Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lighten Your Load . . . .


There are some tricks you can use to lighten up that ruck / pack / sack (or whatever you call that huge transport bag you strap on your back when you want to move your “things” over long distances by foot.)

Most importantly packing your ruck sack correctly, more so, distributing the weight correctly by the order in which items of differing weight are packed, really helps the fatigue factor when hiking or rucking.  Read about that here:

Aside from that, there are some ways to “shave” ounces and eventually pounds off your overall ruck weight so you can go farther in a shorter amount of time.  Regardless of your objective, if you have a survival load on your back you need to pack with you the things that will continue your heart beating.  Here is an excellent article on the packing priorities in regard to survival in hostile environments:


Now, in the context of those two articles . . . .

Here are some ideas / products that will help you save some ounces:

The Sawyer MINIFilter:  Fits in the palm of the hand small.  Filters out all sorts of things that make you have the “runs” such as ecoli, bacteria, protozoa, cysts, giardia, etc, etc.  (those are the ones that can make you really really sick).  The filter is good for 100,000 gallons of water (and comes with a back-flushing kit).  Which if you use 2 gallons of filtered water a day . . . would last you for over 130 years.  Over 65 years if you and another person are using it.  It only weighs a few ounces. 


*If viruses are a concern, you might consider adding a small bottle and household bleach and eye dropper to your pack.  Read the previous post on waterborne viruses to understand what they are and what they are not. 


The Vargo TitaniumHexagon Pack Stove:  Again, it only weighs a few ounces.  The stove is very efficient, blocks the wind, and folds up into a very thin space.  The ability to build a small contained but efficient fire could be a key survival ingredient you need. This especially is the case if you do not want to broadcast to anyone in the area your presence with huge beach fire flames.  The GLSC Team packs this Vargo stove wherever we go in the wild.

Wiggy's Sleeping Bags:  Pound for pound, Wiggy's Lamilite filled sleeping bags and garments, wick water the best, and provide the best insulation when the temps go down, than any other product on the market.  "ask us how we know".  Wiggy's 5 lb sleeping bag offers cold weather insulating qualities that beat a bag with twice the weight. 

*The fact that these relatively light weight bags have saved lives, when guys in the field have broke through a frozen lake without any available rescue crew to bring them back is a testament to the value of the product.

GLSC Level 1 Wilderness First Aid Kit:  Big enough to handle your wilderness first aid emergencies but light weight enough to carry all day and not know it's there.

Knife Sharpening Supplies:  Need to keep your knife sharp?  Try a leather hone with hone compound instead of a heavy stone.  Made for GLSC here in Michigan, we carry these to touch up our knives in the field.  This will save at least a pound in your pack.

Killing Waterborne Viruses with Bleach

Understanding the threat that Waterborne Viruses pose to humans:

Combating Viruses after the water has been filtered:

1)  Clear water is a sign of pure water. Always drain long-standing pipes for 30 seconds to one minute before drinking! (Cheap remote motels?)

2)  1 Gallon water is disinfected by 8-16 drops of regular household bleach (visually about 1/4 of a teaspoon) - double that for cloudy water. Shake and let stand 30 minutes. One teaspoon will disinfect 5 gallons. Immediately after treating, water must initially have a slight smell of chlorine. If it does not - repeat the process.

3)  Household bleach is relatively harmless. The smell or �waft� of chlorine is not bad: it indicates that water is treated and germ free. Once treated and disinfected, the chlorine smell will go away in a few days.

4)  Regularly used water from large tanks may be treated once or twice a month with 1 Oz. bleach per 200 gallons or 5 Oz. bleach per 1000 gallons. 

5)  Long-standing water in tanks will be disinfected w/ 1 pint household bleach per 1000 gallons. (2500 gal tanks are fine with 3 pints.) 

6)  Bleach effectively kills bacteria and viruses, stops smells and then breaks down. It's effective germ killing alkaline property is completely neutralized very quickly. It does not stay chemically active in tanks for more than a few days. Most germs require sunlight to grow. Store water in the dark.

7)  If water is relatively clear: but has a noticeable smell of chlorine: it is drinkable, disinfected, and harmless. Humans need 2 quarts per day.

The above text is designed to be printed, cut-out, and taped inside a cabinet door, or saved as a reminder. 6 % sodium hypochlorite solution, referred to as " common household chlorine bleach", is not a seriously poisonous substance to humans. It is an alkaline salt. It is not an "acid".  However It very, very effectively kills bacteria and viruses upon contact. It is the world-wide chemical of choice for treating drinking water, or for effectively sterilizing everything from shower stalls to surgical instruments. Truthfully, very heavily chlorinated water may be more irritating to the lungs - if it is used for showers, than it is harmful to the intestinal tract if used for drinking purposes. Even drinking straight household bleach rarely results in death. The alkaline properties of undiluted bleach may cause painful chemical burns to the esophagus and stomach - but it is not deadly poisonous. Bleach must always be kept out of the reach of children - because not only might they drink it - they may get it in their eyes.  All long-standing water that is exposed to air and sunlight grows bacteria and other organisms which may include the very troublesome protozoa, Giardia. These organisms may cause people to become very sick. Iodine has long been carried by back-packers for cases of emergency because very small long-lasting tablets effectively disinfect germ infected water. Iodine is at least 1000 times more toxic than is sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Unlike sodium hypochlorite, iodine does not break down. It does, however, cause an unpleasant taste in treated water. This is why back packers are given the option to carry a taste neutralizing tablet for use if water has been treated with iodine. Iodine does remain in the body. Iodine poisoning is of greater concern for longer term situations than is the slight smell of bleach. In any regular situation, bleach is the by far the preferred method for purifying drinking water because it effectively kills harmful organisms, and then it breaks down and is quickly chemically neutralized.  It should be noted that fish, mosquitoes, algae, etc. can not - and do not live - in poisonous water. Given the choice between two still ponds in the wild: one with mosquitos, or algae growing in it -- and another near-by it, which may be seemingly clear - I would prefer to drink the water that has the organic life growing in it. The other standing water, even though it appears clear - is obviously unusable or undesirable to other living organisms and therefore it may be poisonous.  New well-water should ALWAYS be tested by the drilling company to determine if the water coming from the ground is truly safe for drinking. Ground water can be unsuitable for a number of reasons, but in general it is very good water. Without any doubt, the easiest way to insure clean, safe, pure drinking water, is to instal a water purification system that acts both as a filter, and a purifier. These are the common water purification systems available everywhere. They filter particles and purify the water from bacteria, viruses and other harmful chemicals. An EXCELLENT portable water purification device can be purchased for emergency use for under $70.00. Home water purification systems, even purifiers that attach directly to the water tap - are absolutely excellent! This is the best way to actually insure that the water you are drinking is clean and pure. These systems, which act both as filters, and purifiers - are the systems of choice for any rational person. It is nice to know the ratio's of bleach necessary for disinfecting water if one fears that water may be contaminated - but this is intended for people who use large water tanks, or to be guide-lines for serious emergency situations. For normal living, modern water purification systems are definitely the methods of choice for eliminating bacteria, viruses, smells, and other undesirable substances.