This type of bag is based on Dave Canterbury’s list of necessary gear for spending time in the wilderness. This makes for a handy checklist of gear to take with you hiking, hunting or fishing. It is lightweight and can be tailored to your specific needs but as a stand alone kit will serve you well in a variety of situations. The list is in two sets of five items each. The first five are the most critical but I would recommend going with all ten plus I add a few items that I will discuss at the end.
The First 5 C’s of Survival
1) Cutting Tool – To me this means a full tang knife with high carbon steel blade five to six inches in length with a flat back edge.
2) Combustion – Being able to make a fire is essential to your survival. Whether it is to boil water for cooking or drinking or to maintain your core temperature in cool damp conditions you should always carry a fire kit (Water proof matches, lighter, ferro rod and dry tinder e.g. foil nuggets, fat wood, char cloth etc.).
3) Cover – You should always carry a tarp, poncho or survival blanket. These rig easily for shelter in an emergency.
4) Container – Use either a stainless steel bottle or a metal canteen. This way you can boil water to make it safe for drinking. The canteen is nice as you can get kits with a stove and cup.
5) Cordage – I like 550 paracord carry at least 100 feet.
The Second 5 C’s
6) Candle – Illumination is essential to doing tasks or moving around at night. I carry both a headlamp and spare batteries and a 5 pack of emergency candles in my bag. The candles can also be handy for starting a five in damp conditions.
7) Cotton – Bandannas have a multitude of uses from a head cover to pre filtering water they are deceptively useful in an emergency.
8) Compass – There are many ways to tell directions in the wild (position of the sun or stars for example) but none beat a good compass for finding your way in the wild especially when combined with topographical maps of the area you’re in.
9) Cargo Tape – From first aid to field expedient repairs the uses for this item are really only limited by your imagination.
10) Canvas needle – Any large gauge needle will work I actually carry a couple of sizes and a package of dental floss for use as thread in an emergency. They can also be used as a make shift compass.
Remember these items will be useful only if you have the experience and the presence of mind to use them. Practice with them in your backyard to gain proficiency and confidence in your tools then head out on shirt hikes and practice some more under different conditions and circumstances. There is no substitute for experience if you need to use these items in an emergency.
My 3 Extra’s
1) Calories – Add some food items to your kit. Try out your some different types. I either make my own or carry Mountain Hose Freeze Dried Foods. Try out a few different types to find your favorite dish I like the Chili Mac or the Beef Stroganoff.
2) Folding Saw – Makes getting firewood much easier.
3) Water filter – This makes it much easier to process water on the move. No need to stop and build a fire.
This is a breakdown of one style of BOB. There are other types of bags and gear load outs and we will take a look at a few more types over the next week. I will end this series will a look at what I carry in my bag. Remember practicing with your gear is an important part of your planning.