Fieldcraft Survival 72-Hour Ziploc Bag Problem

Working for Fieldcraft Survival, I’ve discovered to anticipate every day to be stuffed with the sudden. We’ve got a extremely dynamic work atmosphere with new tasks and duties frequently. Sooner or later, we’re scouting land for upcoming programs, the subsequent we’re flying to a different state to show a defensive handgun class, the subsequent we’re filming on-line content material within the mountains — you get the concept.

The Fieldcraft Survival Problem

In June 2021, my boss Mike Glover challenged me to outlive for 72 hours within the desert with nothing greater than the contents of a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Since I used to be employed to be the lead survival material professional, I wasn’t going to move up this chance.

Above: The gear the writer was allowed to hold wanted to suit inside a closed 1-quart plastic bag.

Statistically talking, most emergencies final not more than 72 hours. Inside these 72 hours, an individual can self-rescue, drawback resolve, and have an effect on their scenario to stop the emergency from changing into a survival state of affairs. There’s little doubt anybody could be thrust into an emergency bivouac or short-term emergency of their day-to-day travels. In an unlucky circumstance like that, the contents of 1’s pockets or a small emergency package would be the solely gear accessible. Pocket gear will usually not take up extra space than what can match right into a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Hypothetically, an individual ought to have the ability to survive 72 hours in a given atmosphere with a quart-sized package designed to deal with fundamental survival wants. Hypotheticals are good for debate, however sensible workouts are higher for proof. I lately took a single Ziploc to the excessive desert and survived triple-digit warmth and gained many teachable factors to share right here.

Disclaimer: This 72-hour survival problem was carried out by knowledgeable survival teacher underneath shut supervision by rescue personnel. Don’t try any probably harmful survival problem with out prior coaching, and at all times set up contingency plans in case one thing goes fallacious.

Planning the Ziploc Bag Equipment

Above: Kevin Estela is the Director of Coaching for Fieldcraft Survival, with over 20 years of out of doors ability educating expertise. He drew upon his edible plant data to maintain himself for the 72-hour problem. 

Mission at all times dictates gear. Surviving 72 hours within the excessive desert of Utah in the course of the hottest month of the 12 months meant shifting survival priorities round. Deciding whether or not shelter or water is precedence primary is conditional on clothes and present makeshift constructions like a broken-down car. Since this problem required utilizing the contents of the Ziploc, I carried a North American Rescue Emergency Wrap blanket to sleep underneath and an Journey Medical Kits 1-Individual Bivy to sleep inside. When it comes to water, I premeasured and marked 24 ounces on a collapsible bladder for simple use with Aquatabs. Aquatabs name for 1/10 gallons or 25 ounces and even when I have been off by 1 ounce on my water assortment, the tabs would work as anticipated.

Given the fireplace restrictions within the space, I packed some fundamentals only for proof of idea together with a Mini-BIC, Exotac nanoSTRIKER ferro rod, and a few premade tinder. Cordage was fastidiously chosen with emphasis on smaller “disposable” cordage as a space-saver. Duct tape and superglue rounded out the package for multipurpose use in binding and first-aid. Vitamin was a critical consideration on this problem. Since most individuals carry loads of meals shops on their physique within the type of fats, I knew I may go longer than 72 with out meals. That stated, I didn’t wish to compromise my well being. I packed a sleep assist, multi-vitamins, and rehydration tablets. A part of the problem was an allowance of cheap clothes. I couldn’t pack a puffy jacket only for sleeping at night time if I wouldn’t usually put on it. This meant a pair of pants, boxers, a long-sleeve T-shirt, button-up shirt, wide-brim hat, sun shades, neckerchief/scarf, and boots. I didn’t carry a spare set of socks, and I didn’t have gloves for hand safety with me.

One other factor value noting is the massive security web the Fieldcraft Survival crew solid for this problem. I used to be monitored by our medic Austin Lester and I carried a small Kifaru Escape and Evasion Pack stuffed with an emergency medical package, short-wave radio, electrolyte drink, Kestrel machine for taking climate readings, and battery packs to recharge my electronics used to replace social media. I had an emergency trailer a few quarter mile from my location I wasn’t allowed to enter, in addition to my car close by. I needed to stay within the atmosphere on 2,500 acres of personal land and never use the emergency provisions except they have been completely obligatory. This sort of problem may be very rewarding to the participant, however it may be harmful if precautions aren’t in place.

