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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:26 pm 
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Shown below is my first attempt at building a GHB. While I have no idea where I'd be if a disaster struck, most days I'd either be working from home or at my office, 14 miles away. This load out purposely has no shelter as it serves to get directly home. In addition to this pack I keep clothes, shoes, tools and a fire extinguisher in my car.

Since this is a first attempt, I'd very much appreciate any constructive feedback.

Also, despite linking to REI, I didn't buy the Eagle Creek pouches at REI prices. (I got them on closeout)


The pack is a High Sierra Col 35:
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If not fully packed, the lid sags:
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It includes a built-in pack cover:
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The lid is fairly handy, despite the sagging..
Mine contains:
1) Rat/ESEE Cutlery H.E.S.T. fixed blade knife
2) Leatherman Kick multitool
3) 25 feet of paracord
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Onto the contents - using Eagle Creek zippered pouches improves organization in top-loaded packs:
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The entire loadout:
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Toiletries
(Stored in an Eagle Creek pack-it small sac)
1) toilet paper
2) Adult (as in not baby) wipes
3) Dr. Bronner's soap (2oz)
4) Toothpaste
5) Toothbrush
6) Dental floss
7) Sunscreen
8) Saline solution
I plan on adding insect repellent in the very near future.
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Communications and signaling:
(Stored in an Eagle Creek pack-it quarter cube)
1) Eton FR-160 crank-up/solar radio/flashlight
2) Compass
3) Light sticks (aka glow) sticks)
4) Signal mirror
5) Whistle
I will be adding some maps very soon.
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Money, fire, water purification
(Stored in the shallow side of an Eagle Creek 2 sided pack-it half cube)
1) Cash
2) One roll of quarters
3) Bic lighter
4) Strike anywhere matches in a water resistant match case
5) 25 cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in two zip-lock bags (fire starters)
6) Potable aqua + (includes neutralizing tablets)
7) Duct tape
8) Aluminum foil
9) Silcock key (for opening external water spigots without a knob)
10) Empty 1 quart zip-lock bags (2)
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Clothing, etc
(Stored in the deep side of an Eagle Creek 2 sided pack-it half cube)
1) 1 pair of wool socks
2) 1 pair of synthetic Under Armour wicking socks
3) Spare underwear
4) Wicking base layer
5) Bandanna
6) Work gloves
My clothing is still set-up for cold weather. I will be adjusting this for warm weather RSN (real soon now)
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First Aid
I will list the contents of this kit some other time. (Note, I removed the Velcro from the bottom of the Dyna Med pouch.)
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Water storage, rain gear, blanket
Note the hydration bladder shown above. I have a GSI cup on order that is large enough for a Nalgene to nest inside.
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Food
(The duct tape at the top of the MRE is the result of an exploratory stripping of the MRE. I ultimately concluded that I'd prefer hot food and left all the contents in-tact.)
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Weight
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:18 pm 
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I love all the pictures!

Now for some potential help. Can you REALLY walk the 14 miles in a single day, even in inclement weather, starting later in the day, or if you needed to take a different path home? I'd suggest finding something small that could fit in that empty space, and maybe weigh less than 3.4lbs? (to keep the pack under 20, of course) Shelter would be more important than toothbrush/toothpaste, IMO.

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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:44 pm 
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I like it, think you did a good job. Good to see cash, plenty of quarters, lots of tinder, decent FAK, sillcock key. But I do have to agree with shrimpwd:

shrimpwd wrote:
Shelter would be more important than toothbrush/toothpaste, IMO.


I'd take out some of the toiletries and add a silnylon poncho/tarp. Much nicer poncho than you have, or a shelter if need be. I also just picked up several 4 x 6 tarps at ACE hardware for $2 each. Not really durable, but they pack down to the size of a pack of cigarettes, are very lightweight, and could come in very handy.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:33 pm 
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shrimpwd wrote:
I love all the pictures!

