of some recycled electronics, also made a solar rechargeable head lamp from and old cellphone battery and other random parts. I have enough spare parts to make several solar AA chargers if you want to trade for one or something.

4. Small citronella candle, both for light/heat, the wax can be used for many purposes from sealing wounds/bandages, to lubricating things, and waterproofing thing.

5. I have a customized US army small surgery kit, most importantly just a legitimate scalpel, forceps, surgical scissors, butterfly stitches and catgut sutures. And obviously the rest of your normal first aid supplies. Decent sized cuts are just to common to not carry sutures. I also carry several types of antibiotics for different types of infections.

6. Do you really need that many types, and quantity of spices? That's at least a years worth!

7. I also carry a folding Army entrenching shovel (not the cheap ripoffs). Its an amazingly useful tool, for cutting branches, burying refuse, and building shelters. I carry it instead of a hatchet, the edge is so sharp it works even better at least for splitting wood, and makes a great weapon too.

8. I also have a full set of military ECWS (extreme cold weather system) polypro thermal layers, which is extremely vital in sub 30 deg.

9. Camo face paint def. not a necessity but helpful when trying to hide from game or humans.

10. Electronic communication device (VHF, GMRS, or at least FRS). I carry a garmin Rino 130, it's a GPS loaded w/ topo maps, an FRS/GMRS radio, has repeater channels as well as a barometric altimeter, and electronic compass.

11. And the most important emergency supply of all.......duct tape. I obviously don't carry a full roll but if you take like 4" worth and then fold it over many times it becomes nice and compact and still very useful!

Well I think thats the majority of major differences, but regardless I think your far ahead of the game my friend!
coolclay
I also carry a snowpeak 1.9oz butane/propane pocket rocket style stove with me. Great for quick heat, when you don't want to start an actual fire or you can't.
ocalhoun
speeDemon wrote:
I still end up thinking about just one hing, how many enemies do you have? Razz Smile

None at all, of course. The best way to defeat enemies is to not make them in the first place.
A lot of this gear is just for very unlikely contingencies.

deanhills wrote:
I'm completely bowled over Ocalhoun and thank you for all of the detail. How many years did it take you to perfect the details?

Two years, so far I've been tweaking it.
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And it looks as though the process of perfection is ongoing?

Of course. There are several things I'm already thinking of adding or replacing... But it is also getting seriously heavy. I need to take some thought of how I could reduce weight without sacrificing much functionality. (Or a whole lot of money.)
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OK, so when you travel in your truck, how do you keep all your gear safe, i.e. the ones that you don't carry with you? Or do you generally only travel in areas where there are no other people? For example you mentioned a base camp? I gather that you would leave your truck in one place, then hike up to a certain point where you put up your base camp with all the ancillary bags and gear? And then do the serious hiking with your main bag? Have you had a situation yet where the gear at your base camp was not there anymore when you returned? How about the truck?

Never had to worry about it... If I do make a camp or cache supplies, I but branches and shrubs over it before I leave, making it very unlikely to be found or stolen.
As for protecting my vehicles, I've never had a problem with it. I have 3 cars, and none of them even have working door locks. One of the wonderful things about a rural area is the astoundingly low crime rate. I don't lock my cars or my house, but I never worry about being victimized by criminals.
(And besides, my stuff is more at risk in town than it is in the boondocks.)
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Have you ever had an occasion where you had to use your gun to warn off people? Or had to use it on animals that were in the attack mode?

No. Like much of the gear, it is just there for unlikely contingencies. Most animals (even bears) will run away without being shot at, and most people are friendly.
If the occasion comes when I do need them though, I'll really need them.
They're also a kind of catch-all for a disaster situation. If there's some kind of supply I'm missing, thoughtful use of a gun could help acquire it.
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Did I miss a cell phone? Although I guess you won't be able to get a signal for the cell phone in the remote areas where you are hiking?

Well, you also missed my wardrobe, boots, et cetera.
I didn't mention most of the things I carry on me even when not hiking.
(Normally I wear US-military issue boots, sturdy cargo pants, cotton T-shirt, carthartt jacket (when cold). I also carry keys, wallet, cell phone, the .380 pistol (usually), and I have a very small, cheap knife on my key-chain.)
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I imagine you don't carry the bigger guns with you when you are hiking .... Smile

Of course not. They're set aside for emergency situations. Besides, they're very heavy and bulky. It would be quite a pain to carry them on a long hike, so I'll only do so if I really think I'll need them.
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Looks as though you would be able to build your own guns if needed one day. You probably would completely change the traditional design to make it multi-functional?

Give me a full machine shop and a few months. ^.^
(Oh, and legal immunity from US gun laws.)
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Awesome stuff this Ocalhoun .... Bondings should give you a free Domain just for this posting! Applause

I'll settle for just the featured discussion. That was unexpected, but I'm glad lots of people will be able to see the effort I've put into it.
coolclay wrote:

1. a magnesium/flint stick for ease of fire making when your lighters no longer work, and it's lighter than carrying around a bottle of fuel and they work remarkably well

I might replace one or two of the butane lighters with that. The small, waterproof lighter can be used as a flint and striker, but only a small one.
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2. Lightweight water filter or UV sterilizer, I don't know if you've ever tried drinking iodine sterilized water but once you do, you'll never want to do it again, plus filters and UV ster. are fairly cheap nowadays. I got a Katadyn used but almost new water filter on ebay for $30.

If I went to areas with dirty water, I would be more concerned about it. Most of the streams in this area are clean enough to drink out of unfiltered, which I sometimes do, to no ill effect.
(After all, all the woodland creatures drink out of it as well, and they don't die from it.)
I would add additional methods for purification if I was going somewhere with more questionable water though.
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3. At least some light source not dependable on batteries or a small solar charger and some rechargeable batteries. I built my own AA charger out of some recycled electronics, also made a solar rechargeable head lamp from and old cellphone battery and other random parts. I have enough spare parts to make several solar AA chargers if you want to trade for one or something.

