Go Kit handout from Kim Aufhauser’s talk uploaded

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    I uploaded Kim’s Go Kit handout.





    PS.  After the meeting Saturday, Kim told me “Wow, I was expecting a bunch of geriatric fuddyduds!  This is a great group of hams!”.  And all I could do was smile and agree 🙂


    I love this kind of stuff, I really enjoyed the talk on Saturday.


    I didn’t get to talk to you guys during tonight’s checkin about go-bags so I wanted to drop a post here.

    I know there’s a million forums and sites dedicated to survival and emergency preparedness. But I figured I’d share some things that I have picked up over the last few years. This is my hobby and one of my main interests. So much so that I participate daily on a few survival forums. 🙂


    Here’s a couple of home food/water storage tips:

    1.  If you drink soda, save the 2 liter soda bottles, rinse/wash them well and fill with filtered water and 5-6 drops of non-fragrance bleach (Clorox) then store in a cool place out of the sun. Note: Do not use milk jugs as those are made to decompose quickly in a landfill and will leech chemicals into the water.
    2.  Each time you go to the grocery store, pick up a couple extra of cans of food that you normally eat. It will add up quickly. Store them by expiration date and make sure you are rotating them. Make sure you can eat them cold or just heat them up on a fire.
    3.  Another good option for long term disaster food prep is to get a 5 gallon bucket and lid from Home Depot (about $5 each). Then pick up some 5 or 6 gallon mylar bags and 2,000 cc oxygen absorbers (Amazon is a good place for this). Each 5 gallon bucket and bag will fit about 35 pounds of food. Some good food to store is rice and pinto beans which can be picked up in bulk at Costco for a decent price.Here’s a youtube video of how to seal the mylar bags with a clothes iron and vacuum.
    4. Learn to can!
    5. Keep an extra bottle of multivitamins. If a big earthquake strands you for a long time, you most likely won’t be eating as good as you would hope.
    6. Practice making a solar still or distilling setup for water purification. Everyone has items around the house they can use for this.

    For go-bags:
    I’m not going over the radio stuff as I’m so new to this that I don’t feel I can speak on that front as much as most all of you. 🙂


    As a general rule, unless your in super shape (which I m not), a bag shouldn’t weigh more than 15-20% of your body weight or you will be miserable. If you have any health considerations that will adjust this rule of thumb as well.


    Also, there’s a 5 C’s of survival that every bag should have:
    cover (tarp, mylar blanket, etc)
    combustion (some way to start a fire for warmth or water purification)
    I would say that for this group, there’s a sixth C, communications 🙂


    There’s also another saying that is: You can go 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. So prioritize appropriately.

    I use a tiered approach. I hope it helps give some people some ideas.


    I keep a Bug Out Bag (BoB) and an I’m never coming home (INCH) bag by the door. These are useful for having to get out of the house fast due to a house fire or if the house has been compromised by a large earthquake.
    For my INCH bag I selected a military rolling load out bag.  This is what I picked up on sale for $90 since I’m a fan of camo but any rolling airport style luggage would do. This is also ideal for anyone that has back concerns or simply can’t carry a lot of weight.

    Basically it contains about 4 sets of clothing for all weather types and all of the extra supplies that are ‘nice to have’ and not ‘must have’.


    My Bug Out Bag is more of a big earthquake hit and leveled all the buildings and I’m out on foot making my way to my destination which could take multiple days on foot. It focuses mostly on shelter, water purification and first aid. It’s basically a glorified camping setup. Again it has little food, life boat rations which are compact and do not require cooking.
    For the BoB I use an Eberlestock brand backpack which is very rugged/heavy duty but at a cost of weight.
    I figured I wouldn’t bother posting up the contents of these bags but I’d be happy to if anyone would like to see them.


    Water is one of the most important survival necessities and also one of the heaviest. So having ways to collect and purify water is a must. Remember that 1 gallon of water is 8 pounds so knowing where to collect it and how to purify it is priceless.


    I carry a lot in my pockets every day already:

    • mini-bic lighter wrapped in gorilla tape
    • locking pocket knife
    • Leatherman Squirt P4 multi-tool which I actually use more than I ever thought I would
    • Parachute cord bracelet
    • On my keychain is a AA flashlight and a Coast Guard approved whistle.

