Game Plan

I had planned on going back to the Family Survival Planning guide this week, but I’m being overcome by events–springtime is like that, on a homestead.  So that will have to wait until the next post.  (For those reading ahead, it’s all about water, and its storage and purification.)

This week, I’ll take a quick look at something a commenter (and preparedness supplies business) sent to me: a Preparedness Test, from Game Plan Experts.  The bottom line up front:  Overall, I like it, with a couple of caveats.

First caveat:  The quiz.  It’s of the multiple-choice, “check-the-appropriate-box” sort.  As such, it’s quick, easy, and painless; I’m not sure it necessarily covers the full range of things it could.  Now, don’t get me wrong–there were a couple of questions that I stopped and thought, “Hm… I could certainly be doing better here,” or “That’s a good idea.”  But the available choices on some of the questions didn’t exactly have a “right answer.”

Second caveat:  The score.  I did well–out of a possible 30 points, I scored 22, for a pretty solid “B+”.  I’m pleased to have done as “well” as I did. On the flip side, I can point to exactly why it was as low as it was…  But my concern with the score is that somebody might score fairly high–say, a B+ or higher–and think, “well, I’m good” and stop.  Preparedness is, or at least, should be, a process, and we can all improve somewhere.

What area pulled my score down?  Well, for me personally, it was not having a neighborhood watch, and not knowing the “community emergency plan.”  And the reason I’m not completely satisfied with these has to do with my location: I’m rural enough that all of my neighbors, thus far, are also farms; the “neighborhood watch” doesn’t work quite as well here as it might.  (We try to keep an eye out for each other, as best we can, but that’s about as far as it goes.)  Likewise, being a good distance outside the city limits, we don’t have a community emergency plan, as such.

All that being said, I very much appreciated the Action Items Checklist that accompanied the score; many of the points on the list are ones I regularly preach here (develop a plan to address common local hazards; keep emergency kits; etc.), in addition to a number of them that I’ll likely be adding to my “regularly addressed points” here.  (Little things, like checking your smoke detectors, having/checking CO detectors, actually writing down your emergency plans…)

Again, overall, I very much liked the feedback.  I like the Game Plan Experts site, and have some serious “tech-want” for some of the “toys” on their site.  They’re friendly folks, and they seem to be genuinely interested in helping people get better prepared.  They’ve got a good list of free downloads, and a nice “resources” page, as well.  I’ll give them a nice, solid, B+. (Because some of their “for-sale” items are, well, a little over-the-top, in my opinion.  Body armor?  Really?  But then, my opinion of ‘Mad Max’ scenarios should be well-known, by now…)

Okay, that’s it for this time.  Next time around, all things being equal, we’ll be talking about water collection, storage and purification.  I hope you’ll join me!

Posted in Community, Gear, Planning, Quick, Survival Questions | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homestead Status Update, Spring 2017

This time around, I’m taking a break from the Family Survival Planning list, and taking a look around at the Status Quo around the homestead.  It’s springtime, after all, which means things are about to get busy.

The weather has mostly broken.  (Ha!  Oh, it’s broken, all right…)  Which is to say, things are more consistently warmer than they might otherwise be.  We’ve had our last snowfall of the season, unless things go so horribly strangely that no amount of planning can compensate.  It’s about time to uncover the garden beds and work on cleaning them up.  We’ll be raising several more of them by about six inches, and adding dirt and compost to fill.  The chickens have had access to several of the others, and we’ll spend some time to till in their leavings.  All of which leads to–

Seeds have been started.  We’ve got the usual suspects going–tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, and a couple of other things. My wife has it all planned out; she likes to use the free online planner at, which allows you to “draw” your garden and select what you’ll be planting, then sends weekly reminders to nag you into doing whatever your region is (typically) ready for.  (I’m not affiliated with them; personally, I prefer to take a more naturalistic approach, with my memory and a notebook; I suppose the online version is good for helping maintain rotations, though.)

Other areas of the garden, and other growing spaces, are in desperate need of an early-season weeding, to get rid of grass that somehow infiltrated the flower beds and the like.  My grains all appear to be doing pretty well, in their second year on that plot.  I’ll sow some clover into that area well before harvest-time, and probably re-sow more clover after harvesting.  This will help put some nitrogen back in the soil, it will feed my bees, and it will help suppress the weeds that have managed to make it through two seasons.  Then more winter grains, and wait for next year.

