Sunday, February 2, 2014

Additional Bug Out Bag Equipment - I



Song:  Rock Meets Rachmaninoff

Group:  The Piano Guys
(Sorry, I've included it again.  It is such a powerful and inspiring song!)


I had recently purchased more equipment to supplement our Bug Out Bags...
of which we will transfer to our Backpacks.

The duffle bags will carry the base camp items...
however, all of the items necessary for survival will be in our backpacks.

All of our survival gear shall be perpetually packed....
and I shall place them in our vehicle
whenever we drive into the back or high country.

If we are actually going to hike...
we will be wearing the backpacks.

I also have a backpack for Alex...
and he has all of the same gear...
with the exception of the medical pack and a firearm
(although he will have the basic medical supplies in his also...
 later on...he will also carry a firearm).

I will also be getting a backpack for my wife...
however, as she is only 4' 11"...
I will have to get a smaller one for her.

I will be carrying the heaviest items...
but she will need to carry all of her survival necessities in case 
of our separation in the wild.

Redundancy of equipment is also a safety measure for the group.

Besides having been trained in basic combat trauma first aid
when I was in the US Army almost 35 years ago...
I was also trained in many EMT techniques in a firefighting academy 
I had graduated from almost 25 years ago.

Although this may sound silly...
 I have also been the recipient of many medical procedures.
I have done many stupid things throughout my life...
and as a result, I have had many stupid injuries.

When you have damaged your own body through the stupidity of your own actions...
and you are lying there waiting for the procedures to be performed...
experiencing the pain, experiencing the gratefulness when that pain is relieved...
having to go through discomfort for extended periods of time as you had healed...
but especially where because of stupidity and my resulting actions...
although I had survived...I could have easily been killed...
you would think that I would have learned...
especially since many of these acts had come AFTER I was an adult
(well, at least by age...not by maturity :)

As many men will attest to...
it is only through great fortune that they had not lost their lives...many times over...
as a result of taking unnessesary risks, of being far too cavalier with life...
of having not been deterred even after having suffered injury after injury...
that the pain and injuries had taught them nothing...
that it was the spirit of adventure which had lured them into doing everything...
that it was simply a natural drive to wish to walk on the edge of life...
to test themselves, to find out who they truly were as men.

When a person does not learn from experience...
that is the definition of being a bonehead.
I was simply a bonehead when I was young.

For what ever reason...
I would go from one possibly, but completely unnecessary...
life threatening situation to another...
often emerging unscathed...
and for the stupidest reasons of all...
it seemed like a good idea at the time...
and I just wanted to see if I could do it  :)...
or going from one injury to another, all without a care...
and, yes, actually feeling as if I were ultimately immortal...
that although I could be hurt... I could not be killed
(not as if I were a god......but merely one in training  :)

Although this may seem delusional to us now...
I think it is simply a natural symptom of being a late teenager.

My only problem was that I really did not change as I grew older...
or perhaps, more accurately, I had not really grown until I was in my 40s...
when my son was born.

I had not valued life so much until I first held my son in my arms.
I had not feared for the future until I had seen the trusting and open nature of my son...
the complete goodness and innocence of his being and of how the world had so many
dangers in it...of how easily life can be cut short through stupid actions...
and of how, especially through the lack of forethought...
one places oneself, and others, into situations of unnecessary danger.

I hadn't known true fear until I had become a father.
The risks I had taken when I was young had suddenly become
completely unacceptable to even think about for my son to be anywhere near.

However...
 I also realized it would be unacceptable to keep my son from experiencing the world 
simply because I had wanted to keep him completely protected from harm...
to the point of isolating him from the adventures in life which make it so worth living.

So, by preparing for danger ahead of time...
by carefully planning to make the adventures in life wonderful...
while mitigating the dangers by placing safety first...
and by being prepared to deal with injuries should they occur...
life may be lived in harmony with safety...
 as well as with adventure.

It is in the spirit of this that I prepare.

