*The Poor Manís Escape and Evade Survival Vest*
By: Aries
22 April 2003

The Vest: If you are like me and do not have a lot of money being a survivalist can be daunting. You sit and rack your brain trying to figure out ways to purchase or make items you will need in a SHTF situation. Not long ago I posted an article on an escape and evasion training exercise that I conducted with my Special Operations Team. That got me thinking about all of the items I would need if such an event occurred.

What would I use letís say if I did not have my BOB, or a main battle rifle in the vehicle with me. I always have a pistol on me, so at least I would have a handgun. The answer came to me one day in my recliner. I was flipping through a Cheaper Than Dirt Catalog and there on the page before me I saw my answer.

What I saw was a U.S. military 40mm grenade vest. It had twenty-eight pouches across the chest. The back was made of mesh nylon. The cost was a mere $9.00. I immediately picked up the phone and ordered it. A week later it had arrived. Sitting in the shop looking it over I realized that the bottom of each grenade pouch was open. I could not put items in it without them falling out. Also you canít fit a whole lot in a pouch designed to carry a 40mm grenade. Not to be stopped in my quest I headed to Wal-Mart.

Once at Wal-Mart I purchased sewing thread rated at 80lbs. I then got some liquid stitch, black elastic 2Ē bands, and curved sewing needles. I then headed back to my shop to start on my vest. Once back at the shop I sewed the bottoms of each pouch. There are two pouches on the left and right upper side of the vest near the shoulders. I split the seam between the two pouches on each side creating one big pouch on each shoulder. I then sewed the black elastic bands across the tabs to cover up the gaps. I worked my way down each side of the vest creating double and triple size pouches. What do I mean double and triple pouches?

Well as you work your way down the vest it goes from two pouches at the shoulder the next row has two grenade pouches, then four pouches, and finally six grenade pouches at the bottom of each side. So to increase the size of the pouches you will slit the seams that separate each pouch creating a larger pocket. Then taking the black elastic band I would sew a strip between the flaps of the now larger pouch so items will not fall out of the gaps. Each strip was liquid stitched and then sewed on.

I made six smaller magazine pouches out of the bottom left six pouches. I took a magazine from my Glock 22 and inserted it into one of the pouches and pushed it down until the flap could be snapped shut. I then measured out a strip of elastic band and placed it on the bottom of the pouch. Once I marked the black elastic I pulled out the magazine. I then tacked the band on with safety pins; liquid stitched it and then sewed it on.

On the back of the vest I sewed a strip of an old black seat belt. I then attached a canteen cover to the strip using Alice clips. This strip goes across the entire lower back of the vest. About every two inches I sewed it to the vest. I then attached my old butt pack to the rear of the vest on the seatbelt strip.

I filled the pouches on the front with a couple of emergency blankets, first aid material, fishing line and lures, a Gerber Multi-tool, a hammock, emergency candle, water purification tablets, water proof matches, wire hand saw, a magnifying glass, and fire starting material. The magazine pouches hold six fifteen round .40 caliber Glock magazines. The but pack contains, a poncho, and poncho liner, good leather work gloves, watch cap, and an assortment of power-bars, and beef jerky. The total cost to purchase and make this vest was $14.00. It can be worn under a light jacket if you take off the canteen and butt pack. Well there goes some good gear you say. Well inside my but pack I have an old strap from some surplus item or another. It has clips at both ends. It is long enough that I can loop it to through the top of the butt pack and carry it like a shoulder bag, the canteen attached to the side. There are enough people walking around with surplus backpacks and bags I donít think it would stand out. So basically I could blend in to the people around me and still have all my survival gear on me.

I would suggest making one of these vests I think it may come in quite handy one day. If TSHTF and all I could grab was this vest I could make it to where ever I need to go. They are inexpensive and easy to make, and you can change out what goes in the pouches for each individual situation you think you may encounter. Have fun making it, and sorry I donít have pictures. When I get a chance I may mail some to War. Iím to computer illiterate to paste pictures and stuff. Stay safe and keep prepared.

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