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Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling
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  1. #1
    DavidMorris
    Guest

    Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    To begin with, I want to thank everyone who is or will be deploying down to Haiti to help with the recovery and stabilization efforts. I will be praying for you.

    If you or anyone you know is among those deploying to Haiti, please get in contact with me ASAP. I am getting in touch with as many people as possible to share their notes, experiences, and lessons learned from their deployments.

    Next, I wanted to talk about something particularly timely in light of the earthquakes in Haiti...what preparedness gear I carry while traveling for business/vacations.

    This doesn't just apply to long-distance travel. You can take what I use for travel and apply it to everyday intermediate gear to have handy, or as a first step in making a GO bag/72 hour kit.

    I have traveled a few times a month for several years (with 4-8 trips a year to DC) and this has been a constantly evolving list of equipment.

    With the new airline luggage restrictions, I've pared my travel gear down considerably. I've now got the challenge of fitting everything I check into one bag that weighs under 50 pounds, including my sidearm, clothes, toiletries, work items, and preparedness items.

    Here's what I carry, broken down into the 4 major survival categories:

    Food:
    It depends on the trip, but I usually carry a few packages of jerky, 5-10 Cliff bars, survival/meal replacement bars, or whatever is decently healthy that I can buy in bulk at Costco.

    I also carry two other items that are somewhat unique...fiber capsules and meal replacement capsules. The combination will allow me to function at about 85-90% for a few days without food and without feeling hungry. Best of all, they take up almost no space and weigh almost nothing. (I'm negotiating a SCREAMING deal for y'all and will let you know as soon as it's ready.)

    When I combine a little bit of food with the fiber/meal replacement combo, it's possible for me to carry a week or more of food in a VERY compact form.

    Fire:
    I've got a few fire starting tricks with me, including two from the AMK mini survival kit, which fits into my cargo pocket sized first aid kit: http://www.rei.com/product/708135

    The two fire starters that are included in this kit are a Fresnel lens and a tiny orange stick with a "spark wheel" like you'd find on a lighter. Most importantly, they include 3 pieces of braided cotton to use as tinder.

    I also carry a blastmatch. The blastmatch is a one-handed fire starter that uses a combination of 4 metals to create 1400 degree sparks. From a pure survival standpoint, it's not necessary. The little orange "spark wheel" does just as well with the proper tinder, but I honestly just enjoy using the blastmatch.

    Two items that I carry to use as accelerants for making fires are chapstick and fish oil capsules. Adding either to tinder makes starting fire so much easier that it is almost like cheating.

    The laws on matches and lighters in checked/carry-on baggage seem to change so often that I don't even bother with them.

    Water:
    I carry a Sawyer 2 liter water purifier. http://www.rei.com/product/786393 I also carry the Katadyn carbon cartridge to filter the chlorine out of hotel water.

    If needed, I can use my bandana or a cotton shirt as a pre-filter.

    I also carry a Nalgene so that I have something to put the water into besides a tiny hotel glass.

    Shelter:
    My shelter options are very limited due to size/weight restrictions, and so, while I do carry a mylar blanket from the AMK kit, my primary strategy is to pack layered clothes and acquire/create shelter if necessary.

    Medical:
    I carry a simple REI Day Pack first aid kit http://www.rei.com/product/753285 along with superglue, electrolyte replenisher, an extra triangle bandage, and some beefed up blister gear. I don't carry any CPR gear, and frankly, don't intend to do CPR on anyone other than immediate family while traveling. This kit is to fix myself. If I have to fix anyone else, I'll use their supplies or supplies that I acquire.

    I also carry a bottle of prescription pain meds. I've learned the hard way that I have to jam-pack the bottle with cotton balls to keep the pills from dissolving from vibration. (I don't take them and carry the exact same pills for months/years at a time, so the vibration of airline travel adds up)

    Security/Tools:
    Some of the other items that I have with me are:

    -A big knife. I carry an 8" full-tang sawback knife (I mistakenly said serrated originally) that I have abused enough in the woods & around the house to know I can trust it. I don't mention the brand/type because it is not that impressive of a knife...it's just a workhorse of a knife. Most importantly, I've used it enough to identify it's faults and fix/compensate for them.
    -A few zip ties of various lengths.
    -Multi-tool
    -2 lights...a Surefire Backup and a Petzl Zipka.
    -backup batteries
    -2 pepper sprays. (both a traditional "jogger" Saber spray and a Kimber Guardian Angel)
    -pocket/neck knives to the extent that they're legal where I'm traveling.
    -Belt, boots, a bandana & a few cotton T-shirts.
    -A roll of black electrical tape.
    -Urban Survival Playing Cards from http://www.UrbanSurvivalPlayingCards.com.

