I suppose this is more of a continuation of the first article link that I submitted to SurvivalBlog and that was posted back in March of 2013: What’s In My 72 Hour Bag (and why). I was surprised to see over 400,000 downloads from my website and I got more than a few e-mailed comments.
Some Background: In 2011, I started carrying a 5.11 satchel with a Glock inside since I obtained a CCW permit in Colorado. Over the years that messenger bag turned into an intermediate between my EDC key ring and my 72-hour bag. But recently, while in California, my Jeep was broken into — and pretty much everything was stolen. So I had to recreate my tactical satchel from memory. I took this opportunity to document it for your enlightenment in Parts 1 and 2. Later installments will show the reformation of my trauma bag which was also stolen, and I’m sure, discarded as useless by those jamokes.
A Side Note: The thieves also took my range bag with all my magazines and ammo. Let me tell you that rearming yourself in California is an expensive chore – and those terrible leaders laugh at us for wanting to protect ourselves while we do it.)
As I go through this analysis I’ll give part numbers when relevant. Also, I am no expert, I am simply an intentional civilian who learns through testing gear and placing himself into situations where I need to perform. I want to be effective and a good steward for Jesus.
This loadout is right around 10 lb. with water. My personal view is that if you need to save 2 lb. then you probably need to do more sit-ups and drop 2 lb. off your gut. So I’m not saying to work harder but pick up the pace!
Instead of 5.11, I went with a slightly smaller unit made by Direct Action. My old bag had become somewhat of a Mary Poppins purse and I thought smaller would force me to be more minimalist. At one point in the past I had even purchased ballistic carbon fiber sheets, piano hinged them and placed into the laptop compartment for conformal protection against small arms fire. Since then I’ve realized that was a bit over the top.
There are five major compartments in the Direct Action satchel: two on the front after you open the flap, one on each end and the main. There are numerous zippered flat pouches with quick, outside access. The offering of this type of bag has changed in a decade and I found this unit easier to gear out because it is mostly sheathed with the loop part of Velcro®. That and the hooked products offered by other companies made everything an attachment point. It was actually fun.
I wear this on my left hip to keep my OWB-holstered sidearm free. You may choose differently. Let’s go.
Zippered Side Pocket – Radio
I keep the usual Baofeng UV-5R+ with a reengineered channel map to this part of my state. And to my desires which don’t include FCC rules. It includes a spare battery, aftermarket earbud (the factory stuff is junk, especially the mic), shorty antenna for FTX work, normal antenna and a better gain flip out one that is built with a tape measure inside. The big antenna goes into the main compartment at the bottom, everything else but the radio goes into a cloth bag from CLC. You will want to strap masking tape over the volume button because it can accidentally get knocked to the “on” position. That happened to me a few years ago. The radio load out is 12.5 ounces but you can shed 2.8 ounces if you drop the spare battery.
Note: In my experience the prep community completely blows it by focusing on guns. No, dudes, success is through comms. And medical. And training. Y’all ain’t John Rambo but you can be Johnny Gage to save lives if you stop going nuts in the gun store and instead learn CPR and basic life-saving techniques.
Open Side Pocket (white Arrow)
A pint of water, changed monthly. It is heavy at 1.5 lb. I do not suggest a thin plastic bottle simply because of history. Did any moviemaker ever show Vin Diesel accomplishing a goal with a plastic water bottle? No. So buy a genuine aluminum Sigg bottle and be done with it. That thing is like a gym sock full of padlocks, if you know what I mean.
Outer Flap and Outer Zippered Pocket (red ARROW)
Pretty simple: some morale patches (the War Hand from https://weaponized.design/ and my blood type), a real climbing carabineer and multi-use light with red and white solid/flashing modes (BlackburnDesign.com Model 2’Fer). The light is great when walking at night in warning mode if you’re along a street (or like I, walking past drug dealers to my AirBnB and warning them to stay away). There is also a horizontal zippered pocket (red) in which I keep a bandanna and skull facemask (not a fake covid mask). The pocket is also great for easily stashing your smartphone.
Let’s get into the hard stuff: electronics, food, medical, and defense.
Left Zipped Compartment
This contains electronics:
1. Anker power bank (the big one, PowerCore Slim 10000)
2. A dual high power outlet USB-A charger (iOne, dual 2.1 amp outputs, model WAD001)
3. All useful USB-A-to-whatever cables including the custom ones to charge the OLight and the 18650 cell in the headlamp
Not shown: a couple of good pens and my journal (I prefer the Moleskine 3.5” x 5.5” ruled reporter notebook).
Right Zippered Compartment
This contains snack/emergency food and a small medkit. Hold on to your hats regarding the latter. The food is simply stuff that you can get from the local market. When all my gear was stolen I asked if I could resupply from the various kitchens around the company, which were essentially miniature Circle Ks. Once approved these were the things I chose. I added the Emergen-C and also:
1. Instant glucose for that long march or to help a diabetic along the way. (You will read more about this in a future article with my trauma bag load out.)
2. The blue chiclets are some sort of caffeinated gum but in the foil are real blow-your-head-off caffeine pills. Be careful.
In the end, just choose what you like. Calories from sugar should be high for prompt digestion.
I tend to go pretty wide on the medical stuff even when I want to go light. Hey, no need to suffer with modern science. Thus:
1. Zippered bag holding everything #3-12 on this list
2. Sudecon wipe to neutralize pepper spray. Not in the black bag but along side it so when my eyes and nasal passages are burning I am not unzipping a bag to look for it. Especially if my eyes do not work. Think through this stuff and make it easy on yourself.
3. Oral rehydration salts are amazing and you should carry them. They are not light at 1 ounce. But they will recover someone from bad diarrhea and that someone could be you.
4. Celox – these guys should receive the Nobel Prize. These granules clot blood on contact. You’re not going to get small field injectables of TXA so this is the next best tool. I remember when they were only approved for hunting dog injuries. And the green pouch of Curad Bloodstop – if you’ve ever bonked your head as I have and started bleeding down into your eyes this will end the problem in less than 30 seconds. Same stuff as Celox but in a small gauze pad.
5. Various band-aids for booboos. All cloth. Don’t forget the knuckle ones.
6. 4×4 and 2×2 gauze pads to soak up blood while you work on the #4 stuff.
7. External wipes: alcohol for instruments (not skin), BZK (for skin abrasions) and sting and bite pads. You can buy these all in 100 packs for very little money and share with your prep tribe. (You do have a tribe, right?)
8. Topical stuff: 3-in-1 ointment to prevent infection, 1% hydrocortisone cream and the most important Burn Gel. Your skin is your largest organ in your body and if you want to die – while in great pain – compromise it. That is why burns hurt so much. Manage the damage.
9. Oral drugs including the usual three: aspirin, Tylenol, and Aleve. They all offer different action fronts and since I am not offering medical advice, do your own research.
10. Low cost one-way-resuscitation valve; from all my training let me tell you that pushing your oxygen-derived breath into another human is far less important than learning how to push on their chest to move that blood around. (If you can afford – and desire – to step into this space buy a few bag valve masks (BVMs). Room air has more oxygen in it that your exhaled breath.)
11. The lip balm manufacturing plants will run Bartertown in the future. If you have never experienced the pain from badly chapped lips then it is just ahead.
12. Always a few antacid tablets and cough drops
I’m not trying to save the world here, just myself and any unlucky soul I come across.
I’ll have more for you, in my planned Part 2.
Comments to [email protected] will always be answered.
Please, strong women and men, just execute.