Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Survivalist Basecamp Forum Launched...


I've started a new forum. It'll be much better & easier to navigate  around than a blog.
While it's not how I wanted to do it, I just feel compelled to start it now.

I have another forum in the works that I will launch at a later date,
but that one is requiring a lot of money to launch and I'm working on funding it.
It'll be a on the same level if not better than any major survival forum available now.
In fact, I can absolutely guarantee that it will be on the cutting edge technologically.

Along with that, I'll also launch a YouTube Channel where you will all be welcomed
to post your own videos and to share videos you think have a lot to offer to the discussion.

For now however, I invite you all to our new forum.
And, by all means, feel free to invite anybody you want to invite there.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stage I PSK

Along the lines of of the PSK thread I posted, here's an EDC Pouch that I can transfer from kit to kit and always know that I have "my" essentials covered. If I ever had to ditch my main pack, this small kit would provide me with the means to procure food, cook it, purify up to 8 liters of water, start fire immediately, signal for help, treat minor injuries, shelter myself, MacGyver-rig things, get tinder, cut, saw, notch, pry and provide light for night movement.

This and my ESEE-6 is enough to get me through some tough nights if I had to. Not in the pictures, but that I do have are a woodland camo bandana and a button compass (confirmed accurate). Plus, I'd really like to add a folding bread pan for a much better cooking/water boiling option than the aluminum foil. 

I consider this a Stage I Kit in that it's above a micro kit (like a keychain or Altoids pocket kit), but provides much more for the space it takes.

A Stage II Kit would be all this + a shelter tarp, Mora, a Suunto A-10 compass, my 4oz iGo case IFAK and a stainless steel water bottle. In the Stage II Kit, I'd just toss this EDC Pouch in with the tarp, Mora, compass, IFAK and bottle and all that would fit in something as compact as a USGI Waist Pack or in the lid of my ILBE. Still small, but much more substantial.

Condor Gadget Pouch
6" X 4" X 4"

55 gallon contractor bag
Mylar Space Blanket
Emergency Poncho
*[hi-viz yellow poncho/signaling]

2  pain killers pills
2 anti-diarrhea pills
2 allergy pills
2 anti-bacterial ointment
2 anti-septic wipes
3 vitamins
*[sew kit for stitches]

Sew kit:
2 needles
1 bobbing thread
1 button
2 bobby pins
*[needle, thread stitches]

Repair Kit:
3' wire
3' duct tape
3' electrical tape
4 12D nails
4 2" wood screws
8' 550 paracord

Food Procurement/Fishing Kit: 
Assortment of hooks, weights, swivels
40' Siderwire (not shown)
*[wire for snares]

3' aluminum foil
P-51 can opener
*[water could be boiled/pasturized in foil folded up into box]

Razor Blade
Card Tool

1qt pouch
8 Aquamira tabs

Fire Kit:
Bic Lighter
Mag Block
Fresnel Lens
PJCB tinder pill bottle w/jutetwine
25 strike anywhere matches
Waterproof match case
Flammable paste

MagLite XL50 (not shown)

2" X 3" signal mirror
TOPS 126db whistle
*[hi-visibility yellow poncho]

*[Note: Dual purpose uses for other bits in kit.]

MCCEB Pack Redemption Project

I purchased this pack from Tony's Tactical last year as a back-up BOB to serve as a mule for general preps for the family (family-sized tent, quilts, pads, supplies for our 3 little girls, extra food, FAK, etc...). In a bug-out situation, my wife could wear it and if need be, I could toss it on top of my ILBE and hump it if I had to. It wouldn't have any more than 20 or 30lbs in it. It'd mostly be bulky lighter stuff.

Anyway, I loaded the pack out and found it to have tons of great features including a separate access to the bottom, side pouches and 3 useful exterior pouches. The only place it would fail in would be in it's suspension. It wasn't made for carrying heavy loads over long distances BUT it was made for carrying heavy loads over shorter distances (from supply to vehicle, from vehicle to camp, etc...). Why not just get another ILBE or get a MOLLE II pack to supplement my main BOB you might ask? Simple: This pack has tons of wide open capacity and lends itself to carrying the items I want for it. IMO, it's well worth modifying it. All I'd have to do is secure a harness to it.

