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A High Mobility 72 Hour Kit - Revised and Updated
02/05/2011 | Ward Dorrity

Posted on 02/05/2011 9:40:15 AM PST by Noumenon

A High-Mobility 72 Hour Kit - Revised and Updated

By Ward Dorrity

We live in uncertain times. One of the lessons of recent history is that your circumstances can change literally overnight. Beirut, Sarajevo, the Twin Towers – all were cases of an abrupt and irrevocable change in peoples’ lives.  Another lesson of history is that over 260 million unarmed, non-combatant civilians have been killed by civilians - were murdered by those exercising the power of the state. They were starved, gassed, tortured, shot, impaled, burned alive, drowned, frozen to death, hacked apart with hoes, axes and machetes - a litany of brutality and atrocity beyond human imagination. Hundreds of millions more lived their lives enslaved, impoverished and in despair. This was much of the history of the last century. And this one isn’t looking so good, either.

How could this have happened? A Jewish tailor living in Prague could scarcely have understood what was happening to him when he and his family were rounded up by the Nazis and placed in a packed cattle car – they were told that they were being moved ‘for their own safety’. In the span of 72 hours, the Khmer Rouge emptied every major city in Cambodia. Sarajevo, host of the 1972 Olympics and known as “the jewel of the Adriatic” fell into a flame-shot hell of barbarism with a rapidity that stunned its inhabitants. High-rise buildings became death traps as services failed and snipers picked off anyone who tried to leave in search of food or something to burn for warmth. In America, the Watts riots and hurricane Katrina serve as examples of just how quickly civil order can vanish.

Your best defense against catastrophe is to PAY ATTENTION! Self-absorption in trivialities can get you killed. No one has a crystal ball, but keeping a” weather eye” out for trouble is just pure common sense. It comes down to a simple question: what’s your life worth? Or the lives of your loved ones? If you choose not to consider this question and its implications out of fear or scorn for what you believe is unthinkable, or if it all seems like too much work, then you’ve sold your life and theirs cheap. And believe me, there will be many, many who will do just that. If you’re reading this, then you’ve taken the first step towards not being ‘that guy’. Don’t be ‘that guy’. Do you want to live? Decide now.

So here’s your picture: Everyone – and I mean everyone should have within reach a kit that will allow them to leave wherever they are and proceed to a place of relative safety. If you have planned well (and you do have a plan, don’t you?), then you will be able to make your way home or to your rally point.  Most of this gear used to build these kits is off-the-shelf and relatively cheap. Check out Cabela’s, or for the best deals.

What are you going to do when:

1.       Civil unrest / breakdown ensues.

2.       Communications go down.

3.       You may have to fight in order to get where you’re going.

4.       You may have to abandon your vehicle.

5.       You may have to walk to a prearranged safe place or rendezvous/rally point.

6.       You will need to move quickly and not ‘camp out’. Rest, yes. Camp, no.

7.       The weather may not be your friend – hot, cold, wet, snowy. Prepare accordingly

Why Do it This Way?

This is a layered approach, with duplication of key items at every layer where practical. Strategy for this assumes that you may lose your backpack and/or your sling bag.  Or that you may not have time to suit up, and that you can only grab your sling bag or backpack and weapons.

Be Good to Your Feet

 When it comes to your feet, you must treat them as royalty. So think: can I run, climb, fight and walk long distances with what I have on my feet now? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you may be – no, you WILL be in for a world of hurt. Your every-day footwear should be a pair of decent hiking shoes or durable shoes in case you can’t put your boots on in time. You do have good, broken-in boots for the particular season, don’t you?

A Word for Womenfolk

Yeah, I know – the shoe thing. But there’s the cold, hard, immutable truth: in a bad situation, those flip flops or Manolo Blahniks will get you killed. Why? Because you will not be able to do the things that you must absolutely be able to do when things get ugly: run, climb, fight and walk long distances. Without question, you will be a liability to yourself and to anyone you’re with if you don’t have sturdy, well broken-in footwear. The term ‘fashion victim’ takes on a whole new meaning here, doesn’t it?  Don’t be one.

