A Grey Man is someone you never notice. Someone who doesn’t stand out. Someone who doesn’t looks like he’s carrying a $12,000,000.00 diamond in his inconspicuous coat pocket or perhaps a priceless Picasso in his utterly average briefcase.
Especially when he is.
A BOB (Bug Out Bag) contains the necessities for an emergency evacuation which may require traveling for several days to reach a place of safety. It will typically be stocked with survival gear and supplies for three to seven days, including water, food, First Aid supplies and clothing, plus cooking, sleeping, and camping gear. It may also include a firearm for self-defense and/or survival hunting.
It’s a good idea to have a BOB in your automobile because that usually allows the fastest response to an emergency situation: You just get in your car and go. In addition, the contents of a BOB can help you through many lesser emergencies. That might be something as mundane as wet feet, a button lost from a shirt or blouse, or (more seriously) getting stuck in the snow on a seldom-traveled back road.
Of course, there’s always the chance that a world-wide Zombie Apocalypse may strike at the height of rush hour, or that a local emergency may make your evacuation routes impassable by car. If so, you may have to abandon your automobile and proceed on foot. Most BOBs are surplus military or expedition backpacks to allow for just such a contingency.
The items in a BOB can be pretty expensive—and so can the pack they’re stored in. Unfortunately, many late-model automobiles do not have a conventional trunk for secure storage. A BOB carried inside a pickup truck, mini-van, or SUV may be a tempting target for thieves. Likewise, in a catastrophic emergency such as a coordinated EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack or a SCME (Solar Coronal Mass Ejection) that destroys the national power grid and disables every modern automobile, just being seen with a well-stocked BOB might make you a tempting target as well.
Then too, a full BOB can be pretty heavy. Frankly, nobody really likes hiking around in the boonies with a 50-lb. pack on their back.
So—how can you carry a valuable BOB in your car with little or no worry of theft? And how can you carry it long distances on foot without exhausting yourself? And how can you carry it without looking like a Survival Smorgasbord?
Here is my original solution: The Grey Man Bug Out Bag. It’s not only super-practical, it’s super-sneaky, super-easy, and super-cheap, too.
First, assemble your emergency supplies. These will vary according to your personal needs, situation, and location. I live in Florida, so I don’t need much in the way of cold weather gear and water is relatively easy to obtain. My BOB is packed for one person for five days, but allows for the possibility of a longer time in the field by including some extra hunting and fishing gear.
I chose to limit the weight of my supplies to 50 lbs. and an approximate bulk of 3000 cubic inches. That’s a little less than the load a large Alice pack is designed to carry.
Here’s a list of my BOB goodies:
1. Water Supply (1 gal): One qt. in a stainless steel water bottle. Three quarts in eight clear plastic “pint” hip-flask vodka bottles. A person typically needs 1 gallon of water per day, but weight is a limiting factor. My water supply must be refreshed daily. The flask bottles are ideal for SODIS water purification. Learn about SODIS at http://www.sodis.ch/methode/anwendung/index_EN
2. Food Supply (Five days @ 3000 calories per day): Rice. Pasta. Lentils. Oat meal. Grits. Instant potatoes. Beef jerky. Energy bars. Trail mix. Freeze-dried entres. Ramen noodles. Instant Soup Mix. Pasta Sides. Coffee. Tea. Salt. Sugar. Spices. It’s best to pack only familiar foods that you enjoy and which are easily prepared.
3. Fire kit: 3 Bic lighters. Blast Match. Magnesium fire starter. Waxed jute tinder. Small qty. split oak firewood & lighter pine. Learn about Blast Matches at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYRKzdSXH34 and learn how to make waxed jute tinder at http://www.hedgehogleatherworks.com/How-To-Make-Waterproof-Tinder-s/102.htm
4. Cooking kit: Stainless steel cup. Stainless steel pot (1 qt.) with lid & bail. Fork. Spoon. Paring knife. Soda can alcohol stove with 16 oz. of alcohol. Learn about soda can stoves at http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=C-35L_xdtQE&feature=endscreen Watch all three videos. The small holes in the improved version can be poked in with a needle.
