The idea for this little treatise came to me one day while contemplating what would be the minimum I could take with me on an extended car trip and still feel well-equipped. I'd done a little field-work on this subject a time or two, when visiting friends out of state or on a car-camping trip. Each time I chose something different, usually based on what was in my gun locker at the time, and what the perceived needs were for that trip.
Now, though, I've come up with something I think would work well just about anywhere, in any situation.
The two biggest problems with a travel pack is size and legality. Size is a self-evident limiting factor, because you're going to be adding this to what you would normally be carrying on your trip such as luggage and the like. Legality is equally important, because cops are on the lookout to confiscate any gun they can lay their hands on, and yours would do just fine.
First, of course, we have to understand why we need to carry a travel pack, and that will answer some of the what's we need to carry.
Why is simple. You've done your level best to prepare for whatever might befall you, and have an adequately-stocked larder, plenty of ammo, and a secure house to live in. But now, either for leisure or business reasons, you're going to be away from your main supply base for an extended period of time, and perhaps in another state as well. Any time I plan on traveling more than two hundred miles from home, or plan an extended stay away from my home, I carry my travel pack.
Now to the what. First you have to have a logical assessment of likely scenarios and what might be handy to have in each. Then you have to keep legality in mind. Also, this is strictly for traveling by car; it's a whole other matter when taking any other mode of transport. Personally, given today's repressive regime, I wouldn't want to explain to a cop why I'm carrying an assault rifle and six hundred rounds of 5.56mm, plus enough MRE's to feed a troop of Marines. And when you consider the possibility of strife breaking out at the most awkward of times, I wouldn't want to be on a public form of transport that I had no direct control over, either. More things to ponder for the future.
And, of course, it isn't necessary to carry all that much stuff. Remember, we're only packing this gear for our peace of mind. If a real survival situation looked imminent, you shouldn't be leaving your home or retreat anyway. On the other hand, if you're like me, you get an itchy, naked feeling if you don't have at least the basics with you at all times. That's what being prepared is all about, the mind-set of a true survivalist.
With a better understanding of the potential problems involved, and while you're thinking of what you would carry, I'll let you let in on what my travel pack contains.
First, of course, is weapons. Not that they're the most important part of your kit, or that you'll be needing them all of the time. No, the reason I start off listing weapons is to make you understand what the logical minimum is, legally and tactically.
I carry my Ruger 10/22, with a folding stock from Ramline, 2-7x32 Tasco scope, and six thirty round magazines, plus an assortment of ten rounders. My pistol is a Mountain Eagle from IMI, a .22lr autoloader that feeds from either twenty or fifteen round magazines. I keep one twenty in the weapon, and carry four fifteens for reloads. My knives, a nine-and-a-half inch modified bowie and a Schrade skinner (subjects of another article), round out the weapons load. I carry the large bowie mainly as a brush-clearing tool, and for the utility of a large blade; in what would be my regular post-Apocalypse gear, I plan to carry a large bayonet to cover the role of machete, with a smaller bowie taking over other tasks. All of the firearms are kept locked up in a hard-sided gun case while traveling, and the ammo is stored separately. All of my magazines and folding stocks, for whatever weapon, are pre-ban and perfectly legal. If, on the other hand, you can't get the same set up, or want to remain scrupulously legal, you could forgo the dreaded military look. You could even get a twenty two revolver, or lower capacity autoloader.
Carry what works for you, but realize that a .22 has a lot going for it. They're light, easy to shoot, ammo is cheap, plentiful, and easy to pack, plus you can plink with them when you get to where you're going. Most times, they will serve your needs perfectly well in a survival situation, and for the vast majority of the time that you're just packing them along for peace of mind, they won't break your back.
As in any potential survival problem, carrying the basics with you at all times is imperative for your travel pack. I just toss my mussette bag, stuffed with first aid gear, rations, matches and all the rest into the same bag I'm carrying my gear belt in. Also, add a light ruck and some spare clothes, either in your regular baggage or in your ruck; hard-usage clothes, not business suits. And make sure that you're either wearing or carrying some good hiking boots. Your feet may be your only way out of a bad situation. Don't neglect them.
By gear belt, I mean something to carry your spare magazines, pistol, and knives on. Almost anything will do, so long as it's comfortable. It needn't be a full-blown LBE set-up, and it would be better to stay away from anything too terribly martial. If it can be made to look like a backpacker's hiking belt, so much the better. I realize that a lot of the gear in the photos does look somewhat militaristic, but that's the way I am, and what I have to work with. You can certainly downplay the "crazy survivalist" look by carefully picking your gear with that in mind.
So there you have it, what I consider essential for an extended trip away from home, when I don't wish to call attention to myself. With things being the way they are today, it's wise to carry something similar with you, as well. And remember: keep it hidden! If you need to use it, it will be there, and that provides a great deal of mental well-being.
If you have questions, criticisms, or things to add - email me please.