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Modifying your Get-Home-Bag (GHB) is a great way to stay ready for a winter emergency. The Fall is upon us now. Yet, Winter is about to arrive. Moreover, the winter season means traveling in dangerous weather conditions. Thus, it is critical to prepare to handle winter emergencies while on the road.

Therefore, one of the ways to be prepare to face a winter travel emergency is to keep an emergency survival kit in your vehicle. A convenient way to keep an emergency survival kit in your car is through a 72-hour level backpack. For this article, this bag is different from a vehicle emergency kit. This emergency bag is for personal survival while traveling in inclement weather conditions. Some people call this type of emergency bag, a Get-Home-Bag (GHB). This bag is to enable your survival as you get back your home after leaving your car.

Moreover, this article is not about building a Get-Home-Bag. Instead, the purpose of this article is to help you customize the GHB that you already have for the winter. This means examining what contents that are in your bag. What are some factors to consider when winterizing your bag?

Factors Influencing Winterizing Your Get Home Bag

Factor #1: Environment

The first factor to consider when winterizing your Get-Home-bag is your general environment. A more specific environmental consideration is the kind of winters that your area experiences. For example, people living in the Southwest do not have to worry about blizzard or whiteout conditions. By contrast, people living in the upper Midwest or New England have to take into consideration the more harsh conditions of winter. Another environmental factor that influences winterizing your bag are the winter temperatures and wind chill factors.

Factor # 2: Travel Distance

Moreover, the next factor to keep in mind is the distance that you will be traveling. People travelling long distances will have also to consider the winter conditions throughout their travel. Additionally, one should consider the type of infrastructures that can serve as emergency stopping points or emergency shelter while traveling. Additionally , experience with using your gear is important.

Factor # 3: Experience

A third factor you should consider when preparing your Get-Home-Bag is your level of experience. Your experience with the outdoors and survival gear influence what you carry in the bag. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Only place items in your bag that you already know how to use. For example, a Bic® lighter is an item that you already know how to use. However, you may not know to use climbing or rappelling gear. The point here is that being stranded on a major interstate in a blizzard is no place to try something that you have never used. Thus, your attempt to experiment with an unfamiliar skill or gear in the middle of an emergency may jeopardize your life or the life of others of whom you are responsible. Therefore, as you consider modifying your Get-Home bag for winter, what are some things to think about when deciding on survival gear?

Gear Considerations For Winterizing Your Get Home Bag

The Right Backpack

The first thing to consider about your Get-Home-Bag is the bag itself. You may need to replace your current bag with something more durable. A couple of good examples of winter capable packs are the 5.11Tactical® Rush 72 Backpack (55 liters), sold at the Sigma 3 Survival School Store, or the SealLine® Black Canyon ™ Boundary Portage Pack (70 liters). Both of these packs have their strengths and weaknesses.

The strength of the Rush 72 pack is its capability for modularity. Its material is a water repelling (not waterproof) 1050 Denier nylon fabric. The main advantage of the SealLine® pack is that its waterproof 300 Denier TPU-double-coated nylon body with a 400 Denier TPU-coated nylon bottom. The waterproof material of this pack guarantees that clothing items in the bag will stay dry in rain or snow conditions. The main weakness of the Rush 72 pack is that it is not waterproof. Lengthy exposure in rain or snow water will eventually have moisture seep into the bag. The main weakness of the SealLine® pack is that it does not have any attachment points on its exterior. Thus, after selecting a winter-capable backpack, what are some winter survival gear options to place inside the bag?

Fire Making Items

The first survival gear consideration for a winter Get-Home-Bag is a fire making item. Fire is one of the four essentials of survival (Fire, Food, Water, Shelter). A great piece of fire-making gear is the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. Check out my review of this excellent fire kit for more information about this kit. In a winter scenario, being able to build a fire is critical to keep from getting hyperthermia. It allows you to stay warm, dry your wet clothing, sanitize water, melt snow, and cook food. Furthermore, meeting your hydration requirement is critical to surviving in a winter environment.

Water and Hydration Items

The second consideration for survival gear your Get-Home-Bag is hydration. Water is a primary key to survival in winter. Therefore, water procurement, treatment, and consumption are central to surviving in a winter emergency. However, finding fresh running water in a stream may be difficult in the winter. Thus, it is essential to have a capability to melt snow or ice to get fresh drinkable water in the winter. The Sigma 3 Water Kit is an excellent piece of gear to consider putting into any winterized GHB. Check out my review of this water kit for more information this versatile gear.

