Timely re-posting, nudged by a couple of readers. Now that it’s officially summer, the pack contents will obviously change, but the principles remain the same.
First, DTG wishes everyone a
‘Happy New Year!’ ‘Happy Summer Solstice!’ in the hope that no matter how bad things look, the training, equipping and preparing you do and help others do will mitigate whatever we are facing as a People (which is coming at us faster than a freight train bearing down on an unguarded railroad crossing with a couple of teenagers necking in a convertible who think the whistles they are hearing are in their heads).
To that end the first post of the year is going to focus on the importance of equipping yourself to make it home from wherever your commute may take you during the work day. For those of you working from home, ‘good on ya’! For the rest of us, we may have a ways to go, and our personal vehicle might not be available for part, or all, of the trip.
That said, let’s look at what we might need for winter (adapt for your own locality and weather patterns) every day in order to stay functional:
- Complete set of sturdy clothing – If you work in an environment that ‘business’ or ‘business casual’ is the norm, your dress slacks, button down shirt/bouse and sport coat/blazer is not going to cut it when trying to make it home, especially in bad weather. If you have to traverse any less than hospitable areas, the dress clothes will mark you as a target to the local mutant zombie biker types lurking about. You’ll want long sleeve shirts/blouses, field capable pants with belt (no camouflage, earth tones or greys are good – anything that won’t stand out, color wise), a weather appropriate jacket that’s minimally water resistant and optimally Goretex level water proof, and well-broken in boots and good, sturdy socks, such as the Vermont ‘Darn Tough’ USMC type of socks. You get the picture; this needs to be in your vehicle every time you leave home. Get a small storage container to keep it in so it’s unobtrusive.
Personally, for my Get Home Bag, I keep a pair of Danner ‘Combat Hikers’ with a rolled up pair of Vermont ‘Darn Tough’ USMC Over-The-Calf socks in them. There are other good quality boots and socks available; I prefer the Danner’s and the ‘Darn Tough’ brand for SHTF scenarios. A note on the Danner hikers – they seem to run about a half-size bigger than usual, which really surprised me, as my experience on other Danner boots is the opposite – they run a tad smaller than size – so to make them fit perfectly, I put a pair of these in them (well worth the money) and it worked beautifully:
I’m not relying on theory here or other folks’ experiences; I’ve put about 40 miles on the combination pictured above doing training walks with a ruck weighing between 65 and 80 lbs for distances between 2 and 10 miles. Very comfortable, very durable, and they don’t look any different than when I bought them. Interestingly enough, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for these – I got my Danner’s on eBay for $60 out the door. The insoles I bought at Amazon for about $35. Less than $100 all told, and worth every penny. Next, they don’t necessarily look, ‘military,’ which, when you’re trying to blend in to ‘everyday’ scenes, might be a good thing.
I don’t necessarily think that walking will be my primary means to get home (the farthest I reasonably travel for business during a day is 50 miles from home), but if I end up having to walk, I won’t fail because my feet gave out due to poor quality footwear. Consider that for a bit and then make your choice.
Pants & Shirt – I don’t like blue jeans as cotton is, ‘the cloth of death’ in cold, wet weather. I prefer a blend, such as the cotton-poly or nylon-cotton pants available. Brand doesn’t matter, so long as you remember earth tones or greys, and no camouflage. The idea again, is not to look like some sort of tactical ‘operator’ walking the route you’ve chosen. The idea is to look so unobtrusive that you may not be noticed, and if you are, scant attention is paid to you. Remember the primary objective: Get home to take care of your precious cargo. Remember, you get what you pay for, so get the best you can afford. Here’s a couple of examples:
Jackets we use include the Tru-Spec H20 coupled with the Wiggy’s jacket liner. Check that out, here. Wiggy’s products are extremely well made and really will make the difference in nasty, cold, wet weather when you’re walking. The material used for insulation actually repels the water and keeps insulating much better than wool, even when wet. As always, your call, these are only suggestions based on what we have and do use in training and every day preps.
Last item for clothing: A hat. We recommend having two. One for rain (boonie type) that’s either water resistant on it’s own, or treated with copious amounts of Camp Dry or other brands of silicone. The other hat should be a fleece or wool ‘watch cap’ so that you lose as little heat as possible in really cold weather. Sure, when you’re walking you can regulate your body temp by taking the hat off for short periods (more than 80% of your body heat loss is through the head), but having it will also warm you up quickly.
Next time, we’ll talk about the ‘get home’ bag and various options you can choose for personal protection that are unobtrusive. Oh…one more thing: To actually get home, you’ll need to be in somewhat decent shape physically. That means PT. Great time to start, too, as it’s the first of the year!