Comforts of the bag, long and short treks

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Maverick

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I touched on this topic in various threads here on pack load, hiking and my failures, the method would be the same for bugging out.

Over the years I have packed in (using a multitude of different packs) for a week at a time and sometimes longer and sometimes shorter never the less short hikes is no different than long hikes and what I am seeing on various sites would lead one to failure in short order if not injured. This post is not going to discuss clothing or shoes but instead it's a discussion on comfort under load bearing weight and the method I use to keep me on the trail longer and further without undue stress on my shoulders, lower back and legs regarding backpacks.

Lets face it, the majority of preppers are not athletic nor in the best of health and or aches and pains associated with age never the less bugging out is the only option for many. First and foremost the weight should be no more than what you can carry COMFORTABLY in the environment you will be bugging out regardless of season, I know at my age I already had to re-adjust my pack due to my limitations (not as sure-footed as I once was on sloped hillsides)

What I am seeing is the recommendations of military packs, yes they durable to a point but I'm going to tell you they are not the best choice for the majority of preppers. Because of the type of terrain I'm in I need to use a pack with an internal frame that carries the weight vertical rested on the hip (not shoulders) that keeps the load closer to my spine that's not much wider than my body (were most Military packs fail) with no weight shifting of the packs contents, now if I was in Texas an external frame pack would be ok if not preferable but on uneven grounds the external frames holds the weight to far out from the spine causing stability issues and undue fatigue.

Another problem I am seeing, people loading up the pants waist belt with knives, multi-tools, firearms, flashlights, ammo etc... while carrying the packs. Advice, get a utility belt (pistol belt) that contains these tools and either strap it to the outside of the pack or put in the pack until the pack is on the ground, if a firearms needs to be carried then think of utilizing a chest rig for handgun, nothing should be on the belt that holds up the pants. I also recommend using suspenders even if using a waist belt for several reasons, one of the worst thing you can do is tighten the waist belt for any reason be it gear on the belt, the pants getting wet, equipment in the pockets or weight loss due to changes in eating habit (common in a high stress environment) etc.. tightening the waist belt puts unneeded pressures on the abdominal and lower back area, suspenders help assist in removing this unneeded pressures.

Since I'm always trying out new equipment I'm always taking my bug out bag (currently my I.N.C.H. bag) out to not only to test the equipment but also refining my load distribution on different terrains, a bug out bag should always be tested and refined more than once and should be done periodically thus at the same time you are testing your limitations, limitations need to be tested least twice a year. Bugging out isn't just having a bag, your body is very much part of the bag a failure on either one can lead to dire straits.

Never purchase a bag blind, no such thing as one bag fits all! The bag should be tried out, put it on before purchase, make sure it can be strapped to your comfort, can the internal frame be adjusted, does an external frame type fit correctly, is the hip belt padded enough for the weight being carried, whats the return policy. Once home load the pack up and walk 2 miles, is it comfortable can it be refined if not? Remember, the hip supports the weight, the shoulder straps suck the pack up against the back and stabilize not weight bearing, the hip belt rest snugly on your hip and NOT cinched to your waist ;)

Sheer panty hose, I strongly recommend Sheer panty hose for guys and gals, it really does help relieve some fatiguing in the legs and offer some warmth in the winter and protection from certain insects, the benefits out weigh the embarrassment. I have used the sheer's when I was in the service in South America and Africa and it did help greatly also keep in mind fatigue in the legs shifts majority of the weight to the lower back accelerating full body fatigue making it very difficult to set up your trail or drop camp and affecting your awareness in a high stress environment.

The pace needs to be consistent and realistic, you need to be truthful to yourself and the party you are with, you need to listen to your body don't push it, communications is paramount not just to yourself but everyone around you! Keeping energy levels and strength up, to help with my pace I eat tuna fish, raisins and sunflower seeds mix together (made easier with tuna in a bag) while walking, low energy accelerates fatigue causing reduced awareness though maintaining energy would be in vain if the backpack didn't fit correctly.

Don't buy into the hype "this is the best bug out bag" Only you can determine the best bag and to determine that is to physically try and test the bag yourself this is were the refund policy comes into play!