Light not dependent on batteries? You mean like fire? ^.^
Though you do have a point... A solar battery charger would make an excellent addition to my extended stay bag. I can do without light, as I have good night vision, but the GPS is an extremely useful tool; it would be nice to be able to continue using it in a long term situation.
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4. Small citronella candle, both for light/heat, the wax can be used for many purposes from sealing wounds/bandages, to lubricating things, and waterproofing thing.

I've thought of adding a candle yes.
Citronella would be a good choice... but I've also considered the gag-candles for birthday cakes; the ones that will re-light themselves when blown out.
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5. I have a customized US army small surgery kit, most importantly just a legitimate scalpel, forceps, surgical scissors, butterfly stitches and catgut sutures. And obviously the rest of your normal first aid supplies. Decent sized cuts are just to common to not carry sutures. I also carry several types of antibiotics for different types of infections.

True, both my equipment and my training is inadequate for any but the most minor surgery.
I've also considered adding medicines like antibiotics... If I could get an auto-injector of a local antithetic or a powerful -- but not debilitating -- pain killer, that would be nice as well.
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6. Do you really need that many types, and quantity of spices? That's at least a years worth!

All the better. They don't take up much space or weigh much... And they would be so nice to have if I was forced to live off the land.
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7. I also carry a folding Army entrenching shovel (not the cheap ripoffs). Its an amazingly useful tool, for cutting branches, burying refuse, and building shelters. I carry it instead of a hatchet, the edge is so sharp it works even better at least for splitting wood, and makes a great weapon too.

Well, I have considered replacing the hatchet with something lighter to save a lot of weight...
The entrenching tools seem to be pretty heavy and bulky themselves though.
Really can't make up my mind about it, actually...
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8. I also have a full set of military ECWS (extreme cold weather system) polypro thermal layers, which is extremely vital in sub 30 deg.

I also have similar stuff, though I don't pack it; if I think it is likely to be that cold, I wear it from the start.
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9. Camo face paint def. not a necessity but helpful when trying to hide from game or humans.

! Good idea; I hadn't thought of that at all!
It would also allow me to tone down the bright colors of the backpack and gear if I needed to.
*adds to shopping list*
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10. Electronic communication device (VHF, GMRS, or at least FRS). I carry a garmin Rino 130, it's a GPS loaded w/ topo maps, an FRS/GMRS radio, has repeater channels as well as a barometric altimeter, and electronic compass.

Snazzy stuff there! I just now got around to adding a GPS though... In the area I'm in, I can usually get a cell phone signal if I climb to the top of a hill, so extravagant communication gear would be a bit overkill right now. I'm thinking of moving to Alaska in a few years though, and if I do that, I'll definitely at least add an emergency radio beacon. Probably some flares as well.
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11. And the most important emergency supply of all.......duct tape. I obviously don't carry a full roll but if you take like 4" worth and then fold it over many times it becomes nice and compact and still very useful!

I actually don't like duct tape much. It's great usually, but the glue breaks down if exposed to heat, so if I store it in a car in the summer, the whole roll is ruined.
The medical tape I carry is a decent substitute; smaller, lighter, but still very strong.
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[quote="coolclay"]I also carry a snowpeak 1.9oz butane/propane pocket rocket style stove with me. Great for quick heat, when you don't want to start an actual fire or you can't.

I've also thought about adding something like this... but I already have weight issues, and carrying a worthwhile amount of fuel would be a heavy item... Yet it could be extremely useful, even a life-saver. Perhaps just for the extended stay bag...
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Never had to worry about it... If I do make a camp or cache supplies, I but branches and shrubs over it before I leave, making it very unlikely to be found or stolen.
As for protecting my vehicles, I've never had a problem with it. I have 3 cars, and none of them even have working door locks. One of the wonderful things about a rural area is the astoundingly low crime rate. I don't lock my cars or my house, but I never worry about being victimized by criminals.
I'm quite amazed that there can be places where one can be completely safe in the outdoors in the US, and I'm not talking about threats from people only. Snakes, weather, animals ......
ocalhoun wrote:
No. Like much of the gear, it is just there for unlikely contingencies. Most animals (even bears) will run away without being shot at, and most people are friendly.
So they have to be non-Canadian bears then? I thought bears could be pretty aggressive and territorial?
ocalhoun wrote:
Well, you also missed my wardrobe, boots, et cetera.
I didn't mention most of the things I carry on me even when not hiking.
(Normally I wear US-military issue boots, sturdy cargo pants, cotton T-shirt, carthartt jacket (when cold). I also carry keys, wallet, cell phone, the .380 pistol (usually), and I have a very small, cheap knife on my key-chain.)
I did miss out on the wardrobe. Sounds like a very spare one, but effective.
ocalhoun wrote:
Give me a full machine shop and a few months. ^.^
(Oh, and legal immunity from US gun laws.)
I'm sure if gun-loving guys would see those guns that you would be in business. Have you thought about moving to Montana? Smile
jwellsy
Great post! I appreciate and applaud people that plan for contingencies. Having put enough thought and action into gathering these things is a huge confidence builder. Self confidence is essential to self reliance.

My setup has a lot of similarities. I've never seen an external frame pack like that that has the folding main compartment that's pretty cool. The international orange color isn't too cool but the design is very handy. I do paint some of my tool handles a bright color so I don't space out and leave something laying around. Anything normally exposed I go with black, camo or some color found in nature.

I have two sets of black bicycle panniers ( 4 total ) that double as backpacks. I sometimes go on overnight bike rides and this setup makes for easy off road hidden camping. I like the mobility of the bike (100 road miles a day range). But, it can always be ditched and the panniers backpacked. If I have all 4 panniers with me and I want to carry them, I usually hook them together in pairs and double pack them (that's one pair on my back and one pair in front on my chest. That leaves both hands free.

