My Day Pack Revealed

I am often asked what I carry in my day pack, so I thought I might might do an article revealing the contents. Although I call it my day pack, I would be comfortable spending a couple of days in the woods if it became necessary. The pack only weighs 14-3/4 pounds, with water, so it is easy to carry.

I should also state that this pack works for me. It might not work for you. It is a pack I have been carrying for around twelve years and it has gone through many changes. Because I use it, it is in a constant state of modification as I find new items that work better for my needs. Sometimes it might be because of the size of an item, or because I want to upgrade to something new. With that being said, let's look at the pack and what is in it.

I started out with an original CamelBak MULE. It had everything I wanted in a small day pack, except I like to have a place to put a jacket or rain gear. Often when I start out in the morning I am wearing it, but then it comes off, and where do I put it? 

At about the same time as I got the MULE, I was also playing with a CamelBak Transformer, and really didn't like the shoulder straps, and various other things that just weren't right for me. However, it had this great "Flap" on the back that could be brought up over the pack. I looked at it a thought that was exactly what I needed on the back of the Mule to hold a jacket." So, after a little effort (OK, a lot of effort) I was able to detach the "Flap" from the Transformer, for a re-attachment to the Mule. The bottom of the flap, which was removed from the CamelBak Transformer, was folded under and sewn to the bottom of the Mule. I had to sew attachment points for the straps to the side of the Mule. I had to hand sew these as I didn't want to take the Mule apart in order to sew it on a machine. I wanted to keep the original straps on the flap long, so the "Flap" could be pulled away from the pack for a Jacket, additional gear, firewood, or whatever. When I was done it was exactly what I wanted.

This is a view of the front of the pack as it appears today, with the modified flap in place.

This is a view of the back of the pack showing the shoulder straps.

This shows the paracord wrap on the carry handle at the top of the pack.

As you can see in the photo above, the shoulder straps are used to carry extra gear that doesn't have to go inside the pack. At the top left is a Rescue Laser Light for signaling. At the top right is a flashlight. The lower left is a knife sheath for a Victorinox One Hand Trekker. The bottom right is a pouch that hold my Suunto MC2 Mirror Compass and a signal mirror.

This is a closer view of the knife pouch and Victorinox One Hand Trekker.

A closer view of the compass and signal mirror pouch.

I will now discuss the bottom pouch of the pack. But first, you have to lower the flap that now covers both the upper and lower pouch of the pack. When the flap is lowered the outside of the lower pouch holds a heavy duty pair of leather gloves and a small first aid pouch. I can access both of these items without opening any of the pouches.

This shows the flap down and the gloves and first aid kit on the outside of the lower pouch.

Now let's look inside the lower pouch. It contains a net bag for foraging, a Nalgene Stainless Steel Bottle, a Snow Peak titanium pot with lid, an emergency food pouch, various bails, a large hank of Type 1 (two strand) parachute cord, a small package of lip balm, Ben's Tick & Insect Repellent, and SunX sunscreen, a Fire Kit, an emergency bivvy, and a Vargo Hexagon wood burning stove.

When you open the bottom pouch the emergency bivvy, fire kit, and emergency food bag is on top.

The Stainless Steel bottle and titanium pot is under the items shown in the previous photo.
The remaining item are in the rear of the pouch in various slash pockets.

This shows the contents of the bottom pouch, as described in the text of the article. 

The Fire Kit pouch is small yet contains a piece of Fatwood, A Ferrocerium Rod and Striker, a waterproof tube of UCO wind/waterproof matches, a zip closure bag with curly birch, a slide top tin with trick candles and small pieces of Fatwood, a slide top tin with Tinder-Quick Fire Tabs, and a small capsule filled with petroleum impregnated cotton balls.

This shows the small size of the Fire Kit.

This shows the contents of the Fire Kit pouch.

The emergency food pouch is also small yet provides minimal items in the event I'm stuck in the woods short term. It includes a package of instant oatmeal, two cup of soup packets, a packet of tuna, two trail mix bars, some chicken bouillon, two coffee packets with creamer and sugar, a spoon and salt and pepper.

This shows the size of the emergency food pouch.

This shows the contents of the emergency food pouch.

I will now move to the upper pouch and describe its contents. It contains a paracord donut, a small titanium cup, a hank of Bank Line, a Head Lamp, a Silky folding saw, a survival kit that can be removed and carried on my belt, a mini Food Collection Kit, a small candle in a tin, a small compressed lightload towel, a blowing tube, an Esbit folding pocket stove (which fits inside the small cup), a folding titanium spoon, extra AAA batteries, a bandana, and orange flagging tape in a small slide top tin.

This shows the contents of the upper pouch as described in the article text.

This shows the contents of the small survival kit pouch shown to the right of the previous photo.
It can be removed from the pack and carried on my belt in the event I wander somewhere without
my pack. It provides minimal protection.

The small Food Collection Kit contains a small fresh water fishing kit, 2 - 50' bobbins of braided fishing line, two small Thompson survival snares, and brass snare wire. Although extremely small, it provides a means to attempt to collect food.

This shows the small size of the Food Collection Kit.

This shows the contents of the Food Collection Kit.

What I also liked about the CamelBak MULE is that it has a large section at the back that was designed for a water bladder, which I never carry. It provides me with an area that is the full height of the pack and this is where I keep shelter items as well as some other stuff.

This shows the full height rear section that was designed for a water bladder.  

The rear section holds a heavy duty Space All Weather Blanket with grommets, a skull cap, a bandana, an Aqua-Pouch, an old military dew rag, a Mini Bushcraft Pack Grill, a tubular flask filled with Jute twine, a 6' x 9' piece of dropcloth, a package of toilet paper with wet wipes, an ultralite poncho-tarp, and a head net.

This shows the contents of the rear section of the pack.

Well there you have it, the contents of my Day Pack. As I indicated earlier this pack works for me and is under constant change. Everybody has to build a pack that works for them. Maybe mine will give you some ideas. I am always looking to make things smaller and lighter. At 14-3/4 pounds, wiith water, this pack is easy to carry.

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Copyright © 2018 by John D. McCann