There are two probable scenarios my bag is intended to help with. One is having my car break down and have to walk somewhere or stay with it. The other is getting stranded unexpectedly while traveling, for example on the day trip where I go to pick up or drop off my son in Austin. What if my truck broke down in some town in between and I had to stay overnight?
That clarifies a lot of stuff. So here is some of what I did, it is in the order I did things, not necessarily the order of importance. I had a list I’d been building in my head and Evernote. I realized when I woke up early I could get it done in just a few minutes if I just did it. I’d say it took 15 minutes tops to get things together and in the bag.
The Bag Itself.
It is a backpack that I used to use to carry my laptop back and forth to work. It is years old, but in great condition. When I bought it the guy who sold it to me at an outdoors store told me you could put a hose up to it and water would bearly trickle through. I don’t carry a laptop anymore, so it was just sitting on the floor of my office. I took out the laptop interior case and had a great back pack. I chose a backpack in case I have to walk somewhere with it.
A Complete Change of Clothes.
First question, what kind of clothes? Many preparedness people are focused on staying warm. Frankly in Houston that is rarely a problem (for instance it is 76 degrees in mid January), and if it is cold I will be wearing a coat, which is all I’ll need.
Which brings up another point I thought about. What will I already be carrying? There are some things I will almost assuredly be carrying, my gun (Springfield XD 45 Compact), my Leatherman Wave, and my flashlight. Also my truck already has a lightweight jacket for handling unexpected rain.
Back to clothes. I grabbed a pair of lightweight cargo pants from my closet. A change of socks and underwear, and a “used up” pair of running shoes. I run in a pair of shoes for about 300 miles, then they aren’t really good to run in, but they are still serviceable for walking and general wear. I had two pair sitting next to the door to be donated. Pulled a pair out and put them in the bottom of the bag with the socks stuffed in one and underwear stuffed in the other.
Then I went looking for a shirt. I was just going to throw in a T-shirt, but opened my running drawer and saw I had a bunch of “technical” running shirts. Which are made to keep you cool and dry in warm weather. So threw one of them in.
Food and Water
Clothes taken care of, my next thought was food and water. I grabbed a couple of South Beach Bars, each 180 balanced calories. They were good enough for my half marathon run, they would be good enough for sitting on the side of the road for a few hours.
I went out to our back up fridge to grab an unopened bottle of water and noticed I had a case of Gatorade G2. Gatorade has all the advantages of water and then some. It is made to help you not get dehydrated, so why carry just water? I ended up adding one of each. I put the water bottle inside and the Gatorade in a mesh bottle pocket on the outside. Didn’t want red Gatorade to leak all over my clothes if something went wrong. I might need water to clean a wound or something.
First Aid Kit
Speaking of wounds, the next thing on my list was a first aid kit. I remembered I had a little one in a red nylon bag. I found it and opened it to see what was in it. Turns out it was mostly a crushable cold pack, and that pack was broken and had leaked into the bag. All the bandages and medicines were discolored. So I ended up tossing everything in the bag and just keeping the bag. I’ll pack it from my home first aid kit when it dries from cleaning.
Ammo and Extra Mag
I also went to my range bag and pulled one of my loaded magazines for my XD. It is the long 13 round mag. I carry a 10 round shortened mag in the XD to make it more concealable. I also don’t carry an extra magazine on me because it’s bother to need ratio is too high for me. But having one in the truck is was botherless.
Even though I will probably be carrying my Leatherman, I wanted to put a knife in the bag. I went an found my old Kenshaw folder I used to carry and put it in.
Now I was adding smaller stuff and started thinking toiletries.
We have a huge stash of hotel supplied toiletries, so I grabbed a bar of soap and asked the Mrs about a toothbrush. She went and found a little kit from a airline gift. It included a toothbrush, toothpaste and comb. Dropped that in a pocket of the backpack. Strangely I didn’t drop one of the bazillion shampoos in there, need to do that.
I’m going to add another flashlight when I buy some more this weekend. I’ll post about my flashlight next week.
Need to have some extra money in the bag as well, but I’m waiting till this weekend to do that.
The single most important thing I did was just do it. Even though it really isn’t finished, it is in my truck and if I get stranded on the side of the road tonight, I’ll be prepared.
On Sunday I ran the 2010 Houston Half Marathon. 13.1 miles in 3 hours 13 minutes.
I am sore today.
My biggest fear was I was going to be cold waiting for the race to start. I walked the .4 miles to the starting line from the hotel and then crowded into the corral with lots of other people. So many people we kept each other warm. Well I was warm from about mid chest down because everyone was so much shorter than me. It was strange.
I didn’t remember to bring a hat or gloves. Borrowed a pair of gloves from the Mrs and it wasn’t that cold.
It was amazing how much expensive gear was just discarded on the road. Gloves, hats, shirts. I saw a woman at mile 1 unzip a wicking jacket and just toss it on the ground.
There were so many spectators and it was great to have people cheering you on. Made the whole race seem shorter, not the distance, but the time. Our names were on our bibs and when someone would yell out your name and encouragement it was awesome. Always made me smile and look at them.
The race was well run. My only complaint was that by the time I got to the first two water stops, there was no Gatorade. So I only had water for the first 5 miles, but that wasn’t a big deal. There was water.
What did I learn for next time?
Bring a hat and gloves, though I got along fine without them.
Could have used more calories. I carried a South Beach bar, and ate half about mile 5 and a quarter around 7. By nine I was hoping for gatorade because I wanted the calories. My wife gave me a donut at mile 11, and some people had passed out orange slices at a couple of places on the route.
I need to lose about 20 lbs. I’ve been on the see-food diet for the last month and gained back about 10 lbs I’d lost. If I lost 20, I think I would have been 30 minutes faster.
Will I do it again? Probably, it was just too much fun. Maybe the full distance, but the Mrs said she’d do the half next year, so I’d run with her if she does.
I’m going to take a few days off and then start training for a triathlon in May.