Go Rigs and Coffee, North Carolina Edition

Posted by Kevin Estela on Aug 10th 2023

“So you just drink coffee and talk about 4x4’s?” I’ve fielded that question about Go Rigs and Coffee before and here in Aberdeen, NC, I fielded it again. Go Rigs and Coffee is a program that started in UT and when we opened Fieldcraft Survival East, Go Rigs and Coffee was added to our events list. A Go Rig is an extension of your Go Bag and it allows you to expand your range and your capability. To be fair, we didn’t know how well this event would go over here in NC since the overland community is not as overt as it is in UT. Here on the east coast, there are more rock crawlers and mudders than there are high-end vehicles found in UT. The off-road community here has a different vibe than the community out west. Despite this difference in vehicle preferences, we had a great turnout and provided some excellent takeaways for those in attendance. We didn’t “just” anything and we provided more than they expected that morning.

Starting at 9am, the attendees started funneling into the classroom. Positioned in the back of the room was my Toyota 4Runner and in the back of the building was Kevin Owens’ Mercedes Sprinter Van. At the ready was Black Rifle Coffee (in particular 5 Alarm blend and Just Black) as well as my Adult Hot Cocoa recipe for those daring to try it. That homemade hot cocoa has added cayenne pepper and warms the body 3 times with the initial heat, the cayenne spice, and then the metabolized sugar and fat. Tuula Owens picked up donuts prior to the event and had those for the students to snack on and just in case anyone forgot to chew, our Med/Survival/Firearms instructor Jerry Young was there to perform the heimlich maneuver (that wasn’t needed BTW.) As is part of our culture here in NC, the course started with the pledge of allegiance to our nation’s great flag. It’s funny how a simple act like this puts a smile on everyone’s face and truly does create an allegiance of like-minded folks.From that moment onto to about 12:45pm, we shared knowledge, showed off vehicles, and discussed advanced training.

While it is impossible to fully summarize all of what was shared with the students, I can break down the day into some key takeaways and sections. Go Rigs and Coffee is one of our entry-level courses and while that usually means lecture and wave-top level information, we wanted to hit the ground running with this course and introduce many of our newcomers to what we do and how we do it. Call it a tease if you want but this event absolutely builds interest into the training we love to do in the field. Our day started off with a conversation about the concept of “bugging out” and how go bags were created as a support system for that mission. We moved to explaining how more resources can be carried in a vehicle than on your back and then we explained the various levels of kit you should have staged on your person, pack, vehicle, workplace, and home. All of those layers complement one another and as you gain capacity, your tools gain in robustness and capability. Part of the morning’s discussion was grounded in theory, part of it surrounded equipment, and part of it was about habits. One of those habits I’ve preached for years is refilling regularly using the “half-tank habit” which was pressure tested recently when we had the Moore County Blackout of 2022. Other real-world examples were presented that brought the concept of Go Rig from theory into reality.

Attendees were encouraged throughout the morning to share their experiences, ask questions, and go “hands on” with gear presented. The parking lot became home to a great collection of Jeeps, vans, pick up trucks, and SUVs that all subscribed to the philosophy of the Go Rig. All of the FCS NC staff fielded questions and showed off their kit preferences and students began finding others in the room with similar interests to them. The event continued with a vehicle walk around of my 4Runner starting with the Southern Style Off road bumper and Warn Winch in the front to the Cali Raised LED MOLLE panels, Boss Strong Box drawer system, and RIGD Ultra Swing Tire carrier in the back. My vehicle wasn’t the only one to be part of the walk around experience. One of the students pulled his sprinter van around that became the object of Kevin Owens’ envy. That Sprinter van was really hooked up great with a mean lightbar, winch, solar power, and so much more. The purpose of these practical examinations of Go Rigs is to not only find out what is carried but how and why. Like so many aspects of preparedness and training, you will learn of many ways to do something right and there isn’t always one correct way. If there has to be one “this is THE way”, it is applying this understanding of correct solutions and not getting stuck on just one.

As the morning came to a close, students inquired about other courses we run here at Fieldcraft and many showed interest in the new Bug Out Planning event at the end of the month. That course will include a large section on vehicles and go below the surface of that wave-top level training we presented at the informal Go Rigs and Coffee. That morning, students exchanged numbers and planned on doing vehicle runs to different off-road areas in this neck of the woods. The Fieldcraft NC staff ran back and forth keeping the pots of Black Rifle Coffee full and there’s no doubt we were highly caffeinated that morning. We don’t have as large of a store as the flagship UT store but we were very thankful our attendees purchased gear as gifts, additional prep, and souvenirs. This event isn’t going to make Fieldcraft a fortune but that isn’t the point. There’s energy in the air at these events and they are a lot of fun to attend from our perspective. Whether you attend Go Rigs and Coffee here in North Carolina or out in Utah, you’ll find the concepts are the same and the coffee is good anywhere. This was the first Go Rigs event we’ve run but it will not be our last and we hope to see you next time around.