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Reader’s Get-Home Bag Loadout: Russ from Virginia


We always enjoy discussing and comparing our survival gear to that of our friends, since we often give each other helpful input and ideas. We might see a way we can simplify and remove weight, pack items more efficiently, or replace tools with with superior alternatives. There’s much to be learned through this collaboration.

Recently, we received an email from a reader named Russ, who previously wrote to us about lessons learned on his 23-mile solo hike across the Colonial Parkway in Virginia. Russ is a 68-year-old Army veteran with an admirable dedication to remaining physically fit and prepared. In his email, he told us about a new S.O.C. Short Range Bug Out Bag he purchased, and took the opportunity to share a breakdown of the gear loadout it contains.

A photo of Russ from his days in the Army.

A photo of Russ from his days in the Army.


I set up a new pack and tried it out last Saturday with a 8-mile circuit through the country around my neighborhood. It’s a Sandpiper of California Short Range Bug Out Bag, which I found in the P/X. Its capacity is 17 liters larger than my previous pack, a 20-liter Red Rock Outdoor Gear Transporter Day Pack.

Reader recap Virginia colonial parkway preparation survival hike trek trail 2

Russ with his previous Red Rock Outdoor Gear backpack.

The Short Range BOB is a 37-liter capacity, which gives me additional internal space plus more outside attachment points for my various pouches. The padding on the S.O.C. is a bit thicker, as I would have expected, both on the shoulder straps as well as the back. The S.O.C. also has a sternum strap and waist belt to balance the load — I had fabricated both for the Red Rock Transporter. Honestly, I overloaded the Transporter, it is an excellent pack and is destined to become the second gear pack for my truck.

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 2

In the following photos, I laid out the pocket/pouch items. There’s a poncho with a poncho liner attached, a bed roll inside a poncho, and a ground cloth that is reflective on one side and orange on the other for a VS [emergency signaling] panel.

Outside the pack, the blue rope is 30 feet of Blue Water accessory rope. The external medical pouches have all the usual IFAK items; tourniquets, pressure bandages, bandages, alcohol wipes, tape, scissors and such.

Lower Pocket

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 3

30′ Blue Water flat tubular nylon with carabiners, 100′ 550 cord, small cable ties, sewing kit, extra straps, Rite In The Rain notebook, duct and electrical tape, 5.11 Station gloves, waterproof Pelican box w/extra batteries and phone charger, Pelican box w/ cigarettes & matches (I don’t smoke, but might need it to befriend or trade with someone), waterproof map and assorted set of LokSak bags.

Middle Pocket

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 4

SmartWool beanie, mylar space blankets, whistle, Swiss Army knife, Gerber multi tool, Petzl e+Lite headlamp, small fixed-blade knife with Kydex sheath, pen, Saltstick tabs, Grinds [coffee pouches], paracord bracelet, micro fiber towel, cooling towel, Ranger pace cord, chemlights and an odd spike-shaped tool called a CIA dagger.

Large Pocket

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 8

5-liter dry bag (socks, extra shirt, meds, toilet paper and wipes, Columbia rain jacket), CamelBak with LifeStraw filter conversion, canteen cup, Esbit stove w/ fuel tabs, waterproof matches, 8-ounce flask, LokSak bag w/snacks and coffee, extra medical supplies.

The knife is a Vietnam-era Ontario jet pilot survival knife. It holds a good edge and works well for batoning fire wood.

Upper Side Pouches

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 7

Water bottles — a LifeStraw Go and a converted CamelBak with LifeStraw filter.

Lower Right Pouch

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 6

Lensatic compass with clinometer, binos, Gerber map light, map marker.

Lower Left Pouch

Russ Hobgood go bag loadout survival gear bug out backpack shtf hiking 5

UCO waterproof matches, pepper spray, Gerber fire steel, Purell (good for fires in wet conditions), signal mirror, Silva Type 27 compass, small Victorinox tin with Bic lighter wrapped in twine and duct tape, small folding knife (I try not to have so many knives but they are so handy), magnesium fire starter, tinder roll and pine resin.

That fairly well covers it. I hope to change over to a Geigerrig Hydration pouch system this week, that would give me about 6 liters of water on board. This whole rig weighs in around 35 pounds or so. Its a cross between a get-home bag and a backpacking bag.

Hope this will be of interest and some use. I really enjoyed reading reading Issue 28; it’s got all the disasters covered — financial, medical and grid down.



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