Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The GOODI bag is just another name for the 72 hour bag, otherwise known as the BOB. BOB stands for Bug Out Bag and GOODI stands for Get Out Of Dodge Immediately. What you call your ready bag really doesn't matter. The name doesn't change its purpose or function.The reason we use the term GOODI is it allows us to say, "Don't forget your GOODI bag!" in front of anybody and they will interpret it as goody/treat bag.

So what is a 72 hour bag? A 72 hour bag is designed to keep you going for 72 hours with no outside help or resupply. It might be good for more than 72 hours, but 72 hours is the minimum.

But what goes into the bag? We refer to the Rule of Threes in order to determine what exactly should go into our bag.


This rule says that we need to make first aid our primary consideration. For our ready bags we use a simple first aid kit called the the Nick Fixer. It handles most of the problems we would normally foresee in an emergency situation plus it handles those everyday things that happen. These kits are not "for emergency use only" but should instead be used on a regular basis. Things you use every day are more likely to be with you, and hence you are more likely to have your bag with you.

Make sure you refill your first aid kit if you use things from it. This is one of the reasons we choose to use the Nick Fixer. The people behind it sell everything that is in the first aid kit as refills or add on modules.

We augment our first aid kit with SAM Splints, sting sticks, epi-pens and other first aid gear that we've gathered over the years. Yet all of this is small enough to fit into a Utility/Canteen Pouch. You might want to add things like breathing masks for giving mouth to mouth without contaminating yourself, and your own prescription medications.

For those that don't know, an Epi-Pen is an auto-injector of epinephrine. This drug will reduce swelling (anaphylaxis, generally swelling of the throat and airway) and get people breathing again if they have a severe allergic reaction to things such as bee stings or eating shellfish. They are available by prescription only, but most family doctors are willing to prescribe them if you explain that they are for the family emergency first aid kit because your cousin, niece, aunt has allergic reactions to things like bee stings.


These are some of the things that should be in your ready bag.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Splints
  • CPR equimpent
  • Burn treatment
  • medications
  • mole skin
  • anti-itch creams and treatments


Now that we are breathing, no longer bleeding, and sprains and broken bones have been dealt with, it is time to get out of the elements as soon as possible.

There are a multitude of different weather conditions that require shelter. A rain storm on a cold day can kill you from heat loss, and if it doesn't you'll still be wet and unhappy. A blistery cold day will suck energy and life from you while a hot day will bake you. A mild spring day with a clear sky can cook your skin (sun burn).

What is acceptable in the day might not be survivable at night. One of the things that kills people in the desert is the extreme cold of night. There can be a 50°F or more drop in temperature between daytime and nighttime.

Rain, Wind and Snow

Getting out of the rain and wind is the first step in getting shelter, and one of the best ways of accomplishing this is with a good, high quality, rugged poncho. The poncho takes a lot of grief because it is ugly and doesn't seem like it should work as well as a rain suit or other rain gear. The truth is that a poncho will out-perform rain gear in many ways.

For the woman that needs to get into more appropriate clothing, tossing a poncho on and then changing under it gives not only shelter but privacy. The same goes for a man that needs to change out of work slacks and into jeans because it is snowing out.

I once worked in an office with very casual attire. Even during the coldest months of the winter some of the men came in wearing shorts. Why? Because they kept the office at around 72°. It isn't only the ladies wearing clothing that isn't appropriate for survival.

A poncho is MUCH faster to put on and doesn't require you to stand or move around to get it on. There are no pants to deal with. With snaps down the edges it will seal very well and if you hunker down it will trap heat.

The poncho sheds water, wind, and snow very well and should be an integral part of your bag. In addition to its use as outer wear, a poncho can be used to construct a lean-to, a tent, a simple roof, a sleeping roll, a ground cloth, and much more.

One other quick shelter that many forget is your car. Your car, for the most part, is rain, wind and snow proof. It might not feel like it but even in the cold it keeps heat inside the cabin. Don't walk away from such great shelter if you have it and can use it.

Digression into the science of why getting wet makes you cold(er)

Warning! Science ahead! This section is a discussion of the math of why getting out of the rain and out of wet clothing is so important. It also tells you that putting snow in your mouth to make water to drink is a bad idea.

Why is getting out of the rain and getting dry so important? The answer is "phase change". A phase change happens when a material changes state from gas to liquid to solid. The amount of heat required to change state is much more than than the amount of heat required to just change the temperature of something.

Consider that glass of ice water you have at hand. If there is ice in it, the water it is 32°F provided there is solid ice. You might have to stir it a little to get all the slightly warmer pockets of water to the same temperature but the water will be at 32°. This is the temperature at which pure water changes state from liquid to solid or from solid to liquid. You have to provide heat or take away heat in order to accomplish this change.

Heat is measured in Calories. The calories in your food and drink are measured in KiloCalories or 1000 Calories. It takes 1 Calorie of heat to raise 1g of matter 1°C. Since a liter is 1000 grams it would take 1 KCal to raise the temperature 1°C.

To take a liter of water from freezing (0°C) and raise itto boiling (100°C at sea level) would require 100 KCals. To take 1 liter worth of water from -1°C to 2°C takes a bit more because of the the phase change. It takes 80cal to convert 1g of water from a solid (ice) to a liquid (water). This means it would take 82Kcal to change a liter of ice into a liter of water.

Thus, using your own body heat to melt snow is going to take 80 food calories per liter of water converted. Emergency rations are generally in the 800 Kcal per day range.

As scary as that number might be, there is another number of interest: the amount of heat it takes to convert water into steam. To convert 1g of water to 1g of steam requires 540cal. To convert 1 liter of water would take 540Kcal or just about your entire day's Kcal allowance when on emergency rations.

