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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I run a pretty big State Park in west Tn. about 13,000 acres. I do anyhwere from 3 to 15 search and rescues a year. I am setting up a new jump bag that will be used in search and rescue but also be for emergencys of any type. What would you want if you were caught in the woods overnight? What I have so far is, a small basic first aid kit (I'm and ex EMT and a first responder),10x10 tarp,lots of water,basic meds,fire staring kit, extra pair of socks and undercloths/longjohns in the winter, poncho,flashlights and glow sticks, knifes and para cord. What else is a must for you and what else would be nice to have? Remember, I can carry weapons and have access to about any supplies needed. Seasonal items can be swapped in and out.
 

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You pack about what I take along in a day pack.

The exception is I will pack as many "soft" items (p-cord, mylar e-blankets, candles, snickers bars, skid paper, spare socks/johns etc.) in metal coffee cans (I usually have two at any given time in my pack). I only pack along two quarts of water, and if I need more, will use the coffee cans for melting snow, boiling water, etc.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in your list is a compass and necessary quad maps. While GPS are great, and convenient, occasionally, terrain makes sat-acq difficult, not to mention batteries will usually die at the most inconvenient time. I still like to use the maps and compass.

I make it a point to also pack along a folding saw - mine is a Gerber with a 8" saw blade folded into a kydex handle. Short of a hatchet or ax, it is pretty handy.
 

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Estwing hatchet, and a folding mil surp shovel. The mentioned folding saw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The compas is a given in my line of work. I have them everywhere, I just didn't think to list it. A folding saw is a great idea, especially if I need to build a stretcher. I have a roll up map case someplace, I think I'll add it also. Keep them comming, this helps a lot.
 

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I haven't put one together, but.. I do carry a lot of the items in the truck and/or in a hunting pack.

I attached a list that was designed and shared/posted from one of the tactical sites that I frequent. I think for your purposes, you can eliminate the legal documents and currency.

I think a winter and summer bag would be beneficial, or as mentioned - coffee cans w/ seasonal items. I would also have a wool hat and balaclava in winter. Bug stuff in summer. Iodine tabs (I am old school) to eliminate fuel/stove/boiling water. Add drink powder to help with the horrible iodine tab taste. And 3-4 of those little silver space blankets. Very compact and useful - espec for no weight!

Duct tape and tampons - to strap a turned ankle, brace a broken leg (splints from the woods) and the combo to stop massive traumatic bleeding. It will save a life, but the ER guys will beat you with a stick when they have to remove it. My trick is to get to that point!

small survival manual and first aid manual. I never seem to be able to remember everything when I really need to ...
 

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Be careful with chemical purification - iodine won't kill all forms of bacterialogical pathogens. Chlorine is three times more effective than iodine, but chlorination media has a short shelf life, but it won't kill all forms of pathogens either. Either way, chemical purification takes at least 30 to 60 minutes to work. Short of a filtration device (filtering down to 5 microns is good, 3 microns is better), boiling will is still about the best way to go for killing all biological and bacterialogical pathogens. Plan on boiling for 10 minutes though. Another advantage to boiling is that the water is warm, and up here, that can be absolutely critical for about 6 months out of the year. Think of it as the fixings for pine needle tea. ;D

I like the duct tape idea, and sanitary feminine napkins are great for severe bleeding. Always got funny looks when those would come out of the pack though.

I think the challenge is to keep e-supplies to less than 10 Lbs (or about 50% of total weight) in a daypack - - really forces you to pick an choose what you throw in, get creative on multi-use items, and eliminate the {beyond the realm of reality} "what if" scenario - especially if it adds weight.
 

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DWB

Agree/understand the puro issues. And yes on the napkins! But if you need 'em...!

In this situation, not sure I agree with the 10 lb rule. If I understand correctly, this is for S&R situation. You might have to R more than one person. I would suggest that a 25 lb limit might be more realistic for S&R.
 

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Agree with the weight issue. My Son is a Wildland Fire Fighter and EMT. His medical pack alone weighs in at 25 Lbs. That is in addition to the 45 Lbs of gear he gets to hump like everyone else. For a dedicated Search and Rescue pack, knowing that someone is lost/injured/scared and hungry, etc. I imagine 25 Lbs would be a minimum weight to expect. I was thinking in terms of a daypack for hiking/hunting or a more casual outing where nobody ever really plans on getting lost.

When my Son was younger (and I would like to think this had something to do with his choosing his vocation) I took him out with just the bare-essentials. We spent four days and three nights with nothing but what was in our day packs. Taught him the priorities - shelter, warmth, water, food - in that order. We drank hot tea with pine needles, rose-hips, and no sweetener - ugh! We ate roasted bird taken with a .22, and bird gut soup (as he called it) made with gizzard, liver, heart, kidney, testes. We also had roasted rabbit and rabbit gut soup. Made some pounded cattail root porridge, too. We didn't starve, but we were happy to go back home and have a couple of hotdogs.