5. Hygiene Supplies: Dish soap. Plastic scouring pad. Plain liquid bleach. Bar Soap. Wet Wipes. Towel. Toothbrush. Washcloth. Mirror. Comb. Mini E-Tool Folding Shovel. Toilet paper. Bleach can be used to purify water. Learn how at http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/featured-wilderness-survival-blog-entries/how-to-purify-water-with-household-bleach/
6. Sleeping Gear: Jungle Hammock. Wool blanket. Light fleece blanket. Inflatable pillow/cushion. Clear plastic ground cloth. 2 heavy plastic drum liners. The plastic ground cloth can be used to catch rain or make a solar still. The mosquito netting can be used as a net. The drum liners can be stuffed with leaves or moss to make a comfortable mattress. Learn how to roll up in a wool blanket at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx38go8-Ig8 and how to wear one at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36edZ0FtTU8&feature=endscreen&NR=1 Instead of using pebbles & string, sew a coat button on and a put a buttonhole in the blanket. Learn a better way to make a solar still at http://www.survivalblog.com/2012/03/the-extreme-solar-still-concept-by-jim-d.html
7. Shelter: 6ftX8ft camo tarp w/ attached paracord tent ropes, four tent pegs & ridge line. Learn how to tie a Siberian Hitch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=TEQFg6LhFAA&feature=fvwp and how to set up a tarp tent at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bjMmla9DSzo
8. First Aid kit: Assorted Band-Aids. 2 rolls gauze bandage. Assorted gauze pads. ACE bandage. 2 large bandanas. 3 sanitary napkins. 3 tampons. Suture kit. Prescription & OTC meds (aspirin, antibiotic ointment, burn gel, etc). Insect repellant. Sunscreen. Moleskins. Electrical tape. Tourniquet. Bandage scissors. Hemostat. Jeweler’s loupe. Tweezers. Sanitary napkins and tampons are excellent bandages for lacerations and puncture wounds. A jeweler’s loupe is better for splinter removal than an ordinary magnifying glass.
9. Lighting: 2 Mini-LED flashlights, one headband LED flashlight, 8 extra batteries. One long-life candle. Solar battery charger. All batteries are rechargeable (NiCad).
10. Camp Tools: Ka-Bar sheathe knife w/ sheathe & sharpening stone. Leatherman Multi-tool. Small Vise-Grip® pliers. 4” locking pocket knife. Folding saw. Hatchet. Machete.
11. Clothing: 5 pair of wool socks. 1 ea. pants, long sleeve shirt, t-shirt, belt, & underwear. Poncho and liner. Hat & wool watch cap. Goretex winter jacket. Gloves. Mittens. Knee pads. Sunglasses & spare eye glasses. Note: Hiking boots are kept under the seat of the vehicle w/ 1 pair of socks for immediate access.
12. Fishing Gear: Hooks (6 ea. LMS). Bank line. Fine monofilament line. Bobber. Sinkers (6 ea. LMS). 3 worm lures.
13. Hunting Gear: Scoped .22 rifle w/ 100 rds of LR ammo. Large rat trap. Snare wire. Slingshot/slingbow plus two broadhead arrows, one blunt arrow, and one fishing arrow w/ line. 60 pcs. of lead shot. Spare set of slingshot bands with pocket attached. Learn about slingbows at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp72RLwgOHw
14. Sewing Kit: Needles, thread, buttons, safety pins.
15. Navigation & Com Gear: Water proofed map(s). Lensatic compass. Waterproof note paper. Pencil. Ranger beads. Analog watch. Small hand-crank emergency radio. Reserve disposable cell-phone. Solar-charged Kindle loaded with maps, recreational & survival books. Learn three ways to find North at https://www.instructables.com/id/3-Ways-to-Find-North-Without-a-Compass/?ALLSTEPS and learn how to use Ranger beads at http://lifehacker.com/5850246/make-and-use-ranger-beads-to-measure-your-walking-distance
16. Misc. Gear: Assorted ripstop nylon stuff bags. 100 ft. of 550 paracord. Duct tape. Ziplock bags. Zip ties. Mini-binoculars. Camo facepaint. 6 ft. length of vinyl tubing with short metal tube on one end. Coffee filters. Folding umbrella. $200.00 in small bills including $5.00 in quarters. Vinyl tube can be used as a spark blower & siphon for solar still. Coffee filters can be used to strain algae and debris out of water before it is purified.
17. Grey Man BOB: A stealth backpack made from a used golf bag, golf clubs, & trolley.
Yep: A golf bag and a little trolley for it to roll on.
A high-end backpack can cost as much as $200.00 and advertises the fact that you have lots of really nice survival gear. And it forces you to carry that gear on your back.
A used golf-bag on an obsolete trolley can be purchased from a thrift store for as little as $5.00.
The golf bag can carry as much as an ordinary backpack, and the trolley lets you roll it along instead of carrying it. It doesn’t proclaim that you have valuable supplies because none of your survival gear shows outside the bag—which obviously isn’t a backpack, anyway.
