Archive for the ‘Gear’Category
I mentioned my favorite bug-out bag in a previous post. I wanted to toss up some photos about how one of my friends (A nurse) has outfitted his. For its size, he’s hauling a lot of cool stuff!
I have had a blast starting up Advice and Beans, sourcing products, blogging, marketing, shipping thousands of packages and working 80 or 90 hours a week. I love finally doing something for myself, and I love that I can help so many others at the same time. However, some days the noise becomes nearly overwhelming.
To help clear my head, check off a box on the bucket list, and to get to know this great country just a touch better, this fall I am going to spend a week or a little more on the Appalachian Trail. My plan is to hike 70-90 miles.
While some may not call it preparedness per se, I predict the lessons and learning from accomplishing such a task, will provide value to to those following my progress here as well as in my own life.
I’ll admit planning is not my strongest trait, so I will make a series of posts about my progress on various tasks necessary to accomplish the goal; writing about it holds me accountable and provides a venue for others to provide suggestions and insight, and reminds me of things yet to do.
Initially, my focus will be on 5 sub-goals.
Fitness covers my physical ability to accomplish the task. Today I am quite a bit overweight and I haven’t hiked in almost a year; my blood pressure is running a little high. I need to address each of those in the next 6 months.
Gear is what I will take with me. I estimate I have half or more of the gear I will need. I have a great pack, an excellent sleeping bag, a Jetboil stove, a Katadyn water filter and some other items. I have 2 pairs of good boots. For anything else, I will need to make well-researched choices about what other items will need to be on the trial with me.
Planning will cover a couple of topics. First, what will my route be on the trail? How far should I get each day? What are the normal weather conditions for where I will be, and what are the worst case scenarios? Who do I need to inform, whether forest services or other law enforcement, of my trail route and expedition times?
At the same time, i will need to plan for what happens when I’m gone. Who will run the business, ship packages, manage inventory and pay bills? What will they do if they run into a situation out of the ordinary? How will they handle customer service issues?
Logistics is just another word for more detailed planning. Who will take me to my start point? How will my vehicle make it to my end point? What day will I leave? What day should I reach my destination?
Finally, sustenance is the food and water I will need to make the trip. Can I carry that much with my gear? Should I set up a drop cache along the way? Will I boil, use a filter, or use another method to purify drinking water? This one will be particularly tricky, as I know on a hard hike before I’ve used my entire 5-liter allotment that I generally carry (3 liters in a bladder and 2 more in Nalgene’s) in less than 1 day.
There is also a matter of communication, and this might be a combination of gear and planning. I’ll take my GPS, but what about a satellite phone or emergency beacon? I don’t know yet, and so I will have at least one post on just communications and emergencies.
While that is a lot to accomplish, I also have a number of resources. I have a good friend who is an Eagle Scout who has hiked the Appalachian before, as well as a number of multi-day hikes at state and national parks. I have trained for a half-marathon, and I might look over my notes and training schedule as a guide to how I might plan for a week-long trip. There are innumerable blogs, magazines and websites devoted to hiking and camping, and we have an REI store nearby that holds regular monthly meetings on various topics. On several occasions I’ve seen them cover overnight hiking.
Next post on the subject I will cover preliminary planning. What dates will I go, at least which state I will hike in, and what the expected conditions on the ground should be at that time. I am greatly looking forward to sharing my journey.
Just to update what we’re doing at the store.
Initially, I set up a shipping profile that I thought would meet the needs of the average customer. However, in doing so, I opened a can of worms I was unprepared for. For example, while the shipping costs were very close for the average user within 1000 miles of Nashville, a challenge arose for those users on the West Coast specifically. They were getting the same rates as someone from Indiana or Mississippi. Meaning that we were losing our shirts whenever we had to ship to the left coast of the US. Oops!
In order to ensure accuracy in our shipping policies, I have disabled the custom shipping setup I was using, and have now implemented Actual Shipping Rates for both the US Postal Service and UPS (there is a small handling fee for handling/packaging added to postage). For most of the store’s repeat customers, you won’t notice much if any difference in your total costs unless you are on the west coast. Adding UPS shipping means that for heavier shipments, you should now have a cheaper alternative to USPS Priority Mail. In general, lighter shipments will still go USPS Priority Mail.
If anyone has any particular questions or notices anything funky with our shipping rates, please let us know and we’ll check on any issues ASAP!
One more update; we’ve added a desiccant to the items we are stocking. A desiccant is similar to an Oxygen Absorber, except that instead of removing oxygen, it removes moisture from an environment. We are offering a 10-Pack of 10-Gram Sorb-It Desiccant. One of these will be the perfect size for your average ammo can, and 2 will protect up to 1 cubic foot from the damage moisture can cause. They are great for using in your camera bag (if you won’t be using it for a while), with your ammo, to protect leather goods, as well as keeping crispy foods fresh, such as chips or crackers.
As always, if anyone has any questions or would like to see something in particular stocked, let me know and we’ll take a look!
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by during our first thirty days, it’s much appreciated! After a month, I’ve a much better handle on a lot of things. However, to be honest, my strategy on how to pay for the site is not one of them. The Amazon affiliate linkings got quite a few click-throughs, but not a single purchase. I’m not sure if folks just hate affiliate links, but 0 for 500 seems like an epic fail to me.=)
I’m going to take a short hiatus from posting main articles (though I’ll still pass along helpful links as I find them) and use that time to re-evaluate the content and maybe offer folks a little more. I plan on adding a couple of additional SKU’s to the Food Storage Store and quite a few more items to the Gear Store. I also plan on re-creating the excellent LDS Food Storage Calculator here on Advice and Beans, though without all the noise of the About.com page and with some additional functionality.
I also have begun work on a huge long-term project that I think will be great for the Preparedness/Survival community at large; as I flesh it out and need some input, I’ll begin posting here.
It’s not a vacation, but I’ll see y’all in a few!