I was going to buy MARPAT material and a set of spare set of buckles anyway to make a repair kit for my ILBE. If I butcher an ILBE with a beat up main pack for the suspension, I'd automatically have PERFECT original USGI Pack Material for my repair kit and that'd go towards the purchase price of the donor pack (that's an easy $20. alone I can credit towards the cost). Pack cost is about $30. A donor pack wouldn't be anymore than $60., but credit $20. of that for the repair material that'll be left over, then that's a final cost of $40. Basically, for $60., I can have a new MCCEB with an ILBE suspension.

I could also go the MOLLE II route. The big plus there would be aesthetics with the matching Woodland Camo. I estimate that it'd come out to the same cost for the components: $40. (frame, shoulder straps, waist belt). If I could do it, I'd take a great back-up BOB and turn it into a much more competent pack.

How could I "not" experiment with this. It only cost me $29. new. What do you guys think?



In 1996 the Defense Logistics Agency awarded a production contract for 15,450 items with second and third year options of 15,450 to 21,560. The first unit was equipped in May 1996. Fielding to Force Package 1 and 2 Combat Vehicle Crewmen in Categories I and II was scheduled to be completed in 2000.


The Mounted Crewmen Compartmented Equipment Bag (MCCEB) was developed in response to a need to transport individual mission essential equipment of the mounted crewmen on the outside of the vehicle in an organized easily accessible manner.

The MCCEB is an oversized, water resistant, woodland camouflage bag that organizes gear into three easily accessible compartments, and three outside pockets. The top compartment has a drawstring flap, and access to the middle and lower compartments is gained through zippered openings. The large bottom compartment is designed to accommodate a crewman's sleep gear.

The bag has two well-padded shoulder straps for transporting to and from vehicles. There are three easily accessible outside pockets intended to carry small, often-needed items.



Let's talk packs...

I've learned a lot about packs over the last year. I've gone through all the discussions of materials, weight, capacities, capabilities, USGI VS civilian, etc... One of the biggest errors I've seen in discussing packs in online communities is that very few posters comment from an objective point of view and instead work to push their own reasoning behind why their pack is the best for everybody else.

For example, just about everything I discuss is regarding survival which to me  means heavy duty end of the world-type stuff. As soon as someone would suggest "that's too heavy!", I'd respond with "for what"? Then you'd get the ounces add up to pounds speech and how if your pack weighs less, you can carry more food (even though I highly doubt that someone concerned with saving weight so much would add 12lbs of food to their pack "just because" they saved 6lbs in pack weight). Some of the arguments seem as if no forethought was put into them. There are some that make EXCELLENT arguments for why they go with a lighter pack and speak from a reasonable place. Those are the types I like to talk to and learn a lot from.

In the end, we just have to (again) be careful who we expose ourselves to because we might find ourselves wasting time arguing instead of learning. And, I don't come online to argue. I come online to discuss, to debate (not a bad thing) and to learn what I can and if I've managed to learn something myself that can be of use to someone else, I do.

Now, packs, packs, packs...the glue of a survivalists kit (from now on, I'll use the term survivalists in the most generic sense to cover everybody): It keeps everything together in one place while mobile.

What pack or packs are you using and why do you like them?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How's this for a switch-up; What "aren't" you?

Throughout my journey this first year in learning about becoming self-reliant in the wilderness, I've come to learn a lot about the various types of people there are (at least in the online community) and how they choose to identify themselves. Some call themselves Survivalists, some Bushcrafters, some Militia, some Patriots, some are Ultralighters, others Bush Hippies, some Campers, others Hikers some Backpackers, etc... and in all of that, I've come to the conclusion that I don't know what the hell I am.

