Back in the good ol’ days a man’s life might depend on the articles he carried in his ‘war bag’; some people call them ‘possible bags’. Whatever you want to call them, they’re handy to have around when you need something from it. You may find it handy if you’re camping, hiking, canoeing, car trekking, or hunting. It’s something to consider if you want to BE PREPARED, like the Boy Scout motto says. The contents are personal depending on the activity you are engaged in and the size of the bag you have.

My suggestion to get started is to go to garage sales, Goodwill stores, Salvation Army Thrift Stores, or to church rummage sales and look for a woman’s purse. It should be made of thick leather and have no decorations or frills on it (it could be embarrassing around deer camp). If you can’t start out with a leather bag then look for one made out of heavy duty canvas or you can make one out of an old pair of blue jeans.

Cut one leg off, turn it wrong side out, sew across the cut edge several times. Turn the bag right side out. Make a cut on either side of the bag (pant leg) at the bottom seam. Thread two long shoelaces through the hole and all the way around inside the seam and bring the shoelaces back out the other side of the hole you fed the shoelaces through. Tie an overhand knot in each individual shoelace. Pull a lace out through the hole on either side of the bag. You now have a set of drawstrings to close the top of the bag.

In my own ‘war bag’ I carry: a Boy Scout multi-blade folding knife (can opener blade, bottle opener/screw driver blade, cutting blade, and a leather punch) – strike anywhere matches in two or three waterproof safes (old pill bottles make good match safes) – prescription medications – an orange poncho – several feet of parachute cord – a small (3 x 4 x 3/4 – inch) Army Surplus metal folding stove with a box of Hexamine (solid fuel) tablets – a pair of wire cutting long-nose pliers – pencil & tablet – several candle stubs – small sewing kit – several clear film canisters containing fish hooks – fishing line – Band Aids, iodine swabs – salt – pepper – sugar – instant coffee, and etc. – a signal mirror – a magnifying glass – several folded paper towels in a Ziploc bag – two or three flattened 1/2 rolls of toilet paper in several Ziploc bags – two or three large trash bags and various other assorted things that I think I might need later on.

The contents will change over time to suit your own individual needs. I think the most important things are prescription medications, a knife, a source of fire, toilet paper, weather protection (poncho & large trash bags can be used like tents/sleeping bags), and always have water with you.

Good luck putting your war bag together and don’t forget the Duct Tape!

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Ray McCune

He has lived in Waynedale for over 45 years. He has taken to his lifelong dream of being a full time Outdoor Freelance Writer and author. Ray has authored one book and has written Kampfire Kookin' as well as other outdoors articles for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer