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Congrats, heck of a pack. Now it's time to fill it up and realize how heavy it is!


Really, remember when packing it to put heavy items as tight to your back as possible and lighter bulkier items around them. The lid pockets work good for items you might need quick and tools & food can go in the side zipper pockets. The sleeves on the outside of the side zipper pockets toward the center are a good place to stick your axe handle down and let the top lid hold it in, at least when not using the duffle. I recently got a blue Sea to Summit rain cover for mine so I can make it stick out less in populated areas. And keep it dry.

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I haven't been able to top the sleeping bags like the Mountain Serape or one from IDI gear. I have both and won't comment yet on which is better, the Mountain Serape is more comfortable but I haven't tested them enough in the field to comment. They aren't as warm as a good 20 degree bag but can serve as a sleeping bag and a warm outer jacket. The IDI can also be rain gear. Any multi-purpose item is a compromise, but they can sure drop weight if they fit your situation and temperature extremes.

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the Mountain Serape is rated for warm weather or as a supliment to a sleeping bag...


Yeah, it's insulation seems pretty comparable to my Snugpack jungle bag that is rated for 45 degrees. That one works down to 30 degrees for me pretty comfortable, and can go lower if I have enough base layers, zip up a jacket or heavy base layer and slide my feet into it, etc. If I'm bugging out I'm more worried about staying alive than comfort but a good nights sleep is extremely important. I know the Mountain Serape is to warm for me to wrap up in tight at 55 degrees, I get hot quick. Haven't tested the IDI enough yet to know even that much.


A waterproof bivy sack can boost a bags temp range by 10 degrees or so and keep it dry on damp ground.

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Thanks Wally, that's exactly what I am looking for.


catfish, I am sitting here trying to figure out the best way to pack the bag.

I'm slightly dissapointed by the lack of numerous pockets, and how it is mesh when expanded. How do you pack yours? Do you have a duffell or the extra zip-in panel? Thanks man

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Yeah, I have both the spike camp duffle and zip in panel. I put my serape, spare clothes, and paratarp in a stuff sack and have it strapped on below the main pack. Doing that I can fit everything else without unzipping the mesh panel part. It keeps everything tight to my back and easier to move with, well balanced that way.

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Sorry for all of the questions, but I just want to try to get it right, or as close to right, as I can the first time around.

What kind of stuff sack do you use? And do you happen to have pictures of it in BOB mode?

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I just went back and found pictures that you've posted.


I'm still going over what in the hell to add to my bag.


After dumping out my first bag to move it to the J34, I realize that most of the stuff I had serves little to no purpose. It's back to the drawing boards..


Ordered 100 ft of black 550 paracord, Rothco Five In One Multi-Purpose Tool, and the Rothco Jungle Survival Kit Knife - 14"

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Mine has changed alot since first posting pictures, dropped alot of gear and added other gear. My situation will be different from yours also, if I have to bug out things are desperate. I'll be leaving a ranch where I have farmground and sustainable grazing for livestock probably for wilderness. I consider my bag my last ditch, last resort, never coming home option. My primary plan is to bug in, if that fails I have resources at a prepper friend's house within walking distance from home and an arrangement with another old friend in the mountains of a lightly populated western state. If a disaster hits his place he can come here, if one hits my place that's where I'm headed.


Have a plan on what you are going to do with your bag. I typed mine out like a business plan, starting with a mission statement of what I want the bag to do for me. Forcing myself to answer those questions helped make an actual plan instead of a bunch of ideas that aren't thought through completely. I can't stress that enough, it would have saved me alot of money if I'd started with a real plan rather than starting out buying things that looked cool. Most of the stuff I bought early has been moved to auxillary boxes, vehicle kits, boat kit, etc.


I've posted many times, but I am a believer in auxillary bags or boxes that can re-supply the BOB, hold more food, water, ammo, warm clothing, etc. If your situation would make a bug out by vehicle likely I'd encourage this. My boxes vary in size and necessity, and are clearly labeled on top with a print out of what's in them taped inside the lid. Large marine coolers or totes work well for this secured with bungees or duck tape to keep them from coming open. I can load whatever ones are necessary. If I'm going by vehicle I'll load them in order of least to most important for my intended destination so if I have to move supplies to the horse panniers or canoe I can grap the most important and leave the rest if necessary. I have a shorter single axle gooseneck horse trailer I can haul 2 horses in saddled and ready, plus have the nose and front 7ft for other gear. The canoe can be tied up high inside the trailer and be somewhat concealed while moving. These give me more options if a road, bridge, etc is impassable. They also make me more of a target for others who have hit a roadblock, so I plan my routes accordingly. If a bug out occurs for me, I can't plan for everything, the situation is likely desperate. I just do my best to set things up ahead of time to give me the best chance of survival in a variety of circumstances.


On a side note, I had a Rothco survival knife and wasn't impressed when I was younger. It was tough enough but not good steel for holding an edge. Tools are one place I won't skimp because with good tools I can make most other things I need. I stick with ones I can't find many negative reviews on, quality but not clear ridiculously priced. The importance of good tools can't be overstated in my book, who knows how many years they may need to last under tough conditions. I have a Gransfers Bruks 19" axe, Esee 6 knife, and Leatherman Wave in my bag as my primary tools, plus a Rapala 4" fillet knife for cutting meat into strips to dry. A cheaper tools that many rate highly include the Cold Steel axes & hawks and Bushman knife. I'd go with something like these for your bag, maybe throw the Rothco in an auxillary box or vehicle kit.


Other things I wouldn't be without in a bag

at least 3 lighters, plus a firesteel and good supply of pre-made tinder

container for clean water, second container for boiling water or cooking in (stainless nesting set) bandana or coffee filters (prefilter water) aluminum foil, water filter and filter straw (straw for quick drinks when forced to travel fast)

strong lightweight cordage, both paracord and braided nylon catfish line

shelter & sleeping system

2 backpackers folding buckets (real light and useful, I use blue for purified water, red for un-purified. Good to carry water to camp, use with hanging filter, etc)

3 liter water bladder (don't have to use it all the time, but it's light and there if you need it. If you have a hanging filter you can get fittings to filter right into it)

food & heirloom seeds, fishing & snaring kit.


That may give you ideas and is for my situation, fit your bag to your needs.

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I'll throw them in another kit it looks like, and check out the Cold Steel Axes.

Right now I have a Cold Steel Sheath Knife, & and a Gerber Machete for my bag.

Next I am looking for a Leatherman type tool, and an axe. Also, what qualities should I be looking for in a quality knife, one that holds an edge?

Also, I've never sharpened knives before but I feel a sharpener is completely necessary, do you know of any?


For shelter + sleeping, I think I've decided to go with ponchos, emergency blankets and maybe a tarp, still can't figure that one out for sure.

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I have a Smith's 2 sided diamond sharpener that also has a coarse carbide and fine honing rods built in. It lets me do axes and all types of knives, even fish hooks. Make sure you learn to use whatever you get.


For steel I like a high carbon blade but they need to be kept oiled or they will rust. I also like a 90 degree corner on the back side sharp enough to use as a striker on a firesteel. The benchmade pocket knife I carry daily has a newer and expensive steel called S30V. It is great in this knife, sharpens easy but holds an edge excellent. I've heard it isn't the best choice in larger blades though. The plain old high carbon seems best for that. I'm also not a huge fan of the Gerber machetes, really like either the Ontario US military model or Esee light machete best. Cold Steel again has some really good inexpensive ones. My catfishing boat has the Magnum Kurki from Cold steel for clearing limbs or weeds and works well.


For an axe Gransfers Bruks can't be beat, Wetterlings is supposed to be basically the same thing but priced lower. To go cheaper Cold Steel again, or Condor are supposed to be good. Gerber ones are ok but won't hold an edge like the others. My Gerbers seem to be a more brittle steel and chip easier too. Many people really like the Estwing axes also.


Gerber makes a pretty decent multitool but I prefer the Leatherman. I've had the little clips on the side of the Gerber sliding pliers fail, never hurt a Leatherman yet. The Wave is my favorite and the one I'd recommend. The little saw on it can do more than it looks like it should.


If you are going with a military poncho I'd get a poncho liner to go with it for part of your sleep system.


If you have never sharpened a knife I'd also get to work on building your skills as well as your equipment. No amount of gear can replace knowledge long term.

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^^^ Going to order the Wave, and a knife sharpener tomorrow. So excited to test out my Bag + Survival Skills onces the snow melts. Thanks for all the tips.



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Eberlestock Gunslinger II

2ea Eberlestock 2 qt pouches

1ea Eberlestock padded pouch small

1ea Eberlestock padded pouch large

1ea Voodoo tactical Admin pouch small

1ea Voodoo tactical single mag pouch rifle

1ea Voodoo tactical double mag pouch pistol

1ea Voodoo tactical medium pouch



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Dry cotton balls

Petroleum jelly cotton balls

Magnesium bar with flint

Water proof matches

Water proof match carrier

Helios wind & water proof lighter

Bic disposable lighter

2ea 9 hour candles





MSR MiniWorks microfilter


Potable Water tablets / PA Plus tablets

Nalgene 32 ounce water bottle

Ewan 34 ounce Stainless Steel bottle (not in picture)






Military poncho

SOL Escape Bivvy

Mylar blanket

Clear plastic poncho





Shaving cream





Tooth brush


Insect repellent

Sun screen


Hand sanitizer

Toilet paper

Bio wipes




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SOG Fasthawk tomahawk

Leatherman Mut with accessories kit

Knife sharpening stone

2 carbineers

Gorilla tape

Electrical tape

Boot laces 72 inch

Gerber survival knife with sharpener and flint

SOG entrenching tool









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