I don't normally push the sites or blogs of others, but for this one I will. The Tactical Response Guru has made a recent video set on youtube that goes over his kit, his ideas and his use of the kit, with a complete after action report. I will say that the entire thing was fairly well done. JamesYeager Channel
He went out for 24 hours and documented how bad life sucked when you make poor choices, he also allowed others to guide his bad choices by listening to the comments on his Youtube channel. As with any digital media, the internet ninjas came out in full force and spewed pathfinder school doctrine as well as the ideas of "experts" from the blog world. I'm sure a million people told him he'd die if he didn't take a metal water container.
There are a bunch of people out there who think he's an asshole. You're right, he is. That's part of his appeal in the mindset. He is Mr. Anti Establishment and is proud to be politically incorrect. Some of his training is spot on, some I disagree with. I guess that's why he has me blocked on Facebook! So do many other anti 2A groups, but he's the first Pro 2A blocking so I must be doing something right. If people can't debate you, they block you! All that aside, I personally know people who have taken his classes and raved about how much fun they were, how hard it was and how much they learned. That's a good sign, maybe I'll go and take a class with him sometime, maybe not.
In his first video, he has a very small, adequate pack for summertime ops in a small area of operation (AO). The pack I use is a bit smaller than the one he's showing, but is a side slung type with a hidden gun compartment. Inside his pack is a mess of stuff he plans to test and make due with. None of it looks well thought out, nor does it seem to make a complete system for a person trying to cover a limited area with a minimum number of items. Some of the stuff is for testing alone, but there is a ton of it and not much of it was tested after the terrain, poor pack choice, and a poor choice of footwear kicked his butt.
Go watch for yourself and you'll see some questionable choices and some sage advice for planning. I guess that's why it bothered me so much. He's a sharp guy, he knows better than to go out with untested gear and expect optimal results. The look on his face after one of his stops says it all. The "This Sucks" is written on his forhead! He admitted to choosing the wrong pack, it wasn't a cohesive system and that was it's biggest flaw.
As far as his chosen items go, he talked about not setting up a camp in a true emergency, but he chose to this time to test gear, I get that. That choice really screwed up his system because he had to carry items he wouldn't normally use in an emergency travel situation. The test was skewed from the get go. In an appropriate situation, I'm sure James would have a proper kit for the job, but in this "Test" case, in was a total cluster.It was successful because of his determination and grit, but it sucked much worse than it needed to.
Now, I'm not nearly the expert he is, but I'd have done the entire process in a totally different manner. First off, an A to B travel in an emergency situation isn't going to be stealthy because of the fall leaves. You're not going to be able to operate with impunity and have control over an area unless you have a large number of people in your group, which would preclude any need for an Emergency Evac. Since you can't be stealthy, you better look as innocuous as possible. Carrying a chest rig and an AK makes you a threat, and without rule of law, a threat is to be eliminated.
What does that mean? It means that commercial backpacking gear, or even a simple backpack is both simple and useful. It makes you look less tactical, less of a threat. Most commercial gear is lighter and more practical to begin with, so why not enjoy it?
My choice of gear for a short travel situation is pretty simple. I carry a kit in my vehicle for this very purpose. It's very small so it will fit underneath my seats. It's primary purpose is a med kit, so the med kit inside is pretty extensive. The secondary function is as a travel bag. I can choose to utilize it with a slung Remmy 870 that's also a regular part of the vehicle load. The equipment list is:
Optics planet OPMOD sling pack in OD Green
ITS Tactical universal velcro holster
Glock 26 with Clip draw and Saf-T-Block installed
2 spare mags
2-20oz water bottles
4 Cliff bars
Medical shears (I replaced the black and red set with OD set)
Small pocket knife
Beofeng 5u radio with 14" upright and earpiece
tourniquet in holder outside the bag
notepad and pen
flashlight, spare bulb and batteries
If I were planning to sleep on the way, as in a multi day excursion, I would have to use a larger pack for sleeping gear. 50 liters or better.
As far as layered clothes, I'd wear my normal layers for comfort. For shoes it would be either my Brooks Cascadia 8's or Merrill hiking shoes. Darn tough socks, Blackhawk Tactical pants, Uncle mikes belt, synthetic t shirt, synthetic fleece base layer, carhart quick ducks shell, fleece UA watch cap. If it's going to be butt freezing cold, add in an Under Armour cold gear base layer.
This spring I did a 10 mile overnight camping trip much like James did, with a majority of the trip on the first day. For that trip, I took a 3 day pack with familiar backpacking gear. The gear list was increased slightly due to being responsible for 10 youngsters under 15 going on the trip as well. The trip was all rugged trail hiking with around a thousand feet in elevation change. We bushwacked to a secluded camping spot and set up tents and hammocks for the night. My packing list:
NC star cheapo 3 day assault pack
Camelback 2 quart bladder
Stainless 2 cup bowl
Ti long spoon
Esbit folding stove with tabs
used water bottle- 1 liter from Brisk tea.
Katadyn hiker pro filter with a hydrolink connection for my bladder
2 mountain house meals
2 cliff bars
Compass and Topo map
Dri Ducks rain gear
Grand Trunk ultralight Hammock
Cordage for the tarp
lightweight stakes for tarp
Hard shell for sunglasses
Phone and solar charger
surplus patrol bag
First aid kit
The difference between a rough night and a comfy one is about 10 lbs, so choose wisely. If you're really in a bad situation, getting to your secondary location is the foremost item on the list, so pack light and get moving. Sleep and eats are optional. Nut up and move those shoes!
I think James did a good job talking about the experiment, his advice was solid and the commentary covered what is required. It all went to hell when he packed his bag and left. A successful experiment is one you learn from, so mission accomplished there.The fact that he is trying to inform people and teach some skills to those without is a wonderful thing. Most people choose to implore people, others inform and educate. James is out there doing it, making videos documenting his experiences and techniques. He's done way more than I have to inform the public, so who am I to judge? Hopefully he takes this as constructive criticism, and not bashing, but who knows. The man who charges ahead leaves his back open to the daggers of those that follow. It's easy for people to find fault in those who are leading the charge, especially from that person's couch.
The one thing I know he's dead wrong about is that he traded in a Yamaha for a KawardSaki. That's farm animal stupid if you ask me! Good lookin bike though, hopefully it works out for him. Ever been to Deals Gap?
I bleed Blue!