Skip to comments.A High Mobility 72 Hour Kit - Revised and Updated
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, CheaperThanDirt.com or SportsMansGuide.com 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 Amazon.com. 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. www.appleseedinfo.org. 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.
Sarajevo? ‘72? I hope the bulk of your advice is more credible than this.
Just a reminder to some of the older guys - who maybe going thru a second phase of young adulthood: Make sure she pulls her weight - 'cause nobody is that pretty.
A couple of items I would add:
Cellphone. If it’s a natural disaster you’re trying to survive, a cellphone can be a lifesaver.
I think you underestimate the value of cordage. Raise it in priority and recommend more feet of it.
Lighter. More reliable than strike anywhere matches and takes up a lot less space.
Snare Wire. Very useful in trapping food. Again, I’m thinking more of a natural disaster than an escape plan.
Excellent - thanks
That's why I recommend having the stripper carry the ammo. No buddy looks good after toting 3 K of 5.56
Well I read through the whole post and the suggestions are awesome. One thing did pop into mind is a mention of your prescription meds. If you are taking a beta blocker like Toprol, you cannot just stop taking them or you may die. Other conditions and other meds need thought. Your mileage may vary.
Good post. Saving for later, but not much later.
Dump the mini 14,....hard to find good mags, not a lot of people have them. When it breaks, you have to send it to Ruger to get it fixed because nobody sells part kits for it.
I am going with either a AR15 type or a good AK...
The 45 is a good pick,I am going with my 92fs and four spare mags.
You can pick-up a AK 74 and two thousand rounds of ammo for just over $600.00. AK 74 is reliable, light and can easily be used by anyone because of its low recoil rounds.
All that is good if a family has a place to go.
If we evacuate it will be forced and not tactical.
Gonna hafta fight in place or go 1000 miles.
If it gets to that point I doubt ‘they’ going to let us go 1000 miles unharrassed.
A 6000 round ammo stash is useless if one is unwilling to use 6 when the time is right.
still got the question:
what do you do with the dog?
For those who need them, tucking in a few days’ worth of whatever it is you’re taking is a good idea. You’ll have to think through storage issues, though. Freeze-thaw cycles in winter, heat in the warmer months - it’s definitely something to consider if you keep your kit in a trunk in your vehicle as I do.
I meant no disrespect, but Sarajevo did not host the Olympics in 1972.
Also excellent ideas. I bought one of the hand chain saws from Amazon. Nice piece of gear. Beats the old abrasive wire ones hands down. I think you mentioned that one in my last edition.
Binocs are on the list, BTW. I have a small pair of Nikons.
As for winter kit, I keep a set of YakTrax shoe chains (I like ‘em because the velcro strap makes for a secure cinch on your boots) and a set of snow shoes with poles in the vehicle. My winter boots are gov’t surplus black mickeys.
Again, great ideas. Thanks and regards...
There’s a downside to carrying a cellphone - at least, one with the battery charged and in place: you can be found. Assuming he cellular network is still up, you might want to make a call when you first set out. After that, depending upon the circumstances, it could be a risk.
Recall that this load-out is intended for a three day )five, if you stretch it) on-foot E&E to get back home or to some other point of relative safety. An extended field stay is is another matter altogether.
That’s a very good point. GPS units do have their limits even in the best of circumstances.
Correct - it was the Winter Olympics in 1984. Slip of the mind.
If you are fleeing an oppressive government (or escaping the law because you are a criminal) that would be true. If your bug-out kit is being used to escape a hurricane, a wildfire, civil unrest then it could mean the difference in life or death. In the former case, throw the phone in the back of a moving vehicle.
I think it's a mistake to prepare your evac kit for one situation only.