Saturday, May 13, 2017

Camping Genius: The Pathfinder Bug-Out Bag

I've written before about the Bug-Out Bag and the Get-Home Bag. Each has a slightly different purpose. The Bug-Out Bag or the GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag is something you keep in your home or car or in both places in case of a disaster like the fall of the Wormwood Asteroid or the beginning of one of the more disastrous of the seven last plagues. The Get-Home bag is for your car and designed so that if your car breaks down, you'll have what you need to get home.

The Pathfinder Bug-Out Bag is for a slightly different, more Pathfinderish  purpose. It could also be called the "Let's Go Camping All of a Sudden" Bag.  It's something each or your Pathfinders could make that would allow them to grab the bag, jump into a car and go camping for the weekend and survive nicely. Here how to do it:

Shelter Materials:
  • Duffel bag or backpack (either one works, but the backpack is easier to carry, though some duffels come with shoulder straps). Everything goes into or attaches to this bag.
  • One-man tent (standard survival tent or inflatable tent or light tarp) and tarp to spread below the tent. This is meant for emergencies and shouldn't be unpacked if the troop has tents for everybody. An alternate emergency shelter can be a net hammock (rolls into a ball) and a tarp for overhead shelter. The hammock gets you off the ground the tarp shelters you from the wind and you wrap in the sleeping bag and fleece or mylar blanket (below).
  • Simple flat folded air mattress (be sure it's in a puncture-resistant package in an end pocket or somewhere safe).
  • Mylar blanket or small fleece blanket
  • Light sleeping bag
Navigation Tools:
  • Compass
  • Cell phone with GPS app, charger and extra battery
  • Pocket knife (Swiss Army style or multi-tool)
  • Buck knife (suitable for lopping off small branches)
  • Hatchet (for firewood)
  • Stainless steel water bottle or canteen (Empty - fill before leaving)
  • Mess kit
Emergency and Survival Items:
  • Water purification tablets or Life Straw (for emergencies)
  • Poncho with hood for bad weather
  • Signal mirror
  • Stack of 4 bandanas (for multiple purposes including bandaging and cleaning and neck-warming)
  • Watch cap that pulls down over your ears for warmth
  • Neosporin, band-aids, or small first-aid kit in a box.
  • Steel survival flashlight and extra batteries
  • Duct tape
  • 50 ft. Paracord
  • 4 bungee cords 
  • Collapsible hiking pole (optional)
  • Benadryl tablets
  • Aspirin tablets
  • New lighter or waterproof matches, flint and steel kit
  • 2 Pencils and small notebook
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, washcloth, small towel
  • Toilet paper (1000 sheet roll) and small folding shovel
  • Brush or comb
  • Shampoo or soap
Clothes and Protective Gear
  • Gloves - leather
  • T-shirt
  • 2 pr. underwear
  • Sweatpants
  • 2 pr. warm socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Crush hat (brim all the way around - packs flat)
Reference Material:
  • Survival manual
  • Pocket Bible

  1.  Pack everything into sections within the backpack or  duffel. Stuff you'll use a lot can go in pockets on the outside. Stuff you don't need so often can go in the bottom of the pack or duffel.
  2. Put the water bottle where you can get at it to fill the bottle easily. Put first-aid stuff and emergency gear in side pockets or compartments, so that you can get to it quickly. 
  3. Don't pack your cell phone. Leave a space for it and for food (below) at the top of the bag inside. Larger stuff like sleeping bags and tent packs can be strapped to the outside of the bag. Store them with your bag ready to strap on with straps or bungee cords and go.
  4. Print up a list of things you can grab from the cabinet and place it in the top of the bag where the food goes. You can even set a special box in your cabinet with emergency go-camping supplies.  Rotate everything every month or so to keep everything fresh. 
Food and Last Minute Stuff to Add:

Here are some commonly available foods you might already have in your cabinet that can go along on an instant campout.
  • Instant oatmeal packets
  • Can of vege-links or vege-sausage links
  • Small jar of peanut butter
  • Bottle of honey
  • Instant chocolate milk mix
  • Powdered juice mix 
  • Pancake mix in individual plastic bags or pouches
  • Oil in small plastic bottle
  • Salt packets or small camp shaker bottle
  • Granola/energy bars
  • Box multi-grain crackers
  • Fruit packed in fruit juice
  • Ramen noodles or cup noodle soups
  • Box mac n' cheese or pasta dish
  • Potatoes, carrots, ears of corn, box of cherry tomatoes 
  • Aluminum foil

Master Guide Notes:

These are a few ideas for food for a quick two to three day campout. Anything you can boil in your mess kit and mix up or fry up or roast on a stick can be tossed in a bag and zipped up in the bag to take along. I'd grab my banjo to take along too and the cell phone and the extra battery I keep on hand. You should turn off you cell phone as soon as you no longer need it and remove the battery to keep it from discharging. That way if you get in trouble, you can put the batteries in and have plenty of power for getting a signal out if you need to.

I've done a couple of these cook-your-own-food-or-starve campouts, where the kids had to cook their own food. I had one young man, to my surprise, tell me he wasn't going to cook his own food - that was work for women. I repossessed his extensive candy bar supply and gave him some dried foods that had to be heated with water for him to prepare. He refused and stubbornly went hungry. He complained to his mother when he got home and unwisely included the bit about cooking being "women's work". I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that motherly intervention. 

The kids had a great time building their little fires and cooking over them - each their own meals. Some were really creative. Several of the kids divided and shared, one carrying sandwich makings and the other carrying the bread in an uncrushable plastic box. I had them plan in pairs or threes where they wanted a larger group. Since they were all cooking for themselves it was a great break for the Moms, some of whom came along anyway. The grownups came up with some really cool stuff with aluminum foil, potatoes, carrots, vegeburger and camp fire coals.  Others roasted ears of corn. The kids learned a lot having to cook for themselves. The adults let them sample their food and showed them how to do the cooking. One ingenious kid whose Dad had done this before packed a can of biscuits with a freezer pack and next morning roasted biscuits on a stick. This kind of campout creates many teachable moments you can capture. The more stuff you can let the kids do for themselves on a campout, the better.

It might take your Pathfinders an entire year or more to put this whole thing together, but half the fun is collecting the contents of the bag. It's a project they can take home and work on in their own time and when they are done, it belongs to them forever.

© 2017 by Tom King