I carry a Thermarest self inflating pad with a special cover that lets it double as a camp/canoe chair with a backrest,, sleeping bag and a small tent. I used an expensive bivy sack several times but it had too much condensation. I went back to a small tent, it has more room and is much more comfortable.

My electrical needs are all based on AA sized re-chargeable batteries.

One functional luxury that I like to carry is a gold pan. Prospecting is a fun source of entertainment and it's great as a wash pan.
deanhills
jwellsy wrote:
One functional luxury that I like to carry is a gold pan. Prospecting is a fun source of entertainment and it's great as a wash pan.
Smile Can it double up for cooking as well? Great stuff jwellsy, where do you usually hike if I may ask, as is that an environment that may have gold in the rivers?
jwellsy
deanhills wrote:
Can it double up for cooking as well? Great stuff jwellsy, where do you usually hike if I may ask, as is that an environment that may have gold in the rivers?


I only have plastic gold pans. Gold can be found in just about any country. I haven't heard of too much prospecting in the middle East. There are a few known meteorite debris fields in the middle east. Meteorites are worth about what gold is. The pictures that I've seen the dark meteorites really stand out in contrast to the blond desert sand.

No matter where I'm at I play a mind game of hide and seek with the gold. If I were a piece of gold in this area over the past million years, how and where could I have migrated and what in that journey would have trapped me and other pieces.
standready
Thank you, ocalhoun, for the informative post and coolclay for your insights as well. ocalhoun, I think I see everything there but the kitchen sink! laugh! You mentioned your pack was getting heavy so just how much weight are you lugging around? Also with that weight, how far are you normally hiking in a day?
wellerchap
Quite superb, Ocalhoun....thank you for sharing all that info with us.
In Britain, we have such a densely populated land that it's hard to escape totally from people for more than a few hours, let alone days.
The main danger here lies in falling and hurting yourself while out in the hills....there are no animals/insects to worry about (though some of my ex-girlfriends have been enough to frighten Rambo !!)
In England, wildcamping (impromptu staying out in unauthorised areas overnight) is not allowed, though it does go on in the mountainous areas to a small extent....Scotland is OK with it though.
It's something I'm aiming to do, hopefully next year, to get great sunrise/sunset photographs in the mountains.
Once again, thanks for a very entertaining read....and good luck!
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I'm quite amazed that there can be places where one can be completely safe in the outdoors in the US, and I'm not talking about threats from people only. Snakes, weather, animals ......

There's no place in the world - outdoors or indoors - where you can be perfectly safe, of course.
That said, I'm safer in the wilderness than in a town. I'll trade cars that might run me over for snakes any day! (Snakes aren't as common here as they are in the South anyway. I saw a couple back when I was hiking in the South, but I haven't seen any up here yet.)
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So they have to be non-Canadian bears then? I thought bears could be pretty aggressive and territorial?

Oh, bears are dangerous at times, but they do run away, given the chance. There are black bears and a few grizzly bears in these hills, black bears will only attack if you sneak up on them, or if you get between them and their cubs. Grizzlies will attack at those times, but they'll also barge into a camp if you leave food accessible to them. (A camp in bear country should be spread out; sleeping area in one place, food storage in another, and latrine in yet another place.) That said, it is easy to sneak up on a bear - they travel in the same places humans like to, and they have bad hearing.
It still isn't much of a risk though. Only 3 people a year die from bear attacks in the US. Three, out of millions. I'm far more likely to die in a car wreck on my way to my hiking location.


jwellsy wrote:
Great post! I appreciate and applaud people that plan for contingencies. Having put enough thought and action into gathering these things is a huge confidence builder. Self confidence is essential to self reliance.

Well, my main confidence builder was actually military basic training... You don't realize it at the time, but a lot of what they're trying to teach you is confidence; when you answer a question, even if you think you might be wrong, they want you give your best guess confidently, and be prepared to act on it. And often, even if you're doing everything right, they'll still yell at you - this teaches you to be sure about what's right, and be confident when you're doing it -- because if you stop doing the right thing at that point, they'll surely let you know about it!
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My setup has a lot of similarities. I've never seen an external frame pack like that that has the folding main compartment that's pretty cool. The international orange color isn't too cool but the design is very handy. I do paint some of my tool handles a bright color so I don't space out and leave something laying around. Anything normally exposed I go with black, camo or some color found in nature.

I was extremely happy to have found that backpack. I found it at a yard sale for only $5. It seems to be quite old, and even the design seems to be antique - I've never seen anything similar being sold brand new. The only similar design I've ever seen was in a very old, antique, wood-frame mountaineering pack. (1920's vintage?) My pack is bigger, and uses more modern materials, but the design was almost identical to that relic.
I have considered changing the color of it though. The frame could be spray-painted and the pack material could be dyed... Toning down all the colors may be my next big change to the pack. (Though I'll leave a couple things, like the towel, bright colors, in case I need to be visible and signal for help.)
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I have two sets of black bicycle panniers ( 4 total ) that double as backpacks. I sometimes go on overnight bike rides and this setup makes for easy off road hidden camping. I like the mobility of the bike (100 road miles a day range). But, it can always be ditched and the panniers backpacked. If I have all 4 panniers with me and I want to carry them, I usually hook them together in pairs and double pack them (that's one pair on my back and one pair in front on my chest. That leaves both hands free.

When I go biking, I usually go with a far more minimalist setup. I've strapped a few small pockets to the front of the bike, and I only carry:
-Water bottle
-Small amount of food for 1 day
-Small first aid kit, for repairing me.
-A few carefully selected tools, for repairing the bike.
Since I usually only bike on well-marked trails, I figure that is adequate... For most possibilities. Biking in these hills is difficult enough even with a light load, after all.

