Chapter 9: The SAR “Ready Pack” and Personal Equipment
o Ground protection (p. 132)
o Sleeping bags (p. 132-134)
o Shelters (p. 134-135)
o Water containers and systems (p. 136-137)
o Boots (p. 137-138)
o Walking/tracking sticks (p. 138)
o Flashlights/headlights (p. 138)
o Knives (p. 139)
PowerPoint slides, Chapter 9
Photos of various types of packs, ground pads, sleeping bags, shelters, water containers, boots, walking sticks, flashlights, and knives
II. Teaching Points
A. Adequate pack (p. 128)
B. Personal body management and protective equipment (p. 131)
C. Sleeping systems (p. 132)
1. Ground protection
a. A pad placed between your body and the ground
b. Can insulate you from the ground
c. Provides a more comfortable sleeping surface
d. Should be lightweight, soft, compact, waterproof, and efficient insulators
e. Traditional air mattresses are relatively heavy, not durable, and least efficient.
f. Urethane foam is soft and provides good insulation when dry. Its open cell structure is lighter than an air mattress but is bulky.
g. Urethane foam will absorb water, so a waterproof cover will be necessary.
h. Ensolite or polyethylene is a closed-cell structure that does not provide much padding, but does not absorb water and is more compact and lighter than foam.
i. A nylon cloth placed under your sleeping bag or tent provides an additional barrier and will help keep your tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag dry and clean.
2. Sleeping bag
i. Full consideration must be given to the intended usage, ask the following questions:
i. What type of camping will the bag be used for?
ii. During what seasons will the bag be used?
iii. What are the general warmth characteristics of the individuals who will use the bag?
ii. Insulating material¾Down
i. The insulating material affects cost, warmth, weight, and construction method.
ii. Down is the fine insulating, fluffy feathers found under stiffer feathers of ducks and geese.
iii. Popular because it is lightweight and compressible
iv. Soft, nontoxic, breathable, and resilient
v. Expensive and loses its insulation when wet
vi. Requires special care in use and cleaning
iii. Insulating material¾Polyester
i. Synthetic fibers used in less-expensive sleeping bags
ii. Has less loft, is heavier and more bulky than down
iii. Water resistant
iv. Retains insulative properties when wet
Examples: PolarGuardÔ, PrimaloftÒ,
i. Sleeping bags are compared generally by their quality of construction, loft, and effective temperature range.
ii. Quality of construction is determined by the reputation of the manufacturer.
iii. Loft is generally used to specify the total thickness of a sleeping bag after it has had time to fluff up to its full thickness.
v. Shapes and sizes
i. The rectangular bag is the roomiest and most comfortable.
(a) The least expensive construction
(b) Heavy and creates superfluous air space to heat
ii. The mummy bag is contoured to the body shape.
(a) The lightest, warmest, and most efficient design
(b) Allows very little room for moving around inside
(c) Has a hooded closure and enlarged foot area for comfort
iii. The wedge shape is actually a tapered rectangle, with or without a hood.
iv. The modified mummy is barrel-shaped and is widest at the midsection.
i. Small tubes or “baffles”
ii. Provides complete and uniform loft and insulation coverage to prevent thin or cold spots
iii. Quilted is the least expensive since it is the lowest quality.
(a) The outer layers of fabric are sewn together to create the baffles resulting in cold spots along the seams.
iv. The box or box baffle or square box construction is another fairly common type of construction.
(a) Additional material is sewn between the outer layers to create walls so the insulative material is effectively boxed.
(b) Inhibits cold spots along the seams
(c) Adds weight and bulk
v. Shingle construction is the most common design in three- to four-season sleeping bags.
(a) Has a slanted design with overlapping layers of insulation
(b) Ensures no dead spots or areas with no insulation
(c) A bit heavier and bulkier than recreational bags
(d) Does provide essential protection
vii. Care of sleeping bags
(a) Clean bag when it gets dirty.
(b) Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
(c) Do not wash sleeping bags in standard washing machines with central agitators.
(d) Do not use detergents.
(e) Do not roughly handle a water-soaked bag.
(f) Generally, sleeping bags should be stored unstuffed.
viii. Ways to sleep warmer inside a sleeping bag
i. Sleep inside a shelter or tent (10°F warmer).
ii. Improvise a windbreak if no tent is available.
iii. Do not set up a camp in a ravine or valley bottom.
iv. Sleep in one layer of dry clothing.
v. Protect head, neck, and shoulders, and wear a wool stocking hat.
vi. Huddle with others.
vii. Put on socks or booties.
viii. Improve ground insulation.
ix. Keep your sleeping bag dry.
x. Use a vapor barrier in extreme cold.