Your Stash – Where to Keep It

If you’re a vehicle-based commuter, your car or truck will be your best place to keep your gear. The usual common-sense security considerations apply here. In any case, regardless of your clothing choices, it’s good to have a complete set in your gear bag or locker in your vehicle.  You are almost always going to be close to your vehicle, so it is good strategy to have all your gear in a waterproof case in your trunk or covered pickup truck bed.

If you use public transportation, your choices and operational plan become more difficult. First of all, in the scenario we’ve outlined above – civil unrest, etc. – public transportation will be either down or become very, very dangerous in very short order.  So don’t even think about using it. This also means that if you want to live through a scenario like this, you’re going to have to get creative in terms finding a place at work to stash your gear. 

First layer – Combat Uniform

You may or may not wish to put on BDUs depending upon the circumstances. If you’re going to remain in an urban area, dark or gray inconspicuous clothing may be best. Even digital camo can stand out if no one else is wearing it.  You want to be as inconspicuous as you can be in whatever environment you find yourself. The important thing is to have comfortable, durable clothing that you can wear for days.  Carhartt makes double-fronted loggers jeans that wear very, very well, and come in colors that will blend a variety of environments. Some tactical clothing manufacturers make pants with inserts for kneepads. If you’ve ever had to kneel on rocks, debris or broken glass, you’ll be very glad you had this particular fashion accessory.

For up-front combat gear, I prefer 80’s era Swiss Alpenflage. This is what works for my area. Cheap and readily available (or used to be), works great for the inland Pacific NW environment. The important thing is to rig for your area and circumstances. Strongly recommend good, well broken-in boots (for reasons we’ve already discussed) and a PASGT helmet with appropriate cover. A good helmet will save your life – without one you might just become another piece of bio-degradable scenery. There’s plenty of PASGT gear on eBay if you don’t have any. Avoid the stuff with bullet holes in it, though. Again, think it through and wear what will work for your environment.

Your pockets/belt will hold the following essential items:

1.      Strike-anywhere matches in a waterproof case

2.      Fire Starter. BlastMatch with tinder of some sort.

3.      Map. Topo maps or even Jeppesen charts are very useful. You should also do a custom Google map of your E&E routes. If you do, then laminate them for durability. You DO have more than one route out, yes?

4.      Compass.  In a worst case scenario, you may not be able to rely upon a GPS device.  Learn how to follow a compass bearing. You can guide yourself through thickly forested areas, featureless winter landscapes, foggy sagebrush areas, etc.  An orienteering class or two can’t hurt.

5.      LED Flashlight and extra batteries. Use what works best for you. Carry at least two.  Most run on AAA batteries.

6.      Energy bar(s).  Easy to consume on the go. Always have something like this in your pockets. Forget the lowfat stuff. You’re going to need the calories.

7.      Extra Clothing Layer.  Poncho and/or parka. This could also be a mylar emergency blanket or even a contractor’s bag. Area / climate / season specific.  A light poncho will fold up into one of your pockets. So will an extra pair of socks in a waterproof bag – those could be a lifesaver because they may save your feet.

8.      Gloves. You need to be able to use your hands. This means protecting them from the elements and from hard use. Make sure your winter gloves will do what they are supposed to do AND allow you enough dexterity to use your weapons effectively. Lightweight for summer, warm for winter.

9.      Sunglasses. Save your eyes. Look for shatter-proof lenses. Prescription if you need them.

10.  First Aid Kit.  Carry basic first aid supplies such as sterile gauze and pads, Band-Aids, moleskin (always, always protect your feet), quickclot bandage, etc.  You get the picture. Be smart and take a first aid course or two at your local community college – the knowledge you gain  can literally be a life saver.

11.  Knife / multi-tool.  Preferably one of each. An extra knife on a lanyard around your neck is good insurance. You can’t have too many knives.

12.  A pair of heavy lineman’s pliers/wire-cutters. Very useful for getting through chain link or wire fence.

13.  Water. Adopt/adapt for your circumstances.  Your backpack should have a pouch or space for a Camelback-style water bladder. Do not allow yourself to get dehydrated!

