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#123458 - 02/11/08 09:33 PM weight vs. value
mtnhiker Offline

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 73
Loc: Nevada,USA
I am in an unrelated class this week with guys from several other agencies. On our break this morning we were talking about the two skiers recently lost at a local ski resort. The topic quickly changed to survival gear. A couple of us mentioned how our packs for remote area day hikes were weighing in around the 20 to 30 lbs. range. Most of which is survival gear or considered as such. A gentleman from the division of forestry told a story of long ago when he went through S.E.R.E. school in the military. He said we started out with all of our gear and by day two we were shedding gear by the arm loads. He said by the end of the course we emerged with our ponchos w/liners,patrol hats, canteen w/cups, kives and fire making ability. everything else was just extra weight and after days with minimal to no food and water at a premium things feel like they are made out of lead. Which makes complete sense. He said a way to check yourself when loading your pack is to ask yourself "Am I going to die if I dont have this with me or is it just a luxury item" Just thought I would share this little story as it put me in check on some of the things/weight I carry. It also made me remeber how important it's going to be to watch how you burn your stored energy/calories.
"If it's not with you it cant save you"

#123479 - 02/11/08 11:10 PM Re: weight vs. value [Re: mtnhiker]
raydarkhorse Offline

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 510
Loc: on the road 10-11 months out o...
The more knowlege and skill the less equipment you realy need. IMHO most of the equipment that we talk about here and carry with us is more about comfort than actual survial. I personaly can make it with my just my skills and knowlege but my pack is still in the 20lb range, but that does include a few days worth of food.
Depend on yourself, help those who are not able, and teach those that are.

#123481 - 02/11/08 11:31 PM Re: weight vs. value [Re: raydarkhorse]

I wish my pack were only 20 lbs. I guess that means I have a lot to learn smile

#123490 - 02/12/08 12:13 AM Re: weight vs. value [Re: ]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Mine is probably in the 10-15 lbs range. Might be a bit heavier today, since I was fiddling with MRE's yesterday and crammed 2 into 1 bag. Don't know why it's so light relative to yours. Usually I have the 10 essentials, an extra layer (like a rain jacket or vest), and some food and water.

#123491 - 02/12/08 12:15 AM Re: weight vs. value [Re: mtnhiker]
billym Offline

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 616
Loc: Oakland, California
John Muir was said to go into the Sierra Nevada with his wool coat, tin cup and some hard-tack in his pockets. I am sure he had a knife, some fire making tools and a few other items but probably not much more.

We as a culture have definitely learned to bring our "house" along with us into the woods; most of it we don't need but going from a mattress and boxspring in a house to a night on the ground is a stretch for many 21st century folks. It is just what we are used too.

#123498 - 02/12/08 12:45 AM Re: weight vs. value [Re: MDinana]
mtnhiker Offline

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 73
Loc: Nevada,USA
I weighed my pack today just for sh#@% and giggles. 15 lbs. without water and only a handful of granola bars. I am having a love/hate relationship with the crusader canteen/stove kit.
"If it's not with you it cant save you"

#123516 - 02/12/08 02:37 AM Re: weight vs. value [Re: mtnhiker]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"... canteen w/cups..."

I understant that the US military no longer issues canteens and cups, just Camelbaks. I wonder how you heat water with no canteen cup...

#123532 - 02/12/08 07:55 AM Re: weight vs. value [Re: mtnhiker]
Evolute Offline

Registered: 09/12/02
Posts: 33
I am sure that many people carry true luxury items in their "survival gear", such as a music player. However, I see the tendency toward packing a big load of survival gear differently than as an inability to pare away the luxuries and stick to the necessities. I think it has more to do with the role that the unknowable plays in survival situations.

Is bugproof net clothing a luxury or a survival necessity? Well... that depends upon whether you will get a deadly disease from a parasite bite, if you don't use the bugproof net clothing. So, will you? You have no way of knowing, in some cases. Is a back up firestarting method a luxury or a necessity? That depends upon whether your primary firestarting method fails during a life threatening situation. Will it? Again, you can't tell in advance.

(Such possibilities really do happen. I've picked up a disease from a tick bite which would have killed me, without medical intervention. I've reached into my gear and found my lighter broken.)

Since we don't know in advance whether any given item will turn out to be critical or unused when a survival situation strikes, we take our best educated guesses, and place out bets by making the survival gear choices we do. Sometimes, for some folks, that means a weighty load.

It's not that any given piece of survival kit is intrinsically a luxury item (or intrinsically a necessity), and we are miscategorizing it; instead, it's that the same piece of kit is sometimes a luxury and other times a necessity, and we'll never know which it will be, in advance.

By the way, here's the fundamental survival gear I carry:


I also carry other stuff, like warm clothes and food.

Edited by Evolute (02/12/08 02:55 PM)

#123536 - 02/12/08 10:04 AM Re: weight vs. value [Re: OldBaldGuy]
jasond Offline

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 52
Loc: North Carolina
We do still get issued canteens and cups but we also get the camelbaks, so most of the youngsters that don't know any better leave the canteen cup at home when we're out in the field.

#123545 - 02/12/08 01:13 PM Re: weight vs. value [Re: jasond]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
I would think it rather easy to pare down to essential gear in short order, which is why my kits come modularized. Figuring out how to make the tools you do need into mulit-taskers to satisfy as many of the essentials as possible can help quite a bit. So I guess one really needs to sit and think what the needs might be and what could be used to fill those needs and only those needs, for a given survival condition you are likely to encounter (for instance, I don't need arctic gear here in Florida at any time, but I would need it in Denver now).

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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