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10-mile test of Urban GHB

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Bolster, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    ...or, “The Old Man and the Pavement.”

    Today I tested my GHB. My wife was on her way elsewhere and dropped me off 10 miles from home in Los Angeles. The final stretch toward home is a climb of 1000 feet (we live on a hill). Typical L.A. summer weather, 80 degrees. I had my 12-lb GHB (a Kelty Redtail) and my new-to-me army-surplus boots.

    I should note here that I’m well over halfway through a normal lifespan, with white hair and bifocals. I do 3 miles on an eliptical exerciser 4-5 times a week, and a little stretching and weight lifting, but I’m not in what I’d call “great” shape. I’m not overweight, but neither do I consider myself strong or particularly athletic.

    I kept my 1800 pack full, even though I knew I’d not be needing it, because I wanted to test the bag for weight and comfort. However, I was only carrying 1 pint of water, knowing I could fill up along the way (a little cheating there). Here’s what I learned:

    - With the hill climb included, I averaged 2.9 miles per hour over the 10 miles. Took 3:20 hours of walking.
    - I used little from my pack (as expected), except for: scissors, water bottle, cash, cell phone, hat, sunblock, sunglasses, safety pins, and watch. Weighing so little, the pack was pretty comfortable.
    - I need to purchase a small pocket for the front of the pack, so it’s not necessary to dismount the pack each time small items are needed (particularly for the cell phone, to take a note, make a call, or take a photo).
    - I drank 4 pints (a half gallon) in 4 hours. Fill-ups were done at the many fast food joints I passed (cheating, again).
    - Had a “wet bag” explosion. Keep all my (non-H20) liquids in a double plastic bag, and glad I did. Didn’t get the handcleaner screwed tight and it spooged all over. Would have been a disaster if it'd been kept even in a single bag. Double-bagging was needed!
    - 2:30 hours in, my feet and left knee were hurting. This occasioned the biggest cheat of all, stopping at a Walgreen’s for insoles. That took 25 minutes of standing in line while a slow and sleepy teller sold pretty much the entire store’s stock of everything to a little lady with an overflowing shopping cart, and then trimming the insoles to fit. That foolishness was subtracted from the walk time, even though it gave me a good rest. Not sure what’s up with the knee. A little tender and it got iced when home.

    I have some doubts about these army surplus boots. They are the khaki split-leather-and-nylon type, Iraq-style, with vibram soles and gore-tex liners, but maybe not the best hiking boot. For this walk I’m sure walking shoes would’ve been better if I'd stayed on sidewalk, but I wanted to test the boots. The insoles helped a lot and were worth the stop.
    - I’m glad I had good socks. Polypro liners with Wigwam hiking socks over them. Like the experts say, your feet and shoes are of utmost importance.

    Climbing 1000 feet at the end of the walk was a bit of a slog, and there the boots finally earned their keep, because for miles of the upward trek there was no sidewalk (“nobody walks in LA” as the song correctly says). Then I took a (lenghty) “shortcut” through an abandoned canyon and that was difficult desert-style scrambling (sometimes 45 degree incline) on loose soil. Athletic shoes would not have coped with that.

    Can’t think of anything I needed that I wasn't carrying (thanks to help from this forum), except I needed better footwear; I don't think I could have done much more than 10 miles.

    If this were a real GH situation, what to do about the hurting knee? Compression with the ace bandage and ibuprophen is all I can think of doing when on the move.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  2. barbedwiresmile

    barbedwiresmile Unreconstructed

    Feb 3, 2008
    I would suggest trading in the army surplus boots. There is a wide variety of superior choices that are more appropriate to an urban environment, require less break-in time, and draw less attention.

  3. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Use a belly bag ta get ta needed gear quickly.'08.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  4. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA
    Well if anything you got some useful exercise and it was a learning experience ..good for you!
  5. +1 on getting rid of the army boots. I have a pair of Timberland urban hiking boots and they are way more comfortable than any full 8" duty boot and much less conspicuous with any pants or shorts.

    For smaller items, there are shoulder strap pouches that place the items right at your clavicle level upfront. I have a few bags and they all have a cell phone pouch attached to the front of the shoulder straps so you can access your cell phone easily while on the move. You can easily put other stuff in there as well.
  6. jdavionic

    jdavionic NRA Member

    May 1, 2008
    Good test. You may want read FerFAL's gear list. I would opt for more comfort footware. He raises some good points for an urban SHTF situation.
  7. RatDrall


    May 23, 2009
    Impossible. How could you possibly walk 10 miles without a trunk rifle and 1000 rounds of ammunition?!? Not sure how you even made it home safely with all of the hoodlums and bears around. I'm going back to my basement to order more gear...