Speaking of the bees, my two hives last year both absconded; I’ll be getting two more in a few weeks’ time, and can hopefully convince them to stick around, this time.  The chicken flock has fluctuated quite a bit; we’re currently at 21 laying hens and a rooster, and have six more pullets in a “safe place” in the house.  (We use an infrared heater, not a heat lamp, to reduce the fire hazard. Typical feeder and waterer, but the overall container has to be dog- and cat-proof; we use a dog crate to which we’ve zip-tied 1/2″ wire mesh.  So far, so good.)  The hens are giving us between thirteen and eighteen eggs on an average day–so we’re selling the eggs to help pay for feed.  Seems to be a break-even process, so far.

We’ve got most of the interior of the barn cleared out, except for the “fun stuff”–the (badly) poured concrete base.  Then there’s a little additional clean-up of the walls and doors, to say nothing of the loft space.  We probably won’t be ready for goats this year, I think, but next year is looking promising.

I won’t get much into the equipment maintenance that needs to be done–adjusting the deck of the mower, making sure that both the “riding” and “push” mowers are in working order, checking weed-whackers, etc.  Suffice to say that there’s plenty of it.  We’ve got a few dead trees that need to come down, which means chainsaw-wrestling.  And there’s fencing to be put up–we’ll be borrowing a friend’s tractor and auger for most of that, though.

Well, that’s a pretty good start–and I haven’t even touched on repairs and goings-on inside the house…

How about you folks?  How are things shaping up at your places?  Got your gardens in?  Let me know in the comments!

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Getting Home, Part the Last

This week, we take a peek into my GHB and my car kits.  I’ve covered the GHB before, but there have been a couple of fairly minor tweaks since then; I don’t think I’ve gone over the car kit much (beyond what we’ve covered in the last couple of posts).  Without further introduction:

My Get-Home Bag:

  • One MOLLE-style sling pack. For portable and modular things, I’m a fan of this system; while I generally avoid “tacti-cool,” but this is a good design.
  • One bottle pouch.  Again, it’s a MOLLE-system bag, which means that it’s probably a little overpriced, but it attaches nicely to the sling pack, and (if it came down to it) would attach to the ALICE-system backpack that makes up my BoB.
  • One 1-liter (32-oz) Nalgene bottle.  This fits nicely in the bottle pouch, above. If need be, I can stuff it full of other things–but then I need to figure out something else for when I go to fill it with water.  (And I don’t keep it filled; if it froze and cracked, I’d be left without, and risk rust on some of my other gear… I’ll risk taking a chance on having water available at such time as I need to set out with the GHB.)
  • One camping mug.  The style I’ve got snugs down nicely over a Nalgene bottle, saving on space.  And since it’s metal, it doubles as a cooking utensil (or for boiling questionable water…).
  • Firestarting gear.  This includes at least one firesteel, a lighter, and (believe it or not) flint and steel, with a bit of charcloth (which I really need to talk about, one day).
  • A decent multitool.  I like my Winchester, but Gerber and Leatherman are good ones, too.  Personal preference is the key, here.
  • Empty plastic bags.  I save a few of these from grocery trips.  Gallon zipper-bags are good, too.
  • A headlamp, and a flashlight. It’s possible to go crazy with all the different variations of  these; I recommend keeping it simple.  (Extra batteries are good, too.)
  • A compass, and a halfway decent map that at least shows the area around hour house–if you have a bit of a commute, like I do, I’d cover the distance from work to home.
  • A signal mirror. If nothing else, it’ll help with some minimal hygiene things, which is always good for morale.
  • A pen and small pad of paper.
  • Mylar emergency blankets. They’re useful, and are so cheap that it’s not difficult to pop one or two into pretty much any “survival” pack of whatever sort.
  • A Lifestraw, and some water purification tablets.  These go hand-in-hand with the Nalgene bottle and the cup.
  • A knife.  For the money, I like my Mora, as I’ve said before. Unless you’re fastidious about keeping up with your blades, I recommend the stainless steel blade, but they’re all inexpensive and functional.
  • A watch cap, and an extra pair of socks.
  • A cotton handkerchief. Good for rough water filtration, washing your hands, wiping the sweat off, or getting wet to keep you cool.
  • A first-aid kit. Something with the basics; the one I’ve linked is in a MOLLE-compatible pouch. (See? Told you it was a good system…)

