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The decision to abandon your house is monumental. Every situation is different. Perhaps an out-of-control wildfire is clawing its way up the valley toward your normally quiet cabin in the woods and you have mere minutes to grab what you can and leave. Maybe Martial law has been declared three towns over thanks to an outbreak of a mysterious disease. Do you stay and wait it out, hoping it will blow over or they’ll find a cure quickly, or do you grab what you can and leave? Either way, closing the door one last time of your house, or cabin, or apartment, not knowing if you’ll ever be able to come back is scary and stressful. Did you make the right decision to leave? More importantly, did you bring the right gear with you if you did leave? 

If you have the Gunslinger II Bug-Out Bag by Survival Bags, Inc., on your back or in the trunk as you speed toward safety, be assured you’ve got the right gear to see you through any uncertain times you’ll experience in the near future. It’s fully loaded. It’s ready to go. It’s with you.

Realize from the outset that this isn’t a light kit, as it is completely packed with all the gear you’ll need, but what is great about this particular pack is two-fold: 1) The pack is expandable to accommodate any rifle under 60 inches in length; and 2) The services offered in this kit are redundant, like a good kit should be. There are four sources for water, five cutting/sawing devices, four ways of starting a fire, and three shelter options (even one for the pack itself) among other redundancies.

Eberlestock’s G2 Gunslinger II Pack

The pack itself is the hunting version of the G2M tactical pack by Eberlestock, which is based on the original GS05M Gunslinger. The main difference between the two is that the gun scabbard built into the G2 can accommodate a longer rifle. The newest version of the G2 comes standard with the Intex-II frame system, a quiet and compact frame that can handle very heavy loads. The Intex-II can be exchanged with the Endo frame, as well as more compact, softer Gossamer frame (or you can simply remove the frame altogether).

The scabbard of the G2 folds into the bottom of the pack and is secured by a buckle.  This configuration is good for shorter weapons and other gear; it also makes the scabbard a great place to carry a laptop computer. It features side handles on both sides for easy loading, and the heavy-duty compression straps which can be folded completely flat. The padding on the back is very breathable and comfortable, supporting a lot of the weight of the gear.

The top pocket/pouch features an internal organizer with several small pockets, pen holders, and a padded pocket that can hold AR mags just as easily as fishing gear, a smart phone, or blocks of tinder. The internal webbing allows you to strap down your gear inside the pack, which equates to not only a quieter experience but a lot less weight shifting from side to side as you travel.

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Shelter is provided in many different forms, from ponchos to s reflective two-man tent and emergency blankets. The two carabiners are heavy-duty and can handle around 5,000 pounds of force.

The kit includes a few items that are not found in run-of-the-mill kits, such as a mosquito head net or a waterproof notebook and pencil. The pocket survival credit card is handy to keep close for quick fixes. And what can’t you do with 100 feet of paracord?

Most of the weight of the pack, not surprising, comes from the 18 4.22 ounces of water pouches, meant to last three or four days if used properly.

The Kaito Voyager is a beautiful example of a quality piece of gear. It does AM/FM, plus NOAA weather channels, has a two-way LED flashlight, a red emergency beacon and six ways to power it: dynamo cranking, solar, AA batteries, rechargeable batteries, AC adaptor, USB port.

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Escape Bivvy bag comes in low visibility OD Green, is breathable and body heat reflective while you sleep, and offers water resistance. It comes in a compact sack.

The various ways the Gunslinger II will help you start a fire include UST’s innovative BlastMatch, a one-handed spark generator, simple storm matches and a 36-hour candle. Keep all of your knives sharp with Smith’s Pocket Pal, which also features a ferro rod, compass, and flashlight.

Survival can get messy and living in that mess will deflate your hope and might eventually get you sick. The N95 masks will keep you breathing right, while the gloves will keep your hands safe. The Dynarex mouthwash and body wash can keep the germs at bay.

The Adventurer Survival Gill Net is an essential piece of equipment you can simply set in a stream to catch fish while you work on other essentials with Coghlan’s mini shovel and pick, for instance.

UST’s hexagon-shaped tarp (108 inches at its widest) can be used for many things like a shelter, ground cloth or thermal blanket. It is aluminized on one side for thermal insulation and comes in a stuff sack with guy lines and eight steel stakes.

Handle most of the medical needs that might crop up while you’re bugging out with SOL’s Hybrid 3, a three-in-one kit that provides medical supplies for dressing wounds, stabilizing fractures, and treating illnesses; survival tools to signal rescuers, start fires, and stay warm; and gear repair items to put just about anything back together.

The included steel comes courtesy Ontario Knife Company with its Ranger series tomahawk and the RAT 3 plain-edged knife. Nearly eight inches long, the RAT 3 is made from 1095 carbon steel with a micarta handle, while the 12.4-inch Ranger ’hawk features 1075 carbon steel and black texture powder-coated blades.

The Surefire G2X Pro Dual-Output LED flashlight provides 320 lumens, is 5.2 inches long and the 123A batteries are included.

The one-liter Infinity Dukjug water bottle by GSI is BPA-free and is made from polypropylene, which is about 25 percent less weight than standard polycarbonate. It has a secure silicon grip and a wide mouth for easy filling and cleaning.