It's like every one of those terms come with some baggage I don't care to be associated with. I don't know; I'll figure it out or worst case scenario, make up my own definition for what I am. Maybe I'm over-thinking it and just attaching some undesirable folk I've met that have identified themselves as one of those terms. At the same time, I've also met great guys who identify themselves as any of those terms. I gotta stop doing that (looking to chuck a barrel of good apples because of the rotten ones).

I know this. I'm not any of them (at least my definition of what I think they are) and I'm a little of all of them. I know what I'm really interested in and what I like and I know what I don't like and what I don't want to do. I'm pretty damn sure I'm not an end-of-the-world Doomsdayer or some romanticizer of being in a survival situation and definitely not a take-our-Republic-back militiaman. Hell no. In fact, there's nothing extremist about me at all in my approach to survivalism.

I will become proficient at wilderness survival and I will continue to train myself at that. It's what I've always wanted to do. I will work in some capacity with Search And Rescue operations. For me, what good is it to anyone else if I don't apply my skills and knowledge to real world situations. This is "real" life. Survival training is not (and shouldn't be in my personal opinion) a hobby or past time. It should be seen as a life skill. It should be shared with all one's loved ones. It should be shared with strangers. It should be re-gifted to others and paid forward. It's like water in the desert or fire in the winter.

Woman survives plane crash with just the Will to survive.

Here is one of those stories that have led me to focus on what's really important in one training themselves to overcome life & death situations. As a girl, she survived an airplane crash that fell 2 miles from the sky to the earth, left the site on her own and with just what little her parents taught her, she managed to make it out of the Peruvian Jungle with a concussion, swollen shut eye, open cuts on her arms and legs and a broken collar bone as the sole survivor.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Dave Canterbury Playlist

What's up guys. I've taken the time to put together a playlist of my favorite Dave Canterbury videos that run in "sections" covering kits, tools, fire starting, packs, methodology, etc... It runs 75 videos long and contains well over 14 hours of content. They are all in topic succession, but you can easily skip to a targeted series to get specific information. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

What do you "really" need live past a few days in the wilderness?

3 Season: 
  • Pack
  • FAK
  • Fire Kit
  • Compass
  • Headlamp
  • Mess Kit + Utensils
  • Fishing Kit, a few traps
  • Shelter, Sleep Bag & Mat
  • SS Bottle, Hydration Bladder
  • Signal Kit (mirror, whistle), PLB
  • Axe, Saw, Knife ,Multitool, maintenance (sharpener, file)

That's it. You tell me why you need anything more than that?
In the big scheme of things, that doesn't look like a lot to me.
My kit like that comes in at under 40lbs. The base kit
(shelter, sleep system & pack) are 18lbs and the tools
come out to 6lbs believe it or not. The traps would be 5.
The rest would come in at way less than 11lbs easy.
This is for a substantial kit (not weak ultralight stuff).
Is it really that easy? Or am I missing something?

Vanishing Nomad..."this" one's for you brother.

What you'll never learn from courses; Heart.

Survival the hard way...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Real Survival Training

I've been thinking about what is real survival training. I'm talking about more than rubbing two sticks together or knowing which mushrooms to eat or gathering some logs and tossing leaves on them and calling it a day. I'm thinking about going to the next level. People can hike and walk on a trail and cook and pitch a tent, but do they practice running with their packs on or climbing in winter clothing? Do they actually climb trees or do they just sit down and set-up the gas stove and whip out the Ramens? That's camping and there's nothing wrong with that. But that's not training for survival in my opinion. This isn't to insult or judge anyone that does these things; Not at all. 

I want to go beyond bow drill fires and tinder gathering and boiling water and gutting chipmunks. Of course there's hunting and fishing, but I think that's a given. But what about harvesting fish with elaborate passive trapping methods like the Native Americans used. What about larger animal snares where one could catch a dear without a firearm. The more I'm learning it seems, the more questions come to mind and I want to go into a different direction than what I thought I wanted to go into in the first place. Over the past few days, I've been exposed to some really practical ways of thinking when it comes to wilderness survival and it's just lit a fire under me. 