I also go horseback riding and off-road driving. So, of course, I have kits for those as well- I have saddle-bags with a little survival gear, plus first aid suitable for human or horse, and in my off-road rig, I usually carry the survival bag mentioned here, in addition to all the recovery equipment and repair tools.
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I carry a Thermarest self inflating pad with a special cover that lets it double as a camp/canoe chair with a backrest,, sleeping bag and a small tent. I used an expensive bivy sack several times but it had too much condensation. I went back to a small tent, it has more room and is much more comfortable.

I've been thinking about getting a tent... My inclination is towards the hammock/tent combination types. (basically just a hammock with a tarp over it.) They seem more comfortable than a tent, more compact when carried, and easier to set up (assuming suitable trees are found). Hanging in trees also seems safer from animals... If I needed to, I could even hang it way up high, and be very safe... Being up in the air may be less desirable for cold/windy conditions though.
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One functional luxury that I like to carry is a gold pan. Prospecting is a fun source of entertainment and it's great as a wash pan.

I may have to get one; it could be profitable... But if I do, I won't carry it at all times, only when I'm planning on using it.
standready wrote:
Thank you, ocalhoun, for the informative post and coolclay for your insights as well. ocalhoun, I think I see everything there but the kitchen sink! laugh! You mentioned your pack was getting heavy so just how much weight are you lugging around?

I'd estimate it at about 70 pounds right now... Given that I only weigh 150, that's a lot of weight. It slows me down on uphill sections, and wearing it for more than 5 hours begins to hurt... Wearing it for 10 hours once was agony! (That time, I ended up caching the pack near the first road I came to, then hiking to my car without it, and driving back to pick it up.)
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Also with that weight, how far are you normally hiking in a day?

On a smooth, level surface like a road, I could do up to 20 miles in a day. But weaving through the forest, and over hills and boulders, like on my latest trip, I max out at about 9 miles in a day, as the crow flies. (If you count all the zig-zags in the path, it may be much more than that.)
wellerchap wrote:

In England, wildcamping (impromptu staying out in unauthorised areas overnight) is not allowed, though it does go on in the mountainous areas to a small extent....Scotland is OK with it though.
It's something I'm aiming to do, hopefully next year, to get great sunrise/sunset photographs in the mountains.

That's one thing I love about rural US laws... It's perfectly legal to camp anywhere you want on public lands, as long as you don't cause a lot of damage or litter. The only restriction is that in some areas, during certain times of the year, open fires are prohibited, because of the high wild-fire danger.
In most areas, it's even legal to drive off-road anywhere you want (or can), and its legal to hike or ride a horse absolutely anywhere at all. (Ironically, some trails are marked as horses not allowed, but it is perfectly legal to ride next to the trail, just not on it.)
zbale
Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing all of this, especially all the little pieces of advice.
Afaceinthematrix
Jeez, Ocalhoun! You carry enough to be gone for months. You once told me that you didn't do over-nighters and now I can believe it! If you would go on 100-mile-two-week-trips like myself then you wouldn't want to carry all of that equipment because it would get heavy (especially if you pack in food versus fishing). But since you do short trips, do you really need all of that? That is seriously a lot of stuff! I carry much less. For people that are going to get into activities like that, I have my own suggestions.

If you're going to do long trips (more than five days), then only buy the best equipment! The reason why I suggest this is because equipment failure when you're 7 days and fifty miles into some Canadian forest can be deadly (speaking from experience... I once had a backpack failure but I was able to salvage it). Ocalhoun, you said that you basically made your backpack. That's cool for short trips but I buy good ones and always carry extra parts (extra straps, sewing equipment, etc.).

This is some of my equipment (not my pictures; pictures are taken from the websites of the companies that I purchased my equipment from).



http://www.junglehammock.com/models/northamerican/index.php

Yes, this is expensive. But it is an extremely good hammock/tent (you can set it up on the ground with a little bit of ingenuity if you're above tree line or in the desert). This thing has never failed me and has been in extreme weather and kept me completely warm and dry. Plus it is easy to set up and take down.



This is a great filter. It is usually not a good idea to drink untreated water and so I pump all of my water with this tool. It is lightweight and has lasted me years.



In some places these are required. They prevent bears from getting into your food. I usually carry my food in there even if I'm not in a place with bears simply because they also make good chairs.

On top of that, I also have a good backpack, first aid kit, sleeping bag, very good water proof hiking boots, synthetic clothing, a decent multi-tool, and that's about all I carry. I carry probably less than half of ocalhoun.
deanhills
If I would have the opportunity of doing this kind of intense hiking, I probably would prefer to go light myself, however am completely fascinated with Ocalhoun's details. Not only in his hiking gear, but how he approached a competition once with setting rules. I get a feeling he is a guy that can see a million miles ahead of others.

I like the Website you quoted for junglehammock. Thanks for that. Does one have to be lightweight to get into those hammocks .... ? Smile Amazing, I've never seen anything like that before, and has to be a dream bed out in the wilderness, no mosquitoes. Is it very hot in the hammocks during summer though?
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Jeez, Ocalhoun! You carry enough to be gone for months. You once told me that you didn't do over-nighters and now I can believe it! If you would go on 100-mile-two-week-trips like myself then you wouldn't want to carry all of that equipment because it would get heavy (especially if you pack in food versus fishing). But since you do short trips, do you really need all of that? That is seriously a lot of stuff! I carry much less.

True, it is a lot, and although I do only day trips, the pack is intended to be good for 30 days, and still helpful afterwards.
It is both hiking gear and survival gear, after all.
The kinds of things this pack is really geared towards:
*While hiking far from any trail, I fall and break a leg.
*Again, while isolated, and unexpected severe storm rolls in.
*I forgot to wear my tin foil hat, and now the black helicopters are after me- I need to grab some stuff quickly, then disappear until they give up looking for me.
*A horrible, widespread disaster has happened (I'd have the option of disappearing into the forest, or staying home, either way the pack would be extremely useful.)

