Bug Out Bag – Putting it to the test!

Why keep a bug out bag?

The phone has rung. The emergency message pinged on your mobile. The radio comes alive and the rolling TV news has only one story. It’s happened, come true, the end of civilisation. Natural disaster. World War III. Alien invasion. A fast spreading equine influenza jumping the species boundary, or just a plain old zombie apocalypse. If you’re lucky it’ll be only one. Either way, you’ve got to evacuate.

What’s this post all about?

In July this year I posted my revamped Version 2 kit, which you can see if full detail here, but I’m always on the look out for improving and took my mini adventure hiking around the Isle of Wight earlier in the month as a great opportunity to test out some of the new kit I’d added in July’s post, plus I took some additions I added just before the hiking trip.

I didn’t take a lot of the Bug Out Bag kit with me, these was a hiking trip, not an emergency evacuation. Below I detail the changes and my evaluation and verdict following the field test.

Spork

If you’re not familiar, it’s a spoon, a fork and sometimes a knife too.

On my last camping trip the end of my plastic spork melted as I was cooking so when I searched for a replacement so as not to fall foul of the same problem again I ordered a titanium version of the spork instead of a plastic one. Despite doubling in weight, a whole 9 grams / 0.3 ounces extra it proved to be an excellent replacement, being much more versatile and not having to worry about damaging it when cooking. The metal spork didn’t come with a serrated knife edge, but it’s not in the name anyway and I’d don’t ever remember using the edge before anyhow, so no great loss.

Verdict:          In the bag!

Wind up Torch

Works without having to change the batteries.

Originally when packing for the trip I put in my traditional metal low light torch, the head lamp and the wind up torch, but just before I headed out of the door to meet with my friends, I performed a major cull on any equipment I thought I didn’t need to take. The two battery powered torches were left behind, leaving just the wind up stowed. On most of my many previous trips we barely used torches as we were so tired in the evenings we’d be asleep long before it got dark.

However in my rush to save my back I forgot two things. The first was that it was heading towards autumn and the nights had been drawing in rapidly and second was that because of the long drive and the ferry journey to get to the island, we’d be starting our walk much later in the day than normal and still had plenty of miles to cover to get to the first campsite.

The end result was we just had enough time on the first night to fight through our aches and pains to put the tents up in the dusk light without extra illumination, but had to cook and prepare our meals by torch light. At least it gave me a change to put the torch to the test.

The torch worked. It was bright enough, but having to turn the noisy winder every minute or so became a pain, especially when it came to setting up the inside of the tent.

The Verdict:          I’m looking for a replacement. The torch I took could almost be considered a novelty item. It was a cheap purchase from a camping store. I will now be looking more closely for a replacement which is either solar powered, and can be charged all day long on the outside of the pack, or is dual supplied and has a much more robust winding and charging mechanism. I have a replacement on the way and I’ll let you know how it fairs.

Camping Mattress

I’ve posted about the excellent Klymit Inertia X Frame Ultralight Backpacking Pad already in the Isle of Wight post, so I won’t bore you with the details again.

The Verdict:         Needless to say at a third of the weight of my old sleeping mattress, more than a third of the size, inflating with such ease and being just as comfortable as a traditional full camping mattress, it’s earned it’s place in the Bug Out Back.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I’d love to hear your comments and any details of what’s in your bag on any of my channels!

You can check out the full version of the kit in my previous update or why not take a look at how I’m getting along in my publishing journey.

GJ Stevens

I am a Writer. I am many other things too, but I love to write. I write in my spare time, I write when my time is not really spare. I write to relax and I write because I enjoy hearing about how people react to my words. Later this year I release my debut novel, In The End, a compelling apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless, immersing you in their fight for survival.

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