There is more than enough crazy to fill the web 10x over, so let’s keep this normal. Dick Cheney and Obama overthrowing the world is unlikely.
What is likely?
California having a 7+ magnitude earthquake, or Mt. Shasta(our local volcano) possibly keeping its track record and erupting in our lifetime. And of course, everyday situations like wildfires, floods, storms, and hurricanes will continue to wreak havoc.
Since most of us overreact when our Wi-Fi goes down, I thought it would be a good idea to cover some basics on being prepared. When things go wrong, food, water, fuel, and electricity can be in short supply. You want to be ready.
Building a bug out bag
What’s a bug out bag? A bug out bag is simply a pre-prepared survival kit that will sustain you in the short term, immediately following an emergency evacuation from your home.
It should be a backpack that is large and sturdy enough to hold the gear necessary to get you through 72 hours of survival. But keep in mind, you need to be able to carry it comfortably for an extended period, so forget your Kindle or six pack of beer. Keep it simple, serious and manageable.
Ten supply categories you should have in your bag
Category #1: WATER – For proper hydration pack 1 liter of water per day, preferably more. Since our goal is to build a 72-hour survival kit, have 3 liters of fresh drinking water–minimum.
Store your water in 3 collapsible containers. You’ll want to reduce the bulk but keep the container as the water is used. A metal canteen is another good choice because it can be used to boil drinking water you collect if your immediate supply runs dry.
Category #2: FOOD – Forget the deli section at Whole Foods, this is survival not a picnic. Pack simple & easy to prepare meals. Canned beef or chicken stew works. Dehydrated camping meals are also a great option and can be found at your local REI.
Throw in a few energy bars and candy bars. They’re packed with calories and carbs and you’ll need both.
Along with food you’re going to need a simple cooking kit. It should contain at least one small metal pot, a spork, a metal cup and maybe a metal pan or plate. Don’t over-do it. An easy way to cook your food or boil water is to use a tiny backpack stove with a small fuel canister.
CATEGORY #3: SHELTER – Again, keep it simple. We’re not trying to re-enact the movie Red Dawn, we just need to stay as warm and dry as possible.
- Pack 2 pair of wool hiking socks.
- 2 changes of underwear.
- 1 extra pair of pants that are preferably not 100% cotton.
- 1 long sleeve shirt.
- 1 warm rain jacket.
- A simple poncho from REI.
- 1 pair of comfortable, waterproof hiking boots.
- A fold-able brimmed hat.
- Beanie for cold nights.
- Small tent.
- Sleeping bag.
- 6×10 tarp.
CATEGORY #4: FIRE – If you’ve ever watched the reality show Survivor, then you know fire is the holy grail of survival. Pack two lighters and some waterproof matches. If you want to go hardcore, you can also include a fire steel. It will generate sparks in any weather. Pick up some tinder from any outdoor store to fuel your initial flame and you’re ready to go.
CATEGORY #5: FIRST AID – Keep it simple and buy a pre-made first aid kit that has a good assortment of items. Big enough to handle the basics.
CATEGORY #6: TOOLS – You need a knife. It should be large enough to use for chopping, cutting, and even self-defense, but also small enough to use for everyday camp needs. Also pack a multi-tool. It should have a screwdriver (both phillips and flat-head), pliers, a knife blade, and wire cutters. Leatherman is a great brand of multi-tools.
CATEGORY #7: LIGHTING – Pack a flashlight that will throw light a far distance, like a mini mag light or a mini LED flashlight. A package of 9-hour candles is also a great addition.
CATEGORY #8: COMMUNICATIONS – In today’s world, everything revolves around mobile phones. Obviously, grab your phone as you grab your bag. A phone with a dead battery isn’t helpful, so buy a solar charger for your bag. Goal Zero makes a great charger and you can find it at REI or Amazon.
As a backup, it wouldn’t hurt to pack a small AM/FM radio with fresh batteries. It’s easy to pack and could be vital in getting information if cell service is dead.
This one is important. Cary a paper map. Remember those? Don’t rely on having your phone or GPS.
CATEGORY #9: PROTECTION & SELF-DEFENSE – In an evacuation or emergency there will be chaos and disorder, guaranteed. The police will be overwhelmed, and if we pay attention to history, this is when people like to riot, loot and commit violent crimes.
Bottom line, take this category seriously and be prepared to protect and defend yourself, your family and your resources.
The best choice for self-defense is a gun. Whether it’s hunting, intimidation or stopping a situation or person that’s getting out of hand, a gun covers a lot of bases. There are a lot of choices out there, find one that works for you. My choice is a 9mm pistol. It’s light, easy to carry and effective.
CATEGORY #10: MISC. MUST HAVES – Here are some odds and ends you will need in your bag.
- Cash – Five hundred dollars minimum. Cash talks in emergencies
- Toilet paper
- Roll of duct tape
- Pad of paper and a pencil for leaving notes
- Spare pack of AA batteries
- Can Opener
- Bug Spray
- Bar soap and hand sanitizer
- Travel toothbrush w/toothpaste
There’s no perfect way to prepare, and you’ll never have everything you need. Don’t worry about having everything, just make sure when something goes bad you have a basic plan in place and the ability to adapt and survive.
Instead of a podcast this week, I decided to provide a list with links to some of the items listed above. I also have a link to a pre-built bug out bag from Amazon. It comes in two options, built for 2 people or 4 people, all packed and ready to go.
- Collapsible water containers
- Backpack stove
- Fire steel
- Simple pancho
- Small solar charging station for your phone
- Pre-Made bug out bag basic
- Pre-Made bug out bag
All this may seem like a lot. It’s not. Take one day and put it all together, you will be grateful you did when the poop hits the fan.