Now for some potential help. Can you REALLY walk the 14 miles in a single day, even in inclement weather, starting later in the day, or if you needed to take a different path home? I'd suggest finding something small that could fit in that empty space, and maybe weigh less than 3.4lbs? (to keep the pack under 20, of course) Shelter would be more important than toothbrush/toothpaste, IMO.


That's the tough question, isn't it? At 3 miles an hour, you're on pace to walk 20 minute miles. I'm fit enough to walk 14 miles in a day, particularly since the grades here aren't bad at all, and I'm positive it's very doable. But, assumption is the mother of all f-ups and I have no idea what might prevent me from doing so. I'll certainly consider what I might be able to do in terms of shelter. As you mentioned weather is a major consideration. During the winter months I don't think there's much I could carry that would keep me sufficiently warm during sleep (warm enough to stop moving) and still keep the pack under 20 lbs. So the plan has always been to say screw shelter and just get home ASAP... at least on paper.

-Jeff

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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm 
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jnathan wrote:
That's the tough question, isn't it. At 3 miles an hour, you're on pace to walk 20 minute miles. I'm fit enough to walk 14 miles in a day, particularly since the grades here aren't bad at all I'm positive it's very doable. But assumption is the mother of all f-ups and I have no idea what might prevent me from doing so.

-Jeff


Zombies? Flood? Sprained ankle? Frequent checkpoints? Exaustion, since the paw will occur at the end of a work day when you were out drinking the night before ...... big old earthquake ditch between you and home (wait, that's MO and IL, not MI)?

We're ZS, we prep for the stuff we have no idea about. :-)

I hear ya, though, on shelter = heavy and expensive to get warm enough. Or is it? Lean 2 tarp + fire + bivy can get you a few hours sleep without much weight in pretty chilly weather.

Looks like a great start!

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:17 am 
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Very nice though I'm gonna have to agree that you should have something for an overnighter in there....you know, as a backup plan. You already have a heat sheet bivy, might as well throw in a tarp. I'm fond of using the USGI poncho in this role...cause, you know, it's also a decent poncho.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:25 am 
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oh man do i want one of those HEST's......

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:35 am 
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Open and take apart the MRE, you can repack yourself much more efficiently than they are! Other than that looks good jeff.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 5:41 am 
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Next time you have a cold or the flu try to see how far you can travel in one day. I know for myself it slows me down considerably.

Also you might want to consider throwing a few snack bars etc in there as well.

Where is your flashlight/s and spare batteries?

Wet weather gear?


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 7:44 am 
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shrimpwd wrote:
Can you REALLY walk the 14 miles in a single day, even in inclement weather, starting later in the day, or if you needed to take a different path home?


Normally, that's the obvious first question. We'll give Jeff a pass since he competes in stong man competition can can do 20+ flights of stairs on his stairmaster. He's one of the most fit ZS'ers.

Bullfrog makes a combo insect repellent/SPF30 sunscreen, so you only need to carry one thing. They have it in 2oz bottles for your kit.

Since you have room, would a real poncho make more sense than the disposable? Those are really marginal if you are active (like trying to walk 10+ miles in the rain). I have a disposable in my kit, and carry a better set in my truck. When I ditch the truck to walk I decide which I need.

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 9:39 am 
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I am going to also state that I believe a real poncho would be an advantage in this kit. I have one in my GHB, and it still ended up a few pounds lighter than yours. I don't think that an extra pound (at most) is going to be a real issue. I also would like to see a ferro rod for fire starting, but that is a personal preference. I started using them last year and actually prefer them over matches now.

As for the people questioning the travel time to get home; I have a 17 mile walk and I plan on five hours to do it in (that works out to 18 minute miles, and is easily doable). Jnathan stated that his plan was just to get home. Do we really think that you are going to stop and sleep after the first ten mile simply because it got dark or started raining? My point is that if you want to get home to your BOB, or your loved ones, or because you want to make sure that Fluffy has a full bowl of food, you are going to do it. Even if you have to walk all night. /derail

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:01 am 
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I would say you need more food. I consider my GHB to be a 2-day pack and I have 4 MRE's. I repacked them myself. They save a lot of room compared to how they came and they still have all the food (except for the peanut butter, yuck)

Where are your flashlights?