Yes, it's quite overkill for day hikes, but still, good to have, especially since I hike solo and cross-country far from help; I need to be self-sufficient in all kinds of emergencies.
Good for building up strength, too. Back when I first started, on easier terrain with a lighter pack, I had a hard time... But now I do well.
I went on a group hike for a change once recently, and even though most of the others were carrying light packs or nothing at all, I still outpaced them easily.
(Of course, they were not the hiking type; just ordinary folks, so it's not a huge accomplishment or anything... Just shows that carrying a heavy pack is great for building up strength and stamina.)
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If you're going to do long trips (more than five days), then only buy the best equipment! The reason why I suggest this is because equipment failure when you're 7 days and fifty miles into some Canadian forest can be deadly (speaking from experience... I once had a backpack failure but I was able to salvage it). Ocalhoun, you said that you basically made your backpack. That's cool for short trips but I buy good ones and always carry extra parts (extra straps, sewing equipment, etc.).

I do carry some extra straps, and the twine or fishing line could be used for crude sewing if needed. I might want to try to find something I could use to repair the frame if it were broken or mangled though...
The main pack is old (1970's vintage?), but one can tell it was high quality when new...
And one of the reasons I chose it was because it would be easy to repair or modify.
If I had all the money in the world, I would replace it with an identical new one, with more subdued colors.
I wonder if I could get a new fabric portion custom sewn? Something to look into - that's the part most likely to fail.
And yes, I understand how the best equipment money can buy is a good thing...
But I'm on a budget here, not counting the electronics and guns, this equipment cost around $300 to $400 to assemble - and that's getting most if it on the cheap from garage sales and flea markets.
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http://www.junglehammock.com/models/northamerican/index.php

Yes, this is expensive. But it is an extremely good hammock/tent (you can set it up on the ground with a little bit of ingenuity if you're above tree line or in the desert). This thing has never failed me and has been in extreme weather and kept me completely warm and dry. Plus it is easy to set up and take down.

If I get a tent, it will be one like that.
Perhaps a bit less elaborate though.
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This is a great filter. It is usually not a good idea to drink untreated water and so I pump all of my water with this tool. It is lightweight and has lasted me years.

Ah, yes... If I did travel in areas with more questionable water, I would carry more filtration/purification equipment.
This area though has very good water... I drink from it occasionally, and have never had a problem.
(Only nice, strong-flowing streams of course, and not immediately after a heavy rainfall. Oh, and sometimes I use fresh snow as well.)
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In some places these are required. They prevent bears from getting into your food. I usually carry my food in there even if I'm not in a place with bears simply because they also make good chairs.
Yeah... If I follow through with my idea of hiking the national parks in Alaska, I'll be required to use those. It seems really bulky though; not looking forward to it.
Afaceinthematrix
deanhills wrote:

I like the Website you quoted for junglehammock. Thanks for that. Does one have to be lightweight to get into those hammocks .... ? :) Amazing, I've never seen anything like that before, and has to be a dream bed out in the wilderness, no mosquitoes. Is it very hot in the hammocks during summer though?


Not at all (for both questions). You don't have to be lightweight to get in. I think the max load is 700 pounds and the suggested max load is 300 pounds. Either way that's not exactly lightweight. And it also doesn't get any hotter than a normal tent.

The reason why I ended up buying the hammock from that site (several years ago) was the very high quality of the material (I wanted it to last decades) and all of the features. That thing always keeps you warm (even in snow!) and it doesn't get too hot (at least anymore than a normal tent). The one I have comes with the mosquito nets (actually they all do) and rain fly so that you can keep it open so that the breeze can come through and you stay cool but you're also dry if it rains. So usually you can stay somewhat cool in the summer by having the weather-shield zipped down and your rain fly over it. And then during the winter (or even in cold places during the summer) I zip up the weather shied and you're warm (it especially helps that you're off the cold ground unlike in a tent plus there are extra compartments under the hammock that act as insulation plus they serve the dual purpose of holding my boots!).

Quote:
I do carry some extra straps, and the twine or fishing line could be used for crude sewing if needed. I might want to try to find something I could use to repair the frame if it were broken or mangled though...
The main pack is old (1970's vintage?), but one can tell it was high quality when new...
And one of the reasons I chose it was because it would be easy to repair or modify.
If I had all the money in the world, I would replace it with an identical new one, with more subdued colors.
I wonder if I could get a new fabric portion custom sewn? Something to look into - that's the part most likely to fail.
And yes, I understand how the best equipment money can buy is a good thing...
But I'm on a budget here, not counting the electronics and guns, this equipment cost around $300 to $400 to assemble - and that's getting most if it on the cheap from garage sales and flea markets.


Well it's not just straps because you have an external frame backpack. One time I was on the last one hundred meters on the last day of a ten-day-ninety-mile trip and the metal frame on my pack simply snapped and collapsed. I had used this pack for years and it had finally decided just to give out. The straps didn't fail; the frame did. I was extremely fortunate that this happened on the very end of my trip when I was within a few feet of where the car was parked. If this had happened a few days previous, then I would have been screwed. So now I am using a hand-me-down pack (external frame) because that's what I can afford, but I intend on trying to get an internal frame pack (because I don't see that happening with an internal frame... but there could be other disadvantages to them (I wouldn't know because I've never actually owned one; I borrowed one from my father on a two day trip once because I wanted to test it out and I didn't really like the internal frame)). So just keep that in mind...

Quote:
True, it is a lot, and although I do only day trips, the pack is intended to be good for 30 days, and still helpful afterwards.
It is both hiking gear and survival gear, after all.
The kinds of things this pack is really geared towards:
*While hiking far from any trail, I fall and break a leg.
*Again, while isolated, and unexpected severe storm rolls in.
*I forgot to wear my tin foil hat, and now the black helicopters are after me- I need to grab some stuff quickly, then disappear until they give up looking for me.
*A horrible, widespread disaster has happened (I'd have the option of disappearing into the forest, or staying home, either way the pack would be extremely useful.)