    My Get Home Bag (GHB) is my black backpack that most of you have seen me carrying. It weighs about 14-15 pounds.
    It is my ‘oh no there was a huge earthquake and I’m walking home’ bag. It’s not a camping bag so there’s no food that needs to be cooked or anything of that nature. It’s meant to hold me over for 24-48 hours to get home to where my other supplies are if I can’t drive there. It’s also my hiking day pack.

    I made this list for another forum, so I already had it and the pictures handy 🙂
    Here’s what’s in that bag:

    • bungee cords
    • 4Sevens AA^2 flashlight
    • small wallet that contains an extra folder knife, pen, sharpie, medical mask, rain poncho, fresnel magnifier (starting fire, reading, etc), signal mirror, handkerchief, rite in the rain notebook, cash in small denominations, copies of licenses/passport/insurance cards/etc
    • mini first aid kit
    • my HAM radio with extra battery
    • 12 hour glowsticks x2
    • extra pair marino wool socks
    • katadyn mybottle which is a water purifier all in one bottle made to just fill and drink
    • yard/work gloves
    • parachute cord (50 ft)
    • paracord necklace that has the following attached – firestarter striker, bic lighter wrapped in gorilla tape, whistle, compass, mini-maglight, AAA battery, katadyn water purifying tabs, garbage bag
    • lifestraw water purifier
    • small camping flare for signalling
    • AA rechargeable batteries x4
    • 1L platy collapsible bottle
    • 2x cliff energy bars – I have lifeboat rations in my bug out bag but for a 1-2 day trek home, I’d prefer to eat something I really like.
    • silcock key for getting water from office buildings in an emergency
    • Riveted Space Blanket – Mylar heavy duty with rivets. Olive drab on one side, silver on the other
    • map of the greater bay area since I still don’t know all the roads well
    • glasses case with extra glasses in case I’m wearing contacts and dust or whatever is problematic
    • shemagh (extra large middle eastern style scarf)
    • GoalZero portable solar panel with AA charger
    • cell phone charger
    • rain poncho
    • zip ties

    Here’s a pic of all the contents:


    I also keep supplies in my truck which are mostly for highway breakdowns or if I’m ever traveling and get stuck in the truck for whatever reason.

    • An inverter
    • Tire inflation kit (plugs into cigarette lighter)
    • Road Flares – two full size
    • Two sleeping bags (one for me and one for Rags) – US modular military with bivy bag
    • US military poncho liner blanket
    • Fixed blade knife by Mora of Sweden
    • Extra set of clothes
    • Old surplus coat
    • Tool kit
    • Jumper cables
    • Rope and Paracord
    • Tie down straps and bungee cords
    • 5g bucket in back that holds random little stuff
    • CERT backpacks with normal CERTy stuff
    • small Stanley Fubar
    • candles
    • TP in water tight bag
    • extra Bic lighter
    • pens/sharpie and notebooks
    • usb charger that plugs into cigarette lighter
    • extra lightweight poncho
    • Lots of zip ties
    • Duct tape roll
    • yard/utility type gloves
    • siphon tubing (about 10 feet long)

    Last but not least. I have two cats. And I will NOT leave them behind in a disaster. They are my kids and I like them more than most people, present company excluded of course. 🙂
    With my gear by the door is both of the soft-sided cat carriers with a towel inside each. Attached to the carriers is their rabies tag and included in the carrier pocket is a full hard copy of their vet records.
    They have an unused litter pan which also carries their extra food.



    Edited post to add: After seeing Peter’s HAM go-bag, I’m really interested in learning a lot more about HAM stuff to make a good HAM bag. As you can tell, I really like making these kinds of bags. 🙂

    Art, W6VV

    Wool socks are warm, but if they get wet they are yucky.  Also carry cotton socks.


    The relatively new Mag-Lite Solitaire LED flashlight uses a single AAA battery.  I seldom use the Mini Mag-Lite LED two AA battery  flashlight any more.  It does have more features, such as selectable brightness, a flashing feature, and an SOS feature.  In my opinion, LED is the way to go.  Obviously,  size for size, the LED flashlight is much brighter than a flashlight with a conventional bulb.  Also, the odds are that the LED will not burn out, and the battery voltage can get quite low before the light goes out.


    If you’re concerned about particles of whatever getting into your eyes, pack a pair of goggles.


    My personal favorite for emergency supplies is a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.  That will make me forget my problems, hi.