I know you will get one soon but you need insect repellent.

I know it has been mentioned before but you need shelter. Throw in at least one of those hammocks with the rainfly, better than nothing and they look very light, probably a few ounces or 1 lb (sorry, don't know anything about them).

Also, I have most of my things in ziplock bags inside the backpack in case I fall in water, id suggest something like that. I know you have a rainguard but that won't do anything if you fall in water...

Overall, pretty good good kit though.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:33 am 
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IMHO your setup is just about perfect. I agree with above, a 'real' poncho would be better than what you have, but also a lot more expensive. Also some more snack-like food (cliff bars, etc) that provides fast energy and is easy to eat on the go, but whatever works for you is more important than what works for the rest of the internet. You can still eat just about all of your food on the go, and if you're clever you could even heat your entree and eat that on the move too, and you definitely have a reasonable amount of calories.

{EDIT}Oh, and I'm over-looking some things like a flashlight/headlamp and another backup fire making method since I'm assuming you'll have some sort of EDC with you. If not a headlamp and a firesteel are what I'd add - for hands free walking/running at night and because bics/matches are fancy fire making methods and I like having a firesteel as a backup since its pretty much impossible to break.

I think with a poncho and the bivy, and some spare base layers, you've got enough shelter for a GHB. You could pitch the tarp, put on all your clothes, use your pack as a pad for your torso/core, and fill the bivy with whatever you could if it was really cold - leaves, newspaper, etc. Obviously not ideal, but thats not the point of this bag. I'm also assuming that in the winter you'd leave for the office in the morning reasonably dressed, with a warm jacket and not wearing shorts and a t-shirt (unless thats what is reasonable for your climate). Maybe throw in a fleece vest or jacket if its really cold?

A Get Home Bag is designed with getting home as the primary goal, not survival in the wilderness. That means for stuff like shelter you want to take the bare minimum so you don't actually die if you need to stop for some reason, but aside from that you can't waste the weight/space on a real tent or sleeping bag. I think shrimpwd did this perfect - the AMK bivy is an excellent piece of emergency gear for this application.

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 11:58 am 
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Forgot to say, you may also want to modify/add some items for winter so don't forget to add them when it hits again


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 1:49 pm 
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I've looked at picking up a USGI poncho for some time. They seem to be priced at about $40, which is a bit steep for a poncho but won't break the bank. My only hesitation is that I don't want a woodland camo poncho. I did find this one, however: http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=7555&TabID=548 which will eventually be available in OD green.

In terms of a light, I have the Eton FR-160 radio which is both a light and radio. It's dynamo (crank) powered as well as solar and is water resistant. Just to be on the safe side I've put it in a zip-lock bag.

Food is something I've debated for some time. I eat about 4000 calories/day and while I'm tempted to put more food in, I have a tough time justifying the added weight. My GHB exists just to get home and in rare circumstances provide me with some basic necessities while I'm away from home (one reason I've got all the hygiene items in there). This isn't to say that I am not interested in repacking MREs (which I mentioned that I took a crack at in my initial post). I watched a few videos on Youtube as examples and then made my attempt. What I concluded, however, was that what most people remove are the things that will make an MRE edible (such as a heater, condiments, etc). In my experiment, I ditched a few small things but in doing so the size and weight weren't dramatically reduced. If there's a better way, I'd love to know what it is because repacking MREs isn't something I've done in the past.

