The Brass Monkey has Spoken….

It’s damn cold people. Well maybe those of you hailing from the Yukon will laugh, but for the Midwest, it’s just COLD.  I was up at around 0500 this am and according to the porch thermometer and the googlemometer it was -3 without factoring windchill.

So huddled back under my blankets I pondered what it might take for basic outdoor survival in a long-term (greater than a month) if I was displaced and forced to head out with what I could carry in weather like this.


Yeah That looks fun…

Naturally the bulk of what I could take would need to fit in my winter Scout ruck  (Large Alice) which is currently 90% packed and ready to go.  Primary concerns for gear would be as follows:

  • Shelter
  • Calories
  • Fire Making
  • Foraging/Tools

Shelter . * Item is worn not carried*

USGI Goretex Bivvy

Black MSS Bag

Snugpak Jungle Blanket

British Basha Tarp

Wool Socks (2 pr)

Merino Balaclava

Field Jacket liner or Wool Long-hunter shirt

PolyPro GI bottoms

*Merino Base layer

Rocky 1000gr insulated boots

*GI Mittens with liners

*Whatever outdoor pants I happen to be wearing

*Fleece JAcket

*Water repellent shell

*Carhart Watchcap


2 freeze dry meals

Snowpeak Ti Pot and Lid


2 lb Rice and 2lb beans

Chocolate (Colonial style block)


Bannock Mix

Alcohol stove

5 oz White Lightning

Wood Cup

2x Water Bottles



Beeswax candle

Paraffin candle

Small fatwood stick

2x Bic lighters

Foraging and Tools

*Custom Ruger Mk IV

100rds standard velocity HP

50 rds Velocitor HP

*belt knife 3.5-5″

Hatchet or tomahawk

Small multitool

*Belt Fire Kit (Flint Steel, Charcloth, burning lens, Tinder)

4 small snares

Fishing Kit

2 connibear 110 traps

100″ bank line

50′ Para Cord

4 large nails

20′ small wire

Fine File (for edge touch up)



Paper and pencil

Small first aid items

Everything listed without an * is carried in the ruck. It pretty well fills the Alice but its alot of light but bulky items. When spring arrives and we go back to the non-winter scout pack, the large alice is literally half empty. As it is I could easily roll my wool blanket in the British tarp and strap it to the top of the ruck.

The old 3 season Kelty, just not up to the Deep Winter hauling needs.

This would definitely be a brutal time to try and forage, ideally for 3 or 4 day super cold snaps like this, a well insulated structure could be fabricated to keep wind and snow at bay and the Scout could emulate the other winter critters and hole up and conserve calories and heat.

Traps could be set, shelter built with the bivvy deployed inside providing a multiplier to the insulating factor. This combined with a small fire and keeping as dry as possible this isn’t the  Ritz but is survivable.

Note: Whatever mid or outer shell I wear will have the following items in the pockets:

Spiderco Delica (Dummy corded)

Small Compass (Dummy Corded)

Fleece Beanie

Bic Lighter

20′ Para cord


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *