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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Of Bug Out Bags and Hatchet by Gary Paulson

My post about Hatchet the other day made me hunger to re-read Hatchet. Not only is it a damn fine book, the bag Brian finds in the plane in Chapter 19 is a pretty good example of the basic equipment you'd need for a Bug Out Bag. Or at least I think so anyway.


Unbelievable riches. He could not believe the contents of the survival pack.

The night before he was so numb with exhaustion he couldn't do anything but sleep. All day in the water had tired him so much that, in the end, he had fallen asleep sitting against his shelter wall, oblivious to even the mosquitoes, to the night, to anything. But with false grey dawn he had awakened, instantly and begun to dig in the pack - to find amazing wonderful things.

There was a sleeping bag - which he hung to dry over his shelter roof on the outside - and foam sleeping pad. An aluminum cookset with four little pots and two frying pans; it actually had a fork and knife and spoon. A waterproof container with matches and two small butane lighters. A sheath knife with a compass in the handle. As if a compass would help him, he thought, smiling. A first-aid kit with bandages and tubes of antiseptic paste and small scissors. A cap with CESSNA across the front in large letters. Why a cap? he wondered. It was adjustable and he put it on immediately. A fishing kit with four coils of line, a dozen small lures, and hook and sinkers.

Incredible wealth. It was like all the holidays in the world, all the birthdays there were. He sat in the sun by the doorway where he had dropped the night before and pulled the presents - as he thought of them - out one at a time to examine them, turn them in the light, touch them and feel them with his hands and eyes.

Something that at first puzzled him. He pulled out what seemed to be the broken-off bulky stock of a rifle and he was going to but it aside, thinking it might be for something else in the pack, when he shook it and it rattled. After working at it a moment he found the butt of the stock came off and inside there was a barrel and magazine and action assembly, with a clip and a full box of fifty shells. It was a .22 survival rifle - he had seen one once in the sporting goods store where he went for bike parts - and the barrel screwed onto the stock. He had never owned a rifle, never fired one, but he had seen them on television, of course, and after a few moments figured out how to but it together by screwing the action onto the stock, how to load it and put the full clip of bullets into the action.


And then finally - the food.

It was all freeze-dried and in such quantity that he though, With this I could live forever. Package after package he took out, beef dinner with potatoes, cheese and noodle dinners, chicken dinners, egg and potato breakfasts, fruit mixes, drink mixes, dessert mixes, more dinners and breakfasts than he could count easily, dozens and dozens of them all packed in waterproof bags, all in perfect shape and when he had them laid against the wall in stacks he couldn't stand it and went through them again.'

So that looks to me like a nice basic Bug Out Bag. I think the sleeping bag and the food would be the most bulky items. I bet you could find a lightweight down type sleeping bag and if all the food was dehydrated it would be doable. Just my thoughts as I read the ending again is all.


Bcteagirl said...

I need to work on my BOB. That sounds like a fun book, just went and requested a copy off of Bookmooch to read :)

Fear Death By Water said...

Just a word of warning. Hatchet is not apocalyptic. Also you should read 'Brian's Winter' as the follow up. Good stuff.