Ziploc Bag Contents


  • North American Rescue Rescue Wrap
  • Keep Outdoors Longer (SOL) Emergency Bivy Sack


  • Fieldcraft Survival Collapsible Bladder
  • Reynolds Oven Baggage
  • 3-Foot Vinyl Tubing
  • 30 Aquatabs


  • Mini BIC lighter
  • Exotac nanoSTRIKER
  • 4x Procamptek Tinder Plugs


  • Victorinox Farmer
  • ESEE Knives S35VN Izula With Duct-Tape Edge Guard

Cordage and Utility:

  • 6-Foot Duct Tape
  • 12.6 Toes 550 Paracord
  • 25-Foot Braided Tarred Catahoula Line
  • 3-Foot Stainless Metal Wire
  • 1x Single Use Superglue
  • 2x Small Cable Ties
  • 1x Button Compass
  • 1x Quart-Measurement Ziploc

Fishing and “Looking”:

  • Assorted Dry Flies
  • 6-Foot 4x Fly-Fishing Tippet
  • 25-Foot 50-Pound Check Spiderwire
  • Assorted Hooks, Break up Shot, Snap Swivels
  • 2x Sheffield Floats
  • 1x Theraband Slingshot Band


  • 6x Wolf21 Sleep Dietary supplements
  • 3x Nuun Hydration Tablets
  • 3x Kifaru Revival Packets
  • 3x Ghee/Coconut Oil Packs
  • 3x Black Rifle Espresso On the spot Espresso Packs
  • 1x Cholula Scorching Sauce Packet

Beginning the Problem

Above: An emergency blanket was used, reflective aspect out, to create a shade construction for defense from the solar and 110-degree temperatures.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, I instantly went to work making a shade construction earlier than the temperatures rose too excessive. I pinned down one lengthy aspect of my emergency blanket with rocks and propped up the opposite aspect with two sticks and a few tarred twine with pebbles appearing as “buttons” rolled up contained in the corners. With a fundamental solar construction arrange, I moved to the river a few quarter mile away. I used my marked bladder to measure out roughly 2 gallons of water and carried it within the Reynolds Oven Baggage doubled up for power. My button-up shirt was used as a makeshift backpack with the sleeves tied up across the waist in addition to the collar. I carried my water increased off the bottom from thistle and spiky crops that might have torn my bag. As a substitute of risking popping my emergency water bladder by lifting and shifting it, I used the small size of tubing to create a versatile straw to drink from. After establishing the necessities, I constructed up my bedding with native vegetation earlier than taking the primary of three each day siestas from 10:30 to 2:30 every day when the solar was hottest.

Above: These wild rose hips have been dry however nonetheless edible. Gathering and processing them helped move the time. 

Over the subsequent three days, I stored a busy schedule to stop boredom. This meant constructing tasks like a single-funnel fish lure, Lincoln-log chicken lure, chopsticks, and a slingshot (regardless that I didn’t plan on searching something as a consequence of native searching restrictions). A few of these objects served to reveal ideas somewhat than generate speedy outcomes.

Above: The writer constructed a funnel fish lure out of narrow-leaf willow on day one. Sadly, the lure didn’t yield any fish.

Whereas my fish lure didn’t yield something edible, my makeshift fishing rod constituted of a 7-foot size of narrow-leaf willow did. I caught two small trout that I later cooked with fireplace extinguishers and security officers on standby to stop any threat of wildfire. Fishing helped maintain me sane, so it was a part of the each day routine together with gathering water. Throughout one journey to the creek, I noticed two beavers, making the choice to pack and use purification tabs extraordinarily justified. As someday carried into the subsequent, the temperature continued to climb from 99 to 104 levels F. On the ultimate day, I made a decision to leap within the creek with all my garments on, solely to seek out they’d dry off in underneath an hour within the sizzling and dry air.

Above: The writer dunked his Tilley hat within the water to chill off.

There’s an outdated Spanish proverb that “the stomach guidelines the thoughts.” Though I may survive on my physique’s fats shops, there’d positively be related starvation pains from not consuming often. My first actual meal was on day two — roughly 30 hours into the occasion — and it consisted of broad-leaf plantain, dandelion, clover, and a pair versatile stems of mullein spiced up with a single-serve packet of Cholula. I snacked once I may and located golden currants on the verge of ripeness with a little bit of astringence to be common path nibbles. I carried single-serving ghee/coconut oil packets I deliberate on utilizing each six hours on the ultimate day; this nominal supply of energy and power from fats was a welcomed deal with. I used to be used to a schedule of intermittent fasting with an eight-hour-per-day consuming window already. This helped put together me for ignoring the ache of starvation skilled on this problem. Though I discovered meals to eat from the land, I positively skilled fatigue from an absence of energy.

