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My survival and Get Home Gear Part 2

In part 2 of my posting about my survival gear and get home bag I will show and explain the extra items added during winter and cold weather months.

Obviously the winter requires different clothing gear and other things to stave off dying from exposure. So, with the change of the year I add more to the  gear and I also swap to another pack to carry the extra clothing and survival items.  The pack I use is the large ILBE pack for winter. Everything in the 3 day assault pack seen in my last article on the subject is moved over into this pack. It is heavier then the small pack, but I feel when the weather is more extreme, it is worth the trade off.

The large pack will hold another human inside it if used to its fullest potential. It also will allow you to attach the 3 day pack to the outside. MOLLE covers the back of it and sides for any additional things you want to add with buckles to secure it. The pack has two side zippers so you can get into it without going through the top. You can see in the picture that I added a GP pouch in front and an extra nalgene bottle holder on the side.  The other side secures the therma rest air mattress nice and tight.

The winter gear  in the picture above goes into the large winter pack with all my other normal stuff.  In it is a gortex parka and pants that are water proof and wind proof, a set of silk weight pants and shirt to wear under normal clothes if its not too cold or just cooler and wet. I also keep another two pair of smart wool socks and some wool gloves, a neck gaitor and a fleece hat. One the right side is a  ECWS wild things extreme cold weather parka. It is not water proof but will repel water. It is for extreme cold but dry weather. As inside layer I have a grid fleece pull over shirt with grid fleece bottoms. I also have two pelican water and shock proof cases to carry various things to keep them safe and dry, like cell phones or any sensitive things.

A close up of the gortex. Also is the picture is an extra WXP source water carrier I add to the outside of the pack.

A close up of the fleece and other layers. All of it goes into a water proof ruck sack liner to keep it dry in a heavy rain or a spill into a river or falling over a water fall.

The gas mask is something that I sometimes add to my kit. It does not stay in it full time, but depending on where I am going or other factors I can add it.  I think that a gas mask and plenty of extra filters are a very smart thing to have in your preparedness kit. Some may think it is crazy but it could very well come in handy and  be the most important thing of your entire life in the right situations.  Not all masks will protect against chemicals or biological and nuclear so make sure you get what you think you need. I am more worried about major civil unrest and maybe areas CS gas is being used.  If some one drops mustard gas in my area, just a mask won’t be helping me by itself so its a moot point. If you live in an area with chemical spills, you need  a different set of chemical protection gear so read up and learn about it before spending a ton of money on something that would melt to your face.

Now, my gear is not just for fighting my way home or evading and escaping some unknown evil force. It is also for helping my through a catastrophe.  It is more likely I would get stranded some where then to fight off aliens from the future.  So I always make sure to have plenty of things to signal with.

Here are three examples of what I consider some of my most important items. These are used to signal  if I roll over a hill.  Are lost in the woods or  need to  flag down a medical chopper or the police depending on what is going on. A cell phone is great. But some times even if you have a GPS, maybe they do not. Or if could be so heavy brush, they can not find you. If a medical chopper is coming and seconds count. It is best to have something to signal with RIGHT NOW.   For this I have these three things. A military VZ17 signal panel with orange and pink sides that folds out to become fairly large and very easy to see, A yellow smoke grenade and a MK 7 hand parachute signal flare.  All can be seen from ther air easy and the panel can be laid on the ground, in a tree, on top of a broken down car or waved in the air on a large pole or stick by the person needing help.  I also carry a smaller US airforce pilots signal panel  small enough for a pants pocket on my person when on a long hike and keep two or three in the  vehicle just in case along with road flares and signal mirrors and chemical lights.   You are more likely to be trying to stay alive and need to signal help before you ever need to get away from some invading force like in Red Dawn, so always have several forms of signaling for help.   For the rest of my gear and summer month items read the Part 1 of this series.

