Nov 10, 2014 - Here's how I used a some ultralight thru-hiking techniques to build my hiking/camping/bug out bag under 25 pounds without sacrificing what I need ...
The most notable item here is the Yaesu VX-6R handheld ham radio and an upgraded antenna. It’s a fantastic little radio and doesn’t care if it gets wet. I’ve had it for several years now so I’ll probably be stepping up to the Yaesu VX-8DR soon because it has some features that the 6R doesn’t.
My emergency blanket has a bright orange side to it, which helps signal rescue craft to your location. The crappy ones could be used as flags so you have movement to attract attention.
I carry a Military Glass Signal Mirror inside a soft bag that came with an old set of earphones. The glass one is MUCH better than a plastic one because it’s sturdier and the reflective coating doesn’t rub off very easily. The cheapo ones don’t work so well after being carried around a while.
I also have a Wind Storm emergency whistle that’s super loud. If you’re trying to let someone know where you are, it’s a LOT more effective to blow a whistle than it is to yell, especially after a few hours.
Lighting gearI have an awful lot of lights available but most of them weigh almost nothing or they’re built into other things. I could stand to drop some of this weight but it wouldn’t really drop all that much so I’m keeping it for now.
Because flashlights suck for general lighting inside a tent or your camp area, I added the Luci Inflatable Light they sent me to do a review. I wasn’t expecting much but it’s a fantastic little thing. It charges off solar, weighs only 3.6 ounces, and inflates with your mouth.
For my primary light, I carry a Zebra Light ASC52w L2. It’s fantastic. I got the neutral white color (the ‘w’ part of the model). It’s a bit different looking at things at night in true light but I really like it. It’s a touch less bright than the white light but doesn’t distort the colors of what you’re looking at like most flashlights do. It’s still HELLA bright for a AA flashlight.
For a secondary light, I carry a Fenix LD10 that I’ve had for a while – now replaced by a Fenix LD12. It also takes AA.
I also have a Petzl E+LITE Ultra-compact emergency headlamp that comes with a little plastic case. I keep a spare battery inside with it since I can’t recharge that size. Sometimes it’s just a lot easier to do stuff with a headlamp so you can keep both hands free. I’m still debating on whether I want to drop this from my kit or my secondary flashlight since I really don’t need both. I hate sucking on a flashlight while I try to get things done though.
As I mentioned before, my old Brunton lighter has an LED light that unscrews from the bottom of it.
In my Power Bag, I have a AA charger from Goal Zero. When it has AA batteries in it, it can be used as a little LED flashlight.
When I was at the Prepper Expo here in Phoenix recently, I picked up a great little Lumitask USB light that’s SUPER bright for how tiny it is. I can plug that into the AA charger or the USB battery and it’s so small it’s pretty much zero weight and zero space (about the size/weight of a paper clip. Unfortunately they’re apparently not for sale yet and the company hasn’t answered my emails asking about them. If you’re reading this Lumitask – Holla!
I have three little Keychain lights that I got in care packages when I was in Afghanistan. They weigh pretty much nothing and are convenient to have in certain areas. I keep one clipped to the inside top of my backpack so I can see inside it to find things without having to get my flashlight, one clipped to the front chest strap, and one inside my Survival-Tools Bag.
I got a Surefire 1″ slip-on red filter a long time ago that fits on the end of most handheld flashlights (like the ones I carry). It doesn’t really weigh anything so I included it in my kit. It’s good for not destroying your night vision or for rooting around your stuff at night in a tent with other people trying to sleep.
The USB battery I have in my Electronics Bag also has a little LED flashlight built-in.