Yes, it's quite overkill for day hikes, but still, good to have, especially since I hike solo and cross-country far from help; I need to be self-sufficient in all kinds of emergencies.
Good for building up strength, too. Back when I first started, on easier terrain with a lighter pack, I had a hard time... But now I do well.
I went on a group hike for a change once recently, and even though most of the others were carrying light packs or nothing at all, I still outpaced them easily.
(Of course, they were not the hiking type; just ordinary folks, so it's not a huge accomplishment or anything... Just shows that carrying a heavy pack is great for building up strength and stamina.)


Survival is mostly about getting out... And I don't see it taking 30 days to get out when you're on a one day trip. But it does keep you in shape and it doesn't matter too much because you don't need the extra energy that you'd get from reducing the weight since you aren't getting into anything too serious (learn some mountaineering skills and tackle Denali while you're in Alaska hehe... Although maybe I shouldn't suggest that because you might die from that and I don't like to suggest life threatening things to people that aren't me).
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
I intend on trying to get an internal frame pack (because I don't see that happening with an internal frame... but there could be other disadvantages to them (I wouldn't know because I've never actually owned one; I borrowed one from my father on a two day trip once because I wanted to test it out and I didn't really like the internal frame)). So just keep that in mind...

Well, I'm kinda in favor of the external frame...
-Easier to strap things to
-Easier to repair
-Better organized (all the internal frame packs I've ever found have only a couple very small pockets, and then one huge pocket that makes up most of the pack, so most of the stuff would all be floating around in one huge pocket)

I think I might try to devise some sort of expedient frame repair kit, and add it to the bag...
A light metal bar and some straps, perhaps... Splint a broken frame like a broken bone?
Quote:

Survival is mostly about getting out... And I don't see it taking 30 days to get out when you're on a one day trip.

True, it is overkill for day-hiking.
Nice to have a end-of-the-world bag too though.
Quote:
But it does keep you in shape and it doesn't matter too much because you don't need the extra energy that you'd get from reducing the weight since you aren't getting into anything too serious (learn some mountaineering skills and tackle Denali while you're in Alaska hehe... Although maybe I shouldn't suggest that because you might die from that and I don't like to suggest life threatening things to people that aren't me).

I'll just appreciate the high peaks from a distance. Serious mountaineering is dangerous enough, but I like to hike solo... And I don't think anybody would recommend serious climbing solo.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:

Well, I'm kinda in favor of the external frame...
-Easier to strap things to
-Easier to repair
-Better organized (all the internal frame packs I've ever found have only a couple very small pockets, and then one huge pocket that makes up most of the pack, so most of the stuff would all be floating around in one huge pocket)


The first one and third, yes. That's why I like them, it's easier to strap stuff to. The second, not necessarily. Mine would have been extremely difficult to salvage once at home and impossible one the trail.
Quote:

I think I might try to devise some sort of expedient frame repair kit, and add it to the bag...
A light metal bar and some straps, perhaps... Splint a broken frame like a broken bone?


No. You splint a broken bone so that you can prop it up, apply no external weight on it, and get to the doctor. You basically splint your bone up and then try not to touch it and you definitely cannot use it whereas a backpack is designed to where you must actually put weight on it (how else will you carry your stuff) and so you have to actually use it unlike your bone.
Quote:

And I don't think anybody would recommend serious climbing solo.


I don't even recommend solo hiking... I'll do a quick little 2-3 mile trail by myself but nothing too far. I definitely do not suggest it.

Oh, and when I listed my stuff, I undermined how important it is to have proper clothing. I have a rain suit that has been in some extremely insane flood storms in very wet forests and it keeps me dry. That is a light savior. I also have all ultra light clothing that is synthetic and so you stay cool in the summer and also dries extremely quick when it gets wet. Then I have my thermals when I go to ultra cold places. I also have my mosquito net which I place around my head to keep some of the mosquitoes off. One thing that you never want to bring are heavy clothes such as denim jeans. They weigh a lot and will never dry once wet.

Furthermore, I have a good pair of boots (if you get crappy boots you'll get blisters) and closed-toe sandals for when I have to cross a river by walking (sometimes waste high) across it.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:

The first one and third, yes. That's why I like them, it's easier to strap stuff to. The second, not necessarily. Mine would have been extremely difficult to salvage once at home and impossible one the trail.

Well, pretty much any damage other than a broken frame would be easier to repair than most other types of packs...
A strap separating from the pack, for example, could be fixed by wrapping the heavy-duty therapy belt around the right portion of the frame...
On a pack where the straps are connected to fabric rather than a frame, that repair would require high-strength sewing.
Quote:

I don't even recommend solo hiking... I'll do a quick little 2-3 mile trail by myself but nothing too far. I definitely do not suggest it.

I know solo hiking is much more dangerous... That's partly why I carry so much stuff, to handle situations that wouldn't be such a big deal if there were others to help me.

I don't think I'll change though. One of the main reasons I hike is for the solitude... bringing other people with me would defeat that purpose.
Quote:

Oh, and when I listed my stuff, I undermined how important it is to have proper clothing. I have a rain suit that has been in some extremely insane flood storms in very wet forests and it keeps me dry. That is a light savior. I also have all ultra light clothing that is synthetic and so you stay cool in the summer and also dries extremely quick when it gets wet. Then I have my thermals when I go to ultra cold places. I also have my mosquito net which I place around my head to keep some of the mosquitoes off. One thing that you never want to bring are heavy clothes such as denim jeans. They weigh a lot and will never dry once wet.