    I actually don’t own any cotton socks, I wear merino wool every day which isn’t the scratchy ‘standard’ wool. The reason I stay away from cotton is that wool will maintain most of it’s warmth when wet and merino wool is so soft and comfy and my feet don’t sweat much at all, even when out hiking. My Danner boots that I wear every day are Goretex so they are waterproof to about 6 inches of water. But I do carry the extra pair of socks just in case my feet get sweaty on a big hike home after an earthquake. I have a small clip so I can clip the wet socks on my pack to air dry if need be.


    Good call on the Maglite. I absolutely love them and they are a great price for what you get. I have three triple-D cell around the house and one in the truck. I’m a flashlight junky I guess you could say. 🙂

    My keychain light that I mentioned is FourSevens. It’s a single AA light with a CREE XP-G2 LED which puts out 107 lumins. It has 4 brightness settings in addition to a low and high beacon, SOS and strobe. The low beacon setting will run for 100 hours on a single AA. It’s about the size of a stick of chapstick so it’s nice and small for every day carry. I also have some small Fenix lights that I really like but the FourSevens is by far my favorite.

    Bob, W6RES

    Wow, Jennie!  Thanks for the great write-up!


    My take-away from Kim’s talk was the difference between being ready to keep your radio running in a bad situation versus keeping yourself running.  Time to get moving on putting together a Bug Out Bag for me, not just the radio…

    Joseph, K9JOE

    I was a maglite fan for years until the advent of cheap, small and very bright LED flashlights. I have a couple that are about 4 inches long with 29 LEDs that easily out shines my 3 and 4 cell maglites, weighs I don;’t know, maybe 5% the weight of a maglite? And the batteries last longer. The only thing the maglite is better for is if you need a club.

    Joseph, K9JOE

    Oops. Maybe I should have read the previous posts more carefully.

    Joseph, K9JOE

    Ok, I’m catching up.

    If you have pets and intend on taking them with you in emergencies or just travel, I suggest carrying pre-made wanted posters. Just in case. Also, the wanted posters and all vet records are conveniently stored on a USB drive. Easy to carry and if you need to print more wanted posters…..

    Art, W6VV

    Jennie, I’ll take your word for your feet not sweating much.


    Yeah, I have a 4 D cell Mag-lite, retrofitted a few years ago with an LED.  I carried that around in the aftermath of the 1989 quake.  It’s a lot more useful as a club than the Solitaire, hi.  In a city environment, it’s also good for breaking the glass to get to a fire extinguisher that is enclosed in a glass covered compartment inside a building.


    Here’s a dirty little secret you might not know.  If you have a battery tray for your HT that uses alkaline batteries, check to see if the tray has a built-in device for stepping up the voltage.  My IC-91A has such a tray.  It steps up the 3 volts from 2 AA batteries to 5 volts.  Never, never, never put all the batteries in such a tray unless you are ready to install it in your radio.  Even if the tray is not installed in the radio, the batteries will draw current and may be useless when you want to use them.


    There’s a saying:  “Cotton kills.”  It’ll keep you cool during the heat of day, but if temperatures cool down rapidly, you’re caught in chilling clothes.  That’s not bad if you’ve the option of changing into something warm and dry, but if you’re traveling light or stuck in the same set of clothes, wicking fabrics like polypropylene or wool are much better.  Synthetics cost less, but they hold onto skin oil and get the funk that sometimes even laundering won’t take out.  Wool is more expensive and keeps fresh longer.  Either one will extend your comfort range by wicking perspiration away when you’re warm, and insulating when it’s cold.


    I’ll look at the LED flashlights that Jennie recommended:  I have some earlier generation lights that need multiple cells and the brightness drops noticeably from fresh batteries toward mid-life.  One headlamp that I do like (even though it’s not voltage/brightness regulated) is Petzl’s Tactikka.  It can be adapted to snap onto a hard hat, and has a diffuser that really spreads light for close in work.  Most headlights aim for a narrower, focused beam that’s fine for running or cycling, but is too concentrated at arm’s length.  The Tactikka lets you change from far to near with a simple slider.  I also have several Petzl Zippkas which are really compact headlights that still use AAA batteries with reasonable life, and the newest Zippka also has the option of white or red light.  White light draws bugs (toward your face) and that’s annoying when you’ve got your hands full.  I’m  probably going to mod mine and replace the red LED with an amber one, so that I can see better:  I’m not so concerned about preserving my night vision.


