Modular packing - Light is fast
During the 4th ITS Tactical Muster, I explained what I have on my emergency go bag. The attendees were required to have with them a bugout bag at all times, and it was interesting to see the different sizes and loadouts. Since then, a lot of people from the Muster asked me about my loadout, so here it is, together with the idea behind it.
I talked about this already on the Get Home Bag Revisited post, but I don't believe in bugout bags. They are big and heavy, they look like you are going to war and you can't move fast. If you really need to go get your bugout bag, then something bad happened. The last thing you want to be is slow and heavy. This is even more so if you have to also go get your family.
In my opinion, having the right tools combined with the mindset is key. In my case, I prefer a Get Home Bag, small and light, to a huge monster of a bag. I rely on my urban survival skills and E&E, I know also I can survive in the woods or desert. So, having 10 liters, for example, of water while on the run will not help me, it will slow me down. The Get Home Bag will allow me to get into places, observe, communicate and give me the minimal tools I need to get home.
The packing is very modular. All the contents are packed within pouches that can be just discarded in order to go lighter. The idea here is that, shit happens, I need to get home, get to my rendezvous point, or just bug out. I want to be light, and if I need to even be lighter or hide in plain sight, well, I can discard all but a small pouch and continue. And when that also gives me away and I need to blend, I can discard that too and have only a minimal SERE kit that I can hide all over my person.
You get the idea.
Over the years this bag has changed. But when we work we also have something else we can leverage and help us keep this bag small. The Capability Bag. Essentially this bag would be selected for whatever environment we need it, and its main purpose would be to provide us with items that are otherwise unavailable to us on-site. It would be waiting for us when we arrive and would serve as both a Go Bag and Bugout Bag. In its most basic form it would contain:
- Local cash
- Local credit or debit card
- Burner SIM cards and/or cell phones
- Entry kit with multitool and at least lock picking gear
- Electronic gear (small devices like comms)
- A knife and sometimes a fire weapon
- IR strobe
- A night capable monocular
- A small digital camera
- A small trauma kit
So, even when we needed to go somewhere, whether permissive or not, we would work with a local (or ship it from here if it was a friendly locale) and have it waiting for us. We would then layer that into our Get Home Bag.
This layering of bags and of contents, allows you to remain small and light. Remember Rule 15: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.
So, here are the contents of my current Get Home Bag, stored in a GORUCK Bullet 10, but you can transfer it as needed. Modular is key.
Contents are simple:
- A pouch with urban/SERE/tools kit
- A smaller pouch with area maps, GPS, iPhone charging cable and a FluxMob Bolt
- An ITS Tactical EDC Trauma Kit
- A knife
Inside the bigger pouch:
- An ITS Tactical EDC Slimline Pouch with the SERE or last resort kit
- A tactical pen that can serve as a last resort weapon or glass breaker
- A flashlight
- Notebook to jot notes or make a plan... or leave a goodbye note
- A Paracord Bracelet
- Mini entry kit (lock picks, etc)
The reason I separated the SERE/Last Resort kit inside the Slimline pouch was also modularity. If I need to take only that, I just grab the small pouch and transfer it to where I need it, or in an emergency, if I need to dich everything, I just grab that and run.
Inside it has:
- SERE Kit plus entry kit
- Photon LED light, red
- Bluetooth headset
First, the bluetooth headset. If you have ever been on a stressful situation where you need to manipulate things, you know that having the two hands free is crucial. If you are on the phone (police, 911, your family, whatever) and you need to fight your way through buildings, cars, people, etc, having two hands free is a good thing. Hence the headset. Simple. The lighter, photon light and compass are obvious and the SERE kit with extra entry kit is a good thing to have when you are on the run.
Here are the partial contents of the entry kit:
- Mini pry bar
- SEREPick Bogota picks
- Eazy decoder
Then, attached to the velcro of my ruck, I have the Last Resort Urban Distress Kit. Another thing that I can take and ditch the rest.
This is not a SERE or survival kit. This will not really help you if you get caught (remember Rule 5), but in you are hiding, trying to blend in and you need to break into a location to find a computer and send a distress signal, this can help. We built this after some painful lessons learned.
- Bogota Ti Nano Lock Picks
- A Handcuff Key
- A shim
- An EZ Decoder from ITS Tactical
- A tiny USB drive with a minimal Linux installation
The Linux distro can be booted from this drive and it will automatically send an SOS signal via email, SMS and other means to a preprogrammed location. Sort of fire and forget. However, it also has a web browser with TOR and other utilities that can help us navigate around the city we are currently located.
Overall, this modular packing has served me well. It allows you to remain light and fast. It allows you to move go where you need.