The two MREs provided have eight-ounce entrées with six possible varieties, from beef stew to vegetarian chili (entrée varies). Also included are dried fruit, nut/raisin mix, fruit-flavored drink, utensil pack, and a flameless meal heater.

Accessories to the Eberlestock Gunslinger II pack itself is the two-liter water bladder and the lightweight rain cover in “hide open” timber camo pattern.

Packing Up your Gunslinger II

The Gunslinger II arrived in a big box and not completely packed, which is good because it gave us a chance to open each item, inspect it, learn about its functions, and become familiar with the pack’s abilities. Then we had to put it all together, so we were able to decide for ourselves what is important enough for the top pocket and what we could place deep inside the pack.

The first order of business was to remove every and all packaging. If it had cardboard attached to it, we removed it. It not only saves space and weight, but makes it easier to pack everything.

The large Ontario Knife Company’s Ranger series tomahawk found a home strapped to the side webbing for quick access, as did the two carabiners.

The Eberlestock pack has a plethora of straps, all able to cinch down something, making this pack one of the most secure available. As an added bonus, all of the strap tails are neatly rolled up and stowed away.

The Aquamira water purification tablets are stowed inside the GSI Outdoors water bottle, which was placed in an outside pocket for easy access.

On the front pouch is a waterproof zippered pocket intended for personal items such as phones, glasses, and even keys, so we left this pocket empty with the expectation you’ll fill it with personal-carry items when you need to.

Within that outside pouch goes things you’ll need in a hurry and the things you might use often, such as the Lifestraw and/or the SOL Hybrid 3 first aid kit. Also, it is a good idea to keep the survival manual handy.

There is plenty of webbing on the exterior of this pack, just waiting for MOLLE bags or additional gear.

The main cargo area is accessible from the top or the bottom, so work from the middle inward. In the middle, place items, such as the radio and the hygiene items, that you won’t need quickly or even soon. These are camp items for when you settle for the first night.

The heavy items, such as the water pouches, go on the bottom, while the bricks of food bars can be placed at the top so you can get at them easily during your trek.

Once packed up, use the buckles and straps to compress the pack down as small as possible. This will make it easier to store, less likely to make noise, and more stable while you are travelling.

Fine Quality

Survival Bags, Inc., avoided using one-time-use products and low-end equipment when gathering the gear for this pack. A survival pack needs to be self-sufficient, and it is only as strong as its weakest link. Because of this, the Gunslinger II isn’t cheap, but survival isn’t cheap either. If you’re in the thick of a situation and you’re not sure what the outcome will be, having quality gear that will last through the ordeal is always a matter of life and death. Survival shouldn’t be measured by dollars and cents, but instead, by minutes and hours.

MSRP: $989.95

Eberlestock Gunslinger II Pack Features

Made from 1000D Cordura nylon

Scabbard folds into the bottom of the pack

Heavy-duty compression straps

Hydration sleeves on back wall

Semi-transparent tuck pockets

Interior Padlock (PALS) webbing

Includes GSTC butt cover with pull-out sleeve

Adjustable/Removable Waist Belt

Total Volume: 2700 cubic inches

Weight: 5 lbs. 6 oz.


What’s in the Gunslinger?

Food/Water

2 MREs with flameless heaters

2 2400-calorie food bar packets by SOS Food Lab

18 4.22-ounce drinking water packets by SOS Food Lab

1 Infinity Dukjug one liter water bottle

24 Aquamira water purifier tablets

1 LifeStraw personal water filter

1 Eberlestock 2-liter water bladder

Survival and First Aid Kit

1 Adventure Medical Kits SOL Hybrid 3

Safety/Tools

1 Ontario Knife Company Ranger-series Hawk

1 Ontario Knife Company RAT 3 knife with sheath

1 Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 sharpener and survival tool

1 Surefire G2X Pro LED flashlight (with batteries)

1 Coghlan’s mini shovel with pick

1 Kaito Voyager KA500 flashlight/radio

1 Omega Pacific Tactical straightgate D carabiner

1 Omega Pacific Tactical Jake HMS Quik-Lok Carabiner

1 survival gill net

1 Best Glide ASE fishing kit

1 Best Glide ASE spiral camp saw

1 Best Glide ASE pocket credit card camper tool

1 Best Glide ASE mosquito head net

2 Best Glide ASE outdoor mosquito patches

1 pair couble palm work gloves

1 UST Waterproof 3 x 5 notebook paper and pencil

1 SAS survival guide 2E handbook

Paracord

100 feet of Gladding #550 paracord-Black.

Shelter

1 Adventure Medical Kits SOL Escape Bivvy

1 Ultimate Survival Technologies UST HEX tarp

1 two-person tube tent

2 emergency ponchos

1 emergency blanket

1 Eberlestock pack lightweight rain cover

Fire and Warmth

1 Coghlan’s 36-hour survival candle and matches

1 UST’s BlastMatch fire starter

12 UST’s WetFire fire starting tinders

1 package Coghlan’s storm matches

2 pairs of hand warmers

Sanitation/Hygiene

3 N95 particulate respirators

1 toothbrush with toothpaste

1 dental floss

1 Dynarex mouthwash

1 Dynarex body wash

1 package toilet paper

1 package tissue

8 shower-in-a-bag cloths

8 wet naps

2 sanitary pads

2 Blistex lip balms

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the June 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.