INCH Bag Survival Kit: Red Dawn Edition

Posted on December 03 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the term INCH translates to “I’m Never Coming Home”. The focus of the INCH bag is long term survival, without short term resupply. The situation and your skill sets dictate how the bag is packed.  Extended survival in an urban environment is much different than a wilderness setting. The gear you would carry for a total collapse situation differs from a journey on the Appalachian Trail.

For this build, I focused on packing for the classic Red Dawn scenario. Partly because it’s fun as hell and also because it gave me a chance to really put my issue gear to the test. The first move I make when building a new kit is to focus on survival basics and then customize accordingly. Once I have the equipment for water purification, shelter and fire starting, then I add mission specific items.

For this situation I need ammo, camouflage uniforms and combat related gear. Of course things can get out of control fast and you might end up packing everything but the kitchen sink. Carrying enough ammo to supply a squad of Marines is great until it’s time to put boots on the ground. Then you find out that 100lbs on your back really sucks.

This is why I set the benchmark of 75lbs for this build. It’s a weight I can carry without dying, but still carry the essentials. Of course how you pack is also related to your physical fitness and health. If you can hump a 100lb pack over 10 miles of mountainous terrain in a blizzard then good for you. If you’re not on that level of badass skills, then it’s best to pack for what you can handle and not get over confident.

The main point is to pack the gear within reason, taking in account your physical capabilities and the situation at hand. In order to keep everything organized I use the Line System which you can read about here. This allows me to layer my gear, adding and removing equipment as needed.

First Line: Essential Survival Gear

There are a few variations on first line gear, but in a nutshell it’s your everyday carry kit. I include apparel in the first line since the jacket and trousers are designed specifically for carrying items such as flashlights, id cards, etc.  The smock has eight pockets that provide tons of options for carrying EDC gear. My id and money is stored in the vertical slash pocket and the rest of the items are spread out in the front four pockets. EDC varies widely, and in this kit, there are still some additions I have to make. I’m looking to add a monoscope like the Barska Blackhawk, small flashlight and possibly  a mini IFAK.




Second Line: Combat Gear

Load bearing equipment includes items such as a chest rig, plate carrier or similar vest style. I chose the FLC Molle II vest due to the dirt cheap price and wealth of Molle webbing. It’s also a good fit with my main pack.


flcvest1mod flcvest2mod

Third Line Gear: Everything Else

This is the rest of the kit, items such as the sleeping bag and mat, water filter and more. It’s an extensive list so I’ve broken it down into categories.

Cookset & Food
A proper supply of food is an obvious part of the INCH bag. I packed my favorite cookset, the Esbit 5 Piece Trekker Stove and then added a variety of items high in calories, fat and carbs for energy.



Hygiene Kit
Staying clean is imperative in a survival situation, first to retain your humanity and secondly to avoid infections and disease. These items will keep me clean for at least two weeks if not longer if used sparely. Not visible are nail clippers, shaving cream and a few bars of motel soap.



Reading Materials
If it’s time to break out the INCH bag, the situation is most likely dire. The King James Bible have to be included, it’s Word has long provided me with  moral support and guidance. Of course I would be remiss to leave out the other bible, SAS Survival. I tossed in a copy of Essential Liberty, a pocket reference to our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other important founding documents.



Clean clothes is another important factor to consider. Not to mention weight as well. I tried to keep both in mind when packing this bag. The heaviest item is the SSO Partizan-M camouflage suit, but its proven too valuable to leave behind. Read more about this reversible design at this link.

INCH Bag clothes2

Medical (Minor and Major Trauma)
A proper medical kit is a foregone conclusion, so  I made sure to pack logically and cover both minor and major medical events. The latest addition is the Topocaine which a perfect choice for treating tooth pain. Admittedly I do have room for improvement, in the future, I’ll be switching the Celox for Quikclot Gauze and adding pharmacy grade anti bacterial medication.



Water and Fire Kit
The average human body can survival three days without water, which is why I take water purification seriously. The Sawyer Mini is a perfect choice, filtering up to 100,000 gallons. However, in order to be truly effective, the water filter has to be paired with a Millbank Bag. This provides a way to strain out sediment and debris from water before filtering occurs.



Gear wears out and things go wrong, so a well thought out repair kit is a must. I’ve expanded on the basic repair items, adding two extra buckles, a personal alarm, some lighting options and a dual sided carabiner.




Packing an INCH bag is not a quick affair. This build has evolved over time and provides me with a solid foundation of gear. It’s far from complete, there are some short comings which have to be addressed. First, I don’t have any equipment for acquiring my own food. No fishing kit, traps or hunting specific gear. Running out of food is a serious issue, even for those experienced in wilderness survival. Reality survival shows such as Alone prove that catching food is the biggest variable in long term survival situations.

The other downside is the weight. I don’t expect my INCH bag to weigh 45 or 50lbs, however I could lose about 5lbs if I was to purchase a new sleeping bag and few other items. This weight loss can be offset by the addition of ammunition, a small breakdown .22 rifle, or folding bow.

Drop me a comment, let me know what you think and be sure to check out the links below!

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