xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The perfect backpack ~ The Prepared Guy

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The perfect backpack

Previously, even recently, I had come to the conclusion that the perfect backpack, bug-out-bag, go-bag, whatever you wanna call it did not exist.  I had been searching my entire adult life for it.  I had come to the conclusion that it could not be designed nor made.  This has been one of the many "problems" that I have attempted to solve as a prepared guy.  I had realized that my approach and my needs changed over the years.  My way of thinking, my objectives and method of accomplishing tasks changed regularly as my knowledge and experience grew.  I got to the point where I felt that the perfect backpack could not exist.  However, the outcome of attempting to solve this seemingly impossible problem was enlightenment.  

In this long process the one main thing I have learned, that I feel should be sought after by anyone with a preparedness mindset, is to simplify and minimize.  This applies to many aspects of prepping and not just packs.  Complex backpacks with specifically designed compartments and pouches, and complicated designs intended to provide superior ergonomics, ease of access, and a more attractive product just provide for fragility and less usability instead of the opposite. 

Things that are simple are typically robust and durable, which makes them reliable.  A bag simplistic in design with minimal features adds to it's reliability.  Those are very desirable traits in a bag that you depend upon not failing in the toughest of circumstances.  When it comes down to it that is what you really need out of a backpack; for it not to fail when you need it the most.  All of this then means that said backpack, or any other product that meets these same standards, will have a long usable lifespan which then creates a superior value.  Also, if you are capable of making your own repairs to the pack, especially while on the trail, oh how much better off you'll be.  

I have also discovered that simplicity and minimalism in design, especially as it applies to a back pack, means that it is far more versatile and will fill more roles than just a bug-out bag, or an overnight pack, etc.  While a specifically designed backpack meant for an ultra-light weight week long backpacking trip has it's specific use it would not fill many other uses very well.  This type of problem is a continual struggle with the decision making process.  Does the ultra-light weight fabric provide you with the reliability and durability that you need in other situations?  Does this compromise make sense to you or does it make sense to have multiple options?  Do multiple options bring fragility or complexity into your particular equation?  Just a few questions to think about. 

If you have undertaken this process with other aspects of prepping such as the process of selecting only one knife (I'll address this in a future blog post) or only one gun for every conceivable task you already realize how difficult that decision is.  Some of you will say that this process is ridiculous.  Why would anyone be limited to choosing only one knife or gun or backpack?  Tools are made for specific uses.  Knives, guns, and backpacks are tools and thus are designed to meet particular needs; to excel at performing specific tasks.  This complexity can make the decision making process more difficult, more time consuming, and complicated. 

Let me assure you that this somewhat ridiculous process has it's merits.  I am very glad that I do not have to choose only one knife or rifle for that matter for any particular task at this moment.  I can not, however, carry every tool with me that I might need in an emergency situation.  Weight is the problem.  Those of you with a 50+ lb bug-out bag had better have a solid plan in place to get to your bug-out location or that weight will be the death of you.

After many years of contemplation, evaluation, and experimentation the light finally went on for me. This is the bag that I have designed that fills my requirements for that one pack for every task.  This is the perfect backpack.  I don't want to take full credit for it as it is based upon my very first internal frame pack.  It was made by a local company in the mid '80's.  They are still in business and make these packs for me now.  I still have that backpack today and it still has no issues.  No busted seams, no worn out zippers, no torn straps but I have replaced one buckle.

This pack is basically the same design as my first internal frame pack but with a few tweaks.  Simplicity and durability are it's strengths.  The main pocket is one big sleeve, like many other packs.  This sleeve is extendable to add more gear as needed.  There is only one zipper on the top pocket which is also the cover for the sleeve.  The pack is made from 1000d Cordura.  This is a urethane coated nylon fabric.  It is incredibly abrasion resistant, highly water and UV resistant.  There is a simple waist strap and a sheet of  rigid plastic provides stiffness to the back.  The shoulder straps are padded and a sternum strap helps to keep them in place.  There are straps on the sides where a sleeping pad or tent can be carried as well as pockets to keep smaller items such as a saw in place.