14.  Water purification. Clean water is a must! One of the best products I’ve encountered is the Polar Pure water disinfectant system. Compact, effective and inexpensive. One unit will treat 2000 quarts of water. Available on  You won’t be good for much if you’re blowing your guts out of both ends.

15.  Ammunition. At least one full rifle mag and one pistol mag. Spare a secure pocket for one of each of these. One is better than none.

Extras if you’ve got the pockets or the inclination:

1.      Small radio w/extra batteries. 22+ mile range GMRS/NOAA combo preferable.  If you’ve made arrangements with others to meet up, that type of radio can be invaluable. Be secure about using one, though. Learn its use and its useable range  in advance. Practice

2.      25-50 ft of parachute cord. Whatever and wherever it fits. Very useful. That cord and your poncho can construct a decent shelter – which could be a life-saver

I’ve left off fishing kit and items like that because you’re probably not going to have the time for fishing and in any case, you have room for that sort of thing in either your sling bag or your small backpack. I’ve also not included magazines and ammo, because you’re probably going to be carrying that elsewhere.

Practice and test. Finally, when you’ve got that all together, field test it. See how fast you can get it all on, boots and helmet included. Speed counts, and in a tense situation, your training here will definitely pay off. Do it again and again. Then do it at least once a week. Walk, trot, run and see what rattles. Quiet the rattles. Then roll down an embankment, throw yourself down flat, tumble if you’re capable and see what you’ve got left. Walk, trot, run. Still quiet? Still have everything?  Good.

Break in Your Boots! You’ve got to be kind to your feet. The time you have to take a 40 mile trek home is NOT the time to break in your boots, or find out where the problem areas are. Break them in with all the gear you’re going to carry.

Second Layer – Sling Bag

The sling bags / messenger bags offered by places like Cheaper Than Dirt and Sportsman’s Guide are great. They’re light, easily snatched up, and the contents will afford you an extra day or two of operation in the field.  Plenty of webbing attachments for your customization pleasure, but don’t overload it.  The premise is that even if you don’t have time to suit up, you can still grab your rifle and sling bag and make a decent go of it. You want stuff handy if you must fight.  I wear mine on the left, since I’m a right-hander. The one I use also has a waist strap to keep it from flapping in the breeze. To a certain extent, I replicate the essentials listed above in the bag and the list below reflects that. But it differs in some details and sports a few additions. Ammo, for instance. I hang a 3 mag pouch on it for my AR carbine, and there’s more ammo and an extra full rifle/pistol magazine in the bag.  Again, you’re not looking to camp out – you want to keep moving towards your destination. Rest, but don’t set up housekeeping.

1.      Strike-anywhere matches in a waterproof case

2.      Fire Starter. BlastMatch with tinder of some sort.

3.      Maps. Same as above

4.      Compass.  Yep, another one.

5.      LED Flashlight and extra batteries. If you’re smart, your radio, flashlight and any other electronic device you might carry will all use the same batteries.

6.      MRE of your choice. A good hot meal (although with MREs, some may dispute even the possibility) can make a big difference to your outlook. Even the (ugh) omelet ones.

7.      Energy bar(s).  Something to eat on the go.

8.      Extra Clothing Layer. Same as above.  Don’t forget those socks!

9.      Contractor’s bag(s). Throw in a couple if you have room. Makes a great emergency shelter and/or an impromptu poncho.

10.  Sunglasses AND regular glasses. For those of us who need glasses, the investment in an extra pair of each could be a life-saver. The sling bag accommodates glasses in hard cases nicely.

11.  Binoculars. Compact, decent quality and easy to get to. 

12.  First Aid Kit.  Carry additional first aid as mentioned above.

13.  Knife / multi-tool.  Preferably one of each. Again.

14.  Empty Water container. You can fill it later. It’ll add to the one on/in your backpack.

15.  Water purification system. Polar Pure as above. Now, you’re up to two of them.

16.   Rifle / pistol mag. Full, and one of each. They’ll be inside the pack along with as much extra ammo on strippers as you deem fit. Don’t overload it, though.