D. Shelters (p. 134)
1. Tarps are lightweight and versatile.
2. Coated nylon with a number of ties allows a variety of ways to rig a shelter.
3. Plastic tarps are inexpensive but less durable. Their biggest disadvantage is their lack of complete insect protection.
4. Tents are heavier than tarps and are relatively expensive, but provide maximum security.
5. Features to consider when selecting a tent:
a. Tent warmth is a function of size, fabric, and design.
b. A smaller tent will be warmer than a larger one.
c. A double-walled tent will be warmer because of the air enclosed between the walls.
d. Water repellency is provided either with a waterproof fabric or a rain fly.
g. Insect protection
h. Breathability, wear resistance, weight, and wind resistance
i. Pole design¾Smaller tents are designed to use a pack frame or tree for support. Others use a single pole in the center or at the ends.
E. Food and water (p. 135)
1. Most novices bring two to three times more food than they will need.
2. One-pot meals are a quick and easy method of preparing a well-balanced dinner meal.
3. One-pot meals should consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and seasoning/sauce.
4. Carbohydrates and fats are important for quick and lasting energy.
5. Mess kit and utensils
i. Bowl, cup, and spoon
ii. Meals are eaten one course at a time, so the same bowl may be used for an entire meal.
iii. Plastic bowls and cups will hold heat longer than metal.
iv. Metal cups and bowls are easier to clean.
v. Aluminum pots that stack inside each other make good use of space.
vi. Pack all cooking utensils in a cloth bag to prevent soot from rubbing off.
F. Stoves (p. 136)
1. Always carry recommended tools and repair kit for your stove. Preventative maintenance and use of the proper fuels will help reduce camp stove frustrations.
2. Types of stoves
a. Chemical Fire (Sterno, Heat Tabs, Canned Heat)
i. Restricted heat output
ii. Heavy in relation to the amount of heat output
iii. Adequate for heating a cup, but not for heating a full meal
b. Alcohol stoves
i. Simple to operate
iii. Easy to start
iv. Have relatively low heat output
v. Fuel may be hard to purchase.
c. White gasoline
i. Widely used and generally available
ii. Extremely volatile (Class I flammable liquid)
iii. Especially dangerous when fumes are allowed to collect in an enclosed space
d. Coleman® fuel or similar fuels
i. Can be used in stoves that burn white gasoline
ii. Less volatile
iii. Tends to burn cleaner
iv. Less stove clogging
v. More widely available than white gasoline
i. Much less volatile than other liquid fuels
ii. Requires separate priming fuel (usually alcohol)
iii. Distinctive and bothersome odor
iv. Burns with dirty, sooty residue
v. In extreme cold, precaution must be taken to avoid spilling any liquid fuel on the skin. This extreme cold and evaporative cooling can cause instant frostbite.
f. Gas cartridge
i. Liquefied gases (such as butane or propane) under pressure in sealed canisters
ii. As canister pressure is released, the enclosed liquid boils, releasing the flammable gas.
iii. Most expensive per unit of heat
iv. Extreme convenience
v. Simple stove valve operation
vi. Require no priming
vii. Two types: high pressure and/or low temperature
G. Water bottles and hydration systems (p. 136)
1. Weight is always a factor.
2. Must be strong and durable (plastic)
3. Bladder system (Camelbak, Kelty, Platypus)
viii. Simplest form, two parts¾a thin profile plastic bag of water (usually 2 liters) that is carried on your back and a tube
ix. The tube has a special bite valve from which water can be sucked while the device is worn.
x. Tube may require special attention in cold environments (freezing).
4. Water bottles
xi. Carry one or two wide-mouth bottles.
xii. Filled easily
xiii. Flavorings and electrolyte powders can be added with less spillage.
xiv. Easier cleaning
xv. Snow is easier to pack in for melting.
H. Boots (p. 137)
1. Should be adequate for intended use
a. Provide good ankle support
b. Non-slip soles
2. Avoid boots that reach higher than the ankle because ventilation can be hindered and ankle movement could be restricted.