We didn't freeze, but we didn't sleep any too warm, either. The first night, I built the shelter with his help, the second night he built it with mine, and on the third night, he built it for the two of us. Looking back on it, he admits to pi$$ing and moaning most of the time, but now says those were some great times. My Uncle did the same thing for me when I was a youngster. He was an instructor for the Army at one of their winter survival schools back in the 50's and he is still a wealth of knowledge.

Sometimes for fun, I will whip up a batch of rommogrot (about 2000 calories per cup), brew hot chocolate and add a 1/4 cup of real butter, then head out into the cold. My wife thinks I am nuts, but nobody in my family ever got cold and wanted to go home when we were out hunting for a Christmas tree either. Can't say the same for the cousins.
 

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DWB - ROTFLMFAO!!!!! My family thinks I am crazy too! I have some of the same type stories and 'whimmsies' that you have! Don't have the survival expert (wish I did), but have books and studied it and have backpack experience. I even used to fly sometimes with the SAS Survival book in my carry on! Kids are surprised when they see that and the GB survival book on the shelf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Very good info. As for the first aid stuff, I'm pretty good off. I have a big first aid kit in all my vehicles. In my jump pack I have about 12lbs of first aid gear. It really is all I would ever need for a single person rescue. When I go on multiple person searches I have a big kit and we travel in pairs. Right now I'm looking at a 40lb. pack. That is half of my back country pack. I used to drink the cocco and butter drink when I did my backcountry survival training and first aid class. It really is amazing how warm it keeps you. By the way I did 11 nights in Feb. on the cumberland plateu with no tent for my survival class. I did have a sleeping bag and pack in food. Like you said, it was cold sleeping but I really enjoyed it. We covered 84 miles in 12 days. I'm also on a wildfire team. Thank god I'm not an EMT any more. My EMT looked pretty beat after our last fire toteing the extra 30lbs bag along with his fire gear. I need to get some sort of water purification gear I guess.
 

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A small ground cloth, closed cell foam pad, and a light down sleeping bag will allow you (or the rescue victim) to sleep comfortably all night, or to warm up if you get hypothermic, combined with your tarp.

Since I converted to ultralight backpacking equipment, I always carry these items on all solo day hikes. If I get caught out overnight, the day hike simply becomes a safe overnight. My base weight (before adding food, fuel, and water) weighs just over 6 pounds for trips lasting from 1-unlimited number of days. Since the advent of ultralight gear, many people use a similar inventory to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

Here's my complete gear list with weights in oz:

35F down quilt 17.2
Silnylon tarp, plastic ground sheet, aluminum gutter nail stakes 18.4
1800 cu in rucksack 10.1
closed cell foam pad 4.7
Kitchen: aluminum grease pot with foil lid, supercat alcohol stove, plastic fuel bottle, lexan spoon 4.5
2 soda bottles for water 2.6
trash compactor bag as a pack liner 2.5
utility bag (map,iodine, first aid, TP, knife, compass, whistle, LED light, firestarters, soap, tooth brush and paste,, etc) 12.8
wind shirt 0.8 oz/sq yd fabric 2.0
wind pants 1.1 oz/sq yd fabric 2.2
Propore O2 rain jacket 5.5
fleece hat 1.2
polypro long john bottoms 5.3
wicking long sleeve top 100 wt 6.7
running socks, 2 pr, 2.8
bug head net for sleeping 0.7
TOTAL: 99.2 oz, 6.2 pounds

I've used this gear on numerous backpacking trips in the Adriondacks and White Mountains from late May to early Sept. In the "shoulder seasons" earlier and later than those dates, I bulk up to a warmer sleeping bag.

I don't like to be forced to rely on a fire for warmth. Most people underestimate the vast amount of wood you need to collect before dark if you are to keep a fire going all night, you get essentially no sleep, and you can't be more than a little bit injured or you will fail. I'm prepared to make a fire if needed, but my first line of defense is the tarp/sleeping bag/pad combo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That is some really good info. Where do you buy most of your ultralight gear? I've got a 1600 cu in pack but its not an ultralight pack. I think I can adjust some things to shed some weight though. Thanks for the list.
 

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Back when I started using ultralight gear, there were few suppliers, so I had my wife teach me to sew and made the quilt, tarp, pack, hat, wind layers, and stuff sacks myself. If you are interested in going that route, Thru-hiker.com is an excellent resource. Making your own equipment is a fun hobby, and you can save some money that way, but you have to like working with your hands.