You might be thinking, "But I don't boil water with my body," and you are right, you don't. Something else happens. Water on your body is first heated to around 54°C then as the wind or dry air moves past the liquid water it evaporates. Evaporation is a phase change, similar to boiling, though it happens at a much lower temperature.

When you are wet, some water is always evaporating and the process is cooling your body. As your hair gets soaked you can see it "steam" on a cold day and that is cooling you. This process is the reason why putting a damp cloth on the back of your neck works to cool you on a hot summer's day.

Get out of the rain as soon as you can. It can mean the difference between life and death.

Heat Retention

Once you are out of direct elements it is time to work on staying warm. A space blanket and a space bag are two low cost useful items for your bag. You can get them cheap or you can get good quality. A cheap space blanket can be had for as little as a dollar and the good ones for a bit more than five dollars.

A space blanket/bag is a Mylar sheet that is reflective in the infrared spectrum. What this means is it reflects heat back in (or out) if needed.

To explain why this works and why it is important you should know that heat is transferred in three different ways: convection, conduction and radiation.

Convection is heat transferring to a moving liquid or gas which then carries the heat away. In other words, a cool breeze on a summer's night is convection. Conduction is the transfer of heat via contact with something colder. Place an ice cube on the back of your neck and it transfers heat from your body to the ice. Radiation is the heat that leaves as radiant energy. The warmth you feel when you hold your hand over an electric burner is radiant heat.

A space blanket is designed to deal with radiant heat transfer. It blocks radiant heat from going through and reflects it back. Because it is a plastic sheet it also stops most convection heat loss as well. It provides some insulation from conductive heat loss but not as much as a good woolen blanket.

Due to the space blanket being thin coated plastic -- between 2 and 5 mils (0.002 and 0.005 inches -- it folds into a space just a little larger than a travel tissue package. They weigh very little so they are something that you can have with you all the time.

Your clothing is the next step in staying warm or cool. Though many people don't realize it, clothing can help keep you cool by providing circulation of air for convection cooling and evaporative cooling.

The first important thing about having clothing in your bag is that it allows you to get out of wet clothing and into dry clothing. Some fabrics do a better job of holding in heat when wet than others. Wool retains most of its insulating properties even when wet. Cotton does not. Silk is amazing for insulation purposes as well.

The second thing extra clothing in your bag allows to happen is it lets you start layering. Layering is the process of creating pockets of air to hold heat. The more layers, the warmer you will be. It isn't just about bulk; it is about the air spaces between layers.

A few years ago they found the body of a mountain climber from the late 1800s on the side of one of the better known mountains. The amazing thing was what he was wearing. He really did look like he was dressed in a suit and not a parka. He was wearing multiple layers of wool clothing and while he died on that mountain he did not die of exposure.

To test this, a couple of modern climbers tried the same climb in the same type of gear as this 1800s climber. They found that it was keeping them just as warm as modern gear but at the cost of extra weight and less mobility.

Layers WORK for heat retention.

Sleeping Bags and Systems

One of the best things to keep you warm and safe in an emergency is a good sleeping bag. The bag my parents bought me before I headed out to collage is still a part of my gear. I remember that they paid around $180 back in the '80s. It was light-weight yet good to 20°F.

Today you can buy a bag just as good for $30-$50 at your local WalMart or Target store. It is lighter, stuffs down smaller and is easier to clean and care for. Getting a real sleeping bag is likely to make your ready bag that much more useful for you.

The be-all and end-all of sleeping bags is the modern sleeping system.

A sleeping system is a combination of a bivy sack and two sleeping bags. These bags and the sack are designed to fit one inside the other, providing the user with multiple options as to what degree of protection from the elements they actually need.

In the simplest form a person might just use the bivy sack with a light blanket (poncho liner) inside. The bivy sack is designed as a water proof shelter for one. When inside, the sack zips up about 80% along the side, just like a sleeping bag. The top then continues up and over the head where a hook and loop fastener (Velcro) holds the top to the bottom.

Once inside it can rain cats and dogs and you'll be dry and snug inside.

On a recent camping trip my son took my sleep system to use. The tent he was sleeping in wasn't very good at keeping water out. But the bathtub floor was very good at keeping the water IN once it got inside.

My son slept in the bivy sack inside the sleeping bags. In the morning he climbed out dry and happy until he had to put his feet out to find a good inch of standing water! When the gear got home we wiped it down and that was all that was needed.

As the temperature drops you start adding sleeping bags to the bivy sack.

  1. Bevy sack alone
  2. medium bag alone
  3. medium bag in bevy
  4. heavy bag in bevy
  5. medium in heavy in bevy

This system is designed to cover everything from a rain storm in the tropics at 80+ °F to -30°F in the frozen tundra. When it gets to about 0°F you do need to have appropriate sleep wear (long johns)

Standing Shelter

While all the above is great for keeping you going, a tent will do so much for your spirit that it should not be forgotten. While it is nice to be able to snuggle into your bivy warm and dry, it does not give you the same creature comfort of crawling into a nice tent.

This is part of "hope" section of the Rule of Threes. While a one man tent or bivy sack will keep you warm and safe there is something delightful to be said about snuggling up with your spouse or child in a tent.

Even if you don't carry a tent, a cheap tarp and some cordage can be used to create a tent-like structure. Even a bit of paracord and some work can create a sheltered space out of things you find in the woods or urban environment.

After tent-like shelters, consider a shovel and ax to allow you to create your own building. While not something you are likely to do on a 72 hour march, it never hurts to know how to build your own home with simple hand tools.

Please see GOODI Bag part 2 for the next part. We will be finishing the section on shelter by talking a little bit about fire.

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