Catherine & Carlos On Water filter/Purification for Hiking and Survival

One of our readers asked this question on the looserounds.com facebook page ,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Loose-Rounds/108959942566051 . I thought it was a detailed enough answer to be posted as a stand alone entry.

You can ask any question you want ( within reason) and Looserounds will do its best to answer it for you. Ask using the site email or through the facebook page.

Q&A question??? What’s the best portable water filter/purifier system out there. Which one is the best value? I noticed you guys started doing the shtf topics.

Cat. You can find me at www.facebook.com/kittycatkimchi. Anyhow, I’ll cover the 3 popular ones for backpacking.

1. The Sawyer Squeeze Filter is very portable, versatile, and affordable. Watch this video to understand how it works- http://youtu.be/lKWQjlq-uYA. The only downfall in my opinion is trying to collect water from shallow areas. I think the price is around $50. Great system though for the price.

2. The Steripen Adventurer Opti won backpacker awards. Just as the name suggests it looks like a thick pen. One end holds the battery and the other end has a optical UV light (and also a flashlight). You simply fill a Nalgene bottle with water, turn on the Steri-pen, dip into the water and stir until the light turns off. It removes the bacteria. Here’s their video- http://www.steripen.com/adventurer-opti. It takes 90 seconds to purify 1 liter of water. The downfall is it requires a battery. The cost is about $90.

3. The MSR Sweetwater is probably the most liked for true backpacking and back country hunting. Since it is a pump system it can filter water from puddles. The pumping action does take some time and the unit is slightly larger/heavier than the two mentioned above. However, a great product and one I will add to my hunting pack. Here is a video – http://www.backcountryedge.com/video-msr-sweetwater-microfilter.aspx. The cost is about $90.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me anytime.


You can also search REI’s website for this products and read others reviews.

I’d also like to add that the Katadyn Exstream works pretty well. It’s similar to the Sawyer filter in operation, but comes with it’s own bottle. You can probably get one for around $40. As Cat pointed out, neither works very well in shallow muddy water. Also, with both of these you do have to periodically replace the filters.



The Swiss Katadyn Group is the world’s Number One for individual water purification systems and products, with a global market share exceeding 50 percent. Katadyn has been…

Hornady Zombie Max.Worth it?

Shooters have been buying up the hornady Zombie max ammo recently thanks to clever marketing and a trend I will admit not understanding. Really it is supposedly just re-purposed  V-max ammo with a different color ballistic tip.  Since the ammo has an asinine price on it and the buyer will probably never shoot it, I decided to test it out  for those who are curious about it.  I used a match barrel with a 1/9 twist to fire the most rounds since  that is the most common twist rate among the type of shooter this stuff is aimed at.

I did notice the ammo did come in a case with a military crimped primer.  I have fired the horaday varmint ammo before in other calibers and had decent results. Never under 1 MOA however.   I also fired a 21 shot group using my own handloads  as a comparison and something to compare to.

You can click on the image to make enlarge it.  The ammo was 55 grain since that is what a lot of people seem to  think is the standard for top performance ( it isn’t ).

All but the lower left  are zombie max. The distance was 100 yards shot from a match AR15 with match SS barrel  24 inches with a 1/9 twist. Te optics was a Leupold 18x. The gun is extremely accurate with good ammo.  The 1/7  twist 21 shot group was fired with a 6940 with the same optic.  flyer shot was a zeroing shot. The rest is a 20 round group.

Draw your own conclusions on the Z-max.  I would not waste my time or money on it myself. The groups fired from  typical M4 carbines was not ever worth showing. This was  the best I would get it to do.

Below is what proper match loads will do in a good gun to compare.

Unless you are into the whole “zombie lifestyle” and just want the box or something..   I would not spend the money on the zombie max, unless the price was dropped to the same amount as a box of federal xm193 or PMC  etc.

Cleaning and Skinning Squirrel

Recently a lot of people that know I hunt, have been asking me more and more about how to hunt and how to skin, clean and gut animals. I do not know if it is  the rise in the idea of self reliance or more interest in hunting, but I have been doing my best to teach people the skills to get food by their own skill.

