Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gear Check - Mini BOB

Last night I took some time to bust out my mini-BOB and see what I could improve. It's kinda big and heavy to carry in my work bag, and I would like to improve upon that.

Now I busted it open and immediately saw some problems. I had a small plastic case with some candles in it, and they melted some - Not enough to seal the case shut, but enough to get all over each other and make a mess. The roll of quarters had busted open and worked themselves into every nook and cranny in the mini-BOB. The three day emergency food pack was no longer vacuum sealed, and had to be tossed. My first aid kit is missing some meds.

I also need to get one of those collapsible water bottles. I have a 1L bottle at work, and one stashed in the truck, but I would like to have one with the mini-BOB. I need the 1L bottle to use the water purification tablets I have in the kit.

Using my new food vacuum sealer, I would like to make my own food pack. I would double bag it to make it more durable. I could wrap electrical tape on the corners to prevent wear. I'm thinking a pack of hot chocolate, energy bar, package of soup mix, and some nuts would be good for a "meal". This gives me fats, sugars and some protein from the chicken soup and nuts. Also I've seen people using the food saver to make single-use packages of meds - I need to do this.

I could take care of the candle-problem too by sealing them in a little vacuum bag. I have five tea light candles in the kit, I really only need two or three. Every gram saved makes a difference.

Curretly in the kit is a mini-maglight, and a 9LED flashlight that runs on three AAA batteries. I think I'll swap out the mini-maglite with a tiny keychain led light to save weight. It would just be a backup for the 9LED light anyway as it is plenty bright enough.

So here is what I need to do:
  1. Use the vacuum sealer to make small packets of meds.
  2. Add Tums, Amonium AD, Nyquil, and Dayquil to the first aid kit.
  3. Build a one or two day supply of food for the kit.
  4. I need to add a needle and some thread.
  5. I need to figure out how to add a small cup for boiling water to the kit.
  6. I need some sunscreen wipes.
  7. I need to add some babywipes, like 20 or so for TP and field bathing.
  8. Find or build a smaller bag for the kit, belt mountable or with it's own sling.
Now the container would have to be a little roomier that the kit is in it's most compressed form because when you start using it you will not have the time to pack it all back up.

The lesson learned from this is twofold. First, you need to go through your gear on a regular basis. Secondly, no matter how good your kit is, there are always a few improvements that can be made.

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