I see so many people expressing their views on survival, but I'm not learning much, while there are others who are teaching more in a 10 minute talk as compared to a half hour ramble. I'm getting past the "fluff" of all of this. I'm getting past the pomp & circumstance of  it all or what I've come to refer to as the Internet Culture of Survivalists. I don't want to be those guys. Besides the obvious training I want to get (wilderness first aid, primitive skills, bushcraft, hunting, trapping, fishing, etc...), I'm looking towards training I don't see regularly being discussed (like escape and evasion, rappelling, rock climbing, scrambling, being able to hide your tracks not only for E&E, but in establishing a hidden camp, etc...). 

I'm already working on Search & Rescue and that's what I'd say started the ball rolling for me and opening my eyes as to what I've been seeing online. I put the brakes on and decided to really be careful as to where I get my information from. I don't want to "play" survivalist. I don't even know what that really is anyway. I just know that I want to learn what will prepare me to survive in the wilderness and if I can apply those skills in helping others, then that will be the ultimate twofer for me. 

Anybody can "Post" here...

Guys, if any of you want me to post a thread on something, just ask. I'll be happy to. Again, I believe I can authorize you to post your own threads without having to go through me, but I'd have to send you an invite as the Admin to your email. Otherwise, I'd gladly post it for you.

Long Term Survival in The Wilderness

Gnut brought up a good point to me in a private message; Long Time Survival and being realistic about it with what some kits or situations people are envisioning.

So, in his PM, he made a lot of sense and gave me things to think about that I've always considered, but no one ever spoke of (at least that I've known of). Really now, how good of a kit can someone put together for long term survival? What type of loadouts make sense?

I've seen people substitute a few bits to their BOBs and call it a day. But what is a "realistic" kit? What should it have to sustain you for the long term (let's say long means over 30 days in this case)?

I'd say that for even just a 30 day stint, a gun & some traps would/should be the very basic implements. Add to that, gear for any potential weather changes. But what Gnut brought up, I didn't see discussed much: Shelter and other options where one goes from spending a few overnights to actually having a substantial "home" to come to at the end of the day.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Eternal Question for a Survival Gun

The .22lr VS The 12 Gauge

Someone brought this up and I definitely find it worth the discussion. I see benefits to both and always thought the .22 was the obvious right piece for a do-it-all gun in a survival situation especially with the amount & cost of ammo. Then, someone says something that makes sense to consider a 12GA. And I'm back at square one. So you guys take a shot (no pun intended) and tell which you prefer. 

A Better PSK...

Unlike an EDC, a PSK is more substantial and would offer one more options and greater capabilities in a survival situation. Vanishing Nomad reminded me of a BDU Pocket Pouch that I began thinking about a few months ago that would be filled with the 10C's (VN, I know you have your own list...feel free to add/delete as you see fit).

So help me out here. Let's establish a "minimum" of what one might night if the had to do an overnight anywhere (urban, woodlands, desert, etc...). This doesn't have to have to be a 1 count per item kit. Remember, this isn't a minimalist kit, but a "how much you can pack in your kit" kit.

The case or pack. For me? Ideally, it'd be something like a Condor H20 Pouch or Maxepedition 10X4 Kit. Why not just go with a small pack? A pack would be too much. This is something that can be worn on a belt at a minimum or slung over a shoulder. My Condor H20 Pouch is pretty much there already and that's including an Esbit Stove.

Here's "the" list:
  1. Tool
  2. Fire
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Shelter
  6. IFAK
  7. Signaling
  8. Navigation
  9. Repair
  10. Light
Here's "my" list: 
  1. Tool: Knife, Multitool
  2. Fire: Firesteel, Lighter, Tinder, Fresnel Lense
  3. Water: Container, Water Bag (32oz), SS Bottle
  4. Food: Procurement, Cooking, Grill, Aluminum Foil, Folding Bread Pan, Fishing Kit, Snares
  5. Shelter: Contractor Bags, Mylar Space Blanket, Tarp 
  6. IFAK: Variety, wound treatment, pills, cleansing, etc... (tin can house a razor & sew needle)
  7. Signaling: Signal Mirror, Whistle (also colored duct tape)
  8. Navigation: Compass (high quality button like Tru-Nord or a Suunto A10)
  9. Repair: duct tape (colored for signaling), wire (snaring), sewing needle, Spiderwire, hose 
  10. Light: Headlamp
With that kit, I can have a 5X7 Tarp Shelter, ground cloth/sleeping bag and a heat retaining blanket. I should be able to fish, make snares and set traps. I should be able to handle any minor wounds or discomfort. I'd easily be able to signal for help and to make my presence known for a SAR Team. 