We had very expensive bags $360ea and used them for about 3 years, around two years ago we switched to a cheaper (mid-priced $77ea) given the comfort level was far better with the weight we are carrying, the most expensive isn't always the best and in my case I tired quicker!
 
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Silent Earth

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Mil Spec packs are (A) Not comfortable (B) They attract bullets because as soon as other preppers / survivors see them they see a THREAT (C) They aint low profile they do not help with the Gray Man image many of us want (D) they are built by the cheaper contract bidder (E) they are always a Compromise.
 

tc556guy

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Mil Spec packs are (A) Not comfortable (B) They attract bullets because as soon as other preppers / survivors see them they see a THREAT (C) They aint low profile they do not help with the Gray Man image many of us want (D) they are built by the cheaper contract bidder (E) they are always a Compromise.
If someone wants something and they think you have what they want, it wont matter what bag you're carrying your stuff in.
 

Maverick

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If someone wants something and they think you have what they want, it wont matter what bag you're carrying your stuff in.
That may be true though that doesn't negate the fact that going as the gray man would be a wiser choice. Generally speaking Military packs grab far greater attention if one is wanting to blend in with the norm and this was especially true when we had to meet up with certain folks in Africa in an open market, we donned non military/tourist clothing and low profile civilian back packs as not to attract wondering eyes and thats what we should be thinking about. an o'l saying, 'being cool would get you dead'
 

tc556guy

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That may be true though that doesn't negate the fact that going as the gray man would be a wiser choice. Generally speaking Military packs grab far greater attention if one is wanting to blend in with the norm and this was especially true when we had to meet up with certain folks in Africa in an open market, we donned non military/tourist clothing and low profile civilian back packs as not to attract wondering eyes and thats what we should be thinking about. an o'l saying, 'being cool would get you dead'
I would think that there's almost no way to "blend in" in Africa as an American Caucasian.
Foreigners can pick many Americans out in a crowd, and being a white guy on the dark continent.....yeah that's a hard one, and certainly not the scenario I was thinking of
 

Maverick

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I would think that there's almost no way to "blend in" in Africa as an American Caucasian.
Foreigners can pick many Americans out in a crowd, and being a white guy on the dark continent.....yeah that's a hard one, and certainly not the scenario I was thinking of
I take it you never been there? many many whites born, live and work in Africa, seeing caucasians is not that uncommon ;)
 

tc556guy

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I take it you never been there? many many whites born, live and work in Africa, seeing caucasians is not that uncommon ;)
Never made it to Africa
I'm sure there are quite a few whites in some parts of it, but hasn't the politics in many nations there caused a lot of white flight?
Any way you cut it, whites are in the minority there and I'd think most Americans in particular would stand out in the crowd.
 

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Here is my theory on the Gray Man thought.

1) Most of us are very heavily armed. My brother in law who is visiting us with his wife own close to 78 weapons. They live in Montana, even his kids who are in their mid 30's now, have known how to use weapons since they were knee high. So, do you think my brother is going to blend in, he wears a revolver on most day and in the state of Montana, they have that little recreational clause that allows them to carry weapons to certain places without a CHL. Everyone in that household has a CHL. So are they Gray? Don't think they are going to blend in and they are not per se Preppers. Granted they could go off the grid quite easily as they own a piece of property in the hills of Montana that has a hunting cabin. My nephew has nine children (no, not his own, but he loves them, just the same, each of those kids can't shoot). My son commented how he showed the littlest one how to handle a 770 and she just grinned and told him it was a pop gun to her. Is she a Gray Man? God, as I've commented to some of you, I'd never screw around because I'd never hear the bullet meant for me. Helps to respect those that love you.

2) Doesn't matter whether your wearing Camo, Backpacks that are mil'd or riding in one. If an SOB wants to tangle with you, respond accordingly with the biggest gun. Guess what no Gray Man there. I know what your all thinking Silent Bob, your responding like your in the military. Guess what people don't respect people today, they are brazen, I deal with their off-spring each day and I never turn my back on some of them. I don't give them an inch and I certainly let them know who is in charge, those little turd wannabe's guess what respect that, they might not like it, but then they are not stupid enough to place their head in a hornet's nest either and get stung. You know what those little ones turn eventually into big ones and I want them to fill their little heads that when SHTF, they come looking for trouble, they will find it. Guess what, most of my little turds know it too and when I see them as big turd (like the ones I had five years ago, they make a wide path and walk away.

