Thursday, March 8, 2018

Rule of 2

The Rule of 2:  2 is 1 and 1 is none.

Most of us are familiar with the rule of 2.  However does it literally mean 2?  Do we really want to load our get home bag with 2 of everything?  2 mess kits, 2 wool blankets (which I can attest are really heavy if they are as big as the one I carry) or 2 AR-15 pistols?

I don't think so.  So how do we conform to the rule of 2?  In my case I am a fan of tools that do more than one thing.  Now, when I worked in auto parts we had a saying, "Universal means it does not fit anything correctly."  And for the most part I still believe that. I have purchased more cell phone holders for my truck than I will ever admit.   Each one proved to be a flimsy piece of junk that was not worth the money it took to ship it from China.

Now there are somethings that do multiple jobs adequately.  Leatherman multi-tools are great for in a pinch repairs.  Are they the best tool? Probably not, or we would see handymen everywhere sell they tools boxes and work with nothing but Leathermans.  I have a knock off multi-tool I keep in my get home bag because it backs up other tools I also have. Now if pocket knife comes up missing I have a backup.  Along with the pliers, screwdriver, etc. I use the knock off because I am cheap and it is a backup.  360 days out of the year I probably won't touch it.   This is primarily because I carry pliers, screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches and more in a converted ammo can I keep in the bed of my truck.  Although, should they come up missing or an emergency happens that I can not get to the actual tools, the multi-tool is there for the job.

As a Ham radio operator I love having a radio with me.  I have one mounted in my truck and I keep another in my day to day backpack.  One thing I learned from the Joplin tornado is that when everything else is down, amatuer radio still works.   But if I had to leave my truck I would be down to 1 and 1 is 0.   Now my go to radio is a Yaesu FT-60r. This radio runs $150 - $160.  I don't want to spend that kind of money on something I rarely touch.  So I have a backup in my go bag. Many of you are familiar with the Baofeng series of radios that start out at about $25.  Many Hams will scoff at this radios as being subpar in sound, reception and transmitting.  And I agree, however, they hold battery life while powered down for at least 6 months in temperature extremes.  I have tested mine out by leaving a fully charged Baofeng in one of my ammo cans in truck for 6 months or Missouri weather.  When I took it out the battery still had over 80% charge.  Now, I agree reception is not the highpoint of these radios.  I can listen to more inside my office with my Yaesu that I can while standing outside my office, but if you can get to a hilltop or other elevated area they will hit a tower 25 miles away.  Again I have tested this.   Now if you are not a ham operator and buy one of these I would encourage you to get your license and work with it.  Learn before hand how repeaters, offsets and PL tones work prior to trying to use one in during an event.

Another alternative to this, especially if you have no interest in operating an amatuer radio or getting a license is the Tecsun PL series of radios that start out at $45 or so.  These have shortwave, FM and AM.  I have the PL-360.  It runs on 3 AA batteries and comes with a shortwave wire antenna that will clip on to the main antenna plus a high gain AM antenna.  In an event you may not be able to know what stations are availiable and it has a self programming scan feature that is really handy.

Finally fire.  Most of us keep a bic lighter on hand. They are cheap and they work for the most part.   I keep a bic and zippo because I like the ability with the zippo to no keep lit.  I also keep a tin of wax covered makeup removers that are really easy to light using a pocket knife and a ferro rod.  It also holds some jute twine that is a great tender and some 550 fire cord.

You maybe saying well Jeff, that's a lot more than 2 fire sources.  And you are right.  But to me fire is important.  If I need to boil water, cook food, create warmth. Fire is there. the same reason I care 3 different water purification systems.  Lifestraw bottle, lifestraw knockoff and water purification tablets.  Because they are all rather small and light, and water is important I expand on the rule of 2. I carry one mess kit because I can eat with my hands.  One wool blanket because I have an emergency blanket and wet weather gear.  The more I need it the more I carry.

I probably carry more food than I need, after all its 3 mins without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  It is also true that if you are on foot you are going to use calories like never before. But that is my choice, I train with a 45 lbs pack so I know how far I can go should I need to with my go bag. Plus it's a great work out.

Somethings do not lend themselves to multiples.  As I mentioned above, are you really going to carry 2 AR-15's even if they are pistol versions? I don't think so.   But an AR-15 and a small side arm you are good to go with the rule of 2. The choice of gun is personal and I won't tell you what to carry should you choose to. But keep in mind you don't just carry the gun, you carry the ammo too.

So the rule of 2 is a great guide. But not a law.  What is most needed in your plan?  That depends on the season, your location and you familiarity with living off the grid.  I have room in pack for more of somethings than others would carry while some pack extras of things I have no need for. Tobacco products and alcohol come to mind. If you are traveling with a full blown alcoholic (or are one yourself, you need to be aware and ready for the DTs.  If you chew or are a smoker, perhaps investing in some nicotine gum might be a prep worth looking to. I believe it can be bought individually sealed and is fairly small and light.   Prepping for your weak spots is just as important as prepping for your strengths.

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