And the car kit…  Really, you can’t go wrong with the list from the last post.  I’ll just reiterate some of the highlights, and add a couple of things. A folding shovel is a handy thing; in most cases, if you’ve got one, you can skip the bag-of-sand.  Spare socks, and a pair of hiking shoes (ideally, broken-in ones). Another flashlight, and batteries. Bottled water (changed out as necessary). Ponchos, blankets, and towels.  A car-care kit (jumper cables, tire patch kit, flares/reflectors, at a minimum).  I’d add a couple of collapsible bowls–I keep some in the vehicles anyway, for the odd case where the dogs come along on a ride.  Maybe another knife.  Possibly, depending on your local circumstances and personal preference, even a hatchet. (The linked one is small enough, and has a few added features–because if it can be multi-functional, why wouldn’t it be?) And in the winter, I add a 100-hour candle, for warmth if I stay in the car.

A commenter last week chided me on not mentioning weapons, firearms in particular.  As stated in my reply, while I don’t have anything against them, I don’t keep one in my car.  There’s a lot of federal property and military installations near me, and the security guys frown hard on finding such things in cars during random inspections. Add to that the fact that I can almost throw rocks from my front porch into about eight different jurisdictions, all with differing firearms laws, many of which are contradictory and/or non-reciprocal, and I just don’t want to mess with it.  No, no guns in my car.  But you’ll note that I’ve got more than a few weapons there… And (bonus) they all double as multi-purpose tools.  In the scheme of things, if I’ve pulled my GHB, and grabbed whatever I could out of my car kit, and I’m walking home, it’s probably the early days of an emergency, and things aren’t likely to have gotten that desperate yet–and I’ll be headed away from major population centers, which does quite a bit to add to my safety in that instance.  And I’ve always preferred to avoid fights, if at all possible.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got.  I may do a “homestead update” with my next post, but I’ll be keeping on with the Family Survival Planning Guide as well.  (Also, the nice folks at have asked me to review their Preparedness Score test; I’ll get to that at some point as my schedule allows, and talk about that in an upcoming post. In the meantime, I like their car kits; do check them out!)  What do you folks think, so far?  Is there anything I can clarify, or questions I can answer?  Ping me in the comments.

Posted in Critical Thought, Frugality, Gear, Lists, Planning | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Getting Home – The Emergency Car Kit

As I mentioned last time, this week we’re looking at car kits, but I diverge a little from the Family Survival Planning guide here.

They start out well enough, giving their reasoning for having kits in your car, being basically “it just makes sense, just in case.”  Anything from a “regular” disaster occurring while you’re traveling, to a car accident, to just about anything in between–odds are, you’re not *horribly* far away from your vehicle.  If you’re away from home when something occurs, you’re that much more vulnerable, with less of a safety net-having a kit in the car is a good backup.  And, if you’ve got one in your car, it’s hard to misplace.

I can’t exactly figure out just what they’re thinking, though, for some of this.  They mention having a backpack or the like to hold your car kit, so that if the need arises you can take the kit, and leave the car behind you… Then they just sort of leave it there.  I pretty much figure that almost any situation that has me using my vehicle kit is probably going to require me to leave the car at some point.  This affects what I put in the kit.

Some of their tips:

  • Make sure to pack extra clothes for warmth, weather-dependent for your area.  You may have to change these out, depending on the season.  Here, I am in complete agreement.
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas at all times.  And here, I break from their thinking.  Oh, I like where they’re headed, but trying to maintain over a half tank of gas at all times would have me constantly at the gas station.  Personally, I try not to ever let the car get below a quarter tank of gas.  This is entirely up to personal preference, though.
  • Pack a kit for the typical number of people who are in your car.  Here, I diverge just a little–that number is wildly variable for me, ranging from “just me” up to as many as seven people.  Ultimately, I’d shoot for a happy medium–call it two, or (for the mathematically inclined) “half the car’s capacity, minus one.”

They also recommend having separate kits: a first aid kit, an auto emergency kit, and a severe weather emergency kit.  Personally, I combine them all, and add in a “get-home bag” (GHB), basically a smaller version of my BoB that lives in the car.  (Again, up to you.) They suggest having travel blankets–I like keeping at least two blankets, plus a towel or two.  Nothing huge, but it’s extremely useful when I take a dog to the vet (to limit fur and mud, and for if they get carsick).  And age-appropriate toys for kids, as necessary, are a good addition.  (Anecdotally, one of my vehicles, with my wife and kids, was hit by another car several years back; the toys and such kept the kids occupied while the police arrived and did the report, and while waiting for the tow truck, etc.)