Quite so. My only real weakness in that regard is an affinity to cotton T-shirts... I have a few synthetic ones I could wear if I was planning on a long trip, but for an unexpected long/wet stay, the cotton would not be a good idea... Perhaps I should invest in some better (but still comfortable) shirts.
My pants are almost always heavy fabric cargo pants... They're durable and comfortable, and they'll only hold water along the seams, which I can deal with.
My 'secret weapon' though is a carhartt full-body suit. Both coat and pants are made of super-heavy, waterproof canvas (triple stitched), over a thick layer of 'arctic quilting'. They're very warm, very waterproof, and extremely durable.
Quote:

Furthermore, I have a good pair of boots (if you get crappy boots you'll get blisters) and closed-toe sandals for when I have to cross a river by walking (sometimes waste high) across it.

I use Bates suede military boots... The same ones I was issued in basic training.
They're completely waterproof all the way to the top, but they can still breathe thanks to the nifty fabric they're partly made of. (And a nice side effect of the suede leather is that if you step in an ant bed, the ants will bite the leather instead of crawling further up your leg.)
I've been using them for years, so they're very comfortable... but they're finally showing their age; the waterproofing is wearing out, allowing a little seepage, and the soles are actually wearing down like an old tire - in one spot, they've worn all the way through, and are now wearing into the padding between the sole and the inside lining.
Still love 'em though... They've been through a LOT, and served me well every time.
rogue_skydragon
This is a very comprehensive account of your hiking gear...great job! I found it really useful since I am planning to go out on the trails soon here in California. Interesting that you have a snake bite kit.
airh3ad
why are you guns include survival gears? one quick question again why you used backpack like army uniform?
ocalhoun
airh3ad wrote:
why are you guns include survival gears?

1: Self-defense can be a very important part of survival in some situations.
2: They can be very useful for hunting.
3: They can be used offensively, if need be, to 'acquire' pretty much anything you need.
Quote:
one quick question again why you used backpack like army uniform?

My town has a lot of military personnel stationed locally. It's not surprising that some military gear made it into yard sales (like the one where I found this backpack).
Also, military-issue gear is often very good quality, useful stuff. This backpack has connectors specifically designed for my first aid kit to latch on to, and the straps on it simply snap on and off -- a feature I've never seen on any backpack of this size before.
socceraggie
olcalhoun - Just out of curiosity, what types of outdoor activities do you typically do with such a pack? It seems pretty hardcore. Just wondering if you do anything extreme.
Ghost Rider103
Another quick question - what do you use the AK-47 for?

I thought maybe target practice, but the bayonet kind of cancels out that idea...

Ocalhoun wrote:
great for tearing apart human-sized targets.


Are you a hit-man by any chance? Laughing
ocalhoun
socceraggie wrote:
olcalhoun - Just out of curiosity, what types of outdoor activities do you typically do with such a pack? It seems pretty hardcore. Just wondering if you do anything extreme.

Well, mainly just for day hikes... But, to be fair, about as extreme as day hikes could possibly get. Almost always solo, and often through extremely difficult terrain.
(I do use that grappling hook occasionally.)
I also do mountain biking (on actual mountains), horseback riding, caving, and off-road driving... though I don't use this particular pack for most of those.

It also has a secondary use as my disaster-survival/get-off-the-grid-in-a-hurry bag.
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
Another quick question - what do you use the AK-47 for?

I thought maybe target practice, but the bayonet kind of cancels out that idea...

Well, that is the only real use it gets now. The only time I would actually use that particular one for its intended purpose would be in a very dire emergency.

Why the bayonet? Bayonets never run out of ammo, and a rifle can actually be a fantastic melee weapon, especially if it has a bayonet.

The video doesn't quite do it justice, of course.
The various individual strokes lend themselves well to being applied in combination, as each one leads into another.
(Also, consider the effect of replacing that blunt wooden stick with a heavy steel gun, with one very pointy end.)
Each type of stroke has a particular target it's meant for. A diagonal (downward) slash is meant to break the collarbone; the 'butt smash' is meant for the center of the chest, to knock the wind out of them; the thrust is meant to drive them away by hitting in the gut (no bayonet), or to pierce and kill by hitting in the chest (with bayonet).

(And this is why it's rather silly when in an action movie, a character throws away an empty rifle to fight hand-to-hand... Even empty, it's a great weapon.)
Quote:

Ocalhoun wrote:
great for tearing apart human-sized targets.


Are you a hit-man by any chance? Laughing

No. Not at all, but I don't kid myself either. Most of the guns are primarily people-killing tools. And if I take the trouble to have such tools, I might as well have good quality ones that will get the job done right.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:

My pants are almost always heavy fabric cargo pants... They're durable and comfortable, and they'll only hold water along the seams, which I can deal with.
My 'secret weapon' though is a carhartt full-body suit. Both coat and pants are made of super-heavy, waterproof canvas (triple stitched), over a thick layer of 'arctic quilting'. They're very warm, very waterproof, and extremely durable.


I once took someone on their first backpacking trip ever. He had said that he had extensive outdoor experience and so I didn't bother him with packing advice. Unfortunately, his outdoor experience was like yours. He didn't know that after a week and 60-70 miles his carhartts would become way too heavy. My pants are a synthetic pair that are extremely light, comfortable, durable, dry quickly, and can zip-off into shorts. Luckily, this guy that I was with was very fit (as you must be) and so his heavy pack (which had everything) didn't slow him down too much (although his was noticeably slower than me which was sort of annoying to me... but he wasn't too much slower). But his heavy pack did slow him down some and it did use more of his energy.

Quote:

Furthermore, I have a good pair of boots (if you get crappy boots you'll get blisters) and closed-toe sandals for when I have to cross a river by walking (sometimes waste high) across it.