    I'll usually throw in a couple of new things to test out each trip, but that's the core of it. The best part about this setup is that, other than my big knife, it's all SMALL, light, and very usable.

    Let me know what preparedness items you carry with you when you travel. How do you deal with the fact that you're basically choosing to be unprepared hours or days away from your home, family, and supplies? What systems do you have in place should a disaster hit your family while you're gone? Tell me by commenting below:

  2. #2

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    I carry a small amount of items in my carry-on, having had luggage lost once. So, I’ve broken my answers into Carry-on and Checked:

    FOOD:

    Carry On:
    - Ziplock of nuts to consume on flight
    - Couple of energy bars
    - 1200 calorie Main Stay food bar

    Checked Bag:
    - 1200 Calorie Main Stay food bar
    - 3600 Calorie Main Stay food bar (depending on length of stay)
    - Gallon Freezer Ziplock

    FIRE:

    Carry On:
    - Bic Lighter (allowed in CARRY-ON ONLY – NOT IN CHECKED BAGGAGE – 1 only. You may also have ONE book of safety matches in CARRY-ON ONLY. They may not be strike-anywhere matches). My Bic lighter has gone through several airport scans without a problem. David is right though – laws are subject to change. Latest info is on TSA’s website, which I just visited to verify.
    - Chapstick – always on me but didn’t know it was an accelerant – thanks!
    - I take Fish Oil as a supplement and always have some in my carry on along with other vitamins/supplements. I had no idea it was an accelerant – thanks!

    Checked Bag:
    - Sparkie Fire Starter (from Ultimate Survival Technologies, like the blastmatch) The Sparkie is an inferior model which I do not recommend. Just checked out the blastmatch and will upgrade.
    - Light My Fire Firesteel Scout
    - Small Ziplock of dryer lint (yes, I save my dryer lint…)

    WATER:

    Carry On:
    - Bottle of water

    Checked Bag:
    - Katadyn Micro Filter Water Bottle
    - 6 Katadyn Micropur Purification tablets (in First Aid Bag)

    SHELTER:

    Checked Bag:
    - AMK heatsheets emergency bivvy (3.8 ounces)

    MEDICAL:

    Carry On:
    - Small bottle of Advil
    - Prescription pain killer (although it’s 2 ½ years old and a Google search said its shelf life is 2 years…)
    - AMK Ultralight .3 first-aid kit

    Checked Bag:
    - AMK UltraLight .7 first-aid kit

    SECURITY/TOOLS:

    Carry On:
    - Small flashlight
    - Pen
    - 2 AA and 3 AAA batteries
    - (Will carry the Urban Survival Playing Cards when they arrive)

    Checked Bag:
    - Folding knife w/ 4” blade
    - Folding knife w/ 1 ½ “ blade
    - Multi-tool
    - Small flashlight
    - Petzl headlamp (don’t remember the model – I’ve had it for years)
    - Bandana and T-shirts
    - Map of area I’m going to (if I can find one prior – else purchase upon arrival)

    That’s really about it. I would LOVE to bring my sidearm, but I don’t travel as much anymore and worry about the airline hassles – and possible theft. Would love to know more about how smoothly that process works at the airline.

    Honestly, I love to fly but no longer prefer to travel by air. I do not like being without at least my 72-hour bag. Stepping off a plane with very few survival tools, not even a sidearm, and hoping my luggage made it doesn’t have great appeal to me anymore - in these times... Depending on the area, I may choose to supplement my supplies upon arrival and, if necessary, dispose of them for the flight back. Depends on how I feel about the place and situation. I live alone, so can’t speak to the family disaster scenario.

    Scott

  3. #3
    Granny
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Great info on what to take traveling. I have a few questions.
    When traveling by air, how can you be sure that the sidearm in your checked luggage will not be stolen? Theft in checked luggage is becoming a common senerio.
    What is a Nalgene?
    What are the bandana & electrical tape for?
    Many other things I did not know about. I will look them up.

  4. #4
    Big Foot
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    What are Fiber capsuls, and Meal replacement capsules?

    In a message dated 1/15/2010 11:55:12 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, david@surviveinplace.com writes:

    I also carry two other items that are somewhat unique...fiber capsules and meal replacement capsules. The combination will allow me to function at about 85-90% for a few days without food and without feeling hungry. Best of all, they take up almost no space and weigh almost nothing. (I'm negotiating a SCREAMING deal for y'all and will let you know as soon as it's ready.)

  5. #5
    Big Foot
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Hi:
    I can tell you from experience that electrical tape is almost as adaptable as Duct Tape. It is strong, comes in multiple colors, inexpensive, and to beat Duct Tape, is small enough to carry in your pocket. I RARELY travel without a roll on me in my pocket or checked out baggage. It could even be your momentary handcuffs, holds things together, makes a moderate bandage with some TP for a pad, Insulates electrically, (I once made some electrical wire for a stranded motorcylist out of Barbed wire wrapped in Electrical tape).