    As for USB drives:  TacDrive’s form factor is cute, but the connector is exposed even when retracted, and the slider function can get jammed with dirt.  There are scads of rugged thumb drives available, many of them with water-proof covers that are threaded or snapped on.  If you want one that’s secure, look for FIPS 140-2 certification (the standard for storing and transferring sensitive but unclassified data.)  Don’t discount micro SD cards!  They’re incredibly compact, have been known to survive fire, flood, and even digestion, and they can be popped directly into many smart devices or into a USB port with a common adapter.  Even though the contacts on the card are always exposed, the card is so small that it can be easily slipped into a small, gasketed container like a pill vial and be completely water-proof and even float.  At this moment, I see Fry’s has an 8 GB microSD card with SD and USB adapters for $10.  That’s not a secure drive, but it’s fine for storing just about anything that isn’t super sensitive, and many things that are moderately sensitive may still be password protected to keep away from less sophisticated snooping.


    @Art, Haha, yeah maglites are great clubs. The 3-D is the perfect size for me for my around the house or power outage light.

    I have 2 of the factory LED ones and one that I retrofitted which is at least 15 years old. I will say that in comparison the retrofitted one is significantly less bright than the factory LED maglite. Either way, they are so reliable that they are hard to beat for a big light. I found some on Amazon new for $18 each so I picked up a couple not long ago.


    @Peter, if you go with FourSevens make sure you select the gen2 (XP-G2) which is 20% brighter than the gen1 LEDs. The specs on their site is for the gen1 but it has a note that the gen2 is 20% brighter. I have both a gen1 and gen2 and you can see the difference. Also, Amazon sells them much cheaper than from FourSevens directly. Fenix is a bit cheaper and great handheld lights too, I just personally prefer the 4Sevens. The larger FourSevens lights like the dual AA light has all the same settings but you can only program two at a time and then twist the head to change between them since it’s a push button light. The small Mini MA that we showed you on our keychains is a twist and you cycle through all the settings without having to program it, so it’s really convenient for an EDC light.


    Also, if anyone is looking for merino wool socks, Costco has a great deal 4 pack of 80% (or 70%, I don’t recall exactly) merino wool socks for $14. Which is a fantastic price. I’ve got a pair of SmartWool brand from REI (it was almost $20 for 1 pair) and they are soft but my feet sweat in those a lot for some reason. Since I wear boots everyday, not sweating is a big deal to me. 🙂

    Not long ago I picked up enough of the Costco socks to replace all of mine. Rags did as well. Since he’s in a large and I wear the medium, separating laundry is not fun.


    Mike, KJ6VCP

    I like the Petzl headlamps These lights are for general illumination at night, like walking, instead of the concentrated work lights that you find in most hardware stores.  Run for ages on AAA batteries, small, and lightweight.


    For rechargeable NiMH batteries, most of what’s sold in retail stores are junk – they discharge themselves in no-time flat.  I have discovered Sanyo Eneloop batteries, which are rechargeable batteries that actually maintain a charge.  You can charge them, and store them, and they will stay charged, ready to go.  Sanyo claim 75% of charge after 3 years.  All I know is they more or less have a full charge after 6 months laying around, and are worth the extra cost. 4 x AA’s run about $12.


    Sanyo sell a wall wart charger that works well (I carry one in my camera bag,) but it’s worth getting a good quality charger as well.  The LaCrosse chargers are nice – something like the BC1000 works well. These run off 3V DC in, and come with a wall-wart power supply, but there are other flavors with less bells and whistles that run on 12V input and come with a car adapter.



    Enloops are the best!

    They also sell them at Costco for a good price. (I love costco if you havn’t noticed)
    For those just now buying them, be wary of online sales because the gen 3 Enloops are much improved over the Gen 1.


    So if you purchase online make sure you’re getting ‘generation 3 enloops’. Supposedly the gen 1 enloops hold 75% of their charge after 1 year vs the gen 3 hold 90% after a year.

    Art, W6VV

    Peter, if  “cotton kills,” are we going to need background checks to buy cotton socks?


    Jennie, did you use a Mag-lite retrofit kit?  I used those for all my retrofitting, but I don’t have any D cell flashlights from Mag-lite that came from the factory as LED flashlights.  Thus, I can’t compare a Mag-lite with a factory retrofit kit to a Mag-lite that was manufactured as an LED flashlight.

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