• Morgan's Bag Part II

    Here is the next installment about Morgan's bag. We'll cover a few of the items contained in it this time. Before we do though I want to say a little something about the gear. There have been many comments made about some of the items listed in the book, we'll cover one of the most controversial today.

    For anyone who prepares such a pack and keeps it handy most have an idea of what they are preparing for. The list of possible scenarios are endless. For me, I simply prepare, whether it's a breakdown in the middle of nowhere or an absolute SHTF event. With that in mind, I personally carry gear that I may not need in one situation but could prove very handy in another. Handy in terms of it could save your life or simply make the situation a little more bearable, comfortable even.

    Take the Grilliput for instance. Many have said it's too heavy to carry and could be substituted with natural materials. While the first part of that statement is simply a personal view, the second is absolutely correct. However, the possible uses of twelve stainless steel rods are endless. Not that I own one because someday I might need to fashion a frog gig out of it, it's just an example of the alternative uses. I own it because I like it and it's great for grilling fish on!

    Our packs and the gear contained in them is a very personal thing. No one can tell you what you need, only you know that. Your personal preferences and environment will dictate what you carry. We all have to achieve the same things, shelter, warmth, water food and security. How each of us gets there will surely be different, but if any of us ever find ourselves in a situation requiring the use of our wits and gear, it's not going to matter what you used, only that you succeeded.

    The first thing we'll cover is the mess kit. If you recall Morgan carried a large quart MSR single pot. Inside the pot was a bag of rice, a small bag of quick oats, a bag of bouillion cubes. Additionally there was a small bottle of olive oil and honey. Now some folks have scoffed at the thought of carrying some of these, for reasons I cannot fathom, the oil is the one that draws the most ire. But this is foolish thinking, in any event where one would be living out of a pack, particularly as described in Going Home, a bottle of fat would worth it's weight in gold. So here it is.

    This is the closed kit.

    And here are the contents. The only thing missing is the powdered milk, very small bottle of dish soap and the pot scrubber, they were used on a trout fishing trip and haven't been replaced. The addition of the bouillion cubes adds little weight and adds additional fat and more importantly, flavor to what would otherwise be a bland meal of rice. The honey can be used to sweeten the oats as well as tea made on the trail, pine needle tea with some honey is quite good.

    The next item on the list is the infamous Grilliput. I think enough has been said about this piece of gear so I'll just put up the pics of it.

    In the book I listed a NVG, since that time I have upgraded to a PVS-14. On Facebook recently someone asked about an alternative to this very device. Their concern was that it's an expensive piece of electronics and they were worried about having it with them on the road. This is a valid concern, the possibility of it being stolen or lost. However, this is the exact time that you could really need it. If you find yourself on the road trying to get home you'll want the best equipment you can lay your hands on.

    The PVS-14 is a superb piece of kit. Night vision has often been called a force multiplier and it is just that. If you have one and someone your either trying to evade or engage does not, it's almost unfair. The image provided by this device is truly amazing. While they are expensive, they are worth every penny.

    As you can see it comes with a storage bag, the monocular and headgear. The head gear is handy, allowing hands free use. It does take some getting use to, establishing a proper fit is very important. The PVS-14 is also capable of being mounted on a weapon with a separate mount. This is very handy in the proper situation, but has limitations. The first being that if weapon mounted you need to point your weapon at anything you want to look at, not exactly a safe or friendly thing to do. In my opinion a long gun dedicated to defensive position is the perfect situation for such an application. Any other time, I would prefer either handheld use or the use of the headgear.

    The PVS has a built in IR source and is fully IR capable. This is handy for times when the available ambient light is not sufficient, inside a building for example. The use of IR spotlights or IR bulbs placed in perimeter lighting is another great companion for the device. But it comes with limitations. IR while invisible to the naked eye can be detected by anyone with a IR capable device, and there are numerous cheap devices that have this capability. Even a cellphone camera, on some models, are capable of this. It's worth keeping in mind.

    One of the things I really like about this device is the fact that it uses one AA battery. No fancy hard to find batteries. In an emergency situation this could be a real benefit.

    The last item I'll cover today is the small radio. In Going Home the radio was a County Comm GP 4L. It's a good little radio, very compact. Along with AM and FM it also has shortwave bands. Shortwave is extremely handy for getting news from all around the world, not just the US. I have recently upgraded to the newer version of the radio, the GP 5 DSP.

    The new version has several new features that make it stand apart from its predecessor. The addition of programmable memory and more importantly, a scan feature make this another great piece of kit. The radio has a back lit LCD for use at night and a customizable alarm.

    The radio comes as a kit with a case, external wire antenna, external AM antenna and headphones. The external wire antenna is very useful for SW and FM bands, the more antenna you have the better. The AM antenna is tuned and dramatically improves AM reception.

    By stringing the wire antenna in a tree or bush you can improve your reception quality. In a SHTF event, news of any kind will be helpful. While it may not give you the location of where to go to get help, it very well could offer intel on where not to go. This latter could be more important than the former.