Preparedness does not equal paranoia. Most adults will experience some level of emergency or natural disaster in their lifetimes, from tornadoes and earthquakes to a simple vehicle breakdown at the wrong time and place. In the last couple months travelers in my area were forced to shelter in their cars overnight during a snowstorm. That’s why you ought to always have a survival bag … or four.
Yes, four. Imagine them as layers of contingency but with the number one rule that they need to be practical and fit in within your lifestyle.
- Every Day Carry Bag
- Get Home Bag
- Bug Out/Go Bag
- Shelter In Place Bag
The Every Day Carry Bag is essentially your “purse,” and is the kit you will have with you every time you leave the house. The goal of this bag is that we can carry this bag and it is unobtrusively and use it to get back to our vehicle and the next larger kit if we have to. This is the bag we can carry into work or take with us to wear in a mall while shopping. Your EDCB is NOT meant to be a catch all. Remember practicality—this is your satchel for a few must-have items that you will use and need every single day. This is a smaller bag like a fanny pack or smaller over the shoulder bag. Big enough to conceal a pistol if need be, but not even as big as a small back pack.
In this kit/bag I like to have an extra magazine for my pistol, a multi tool, lighter, and flashlight. For the Med Kit, I will have a small gunshot wound kit with tourniquet. And since this bag is with me everyday and is the most used bag I have, I will include a small medicine load out. Think of the gas station foil medicine pouches.
Get Home Bag
Get Home Bags are slightly larger than our EDCB and about the size of a school backpack. This is the bag that we store in our vehicles or leave at work. The goal of this bag is to include the stuff that can help us get back to our homes, and it needs to be adequate for 24 hours.
I recommend a Camelbak for hydration and some non-perishable food like MRE’s, jerky, and snacks. I like to include some toilet paper and wipes, trust me being refreshed makes all the world but hygiene is also king. Good thing we have our stomach meds right? A paper map of your local area is a good idea, because do you know every single road if your phone dies? And while we are mentioning the phone, I love the smaller portable chargers.
You may also consider duct tape, a water filter, spare socks (this is more important than you can imagine until you get a blister), and maybe a larger tool like a tomahawk. A military pouch liner will do wonders to stay warm. Speaking of staying warm, the Get Home Bag needs to be tailored for the current season and area. Be sure to rotate food and water, keeping everything fresh.
With the Bug Out/Go Bag, we are preparing to survive for multiple days until we can get to our next point of safety. This is the bag we keep at home and grab when we have to leave. As the heaviest and bulkiest bag, everything will be dictated by the ability of the carrier. Not everyone can hoof a 60 pound ruck 5 miles or more. Since we are increasing in weight and size it is important that this bag is durable AND comfortable. Plan on having to carry this bag and not having access to a vehicle.
It’s at this point we need to start thinking about a larger firearm and extra ammo for it. Food needs to now last you several days and the higher protein the better. Trying to carry enough water might be damn near impossible, so a good virus rated water filer/tablets or even boiling water would be a better bet. Now we have to think about having back up batteries for all of our flashlights radios etc.
We now need to more seriously think about shelter so at a minimum we need a tarp and our tomahawk to help build a shelter. This is also where I am also adding extra hygiene items like a toothbrush and tooth paste, hand sanitizer. Alabama’s state bird is the mosquito so I am carrying plenty of bug repellent. Since we will most likely need this bag in a real emergency, power will be limited and phones do not work. Having maps, GPS, and compass will keep us from walking in circles. Be warned that this one will be the hardest to pack.
Shelter in Place
Having a good fire extinguisher in the shelter in place location is a must and if possible every member of the house should have charged their phones ahead of time. A battery powered weather radio allows you to stay up to date on all alerts even if the power’s out. Having a generator and gas on hand will keep food cold and allow you some creature comforts. Having alternative cooking methods like a grill with extra propane tanks or charcoal means having some hot meals and boiling water. Everyone needs a chainsaw and canned non ethanol gas handy. Even if you don’t know how to use it, neighbors can help clear land.
Other things to consider with each type of survival kit and bag, is that you need to have each pre staged and readily available. In an emergency you may not have time to try to gather stuff so the get home bag needs to be in every vehicle ready to go. It is up to you to try and be your own first responder at the minimum for your own self survival.
I know we just skimmed the surface but what are the things you readers have done to prepare, and what kinds of kits have you set up?