Your choices are:-
An Alice or plain military, back packer styled pack.
Messenger bag, Sling bag, or Shoulder strap gym bag.
Why these four types?
Specifically I’m thinking about Go/Get Home Bags (GHB) and your preferred way of carrying what is essential in a disaster to enable you to get home.
The critics will be thinking “You can’t carry what you will need in the messenger or sling bag”? Some will also include the gym bag in that comment.
Except what gear would you consider needs to be carried in a GHB in a suburban or urban setting? From experience, that is decided by (in no particular order) how long you’ll be traveling, what you are having to cope with, what time of year it is, and what is the weather doing.
By now you may be getting the idea that I’m not a fan of ‘one load out suits every event’, and I tailor my GHB to suit the general conditions and my differing needs.
For example, Summer doesn’t call for heavy clothing. Foraging in a township or a city also doesn’t call for you to carry loads of food or equipment. (And yes I have a Degree in Dumpster Diving!)
Again, some will say ‘shops will have be stripped’.
Yep, no argument!
Except what about the other couple of thousand homes that are still there and abandoned?
What’s important to me is the basics to sustain you, items to cope with hazardous conditions, to help with foraging / scavenging, self defense, traveling at night, and finding your way.
If you figure it right, foraging and scavenging as you go, your load need not be excessive in quantity or weight.
A case in point is my general load amounts to just 7kg with water, and I can easily jettison some of that water!
Want a definitive list?
So do I but, as everyone makes up their own choices (including me), someone’s list will never suit all of your personal needs.
However, there are some ex-spurts who claim their load selection is ‘The gospel’s answer to survival’ .
Only it is often overly ‘comprehensive’.Let alone way too heavy
Foraging (or scavenging) are life sustaining skills!
As is the ability to put aside your finer sensibilities and morality issues.
I do think tactical skills help, should you need them, but the techniques used by the ‘grey man’ are there to keep you out of combat. Something I know is infinitely better than risking getting hurt (or dead) as you try to survive when transiting through a ‘people’ hazardous scenario, in austere or combative conditions.
Back to that choice.
Not becoming a person of interest (aka a shopping mall on legs) to various low life AND ( possibly more dangerous in a survival scenario) to those who would latch onto you and become part of your problem is something YOU NEED TO TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY.
I learned that important life lesson from a young streetwise girl who taught me how to survive the streets of London. I had a lovely Alice Pack packed with goodies I thought were essential but she persuaded me to swap it for a beaten out ‘carryall’ as it lessened my potential worth to some of the people she knew I would be coming in contact with.
She was right. When you look and act like others in the same boat as you, there is an acceptance and, in some cases, a freer exchange of information and tips.
Fast forward to today and possibly tomorrow.
Streets in most anywhere ‘civilized’ can be (or will be) dangerous to you when transiting through them. Especially if you stand out from the norm.
That’s why I would choose either a battered old messenger bag or ‘shoulder strapped’ carryall. Sacrificing load lugging capacity for mobility and the camouflage of the streets. i.e. your attire, visual impact, and how you move, and how you interact.
The thinking behind that is if the ‘bad in life’, which includes some ‘authority’, don’t think you are worth the effort, or the desperate see you as no help whatsoever, that may give you the edge. That’s something the grey man methodology is built around.
Meanwhile, if I’m sat quietly at the back deciding who is a possible threat and either of these two walk by? Nothing says “Me, Me, Me” better than someone being “dressed to kill” in an urban scenario, or someone who looks too ‘squared away’.
Does that make me avoid them? Not if I’m in a good tactical position and armed.
Then, to me, I’ve just found my own shopping mall on legs.
Ultimately it’s how you want to operate, or aim to survive in whatever is occurring.
Are you one who was born of fire, to die in glory!
Or do you understand ‘cautious’ in an austere theater of operation?
To end this post, you’ve got to have worked out that I am a huge fan of the grey man playbook. In peace? It’s a camouflage, and the surprise element that gives you an edge should you need to engage with someone. In disaster? I see it as an aid to transiting and surviving a crisis.
The grey man philosophy.
Knowing a little about a lot (but not showing it), your attire, visual impact to others, how you move, your manner, and how you interact.