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This kit was built for a badass “I’ll do it myself!” Army Ranger living in Columbus, GA who plans to get to the mountains of North Georgia 175 miles away. There’s absolutely no denying this guy’s determination, stamina, and survival skills, so we had to build a kit that would meet his expectations and capabilities. A man capable of moving further, faster, and fighting harder than any other soldier needs a bag that is as tough as he is. But as with any bug out plan, there’s a giant fucking obstacle in the way…Atlanta. Quick question…should anyone voluntarily go through a major metropolitan area in a survival situation? Easy answer…Fuck no!
We planned a backwoods route that would take him well East of the city through fertile croplands (especially peaches) and avoided the major routes of human traffic. The good news – lots of opportunities for natural foraging. The bad news – an additional 60 miles!
We made a big assumption when building this kit…we figured he could make it to Rome, GA (145 miles away) in his vehicle without having to dismount. There are plenty of backroads that shouldn’t be choked with human refugees along those roads. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. It’s possible he could make it all the way in his truck. But it’s also possible that he would have to dismount after Rome and walk, so we built a kit that would get him to Dahlonega 90 miles away on foot. This journey should take 5 days at most.
Natural water sources along this route are available but sparse so we went with more water packets than usual, a hydration bladder, and plenty of water purification means.
For food we packed energy bars, SOS rations, and MREs. This guy is used to eating MREs, so that was a no brainer. We didn’t pack freeze-dried meals because the drawback to that plan is that you have to boil water to eat them. That means carrying a stove, canteen cup, and eating tool, which means extra weight in the ruck. Although he’s physically fit, 90 miles is a long way and this guy will be packing guns and ammo, so we needed to reduce the load as much as possible.
He plans to walk many miles at night so he needs ample light and batteries. He has no problem gunning down anyone with bad intentions, so instead of a hatchet for self defense, we packed a stun gun and a machete for chopping through brush. He didn’t want to spend time building a tent, so we opted for a hammock and sleeping bag.
One thing to keep in mind about The Ranger…there’s nothing waiting for him on the other end. Once he gets to North Georgia, he has to set up camp instead of moving into a waiting cabin or relative’s house. This is a big difference between his kit and everyone else’s. He has nothing waiting for him on the end. No house. No water. No food. No nothing. Just woods. That fact changed the way we packed his bag.
One thing about this guy…he’s a sweater. He could sit in front of an air conditioner and sweat, so we had to pack things to manage that…towels, sweatbands, extra t-shirts and underwear, Gold Bond. 90 miles is a long way to go without hygiene, so we packed adequate toiletries and medications.
The Ranger inventory:
He added super glue, pace beads, Ziploc baggies, an Army poncho liner, and 3 pairs of socks, underwear and t-shirts for his sweating issues.
Bag options – Tactical only. We didn’t even think of making a low-profile bag for this guy because he plans on getting into the woods and can defend himself if anyone tries to steal it. This comes in a large multi-cam ruck.
I'm no Special Ops badass or survival expert. I graduated from the US Army Ranger School 25 years ago and survival school (SERE) a couple years after that. It was the best training of my life and I left there with a huge amount of confidence that if I was ever in a survival situation, I’d be fine. Still...I always kept a bug out bag by the door in case of...anything because a prepacked bag gives you a huge advantage over the rest of the world – time.
But I got tired of seeing the same old cheap survival bags that don’t take your geography, physical capabilities, dietary restrictions, or anything about you into account. And worse are those bags that promise 3 days of survival for one person. Who? And in what climate? And why are they all packed in camouflaged bags that attract attention? No thought is put into them. Everyone’s situation is different so your survival kit has to be tailored for each individual.
I live in Washington DC and my survival site is 75 miles away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are plenty of fresh water sources, edible plants, and crops along the way, so food and water are not my biggest concerns. My biggest concern is people. If there was ever a comet, plague, or general scare in DC the roads would choke in an instant. If I'm not the first one on the road I'm gonna be caught in a shitstorm of panicked people so what I need is a low profile bag, plenty of alternate routes out of the city and weapons.
But when I packed my first bug out bag for this area (Northern Virginia), I made huge mistakes. I threw anything and everything into it thinking, “more is better.” Oh how wrong I was. Every bug out bag has to be tailored to the individual, their geography, capability, medical and dietary conditions, and especially...route. There are more variables than most people take into consideration.
Maybe you have diabetes. Maybe you're the "cranky when hungry" type who needs to carry more food or the "fuck sleeping on the ground" type. Maybe you have guns and need lots of ammo. Maybe you refuse to eat gluten. Maybe you sweat like crazy and need additional towels, t-shirts, and underwear. We'll talk about where you're going, who's going with you, what's available along the way, what you're capable of carrying, what the threats are, what your restrictions are, and anything else we can think of. We'll make a survival kit that’s right for you. And your family.
At DASH, we realize humans are humans. In a survival situation, people resort to their base instincts and steal. Especially when there's no law to stop them. So which is better...a gunfight to protect what you have or the bad guys not even giving you the time of day? A tactical, camouflaged, badass looking bag isn’t always a good thing.
A survival kit is a means to an end. It’s not meant to keep you safe and happy forever. It’s there to get you from point A to point B without worrying about whether or not you’re going to die from starvation, dehydration or exposure along the way. With a little bit of thought and effort, we can make the DASH to your alternative site a lot more comfortable.