    Seriously, AWESOME test! I did a mock bugout, and ended up completely redoing EVERYTHING that I had, gearwise, and had to reprogram quite a bit of my "software". It was a misearble weekend, between the crap that I bought and brought that I did not need or didn't work, and my lack of knowledge.

    Going to do it again this Winter?
  8. Dexters


    May 3, 2004
    Choose the right tool for the job.

    The need for boots/ankle support goes up with the weight of the pack.
  9. Dexters


    May 3, 2004
    It is great to read a post about someone who focuses on the physical of s&P aspect instead of equipment.

    A couple of suggestions

    Get a backpack with waist straps - it takes the weight off your shoulders also you can lay it back by lengthening the shoulder straps to help getting rid of body heat.

    Get a 100oz Camelbak and water purification tablets.

    Get a small stuff sack and tie it to the shoulder straps at the top and bottom so it doesn't bounce around.

    Take a look at trekking poles and use the rubber tips that come with them

    You didn't mention eating - you should have been eating along the way - eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty.

    I think you did well and learned a lot.
  10. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Interesting post, thanks for the info. Having had a number of knee ankle problems over the years, I don't go anywhere without a hiking stick/trekking pole. Makes a big difference even if my knee and ankle problems have been "fixed".

    I do think you would be better off with more water carrying ability. A camelback or at least a couple quart Nalgene bottles.
  11. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    Thanks for the replies. I agree almost entirely with them.

    (1) One big learning moment was: doesn’t matter how good your gear is, if your body isn’t up to the task. The walk motivated me to get more *longer* exercise. Most my exercise is done in 40 minutes, and now I’m looking to add in some 2-hour sessions throughout the week. Will be hard to find the time, but it’s necessary.

    (2) I am sad to agree with the consensus, that these army boots are suspect for more than 5 miles of a hike, at least for an old guy. That surprises me; this is what Uncle Sam gives our soldiers. I was looking forward to keeping less-expensive boots in my car, but if they’re responsible for tweaking a knee (not sure the knee was their fault, or mine) then they can’t be used for >5 miles. (Plus, as has been pointed out, they look like army boots!) PS: No permanent harm from yesterday; the knee is improving rapidly, no limping today.

    (3) Yes on the additional water. In a real situation I’d be loading my pack with bottled water kept in the car, before bailing. This was a big cheat on my part; I allowed myself cold water along the way (and a soda! cheat cheat cheat). I did discover how useful a wide-mouth Nalgene was, and will likely be getting more. Also, having done the hike, I would seldom substitute Gatorade or any other sweet drink for carried water, because of the spill potential and the sticky mess resulting. Also I had to use water to wash spooge off my hands several times. Can’t do that with Gatorade.

    (4) I think that some of us are “gear collectors” and we take psychological comfort from being well equipped. But actually carrying the gear, you quickly become a minimalist. I will be giving my kit a hard look to determine what could be left behind in the vehicle next time. The lighter the pack the easier the walk.

    (5) Human contact...we seldom discuss that...I think I talked to about a dozen people on the way. Most of them brief, friendly hellos. I’m convinced that people skills would be an important tool in a real SHTF scenario. Maybe (dare I say it) more important than guns and bullets. So I practice being friendly and approachable. I tired not to give off a "weird old man stay away" vibe. I was clean, and carried a smile on my face. (Except while waiting an eternity in the Walgreens while a lady "shopped from the register." Hate that.)

    (6) Peeing. This was actually a problem I’ll be more attuned to next time. Whenever I needed to urgently pee it was always in an area of the urban jungle far away from any handy fast food joint. So twice I had to crash into an oleander bush that gave reasonable cover, and risk getting a “public urination” ticket. But if I’d been a woman? What a pain and ordeal that would have been. I’ve read other ‘fugitive’ accounts and bad stuff often happens during a pee guy I read about had some of his gear, and all his spare gas stolen, while he stopped to give his wife a pee break. It's a vulnerable moment.

    (7) Can someone (lawman?) please point me to shoulder strap pouches? That sounds ideal.

    I hope some of you can learn from my mistakes...that's why I wrote it up. Thank goodness for anonymity. I'd not be so open about my errors if y'all knew who I was! Hurtful to the pride.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  12. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
  13. Kieller


    May 18, 2007
    Kansas City
    Nice write up Bolster. I would do a complete shake down of the bag you took and analyze it with a lot of scrutiny. Trim any excess weight you can...

