Has taken me over 2 years and more research than I care to admit, but I have gotten my dry bag weight (no food/water) down to 24 lbs. and have hiked/camped w/ this same set-up in all seasons and all types of weather. This way, I don’t have to worry about remembering to make seasonal changes.
I use a Camelbak BFM and it holds all my gear, including 2x 1 L water bottles and a sack containing food, coffee, cream, sugar and Gatorade pouches.
Not a fan of bags that make noise or attract attention. The bag has molle, but I am against using molle for 3 reasons :
1. Makes the bag look even more military.
2. Easier to lose items if they snag on branches or a strap fails.
3. The molle straps are all on the back of my pack, which would put any added weight even further from my back instead of closer in.
I have 3 things attached to the outside of my pack. Fallkniven A1 knife in a Kydex sheath on 1 shoulder strap, a Streamlight Protac 1L mini flashlight on the other shoulder strap and a Kifaru Doobie (double woobie) in a compression sack attached underneath. Gives me immediate access to light and my knife while keeping everything else secure and hidden.
I have not been given any gear or paid to sponsor any, but wish to mention certain gear by brand as these items have proven themselves time and again :
-Dream Hammock Raven
-HG Incubator UQ
-Fallkniven A1 Knife
-ApocalypseGear kydex sheath
-Heavy Cover titanium canteen kit
-Victorinox Swisstool Spirit
-Surefire Minimus headlamp
-UA 2.0 Baselayer
-OR Helium 2 rainjacket
-Vortex 10×25 monocular
The bag is ACU camo which is great for the woods and the Camelbak reversible rain cover can obscure it in urban areas.
Other items carried :
-Plain black polarized sunglasses. Keep glare down, protect your eyes, look at anyone/anything and avoid eye contact.
-12’x8′ sil nylon tarp
-8 titanium stakes
-fleece beanie which covers my ears
-heavy duty zip ties
-large roll of quilted T.P. squeezed into a 1 qt. ziploc…tube removed
-charged phone charger good for 4 full charges
-ranger roll : wool socks, long sleeve tshirt, underwear
-cigarettes…so light. I’m a smoker anyways and if you happen upon others, they are a top tier barter item. Addictions, gotta love ’em.
There are 3 small kits I carry which I’ll detail…
1st aid :
-6? Israeli Bandage
-Celox blood-clotting sponge
-dental repair kit
-various zip ties
-heavy gauge needles
-2 plastic buckles
-2 plastic buttons
-NATO storm proof matches in an Exotac XL holder which contains a striker and is waterproof
-2 mini bic lighters
-small pill bottle containing cotton balls and vaseline.
Items I did NOT opt for which seem to be common in many bags…
Ham radio…I am not gonna get an operator’s license or have 1 more piece of gear needing batteries. Short of an EMP, my phone and backup battery are fine. A ham radio would need to be in a Faraday Cage anyways.
Hatchet…the A1 can chop, baton, make fire sticks and is pretty intimidating if wielded for self-defense. Also, I choose to carry a shelter vs making one.
Sleeping bag…the UQ, Doobie, base layer, wool socks and fleece beanie have let me sleep comfortably below 20° F and although the doobie is a tad heavy, it’s worth every ounce.
Chem lights…drawing attention to yourself is bad.
Whistle…you have no idea who is going to hear it and show up, but you can bet emergency personnel will have their hands full elsewhere. I’ll manage, always have, w/out drawing attention.
Sharpening Stone…cheap sharpeners are garbage and I’m not putting the equivalent of a rock in my pack. The A1 holds an edge far longer than I’ll need it to, even under extreme use.
Gun cleaning kit…i keep my Glock pristine and it will easily put far more ammo downrange than I carry before needing a cleaning.
Hunting gear…if I am bugging out, I am omw to my BOL so I am moving or sleeping. Or, God forbid ! I end up in a shelter…Either way, I won’t be casually fishing, crafting snare traps or stalking large game. Sure it sounds cool, but it’s not realistic. That’s INCH bag stuff.
Glock 32 (.357 compact) is my daily carry. I live in Az where we can do that. The weight isn’t factored in as it would be on my hip under a shirt or jacket. I’m a Gulf War vet and prefer assault packs. I ditched the hip belt on the BFM since i prefer it to ride higher on my back and at only 24 lbs. dry weight, it’s light on my shoulders and I’m used to carrying it.
Think weight and gray man. The guy with molle pouches everywhere, rattling like the ghost of Jacob Marley with things hanging all over and a rifle that he can’t hope to conceal will draw unwanted attention and is far more likely to be relieved of his possessions by those that feel they need them more than he does.