Sunday, March 15, 2009

So Just What Do You Pack...

...for a 5 or 6 day road trip and an extended stay away from home (and you thought I was asking about what type of pistol you pack - weren't you). I am of the opinion that one should travel light, but I'll be damned if I virtually ever do it that way. While traveling light is nice when backpacking, I find that redundancy is a good thing if you can bear the extra load in any type of travel situation.

Let me give you a few examples of my ideas along the lines of redundancy when it comes to travel. When I backpack or hike or hunt I take along two compasses - one in a pocket, one in my pack. I also take at least two bottles of water, two methods of fire starting (matches and a magnesium bar with flint striker), and of course extra socks. When I fly somewhere, well I prefer to travel light, and I pack as if I am going to do just that but then wind up doubling things like my socks and skivvies; and I also pack a change or two of clothes into my carry one besides what I have in my checked in luggage.

If I go on a trip for work, well then I almost always pack a second or backup pistol in addition to anything else on which I have doubled up. Sometimes I bring three guns, the third being a long arm.

When traveling anywhere by car I tend to pack most redundantly of all. I mean why not, if the car can take then I can bring it right! While there have been times that I regretted packing too much for a trip when I have flown somewhere, or even when I have gone on a hike up a mountain, the times I have regretted over packing my trunk, and all the other open spaces in my car, have been few and far between. One thing I make certain of when I do pack my car, so as to avoid becoming unhappy about having too much in there, is to always leave enough room for gifts I may pick up while traveling. Other than that I stuff it to the max.

If I was to go on a road trip of a few days duration here are some of the things I would pack:

Car Stuff:

Flares (at least 6 of them)

Emergency reflectors (at lest a few of them)

2 first aid kits one smaller - one larger

Flat Fix (at least 2 cans and large ones at that)

Extra Windshield Washer fluid in the trunk

Maps (yep at least two in case I lose one)

My GPS with charger (another form of map)

Water (a case for me and any passengers and possibly for the car so I included it hear)

Spare cash hidden in the car just for gas money (I once went hunting, got a deer, paid for it to be butchered and had exactly enough cash to gas up to make it home by sputtering on fumes).

A blanket in the trunk (in case I break down and my clothing is not enough to keep me warm)

MREs in the trunk

An old set of windshield wiper blades in the trunk

Battery cables

Jack and spare (no room for 2)

Flashlights, yep 2 of em

I do not bring tools for the car except for duct tape and nylon ties, as I am not a mechanic at all.

I do bring my Triple A card and the redundancy there is I also have towing on my insurance plan, but I prefer AAA.

For my own enjoyment I also bring along as many music CDs as I can. My collection is at about 125 or more, and all I can say it sure is nice to have a wide variety of music that you like when the radio is not picking up a signal or all the stations suck.

Pens and paper - in case I break down and have to leave the car, I can leave a note for the police.

Personal Gear:

Enough clothing to last 10 days without a trip to the laundromat (this is for an anticipated trip of a few days up to a couple of weeks) A jacket for warmth is included as is a hat if I need them or not.

Toiletries to last the trip, and an extra comb because I always seem to lose or forget them

A few pairs of shoes as in: one pair of running shoes or sneakers I am wearing, another pair for running or in case the first pair gets ruined, and a pair of boots for getting out (also dress shoes if an anticipated need)

My personal cell phone, and my work cell phone

Chargers for the phones

My credit cards, with one in the glove compartment in case I lose my wallet, and that stash of cash for gas, and my ATM card

Regarding prescription meds, enough meds to last me a week beyond the anticipated length of my trip

Two pocket knives

A day pack and a Camelback style day pack with emergency first aid kits and other emergency supplies and enough room in the main compartments for other stuff

Pocket flashlight, usually 2 of them

Extra car keys

Extra batteries for the flashlight

Extra bulbs in caps of flashlights

Camera with extra batteries.

Food and Drink:

A case of water like Poland Spring in the trunk.

A 6 pack of water in the cabin.

At least a 6 pack of soft drinks or juice.

A cooler with lunch and fruit.

Snacks including more fruit.

MREs in the trunk for an emergency.

Work Gear:

At least two extra magazines for my primary pistol

A backup pistol with at least two extra magazines

Extra pistol ammo to the tune of a couple hundred rounds

Shotgun with plenty of ammo (depending on the nature of the given assignment)

Gun Cleaning kit (usually a spare one is in my trunk and then I bring yet another)

Extra handcuffs and keys and two sets of leg irons

Flex ties

2 sets of binoculars (not just for work but also brought along on vacation trips)

Portable radio with 2 extra batteries

Body Armor with additional trauma plate and soft trauma pad, and two body armor carriers (the outer garment in which the Kevlar is placed) - one carrier nondescript for concealed wear and the other which identifies me as an LEO for outer wear.

Outer garment identifying me as a LEO (this in in addition to my body armor carrier) that is labelled likewise.

Large MagLight type flashlight and extra batteries and extra bulb.

The above is not at all inclusive list, but it covers a lot of the stuff I bring with me on a road trip. Remember one thing about redundancy, you can always lighten the load if need be, but if you don't have it in the first place - well that can be a big problem when you need it.

All the best,
Glenn B