Originally Posted by doug&maggie
We have been tallking for some months about preparing a "bug-out bag", to grab at home or when we are traveling, in the event of an extreme emergency/natural disaster.
We dislike putting ourselves in survivalist mode (actually, we did that for years in another context
) but the likelihood that we will experience at some point a natural disaster seems good.
Are ready to stop talking and put some things together, and would like to hear what others are doing along this line.
Your choices should be guided by what sort of emergency you are preparing for, and its anticipated duration.
Just to be clear, we are talking about being prepared for natural disasters here....earthquake, tornado, hurricane.
Good, now you have to figure out possible durations you want to plan for, the degree of disruption you anticipate, and the approach you want to take (e.g. stay vs. leave). A bug-out bag, you say, so your approach is to depart via car or light truck, without the Airstream.
Our initial list is as follows:
First aid kit
* Be sure it includes things you need for a more extended emergency, to the extent of your medical/1st aid knowledge. In practice you're more likely to encounter insect bites, allergic reactions, scrapes, burns, pink eye, foreign objects in eye, slivers, etc than much of anything else
Water purification tablets
* Means of transporting and storing water for drinking and washing. As much of a nuisance as 5 gallon collapsible containers are in actual use, they are small and light. Also include smaller containers for drinking water
* Means of purifying water of doubtful safety. The Katadyn filters are the best but are expensive. I would not rely on purification tablets except as a last resort
Better than nothing but how about
* Stocking cap (per person)
* Heavy coat (per person), Carhart or similar -- heavy shell unlikely to be damaged
* Blanket or sleeping bag
* Gloves of some kind -- especially in places like Illinois where it gets cold
I would suggest also carrying a disposable lighter. They will not work when wet but in most other circumstances they are far more practical, and you can use them more than once.
* Inexpensive set of nesting cookware
* Fork and spoon
* portable grill suitable for use over an open fire
Single burner butane stove/butane cannisters
OK but remember they don't work below 20 degrees. It gets colder than that in Illinois, right? Instead, choose one of these inexpensive options:
* Esbit solid fuel stove with extra pellets
* MSR XGK - expensive, requires practice to use but in experienced hands extremely reliable and will run on many different fuels (including unleaded gasoline and diesel)
* Optimus hiker stove -- like the MSR but somewhat less fiddly to use, and very expensive
* Any of a number of inexpensive propane stoves, easier to use than the MSR and Optimus, but require the propane cylinders
Small supply of dried foods...???
Are less concerned about food, as I think that would be available from one source or another. Thinking dried items which would cover a few days.
You'd be surprised how much food you can go through in a few days. It's not a survival item per se as healthy people can live for weeks but being hungry affects your thinking. Therefore:
* At least a couple of items that store well and can be eaten cold without much preparation:
** Peanut butter
** Sardines or other canned meat or fish.
** Spray cheese (I can't remember the real name)
** Jam or jelly
** Powdered drink mix. Lemonaide etc
** Dried fruit
* Then a few things that require heat, in case you are stuck somewhere longer:
** Tea bags, or instant coffee, if you need caffeine to get through your day
** Instant hot chocolate
** Instant oatmeal or other hot cereal
** Freeze-dried backpacking meals
** Bisquick, rice, noodles, if planning for longer scenarios
Have several of these. I carry a few pieces of old candles, which together with some cardboard or paper work great
Be careful, the cheap ones are junk and you can't depend on them. How about
* Small, reliable LED flashlight. I am fond of the Gerber Infinity Ultra. They are relatively inexpensive, but quite reliable, and provide enough light for most uses.
* Several Cyalume sticks. Even the best flashlights can fail when you need them. Cyalume sticks last for years, and I've never had one fail. You can only use them once but there are plenty of times when once is all you need. Also, you can leave these behind or give them away and still have your flashlight
* If space and weight allow, carry one of those handheld 6v lanterns that takes a big square battery. They're cheap and produce all kinds of light. Bring a spare bulb
Those go a long way but won't do everything. Everyone has their own tool list, but minimally, I would suggest:
* a small axe
* a folding saw
* A lockback folding knife. I'm not a knife geek but something like the Kershaw Blur is what you want -- durable, reasonably priced, holds its edge, and a suitable size for basic food preparation as well as utility use.
* Box of drywall screws, being sure that you have a matching bit or blade in your multi-tool.
* Copies of prescriptions and health records if controlled substances or drugs with a high abuse potential are prescribed for you for ongoing use
* Any drugs you may need to deal with high stress or unusual situations: Tums, tylenol, sleep aid, etc.
* Any drugs you need to deal with any episodic conditions that you are prone to (varies among individuals)
* Alternate ID documents that can establish who you are if your DL and passport are lost. e.g. expired DL and passport, birth certificates, marriage license, photocopy of DL or passport
* Evidence of any military service, professional accreditation, or licensing you have that you may find useful in an emergency
* Contact details for people close to you - phone #s, email, addresses
* Resume and job references if you are preparing for a situation long enough that you anticipate having to seek new employment
* Extra keys for your bugout vehicle
* Soap - a bar is best as less prone to accidental wastage than liquid
* Lip balm
* Bandana or washcloth
* Shovel - for sanitation. Be careful of the cheap folding ones, some are pretty much worthless for actual use
* Some extra clothing - at least socks, shorts, and a tshirt
* Insect repellant - a small container of the 95% deet takes up little space and lasts a long time
* Tampons or pads if needed
* Condoms if you use them
* Disposable razor
All that will cover a fairly wide range of situations for 3-5 days whether you're stuck in a forest, barn, or football stadium. No deserts around here so someone from AZ or somewhere will have to hold forth on desert-specific items
Remember that survival depends not only on staying alive but on being able to maintain enough of your normal routine and normal activities that you are psychologically able to deal with the crisis that presents itself.