There are now plenty of manufacturers, and although commercial items will often be a few ounces heavier than my stuff, you can easily get a base weight below 8 pounds with storebought purchases alone. I can recommend:

Pack: Granite Gear Virga or Vapor Trail or a number of models from GoLite (they have gotten more Gucci recently, and they no longer make the Breeze model, unfortunately).
Sleeping bag: Marmot Hydrogen/Helium or several choices from Western Mountaineering. (Expensive but worth it).
Tarp: Campmor makes an 8 x 10 silnylon tarp that is cheap, and although not the best quality, my brother in law has used the same one for several years without problem. Owareusa makes some excellent tarps, just make sure you get the 1.5 size or larger.
Wind Layers: try your local Goodwill store.
Rain jacket: I vaguely remember I bought mine from an online store with a name like Golf Warehouse.
Foam pad: I cut down a pad from EMS to about 18 x 42 inch size. A blue pad from Walmart would work fine as well.
Polypro clothes: Campmor is a good source. I also got one of their orange whistle/compass/LED/thermometers and it works great.
Kitchen: Walmart appears to have discontinued their grease pot, but I heard that KMart now carries a similar model. You can find instructions for a Supercat stove in a Google search. Alcohol stoves are easy to make, and the Supercat is my personal favorite.

One common beginner's mistake is to buy a pack first. It is better to buy all of the other gear and then to figure out how much volume it occupies before you get the pack. The key to an ultralight system is the sleeping bag and the tarp. The above brands are very compact, and if you build a system around them, you should not need a pack bigger than 1800-2200 cu in for summer (Virga pack) or 2800-3200 cu in for 3-season use (Vapor Trail). I use a Vapor Trail with a 5F down bag for 3-season use and my base weight is just over 9 pounds, and I could probably cut one pound if I bought a Marmot Helium bag and made a 2600-2800 cu in pack, but I haven't bothered.

As you can tell, Ultralightitis and Marlinitis are similar afflictions.
 

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Far as light wgt is concerned I figure any food your packing in is a one way item. Energy bars would be a good item especially if you find a lost soul or two who has not eaten in several days. Small packets of instant coffee, creamer, and sugar would be good items also. Once located if in good shape, feeding and allowing them to get some good rest with your gear, might make the trip out a lot easier.
 

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Have'nt seen it mentioned, probably one of the BEST military items...a poncho liner- light weight, can be compressed to nearly nothing, darn warm (if used as intended w/poncho) not for real cold temps, but awful nice in an over night emergency stay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
swany said:
Far as light wgt is concerned I figure any food your packing in is a one way item. Energy bars would be a good item especially if you find a lost soul or two who has not eaten in several days. Small packets of instant coffee, creamer, and sugar would be good items also. Once located if in good shape, feeding and allowing them to get some good rest with your gear, might make the trip out a lot easier.
That is really my basis for everything. I want to be able to take care of the folks I'm searching for. I don't mind being uncomfortable for a night but it helps a lot if I can make someone who has been lost a night or two be a little more comfortable.
 

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This is a great thread. I love the idea of ultralight gear.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

Somewhere I ran across a site on survival and I loved their slogan: "Because knowledge weighs nothing..."

todd
 

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Knowledge is powerful stuff.

I always temp test my gear. My wife thinks I'm nuts to sleep in the backyard when the temp is expected to get down to the advertised limit of a sleeping bag. I've learned the hard way that a 35F bag is not comfortable at 34F. The line between comfort and cold is that sharp. It is no fun to feel the cold finger of the Devil press down on your shoulder and hip at 2:00 am when it will be hours before you will be warm again.

Another tip: if the temps are close to your comfort line, avoid the catabatic zone of cold air in the lowest 50 feet of elevation in a valley. The coldest temps on a still night will be about 3F lower in that zone than they will be only a short distance up the slope. Unfortunately, many established campsites are at the bottom of valleys.

I always keep my long john bottoms and tops sealed in plastic. If I'm forced to put them on during a cold, wet day, I turn around and get out of Dodge, even if the summit I'm climbing is only a short distance away. It is a rule I never break.

I once volunteered to be the subject of a medical school hypothermia experiment, just to see what that beast was like under controlled circumstances. I went into a walk-in freezer wearing only gym shorts, while the person running the experiment was in full winter gear. They measured my temp while I did various tasks like putting pegs in a cribbage board and adding up columns of numbers. Once your temp drops to 97F, you start shivering very violently, and your manual dexterity goes out the window. At a temp below 94-95F, you stop shivering, your body temp drops, and you become very stupid and apathetic. You are vaguely aware that you are in the process of dying, but it seems like a remote, theoretical concept of little importance. In hindsight, it is sobering to think about it. This experience is one of the reasons why I don't like to rely on a fire to keep me warm if I get hypothermic. It is nearly impossible to strike a match or walk far enough to collect wood when you are shivering so badly that your body will hurt for days after the event is over. I also have no confidence that my mental processes will remain intact enough to preserve the knowledge required to stay alive.

I really like my ultralight tarp, foam pad, groundcloth, and sleeping bag. I really dislike hypothermia, and I'm not ashamed to say I also fear it.
 

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When it comes to food I would suggest that you throw in a couple of two serving packets of Mountain House freeze dried food of your choice. It would allow you to not only feed yourself but to feed hot food to someone else that may really need it. A poncho and liner along with a multi wick canned candle for heat under the poncho will go a long way toward slapping that cold finger you mentioned....smile.

Jesse
 
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