Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adult Lightweight Backpack Assembly

Adult Lightweight Backpack Assembly
For use as a 72 Hour Kit, Backpacking Kit or Camping Kit

  • Lightweight backpack between 3,000 and 4,000 cubic inches

  • 3 Liters (or Quarts) of Water in Nalgene Bottles or Soft Canteens or 3 Empty Gatorade Bottles or Emergency Water Pouches
  • One (1) Lightweight Backpacking Filter
  • One (1) Pack of Chlorine Dioxide Tablets

  • Three (3) Freeze Dried Breakfast Meals
  • Six (6) Freeze Dried Entrees
  • Snacks

Meal Kit / Cook Set
  • Titanium Alcohol Stove  with Titanium Pot and Lid  with 8-10 Ounces of Denatured Alcohol in plastic containers

Esbit Cookset/Stove with 12 Esbit Fuel Tablets


Titanium backpacking canister stove with Titanium Pot and Lid with  Iso/Butane Fuel Canister
  • Windscreen for stove selected
  • Plastic cup from mess kit
  • Titanium Spork or Lexan Spork (or Lexan Spoon and Lexan Fork)

  • Lightweight headlamp or lightweight wind-up flashlight

Clothing to Wear
  • Synthetic pants or sport-style pants (non-cotton)
  • Long-sleeve high collar shirt (non-cotton)
  • Sturdy athletic style shoes or low-top trail (trekking) shoes
  • Micro Light or Lightweight wool socks
  • Nylon or Silk Underwear

Clothing System
  • Balaclava (full ski mask)
  • Wool or Fleece ski cap
  • Hat for shade
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra pair of lightweight wool socks
  • Wool mittens/gloves or fleece mittens/gloves
  • Waterproof/Breathable rain jacket and pants
  • Synthetic or Fleece zip up pullover/sweater
  • Bandana
  • Microlight or Lightweight wool underwear bottoms or Lightweight synthetic underwear bottoms
  • Microlight or Lightweight wool underwear long-sleeved top or Lightweight synthetic underwear long-sleeved top
  • Short nylon or silk underwear

Sleeping System
  • Lightweight synthetic or lightweight down sleeping bag
  • Closed cell sleeping pad or lightweight inflatable sleeping pad
  • Bivy Sack
  • Ground cloth (emergency mylar sleeping bag or emergency mylar blanket)

  • Small ultralight toothbrush
  • Baking soda or Dr. Bronners castile soap for toothpaste
  • Alcohol gel or foaming sanitizer
  • Small package of wet wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Wash cloth
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen

First Aid
  • Small first aid kit with common medications and Sawyer Extractor
  • Three (3) N95 masks
  • Personal essential items (inhaler, medications, etc)

  • Lightweight pocket knife or multi-tool or Swiss Army knife
  • Waterproof stuff sack or trash bag

  • Lightweight Double Wall or Lightweight Single Wall Tent

  • Cotton balls or cotton lint
  • Windproof/Waterproof matches in plastic Ziploc bag
  • Magnesium Firestarter
  • Mini Lighter

The Key to a Great 72 hour kit?

The key is.......Water, Water, Water.......and more Water.  Plus, make sure you have a water filtration device or water purification tablets.

Obviously that is not everything that makes up a 72 hour kit, but for most of us water and water filtration are at the top of the list.  Many individuals focus on their gear lists and fancy gadgets, but fail to recognize the importance of water and access to potable water.

Water storage and portage does create some issues.  One problem is that water is heavy.  You are looking at about 9 pounds per gallon when considering the water weight and container.  To help with this carrying weight, drink some of your water immediately.  Many agencies and experts feel that it is best to hold off on drinking water initially and wait for up to 24 hours.  In my own experience and in talking to other folks who I consider wilderness survival experts, it would seem that it is better to start drinking immediately.  There are several reasons for this.  1)  The exertion of carrying the extra water weight can lead to increased stress and perspiration.  Water inside of you is much easier to transport!  2)  Maintaining your existing level of hydration is important.  Once you are dehydrated it is difficult to return to a hydrated state.  Furthermore, your senses become dulled, your logic is impaired and you may become incoherent.  3)  The initial portion of an emergency and/or physical activity will often require more of your body.

A good recommendation is to store 1 gallon per person per day.  However, for an emergency kit this would prove to be too heavy.  3 Liters is usually a better recommendation as long as you have additional access to water.  If you do store 3 gallons, drink two of them as soon as possible.

Water storage can be an issue.  Build up of harmful bacteria can begin in water bottles due to light, heat and duration in a container.  A great way to avoid these issues is to store the Coast Guard Water Rations, or water pouches.  These pouches are usually good for 5 years and stand up to changes in weather better.  If you do store water in bottles, rotate frequently with a maximum of 3 months in between rotation.

In terms of filters, a great way to go are the AquaMira FrontierPro Filters.  These filters usually cost under $25.00 and are good for up to 50 gallons.  They are small, lightweight and extremely effective.  Keep one of these filters in your pack and know where reliable water sources are.  This allows you to expand your water capacity.

Another option is to purchase a pump style filter made by Katadyn or MSR.  Some of these units can filter 1,000's of gallons of water, but are heavier and bulkier.  Many folks also use water purification tablets made by Katadyn or AquaMira.  These are extremely lightweight and compact.

Whatever you decide to do, make water your focus and you won't be sorry.  The next post includes what I call an adult lightweight backpacking assembly with a list of components.  This is my pack for backpacking, camping and emergencies.