The list also has a “car checklist,” which I think goes more towards maintaining a vehicle than being prepped, but I suppose additional reminders can’t hurt.  You need a working (mechanically sound) vehicle.  They again stress the half-tank of gas. They suggest using the trunk as a bit, metal supply cabinet, and replacing the vehicle’s battery every 2-3 years, whether it needs it or not.  The battery makes sense, if you envision sticking with the car for an extended period–wouldn’t do to have it die on you; you’ll need it for radio and possibly the heater.  I’m a bit iffy on using the trunk as a ‘supply cabinet,’ though.  I keep the contents of mine fairly tight, and it’s still a mess; if I were to use it as more general-purpose storage, it would be untenable.

The next part of the list is for vehicle maintenance.  Either have a mechanic check on (and maintain) all of this, or (my preference) learn to do it yourself:

  • Battery
  • Antifreeze
  • Wipers and windshield fluid
  • Ignition system
  • Thermostat
  • Lights and hazards
  • Exhaust system
  • Heater
  • Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Adequate tire tread

They don’t mention oil, brake fluid (directly), power steering fluid, lube jobs, or any of the other myriad things.  The short version, though, is to keep up with the stuff under the hood, as well.

Finally, we get to their version of the Auto Emergency Kit, and the Emergency Kit for the Trunk.  (They don’t list a backpack; I use a MOLLE-style “sling” bag, with some extras strapped to the outside–but I’ll save the details on that for next time.)

  • Auto Emergency Kit
    • Bottled water
    • Sturdy walking shoes and socks
    • Poncho (here, or here)
    • First Aid kit and manual (I use this one, your mileage may vary)
    • ‘Sundry’ kit, with paper and pencil, a map, moist towelettes, plastic bags, and facial tissue
    • Flashlights and batteries
    • Energy foods or bars and/or trail mix
    • Ready-to-eat foods, with utensils to eat them if necessary
    • Radio and batteries
    • Space- or fleece blankets or sleeping bags
    • Cell phone charger
    • Small folding umbrella
  • Emergency Trunk Tools
    • Class-ABC fire extinguisher (like this one)
    • Shovel and tools (this set isn’t bad; shop around)
    • Waterproof matches and candles
    • Short rubber hose for siphoning (this kind will prevent a mouthful of fuel)
    • Bag of sand
    • Reflectors and flares
    • Jumper cables (get an “emergency kit” and cover much of the above, with an extra first-aid kit)

As I mentioned, I don’t necessarily agree 100% with everything here; the next post will look a bit at my actual car kit(s).  Stick around!

Posted in Gear, Lists, Planning, Skills and Practice | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Finishing Up the BoB

As promised, this week we’ll finish out our look at the Family Survival Planning 72-hour kit/Bug-Out-Bag.  This time through, I’ll be going over a few things I feel they missed, and briefly describing our “food kits.”  I do very much like the list thus far, but I a couple of minor tweaks would make me feel better about them.

First, a good addition would be a set of documents: copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, driver’s licenses, insurance paperwork, mortgages, DD-214’s, and whatever else you can think of of that nature. I’m a bit of a tech junkie by nature, so I like the idea of having electronic copies on flash drives. However, for a variety of reasons (to include the legality of them, as well as EMP mitigation–if we’re going paranoid, let’s go all the way), I can’t recommend doing that. A far better way to go would be paper copies; make certain to get them properly certified (ask your insurance agent, or your bank, if they can certify copies of documents). Also, fairly recent maps of the local area. (Compasses and other navigation tools are useful, but they’re a whole other post.)

There are lots of different ways to make water safe(r) to drink. They listed the purification tablets, and I mentioned filters. If the water looks clean, is likely free of chemical contaminants, but may be biologically unsound, the SteriPen is an option (albeit a pricey one), as is a simple solar pasteurization technique (followed by additional filtering, if possible).

I mentioned having a complete change of clothes in the bag?  Don’t forget footwear.  I’ve got several changes of socks (one of the most important things out there), as well as a nice set of broken-in military-issue boots. I also keep the most recently replaced of my prescription glasses in the bag–not a necessity for everybody, but useful for an emergency.