Now I am going to show a step by step guide on how I, skin and clean a squirrel. This not the only method, but it is my method, taught to me years ago. It has worked very well for me. If you have a different way that is great. This is the way I do it and it usually results in less damage to the animal.  It is not pretty to look at so if you have a weak tum tum, stop reading now.

Like any chore this calls for a knife, so make sure your knife is sharp. A sharp knife is actually safer then a dull knife. It sounds backwards but it’s not. A dull knife results in you forcing it or getting tired. So make sure you start with a sharp knife. Any kind will probably do, but a small one is better than a rambo knife in this case.

Start by pulling up the hide in the center-ish of the back. Pull it tight  and cut a small slice. Now do not cut down into the meat. Just the hide.  The hide will stretch away from the meat.  If you do not understand, pull up the hide on your dog’s back. See how it does not hurt the dog?  Thats because it’s not really connected like human skin.

Once you got it started, go ahead and make it a little bigger.  Grab each side of the cut and pull. Pull toward the head and the tail.

Once you get enough to get a good grip on, pull away. Don’t be shy, it will not hurt.  I promise he won’t feel a thing.  You may need to take your knife and do a little trimming if some fat or skin wants to stick. It’s not difficult and you will know if you need to do it or not by how the hide does not slide off like a sock.

If you used a shotgun on the animal, you will notice the pellets falling out of the body during this time.

Next you will have the skin up around the neck and the feet. And, the tail and the bottom feet.  At this time you can cut its wee wee off if you need to. Some times the skin will pull off of the feet with out needing to cut. I usually will cut the feet off at the ankle anyway to help it since they need to come off anyway.

Once you cut the feet. Cut off the tail and the head. It is not very hard, but it does call for a sharp knife and a little effort. If you need help, smack the flat back of the knife blade with a rock to get it a little help. It may scar the knife, but it may help you from cutting your finger if you are not used to this sort of work.

After this, you will have the body ready for gutting, Try to keep a bucket of water to wash it in if you can. Hair can get all over the bare skin and it sticks like snot on a pumphouse door handle. It doesn’t really hurt anything, but most people don’t like to get hair in their mouth.

Next, you are going to put the animal, ( food?) on its back and slice up its belly from the groin to the bottom of the chest cavity. Try not to stab it like Patrick Bateman. You do not want to puncture the intestines and get crap all over the place. No big deal if you do, since you are going to wash it off anyway. But like the hide, just cut through the cavity. you are not sawing through a steak.

One you get the cavity open, reach in and yank out the goop.  Don’t be shy or worry about getting your nails dirty.  It is messy.

You can pull out and save whatever organs you may like to eat (liver, kidney etc) at this point.  Also remember that the heart and lungs are way up higher in the rib cage cavity and you have to puncture a thin membrane to get your finger up in there to pull it out. You could just split the rib cage with a knife, but I like to leave it be. Left intact, the rib cage makes for a nice holder for butter, carrots, garlic etc, during cooking.

After this you can wash it off and this is what it should look like. Depending on where you shot it and with what you shot it with, you may see dark spots in the meat or it may tear. Thats OK, it is just blood so do not worry. And if it tears, just do the best you can. It is not always going to be perfect or pretty.

If you skin it like I showed you , and you did not shoot it from 5 foot with a 12 gauge, you should just about be able to put it back together again with the yummy parts missing.

Cleaning small game is not hard. But it can be messy.  Nothing hones your outdoor skills like stalking small game. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Often times deer are baited in or shot from a stand. Small game requires skill and marksmanship on a higher level then most “hunters” ever use. A lot of famous snipers started off shooting small game as kids so don’t let the so-called trophy hunter’s BS make you pass it by.

An if you follow these steps, it’s no trouble to make these..

Look ready for the fire like this.