I failed to mention what I carry in my pockets in terms of EDC:
1) Emerson mini CQC-7
2) Fenix P1D-CE flashlight
3) SOG Crossgrip

And what I carry in my EDC bag (which I either carry on its own or nested inside my briefcase):
1) Rat/ESEE Izula fixed blade knife with scales
2) Fenix TK11 flashlight
3) 4 spare CR-123 batteries
3) whistle
4) 2 lighters
5) firesteel
6) small First Aid Kit (FAK)
7) Brunton Monocular
8) Leatherman Charge TTi
9) Bandanna
10) Cash
11) Sharpening stone
12) Duct tape
13) Button compass
14) Pens and pencils
15) Small notebook
16) CPR shield
17) Earplugs
18) Cellphone charger
19) Other miscellany I'm forgetting

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Check Ebay and/or local surplus stores. You should be able to find a poncho for $20 give or take....though I must admit you might have a little trouble finding one if you rule out woodland, ACU or MARPAT.

And yeah, a headlamp makes walking at night a lot less painful. Branches in the eye=not fun.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 4:13 pm 
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jnathan wrote:
I've looked at picking up a USGI poncho for some time. They seem to be priced at about $40, which is a bit steep for a poncho but won't break the bank. My only hesitation is that I don't want a woodland camo poncho. I did find this one, however: http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productID=7555&TabID=548 which will eventually be available in OD green.

I've seen multicam ponchos and liners

jnathan wrote:
Food is something I've debated for some time. I eat about 4000 calories/day and while I'm tempted to put more food in, I have a tough time justifying the added weight.


As I said, I'm not concerned about Jeff humping a 20lb load for 15 miles. He works out so much he eats 4000 calories a day and is still lean.

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 5:12 pm 
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You may want to consider this poncho.
http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Wear-R10420- ... 789&sr=8-1

It kinda bridges the gap between disposable and military spec. It also has grommets for shelter building and comes in subdued colors that aren't camo. I don't have any first hand experience with it but will probably be ordering it soon for my ghb thats in the works.

edit: upon closer look the grommets i thought i saw may actually be just buttons. I probably wont be getting in this case.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:54 pm 
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jnathan wrote:
I've looked at picking up a USGI poncho for some time. They seem to be priced at about $40, which is a bit steep for a poncho but won't break the bank. My only hesitation is that I don't want a woodland camo poncho.



This is what I use. The blue is actually a pretty subdued color. Packs down a good bit smaller that USGI ponchos.

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___20256


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 7:18 pm 
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Looks like you've got a lot of your bases covered. You might want to think about adding a Sharpie and another flashlight / headlamp.

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:01 pm 
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Moleskin? Maybe a couple of disposable hand warmers?

Maybe add a few power bars or hard candy?

Other than what the others have mentioned, VERY nice kit.

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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 1:35 am 
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Walking 14 miles in one go??? :shock:

If you're in as good of shape as claimed, and are determined to do it in five hours, I'd first off ditch everything besides your pocket EDC and an energy bar, extra footwear, some foot care products, and a gallon of water. And don't stop for anything! Travel light, light, light! If it's really five hours you're talking about what will you need all that other stuff for within that five hours? For a mental security blanket? The fact is you're only going to need it because it's slowing you down so much to carry it in the first place!

It starts raining? So you get wet. Big deal. So you get bit by some bugs. Big deal. The sun is beating down? Put some sunscreen on before you leave, or stuff the bottle in your pocket. Why would you start a fire? You're walking home ASAP for crying out loud! What's with the extra clothes and toiletries? You planning on a sleepover? Apparently you're not planning to quickly walk home. You look to me like you're planning to camp out somewhere at some point. Fine then. I understand, because...

In my experience everybody has an exaggerated concept of how far they can walk in one day, especially with a bag, and what they need to have with them when they do. I know I did. After five miles (two hours) I was trudging more and more slowly. You can't maintain 3mph beyond the first 5 miles. I know I'll personally never make it more than 10 miles in one day. But I'm just in average shape.

Whatever load you wind up with, I strongly suggest taking a day off and giving it a serious trial run. I'm willing to bet with what you're currently planning to carry it takes you 10 hours at least, and once you do get home you'll be good for nothing except collapsing. But once again, I'm using my own physical abilities and experiences as a base reference.

