Let’s start by stating the obvious: It’s next to impossible to pack EVERYTHING you need in a single bag. The concept of the INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) is a huge gray area with a host of variables from travel, gear, location, situation, etc.
In order to simplify this concept, let’s start with an understanding that the INCH bag/gear is simply an extension of your Bug Out gear.
In order to extend your survival, one must add more food and gear required to exist, disconnected from resupply. However, the reality is harsh and the concept of living a hunter/gather lifestyle in some remote wilderness is an absolute falsehood and dangerous for the majority of the world.
In 2019, we are more detached from nature than any society of humans in history. We have no true connection to the land of our ancestors. We don’t know the hardships and trials associated with homesteading or living off the sustenance of Mother Nature.
Keeping all this in mind, I focused primarily on building a 14-day food supply, the addition of more tools and taking into account sustainability in the form of hunting/fishing gear and seeds for a garden.
The end game is a kit that can keep me alive for a maximum of 30 days without resupply. The idea is to use this time to build up a food supply at the campsite, taking into account wild and urban options for putting food on the plate.
Based on the experiences of those who came before, it’s easy to see the advantage of living in the middle, straddling the urban and wilderness environments. Cities and towns will most likely be a great source of food, water, and basic survival supplies. Raiding gardens, dumpsters, stores, etc are all viable options.
Of course, the gear you take for this adventure varies depending on your skills, experience and the situation. Maybe you just need to connect with your inner self, on an adventure like Chris McCandless.
Possibly you are a fugitive from law enforcement or maybe a raging ethnic conflict has forced you to flee your home to the relative safety of the wilderness.
I’m unsure of what category I may fall into so I had to be flexible with my loadout, taking into account human threats, resources in my area and other variables.
Of course, the mission at hand has the final say. Let’s imagine I’m a fugitive, evading law enforcement while I attempt to survive. In this situation, I’m bringing additional weapons (AR15, Glock 19) and a focus on escape/evasion gear.
The flipside is a situation where I’ve set off to the wilds for adventure and challenge. In that case, I probably don’t need to burden my loadout with combat weapons, mags and related kit.
You get a general idea so let’s get started with the star of this loadout, the Exo Mountain Gear K2 3500.
After two years, I’ve finally found the perfect pack to complete my 2019 INCH bag loadout. The Exo Mountain Gear K2 3500 fits my specs as a lightweight, top quality, Made in the USA pack. The 3500 carries a load exceptionally well over any distance in total comfort. No more sore shoulders or low back after long hikes.
The shoulder harness has a unique design that enables micro adjustments for the perfect fit. Compression straps combined with a floating lid can be used to expand or collapse the pack depending on load, from 3500ci – 7000ci (cubic inches).
When fully expanded, I have enough room for my entire INCH survival kit, including the sleep system, pathfinder cookset, food, flashlights, multitools, clothes, shelter and more.
Tons of other features make this pack my forever pack, no question.
I prefer lots of options in a small package, therefore the tool kit. It’s customized with some of my favorites, the Leather MHT, Uberleben firesteel, Gerber Tactical Pen and Exotac Matchcap. For building shelters and wood processing, I picked up my first hatchet, the Fiskars X7 and added the Silky Pocket Boy.
As I did last time, I packed two weeks of food, averaging 1k calories daily. It’s a mix of high fat/carb foods with moderate protein. Some food requires cooking however there is a mix of survival rations, beef jerky and MREs that require no prep work.
No INCH bag build can be complete without a stainless steel cookset. I choose the Pathfinder cookset and added an Uberleben Flat Pack stove. This stove is flexible enough to burn wood or utilize an alcohol burner, best of both worlds.
Over time I’ve found it best to ditch the camo and go with color appropriate civilian clothes that can blend in either urban or wilderness environment.
I love reading so I had to bring a few favorites along, a compilation of stories by Jack London and the classic SAS Survival Guide. Assuming I’m never coming home, a map of the United States is necessary and a guide to wild edibles.
The ability to find your way using a map and compass is priceless. No reliance on GPS or modern technology is a huge asset so I always have my Steiner binos and local maps. Combined with my Suunto compass, I can easily find my bearing or navigate between points, giving me the ability to stay mobile if necessary.
It’s a sad fact that the worlds water supply is contaminated, even the freshest mountain stream may contain dangerous bacteria. This is why I take water purification serious. The MUV Renovo filter gives me the ability to filter out all harmful elements from gasoline to Giardia and everything in between. I added a sillcock key and a big handful of purification powder and tablets by Katadyn.
Staying alive can never be overrated. Imagine being completely disconnected from medical care and its easy to see the risks. My IFAK is split into two pouches. The first pouch, the HSGI Bleeder is specific for major trauma such as gunshots or puncture wounds. Two chest seals, Quiklot agent, Ace bandage and gauze are the foundation of my kit. Recently I added a second tourniquet, the RATS (Rapid Application Tourniquet).
The second pouch is a general purpose config with everything from Bandaids to Steristrips.
Taking into account my location, I went lightweight with the Snugpak Jungle Bag, Klymit pad, pillow, and hammock to keep me off the ground. My Miltec tarp provides a second shelter option depending on the situation at hand.
Based on the 5-star ratings, I chose the RAVPower solar charger. So far its performed quite well, recharging an iPhone from dead to 100% in a few short hours. The emergency radio provides another charging option and AM/FM radio.
Staying clean is essential to prevent infections and also boost morale. When used sparely, the essentials (toothpaste/soap) should last 3-4 weeks. A super handy Sea to Summit microfiber towel rounds out the kit.
The mysterious INCH theory can be simplified by simply adding redundancy to your current 72hr bug out bag and scaling out from that point. Three days of food transforms into two weeks. Long term survival becomes the focus. The most important factors to take into account is food and water supplies. Consider planting a garden or caching 5-gallon drums of staples such as rice and beans.
Depending on your experience and location, you may toss a few conibears or deadfall traps in your bag. A fishing pole can be added or a rifle and chest rig for hostile situations. The options are endless and the INCH bag can be customized to no end.
I’ve chosen to build my bag for a peaceful escape from reality, a free choice like McCandless, except I don’t plan on dying in the process.