My Survival Gear Part 1

Since we have opened up a new section of the website for survival and prepping, I decided it would be  a good time to talk about my “get home” bag, or “bug out” bag.

My pack goes with me whenever I travel and stays in my jeep or whatever vehicle I am in. Depending on the time of year or how far I am going, I will change some items or go to a larger backpack.

If you click on the image, you will see a larger picture of most of what goes into my pack during the spring/summer/fall seasons. Something will change depending, but most of this is standard.  The back Pack is the USMC issued ILBE assault 3 day pack.  It has a main storage area, and outside storage and a pocket in the rear for a water bladder like the Camelbak.  I use the USMCSource WXP for water since the pack was made with this system in mind.

The main gear consists of the following items.

Two USMC  ground tarps. They snap together and are water proof. Can be used as a shelter half each or a water proof bed roll.

Two USMC poncho liners for sleeping or shade etc.

Two seal line water proof storage compression bags.

Two pair of cushioned Smarwool socks with silver lined sock liners.

One Nalgene bottle with titanium spork and nalgene canteen cup for cooking or mixing.

One water proof plastic container for cell phones or electronics.

Parachute flare

Folding knife

One fleece watch cap.

Two surefire battery holders with batteries and extra bulbs.

100 ft  550 cord

surefire  6p ( two)

streamlight pen light

Five chemical lights

Kbar knife

Flint and steel

Then I have a few 1 gallon ziplock bags with handy items. Heavy rubber bands, zipties, more batteries ( lithium) lighters ( 3) candles ( 2 ) Swiss army knife and Leatherman multitool. It also contains some medicine and some small 1st aid items.

Also I have a few kits given to railroad workers that are sealed up and contain grbage bags, handiwipes, toillete paper and hand cleaner.

Above are a few items I have found a lot of use from. An old Swiss army knife I bought with the first paycheck in my life many years ago with my name engraved on it by an old friend of mine (now since deceased) and two titanium pry-bars.

Above is my individual first-aid kit (IFAK). This is listed alone because I attach it to the outside of the pack to get to faster without digging. It is a pretty standard military kit with a few extras thrown in. I changed it by taking out anything i did not know how to use since it would just increase the risk of me harming myself.  I am not going to break it down or recommend what you put in yours because I am not a doctor and it is best you learn about this kind of thing from pros.

One thing that I add to the pack if I travel very far is a blow up thermarest pad for sleeping, It rolls up nice and has elastic rope to hold it together. The ILBE assault pack has two buckled straps that will hold it to either side nice and snug.

I did not show the food I add to the pack because it changes pretty often to make sure it stays fresh. Usually it is a combination of MREs, mountain house entrees and a few smaller cans of stuff added in.  In all, it’s about 3 days of food for the warm months.

Here is is all stuffed into the pack without the therma rest. I keep two carabiners on the pack just in case I need to lash something to it.

The pack does not contain any fighting items because it is not a fighting load carrier. It is for getting home cross-country.  Anything i need to defend myself with goes on my person.

This is what would be on my person if I needed to leave my vehicle and go cross country towards home. Some stays in the car until I need it, but the gun, mags, watch, knife and light are always with me. The signal panel,chem lights, lighter and extra AR mag would be added if I was forced to leave my vehicle.  This changes slightly from time of year or time of day/night.  The Gov model is my deep cover CCW pistol, but since buying the excellent Darkstar gear Kydex holster, I have taken to carrying my 1911 colt railgun with surefire x300 as my main CCW pistol.

For me, I feel these are the most important things to have and should not leave my person. I think I could reasonably escape most situations with just thins bit of gear as long as I could get back to my main pack or at least some water somewhere.  If not, then its unlikely I could have made it anyway.  The AR15 mag is added to the belt if things are bad enough to need it and the trunk AR15 is taken along.  I keep the AR15 in a ADIDAS sporting bag that I have shown before.

Next I will show the upgrade in clothing for winter months and longer travel.