A seasonal BOB problem

Posted by: joblot

A seasonal BOB problem - 01/22/04 08:22 PM

This question probably relates more to those living in a 3 or 4 season area, but I stand to be corrected.

As part of my BOB I have invested in a 4 season tent with all the trimmings. That with the rest of my equipment fills a 65L rucksack, and I still wish I had room for more. God forbid if I ever did have to bug out, I think the sheer weight and stress of carrying it any distance would kill me long before the "rampaging Hoards" or any "Dirty bomb" could - which got me thinking....

1/ I don't/shouldn't need the tent for at least 2 seasons out of 4, do I then put together 2 BOBs , one for the summer and one for the winter? I would save a lot of weight by not taking the tent. Would a couple of strong Tarps, extra clothing and more food be a more sensible use of the space in my BOB? It would also mean that one BOB suits all seasons.

2/ Assuming I come to the conclusion the tent is indespensible. Do you store the tent inside your rucksack or strap it on the outside and hope the rain doesn't soak it completly?

There are a number of solutions to my problem:
a/ I could find another means of transport bar my legs, and hope the Gestapo let me out of town
b/ Split my BOB into two parts where a bag of "extras" could be fitted in where the tent was.A layered approach to a seasonal problem. I would also have to pack the tent so it would have a quick release mechanism....! The downside of this is my BOB is never ready just to pick up and go with.
c/ Start saving (or maybe dreaming) and buy my self a bunker in the country, and store some gear there.

Has anyone thought this through and come to any sensible solutions?
Planning for disaster isn't easy...

Posted by: AyersTG

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/23/04 03:10 AM


It's knotty problem that I don't have a final answer for. There are all sorts of nuances - not simply the shelter. I seek a layered, modular approach to the whole "essentials" kit that ranges from what's on my person thru day-pack level to full-up expedition kit. Somewhere in the vast middle area are the kits I would call my BoBs.

I don't include a tent in any BoB pack. That's add-on gear for us in the BoB realm - but from separable FAK on up there is *something* stowed in the shelter category. Temperate zone here with all 4 seasons from hot and humid to frigid and dry.

Ahhh - I'm not sure I'm being clear...

I'd like to pick this thread back up Sunday PM - helping with homework right now and I have to pack up some kit for a weekend outing afterwards.


Posted by: billvann

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/23/04 06:43 PM

To add a quick comment to Tom's reply. Consider using a modular/strapped on approach with 2 change overs schedule to coincide with the "2" season issue. That also an ideal time to review the contents to replace or recycle replenishables (food, meds, water, etc.)
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/23/04 08:29 PM

Personally, I'd go for option 1. I don't believe that a tent is nessecary in any season (bar arctic conditions). A tarp can be rigged in many different ways to creat a completely weatherproof structure. It is also much easier to use it in conjuction with found and natural materials to create a more sturdy shelter. It is also less conspitious and easier to repair.

However, having a tent is nice and a comfort to have, espessially in bad weather, and as you have bought it specially, I would change my BOB to suit the time of year.

(Sorry about the spelling)
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/24/04 07:39 PM

Thanks for your responses. I'm erring on the side of leaving my tent outside my BoB, and use the tent for leisure activities.
However my skills useing a tarp are somewhat limited, and I won't rate any structure I could create against a winter storm.(Murphys law states that if a storm is going to hit, its going to hit while your bugging out!)
Does anyone else have a tent in their BoB? What do you do?
It'll be interesting to see what Tom comes back with.
No Pressure for an anwser Tom....honest! <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Posted by: boatman

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/24/04 10:30 PM

You should check out Blackhawk Industries.They make many pouches where you could attach the tent to the outside of your pack.You can also use these pouches to make a modular approach.Put your year round "gotta haves"in the main pack and put seasonal stuff in add on pouches.
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/25/04 01:57 PM

thanks for the link. I tried to access the site, but its so graphics intensive, I had to close the browser down before my 3 year old PC seized up. Talk about memory hogging!

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/25/04 03:15 PM

Don't give up on Blackhawk Industries. Yes it is owned by a friend of mine and yes I'm biased. I use a lot of their gear both personally and as part of a package we provide the military. They build great stuff and customer service combined with on time shipping/delivery is first rate or I wouldn't work with them. See if you can order a catalog from the website. Check out Hydrastorm at Blackhawk for hydration gear too. Bill
Posted by: aardwolfe

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/25/04 05:35 PM

Well, what sort of a scenario are you envisioning using your BOB for?