Ditch it all except for the foot care and water and you'll make it in five hours.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 12:40 am 
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If you plan to do this in just a few hours, why the wind up flashlight? I'd certainly recommend a headlamp and it wouldn't hurt to have a little surefire too. The batteries will last.

If you think you need to make fire and dress wounds you probably also need to be able to take shelter for a night. I think your plan should either be water and food bar & light and rain gear if applicable and just go as fast as possible - or you need to be prepared for the much slower journey that some of your articles suggest.

Having all of this in your car is a great idea - then you can apply sunscreen if needed, grab poncho if needed, flashlight if needed etc.

First aid kit, extra socks etc is all a fine idea - you are more likely to use it in dealing with an everyday mishap then any GBH scenario but either way covering those bases is smart I just wouldn't plan to hump it all in a one-day trip.

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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 8:18 am 
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Glennbo wrote:
Walking 14 miles in one go??? :shock:

If you're in as good of shape as claimed, and are determined to do it in five hours, I'd first off ditch everything besides your pocket EDC and an energy bar, extra footwear, some foot care products, and a gallon of water. And don't stop for anything! Travel light, light, light! If it's really five hours you're talking about what will you need all that other stuff for within that five hours? For a mental security blanket? The fact is you're only going to need it because it's slowing you down so much to carry it in the first place!


Since a GHB's utility isn't just to get home, I'm sure you can understand why it's helpful to have all those items in my car (and others). I might pull up to a vehicle collision site, for example. I don't think you're insinuating that it's a poor idea to keep those things in my bag and subsequently the car, your suggestion is to ditch them if I absolutely need to get home. And, your idea may have merit... My reason for posting this was to get feedback, after all.

Depending on conditions, I probably could ditch some of the bag's contents if its weight made traveling home in a reasonable amount of time prohibitively difficult. But then there's our old friend Murphy (not Murphy Brown... the other one... of "law" fame). During a long trek home, having some food to eat, water to drink, sunscreen to prevent sunburn and insect repellent to prevent getting bitten then subsequently developing lyme disease (which, like herpes, is a gift that keeps on giving) is a weight trade off I'm willing to make.

Glennbo wrote:
It starts raining? So you get wet. Big deal. So you get bit by some bugs. Big deal. The sun is beating down? Put some sunscreen on before you leave, or stuff the bottle in your pocket. Why would you start a fire? You're walking home ASAP for crying out loud! What's with the extra clothes and toiletries? You planning on a sleepover? Apparently you're not planning to quickly walk home. You look to me like you're planning to camp out somewhere at some point. Fine then. I understand, because...

In my experience everybody has an exaggerated concept of how far they can walk in one day, especially with a bag, and what they need to have with them when they do. I know I did. After five miles (two hours) I was trudging more and more slowly. You can't maintain 3mph beyond the first 5 miles. I know I'll personally never make it more than 10 miles in one day. But I'm just in average shape.

Whatever load you wind up with, I strongly suggest taking a day off and giving it a serious trial run. I'm willing to bet with what you're currently planning to carry it takes you 10 hours at least, and once you do get home you'll be good for nothing except collapsing. But once again, I'm using my own physical abilities and experiences as a base reference.

Ditch it all except for the foot care and water and you'll make it in five hours.


As I said above, there's no opportunity cost in keeping the bag contents as they are now. Like people often say about firearms... hygiene items are the sort you'd rather have and not need than need and not have. The same could essentially be said for everything in my pack... better to have and not need than to need and not have - particularly for a bag that spends most of its time in my car or in my house.

I can't speak for what most people consider average or good shape. Based upon what I see most people do in the gym, they either think I'm absolutely crazy or a masochist, and I'm fine with that. I just don't put much stock into others' assessments of fitness. I'm already a very harsh judge of myself and I suspect that your definition of average shape and mine are quite different.

-Jeff

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