    1 oz. before the hike = 1 lb. during the hike

    If you were walking on pavement the entire way, which it seems you were, I would definitely find some padded/comfort type of footwear instead of milsurp boots.
  14. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Pick yourself up a pee bottle along the way. Wrap a jacket or something around your waist and walk down an ally with the bottle under the jacket while you pee. Another way is to hold your pack in front of you and look like you are looking for something while you go. Key is not to expose yourself and look subtle.

    BTW, you have a good self evaluation and are right about minimizing the load.
  15. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

    Sep 16, 2008
    Yea I would bump up the water to at least 64oz for a 1 day/10 mile hike. I can go thru 2 to 3 liters (1 gallon) during a serious dayhike. My GHB /DayHiking backpack has an empty 100oz bladder and a 6 pak of 16oz bottled water = 96oz.

    You don't really need the bladder, just pack Four to Six 16oz bottles of water. The good thing about the bladder is you keep moving, You don't need to stop, to dig out a bottle and drink.

    Pack weight does decrease walking speed. I try to keep my GHB/daypacks ultralight, meaning under 15lb. At under 15lb the pack is not real noticable, and you can move at a regular pace like you were carrying nothing. Figure a gallon (128oz) of water weighs 8 pounds, so you are already carrying about 7lb of water if your are carrying a filled 100oz bladder. Then you need to factor in a pound or more for the pack itself. That does not leave you with a lot of room to carry gear and other crap. My GHB is about 12lb fully loaded. That is food (6 pack of cliff bars), filled water bladder, cheap poncho, first aid kit, small firestarting kit, water purification tablets, a Ti mug, compass, small fixed blade knife, headlamp, flashlight, and bear spray (which would work great on humans too).

    Shoes...Buddy I have screwed up my feet too many times using military boots and cheap hiking boots. Honestly for a GHB, whatever running sneakers or walking shoe you use regularly will probably do. If you want to get "special SHTF shoes" look into Merrell trail runners or hiking boots. For a cheaper alternative look at Hi-tec.

    Ohh and the peeing question, when the SHTF you would just stop to pee where ever. Just so you know for a woman they do have "products" that you can pack for a wife/girlfriend so that she can pee standing up like a guy.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  16. LongGun1

    LongGun1 StraightShooter

    On the flipside... :whistling:

    Keep in mind the reason you would be traveling home on foot with your GHB in the 1st place..

    ..& also what type of individuals capitalize on those situations!

    I remember (during a lessor SHTF) a guy getting drug out of his semi-truck..

    ..and beat so bad he almost died & is now a brain damaged simpleton...IIRC!

    No LEO presence...period!

    Now...Imagine a situation 100 times worse! :shocked:

    Day hiking 10-12 miles during a bright sunny day.. simply a shakedown of you & gear!

    A 'past his prime' prepper doing the same during a SHTF in a major city like L.A..

    ..unarmed & unprepared for the worst..

    ..could cut his hike short....graphically & permanently! :upeyes:

    Reminds me of a scene in Aliens..

  17. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    Yeah, I definitely wouldn't be trying a long hike home through bad 'hoods when L.A. is rioting. I have mapped out neighborhoods to avoid completely in L.A. (based on crime reports). Some situations would require sheltering in place at work. I wouldn't attempt a walk home unless I could blend into a crowd that looked like me, doing the same. I'm well aware my skin color makes me a prime target for a beating. Heck, even my bumper sticker ("Socialism Is Not The Answer") has gotten me accosted by a certain element who accused me of a "racist" bumper sticker.

    (Since when did resisting socialism make anybody a racist? Oh, probably about 2008. Maybe I need to lay up some "hope and change" stickers for the walk home, LOL.)

    The alternative is to illegally stash a firearm in the car somewhere (carrying guns are strictly forbidden in LA, unless you have an overwhelming need...hmm, that must be why all the criminals in L.A. have guns...), but IF I were to do that, I certainly wouldn't discuss it! I have certain contracts that would quickly evaporate if I were ever charged with a firearms violation, so I wouldn't feel free to discuss even on an anonymous forum.

    @ Bilbo - the less expensive HiTec boots are reasonably good, then?

    Yes, pee products for the womenfolk are on the list, thanks for the linky.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  18. :tongueout:
    Not true. You can certainly own guns in la and you can keep them locked in the trunk of your car legally.:whistling:

    As for the various pouches, check out and their section of molle gear. There's bound to be some that fits your needs.
  19. LongGun1

    LongGun1 StraightShooter

    Understood! :supergrin:

    And I can vouch for the HiTec hiking boots..

    ..I have a couple of models that have withstood the test of time!
  20. I had hi tec boots before they became magnum. Good, solid boots.