17.   Rifle ammo on strippers. 5.56 mm doesn’t take up that much room and you can probably carry an extra 2 or 3 magazines worth. Remember to include a couple of extra stripper guides. Wear one around your neck; keep the other in a zipper compartment in the bag.

18.   Rifle mag pouch. Hang this in an easy-to-get-to place on the outside of the bag. Most will hold three AR-style mags.


Again, practice and test. Same as above.  Still have everything? Still quiet?

Third Layer – Small Backpack

Cheaper Than Dirt and Sportsman’s Guide offer some nice compact backpacks. I like the Level III ‘assault’ pack.   It’s big enough to hold more of what you need for an extra two or three days in the field, expands your available food and ammo, provides for a change of socks, underwear and t-shirt, insect repellent, a small folding shovel and a hydration pack. Depending upon what you feel like stuffing in there, you can add a small waterproof bag with a towel and some baby wipes. Don’t go for a big backpack that’ll hold everything including the kitchen sink. You want to stay light on your feet and to be able to move fast. Can’t do that with a big monkey on your back.

Again, practice and test. Same as above.  Still have everything? Still quiet?


When things get dicey, don’t assume that you’re going to just drive or stroll home. Rifle, pistol and a good fighting knife (that is, a knife that you actually know how to fight with) are essentials. The sane among us know that the last thing you want to do is to get into a firefight – or any kind of fight for that matter. But if you do, you want to have a chance to prevail. Again, carry what you know how to use. This will be no time for on-the-job training. If you don’t have the skills or the mind set to kill your opponent, take a practical martial arts class of some sort (NOT tai chi, dammit) and get thee to an Appleseed event taco pronto to learn how to shoot like a rifleman.  Follow that with a practical self-defense pistol course.

But none of this is worth a damn if you aren’t prepared to use it. And it’s not just a matter of skill. It’s a willingness to incapacitate and kill your opponent as quickly as you can. Short, brutal and nasty. Do you want to live? Decide now.

As for weapons, everyone’s got an opinion – so I’ll just tell you what I picked and why.

1.      Rifle. CAR15 or equivalent. Light, accurate within reason and you can carry lots of 5.56mm ammo. I carry lots of loaded mags – one in the rifle, three in a quick-access pouch on the sling bag, one inside it and two more in the backpack.  Plus more ammo on strippers. My rifle’s in a soft padded case with a sling, so I can carry it in a slightly more inconspicuous fashion during the initial part of my journey out of my work area. 

2.      Pistol. Glock mod 20 (10mm) with one 15 round mag in the pistol, two in the carry rig, one in the sling bag and two more in the backpack. This is a full-sized hard-hitting pistol, a real fight-stopper. I won’t debate choice of caliber, here. If you’re down to your pistol, then you’ve got other things to worry about besides calibers.

3.      Tomahawk. One MOLLE’d to my backpack front strap. I like tomahawks. Very nasty weapon for a close-quarters fight. Learn it, love it, kill with it if you have to. Or use it to make a nice impromptu shelter. Works either way.

4.      Fighting knife. One MOLLE’d to my sling bag. Set up for a right hand draw if that’s all I want to use, or a left hand draw if I’ve got the ‘hawk in my right hand.

5.      Miscellaneous small knives. Everywhere. You can’t have too many knives.

TOPICS: Military/Veterans; Society
KEYWORDS: beprepared; bugout; disaster; preparedness; preppers; survival
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Based upon the advice I've gotten from other experienced and capable FReepers, I've revised the original to include some items. I've also added an intro to provide some perspective on why something like this is an absolute must-have today. I want to thank all of those who contributed some very useful ideas.

Most of what's here is based upon common sense and experience. None of it is written in stone, and everyone can and should adapt what I've laid out here to their circumstances. I should emphasize that this is what I actually keep on hand, and I've tried or used all of it. No theory, just the real deal.

I've retained the emphasis on redundancy and high mobility. One website I've run across showed a '72 hour' kit that looked like a full-on expeditionary load-out. "Try running in that," I thought.

If nothing else, I figure I'll get you to thinking if you haven't considered this level of preparation. And if you haven't, it's getting late in the game. For those of us who have, a nod and a tip of the hat.