3. Use a good pair of gaiters with low-cut boots.
4. Avoid boots with tight-fitting “scree collars” because they cause some degree of tendonitis.
5. Boots with backs that slope forward above the heel can also cause injury.
6. Boots must fit properly.
7. Boots that fit loosely will
i. Be better ventilated
ii. Keep your feet drier and warmer
iii. Cause fewer “hot spots” and blisters
8. Proper sizing: If your toes touch the end of the boots, they are too small.
I. Walking stick (p. 138)
1. Can be helpful when carrying a heavy pack over long distances
2. Can double as a tracking stick or tent pole
3. Weight is a factor, so avoid large sticks.
4. Use one that is easily packed but can support your body weight.
J. Headlamp/flashlight (p. 138)
K. Knife (p. 139)
a. Two blades of different sizes (not over 3 inches)
b. One sharp blade
c. Multipurpose applications
L. Hygiene and sanitation (p. 139)
1. The following items are considered necessities for most of us:
a. Toilet paper
d. Biodegradable soap
e. Sanitary napkins
f. Tampons (with paper, not plastic, inserters)
g. Shaving equipment
2. Most of these items can be done without or improvised from other pack items. Decide for yourself what a necessity is and what is merely comfort.
a. Toilet paper is so light and useful that no one should be without.
b. Pack toilet paper in sealable plastic bags to keep it dry.
c. Rinsing the mouth frequently with water and scrubbing the teeth with a towel can serve the purpose of a toothbrush and toothpaste.
M. Packs (p. 139)
1. To determine the size of the pack:
a. Make a pile of the equipment that you intend to carry.
b. Separate the items into different piles.
i. Items that will go into the pack itself
ii. Items that will be attached to the outside of the pack
iii. Items for your pockets
c. For comparison, the average grocery bag will hold about 1400 cubic inches.
2. Soft, body-hugging packs that do not extend far from the body are more appropriate for SAR work.
3. These packs may not as be as comfortable over long distances as externally framed packs.
4. Soft, internally framed packs are easier to carry when you are climbing or covering difficult terrain. They do not stick out and cause snagging problems with trees and brush.
5. Externally frame packs allow ventilation under them and keep the back more comfortable when properly packed.
6. Types of packs
a. Belt, waist, and fanny packs
i. Capacity: 100 to 300 cubic inches (3-10 lbs)
ii. Uses: lunches, camera, personal gear
b. Daypacks¾small packs designed to hang from the shoulders
i. Capacity: 700 to 1000 cubic inches (20-25 lbs)
ii. Uses: general day-hiking equipment, water bottle, emergency gear
c. Options include:
i. A waistband helps prevent the pack from shifting on the back.
ii. Vertical or horizontal partitions provide more efficient loading and access.
iii. For larger daypacks, semi-rigid aluminum or fiberglass frames help distribute the load between the shoulders and hips.
d. Overnight packs are a further development and refinement of the daypack.
i. Capacity: up to 5500 (up to 60 lbs)
ii. Uses: two- to three-day trips
(a) Designed to conform directly to the user’s back for support
(b) Internal frame pack provides support for the large bag by the use of adjustable metal or synthetic rods or slats sewn into the bag.
(c) A padded waist belt increases comfort and distributes weight to the hips.
(d) Internal frame packs are better for activities requiring good balance and movement.
(e) External packs provide the most comfortable method of carrying large loads.
(f) Capacity: up to 6000 cubic inches (up to 60 lbs)
(g) Uses: extended trips over several days, heavy or bulky loads
(a) Waist or hip suspension
(b) Most bags have multiple outside pockets.
(c) Bags may be a single compartment or may be divided into various arrays of zippered compartments.
(d) Some bags are waterproof; others provide an optional waterproof covering.
e. Avoid overloading; place heavier items high near the back, least needed items near the bottom, frequently used items in outside pockets
f. Waterproof all items individually in plastic bags.
g. What to look for in a frame pack
i. Frame construction¾frame needs to be able to support the weight
ii. Shoulder straps¾padded, adjustable, and wide
iii. Stitching¾nylon or cotton wrap nylon thread
iv. Reinforcing¾extra stitching at stress points
v. Hip belt¾a two-piece hip belt will hold the frame too tight to your back; a one-piece will allow the frame to float a bit more as you walk.
vi. Back bands¾help distribute the weight of the pack evenly
vii. Pack fastenings¾four or more points of contacts with the frame on both sides; all grommets and tabs should be reinforced.
viii. Waterproofing¾Use a rain cover designed to properly the pack itself
ix. Storm flap¾Make sure the storm flap covers the top of the pack when fully loaded.
x. Outside pockets¾handy for things that you need often
xi. Zippers¾should be heavy-duty nylon; metal will freeze during cold weather operations
xii. Compartments¾will help keep your pack organized; may limit the positioning of heavy items
xiii. Lash points¾handy to strap gear and equipment on the outside