Above: Fishing resulted in catching two small trout.

Every night time, I used the Wolf21 sleep complement and was in a position to get between seven and eight hours of sleep simply. Sleep is very underrated, and it supplies the physique with time to recuperate each mentally and bodily. Temps dropped to about 60 levels at night time, and I discovered I climbed into my emergency bivy solely when the wind picked up. Sleeping out within the open, I used to be uncovered to some bugs and infrequently felt them crawling on my face and neck. It’s an inconvenient actuality of roughing it that interrupts an in any other case peaceable night time’s sleep.

Above: Small fish could be eaten complete. Prepare dinner till their eyes flip white.

I wrapped up the 72-hour problem with nice power. I made a single cup of chilly espresso and smoked a celebratory cigar. Over three days, I dropped from a pre-challenge carb-loading weight of 207 to 199 with my ordinary weight round 202.5. I used many of the package except for the superglue, compass, and zip ties. Apart from that, all of the objects I carried discovered their approach into my answer to spending time in an extremely inhospitable atmosphere.

Put up-Motion Classes Realized

After just a few sleep cycles, it was straightforward for me to start assessing what labored and what didn’t. As at all times, the satan is within the particulars, and it’s solely by testing gear in sensible situations that we will be taught and modify our preparedness. There actually isn’t any gear I’d’ve swapped out of my package given the dimensions constraints of the bundle it needed to be carried in. In fact, there have been many occasions I wanted I had a extra substantial knife, a bigger tarp, a metallic container to make sizzling drinks, a closed-foam sleeping pad, a mosquito head web, and a greater fishing setup. That stated, these things couldn’t match within the Ziploc and have been simply wishful pondering.

Above: The writer used the stripped willow saplings to assemble a chicken lure. The lure was triggered by a discipline mouse.

If there have been any objects I wanted I had that did match, they have been merely extra of what was already within the bag. On the third day, my slingshot band snapped. I wanted I had introduced a spare. I wanted I doubled my electrolyte tablets. I wanted I had drink mixes and small packets of salt, as I started craving it extra with extra of my physique’s salt escaping by means of sweat. Even one thing so simple as chewing gum may’ve been helpful to take the style of bitter crops out of my mouth.

Above & Beneath: Scorching sauce can be utilized to boost regionally harvested greens like clover, dandelion, and plantain. The inside pith of versatile mullein stalks may also be eaten.

As I used my knives to carve and construct, I observed the perimeters getting boring. I picked up some clean stones to sharpen the blades, however a easy diamond hone would’ve labored faster and with much less effort. Wanting again on the expertise, even one thing so simple as barbed hooks as a substitute of barbless flies may’ve been helpful when the trout bit however weren’t landed due to this straightforward oversight.

When it comes to clothes, every thing I wore labored as deliberate. My scarf was moist every day and worn round my neck to chill off. My boots have been breathable sufficient to stop my toes from struggling the results of poor hygiene. My pants have been sturdy sufficient to endure strolling by means of brush and slipping down hillsides as I navigated the scree. One thing noteworthy is the attention safety I wore. My capturing glasses have a wraparound lens offering higher safety from the sunshine stimulus that works beneath and round normal “flat” sun shades. That saved me literal complications from the brightness.

Whereas I had a medic readily available for main accidents and diseases, I may’ve most likely had a extra substantial med package with me in my bag. Whereas I deliberate to tug the plug on the expertise within the occasion of a significant concern, minor points have been going to be handled with makeshift med gear, which is just by no means nearly as good as correct medical provides. Subsequent time, I’ll stash some triple antibiotic ointment, some finger bandages, and possibly some tablets for frequent points.

Above: To maintain the fish recent, the writer stored them alive on a micro-cord stringer till they have been able to be eaten.

Closing Ideas

Total, this expertise was a testomony to correct prior planning and a agency understanding of survival fundamentals. It wasn’t snug, nevertheless it was academic and a deed that’ll hopefully assist fellow readers acknowledge methods to enhance their very own preparedness. We intend to proceed pushing the bounds of this 72-hour problem with completely different gamers and package limitations. Simply because the problem continues to evolve, we hope the collective understanding of what’s wanted to outlive 72 hours in an emergency evolves too. For extra info, please observe Fieldcraft Survival @fieldcraftsurvival and (You too can observe Kevin’s private Instagram account @estelawilded.)

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