Starting out, what to pack. (the basics)

There’s a lot of opinions on what get packed into a good field kit, or ruck, pack, or whatever you choose to call it. Survivalists, hikers and campers will almost get into bar room brawls over the subject, the way football fanatics almost will over who gets picked where and when in the NFL draft. Ok, maybe it’s not THAT bad, but it’s pretty polarizing.

Suffice to say we all have our opinions. Hikers will say, “bah, ounces kill”; campers will say “If it fits in my RV…”; Survivalists will say “I’d pack the kitchen sink if it could fold up into a altoid tin”; and bushcrafters will say “pack”????

Regardless of where you stand, there are some things we ALL agree on:

1) Water filtration: (buy one HERE)find a system you like, master it, but have a backup method “on file”.

IMG_20150618_201516 My preference, the Sawyer system

2) Shelter: pack a pancho, a small tent, a bivy/tarp, a hammock, or know how to build one well.

20150313_2245572 man pancho/bivy shelter set up in Hill Country Natural Area

3) Fire: I know, we all want to be super-cool and hand-drill or bow-drill it; or fire plow, or fire saw, or… forget all that (for now), pack waterproof matches, a zippo, 2 or 3 Bic lighters, a ferro rod, magnesium block, steel wool & 9v battery, lighter fluid….whatever. But know at LEAST 3 ways to get a fire going.

Steel wool firephoto credit: The Spokesman-Review

4) A knife: Ok, this gets the NFL draft-esque fights going again. HC steel vs stainless, fixed vs folding, G10 vs micarta, ESEE vs Ontario… (I’d duck on that last one, and watch for bottles to fly).

Ontario RAT7My Ontario RAT7

5) Food: some people like “Mountain House” type dehydrated foods, most of us military guys will stand by our MRE’s (partly nostalgia, partly familiarity and ease of use). The “forager” will look at you and say…”you packed food”? Personally, I like to pack a well marbled porterhouse…

Not an MREHint: it’s not an MRE

After that, it’s gets pretty murky, but those are the basics, the beginning. You start with those 5 things, and expand on that (till you have an entire room dedicated to gear and equipment, don’t laugh, it’ll happen eventually). After this you start getting into cordage, containers, compasses, (some of you already know where this is heading…) communications, etc, etc, etc. We could go WAY deeper into a gear list, but for now, well leave you with this to chew on.

Hope that gives you somewhere to start if you’re new at this. If you’re not, standby, we’re just getting started.

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One Thought to “Starting out, what to pack. (the basics)”

  1. That means gradually adjusting them to the outdoors by setting them out in a sheltered, shady spot for a few hours a day.

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