Shelter and Cover Items

Additionally, a third survival gear consideration for a Get-Home-Bag is that of shelter. One option for meeting your winter shelter needs would be the Warbonnet Blackbird XLC hammock system. The hammock is available at the Sigma 3 Survival store. This hammock system comes with some additional add-on items: a winter top cover and under quilt protector. If you are interested in more information on this hammock system, read my review and video at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. A further consideration for this hammock system would be a sleeping bag. The Snugpak® Tactical 4 winter sleeping bag also would be a great addition to the winter shelter consideration for any GHB. The Snugpak® sleeping bag could be attached to the bottom of the Rush 72 pack.

Food and Food Procurement Items

Additionally, a fourth survival gear consideration for a winter Get-Home-Bag is food and food procurement. Another item to think about putting in a GHB for the winter is the Yoyo Fish Trap fishing Reel or the Emmrod® Kayak King Cast Rod and Reel Kit. These items are available at the Sigma 3 Survival School Store. Pre-made meals such as MREs or Mountain House® pouches are useful items to meet the food requirements for a GHB. You can also build your meal kit by using instant oatmeal, instant rice, beef jerky, energy bars, crackers, and instant electrolyte powder (Gatorade®/Propel®).

Winter Clothing Items

Moreover, a final survival gear consideration for a Get-Home-Bag for the winter is addressing clothing needs. Winter clothing items can be bulky and take up space in the backpack. Therefore, choose winter clothing items carefully. Wool and Gore-Tex should be the kinds of materials that characterize winter clothing. Here are some suggestions for some winter clothing items.

The first winter clothing item to consider are wool socks. Keeping feet warm and dry is a critical consideration when discussing surviving in the winter. The U.S. Army MIL-84K Wool Boot Socks or Smartwool® Men’s Hunt Extra Heavy Over the Calf Socks are the types of socks to consider for winter clothing in a Get-Home Bag. Some other winter clothing considerations could be having a wool-based base layer set in the bag, such as the Meriwool Men’s Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer. A military wool watch cap and Weather Wool Neck Gaiter scarf would also be a great item to consider for one’s emergency bag.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Get-Home-Bag is a great resource to have available in one’s vehicle. As the winter period of the year dawns, it is prudent to check your bag. You should analyze what winter specific survival items you need. It is possible that a more substantial bag may be necessary to meet your winter needs.  For example, the things in my GHB are easily stored in the current pack. There is no requirement where I live to maintain large bulky cold weather gear. However, I do need to preserve some winter gear in my bag for traveling in the mountainous regions of the Southwest. So as you begin to assess your winter needs for your Get-Home-Bag choose carefully and wisely the gear that you will need.

Take advantage of our Special Tax Sale!!

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It’s that time again… Tax Season.  We are offering a 25% Off Special Tax Sale as our way of giving back to the hard working Americans out there who make our country great.  We are extremely grateful for all of our amazing supporters, and we want to thank you for helping spread the word.

Sale goes from February 15 – March 31st, 2017

This sale excludes international courses and the Summer Instructor Program.  Valid for all other domestic courses and the fall Instructor Course.

ENTER PROMO CODE: [email protected] when you go to register.

NEW!! Due to high demand we will now be offering a Summer Survival Instructor Program!

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We are excited to be able to offer the new Summer Survival Instructor Program.  The summer program will have the same high standards, but be broken up into two phases.  Take Phase 1 over the summer your first year, and Phase 2 the following year.

Phase 1 will consist of the Survival Standard, The Advanced Standard, Wildcrafter, and Primitive Bowyer. (3 Weeks)

Phase 2 will consist of a short review, Advanced Primitive Skills, Scout Knife Only, and SERE. (3 Weeks)

We take our training serious, and we have high expectations for our instructors.  The intent of this program is not to water down the training, but to make it more accessible to those who are unable to take off for the entire 45 days.  It is our mission to grow the self-reliance community, by producing the top instructors. Students will be required to check-in between phases, complete monthly assignments, and log so many hours of dirt time.  Upon completion of Phase 1 & 2 students will graduate as a Level 1 Certified Instructor; however in order to teach for Sigma 3 you will also need to complete the Level 2 Instructor Certification.

We will still continue to offer our 45 Day program which we highly recommend.  Be sure to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.  Space is extremely limited.

