Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Woodsman's Backpack

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

First, I would like to thank Md. Knighthawk for the link, to his mini-athoids tin, in the comments for "Survival Kit in a Tin."

Next, I would like to thank the Woodsman for allowing me to photograph his backpack (BOB, GHB, GOOD, 72-hour Kit) that he plans to wear with his combat vest.

The Woodsman's Backpack

The Woodsman is new to prepping, about two years. Like most of us, he has limited funds, so he 'makes do' with what he has.


His backpack is his former bookbag from middle school. If you enlarge the picture, you will notice one of the back pockets is missing.

For as old as the bag (ssh, it's over 10 years old) is, it's still in good shape and has many more years of service. Plus, Woodsman has hacked his backpack, so it works for him.

First, you will notice the sheath on the outside; Woodsman made it out of deer hide (Yes, he shot it, skinned it, butchered it, tanned the hide, and stitched it into the right shape) to fit a machete; he made from an oversized machete. He bought from one of the china-marts.

Next, Woodsman ripped out the computer pocket of his backpack and installed a water bladder. He threaded the drinking tube through the pocket's opening and connected it to the bag's shoulder strap.

Which he modified.

By adding an adjustment strap that the Woodsman took from the water bladder carrier, he installed in the backpack. The bite-valve can be easily adjusted up or down to allow the Woodsman to drink his water from the water bladder.

Neat-O Items

The woodsman has some really neat stuff, in his backpack.

The Woodsman's Dad give him a compact firearm cleaning kit, for Christ's Mass or his birthday. The kit has cleaning patches, cleaning rod, cleaning jig, bore cleaner, oil, and a bore brush.

The patches cleaning jig, and bore brush are in plastic baggies to prevent them from getting lost. An important issue in prepping.

The next neat-o is his knife sharpening kit. It fits in a nylon case. He has a sharpening rod and a handle knife sharpener.

I like the idea that the handle knife sharpener is in orange, so it is hard to lose. Plus, the sharpening rod allows him to sharpen serrated knives.

The next two neat things, I'm going to write about, are his headlamp and a can of spices that the Woodsman carries in his backpack.

The headlamp allows the Woodsman to use both hands, when it's dark, to cook, clean, tend a wound, or complete other tasks.

The spices allow the Woodsman to add flavor to his food, if needed.

The last neat-o item is Woodsman's piece of camouflage cloth. The camo cloth is big enough for the Woodsman to hide himself and his gear.

He also carries a small copy of FM 21-76-1 from June '99. (I think the booklet is an excerpt)

Other Supplies

Now, the Woodsman also carries additional gear.

He has a first aid kit, a sewing kit with needles and two strengths of thread, rain gear, and hand/body warmers.

The Woodsman told me that he carries the chemical warmers because he found out first hand how cold it can get here when he went coon hunting and got wet, miles from home.

OK folks, I left out some stuff, in this article like Woodsman's fire kit in a tin and his rudimentary first-aid kit. The fire kit has cotton balls, a magnesium fire starter with a piece of hacksaw blade for the striker, and water-proof matches.

The Woodsman's first-aid stuff is some gauze pads and a small bottle of aspirin.

OK. What do you think?

Pretty good, isn't it. It is, but Woodsman is missing some critical items, to me. Let's take a look.

Woodsman is missing some kind of shelter, to me. Yes, he can improvise a shelter using the machete and the cordage, in the headlight and spice picture, or he can use the rain poncho to make a shelter.

Me? I prefer a blue or green tarp dedicated for shelter, say a 10 feet X 8 feet or a 12X12 tarp and some 550 cord to tie the shelter down.

Woodsman has a water bladder, I think 80 to 100 ounces, that's enough for short emergencies about one to two days. He can obtain more potable water by using the matches to make a fire to purify the water for drinking.

Me? I would carry some Polar Pure (Nope, not an Amazon link because it's not a DOSC article) or some kind of disinfection tablet. I like Polar Pure because it's iodine crystals; they'll never go bad.

Yep, Woodsman knows it too. He has no food in his pack. Of course for a short emergency, more water is better since a person can survive three to five weeks without food.

Woodsman and I talked about it, and he's thinking a couple packages of Ramen noodles, trail mix-type bars, and other stuff like that.

Some wilderness writers will put fire on the same level as shelter. I agree and Woodsman agrees too that's why he has two different ways, in his pack, to start a fire. If you count his combat vest with rifle and pistol, he would have five ways of starting a fire.

Let's count:

1 - Matches, 2 - fire starter, 3 - rifle bullet, 4 - pistol bullet, 5 - fire starter on his knife.

Rifle, pistol, knife. I don't think he needs anymore.

Woodsman is a little light on the medical gear. He could use some duct tape and a couple of band-aids, maybe a few more sterile gauze pads, too.

OK, that's it. I'm going to bed.

Thanks again to the Woodsman for allowing me to photograph his backpack and its contents.

State of Washington: Department of Health - Purifying Household Water

Backpacker Magazine - Gear Review Polar Pure Water Disinfectant

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