Cordura is far more durable and tear resistant than canvas, it is mold and mildew resistant and does not need any fabric treatments.  Cordura is the perfect material for this use! 

Loops at the bottom of the pack allow for carrying other items such as an axe and there are tabs on the top pocket as well as the bottom to attached other items such as a blanket or tarp.       

Since this pack only has one pocket in addition to the sleeve I have made color coded bags that fit nicely in the main sleeve to quickly identify and access my different kits.  The blue bag is my water kit, the red is my fire kit, orange is for first aid, the green is my fishing kit, and black is for other miscellaneous items.  

As you see it above this is the standard configuration of my go-bag.  Everything I need, that fills the requirement of "one" tool for everything, the single best options for all of my emergency needs, I carry in this bag.  I take this bag with my everywhere I go.  I will list everything in my bag below.  The purpose of this setup is to help get me home quickly if I should be stranded away from home.  My work can take me up to 300 miles away from home.  My plan is to travel light and quickly with the tools I need to provide for the survival rules of 3.  Shelter, water, food, safety, and first aid, in that order.  I have intentionally kept this to under 20 lbs without water.  For me. 20 lbs is hardly noticeable on my back and I can go all day with it.  In an "I need to get-home quickly" situation there are items that I would add to the pack from my stranded vehicle.  These items all compliment my EDC items and supplement what I always carry in this pack that I may need for the season, the distance, or the situation.  I may add a wool blanket, additional rations, and a solar panel.  

Although I have made accommodations for bushcrafters to carry an axe and a large saw I do not consider these necessary for my get-home scenario.  If you intend to spend an extended amount of time in the woods these are essential tools.

I have these bags available in two colors.  Brown and Gray.  Gray for the urban gray man or a more tactical approach and brown for the bushcrafter or those who may spend more time in the mountain with it.   

The simplistic construction is low tech for durability and versatility.  This pack is made in Utah and the majority of the components, including the Cordura fabric is made in the USA.  As you already know I could have the pack make overseas for far less cost.  But that defeats the true purpose of this pack.  As a prepper and co-host of Prepper Talk Radio we discuss self-reliance almost every week.  Becoming self-reliant does not mean doing everything yourself.  It incorporates using all of your local resources and not putting your trust or relying on the fragility of the "system" that we are compelled to live within.  Breaking that system down takes us putting our money where our mouth is and supporting local businesses whenever and as much as possible.  

Bag contents: Water kit contains a Sawyer mini water filter and two 32 oz. water bags, potable aqua tablets, and coffee filters.  Fire kit contains flint, steel, and char cloth, Bic lighter, large ferro rod and striker, various fire starter. Fishing kit contains a Cabuya hand line, flies, lures, hooks, bubbles, leader, etc. First aid kit contains an Israeli bandage, trauma dressing, roller gauze, RATS tourniquet, Survival Medical Back country FAK.  Miscellaneous bag contains, 100' cordage, signal mirror, bandanna, duct tape, sewing kit, Mylar blanket.  The red stuff sack contains a goretex jacket.  Aluminum cup with lid. Firebox Nano stove.  Shemagh.  Land Shark survival bag.  Emergency rations for 3 days. Maxpedition EDC pouch with write in the rain paper, space pen, ESEE survival cards, round - diamond sharpening stone, compass, whistle.   ESEE 5 and ESEE 3hm knives (watch for my next blog post specifically about the ESEE 5 - The perfect knife).  Silky saw - 210 mm.  50 rounds of 9mm ammo. Tops Sling shot.  Home made shepherds sling.     

When I say this is the perfect backpack what I truly mean is that it is the most versatile, most durable, and best value pack I can possible envision at this point.  Perfection is found in simplicity.  I fully expect that this will be the last backpack I own and will use it for every purpose because it is versatile enough... except for maybe those ultra-light week long backpacking trips. 

I have made arrangement with this local company to make more of these.  I still have a few of them as I had several made.  I also had some additional pouches made in 5 different colors.  Instead of building pockets into the pack I prefer to use different size bags like these to keep my kits organized and for quick and easy access.  If you would like one you can connect with me on Facebook or send me an email at thepreparedguy@gmail.com 


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The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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