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Survival To Go, by JMD – Part 1

Many of us have invested in learning the skills, stockpiling the tools and supplies, and hiding the caches necessary to survive in the event of a major disaster that impacts our local area, but the reality is that these types of events happen around the world on a daily basis [1]. While skills are useful anywhere and anytime, the best stores and caches are useless if you’re hundreds or even thousands of miles away when a disaster strikes in your current location! While developing my survival strategy, I realized that I had a major gap– I travel a lot on business, both nationally in the U.S. and internationally (80,000+ average flying miles per year, plus driving and trains), and if disaster struck while I was on the road I’d be forced to scramble to get any kind of survival kit together. To give myself a leg up, I decided to use a lot of the advice from various sources to build out a basic kit that can travel with me.

The Kit

Anyone who has ever traveled knows that modern travel, especially by air, can be tiring and burdensome, so they tend to focus primarily on improving their comfort. I wanted to cover safety and survival as well as comfort, and the good news is that a lot of the material in your kit can help with all three objectives. For any flying trip that is more than a single day trip (there in the AM and back in the PM), I have two bags– my backpack carry-on and a checked bag. The checked bag size depends on the length of the trip. I know a lot of business travelers hate the idea of checking a bag, but in order to get some of your critical survival tools to your destination you’re better off doing it. Note that I’ve flown nearly a million miles in the last 15 years, and my checked bag has only gotten rerouted twice; both times they had it back to me within eight hours. When traveling (even on business) I always dress for comfort/safety/survival first, so I pack my business clothes in the checked bag.

Here’s what’s in my carry-on:

All of this fits nicely into my 30L Outdoor Products backpack, with some extra room in case I need to stock up with extras on the run. I use packing cubes and a Gridt-It organizer to hold and organize all of the bits and pieces, so they’re easier to find in an emergency and don’t all fall down to the bottom of the bag. Note that with the computer it’s a bit heavy, but for me (6’, 185 lbs., and in decent shape) it’s perfectly manageable.

Tomorrow, in Part 2, I’ll share what I pack in my checked bag, and I’ll also give you some tips and lessons I’ve learned that might be useful for improving your comfort, safety, and survival when traveling.