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Level 1.5 - Light Day
This is an improvement over the 1.0 level. It can be used in conjunction with 1.0, or it can be built as a duplicate of 1.0 with an improved tool assemblage. In both cases, it adds water and insulation / shelter elements. There is some focus on carrying tools to build an emergency shelter as opposed to carrying appropriate shelter and insulation. This is suitable for everything from a civilized walk with the kids at a state park up to a light and fast day trip in the backcountry with bail out options if things unexpectedly turn.
forum dedicated forum thread
Level 1.5 List


The training choices from Levels 0.5 and 1.0 apply here as well. Level 1.5 just adds better tools and a layer of insulation and water to make that unexpected survival task easier.

Tools - Expected Use

  • TP - Toilet Paper and hand sanitizer in ziploc bag. Use LNT principles, burying your scat about 6" deep.
  • Headlamp - They get better every year due to the rapid improvement in LED technology. We like something that has a couple of different brightnesses, a red bulb or filter, and both flood and spot settings.
  • Fire Starting Kit - At least two different tinders or accelerants and two different sparking methods. Ours has lighter, flint & striker, a bunch of 1.5" square pieces of bicycle innertube, and SOLKOA Fastfire. Ninety per cent of the time, the lighter and a piece of inner tube is what we use to start a fire.
  • Knife - We prefer a fixed blade knife that can be used for batoning and game processing both. However, a compact L1 build might substitute a multi-tool with decent locking blade and wood saw instead.
  • Sunscreen - The small tubes are usually available in the travel section of the local supermarket.
  • Bug Spray - It's better if this is in the contingency list. Realistically, there are lots of places where it is in expected use. DEET is the real deal and works. The higher the percentage of DEET the better.
  • Water Storage - Dual 1qt GI size water bottles are hard to beat. Perhaps a 1-2qt bladder thrown into the mix for rehydration on the go. Or a small bicycle bottle for the same purpose.

 Tools - Contingency

  • First Aid Kit
  • Foam Ear Plugs
  • Multi-tool - You can accomplish a lot with a multi-tool. Theoretically you've already got one in your L 0.5 kit, but it doesn't hurt at all to double up on this in this case.
  • Saw - 3oz Gerber slide out saw is a lot of bang for the buck weight-wise and cost-wise.
  • Cordage - This is a place where a hank of good old fashioned p-cord is the right weight and strength balance.
  • Spare Batteries - Whatever makes sense. You don't want to go overboard.
  • Water Purification Tabs - You're hopefully carrying enough water to get through the day. If you're not, the purification tabs are your primary at this level.
  • Metal Cup - Or pot. We like the stainless ones with fold out handles that fit over a 1qt Nalgene because you can nest a small tarp inside of them on the bottom of your pack.
  • Spare Magazine - If you're not happy with what's on your belt, a spare rifle or pistol mag or two might make sense.


  • Gloves - Lightweight hard face contact style gloves are good here. Like the Outdoor Research PL 100. Or the no-name ones you can buy at the end of the season in many outdoor stores for under $10.
  • Beanie - Heavy weight fleece or wool is compact but can do a lot for you.
  • Jacket - In colder months, a lightweight puffy or vest is a good choice. Another interesting option is a mid to heavy weight base layer like a merino wool hoodie. This gives you something to change into after stripping off a soaked base layer. You might choose to add a Mountain Serape. For us, something that large and capable doesn't make the cut.
  • Spare Pair of Socks - In their own ziploc bag.
  • Sit Pad - Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The colder the season, the more yes. A foam gardener's knee cushion or piece of closed cell foam works. As does a Crazy Creek Hexlite.


  • Hard shell - With the right wearable shelter (like a poncho or bivanorack), you might forego carrying this as well. When it comes to "clothing", this is the one must have in a 1.5 load
  • Gaiters / Rain Pants - We never use rain pants, but in some environments they are essential. We use gaiters instead year around, and when snow is down they really come into their own. Depending on environment and season, this item may not be worth carrying.
  • Tarp or Bivy - For this level, we like a multi-purpose sort of item. The Hilleberg Bivanorak is an excellent waterproof breathable pullover that can be drawn up at the waist  as a coat or down past the feet as a bivouac sack. Another good choice is a 5'x8' silnylon poncho. Or army surplus poncho. The ponchos are better if you want to construct a shelter for a reflector fire that could protect a couple of people, the bivouac is better if you want to be able to just crawl into something with minimal effort. If you don't have a group you're responsible for, perhaps the hardshell is enough.


  • Water - Target 1/2 a day of water at least in dryer environs.
  • Snacks - Granola bars can be kept in a pack for months at a time and will get you down the trail when necessary. Something like Pro-bars will go even better but aren't cheap.
  • Drink Powder - Gatorade packets are cheap and easy to source. Hammer Heed is much better for you.
  • Instant Coffee - Nice mid-afternoon pick me up when you're hunkered under a tree waiting for a storm to blow over.
  • Energy Gel - The good thing about these is they're easy to move into a pocket for on the go consumption. It's easy to over-extend yourself because you don't want to stop for food. A gel shot of some kind eliminates that excuse.


Due to the size and weight of this type of load, virtually any day pack will work. At the weight this will come out to, it doesn't matter as much if you've got crappy suspension. Here are the products in our lineup that lend themselves to this load:

  • Prairie Belt - A fully loaded PB in a 33+ or 36+ size has enough real estate to accept the load above. It's a stretch though.
  • Tarahumara - A perfect choice for this load.
  • Umlindi - A beltless Umlindi is a lot like the Tarahumara, but gives you a lot more capacity and will settle the load a little better into your lumbar area due to the framesheet and stay. With the above load, the Umlindi will be compressed to about half capacity.
  • Connor - Another perfect choice for this load, particularly if you are plussing up for colder months



The HPG equipage taxonomy is a systematic approach to thinking about backcountry living systems -- what you need to carry and when. For seasoned backcountry travelers, it may serve as nothing more than a way of understanding under which circumstances each piece of gear we produce is most useful. For everyone else, we hope it serves as a good introduction to their own integration with a backcountry or austere environment.


explore Overview Level 0.5 - Pocket Level 1 - Kit Level 1.5 - Light Day Level 2 - Go Bag Level 3 - Sustainment