    An Earlier posting of mine mentions multiple uses of a handkerchief/bandana. Hot pad for door knobs in a fire, dust mask, help attracting flag, parts wiper, parts holder, (it helps prevent parts rolling away when laid out on a table), bandage, and a bandana size could even be a sling for a hurt arm. Tourniquet, Pirate type sunshade for the top of the head, and sometimes you may even wipe your nose with it.

    A "Nalgene" is a practically industructable water bottle, in quart/liter sizes usually, but recently in pints and 750 ml. Reusable. Constructed of food grade plastics. I carry for backpacking as the lid is wider, making it easier to clean out than a typical water bottle if used for mixing gatoraid or shake pudding.



    Quote Originally Posted by Granny
    Great info on what to take traveling. I have a few questions.
    When traveling by air, how can you be sure that the sidearm in your checked luggage will not be stolen? Theft in checked luggage is becoming a common senerio.
    What is a Nalgene?
    What are the bandana & electrical tape for?
    Many other things I did not know about. I will look them up.

  6. #6
    bkeay
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Awesome topic, David, as well as Scott's great response—lots to think about.

    I've traveled considerably in 3rd world countries, Haiti would definitely fall into that category! I always carry iodine for water purification, perhaps chlorine instead, depending; and I carry an MSR carbon filter to remove the iodine/chlorine taste. The MSR has a micro-filter that should be adequate, but having traveled in Africa (as a physician, I end up treating the dysentery patients, which are always in abundant supply) I'm extra cautious of my water discipline. I even purify my water in Russia.

    I carry medications for treatment of dysentery, (ciprofloxacin or similar, e.g, moxifloxacin, etc.) and specific medications for the treatment of malaria if going into that part of the world. These diseases are all too common, hard to avoid, and have commonly happened to my teams even with good discipline.

    Another item that I always carry is a small kit with a variety of needles, syringes, and IV tubing, along with spinal needles, etc. Many countries, parts of Russia included, are still in the mode of reusing needles—I think it wise to have a good supply for use on myself or my team.

    My other peculiarity is to carry good decongestants. For curious reasons not worth going into here, catching a cold is far more likely when traveling by air; I use phenylpropanolamine, much better than pseudoephedrine (as it's not broken down by COMT), but taken off the market by the FDA for questionable reasons. I have my pharmacist compound the capsules and always have them with me—it also helps to prevent barotrauma to the ear when flying with Eustachian tube dysfunction for whatever other reason, e.g. if scuba diving. Brian

  7. #7
    DavidMorris
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Foot
    What are Fiber capsuls, and Meal replacement capsules?
    I carry plain old Metamucil fiber capsules. The two reasons that I take them are for the digestive benefits of fiber in a survival situation and also because they trick my stomach into thinking it's full...they're not a great solution, but they work for me.

    I'm working on getting a killer deal on the meal replacement capsules and will let you know more when it's set up.

    David

  8. #8
    member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gloucester, Va
    Posts
    7

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Hello David, I had a question about your mention of the preparedness 8 inch full tang (sawback) knife. Would you be talking about an overall knife length of 8 inches, or would that be the knife blade length only ? I have been looking at some very nice knives in both ranges but I was just wanting to know which one you were refering to.
    Thanks,
    Mark

  9. #9
    DavidMorris
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by Granny
    Great info on what to take traveling. I have a few questions.
    When traveling by air, how can you be sure that the sidearm in your checked luggage will not be stolen? Theft in checked luggage is becoming a common senerio.
    What is a Nalgene?
    What are the bandana & electrical tape for?
    Many other things I did not know about. I will look them up.
    Frankly, it's a roll of the dice that I'm willing to take. I have traveled with my sidearm a few times a month for several years and haven't lost one yet.

    It doesn't surprise me, though, that luggage theft is becoming more common. People have carried over their habits of conspicuous consumption to their choice in luggage. It continually amazes me how many people travel with designer luggage that screams, "ROB ME!"

    I carry normal looking luggage that's beat up from continual abuse from TSA & luggage handlers and have never had a problem.

  10. #10
    DavidMorris
    Guest

    Re: Deploying to Haiti & Preparedness While Traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by bullitt5532
    Hello David, I had a question about your mention of the preparedness 8 inch full tang (sawback) knife. Would you be talking about an overall knife length of 8 inches, or would that be the knife blade length only ? I have been looking at some very nice knives in both ranges but I was just wanting to know which one you were refering to.
    Thanks,
    Mark
    Hey Mark...my pocket folder is about 8" overall, but my full-tang has an 8" blade.

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