Saturday, March 16, 2013

Road Trip Gear - Home on the Range Style

Travel is part of my life, for work, to visit family, none of whom live anywhere close any more. An average commute to work for me is 150 miles plus, across a very windblown cold landscape this time of year.  As you can from the photo above,  with 11 degrees ambient and a 40 mph wind that day, Bossie here was spotted, frozen solid.

But that's an easy commute, I've been called away, where getting to work was thousands of miles away, and I had 40 minutes to get out the door and gone, wondering if not only did I have the right passport, but the right shots.

So, I have to travel pretty light when I go, on short notice sometimes, so there are always a few things in the airline suitcase or the bug out bag that goes in the truck.  I use one specific suitcase, computer bag or purse if carrying any type of weapon, firearm accessory or ammo, even just picking up a box of ammo at the store. No exceptions. They are very casual in style, and khaki or tan.  For travel by air, I have two suitcases of varying sizes, a computer bag and a purse, all stealth black with a shiny airplane shaped tag affixed to them.  That way there is no doubt which ones are 100%  TSA checkpoint "meet the nice police officer" free.  

Food on the road  is another matter. Airport prepackaged food is generally carbon dated for freshness and most hotel food is horribly expensive, when all I need is a little snack.  Plus, I can't just run to my favorite burger joint in the middle of a shift (yes, that's a pretzel roll)

So I make sure I have not only tools to protect, but also tools to keep me comfortable and running at good efficiency when I can't get a regular meal.

So today, a few select things from my handy "ground only bag,". It's not everything, it's just a couple of things you may not have tried.

Let's see.

Knife  - "check".

Skin salve- "check"

Train Whistle?  - well you know the liberals recommend that women carry a whistle instead of a gun in case some rapist tries to forcibly jump their caboose?

I'll take my concealed carry piece, thank you.  The whistle is simply a reminder of a fun day with a friend.

The square that looks like a microwave burrito?

You heat them up for a minute or three in the microwave (depending on size) and they'll mold to that sore neck or  knee or whatever and keep deep moist heat on it for a long time, no fuss, no chemicals and cheap. Don't buy one, they are simple to make! Get some sturdy natural fabric (synthetics could release toxic fumes as they are nuked)and sew it up into the shape you want (this one is perfect for my neck), leaving an inch or two open on one side to fill. (Don't fill it completely full, you want it to mold to your body).

 Fill full of dry white rice and stitch shut. If you want a fragrant bag, add  a few pinches of one or more of the following - lavender, ground cloves, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, crushed mint to the rice and put in a sealed container or a few days, stirring occasionally, then fill.  If if  the bag needs a freshening after a while (cover is soiled or it smells like cooked rice even when it's cool) simply take out a few stitches, empty, hand wash and dry, and refill and restitch.

Outdoors you could heat it up in an empty dutch over for a bit. I think you could probably wrap it in foil well and just stick it in the coals, but if you've been lifting or bending all day, you will appreciate it at night.

Another item always handy in the bug out kit and the squirrel bag, O'Keeffe's Life Out There,  a thick mixture of glycerin and water (no oil) that protects skin from deep cold and hard wind when I'm out in the elements for long stretches. It's the one non scented that has  kept me from getting blisters on my hands during particularly hard work in the cold or the elements. Highly concentrated, just scrape off a tiny piece with a thumbnail, soften between your fingers and rub on hands, face, whatever mother nature is after. 

And of course, an Advocare Raw Bar.  Having to eat on the run, or miss meals, I've tried about every kind of protein and "healthy" bar  out there. Most are dry and chalky, and have white sugar or fake ingredients that sound like a lab experiment.  These are great, tasting a bit  like Fig Newton filling with a little depth from the nuts. Most healthy bars I'll eat if I have no choice, this one I'll munch on any day, with just nuts and fruit and natural fat and fiber.  If you're doing the Paleo diet, if you just want something healthy, try it.  If you'd like to try, contact blogger  Tin Can Assassin (click on the Advocare link on his upper right sidebar for his family's Advocare site).  I use a lot of Advocare's products, they're really top rate.

That's it folks, just a few things that go in the bag when I hit the road.

And watch when you're driving.  If you hit frozen range cattle, it's gonna hurt. 


  1. At naptime, lay the rice-filled bag across your eyes... instant sleepytime!

  2. I've been making & using rice bags here for years. They work well (better than peas) as cold packs, too. Just throw them in the freezer.
    Have a good weekend!

  3. Love the rice pack idea. Excellent.

    I had to smile when I read your bag list, though. We travel constantly, too, but my bag is packed a bit differently. I have either very, very casual stuff, or very, very formal stuff. I don't own anything between after all these years. ;)

  4. In my "tourist" bag, I have some things that are not really a Get Home Bag, but nice to have. A square quart USGI canteen is the heaviest thing, with the G21 spare mag being the next. There is powdered Gatoraid, electrical tape, and a Honey and Oats Granola bar in there as well. Some of the outside pockets of the Maxpideiton Jumbo are filled with BB car charger and headphones, a cheap folding knife, forehead light Ipod data cables, and the famous "CIA Letter opener". Being an EMT^ there is QuickClot, 4x4s, bandaids and Neosporin, along with bug spray and SPF 30 sun BLOCK. (Not screen... block. Between red hair and medication, I shouldn't be anywhere near sunlight)

    I don't do air travel as much as you, but when I travel by ground more than 30 miles from home, my AR goes with me.

  5. Thank you, Brigid. From the bottom of my heart.

  6. Woot!

    I'm traveling to where it's warm, and leaving the chapped and cracked hands behind!

  7. Reminds me of the mid-60's when the "snake-eaters" in Vietnam would fill a pair of socks with rice. By the time you finished eating the rice,and whatever you could find to go with it, you would need the new socks.

  8. TinCan - you're welcome. Loving the new bars, and ordering some of the dairy free shakes (dairy and I just not getting along lately).

    Myself and my low blood sugar thanks you.

  9. Hi Brigid:

    Seeing how this is Lent I think you should publish some fish recipes.

    Turtle is a kind of fish...isn't it?



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