Golf gear is built light and strong. The bag I use weighs less than a large Alice pack & frame, holds more, and has a deluxe padded shoulder strap that lets me carry it if I need to.
The trolley adds ten lbs. But that’s weight that normally doesn’t matter because it’s rolled rather than carried.
Who is more likely to be targeted in a Mad-Max-Meets-the-End-of-the-World scenario—Tom Tactical, hiking along with $2,000.00 worth of survival gear on his back, or Giles Greyman, rolling a ratty old golf bag through adversity with nothing but three garbage golf clubs and a gentle smile?
And which is more likely to be stolen from an automobile—a bulging “tactical” backpack, or a wretched old golf-bag on a decrepit trolley with a couple of nasty golf clubs hanging out that are so ugly…
(How ugly are they?)
…They are so ugly that they not only can’t be pawned, they can’t even be used on a golf course unless the golfer puts a bag over his head!
And which one is the easier to move ten miles in the dark, on foot—a 50-lb. pack on your back, or a 50-lb. pack on a deluxe custom dolly? And which one will move faster?
A $2.00 golf trolley is actually more efficient at rolling your gear through the boonies than one of Cabellas’ $159.00 game carts. The golf trolley weighs ten lbs. and can be adjusted to run on a 12” wide trail. An Alum-i-Lite® game cart weighs 28 lbs. and requires a 24” wide trail.
So—what do you have to do to make some old golf gear into a Grey Man Bug Out Bag?
Not much: You start by buying a golf bag, a trolley, four of the ugliest golf clubs you can find, and an old pair of used golf shoes from a thrift store. These items will be VERY cheap.
Look around a bit before you buy. Select the least-impressive bag you can find that is in near-perfect condition, and preferably one that has no conspicuous name branding on it. The more side pockets it has, the better. A putter tube is also nice feature to look for.
Find an old Play-Day golf trolley from the 1950’s, or something very similar. Any trolley will do the job, but the older trolleys are still around after a half century because they are almost indestructible. If the tie straps are no good replace them or just attach some ugly bungee cords. Make sure the wheel bearings are well lubricated. That’s about all the maintenance the trolley will need for the next fifty years.
Empty the golf bag and pockets.
Remove and discard the grill in the mouth of the golf bag. This may require drilling out a few rivets or perhaps just unbuckling a strap.
Remove the interior lining of the golf bag. All you need inside the bag is the bare plastic tube. Mask any sharp edges inside the bag with duct tape. Put three mismatched golf clubs in the bag. Two are just for looks, and can be discarded at any time.
Attach the modified golf bag to the golf trolley, and load up your gear. You’ll find that the side pockets can hold an amazing amount of stuff. The central tube of the golf bag is best loaded with larger items (sleeping gear, tarp, clothing, etc.) tightly bundled or packed in sturdy zip-lock bags. Bagging things makes packing and accessing them very easy.
If your gear includes a survival rifle, it can be stowed in a simple vinyl fabric scabbard to allow it to be withdrawn and replaced easily. A scabbard is easy to make: Just fold the material around the rifle, trim it to shape, and then seal the edges together with duct tape.
Duct tape the scabbard to the inside of the golf bag with the rifle installed. A short rifle may fit into the bag without showing at all. If part of it does show, just put an old golf sock over it. There is no way to conceal a fully-assembled conventional rifle in or on a conventional backpack. You can also carry arrows in a golf bag much more effectively than in a backpack.
After the center compartment of the bag is loaded, stuff a black sweater or t-shirt into the top to conceal your gear and make the bag look convincingly empty.
One golf club should be packed for easy withdrawal. It can be your handy-dandy all-in-one hiking stick, snake stick, tent pole, and bad-dog dissuader. It can also serve as a spiffy little ankle-driver if someone tries to abscond with your golf bag.
For some nice finishing touches, put a few strips of duct tape on the outside of the golf bag to cover nonexistent “rips”, and then overspray a little black paint (light & dry) on the bag and trolley to make them look dull & uninviting. Then tie one dirty golf shoe to the golf bag. (Discard the other one.)
Now stash your Grey Man Bug Out Bag in your automobile. You’re almost all set: Your emergency gear and supplies are now well-packed and easily portable—and look utterly worthless.
That last golf club? That’s the ultimate convincer: Bend the poor thing severely and lay it across the top of the bag.
On the trail, you can easily make your Grey Man Bug Out Bag completely rainproof by slipping a plastic bag over the top of it.
A grey one, of course.