You have heard us say it before, but we believe the best piece of gear you can own is between your ears — yes, your brain. Mindset is important and besides getting the proper gear one should seek knowledge. We asked retired SERE instructor, active Bushcrafter and full time firefirghter, Terry Barney what he carries in his “Go-Bag” and here’s what he had to say:
“The more you know the less you carry”. The first time I heard this was from one of the most knowledgeable Bushcraft Instructors I know, Mors Kochanski. This simple phrase echoed in my head when I was putting together my kit bag that I keep in my vehicle. The “Get Home Bag” as some people call them is not a new idea. People have been keeping supplies and tools in their vehicles since vehicles have been around. In recent years prepping has become main stream. Folks from all walks of life are realizing that they might have to be their own first responder during an emergency. They have bought the latest and greatest gear from the internet, put it in a bag and stowed it in their cars where it sits waiting to be used. The equipment is only part of the equation. In my mind, training with your gear is the most important piece of the puzzle.
So where do you get this training? There are schools that teach survival skills all over the country. They range from a tactical military style to full on primitive rocks and sticks. My advice is to do your homework and pick a reputable instructor with experience. You Tube is fine for some things, but having a skilled instructor looking over you cannot be replaced. Ok, you have taken a class or two and you feel pretty confident that you can provide for your basic needs, now what? Practice, practice, practice. The only way you become proficient with your new found skills is to get out and use them. Make fires in your backyard, get out on local trails with your pack, build shelters with 550 cord and space blankets. If you get comfortable with these skills, you and some friends can challenge yourselves to a group minimal gear overnight trip. This type of trip will make you realize how little gear you really need. Plus, it is a lot of fun.
You have gone to a sweet survival school, you have practiced at home and with friends, now it is time to put together a lightweight multi-purpose kit. I have put my basic kit together for spring, summer and fall. For the winter I add clothing, rations and a lightweight sleeping bag in a small backpack. My kit takes into account good footwear and being dressed for the season. In other words, I don’t run around in flip flops and shorts just because I can turn the heat up in my vehicle. All that being said, this is a list of the equipment in my kit bag:
Heavy Cover Ti canteen , cup and cover
Bushcraft Outfitters Multicam sil-nylon M.E.S.T. (multi-purpose emergency survival tarp)
Mora sheath knife with a firesteel and light attached
2 protein bars
Water purification tabs
Map of the area
UCO Stormproof matches
Several safety pins
2 Sail needles
Quality wire saw
25’ 100 lbs test cord
Glock 26 and 3 magazines
This kit fits inside a chest rig and allows me to swim, run, walk or shoot with no problems. Some of the gear is expensive, but for me it is worth it. As the saying goes, buy once cry once.
About Terry Barney
A former USAF Survival Instructor, Terry Barney has taught hundreds of DOD personnel and civilians combat and non-combat survival skills. He cut his teeth in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Canoe areas, taking crews deep into the woods and covering over 1,500 miles with pack and paddle. It was here he took training from Mors Kochanski and Tom Lutyens, and became a Winter Camping Instructor for the BSA.
Barney joined the US Air Force and passed the rigorous training necessary to become a Survival Instructor (now referred to as SERE Specialist). It was in the military where Barney honed his bushcraft skill set, learning how to survive in different environments, to evade capture, resist enemy interrogations, and escape captivity.
After serving his country, Barney was hired by the Omaha Fire Department where he is currently employed full-time. Terry has continued his training and is certified in HazMat, Rope Rescue, Public Safety/Rescue diver, Confined Space Rescue, Structural Collapse Tech, and Swift Water Rescue. A certified Paramedic, Barney has conducted training for Omaha Police SWAT, FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team NETF-1, and fire departments around the nation.
In 2010, Barney opened the Midwest School of Bushcraft. He has traveled to many parts of the country and has trained hundreds of people. He has a popular YouTube channel and is an instructor at 88 Tactical.