I will be stocking even more items for our Bug Out Bags...
however, we have the basics now.

The other items I must get over a period of time...
as they are expensive.

I recommend the reading of all my other survival articles located in the archive section...
or as easily gotten to through the provided links below.

As I have already stated in my original article (Bug Out Bag)...
I am NOT an expert in survival.
However, as I speak from some experience...
and what I speak of is very basic and easy to understand and apply...
it has great value to most people.

In the articles, there are fundamental concepts as well as item specific reviews
which could prove to be life savers if ever needed.

I will keep adding to the survival articles as time goes on...
as I add to my equipment...
and as I actually have Alex apply them under field conditions.















I shall be getting an emergency satellite system communicator...
either an emergency beacon with precoded message transmission 
with updated coordinates...
or a two way communicator (which is 3-5 times more expensive)...
with which updated positioning and frequent messages may be followed
by others as well as by the responders in case of emergency...
and, of course, with the texts going both ways.

In addition...
I will be getting an environmentally hardened dedicated GPS unit...
and as a backup GPS...our hardened case cell phones...
and, when Alex and I go deep into the high country...
I will first get topographical maps (and then waterproof them)
of the area as a third redundancy 
(along with a lensatic compass and protractor)
in case satellite reception is poor or the units fail for whatever reason.

I will also teach Alex basic land navigation using all of the units before hand.


When I was in the US Army...
there was no such thing as GPS at that time...
except for hourly checks of position for naval or maritime ships...
and with no handheld units available.

I was trained in the use of the lensatic compass, protractor...
and topographical maps.

The military lensatic compass will work in temperature extremes
beyond that which you could survive in for long.

It is rugged, accurate, and reliable.



A protractor for use on all of the commonly used map scales.

Even without GPS...
8 digit coordinates may be determined from maps using one, with a lensatic compass...
to within 10 meters accuracy.  You may also be able to plot a course
in an area without visible landmarks which you then could follow using a compass...
as well as for determining your location through a process called resection...
for areas with visible landmarks.

If you are going to use this method to back up your GPS...
be sure you study basic orienteering.

I am just going to give you a very basic understanding of it here.

With topographical maps...
there is a difference of degrees between Magnetic North (the compass reading)...
and Grid North (the top of the map aligned with the vertical lines on the map)...
depending on your particular latitude and longitude at the time...
almost without exception (except where Grid, Magnetic, and your position align)...
and of which is determined in the legend of the map.

The Declination Diagram (in the legend) will give you the degrees to accomodate for...
and whether to add or subtract it from magnetic to grid...
or grid to magnetic, when converting azimuths between them
(I am letting you know so you do not think that the verical lines on 
the topo map are aligned with Magnetic North...
and, therefore, could be used to plot an azimuth shot from a compass
directly to the map without conversion...
or vice a versa).

However...
also know that Magnetic North is subject to fluctuation over time...
so the date of the map should be as current as possible.

It is currently moving anywhere from 50 miles a day in great loops...
but has recently been creeping northward at a rate of 25 miles a year...
on the average.



One may still use older maps so long as you can
match your map to definite landmarks...
and then aligning the scale side of the compass with the vertical grid markings...
and then noting the degree of deviation from Grid North...
 and as the compass indicates North as.

To make it very simple...
after noting the actual degree of difference between 
Magnetic North and Grid North...
if the arrow for Magnetic North on the declination diagram
(or most preferably...the north arrow on your compass...
after an accurate map orientation to definite landmarks and the compass'
scale is aligned with the grid lines)...
points to the right of Grid North...
that number of degrees of deviation is 
what is subtracted from the degrees gotten from your compass
BEFORE you plot the angle on your map.

If you plot a course on your map...
and then wish to convert it to degrees in Magnetic to follow with your compass...
you add the same degree of deviation BEFORE determining your direction of travel
(for definitive point to point travel...shooting an azimuth is a visual sighting
 with the compass of a particular point of land...
and the noting of the corresponding angle of degrees as designated 
on the compass).