I use Bates suede military boots... The same ones I was issued in basic training.
They're completely waterproof all the way to the top, but they can still breathe thanks to the nifty fabric they're partly made of. (And a nice side effect of the suede leather is that if you step in an ant bed, the ants will bite the leather instead of crawling further up your leg.)
I've been using them for years, so they're very comfortable... but they're finally showing their age; the waterproofing is wearing out, allowing a little seepage, and the soles are actually wearing down like an old tire - in one spot, they've worn all the way through, and are now wearing into the padding between the sole and the inside lining.
Still love 'em though... They've been through a LOT, and served me well every time.[/quote]

The thing about boots, that you won't find out from a one-day trip, is that some can be heavy. Your feet are quiet strong and so you can hike around all day in heavy boots. But then wake up the next day, put on your boots, and hike around again all day. Then wake up the following day and do it all again. Then wake up the next day to do the same again. Before you ever go on something extreme (like your Alaska trip), that your feet can handle this everyday. I had a pair of steel toed boots and they eventually got so painful that they were ruining my trips after a few days out. So I bought lightweight waterproof hiking boots and I have so much more fun.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:

My pants are almost always heavy fabric cargo pants... They're durable and comfortable, and they'll only hold water along the seams, which I can deal with.
My 'secret weapon' though is a carhartt full-body suit. Both coat and pants are made of super-heavy, waterproof canvas (triple stitched), over a thick layer of 'arctic quilting'. They're very warm, very waterproof, and extremely durable.


I once took someone on their first backpacking trip ever. He had said that he had extensive outdoor experience and so I didn't bother him with packing advice. Unfortunately, his outdoor experience was like yours. He didn't know that after a week and 60-70 miles his carhartts would become way too heavy. My pants are a synthetic pair that are extremely light, comfortable, durable, dry quickly, and can zip-off into shorts. Luckily, this guy that I was with was very fit (as you must be) and so his heavy pack (which had everything) didn't slow him down too much (although his was noticeably slower than me which was sort of annoying to me... but he wasn't too much slower). But his heavy pack did slow him down some and it did use more of his energy.

I do have a weight issue for long-trip considerations.
I can only carry my pack (plus 1 supplement bag) for about 5 hours before it becomes quite a burden.
And yes, carrying/wearing the carhartts would add substantially to the load.

Light and comfortable is good... but in some conditions the carhartts are the only thing I know of that would be suitable.
Yes, they're heavy, but can you tell me something that has all these qualities, without the weight?
-very warm
-waterproof
-durable enough for brush-busting

I don't usually take them. I would only take/wear them if I knew I had a very good chance of being out in very bad weather.
Quote:

Quote:
Quote:

Furthermore, I have a good pair of boots (if you get crappy boots you'll get blisters) and closed-toe sandals for when I have to cross a river by walking (sometimes waste high) across it.

I use Bates suede military boots... The same ones I was issued in basic training.
They're completely waterproof all the way to the top, but they can still breathe thanks to the nifty fabric they're partly made of. (And a nice side effect of the suede leather is that if you step in an ant bed, the ants will bite the leather instead of crawling further up your leg.)
I've been using them for years, so they're very comfortable... but they're finally showing their age; the waterproofing is wearing out, allowing a little seepage, and the soles are actually wearing down like an old tire - in one spot, they've worn all the way through, and are now wearing into the padding between the sole and the inside lining.
Still love 'em though... They've been through a LOT, and served me well every time.


The thing about boots, that you won't find out from a one-day trip, is that some can be heavy. Your feet are quiet strong and so you can hike around all day in heavy boots. But then wake up the next day, put on your boots, and hike around again all day. Then wake up the following day and do it all again. Then wake up the next day to do the same again. Before you ever go on something extreme (like your Alaska trip), that your feet can handle this everyday. I had a pair of steel toed boots and they eventually got so painful that they were ruining my trips after a few days out. So I bought lightweight waterproof hiking boots and I have so much more fun.

I wore these boots every day through basic and tech school (5-7 days a week for 10 months), marching miles every time I wore them... I'm quite used to the weight; I really only notice it if I run wearing them. (And they're still the shoes I wear most often when not at work.) When I'm finally forced to replace them, I may go with a boot designed for hiking, but for now, I enjoy these ones; they're extremely well broken in, I find them more comfortable than sneakers.
My work boots are the steel-toe version of the same boot, and yes, I know what you mean about the weight and the pain of them. (They are amazingly good for kicking things though. ^.^)
lovescience
This makes me want to go hiking. It's inspiring seeing how you connect bags together.

How about using solar power to replace batteries on flashlight?

It's so cool to see the face mask you have and know about thermal socks!

Does the bug-repellent soap work?

It's important to have a sturdy camera, I dropped a camera once when I was on a river trail.
ocalhoun
lovescience wrote:

How about using solar power to replace batteries on flashlight?

That might be a good addition to the extended stay bag, but I've already got weight issues - it's quite heavy already...
If I could find a compact, lightweight, and cheap battery charger that charged AA and AAA batteries, I might add it to the extended stay bag anyway though; being able to recharge batteries for flashlights and the GPS would be very useful for long-term camping.
Quote:

It's so cool to see the face mask you have and know about thermal socks!

You live in a cold place, you learn about these things.
Quote:

Does the bug-repellent soap work?

... Don't know, actually. I've never tested it out. To test it I'd have to take it out of the sealed packages, and once unsealed, it would be more troublesome to pack. (And not waterproof -- I try to keep most of my gear waterproof, so I don't ever need to worry about it getting wet.
Quote:

It's important to have a sturdy camera, I dropped a camera once when I was on a river trail.

Quite so! I might have to replace this one sometime though -- dirt/sand got into the lens cover, and now it grinds whenever I open or close it... Still, I'll keep it until it doesn't work anymore.
deanhills
Ocalhoun, am working my way through old threads, and could not help rereading this one. Thought it was well worth bumping it. Are there any new features/improvisations to the kit? Smile
ocalhoun
A lot, actually... Too heavy now though... I need to go through it some and pare it down.
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