1 posted on 02/05/2011 9:40:19 AM PST by Noumenon
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To: Noumenon
emergency supplies and food
2 posted on 02/05/2011 9:45:21 AM PST by Free America52 (The White guys are getting pissed off. We beat Hitler Hirohito and Krushchev. Obama will be easy.)
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To: Noumenon

what do you think about the mini14 and the colt govt .45 combo?

3 posted on 02/05/2011 9:49:16 AM PST by beebuster2000
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To: Free America52; Kartographer
Also highly recommended: Kartographer's Preparedness Manual. Another heavy dose of good, common sense.
4 posted on 02/05/2011 9:53:07 AM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: Noumenon

i would also add 20 feet of nylon webbing, highly useful in the field and easier on the hands than parachute cord.

and maybe some of those little white nylon snap ties, easy fix for stuff that breaks and needs to be tied together.

i always carry both of these in my survival pack, along with two of the compressed mylar film sleeping bags, a heat tab, and a fire starter striker.

5 posted on 02/05/2011 9:56:48 AM PST by beebuster2000
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To: Noumenon

A CB radio in the vehicle might be a good idea, while it lasts.

You can buy wind-up cell phone battery rechargers these days. Probably a good idea to throw one that fits yours (if you can find one that does) into the pack.

6 posted on 02/05/2011 9:56:48 AM PST by GeronL (
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To: beebuster2000

I’ve owned them both. The Ruger’s not the most accurate weapon out there - it’s a design flaw. AR carbines are cheap enough to warrant ditching the Ruger and going to one of those. But you can’t go wrong with anything designed by John Moses Browning. The .45’s right at the top of the list. If you’re good with yours, then that’s the ticket.

7 posted on 02/05/2011 9:57:02 AM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: Noumenon; ChocChipCookie; The Comedian


8 posted on 02/05/2011 9:57:47 AM PST by Whenifhow
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To: beebuster2000
See, this is great stuff. You've got some great ideas, there. I've stuck with paracord because it works for a lot of different situations, especially as shoe/boot lace replacements.
9 posted on 02/05/2011 10:00:07 AM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: Noumenon
An idea for a quick, easy and certain fire starter. Save your dryer lint! Yes! Dryer lint. Also save a few egg cartons of the paper variety.

Get a block of paraffin (available at most grocery stores).

Melt the paraffin in a can or pan. Place some lint in the sections of the egg carton. Pour paraffin in the section to cover the lint.

When the paraffin sets, cut the egg carton sections into single units.

When you need a quick, sure fire, just use any flame source (I recommend the wand style gas lighters) and ignite the paraffin and voila, hard to extinguish fire.

I have started wood fires without tinder with 100% luck. No smoke, no smell except the wood you choose! They burn for 10+ minutes.

Good luck!

10 posted on 02/05/2011 10:01:45 AM PST by chooseascreennamepat
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To: Noumenon
Extra pair of glasses or contacts. Actually you should have both if you wear contacts. Contacts absorb everything so if you have to go through any sort of gas or other fumes you could end up loosing a good portion of your sight if you do not have a fresh pair of contacts.

Glasses are good but they restrict your vision. To get the best field of vision do NOT get those narrow rectangle things. You want roundish and large. You are not making a fashion statement, you are trying to see.

Sun Glasses should fit over your glasses and I would suggest getting the kind with switchable lenses. Amber, green and gray should cover all situation you would normally run into.

If you wear hearing aids, extra batteries. You don't want to lose one of your senses at a time like this.

Folding metal cane. Light, easy to store, makes a good weapon, helps you keep moving if you hurt your knee, foot or ankle. Also useful to pry, poke, prod or extend your reach if necessary.