3) Doesn't matter the color clothes you wear, etc. You wonder why Chevy Trucks and Toyotas are popular at Chop Shops...because people drive them and people steal them. If someone wants it bad enough they are going to force those that are weak to give it up. Me, I'd like to let them hear me ROAR first and then see what happen.

4). My father told me once, people lock doors and windows to keep other people honest. The same is true when we prep. One of the first things people who prep is get a good gun, they learn to use it, they practice it (hopefully more frequently then once a year), they plan for the eventuality and hope it doesn't happen to them. So whether your walking down with the street with a camo pack, which you will stand out, people will notice, but if your completely using your smarts that God gave you, you'd avoid those situations, so hence my comment about my dad, just don't give them any ideas to think that they can take it from you in the first place.

Lastly, what does it matter if you live in Texas or places that camo is accepted as regular apparel. When I lived as a child in New York, I wore Boy Scout khaki and used an official BSA backpack, I blended in fine up in the North Country. As for camo as an attire, here in Texas, in fact, many consider it the finest piece of clothing they own, so Gray Man, well they don't live in Texas, except in Harris County or Metroplex, the Keeping it Weird Place of Austin or San Antone (which everyone knows most have a revolver in their pickup). So Grey Men of the world, Silent Bob salutes you! Wear that urban yuppie clothing! Me, I won't split my pants when I am fording a swollen gulley here in Texas.
 

Silent Earth

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Only if one acts American ;)
Odd comment but worth adding to, on a TV documentary about Heathrow airport a couple of years ago the TV crew chatted to some border and immigration officers, and to a man they all said they could distinguish between a Canadian and an American usually in under 20 seconds, it went something like: First sight the Canadians tend to dress slightly more formal than Americans, they cluster together less than Americans, the Canuck were less " flashy" . Second was how they stood and presented themselves the Americans came across as far more self assured and confident ("in your face" was a phrase used) the Canadians more demure and polite but chatty. Thirdly was the way they talked lets just say that YOUNGER Americans were NOT noted for modesty, quite behavior or being unassuming and assertive, but the 50 plus Americans were very polite and respectful and very modest.
 

Maverick

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Odd comment but worth adding to, on a TV documentary about Heathrow airport a couple of years ago the TV crew chatted to some border and immigration officers, and to a man they all said they could distinguish between a Canadian and an American usually in under 20 seconds, it went something like: First sight the Canadians tend to dress slightly more formal than Americans, they cluster together less than Americans, the Canuck were less " flashy" . Second was how they stood and presented themselves the Americans came across as far more self assured and confident ("in your face" was a phrase used) the Canadians more demure and polite but chatty. Thirdly was the way they talked lets just say that YOUNGER Americans were NOT noted for modesty, quite behavior or being unassuming and assertive, but the 50 plus Americans were very polite and respectful and very modest.
Not really an odd comment, American demeanor stands out like a sore thumb in foreign places, the locals pick up on it quite fast, assimilating the norm is in order, the hard part was keeping the voice low in crowded places.
 

Silent Bob

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Interesting comment N.R. Yes, I can spot most Americans in a heart beat when we are overseas. My wife learned in our first assignment that blending in the environment is a big saver. She has practiced this her whole entire life with me (we've been together that long). I'd admit, having a young 20 plus year old bride in Turkey would have made me concerned, but she traveled everywhere without even having a can of mace in her bag, granted I taught her the use collapsible baton, just as a security device and a small brass knuckles that she kept in her bag. Other than the pinch on the butt, once in a while (which is normal in a metropolitan area of Turkey). In Great Britain, we always dressed down, typically, enjoyed the company of elderly English or Scottish people and were always humble and respectful of our host country. Japan, well how could we not be noticed, my wife Caucasian and my kids (large round eyes and well mannered, as my Japanese neighbors always commented). Hard to live in your mother's country and not be treated a bit different by your family members. Also being about a 1/2 foot taller than most of my clan, I stand out in family reunions. In Germany, we lived in little America, can't escape the influence, but when we traveled, where their was little American influence, my folksy attitude and watch/see mentality, allowed us, never to be noticed. I have to admit, simple things, like stopping to help a farmer near Doncaster made friends for a life-time, I don't think that at the time, he was concerned about who I was, but that I was helping him after an accident.
 

