Last time, I covered my belt pouch, which contains a few essential and backup items. If I’m planning on doing more than just a 1- or 2-hour hike in a familiar area, say a half-day or day hike, I’ll also bring along my small shoulder bag, a military surplus Finnish army gas mask bag (5 Euros/7.50 Dollars). I like this bag because it’s rugged, has a decent number of snapping pockets inside and has secure shoulder and waist straps. The contents of my shoulder bag, along with my cutting tools (which will be covered later), could easily help me to survive an unplanned overnight stay if need be. Modifications include waterproofing and the addition of strap padding.
The shoulder bag contents (listed from top-left to bottom-right):
– Poncho: 9 Euros (13 Dollars)
– (Shoulder bag)
– Canteen: 4 Euros (5.50 Dollars)
– Spoon: 2 Euros (3 Dollars), stolen from the kitchen
– Small pot: 4 Euros (5.50 Dollars)
– Kuksa: 4 Euros (5.50 Dollars), bought used from consignment shop (boiled many times…)
– Birch bark, tinder lichen and fatwood: from mother nature
– First-aid kit: 5 Euros (7.50 Dollars), put together from items at home
– Bandana: 2 Euros (3 Dollars)
– Toilet paper: 0.50 Euro (0.75 Dollars), stolen from the bathroom
– Soap: 1 Euro (1.50 Dollars)
– Bug spray: 3 Euros (4 Dollars)
– Lip balm: 2 Euros (3 Dollars)
– Headlamp: 5 Euros (7.50 Dollars)
– Glow stick: 1 Euro (1.50 Dollars)
– Space blanket: 2 Euros (3 Dollars)
– Compass: 10 Euros (15 Dollars)
– Needles, thread and buttons: 2 Euros (3 Dollars), put together from items at home
– Tea, coffee and creamer: 1 Euro (1.50 Dollars), scavenged from the kitchen
– Sharpening stone: 5 Euros (7.50 Dollars)
– Pen: 0.50 Euros (0.75 Dollars)
– Twine and paracord: a few cents
Total cost: about 70 Euros (just shy of 100 Dollars)
This cost is very much an estimate, as I simply do not remember how much each of the individual items cost when purchased. If anything, I rounded up, so these items were at most this much, and likely cheaper. If you followed the comments on the belt pouch post, you’ll have read that I’ve been carrying my firesteel in my shoulder bag, however I had forgotten that I recently attached it to my knife, so I will cover it when I cover my cutting tools.
As you can see, this kit gives me a lot more capabilities than my belt pouch. I can navigate and orient with a map much better, fix boo-boos, shelter under a space blanket and poncho if need be, make sewing repairs, sharpen my blades, take care of hygiene needs, strain/boil/carry water, cook some small meals, keep the bugs away, take care of binding tasks and lots more. I have done overnight trips with just this shoulder bag, my belt pouch and a sleeping bag, and felt like I had more than enough equipment.
For the more extensive cooking, hygiene and shelter items desired for longer trips, I move up to the next level, which is my backpack. So if you don’t see some items above which you think should belong there, you’ll most likely come across them in my backpack gear list. Stay tuned…
By the way, I welcome any comments and suggestions. 😉
EDIT: About half the time, I will take this shoulder bag, my belt pouch and my cutting tools for a half-day or day trip. If, however, I also want to bring along books, extra clothing, etc. that won’t fit in the shoulder bag, I will put this shoulder bag in my backpack and take it like that instead.