If you need to use it in summer, and you're reasonably sure that you'll be home by Christmas, then you won't need the 4-season tent. Otoh, if you're envisioning an extended vacation from civilisation, you'll probably want to be carrying at least enough stuff to get you comfortably set up for the cold season. <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Another point is that, if you're planning on escaping by snowshoe, you will want to be hauling a sled - much, much easier than carrying 125 pounds of gear on your back. (Not to mention you'd probably need snowshoes 6 feet in diameter to support the added weight <img src="images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> ) So you might want to invest in a cheap plastic sled (Can$20 at Canadian Tire) and load your winter supplies in that. <img src="images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: Tjin

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/25/04 07:16 PM

i would recomend a european brand, like snugpak, karrimor, london bridge, etc. they will give you more bang for the buck sort to speak, that is if you buy them in europe.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/25/04 10:49 PM


I've seen the Hydrastorm packs, and like what I've seen a lot- especially the ventilated back panels... and I like subdued gear. I've come close to buying one...

... but what is the deal with having two kinds of camo, plus OD and black, and then putting this label with a *bright* white logo and lettering against a black background? Sort of ruins a lot of the value of the otherwise-subdued gear.

Not only that, but it looks to be sewn right on a heavily exposed spot, so if you remove it, you have leaking needle holes. Is that a special feature just for us civilians?


Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you order a subdued Camelbak (from Brigade, who seems to have them exclusively), it comes with a subdued label.

Maybe not earthshaking, I suppose you could always remove it and seal the holes, or take a magic marker to it or something, but it is annoying.
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/25/04 11:20 PM

" Well, what sort of a scenario are you envisioning using your BOB for?"
Without being flippant, if I knew that I would be able to plan better! <img src="images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> I know what you mean though. In reality I hope not for more than a week, although one of the reasons I bought it was to use it as a back-up system incase it turned into an extended stay.
Since I've been on this forum I tried to focus on my short term needs in a crisis, and to that end I have planned accordingly.
However, like many people who frequent this forum, as a result of thinking through various horrific senario's, I can't help thinking about the long term planning and make allowances for them as well.
As for snow, I'm really to far south, and the area to sheltered for any long term snowfalls, so maybe a go-cart might be more useful <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
What ever happens, I'll still use the tent for recreation, so the money isn't wasted.
Thanks for the input

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/26/04 12:58 AM

For the longer-term scenarios I look more to knowledge and tools than to pre-fab'd answers. For example in shelter I know how to build a debris hut and would if I needed.

For a short-term (3 days to a 3 weeks) scenario but in order to avoid that eventually I always have a number of tarp like expedients. Silnylon poncho - tarp 5X8 foot, large garbage bag, plastic poncho, space blanket etc. I don't want to spend too much time or energy building shelter in a short term emergency. I expect my energies will be more crucially needed for medical / navigational / traveling speed and taking the time to have to construct shelter each night would be a trouble.

For the medium term (3 weeks to 3 months) I count on these tarplike expedients also since they would be adequate tho not luxurios. Tho in these scenarios I may build a "base camp" site I still would need my energies more likely for other things such as food gathering and water prep. and community re-building and disaster relief

For longer term (3 months and beyond) I count on tools like, minimally, Ax, Bow-Saw, Sledge, Shovel, Anvil, File, Rasp, Mallet, and Hammer to construct shelter that is solid enough that I don't have to maintain it structurally after it is built. These long term scenarios are ruled "off-topic" by the definition of this site tho so I won't go deeper than this on them.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/26/04 02:55 PM

Presumed Lost, I can't answer your question at this writing, just checked both of my Blackhawk packs and they have subdued labels. I'll look at the catalog and see if I can find what you speak of. Yes the ventilated panels are good. I've used mine on the Oregon Steens mountain during pretty warm weather and have no complaints. Back to the "subdued" question, a lot of the guys just cover anything they don't like with a dull tape anyway. Bill
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/26/04 07:25 PM


I was going by the photos on their website.

No big deal, and it's certainly not your responsibility one way or the other- didn't mean to convey that. It's just frustratingly difficult to get good equipment that doesn't stand out like a neon sign in the woods, in a time when most gear manufacturers and catalogs seem to regard color as completely unimportant.
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/26/04 09:46 PM

I believe you are right.
You never actually gave any reason for not going down the pre-fab route, maybe you could elaborate.
In my circumstances it's simply ridiculous putting together a BoB I can't carry any distance, which kind of forces the issue - rather now than on that would-be fateful day!
I wonder how well a tarp like construction would stand up to a bad winter. I think 3 months might be pushing your luck - but I never tried...
On your last point on tools. I'm presuming these wouldn't be included in your BoB but stashed or "accummulated" as the months went on. Like you said its not really within the scope of this forum, I just hope theres a community left to build.
On that happy note...
Thanks for the help people, you've helped clarify my thoughts. Any further insights in to the subject would be good.

Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/26/04 11:06 PM

A combination Debris hut / Tarp shelter where the tarp is primarily the roof over an increasingly reinforced Debris hut type shelter may last and suffice for a 3 month duration. I don't think that it will be adequate or comfortable but it could suffice for the time it takes to transition to either "back-to-normal" / recovery mode or to the long-term scenario where you are building a cabin to replace your tarp. The longest you could get something like to work would be 3 months but I believe that you are right in thinking that you would want to be in some other type of shelter before then. I am considering the 3 week - 3 month scenario something like "lost at sea, stranded way off course in the outback, or perhaps aftermath of very b ad hurricaine (hurricaine andrew was bad enough that some didn't return to their homes or newly built homes for more than a month but all were back fully into recovery - go back to work mode after three.
Posted by: boatman

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/26/04 11:59 PM

They may have digitaly enhanced the photos to protect image rights.If they do come with a white logo a Sharpie marker can fix that.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 12:18 AM

Dear Presumed Lost, No worries, didn't take it that way. I know that some of the packs come with a reflective "identifier patch" that (I think) can be removed or covered up. I will pay extra attention to this at the Blackhawk booth at SHOT. Bill
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 02:31 AM

I take a modular approach - I have "the basics" in a couple of duffel bags and I have a "winter kit" that I keep separate from the basics set, the logic being I'll only need it in the winter anyway. The tent is with the "basics" and it's NOT a 4-season tent, but I wish it were (can't afford one!)

Now the eternal question is - of course - how to CARRY all that stuff! There's no denying winter gear is big, heavy and a complete pain to haul about, and there's also the reality that in the majority of all possible scenarios you'll be driving to a shelter or stuck in your vehicle, which leads nicely to keeping your "winter additions" in the car, which is what we do.

Of course, If you end up trudging through miles of snow like a refugee, well, yeah, your heart is going to explode from the stress carrying all the doo-dads and gadgets we equipped folks think we "need" to survive, unless you have a sled (for the snow) and/or a wheelbarrow to haul your kids AND stuff.

For me, the BOB has been reduced to two duffels, one small backpack and a plastic bucket.

Posted by: Susan

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 03:59 AM

In a BO situation, do you have a direction or destination in mind? What about stashing the heavy/bulky stuff somewhere near your destination? Relative? Friend? Storage compartment? Under the floor of an abandoned house? <img src="images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: AyersTG

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 05:43 AM

Aaaaaaaaaaaah! The pressure! ...the pressure of being out in the woods for ONE weekend and coming back to ALL these posts!

The "pure" BoB is, I suppose, reserved for that scenario alone. But - do we keep the BoB with us at all times, lugging it in and out of home and transportation and destinations as we come and go? If not, Murphy says that we will eventually need it when we are parted from it...

And there are many BO scenarios that are credible. A do-it-all is not very feasible in my experience. For me, BO has many stages and means and destinations - depending on what and why we are bugging out. Many of those BO scenarios realistically are to get HOME to bug-in or home as first step in a scenario (and maybe the only step - or not). As the head-of-household and chief worrier, I have my hands full. However, once underway, a group (family of 6 in my case) bug-out has many advantages over a solo bugout, like division of some equipment and tasks. That group responsability dominates and drives my planning and preparation.

While all of our kids have drivers licenses now, I trained all of them to drive as soon as they could reach the pedals and see over the dash, including driving large vehicles with stick shifts. We have plenty of vehicles. Stage one of a bug-out uses vehicles loaded with gear and supplies, of course - and also variable stage 2 transportation: all-terrain bikes, one ATV (also may be used to recon routes for stage 1), and two canoes. Stage 3 is on-foot with a couple of two-wheeled carts (that can be towed behind bikes / carried in canoes) and/or towed boat-like sleds (ahkio, pulk, komatik - pick your jargon). Stage 4 is backpacks only, with showshoes and skis if the conditions permit/require. Things are really in the crapper if a planned BO sees us losing our packs - I do not plan for that, but we are all experienced outdoors folks and I know we would improvise and get on with it.

Situations could occur that would mean jumping immediately to a latter stage, such as jumping to stage 3 or 4 immediately. But if even only one or two of us can pass thru home first, we won't be punted past stage 4 - our packs are fairly well ready to go all the time because we get out as often as possible. Sleeping bags are unstuffed, but that takes only a moment.

I look at the stage 4 stuff as the upper end of a continum of normal outdoors equipping, and that's where my desire to be modular drives me nuts. I believe both in layering and in not having tons of "extra" gear along - mutually incompatible goals, of course, so compromise/optimization is an eternal battleground.