Water, to me, being the most important thing will easily be purified and contained with the bottle in which I can also make natural teas in. I think that has to be the one no-fail item (besides the knife). 

It has to be a "high quality/space it takes up be damned" bit. In the end just a knife and the bottle would be enough to do a lot with (shelter can be made in the woods). The headlamp would let one work at night or if it's warm enough, travel by night longer and check out caves if they come across some. 
And, they also signal at night and work great at working on a vehicle. 

The cooking kit can be summed up in 2 pieces: a small 5X7 grill and a small folding bread pan at a minimum. With that, you will be able to cook just about anything you come across. I won't even go into the obvious (fire kit, knife, etc...). 

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but how much can you get into a small kit? Pick your own pack/case. It just can't be a small backpack. It's gotta be something that can fit "in" a backpack or be tossed into a vehicle or BOB. 

A Survival Challenge

How does one develop a situation that may simulate a real survival situation in the wilderness?

I guess the closest thing is that one can do is to look at actual events and work to recreate those conditions. Well, I for one am going to offer up a challenge here to anyone who's willing to take it. I'm going to take it myself of course.

I'd like to ask anyone who's reading this to feel free and to make your own suggestions and to point out any weaknesses you might see in this challenge.

The Quandary:
You were taking a day hike and took a spill on some uneven ground and lost your pack and all it's contents. The only thing you have on you is the knife strapped to your belt (which is how it should ALWAYS be in my opinion). It's too dark for you to get back to the trailhead and you're stuck out overnight. Conditions: 40 degree night coming up. Not raining, but damp. Northeastern Woodlands. No food or water.

What do you do?

The Survivor's Mindset

Coincidentally, I just caught an episode of  "The Alaska Experiment". For those of you who don't know what it's about, it's a reality show/documentary about a group of people that are dropped off somewhere in Alaska with minimal supplies and a few days of survival training. Their goal is to travel from Point A to Point B within a certain time hitting various campsites. There are several mentors that come every now and then and consult them. This is the show where the so-called experts failed miserably and just quit and the novices actually made it through to the end.

There are a few things that stand out to me as far as the show goes. They were given a map and a set of instructions. The first thing they do is ignore the directions they were given and instead of taking the pre-established path that was laid out for them by the pros, they decide to go over a mountain because they believed it would cut down on their travel time significantly. Dumb move. A) they thought it'd be shorter because it looks like less distance on the flat map. They didn't figure in for elevation and that their trek up that mountain was basically twice as long as it seemed on the map.

Something else I noticed was the overconfidence of those members of the team that had significant experience (a hunter, a farmer and a backpacker). What these 3 didn't realize and take into account that their whole lives they'd been practicing and had developed the skillset to do what needed to be done, but didn't have the internal fortitude to survive. When they did what they did, they did it for recreation. Maybe (and I have to say just maybe because I'm just guessing here), they didn't think about having to use those skills under conditions that their lives would depend on them which in my opinion goes to show just how it takes more than just skills to survive. Skills along didn't save these people. They knew they had an out and could hit their PLB and be whisked away in a helicopter and be back home within days. They had weak minds. They just quit at some point. In a real life survival situation, they aren't going to have that option. Of course, this shook those who looked up to them as the survival gurus.

