I do not consider myself a ‘prepper’ or a ‘survivalist’. I do not expect the world to fall apart anytime in my lifetime. However, natural disasters do occur and putting in some time and money to be even a little ready is harmless. So, I did an exercise in preparedness and this post is what I came up with for two people evacuating their home without a destination.
911, Katrina, Sandy, three events that have left even the least most paranoid person with a sense that something could happen that would force one to flee their house, community or even the region. Or maybe you don’t want to flee, you want to shelter in place. In either instance you have to have a plan. Part of the training of the Féinnid is to put together such a plan, to include what some call a bug-out kit. A kit with everything you need to survive in urban and rural environments with minimal planning. This post is about my bug-out kit in instances where sheltering in place is not an option.
The kit I put together has a higher cost than is necessary as I did purchase a couple all-inclusive-kits such as medkits and survival kits which you may be able to put together cheaply once you know all the contents. Everything fits into or onto a single backpack or can be slung over the shoulder independently without too much trouble. Weight wise the kit comes in at less than 30 pounds without clothing or toiletries that would have to be added at the time of departure.
When deciding to do this I had to figure out what exactly my plan would be and then build to that. What I came up with was a worst case scenario in which I have less than 24 hours to evacuate and no place to evacuate too. This meant preparing to live in primitive conditions for at least 48 hours with a mind towards a hike into the mountains.
The next choice was water, food and shelter. For water and food I chose a kit that was designed for 1 person for 48 hours. In it are water packets as well as 2400 calorie ration bars. I also added a LifeStraw, water purification tablets, and a 2 liter canteen as it is clear that the water provided in the kit would not last long if the weather is hot.
Shelter can be a small tarp held up by a single stick, or you can purchase a small 2 man single pole tent . Part of the shelter is your sleeping bag, and for this I specifically suggest the US Army Patrol Bag stuffed into a waterproof case and strapped to the lowest part of the backpack. You should also throw in a space blanket to add to your ability to stay warm, these often come with survival kits and first aid kits if you go that route.
You will need a fire starting kit, not only to heat up food but to aid in warmth and safety. Fire starting supplies should begin with a phosphorous fire starter kit and water proof matches. Add to that some sort of saw, machete or hatchet to make wood collection go easier. Also you may want to add an entrenching tool or folding shovel to dig a firepit making it easier to conceal and put out.
Put together a small first aid kit or buy one from any camping store. With a little research you may be able to build one yourself rather inexpensively. You should plan for this to contain a lot of supplies for cuts, gashes, strains and sprains, and possibly a broken bone. So be sure to include gauze, tape, splints, gloves, medicated ointments and of course alcohol. Your muscles will be sore if you have to hike due to traffic jams so also include pain killers.
You will need to know where you are going and plan to not have GPS. Be sure you have current maps of your region and the region you intend to get too as well as a compass and a flashlight. If you don’t know how to read a map or use a compass, don’t wait until a disaster strikes. Learn some basic orienteering now.
Knowing what is going on in the world is just as important as survival. You will need a radio receiver that operates on something other than an electric plug. The one I chose is from Sportsman’s Guide and has a crank that charges the batteries but can also run on solar and when fully charged will be able to charge up a cell phone, assuming you can get service.
What you wear will help protect you from animals, insects, and the elements. While I do not suggest you pre-pack all of your clothing you can pack a few items. Underwear and socks are the easiest items to pre-pack and you should pack at least 3-4 pairs of each. Your socks should be good well made socks made for hiking. When disaster does strike you should be putting together pairs of jeans, long sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes. If it is cold be sure to add inner-wear such as thermal underwear, it will get cold.
Once you have the above kit put together you can add items to it that will help you survive longer or more comfortably. For eating have added a military messkit, eating utensils and a can opener. I added 50 feet of parachute cord in case things need to be tied down, or hung up in a tree. I also added a LifeStraw Family Filtration System, since I will be with my family and it is much easier to fill up canteen with this and I don’t like water purification tablets. I also added a large fixed-blade knife to the pack for large cutting jobs, such as dressing an animal or carving into wood.
The more controversial items you may choose to include are firearms and gas masks. A gas mask is only going to be useful during civil disturbances in urban areas so while I have them I expect to dump them once I get into the woods and use the bag to carry other items. A firearm could be anything from a hand gun to a shot gun, but it should only be taken if you know how to use it. Most people I know would take a long arm so they could use it to hunt and this is probably the best reason to have it. Remember to carry ammunition for the firearm as well.
This seems like a lot of stuff that takes up a lot of space so you will want to keep your pack well organized. This means that when you pack your backpack you are going to want to compartmentalize as much as possible. Placing items into smaller sacks or cases within the backpack or putting smaller items in pockets on the outside of the will make it easier to find and keep like items together. You will also move some items from the pack to other locations when you hit the road. For example, the canteen and gas mask can be carried on your belt or on the strap that comes with the case freeing up a lot of space inside the backpack for clothing and more food should you decide to carry it. As it stands right now with my pack fully packed, less the clothing, there are still 4 empty pockets outside the pack as well as several liters of space inside the pack.
If you think of anything missing that is a must have or even just a comfort leave a comment. With climate change and an increasing level of violence in our society you never know when you will have to bug-out, and we can all use all the help we can get.