I want to be able to wear a full-up pack etc. for a two week "trip" (upper limit for on-board food when rigged out for bad weather). Then if at a "basecamp" (normal outings) or if stripping down weight/gear is required, being able to shuck amenities with a tug on a couple of quick releases - down to say, a weekend pack, then down to a "day pack +" (what I consider to be the essentials), then down to a minimal kit, then down to my wits and what's scattered about my person and clothing. I'd be pretty stressed out beyond that - I'm not Tom Brown.

And I just haven't hit on anything that does it like I want. Some military gear combinations come closer than anything else, but still a ways to go and certainly in combinations not conceived by the developers. There are penalties with some of those combos (weight, comfort, and sometimes looking like a wannabe)

Another thing I value highly is knowing exactly where each little thing is so I can find it unerringly with only my hands to guide me. Switching stuff sacks of items from one pack to another is not good enough - I'm still having "withdrawal" from retiring a certain pack that I used for everything for many years. For me, a BoB should be just like what I normally carry afield.

I've got to cut this off for now, but I'd like to hear how others manage.

BTW, as of this evening I'm a double Eagle Dad - second son had his board of review tonight. Third one by this fall if he stays on track. I'm very proud of my son - he really earned this!

Best regards,


Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 06:26 AM

Congratulations "Father of Eagles."
I am sure they would not have made it without your support.

Sign me,
"Eagle from many years ago."
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 06:29 AM

I goofed, that should read "Proud Father of Eagles."
Sounds like the name of a great indian.

Posted by: billvann

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 03:13 PM


Congrats on the Eagles.

BTW, my second son crosses over to the troop next month. We're both excited.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 09:03 PM

I think I'll call or e-mail them with the question. It so happens I'm in the market for a (subdued, please) small hydration-system pack for day hikes starting this spring. Based on the weather these past few of days, there's plenty of time... but I'm starting to "champ at the bit"...
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 09:21 PM

I don't see a reason why a debris shelter cannot last more than 3 months. If you keep the upkeep up and continually add materials to it and improve it, I see how it will degrade. Unless I'm overlooking something? <img src="images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 10:28 PM

Nice post. I'll have to read and digest another couple of times to make sure I haven't missed any points...but what a huge selection of equipment you have...makes me green with envy <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Please could someone tell me what a "double eagle dad" is?
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 10:41 PM

Hmmm..kind of limited as to where I would go.
East goes along the coast and ultimately south.
West goes toward a major city, via miles of Highway
North leads to a large estuary with a "golden Gate" style bridge, which could easily be closed. Otherwise it a long drive around, going west first.
South lead to (at least in part) a range of hills, which I reckon is my best bet, or maybe east at a push.
No relatives or friends outside the city for around 200 miles.
So thats that. Obviously theres a fair bit of country side in most direction which would do - I'm working on it!!
Posted by: joblot

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 11:15 PM

"A debris Hut"
I wish we could change the name...it sounds like a filthy place.
Q: "what city are you staying in?"
A: Litter city"
Q: "Street and house name?"
A: "no. 2 debris hut, garbage lane, junkville"!!

Not my idea of "home sweet home"
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/27/04 11:55 PM

Sure beats the heck out of

12 glowing hot slag lane
Nuked desolation where a city used to be


3 Pile-o-toothpicks drive


Stalach 13


3 burnning bum lane

If I had bugged out to live in a debris hut for 3 months with a tarp for a roof it would be because I was leaving behind one of the above addresses.

These scenarios aren't within the scope of this forum's topic tho.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/28/04 03:03 AM

My assumption is that he is the father of two sons that have attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/29/04 09:09 PM


Check out the above link to a page on the main site. It offers many variations on how to use a tarp to build a shelter from a very simple lean-to to more advanced folding, guy line, pole, and stake intensive shelter.

There are replacement stuff sacks that you can put your tent in before lashing to your pack that are water repellant and help to protect it from general abuse.

Years ago when I used to backpack, we would split up the load between the members of the party. Usually two people would use a tent but only one would carry the tent. The other person would carry something of similar weight like the axe, stove, more food, etc. A tent and sleeping bag are typically the two heaviest parts of a backpack rig. Backpacking tents are typically very small and low to the ground. Usually only enough space for two people to lie down next to each other and little more.

Many nights I setup the rain fly only and not the tent. In the event of rain, it would keep me dry unless a very strong horizontal wind at ground level. During cold weather, the tent provides very limited but some body heating trapping effect. It also provides additional wind and water resistance.
Posted by: boatman

Re: A seasonal BOB problem - 01/30/04 01:33 PM

Don't forget about tents being a haven from skeeters and other pests.In some areas and times of year it would be impossible to sleep at night.