If the declination diagram Magnetic North arrow 
(or the compass arrow when the compass
is aligned with the grid lines of the map and the map is correctly oriented 
with the land as determined by definitive matching of the terrain to it)...
points to the left of Grid North...
then the opposite applies.

Finding the actual deviation between Grid and Magnetic North
is generally a good idea to do so when initially starting out anyway...
so long as you are sure you are away from any magnetic disturbances...
such as large ferris metal deposits or structures...
power lines...etc.

It is a good idea to do this deviation check more than once
in different locations to ensure your initial accuracy.



An example of the declination diagram on a topographical map.
The legend of the map gives the other information pertinent to the map
(The MILS designation stands for the mil...
a far greater division of a degree for greater accuracy).

Know that the angles of declination may vary from map location 
to map location...and from different periods of time even for the same location.


You will notice they also have listed what they call True North as designated by the star.
It is the actual designated geographical north point on the earth...
as determined by the rotation upon its axis.

However,...
as even True North is subject to change over time due to the 
Earth's natural wobble on its axis...
and Magnetic North is subject to change over time...
and even Celestial North is changed by the Earth's wobble...
and over greater periods of time...
by its travels through space...
it is Grid North which must be used as a reference point
for use on charts when using Magnetic North as a means of navigation.

So...
as it is a mathematical division of the earth's surface...
Grid North is the only unchanging North...
without which, maps would have to be remade periodically to coincide with
a varying North (although this was not the original reason...
it is a reason to keep it...at least for preprinted maps).

However, for our purposes...
it is Grid North which you must be able to distinguish from Magnetic North.

On most of the maps we can get...
North is aligned to Grid North.

Although there are more and more Magnetic North aligned maps available...
most are for areas most commonly hiked...
and not for the wilderness.

You would still have to have the most recent one due to the constant
Magnetic North movement...
and you would still have to check for any deviation of Magnetic North
from known landmarks to get any change since its printing
(although the deviation would be smaller...what is the difference
between adding or subtracting a few degrees more?).

The contour lines on a topographical map 
merely shows the change of elevation of the land.


The farther apart they are...
the less steep it is.

The closer they are...
the more steep it is.



Tic marked contour lines show depressions.

In the legend of the map...
other notables, as appied to the map, are designated.



The protractor comes into play when determining a point's location 
on the map in coordinates...
 by finding a location on the map through coordinates given...
or through degrees from or to known points
as dictated from Magnetic Azimuths from a compass
and converted to Grid Azimuths for plotting...
or through the plotting of Grid Azimuths 
and the subsequent conversion to Magnetic Azimuths
for someone to follow using a compass.

There...
I think I got it all down...
how about you?  :)

I won't be going in to how to plot or find a point on a map using coordinates...
as you really should understand basic orienteering.

Although it is not so difficult to understand...
it would be better explained in a book dedicated to orienteering.

However,
just by using a lensatic compass, a protractor for the angle scale only, and a map...
and you can see at least one identifiable landmark...
you may determine your location in case you are lost.

Just by shooting an azimuth to the identifiable feature...
then determining the back azimuth (adding or subtracting 180 degrees)...
you may then convert the Magnetic Back Azimuth to a Grid Back Azimuth.
By then placing the center of the protractor on the observed point on the map
(be careful to ensure the protactor is aligned with the grid lines)...
a line may be drawn back from that landmark using the Grid Back Azimuth 
to find your location along a specified line.  And with an estimation of distance from it...
you will have a fairly good idea of your location
(one point resection).

If you can do it with two points from approximately 30 degrees to 150 degrees apart...
where the two lines intersect will be an accurate point placement of your location.
(two point resection).


However, with just knowledge of a cardinal direction
(it makes it easier to spot identifiable features)...
and with the ability to match unique topographical features as seen by the eye...
(mountain tops, bends in rivers or anything which can be identified as unique)
and as matched to features depicted on the map...
you can find your way out of trouble...
without the use of either a protractor or compass.



