We looked at one scenario where a Get Home Bag would be critical for teenagers away from home when an emergency occurred. While there are many types of bags that will work, expensive bags are not necessary. We have already looked at the bag itself. So let’s now move on to the other critical elements, the interesting part, which are the things to go inside the bag.
Not MREs or Canned Food
Now, I’m going to say something so we can get this straight from the start. I would not recommend packing MREs Why? They are simply too expensive. They weigh too much and take up a great deal of space. While less expensive, the same goes for canned food. And you simply don’t want a bag that is too heavy to carry long distances or potentially hazardous to your health. I mean, let’s be real. If the mess hits the fan and a disaster struck, you may have to walk wherever you have to go. It may require you to get there before your supplies run out. The lighter the pack, the easier it will be to get to where you need to be. I speak from experience.
I recommend you stock it with light, energy providing foods that replenish strength and stamina. These foods are things like granola bars, food bars, trail mix, nuts, raisins, et cetera. Depending on how far you have to travel to, I also recommend packing instant meals. I’m talking about dried soup mixes, potatoes, oatmeal, grits, or freeze dried products, like beef stroganoff or spaghetti. Consider anything that requires only hot water to prepare.
Means For Heating and Eating
That being said, you are going to need a simple steel cup in which you can warm the food and plastic eating utensils to eat with. Both of these can be purchased at Walmart for just a couple of bucks. However, you don’t want anything that requires any cooking, as that means you would have to pack an entire kitchen in your bag as well. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to pack a small wood burning stove or fuel tablet burning stove. Even if you have the cup, you are going to need a fireproof surface to rest it on. At least have a small grill grate or something that you can quickly set up over the heat source.
Having an adequate supply of water on hand is critical, as your body can’t survive more than three days without it. However, packing a ton of bottled water in your bug out bag is unrealistic. Why? Water is quite heavy. For the reasons I stated before, it’s a very bad idea to have too much weight on you. I recommend carrying no more than three bottles of water that could serve as an emergency supply in the event there is no clean source at the moment. In addition, you should have a durable water bottle you can fill up repeatedly that will act as your primary source.
Water Treatments and Filters
Now, depending on the kind of disaster, there could be a possibility the municipal water systems could be damaged, making the water that comes from the tap unsafe to drink. In that case, you are going to want to have iodine water purification tablets on hand. These tablets can purify water and make it biologically safe to drink in thirty minutes after mixing. But you also want to include a type of water filter to so you can extract any kind of harmful particles in the water. I recommend including at least two LifeStraws in your bag. LifeStraws are water filters in literal straws that allow you to drink from any water source.
One LifeStraw can filter 1000 liters of water (264 gallons) of water. Two two will get you over 528 gallons of filtered water. But even those will get used up. It’s a good idea to include a secondary filter system. I recommend coffee filters. With these you just simply strap them onto the top of your water bottle, fill the filter with the contaminated water and watch as it filters out the contaminates. Granted, it could take a while; but if you prepare the water ahead of time, you’ll be fine.
A good first-aid kit is a must, and I’m not talking about one with just Band-Aids and ointment. I’m talking about one with bandages, sanitizer, proper medications, painkillers, and more. You want an advanced kit that can deal with cuts, bruises, scratches, animal and insect bites, even gunshot wounds. You could put together this kit yourself, or you could buy a kit. This time, I say it’s better to buy a kit rather than making it. The kit you buy will have all the basics you will need. If it needs more, all you will have to do is build upon it adding everything else and expanding on its basics. But make sure the kit comes from a good brand. You don’t want a load of trash that doesn’t work or is useless. Lastly, be sure to include a first-aid instruction book or better yet a survival manual that gives first-aid instructions. Just in case you don’t know how to treat certain wounds.
Nearly as important as the rest of the critical basics is communication. I saved this for last because it can be critical to your survival in a serious disaster. Furthermore, it is often overlooked. Having a radio could mean the difference between life and death. If news services are still available, you can get valuable information concerning your situation. After an earthquake, for example, you may hear which roads have been destroyed, what areas are most affected, where emergency responders are and how to contact them, where relief stations are and how to reach them, which areas are heavily affected by civil unrest, and more.
Or, if the power grid suddenly went down and there was no news station on the air, you can find amateur Ham radio networks and international radio broadcasts that could offer news concerning the outage or how long it could last. Or, if it’s as simple as a hurricane or severe thunderstorm, with the NOAA weather band you can get real time alerts concerning warnings, watches, and hazards to be expected.
I personally have a Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Alert Radio that contains all the critical radio bands. It’s compact, light, and reliable. It can be AC and AA/AAA battery powered. In the event you don’t have batteries, it has its own internal rechargeable battery, which can be recharged using its small solar panel, hand-crank, or the USB input in the back. That’s one reason why you should always carry batteries on you (which I will go over later in this article). In the way of two-way communication, I don’t personally concern myself with having a pair of walkie talkies with me as I don’t see when I might need them and just see them as wasted space. Nonetheless, if you feel like you need them and can afford the space, then by all means include them in your Get Home Bag.
Now that we’ve covered the three basics, we can move on to the secondaries. A good knife will be critical in a disaster scenario, whether it’s a simple emergency or a full on TEOTWAWKI scenario. It could be used to cut ropes, cut branches for a fire, or be a weapon in self-defense. Two kinds of knives are necessary in my opinion– a small Swiss army knife/flip knife and a larger sheath knife. Both serve purposes unique to themselves.
Swiss Army Flip Knife
The flip knife can handle small tasks such as cutting rope, paracord or twigs. The flip knife is also a good self-defense tool. It’s small, light, compact, but large enough to inflict adequate damage to a potential attacker. It can be wielded quickly, depending upon how fast you can flip it out and put away just as quickly. It can’t be noticed unless you show them you are carrying it. In my opinion, a flip-knife can be as versatile as a multipurpose tool.
Larger Sheathed Knife
Now a larger sheathed knife is a mini sword. If you are stranded out in the woods, it can be your best friend and a crucial tool to your survival. It takes what a flip knife can do and pumps it up to next level. In addition to more heavy duty tasks, it can also be wielded as a very intimidating weapon, more so than the flip knife. Whether you are defending yourself from an animal or a human attacker, a five-inch knife can do a lot of damage.
If your attacker is smart, they will think twice about engaging you. However I want to note that wielding such a weapon could be just as dangerous to you as well as your attacker. If he/she gets it away from you, you can bet on getting hurt. That’s why, if you have a knife, make sure to learn how to use it before you try to fight with it.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 70 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 70 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.