Course focus

In this program you will start with the survival priorities and then build on them to increase your bushcraft knowledge. Sigma 3 doesn’t teach you how to get out of the woods; we teach you how to live in them. You will become proficient in shelter, water, fire, food, tools, medical, bow making, navigation, and much more. You will learn all these survival skills with primitive methods as well as modern ones. Sigma 3 specializes in not only surviving, but we take our students knowledge level to such a high degree that you will be very comfortable anywhere you travel in the world. Knowledge weighs nothing and we are going to throw every bit of knowledge we possibly can at you, so be prepared! If you want to challenge yourself and learn these skills intensively and all in one blast, then this is the program for you!

Course goals

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The point of this course is to teach an average person to walk off into the wilderness with nothing but a knife and survive indefinitely in comfort! This is the most comprehensive wilderness survival course on the market today! No other school offers such a diverse set of skills in one course and all in one session. This course is designed to take the average person and turn them into a well-trained survival instructor, capable of living off the land for long periods of time with minimal equipment.

Who are your instructors?

Founder / Head Instructor: Robert Allen

Lead Primitive Skills Instructor: Joshua Hamlin

Gear For Classes

What survival gear do I need to take the course?

All equipment needed for the Summer Survival Instructor Program can be purchased through our Survival Store, everything listed on the survival store is items we recommend and carry ourselves. You are not required to purchase these exact items through us in order to attend course. You just need the same equipment and of similar quality! The items we offer are the best you can get for the money and we highly recommend these same items no matter where you buy them.

Minimum gear recommendations

  • Fixed Blade Knife between 4-6″, preferable a scandi grind
  • Folding Saw
  • Tarp and Poncho for shelters
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Flashlight and headlamp w/ extra batteries
  • Large Roll of Paracord
  • Outdoor Clothing, boots, and bug spray
  • Wet weather gear
  • Wool Socks
  • Stainless Steel Canteen
  • Water Filter
  • Fire starting kit; must have ferro rod
  • Packable fishing kit
  • Cook Kit
  • Medium to Large Backpack
  • Medical Kit (you will be responsible for your own healthcare)
  • Hygiene Kit (you will be responsible for your own hygiene; you can bathe in the creek or find a local venue to bathe at.)

*All items needed can be found on our survival store and the items we carry on the store are what we recommend for classes.

Material Fees:  These staves are pre-dried for two years and in perfect working condition. Hickory Stave $125. Course will include any other materials needed to finish bow. You can pay via credit/debit card when you arrive. Optional recommended items: farriers rasp and draw knife.

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Food and water

You will provide your own food for most of the course. Water will be provided at the property. In some sections of the course, you will live from the land but when learning you will need to provide your own meals, which is about 33 days’ worth. We recommend quick ready to eat field type meals for convenience such as our in house camp ready meals.

  • Local eateries, grocery stores, and other amenities are available locally. You will have plenty of time to procure any items you need.
  • Military MRE’s

Local groceries and supplies

Walmart is within a short drive and several other stores as well. So you can get food locally very easily. We prefer you drive a vehicle to class, as vehicles will be needed during certain portions of the course. If your flying in then you can usually team up with other instructor candidates that brought a car to the course, which many usually do. In some portions of the course we will procure our food from the land, but in most sections of the course you will need to provide your own food. The links above are our recommendations for camp food. Please help support Sigma 3 by purchasing your food and equipment through our store instead of other vendors. The funds are used to make the courses better and the school bigger for your benefit!

Licenses

During the class we will be doing some hunting and fishing and you will be required to purchase an Missouri state hunting and fishing license. I would advise you to not get your license until you get here. They can be bought at numerous local stores. And you don’t need the annual license. Average cost $50 or less. Call for more details if you have questions.

Weapons

If you have a favorite rifle or concealed carry weapon that you would like to bring. It’s welcome at our camp! Licensed concealed carry is allowed and recommended. Missouri is also an open carry/constitutional carry state, so gun laws are very flexible here. And we have a personal shooting range that can be utilized on your off time throughout the course.

Video Compilation of Instructor Course Experience


Here is a compilation from one of our Level 1 Graduates that video documented his experience at SIGMA 3. He got a full time job working as lead instructor of another outdoor training organization upon graduation. With paid salary, vacation, and benefits.  He is now our Director of Operations. We’ve had numerous graduates get job offers after completing this course.