I would also make sure to have spare batteries (I prefer rechargables) for anything in the bag that needs them, particularly flashlights. While you’re there, a foldable solar charger is a good supplement to the multi-source/crank radio.

Then there’s the food kit.  The contents of ours vary somewhat, depending on what we can find to put in them, and on our tastes at a given moment.  For a container, we use the containers from the packet-type laundry detergents (like this)–they only need a quick rinse to be “cleaned,” and have multiple uses beyond simply holding food in one space.

As to what to put in them, here’s the contents of mine, as of last night:

  • Two vacuum-packed generous handfuls of beef jerky;
  • In a zip-up sandwich bag:
    • Three packets of instant oatmeal;
    • Two granola bars;
  • In a zip-up sandwich bag:
    • Two packets of instant hot cocoa;
    • Three individually-packed fruit leathers;
  • In a zip-up sandwich bag, a large handful of hard candies;
  • In a zip-up sandwich bag:
    • Four small boxes of raisins/craisins;
    • Eight packets of powdered energy drink mix;
  • One large pouch of a rice-and-pasta instant meal mix;
  • One can ravioli;
  • A zip-up sandwich bag with one or two dozen strike-on-pad matches, with the strike-pad in a separate bag;
  • A Bic-style lighter;
  • A three-pack of solid fuel tablets; and
  • A lightweight, fold-up stove.

I’ve also in the past had microwavable-style meal pouches. I won’t have a microwave, but if I can start a fire to heat them up, that’ll do. (For a cooking container, I like using the can from the ravioli–which does entail eating the ravioli first, but that’s a small price to pay.) Could I replace the whole thing with MREs?  Yes.  And while they would last longer, the variety isn’t necessarily there. Would the MREs have more daily calories? Yes, but this is designed to help me survive, not to do three days of hard labor–my plan includes less ‘bugging out,’ and more ‘bugging in.’ (And I keep two such food containers, one in the bag, and one on a shelf, ready to go.) Yes, I need to go through the container and replace some of the food items on a regular basis–but it gives me an excuse to check/update the other things in the BoB.

So there you have it.  The food kits are a constant work-in-progress, but then, the entire BoB is, to a large extent. As my plans for the bags change, so do the contents.  Any questions or comments?

My next post, in two weeks’ time, will examine the Get Home Bag, or car-kit.  I don’t agree with the Family Survival Planning folks completely, here, so I’ll be diverging from their script a bit.  I hope you’ll join me!


Posted in Food, Planning | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Prepping Lists Part Two, Again

Hi, folks!  I’m back with a rare “between-weeks” post, as we continue through the BoB list as provided by Family Survival Planning.  Last week, we covered Warmth & Shelter and Cooking, Heating, & Light.  Without further ado, let’s move on to this week’s topics.

As I go through what’s on the list and my recommendations, I’ll be linking to products on Amazon.  If you click the link and make the purchase, you help support my site (and preps) at no additional cost to you.  Don’t just purchase there, though–shop around.  If you find a better price on an item elsewhere, please buy it there, and save yourself the money.