I will also be carrying my shotgun with slug ammunition...
 as killing a hungry bear or mountain lion is far more difficult with a spear  :)
(although we will have those as walking sticks and as a back up...no joke).

A 12 gauge shot gun loaded with slugs is far superior to rifles...
and especially handguns, since even a mortal wound 
other than a direct hit to the central nervous system of a large predator 
with a rifle or a handgun may still allow it enough time to kill you
(remember, this is not for hunting purposes where a long standoff range
is preferable...it is for a short range suprise direct confrontation with a
large predator aimed at destroying you.  When you think of a shotgun loaded with slugs...
think of it as a shorter range launcher of a 1 oz. 3/4 inch front diameter piece of lead
traveling at a velocity capable of penetrating and dispersing its considerable energy
into any creature on the North American continent...
and capable of an immediate take down almost regardless as to where the creature is hit).

Loaded with slugs...
it has no dispersal pattern and has a far longer reach than when loaded with any of
the multi pellet shots.  It is accurate to at least 100 yards..and for much farther
when in skilled hands.

A 12 gauge shot gun slug...even to the shoulder girdle...
will destroy the bony supporting structure allowing an immediate takedown.
This allows for far less accuracy being necessary while under extreme stress
due to a wider available effective target area...
as well as giving you the ability to drop a bear in its tracks.

I am looking forward to going cross country skiing...
and high country hiking with Alex...
however, I won't be going deep into the country until I gather 
all of the gear necessary to deal with all the types of emergencies
which may emerge.

In addition to this kit and the included supplies...
I have also bought other items which should be standard
in all medical kits (along with the knowledge of how to use them).

In the high country...
it may be necessary to deal with...
strained or broken limbs...
venomous creatures...
fangs and claws of predators...
all sorts of situations which would require stabilization...
and evacuation.

I will go into the pre-plotting, selection, as well as the actual set up of...
 an emergency medivac landing zone...in later articles.



A large capacity medical kit is absolutely necessary if one is going into the 
backcountry for any extended period of time. 


For people thinking that planning for the worst cast scenario is absurd...
when the most important person in your life may have to depend 
on your forethought for his very survival...
it is no longer ludicrous.



I will be adding the following to this kit
(they are already on their way from Amazon)...
as well other items I still must buy.




An adjustable Cervical Collar for possible spinal neck injuries.


I had gotten several of these in case of profusely bleeding wounds.


Pressure bandages are also necessary to prevent traumatic loss of blood.


Every medical procedure I describe is for people to realize
that they should get the proper training ahead of time...
and to know what they may have to face before they venture into the wilderness.

It is merely to open the eyes of the layman thinking that
a high country adventure is nothing to worry about...
that he may venture off without thorough preparation.

Again...
I am no expert in medical procedures...
and well...in actually anything.

I am merely pointing out that with proper preparation...
unnecessary danger may be either avoided, or mitigated through it. 

Proper preparation is having the correct equipment...
AND the knowledge in how to use it correctly.

So...
in the spirit of pointing people toward getting BOTH...
the proper training and equipment...
before placing themselves into situations
where they might need emergency evacuation...
I say...

The ability to create and maintain an open airway in the field
when everything else fails is an absolute necessity.

A person should also know how to perform an emergency Tracheotomy
(through proper training)
in case of massive facial or Larynxical trauma which results in the occlusion of the airway 
(think falling from heights)...
Anaphylaxis (allergic or reaction to a toxin causing massive swelling and the resulting
closing off of the airway - however, I also have an Epi pen)...
a proved dislodegable object in the airway where mulitple and 
extreme pressure thrusts on the diaphragm had not worked...etc...
AS A LAST RESORT...AFTER ALL OTHER MEANS HAVE BEEN EXHAUSTED...
where they are unconscious and death will be certain without one being performed.