There was one woman who started out in the show as absolutely loathing gutting fame. By the middle of the show, she had become the go-to person for skinning and gutting game and by the end of the show, she was teaching others how to do it and had developed a natural confidence for the task. Why? Because she had to do it in order to put in her part to contribute to the team effort and to eat.

There was one gentleman who totally feared guns and had zero experience with them. Guess who turned out to be a crack shot and the most successful hunter of the group? That's right. Him.

I like to think I'm a student of life. I try to not only learn from established forms of training & formal education as well as by teaching myself, but I try to learn from watching how others handle situations and see how their minds work at things. If there's one thing that I've learned it's that anybody can do anything depending on who they are and what they are willing to become.

Another thing I'm learning is that there's a huge difference between theory & reality. One could imagine a zillion ways how something could or should be. Then, there's how things actually are. And there is nothing that can prepare you for how you'll react to a situation when in that situation. That is when the "real" you will come through.

I've always said that people need to know what it's like to starve for a few days in a row and to go with extremely limited water and to have to survive with nothing (no shelter, no sleep system, no tools, etc...) in hard conditions. I did it. The lessons I picked up from it made me salty. Some people would think that they are "roughing it" while sleeping under an open tarp shelter with a sleeping bag and munching on a power bar. Some think of it as a romantic notion of sleeping under the stars under a relatively controlled situation. That to me is the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. If they think that "that's" training for a survival situation, they are missing the point and their mind (which is the absolute most important tool) is not being cultivated to survive.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Who exactly is the "expert" Survivalist?

When I looked into survival instruction whether at schools, courses or by individuals, I wondered, what made them experts? Unless they've been in an actual survival situation, how do they know what to teach? I mean, anyone can take college courses and get tons of information from the interweb, right? But, who can teach "survivalism"? In fact, what is "survivalism"? 

I caught a few episodes of The Alaska Experiment and they had a group of people with a variety of backgrounds from very experienced to zero experience to I'd say negative experience. As it turned out, the hunter, farmer and backpacker were the first to quit the show because they couldn't hack it. And these were the folks that the rest of the group was counting on. Who made it? a handful of non-experts (computer geeks, business professionals, a couple of blue collar types). Why did they make it and why did the so-called experts fail miserably?

Why? Because those who made it didn't know that they didn't know how to fail where as the others had been crippled by their knowledge. The experts went in there thinking they'd blow by the weeks they had to put in. The non-experts went in there scared. Fear factors into a survival situation while complacency is a killer. This probably gave them the psychological advantage that the expert hunter, farmer and backpacker didn't have. Granted, they (the experts) had the skills to live forever in the wilderness, but they didn't have the right mindset.

"Oh, but that's just a show" some will cry. Really? How many stories of dead climbers or campers do we hear about and how many stories of completely inexperienced individuals that get stuck in the wilderness do we hear about surviving their personal ordeals? It happens in real life. Ultimately, it's the mind that is your best tool.

So, who are the experts at surviving harsh conditions? The guy who's got a certificate of completion from Ricky Bobby's Ultimate School of Survival & Fish Bait Store? The homeless guy on the street who can get by on one small meal a day and sleep in freezing weather with nothing but his clothes and newspapers? 

Almost everything that I've seen online about survival has been from people who've never been in a life and death situation. Odd isn't it. That's an objective fact. Ultimately, you never know how you're going to act until you're in that situation. You don't know if you're going to break or if you're going to make it. You don't know if you're going to be a coward and soil your pants or if you're going to man-up and do what you gotta do without fault. 

I notice that a lot of people into survivalism will read books by survival instructions or military experts. Fine. I'm all for that. But, how many will read books by survivORS (those people who've been in real life survival situations)? Some people will mock watching TV or other media to learn about survival situations that actually occurred, but will have no problem with reading fictional books on survival situations. That does not compute for me. Think about it, the only people who can tell you what it's like are those who've been through it. Everything else is just a 3rd person account of what they heard. 

