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#293050 - 08/19/19 03:30 PM Am I Failing to Communicate?
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2423
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
There is one situation I know of where I failed to listen and needed to be smacked upside the head with a clue-by-four. "Listen! He already told you how many rolls of Co-Flex that you need!"

Other times I don't know what is going on. I have not been secretive about my mental health. Though I have not spewed every detail; I had revealed, more than once, what I believe is need-to-know information. I've struggled with anxiety since I was in high school. It started out small; now, almost twenty years later, I can't be in a car for more than a few miles without being medicated and somehow I'm able to drive more than ten miles to the nearest college to take an EMT class, volunteer in an ER and volunteer for SAR? Was there something that I failed to mention?

I mentioned that the EDC bag I have on me at all times is close to what I built when I lived in Dallas which is essentially a 24 Hour urban survival kit. I went into more details before.

I recognized I may need something more than my 24 Hour urban survival kit. I considered a premade kit since this is new territory for me. This forum, as a whole, has told me to build a kit that fits my situation. That is certainly very specific. After a lot of research into this subject, I considered what I referred to as a "starter kit" and wanted to build from there.

I received positive feedback such as get a baseplate compass in addition to the button compass that comes with the PSP. From previous research, the Suunto A-10 seems to be an affordable compass that should work for me.

I have mentioned that with my EDC bag (24 Hour urban survival kit) being the exception, I've had bad experiences with attempting to build something from the ground up. I take part of that back. I accepted a challenge and succeed in building a working Pentium Pro computer out of junk. Geeks know how to live life on the edge. Those exceptions aside, somehow I'm able to walk blindfolded down the aisle of an outdoor store, grabbing items randomly, and build a better "starter kit" than what GATA is selling?

I can get a VCR to record a radio broadcast but when it comes to building a survival kit from the ground up that goes beyond my experience, I don't know what I'm doing. Could someone please tell me, in which area have I failed to communicate?

Jeanette Isabelle
“Trust me, this is not gonna end well!” — Pleakley, Lilo & Stitch

#293051 - 08/19/19 03:52 PM Re: Am I Failing to Communicate? [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5335
IMO you are communicating just fine; however, even with the limitations you’ve stipulated, we (at least I) can’t stop answering your questions as if those limitations weren’t there. Other folk new to the forum may happen upon a thread here thinking it might be of help, when it would be more useful if all options were discussed, including options you can’t use. So when an answer isn’t useful to you, understand that it may be useful to others.

BTW, good choice with the Suunto A-10; that will be much more useful than a button compass.

As to how to put a backpack based kit together — start out with that box or plastic container full of gear you would find useful and your backpack of choice and start making compromises. When you have your first “kit” done, try it out and see how it works. Only you can choose the pack and only you can decide what compromises to make.

BTW, I too have a few 2-D and 3-D Maglites, none of them would ever go in a backpack kit I would plan to carry.

#293062 - 08/20/19 09:58 PM Re: Am I Failing to Communicate? [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
brandtb Offline

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 370
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
As I recall from past threads you live in Florida (correct?). In building your kit, I would suggest basing it on a set of limiting factors dictated by the terrain you would have to cover. Florida is pretty flat, and from my (limited) experience fairly well built up in housing developments and roadways. So walking would not be over rough terrain. Given that -

Factor 1 - Weight - Consider what weight you can reasonably carry (or pull in a roller suitcase or push in a 'borrowed' shopping cart). If in a pack, 10-20% of your body weight is pushing it over a long walk. Personally, I can carry more comfortably if the pack weight is on my hips with a padded belt rather than on my shoulders.

Factor 2 - Distance - Over what distance would you expect to have to travel.

Factor 3 - Money - How much are you budgeting to put this together?

Factor 4 - Weather - Florida heat will require a lot of water, but on the other hand in the areas I'm familiar with water is relatively easy to find if you have a filter and a plastic sheet to catch rain.

You need to provide for water, food, shelter, first aid, navigation, foot wear, and tools within the above limits. If you are, in fact, in a built up area you may be able to cut down on what you carry by having the most important urban survival item - cash. In a rural area you may need a tarp shelter, but in a suburb you may be able to buy a night's sleep on somebody's porch or in the lobby of a motel (if they're still open). Admittedly, the value of paper money depends upon the nature of the emergency, and your willingness to approach a homeowner is something you have to weigh in terms of your personal safety, however in a serious extended emergency you have to ask if sleeping under a tarp is any safer than sheltering in a garage.

Edited by brandtb (08/20/19 11:36 PM)
Brian Brandt

#293063 - 08/20/19 10:20 PM Re: Am I Failing to Communicate? [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Phaedrus Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2689
Loc: Big Sky Country
I'm not sure if it's a failure to communicate so much as a difference in philosophies. ETS is kind of based around self reliance and education so it's normal for most of us to ass/u/me that building a kit is the way to go. Realistically if you buy a kit you're paying a middle man. There's nothing inherently wrong with that but everyone involved is going to have to make a profit. If a kit costs, say, $100 then some of that cost is going into someone's pocket. The $100 kit must be profitable to the seller or there's no point in selling it. Now sometimes the seller may be able to buy at a better price than you can due to economies of scales (s/he buys in bulk and gets a better price). A good example that I know you have is the Ritter PSP. I have at least five of them because it's a great kit and I couldn't build it myself for less money (again, kudos to Doug! That original kit is still the standard I hold other products to!).

So in a big kit like a B.o.B. there will likely be many compromises or the kit will be extremely expensive.

I have two possible ideas. One would be to watch some youtube videos to get ideas on what to put in the bag. Or maybe hit Amazon and look for a good book. I think John McCann's book on building a survival kit is a great start. Cody Lundin's book "98.6 The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive" is also a great book, and somewhat geared to urban environments, too.

The other idea is to look at the gear list of the kit you're interested. Write down the items and look at them individually to see if they're appropriate to your life and situation. Then begin to research the items. As an example, as others have said Suunto compasses are great. Then go down the list. Do you want a Lifestraw or is a Sawyer a better option? Or maybe Aquatabs? You can check reviews to see what other people think of the items.

Having been at ETS for a good while I remember well you talking about your mental health challenges. I commend you for being upfront but even more for tackling them head-on. If it's legal to do it's probably a good idea to check with your doctor to see if you can get a couple month's worth of whichever meds you need so you have a supply to keep in your B.o.B. Obviously if they have an expiration date the best thing would be to rotate through them, just keeping a reserve so the meds stay fresh.

Circling back to the beginning, I'll come down on the side of building a kit. I've tried a lot of different packs/bags/pouches and the quality of many of them has been disappointing. I'm a chef; I'm reasonably comfortable but not wealthy, and chef's don't make doctor, lawyer or investment banker money! So I can't drop $500 any old time I want on a pack, but I've also learned that it's wise not so skimp on certain items. Since I don't feel I can really afford to waste money I'd hate to buy a mediocre premade kit only to replace the stuff later. Your situation may of course be different than mine.

Lastly I think ETS is a great resource, Jeanette_Isabelle! We may disagree but I don't think anyone is deliberately 'busting your chops' over anything. People here genuinely try to help one another.
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman


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