ATTENTION: During the first two weeks, you will be paired with other standard courses running back to back. Our reason for doing this is that we want to be able to pick out the advanced students that already have a basic understanding of bushcraft and see how they interact with other students that are new to the skills. You will be gauged on how quickly you learn the skills and then move on to help others that are struggling. Remember that you are coming here to become instructors so we will be gauging your ability to relay learned information to others. You will also be expected to maintain a positive mental attitude and good demeanor throughout the course. You cannot pass this program without the strong ability to deal with others and a positive mental attitude at all times. If your a whiner, your assured to not make it!

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

You will have to successfully complete all aspects of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 course curriculum and reproduce these skills under harsh conditions. In order to graduate you have to meet the requirements of each section of the course. This class is difficult to pass not because of the demands we put on students but the burden mother nature plays on the course. People who fail do so because they don’t have the endurance to muster through tough conditions. Not because they can’t learn and complete the tasks. Every class is different in it’s graduation rate because each course has such a unique makeup of people. Some classes we have passed 80% of students and other classes have had very high drop out rates. You will pass the course if you muster through and stay determined. Phase 2 is the only section you absolutely can’t fail – Scout Survival and SERE! These are Go or No Go phases of the course!

REGISTER:

July 13-August 2, 2017 – Summer Phase 1; Mansfield, MO

Difficulty Rating: Level 2

The Horseback Survival Course is held in the area of Apuseni Natural Park in Romania. It is in proximity of Cluj Napoca city. The course is taught by Sigma 3’s Level 1 Instructor Boota Sebas, and Equestrian Guide Bethlendi Istvan. It covers the basics in horseback riding, survival basics, and some advanced survival tactics. This course will prepare you for all the most common wilderness survival scenarios and teach you how to recognize and gather resources from different environments.

The Horseback Survival course is all hands on field training. Our survival training will cover the survival priorities and what techniques work best in mountain pastures, deciduous forest, and resinous woods. We’ll ride about 3-4 hours per day, learn how to put the saddle on, and how to take care of a horse. The program will set you on a path to total wilderness self reliance. After learning the skills taught in this survival training course, you will understand what it takes to survive in almost any environment or condition. The horseback survival is very comprehensive and covers a multitude of different subjects about wilderness survival skills. You will meet people, whose unique way of life is still a long row of traditions and customs, whose stories are as old as the mountains. This survival training class is very intensive and is almost entirely hands on with very little lecture time. The skills we cover are a mix of primitive and modern survival skills. These are skills that your friends will be impressed with the next time you go camping. These are skills that tend to stick with you for a lifetime. Self Reliance skills truly give you an empowered feeling, because after your training with SIGMA 3 Survival School, you will be confident to walk into any environment and take care of yourself, your friends, and your family.

 

Survival Skills Taught include:

  • Horseback riding basics
  • Identifying and gathering resources
  • Primitive and modern survival shelters
  • Methods of wilderness water procurement
  • Bow drill friction fire making, how to use a ferro rod, flint & steel
  • Creating an all night fire
  • Making char cloth, feather sticks, and tinder bundles
  • Survival fishing tactics
  • Primitive trapping
  • Numerous improvised primitive dead falls and snares
  • Wild edible and medicinal plant uses
  • Primitive & Modern Navigation Methods
  • Primitive tool making

Itinerary:

  • Day 1 – Airport or bus pick up, gear preparation
  • Day 2 – Horseback riding basics, navigation, safety & hygiene
  • Day 3 – Shelter Day! Students will build primitive & modern shelters.
  • Day 4 – Fire Making/Friction fire, all night fire, etc.
  • Day 5 – Water Procurement and primitive cordage. Learn to get clean water quickly.
  • Day 6 – Food procurement methods/ Survival fishing and trapping
  • Day 7 – Graduation and Sayonara Party

Food and Water Required: Water will be provided and food is your own choice. We recommend quick field expedient meals such as canned food or MRE’s. They can quickly be made and won’t slow down the learning process.

Minimum Gear Required:          

  • Fixed Blade Knife & Folding Saw
  • Ferro Rod
  • Poncho & Rain Gear
  • Outdoor Clothing
  • Metal Canteen & Cordage
  • Overnight Camping Gear
  *You don’t need much equipment for our courses, though good equipment does speed the learning process up greatly!

How to get there?

By airplane via Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport (CLJ)

 

Course Dates and Enrollment listed below:

May 14-20, 2017; Cluj Napoca, Romania

August 27- September 2, 2017; Cluj Napoca, Romania

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