I'm all for learning in any way possible. I try not to limit myself. One can even learn from the failures of others. What I can't and won't allow myself to do is to trust anyone completely with my life that hasn't been in a real world survival situation, but I will listen intently to someone who has because they can tell me what they went through (not what they read in a book). I'm not saying that someone who hasn't been in a real survival situation can't teach anybody about how to react in such a situation. I'm just saying that I find that we should all give those who've been through it an ear. We might react totally different in the same situation if it was us, but knowing what one can expect is a big prep and knowing form someone who's been there & done that is priceless.

Bombproof Bushcraft on a Budget Part 1

THAT'S what I'm talkin' 'bout: Bombproof Bushcraft on a Budget Part 1

This is one of the reasons I like Dave Canterbury's style so much. In this video he talks about getting quality bits that would last you a lifetime and that you can trust your life to and for me, that's why I do what I do. I'm all about getting as equipped as possible in asshort a time as possible in case I need to bugout, then to upgrade my gear as time & funding allows.

Projects, Preps & Interests...

What do you have going on now that's consuming 
your time as far as wilderness survival preps go? 

Eureka! ICS 2000 Tent Impressions

It took me a while to snag one, but I finally got my Eureka! ICS 2000 Tent. It's literally my first tent ever. I set it up in the living room to make sure that it was fully functional and complete and once up, it was everything that it claimed to be.

I went with the ICS 2000 because of it's features. I did my research by reading up on them online and by seeing what everyone else had to say about them. The only gripes I heard about it was that it was heavy, but "heavy" is a relative word in this case (as in all such cases). When compared to an ultralight tent for 1 person, yes, it's heaviER, but then again, let's see what one is getting for that weight:

6lbs 7oz  (Complete 5lbs 7oz w/o stakes & repair kit)

$125. (brand new)

Pack Size: 
7" X 17.5" (complete)

Operable conditions 0 degrees to 120 degrees F 
Ventilation for use in desert / arid environments, minimizes internal build up of condensation 
Withstands steady 40 mph winds 
Provides protection from flying and crawling insects 
Rain Fly covers all openings in the shelter 
Rain fly has high wind guy out points for staking down the tent 
Repair kit 
User manual 

Floor - 70D Ripstop nylon 98 Pic, 4.2 oz. Woodland Camo Blackout 
Rain Fly - 70D Ripstop nylon 98 Pic, 4.2 oz. Woodland Camo Blackout 
Breathable Inner Tent - 70D Ripstop nylon weighing 1.9 oz. Brown 
Netting - 40D Nylon no-see-um Black 

.344 in. diameter Easton 7075-T9 with locking pole tips 
Frame attaches to tent with post and grommets 

Tent Pegs: 
7 pcs. 8" Easton Ultimate stakes 

1pc. Main carry bag 
1pc. Frame bag 
1pc. Stake bag 

Here are the reasons that I chose the ICS for my shelter needs:
I wanted this for a bug-out shelter so most important to me (as with all the gear I've chosen) was function. Could I have purchased a lighter tent? Yes. Could I have purchased a lighter tent with all the features the ICS provides? Not for less than $800. and even then, the weight savings would've been (IMO) negligible at about a pound once all the features were added to the ultralight tent. 

The features that stand out to me are as follows: 
  • Woodland Camo pattern (anyone who knows me knows I love The Woodland and O.D.)
  • Blacked out interior allowing one to have full lighting inside the tent while being oblivious to the outside world at night, and in the day time, it blocks out exterior day/artificial light allowing one to sleep in complete darkness (very important to me if I want to hide in plain sight).
  • Rated for 3-Season, but performs well in 4-Season use
  • Tried & tested by the military
  • 3.3' X 7.8' floor space
  • Ventilation options
  • 2 person capacity
  • Large vestibule
  • Bathtub floor
  • 2 doors

What does it lacks in what I'd consider for the perfect individual bug out shelter? It's not rated for 4 Seasons use and it's only rated to 40mph of consistent winds and up to 55mph of gusts, but in those conditions, I'd fully expect to have done my best to have found a natural hooch like a cave or rock formation or if I saw those conditions coming, I'd like to believe that I'd have the sense to built a more permanent structure out of natural resources as a wind break and to protect it from the heavy snow. In either case, those are extremes that I'd count on reinforced shelter for in the first place and no matter what tent I was using, I'd apply these same tactics to protect myself. 