11 posted on 02/05/2011 10:02:11 AM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (When all you have is bolt cutters & vodka everything looks like the lock on Wolf Blitzer's boathouse)
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To: Noumenon
The Ruger’s not the most accurate weapon out there - it’s a design flaw

Frankly i dont know how accurate it is, never did anything more than plink with it, but it can hit a can at 100 yards over iron sites, thats probably all you need for the scenarios your envisioning. plus with a 30 round mag you get a couple chances. i guess in a pinch uyou cold use it to take small game, or even deer for food. as for ammo, been using the nato surplus green tip. what do you think of that? in any of these discussions, the issue of shotgun always comes up because of versatility. with different ammo you can do almost anything from self defense to birds to big game. problem there is weight of gun and the ammo makes it kind of prohibitive for a long hike. but if i had to grab and run, i'd take it. you can always ditch it later. also, what about the dog? take him along?

12 posted on 02/05/2011 10:04:49 AM PST by beebuster2000
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To: Noumenon

For fire, I like the stormproof matches at REI. They require a striker, but come with extras in the box. I take two of the cheap waterproof match cases and tape them together (in opposite directions) with electrical or duct tape. That makes them easier to open when your hands are cold. One case gets the matches and a striker, the other gets cotton balls dipped in Vaseline.

13 posted on 02/05/2011 10:08:55 AM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Noumenon

Communication is something we take too much for granted, that its always there and it cannot be controlled.

And then we saw Egypt.

I think it should be worth having at the very least the info on how to get a web address using non traditional means. I would say also knowing where to get outside news when in the name of civil unrest all local news is censored.

I will leave this topic in the hands of those much more knowledgeable than myself about this.

14 posted on 02/05/2011 10:09:40 AM PST by Eye of Unk ("These people are either at your neck or at your knees" A quote by Winston Churchill)
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To: Noumenon

I also liked this site for its very practical advise for informational preparations—getting all your documents on a flashdrive, among other things—which would be useful in break-down situations short of Mad Max:

15 posted on 02/05/2011 10:10:55 AM PST by The King of Elflands Daughter
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To: chooseascreennamepat
I make similar "fire starters." I've never used dryer lint, though that would definitely work.

My filler/wick material of choice is small wood chips. The little stuff that's all over the place after splitting a pile of wood for the wood stove at home works. Break the longer bits into pieces 1" or shorter.

Paper shreddings also work well for the filler/wick material.

The rest of this looks good.

If you're in an cold climate area, a "heater/stove" is a good idea. A sterno type works, though you can make your own with a metal coffee can, a spare roll of toilet paper and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Have a ceramic, or stoneware plate, or a metal cover to snuff it out. You make the "heater" by removing the cardboard roll from the center of the toilet paper, placing it in the metal coffee can, and filling the can with alcohol (rubbing alcohol is fine, but if you can find 90% or 95% rather than 70%, it will be better). Pull a "Wick" up from the center of the roll and light it. This can be used as a heater, or as a makeshift cook stove.

One last note. If TSHTFT, and you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.
16 posted on 02/05/2011 10:12:44 AM PST by cc2k ( If having an "R" makes you conservative, does walking into a barn make you a horse's (_*_)?)
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To: Noumenon


17 posted on 02/05/2011 10:18:07 AM PST by Lancer_N3502A
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To: chooseascreennamepat
If you are in a wet place, like the PNW you will want a folding saw. The only way to get dry fuel for a fire is to look for standing dead trees. There are lots of small diameter (couple inches) trees like that in overgrown forest. Many of them can simply be pushed over

Use the saw to cut a small baton length, and cut the rest into useable lengths. Use the baton and your knife to split the rest of the wood for the fire.

18 posted on 02/05/2011 10:18:58 AM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Noumenon
LED Flashlight and extra batteries. Use what works best for you. Carry at least two. Most run on AAA batteries.

Crank operated flashlights are now cheap. You should have at least one just in case your batteries are dead or you need to use it longer than a set of batteries last.

Also, I would suggest that you have at least one incandescent bulb flashlight. The LED ones are generally better, but if the disaster is some type of EMP attack they might be as dead as any other electronics. Just running a current through a glowing hot wire is immune to that.

19 posted on 02/05/2011 10:25:29 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Washington is finally rid of the Kennedies. Free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.)
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To: Noumenon
Awesome post.

Today is a good day to die.
I didn't say for whom.

20 posted on 02/05/2011 10:26:31 AM PST by The Comedian (Muslim Brotherhood = A.N.S.W.E.R = Soros = Obama)
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