My wife recently found an idea for a small, portable “72-hour food kit” made from a variety of items, stored in an empty half-gallon milk jug. The essence of the idea is to have a small variety of easy, relatively high-caloric density items that can be eaten cold, plus a small, versatile cooker for a few things that would benefit from heat. We recently put together a set of them – one for each member of the family, as well as one for the animals – and I’d like to go over them a little.
Overall, I like the idea. They’re quite compact, relatively lightweight, and can be stored either near the BoBs, or elsewhere as an “additional backup” (following the “two is one – one is none” principle). The food to be placed in each is listed on the website in a handy PDF, and it’s broken out as a shopping list, with columns to multiply out the contents for making multiple kits. It may not be your favorite foods, but it’ll keep body and soul together for a while. I certainly wouldn’t want to be doing any major exertion on just the contents of a single kit, but they’re more the “we’ve had to evacuate for 72 hours due to a hurricane” sort of thing, not a “I have to hike three days with my 50-or-so-pound BoB to reach my BoL” solution. Being the cautious types that we are, and having a little extra room in each of the milk jugs, we also were able to add a few things–extra matches, different fire-starting tools, and other knick-knacks.
Which leads me to the title of this week’s post: things often overlooked. I don’t recall where, exactly, I saw this list, but it seemed important enough for me to jot down in my notebook. It’s a list of ten things people forget about when putting together their BoB:
- Dental floss. Many more uses than just cleaning between your teeth–but that’s a pretty good one, too.
- Batteries. For the radio, flashlights, walkie-talkies… Sure, you may have solar or hand crank chargers, but when you absolutely need them right now, being able to just pop in that set of fresh AA’s is handy.
- Tarps. Good for shelter, ground cover, even as a blanket in an emergency. Tarps are inexpensive, and surprisingly (to some) useful items.
- Pain relievers (OTC). Having a small jar of aspirin or ibuprofen can be wonderful for helping prevent some of the “morning after a hike to the BoL” aches.
- Underwear. Just having some fresh underwear–and socks–can make a striking difference in your outlook for the day.
- Toilet paper. If I had a dime for every BoB inventory I’ve seen that forgot toilet paper… Sure, you can use other things (leaves, etc.), but again-for the short term in an emergency, it’s the little things that really boost morale.
- Pen/pencil and paper. Good for any number of things: leaving notes for others. Making notes of where to find things. Drawing small maps.
- Local maps. Great for planning purposes. Also, while I may know everything that’s in a 1-mile radius of my home, I almost certainly don’t know everything in a 10-mile radius. A map can help.
- Antiperspirant. Another small morale boost, perhaps. Antiperspirants (the stick type, particularly) are also good accelerants to help with firestarting.
- Razor. Here again, being able to maintain some semblance of “normal” from time to time really improves the mood.
What do you wish you saw more of, in these sorts of inventories?