Also, after suffering a major trauma where there was massive blood loss...
after stopping the blood loss...
being able to infuse the body with a sterile isotonic fluid (Sodium Chloride solution)
(however, it is almost impossible for a lay person to secure sterile saline bags)...
or blood through direct transfusion could mean the difference between
a person dying from an otherwise preventable death...
and one who is stabilized long enough until he is extracted by 
emergency personnel.

I am a universal donor...
and I would ONLY do so in a circumstance where
my son or wife would almost certainly die should I not do it.

The principle...
and the actual mechanics of a direct transfusion is rather simple...
with just some basic anatomical knowledge...
and some common sense
(indirect transfusions are often not only too slow to prevent death
in high trauma instances in the field where the blood must first be drawn from the donor...
 there is the additional complication of clotting in the reservoir before infusion).

This is something I am prepared to do...
NOT something I recommend others to do
(unless they have the appropriate training and equipment).

I will have the necessary equipment...
I have the basic knowledge...
 I know my blood type...
and that of my recipients.

It would JUST be from me to my son or wife...
and ONLY in cases where they would die without it being done
before a life flight could arrive.

Shock (hypovolemic shock) is the major killer in high blood/fluid loss trauma victims.


I will have multiple sets of each.



Obviously, for liability reasons...
I will not be going into these more.

Although I am not highly medically trained...
in an extreme circumstance where death is almost certain... 
and imminent...should I not act...
as a parent, having the possibility to save my son's life
with pre-stored equipment and forethought...
doing so is far preferable to doing nothing...
and wishing I could have done something.

My point is to prepare for the worst
with everything that you are capable of doing within the bounds of your skills...
and to get proper training in everything you can...
before an emergency catches you unprepared.


A one handed emergency tourniquet with a locking windlass system.

Obviously, one should know to do it ONLY as a last resort to save the life...
over that of the limb.  Once applied...after a relatively short period of time...
releasing it could kill the person...not just from more fluid loss...
but from the toxins released by the dying tissue below the tourniquet
being recirculated to the body.

In most cases...
a blood clotting bandage and heavy direct and digital pressure 
will allow stabilization of the victim
(digital pressure is the SLOWING - NOT THE STOPPING - of blood flow
to the wound by applying pressure on the supplying artery 
to supplement direct pressure on major wounds to allow
the blood to be controlled by the direct pressure on the wound...
and so, to clot).

However, the tourniquet may be used as an emergency impromtu device to apply 
digital pressure when there is just two of you...or even just for yourself...
when applied with a large wad of compressed cloth under the tourniquet...
 and above the supplying artery...
and over a supporting rigid rod on the opposing side of the limb...
the rod of which would be supported by the joints above and below the limb
 (and would be padded at the body supports when given time)...
 to act as an extra pair of hands would do were there another person there...
and using JUST enough pressure to act as digital pressure...
so long as you DO NOT completely cut off blood flow to the wound...
but JUST slow it enough for direct pressure to control the rest...
and would therefore, allow you to work on other life saving measures
in the meantime.

Everyone should know where the major arteries in the body are to the extremities...
and how to apply digital pressure correctly
 (pressing toward the bone with the artery between).


An emergency resuscitator can be absolutely necessary to keep a person alive
while awaiting evacuation should their breathing stop.
Besides trauma, there a variety of poisons, venoms and toxins which
can affect the body's ability to breathe on its own...
and where by breathing for him using the positive pressure created
with such a device...a person may be kept alive until evacuated...
 (mouth to mouth can neither be sustained for nearly so long... 
nor so effectively, as through such a device).



These emergency splints may be cut to appropriate lengths...
and shaped to rigidity because it is a strip of aluminum which is covered by padding. 
 When formed into a half tube lengthwise...
it resists transverse bending.


I also got 6 sets of these finger splints.


I will continue to add to the medical kit...
including antibiotics for a long term survival field situation only
(Zombie Apocolypse :)

Inexpensive common antibiotics are available without prescription from aquarium stores.
You just have to remember to store them appropriately...
and to mind expiration dates...
and, of course, to have the dosage requirements.

