The elusive seven pound backpack. Continuing to prioritize our pack’s weight allotment for water and food will be this week’s subject, moving again from zero added weight up to a maximum in order to stay around our total ideal weight (realistically, more like ten pounds).
Water may technically add zero to our pack’s overall weight. At the zero end of the spectrum, the Army individual canteen system (plastic canteen nested inside an aluminum cup and canteen cup stove) is worn on your pistol belt. Inside the velcro secured outside pocket of the canteen cover, will be a tiny bottle of Potable Aqua water purification tablets that will treat 25 quarts of water. Keeping to Elmer Keith’s sage advice as to how many pieces of essential kit to have on hand (“A pair, and a spare.”); a LifeStraw water purification filter in the drop pouch on your pistol belt; and the addition in weight of five ounces to your pack in the form of a Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System could keep you in safe drinking water for a trek measuring months. Finally, unless you’re one of the three Americans who’ve successfully weaned themselves from caffeine, you’d be well advised to avoid unneeded misery by packing along a Ziploc full of 15 instant coffee packets (about an ounce of additional pack weight for two weeks’ worth of priceless morning coffee).
Given the average human can go three weeks without food before starvation (my fat stores would probably carry me comfortably past that mark), we could again add zero to our pack weight by simply carrying a couple handfuls in our pant cargo pockets of what the Brits refer to as “boiled sweets.” A.K.A. hard candies (or, “Lickies and Chewies” as Army Ranger School instructors once referred to them), they are meant to be held onto as a treat for yourself around what would have been mealtimes. The little shots of sugar provide comfort, energy, and an easing of hunger pains.
A step up from the Bataan Death March meal plan is another old scout trick. Everyone is by now familiar with the modern-day military Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). However, MRE bags are far too bulky when it comes to carrying in our pack. Field-savvy scouts will go through a case of MREs and “field strip” them. That is, they will open each bulky MRE bag; pull out the main course packet; and 100 MPH tape together one main course pouch per each planned day in the field. A far cheaper alternative to MRE main courses are pouches of flavored tuna or chicken available in big box stores which just as easily tape together for your one carried meal per day. Open all such food pouches down the side, and don’t forget a long handled MRE or equivalent spoon.
Again. Food is the least of our Survival Rules of Three priorities. Pack accordingly. You won’t starve and weight loss could do us all some good.
Next Week: Hygiene
Shane Morris is a retired soldier and teacher. Contact at email@example.com (Subject: “NtC”)
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