Sunday, March 1, 2015

What Do You Do When You Can't Carry Everything...

Back in early 2014 when I first started to put together my "grab and go" bag as suggested by the government building where I work, I just threw together what I could find around the house. From the start it was not perfect but it was better than nothing.

Over the past year I've tried to improve and deal with some of the thing I was lacking originally. One of those items was a sleeping bag. Now while many people might not think they need one, I want to be comfortable if I have to sleep at work (we have no hotels or motels in close proximity) or in case I have to walk home all 37 miles or in case I get stuck in my car in a snow storm. The problem is, a winter grade sleeping bag takes up space, more space than I had in my existing bag. Luckily for me I just found a solution.

As I said before, I am trying to keep the cost of this emergency preparedness low and also something I won't mind throwing in the trunk of the car for months at a time without needing it for other purposes.

Now I've found the solution... The British Army All Arms Rucksack (nsn 8465-99-978-5364).

Also known as the Engineer Turtle Pack Bergen, this was designed for the branches of the British Army other than the infantry. It has a capacity of 50 litres, to which two 10 litre side pouches can be zipped on or clipped onto the sides, increasing the capacity to 70 litres.

The rucksack has a double ended zip at the top of the bag, with a velcro double layered storm flap. Inside there is one large space inside and a smaller pouch for smaller flat items.

There are padded shoulder straps and a padded waist belt for carrying the rucksack over long distances. On the top and bottom of the rucksack are adjustable quick release straps which can be used for compressing the rucksack or to tie-down sleeping pads or other additional gear. On the top of the rucksack are two heave duty webbing handles which allow you to carry the rucksack like a tote bag, though fully packed that would be difficult over anything more than short distances.

One very interesting feature of the bergen is the flap on the shoulder strap side of the bag which rolls up when wearing the rucksack. When not being worn, the flap rolls down and, secured with velcro on the sides and bottom, covers the shoulder straps and waist belt, allowing the rucksack to be stored and moved without the straps being caught up or tangled up on anything.

Next step will be to test this rucksack in a field test, but for now, it is keeping all my gear safe and together in one place, at low cost. I found this for only $49.99.

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