I will also get a blood pressure auto cuff...
a finger continuous readout 3 in 1 pulse oximeter...
and a digital thermometer
(in a case where I would be in contact with a doctor while awaiting a life flight...
I could report on the readings to allow a greater picture of the 
internal situation of my son whether he is unconscious or not).


On a lighter note...
I have also bought...
and will continue to add to, efficient animal trapping equipment.


Gill nets...
in conjunction with stream damming...
or other means of forced directional fish capture, is highly efficient
(most are illegal to use...except under survival situations).

I will also be going over the construction of woven wood strip fish traps later...
which could be made in the field in high numbers...
and of which are extremely efficient and effective.

Any and all means of setting multiple traps, is energy and time efficient...
and is usually far more effective in achieving the necessary amounts of food...
than is the tracking and hunting of larger animals unless you are
particularly skilled, have the right equipment, and in an area rich in large game.

I will also be securing a large number of wire snares.

They are very space efficient in the backpack.

And...
so as not to ignore a very easily gotten...
and highly nutritious food...
I will later be going over that which is underground...
if all else fails.


I have also bought genuine US Army 1 quart canteens with the insulated cases...
stainless steel cups and cooking spacers.

I used these in the Army.

The stainless steel cup is a fairly large cooking vessel which fits 
on the bottom half of the canteen while it is in the carrier.

I bought one set up for each of us.

The rest of our canteens are 2 quart canteens with insulated cases.






I also bought one locking mess kit for each of us
(the handle folds over the top lid to lock it on).
I used the same thing in the field in the Army.
You can cook and eat out of these...
and they are space efficient.


Of course...
small can openers can be a space saver.


A titanium fork, spoon, and small knife combo for each of us.


A 10' x 12' tarp for each of us is an emergency shelter...
and a ground cloth.


Five different colored paracord (20' each)...
along with buckles and rings...
all for under $10.00.

One complete package for each of us.

This allows one to make a tent out of the tarp easily.


A high quality self inflating air mattress is an absolute necessity.
It has a closed core foam mattress inside.
When you open the valve and unroll it...
it is almost completely inflated.

To make it more firm...
it takes just a few lungs full of air to do so.

It rolls down tightly to fit on the backpack.

Although our sleeping bag systems have an outer bag of Gortex...
and is a mini tent in itself...
an air mattress is essential to sleeping well...
and sleeping well is essential to recovering from fatigue...
and most importantly...
it keeps the outer Gortex lining from being punctured from below.

This one is 1.25" thick and comes with its own stuff sack.


This package provides over 3,600 hundred calories and may be stored for 5 years
(U.S. Coast Guard approved)...
all in a package which is 4.5" x 2" x 5"...and under $10.00 each.

One each for us in case of extreme circumstances.

It is enough to start us out until we may forage for more food...
or in case we are stranded and have to wait for emergency rescue
(after alerting them through the satellite system communicator...
beam us up Scotty  :)

Of course...
we would pack other food for planned excursions before hand...
however, I shall keep these in our Bug Out Bags for unexpected events.

I will also always have snow chains in the storage compartment in our car
(not just for snow... but for sand, muddy inclines in the mountains...etc).

I would also ensure plenty of water is in the car (we have a base camp 5 gal. container)
whenever we travel long distances...especially through the desert.


The beautiful solitude of the wilderness
can only be fully enjoyed when you have the knowledge
that you have done everything possible to handle potential disasters ahead of time.

Having the survival equipment necessary in time of need...
allows you to be able to live long enough to be able to enjoy those pleasures.


As time goes on...
I will be giving more of my thoughts and preparations
in line with survival.

Once again...sometime in the future...
I will be including the practical application of these thoughts 
as I have Alex demonstrate them under real life conditions
(the survival techniques that is...
the medical techniques shall be simulated...of course  :)
















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