Silent Earth

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Other " tells" in diners and resteraunts are things that give Americans away such as asking for Creamer not Whitener, Resting your elbows on the table, Eating using only a Fork, Asking for Cawfeee not Coffee, asking directions to the " John, Head or Restroom" instead of the Washroom or Toilet, Asking directions to the nearest DINER or Burger Joint instead of Cafe or McDonalds. Shouting CHECK PLEASE instead of going to the counter and asking for your bill. ALL poor OPSEC. :) but loveable non the less.
 

Silent Bob

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Its the shaved marine number one cuts and the Hawaiian shirts that give y'all away in europe :) and the bulge under your left arms or in the small of your backs in Asia :)
wow, really picking on us that have a high and tight. Sorry, tried the beard thing when I retired and I've always kept it short since I was Jesus at Basic. That nice guy at the exchange cut my hair without me ever knowing it. I think it was a zero clip on the blade. Nice, fresh and I still feel like human.

Guess my days of traveling are over in Europe. Thanks N.R. :(, now I think I will go and sulk in my bunker or head for a steak at Texas Road House. Think the steak is better. Later
 

Maverick

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Wish I could cut my hair high and tight or even a #2 shave but the wife said no
:(

Going to a restaurant means going into town with a population of more than two... No thanks besides I have no patience for explaining what I want and generally they don't have what I want thus I stay (kept) home, Lisa and the kids go out for dinner every now and then!!
 

Silent Earth

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wow, really picking on us that have a high and tight. Sorry, tried the beard thing when I retired and I've always kept it short since I was Jesus at Basic. That nice guy at the exchange cut my hair without me ever knowing it. I think it was a zero clip on the blade. Nice, fresh and I still feel like human.

Guess my days of traveling are over in Europe. Thanks N.R. :(, now I think I will go and sulk in my bunker or head for a steak at Texas Road House. Think the steak is better. Later
What you call a High and Tight, I call a Number one all over and the French call a Boule a Zero, I still keep my hair 2mm long all over even 20 years after I last wore a uniform, Not bad going since my first Number One All Over in May 1972 :) Awe come back to europe so i can buy you a beer :)
 

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Maverick, Sorry Lisa doesn't like the short hair you. As for dinner, it was a nice thick ribeye, sweet potato and small Cesar salad. I love their rolls and sweet honey butter too. That Texas Roadhouse can never mess up a good piece of meat. As it was, three weeks ago, I cooked the last of my moose steak and found wanting a good steak. I cooked with the wife the entire week because of family and friends coming in, to help us celebrate the youngest one's graduation. I guess as Empty Nesters next Fall, I can sneak up to the pick up window, save the tip and beverage cost, we can share a meal and be happy. I guess she and I will have to pick up looking into each others eye's for entertainment. She controls the remote too much in our family room and I stay too much glued to the computer...and DPF.

N.R. That can be a real possibility in a few years when both of my kids will no longer need the financial support for college and living expenses. Also, I'd have to find a good place or a good baby sitter to keep the dogs while we travel Europe...or at least England again. It would be nice to drive out to East Anglia and see Lakenheath and Mildenhall again and pay a visit to some old friends that I made when I was there. Most of the guys I worked with RAF, Royal Marines and RA are either retired or close to retirement. Five, I know are working as contractors in Saudi Arabia and two are consultants in Kuwait. I know only one of my friends who is still at Credenhill. Who knows I might take you up on that pint. Can you arrange a pint of Green King for me? :)
 

Gazrok

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If a cop sees my backpack in the car, probably not going to think much of it.
If it was a military backpack, may be more suspicious.

Simple as that really. As I imagine that assuming it doesn't all fall to hell so quickly, we'll still need to get through checkpoints, etc.
 

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