All in all, for a hundred and twenty five bucks, there's no way I could do better than what I have. I'd have to spend 5X as much easily to get anything near what it offers and even those uber-tents would require substantial modifications to get them to have the features that the ICS has and whatever was saved in weight would go out the window (again) once the features were included. For those who don't want or need the features the ICS is providing, it's heavier by about 2lbs. But for me? I'll take those 2lbs gladly. I'm not going to rack my brain trying to squeeze ounces out of my kit if I have to sacrifice more than what it's worth. 

And now, some pics (yes, horrible lighting and not ideal, but something's better than nothing and I'll definitely replace these with better ones once I get the chance to)... YouTube Video: Bug Out Gear- Military Tent Eureka TCOP


They "why"...

Today, I woke up to this beautiful scene. Kind of refreshing. I have something big going on in my personal life right now and it went through. Let's just say I made a huge score and things are pretty darn excellent.

I've been contemplating on how to start this Blog. I didn't want it to become a rant-fest and I certainly didn't want to start it off with a negative vibe. At the same time, there's "stuff" I want to get off my chest and that I think will set up this place for the good stuff that's to come down the pike. Besides, you gotta clear the ground before you can set-up a campsite, right? Let me do that now.

Why did I start this Blog? I found myself getting the most out of my time online from a select group of people I'd interact with. Just as in real life, I'm selective about who I deal with and to be forced to deal with people that in "real life" I could just ignore and never have to deal with in the first place was frustrating. I'm no angel. I've done my share of "engaging" people, but I learned that when people I respected would leave conversations, I felt that loss in the discussion. However, after a while, one just gets the feeling that some people aren't on a discussion board to actually have a discussion, but rather to cause mischief and to disrupt and to become the center of attention. There also seems to be a desire by some to prove how superior they are by pointing out what others are not and we all know that once one enters that kind of contest, they've already lost and end up soaking wet at the end of it all.

For the most part, people get tired of that then abandon what start out as great conversations. So, I just want to have great conversations. They don't have to be 100 comment posts all the time and I not only fully expect to find areas of disagreement with my cyber-buddies, but I welcome it as I've been corrected and educated when proven wrong by those who know more than I. Yet, there is a huge difference between disagreement and petty bickering and that's when you have to decide, 'Do I need to answer every critic? Do I need to engage every cynic? Do I need to respond to every obviously dumb comment someone posts?"

Even in writing this I'm struggling with not sounding negative. But, I'm doing pretty alright so far. Now I'm writing with a big cheesy grin on my face and that's how it should be. We can't smile all the time in life, but every time we can take a "fail" and turn it into a "win", then that's a good thing. So, I hope that this Blog becomes a place for those who want to shoot the breeze without fear of being trampled or attacked for their opposing views. I think I did good on the "why" I started this Blog without having to get too much in the mud. And now, we can get to the good stuff... 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Welcome to my Blog.

I started this blog because I found myself wanting to share what was on my mind and I've come to see blogs as great sounding boards for ideas and for discussions among people who want to actually have a conversation. I think the smaller focus is more conducive to a more structured exchange. So with that, if you're here, more likely than not, it's because I extended an invitation to you because I value you're opinion and have found "your" thoughts inspiring in one way or another even if I didn't agree with you. The last thing I'd want around me is a bunch of cheerleaders. I might not grow intellectually if that were the case. So, feel free to share your own take on my posts and make yourselves at home.

If any of you would like to post your own threads here, feel free to E-Mail me a note @  I will send you an invitation and once you accept that invitation, you'll be able to post your own threads as an "Invited Author", so this will basically work out like your standard forum.

Because of the very limited number of persons that I've invited here, anyone can post as Anonymous, but that will make it hard to have a discussion. It'd of course be best if you registered and added your own profile name. Your personal information will be confidential and only your profile name will appear.