  • Water & Hygiene Items
    • 12 – Five-year Shelf-Life Drinking Water Pouches, 4.2 oz. each. (I’m not fond of the idea of packing out water; being on the relatively wet Eastern Seaboard, I’d rather filter the water that’s widely available. If you’re out in the Western deserts, this may be viable for you.)
    • 1 – 2.5 gallon Water Carrier, to be filled prior to an evacuation. (This makes a little more sense than the pouches, although you’d still end up hauling 20 pounds of water. Your mileage may vary.)
    • 10 – U.S. Military MICROPUR Water Purification Tablets. (Link is to a Katadyn-brand 30-pack. We’ve got LifeStraws and a hiking-style pump filter, but these are lightweight enough to add to the list.)
    • 1 – Small Roll Tissue Packet. (I’m not certain if it’s what they had in mind, but we’ve got some dry, pre-soaped cleansing cloths, as well as a few travel packets of tissues.)
    • 3 – Sanitary Disposable Toilet Bags.
    • 1 – Soft Toilet Tissue Roll. (I like having a roll or two of degradable toilet paper in the packs.)
    • 4 – Clothes Wrap Bags. (We keep a change of clothing in roll-up travel bags, and have some DrySacks as well.)
    • 1 – Small Bar of Soap.
    • 2 – Toothbrushes.
    • 1 – Tube of Toothpaste (travel size).
    • 1 – Hair Comb.
    • 18 – Wet Wipe Towelettes. (See the Tissue Packet, above. I’ve had problems with the packets of wet-wipes drying out.)
  • First-Aid
    • 1 – Deluxe First-Aid Kit with 60 Essential First Aid Items. (Awfully specific. I like the Northbound Train kits, but shop around, and find one you like.)
    • 1 – First Aid Book. (Again, shop around. Also, look into first-aid training for the adults in your group; check the local Red Cross, YMCA, and other organizations.)
    • 4 – Surgical Latex Gloves. (The link is to 10-mil, heavy-duty surgical gloves. Look around, if you want lighter-weight ones, but these are good enough to limit bee-stings; as such, they’re less likely to rip at inopportune moments.)
    • 5 – Sanitary Napkins. (Many uses, besides the obvious. Likewise for tampons–pick your favorite.)
    • 2 – Ceralyte Electrolyte Drink. (Or your favorite brand.)
  • Food Items
    • 6 – MRE Complete Meal Units, or freeze-dried food pouches. (Next week, I hope to go over the “food kit” we’ve assembled for our BoBs.  MREs are, if nothing else, simple to find, and don’t require much thinking about.)
    • 1 – 3600 Calorie Emergency Cookie Rations. (I assume they mean something like these. It’s certainly calories, and will keep body and soul together for a while. Can’t promise anything for the taste, but if it’s an emergency…)
    • 1 – Bag of High Energy Candy. (Again, I don’t know exactly what they mean, specifically. I’d go with something in the “hard sugar” category, that won’t spoil or go bad, and won’t melt or otherwise get sticky.)
    • 6 – Emergen-C Energy Drink Packets. (Or, your favorite brand of powdered drink mix.)
  • Miscellaneous Survival Items
    • 1 – Premium Heavy-Duty Nylon 3-Way Carrying Storage Bag. (Not specific enough, this time.  I think they mean a messenger-type bag, but can’t be certain.)
    • 1 – Solar Dynamo AM/FM Radio with 4-Way Power. (These I’m more familiar with. I like the Kaito KA500 series, or its relatives. Shop around, though, and see what you prefer.)
    • 1 – Military Quality Tri-Folding Emergency Shovel. (We’ve got entrenching shovels in our vehicle emergency kits, but I can see their use in a BoB. I’m just concerned over the extra weight.)
    • 1 – 50′ Paracord. (This is pretty ubiquitous. It has its uses, yes, but I’m still a little baffled by the cult following this stuff has.  If you’re going to get some, make sure it’s mil-spec type III or type IV, to ensure an adequate weight rating for anything you’d want to do with it.)
    • 14 – Potassium Iodide Tablets, for radiation emergencies. (In my opinion, this is verging over into paranoia. On the other hand, they’re inexpensive and lightweight, and have long shelf lives. Your call.)
    • 1 – Emergency Survival Whistle. (There’s many types out there; this almost becomes a fashion choice.)
    • 1 – Small Sewing Kit with Needle, Thread, & Buttons.
    • 1 – Swiss Type 15 Function Pocket Knife. (Or a Leatherman, or Gerber Tool, or other similar multi-tool.)
    • 1 – Pair of Leather Gloves. (Pick your brand and style.)
    • 2 – Hospital Grade N95 Folding Surgical Masks. (My only quibble is that I’d have put these up in First Aid.)
    • 1 – Notepad.
    • 1 – Writing Pen.
    • 1 – Pencil.
    • 1 – Deck of Playing Cards.

And that’s their BoB.  Whew!  What a list.  Next week, I’ll go over things that they don’t have, and talk about our pre-packed “food kits.”  Until then!

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Prepping Lists, Part Two – the BoB

We’ll continue this week (and next–it’s a big list, so I’m going to post a little more frequently for a short while) with the Family Survival Planning complete book of lists.  This time around, it’s the “Bug-Out-Bag,” or 72-hour kit. This is absolutely a good place to start “serious” preps, beyond the basics of putting aside a few extra cans of food and some bottled water in the pantry.

We call them “72-hour kits” because they contain everything one person needs to get by for 72 hours, even if they have pretty much nothing else. In the prepping/survival world at large, folks call them “Bug-Out-Bags,” or BoBs, indicating that these are their packed, ready-to-go bags that they can grab and go if they need to, well, “bug out,” for whatever reason.  They’ll either keep you alive until help comes, or help you reach a “Bug-Out-Location,” depending on your plan.  (You do have a plan, right?)

Where to begin with the BoB?  As mentioned in the last installment, first consider the most likely scenarios that would require a BoB.  (“House fire” is pretty universal; start there, and build out.)  Think about what you’d need for those emergencies.  Second, “shop your home.”  You’ve probably already got the makings of a BoB–the “big stuff,” any way–around your house or apartment.  (The publication mentions wanting a “BoB” in the car–I consider that a “GHB,” or “Get-Home-Bag,” plus an in-vehicle emergency kit.  That’ll be another week.)

As I go through what’s on the list and my recommendations, I’ll be linking to products on Amazon.  If you click the link and make the purchase, you help support my site (and preps) at no additional cost to you.  Don’t just purchase there, though–shop around.  If you find a better price on an item elsewhere, please buy it there, and save yourself the money.

First on the list of things, but fairly low on the priority list, is a container–the “bag” part of the BoB.  Why “lower in priority”?  Well, you’d most likely be better off having your preps, but having to carry them in a sheet tied into a makeshift sack, than having the best bag money can buy, but nothing in it…  For starters, you can use a run-of-the-mill backpack, or a suitcase, or even a plastic bin. Over time, as you realize just how much room you need, and how much things weigh, you can adjust.  (For what it’s worth, my wife and I both have military-surplus large Alice Packs with frames. They’re water resistant, have plenty of room, lots of pouches/pockets, and are easy to expand.)

The remainder of the checklist covers a “2-person 72-hour bag;” I’ll be comparing its contents with those of mine and my wife’s combined:

  • Warmth and Shelter
    • 1 – two-person 8′ tube tent.  (We’re content enough to sleep under the stars, or rig a poncho, or build a lean-to.)
    • 1 – Wool Emergency Blanket.  (We use fleece sleeping bag liners; they’re compact and warm.)
    • 2 – Survival Sleeping Bags. (Liners, as above.)
    • 1 – Emergency Rescue Blanket, yellow.  (I assume to double as a signal? We don’t have one of these.)
    • 2 – Compact Emergency Space Blankets. (These we have, two per pack.  If you want more, here’s a link to a 12-pack.)
    • 2 – Emergency Ponchos.  (We also have these; they keep the rain off, and can double as a makeshift tent. That’s a link to a 4-pack; if you can find and fit heavier-weight ones, that’s probably for the better.)
  • Cooking, Heating, and Light
    • 1 – 36-hour Emergency Candle. (I prefer the 115-hour liquid paraffin varieties; you get more hours of light for the money, and they won’t melt if left in a hot car.)
    • 1 – Deluxe Quality Flashlight. (Not certain what makes for “Deluxe Quality.” I’ve got a small LED flashlight, with white and red light; you can get brighter or otherwise “fancier” ones, though. ‘Headlights’ are also useful for providing hands-free light.)
    • 2 – Flashlight batteries.  (No link here; this will depend on your flashlight.  For a variety of reasons, I recommend having a full set of rechargeables for all of your stuff, in addition to your “basic” batteries.)
    • 2 – twelve-hour Instant Light Sticks. (“Chem-lights” to most of the world. They’re inexpensive, I guess; I like these solar-charging things. They give more light, and appeal to my inner technophile.)
    • 1 – Adjustable Heat/Cooking Stove, with fuel. (I assume they mean something like these. We’ve got similar, plus extra fuel tablets.)
    • 2 – Sierra Cups for Drinking & Heating Water. (Those are good; I’ve got this one, though, which fits over/around a 1L Nalgene bottle.)
    • 48 – Waterproof Matches. (Or a simple Bic lighter, or flint-and-steel, or fire-striker. Up to you, and your desire/ability to get a fire started.)
    • 4 – Emergency 18hr Body Heat-Packs. (We don’t have any of these, but they’re a good idea, and are going on my list…)

That’s all I want to tackle for today, to keep this from getting too unwieldy.  Coming up: Hygiene, Water, Food, and “Miscellaneous,” plus a bit more commentary about my BoBs, and a few things I have that aren’t on the list.  Comments, questions, and such are welcome!  Do please stick around!

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