Accepting the probability that eventually Patriots are going to be reduced to the bare necessities of survival, I am reviewing seven “little things” to be considered by all preppers in a bug out situation. Part one looked at the first four items. Part two will finish off the seven with the last three items.
- Fire Starter. Sooner than later in any survival situation you’re going to need fire. Beyond the obvious, like keeping you warm and cooking food, a fire is comforting in a hostile bug out situation. A little comfort will likely go a long way. The warm glow of a fire radiates optimism and can bring about a sense of hope, when there seems to be none; a little fire is great for the psyche. Beyond this, with fire you can boil contaminated water to purity and sterilize a metal instrument to cauterize a wound, and fire is great for warding off any dangerous animals at night. The only down side of fire that I can think of is that, well, it can get you found out. Understanding the importance of fire in a survival situation, little thing number five is fire starter.
While a lighter and matches are the most convenient and common ways of getting a fire started, they are not without flaw. Lighters run out of fluid and often times the standard Bic style lighters don’t work well in colder weather. They can be very difficult to light, if at all, in the wind. Zippo lighters on the other hand will light quite well in a little wind and keep burning. The downside with a Zippo, I have found, is that they require a lot of fuel. Left unused, the fluid will simply evaporate from the lighter; use it and the fuel burns up quite quickly. To help reduce fuel evaporation from a Zippo, you can take a piece of bicycle inner tube, roughly two inches long, and stuff your Zippo into it.
Matches for the obvious reason are a pour choice for a number one source of fire starter. While wax coated matches will stay dry, you can easily burn through ten or twenty matches trying to get a fire started, especially if your tinder is wet or it’s windy. While I’m by no means against having a Zippo lighter and a few water proof matches in my bug out bag, I highly recommend a magnesium fire striker. This little thing will provide many nights of warm fire long after your matches have burned up and your lighter is out of fuel. With a few small shavings off the magnesium block and a little spark, it’s easy to produce the initial flame to get a good fire going in no time. Get accustomed to this method and you may, like I, find it easier than using a match or lighter. Just don’t get a magnesium fire striker, throw it in your emergency pack, and then wait for the moment of truth before you try it out. Though it’s relatively easy, practice starting a fire using this method before your life depends on it. It is imperative to know your gear and how it works before the crucial moment in a survival situation. Another little thing to consider for a fire starter is a magnifying glass. Though it will never run out of fuel or flint, a magnifying glass will only work if the sun is out. So, on a cloudy day, you’re out of luck. Here’s one last suggestion for starting a fire, and it may very well be the best suggestion I have. When you’ve exhausted you’re resources for starting a fire, which you may, an absolute invaluable skill will be the ability to make and use a Bow Drill to start a fire. This, in my opinion, is one of the easier primitive ways of achieving fire, and still, it can be quite difficult. This is one technique that must be mastered before the critical “do or die” moment in a survival setting. If you’ve been in the survival scene for any time at all, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Bow Drill method, but, have you tried it? I strongly suggest you do.
- Map and Compass. Now that you’ve officially Bugged Out, knowing how to get to where you’re going and keeping the course is of the utmost importance. The most effective way to accomplish this feat will be to have a map and compass. To many, having a map and compass in your “Just in Case” pack is a no-brainer. From conversations I’ve had, I know there are those out there who are lacking either one or both of these items. Having a map of your area and your prospective bug out location is great, but if you don’t know what direction you’re facing or going, a map alone can be rendered virtually useless. While having a compass without a map may get you in the general direction and help stay the course, it could very likely leave you miles from your intended destination. My suggestion, when it comes to a map, is a topographical one. These maps are great because they depict the landscape– elevations, bodies of water, roads, and even landmarks. There are many places online where you can make your own topo maps, chose the scale, and exact areas you want to map. From some of these sites you can even download or print the map for free. It is always best for any map to have a legend, depicting the scale and direction indicator, at minimal. I also recommend a map with grid coordinates. In order to understand the various symbols on a USGS Topo map, you can download a .pdf Topographical map symbols sheet for free at USGS.gov. As previously mentioned with all gear, it is important to study and be familiar with your maps before the vital moment of having to rely on them.
When it comes to a compass, there are many different kinds out there. I have found that most water compasses are very reliable, and I keep one packed in my bag, but when it comes to scaling for distance and finding direction on a map, I recommend an actual map reading compass, since they are designed for this purpose. Compass reading itself is pretty basic. If you can find North, then it’s easy from there. If you are facing North, East is to your right, West is to your left, and South is at your back. While reading a map with a compass is slightly more complex, it is relatively easy as well. Simply lay the map compass on the map, on a flat surface. Face the map North according to your compass and the direction indicator on your map. From here, using landmarks on the map and locating them around you, you can find your general grid coordinates and location on the map. Referring to the scale on the map legend and utilizing the scale on your compass, you can roughly calculate the distance between point A and point B, or to your desired destination.
There are numerous ways of finding your direction without a compass. One way is if you have a watch with an hour hand. Simply point the hour hand at the sun. Half way back, between the hour hand and the 12 O’clock position is South. If you know South you can easily determine North, East and West. Map and Compass reading are two little things that will aid immensely in a bug out scenario.
- Seed Bank. In my effort to downsize the utmost important items to a backpack scale, I, as perhaps you have too, quickly determined the impossibility of carrying any real amount of food to sustain for any length of time whatsoever. This evaluation quickly brought me to Little Item #3 in Part 1– the Edible Wild Plants Guide”. It also provoked deeper thought into the subject of food and a resolve for the long term, without having to scavenge daily for wild edibles which may or may not be there. It didn’t take long to realize how valuable these next little items would be in a prolonged survival situation.
While food itself is heavy, to say the least, a thousand various types of seeds weigh together only a few grams. Presuming you successfully reach your bug out location, hopefully meeting up with other Patriots on the way, your seed supply at this point will be absolutely invaluable as you plot and plan to meet up with the resistance and attempt to take back and restore the country.
You can’t go wrong purchasing a survival, heirloom seed vault. Though, if you’re a gardener already, drying and preserving seeds is a more cost-effective means of obtaining a stockpile of them. To preserve seeds, it is recommended to keep them in a cool, dry place, and out of the sun. While keeping them cool in a backpack may be a bit of a challenge, keeping them dry and out of the sun is not. I recommend a variety of seeds, ranging from various vegetables, melons, and spices. This will ensure that you are well nourished, since different garden plants contain different vitamins and minerals. Many herbs on the other hand, such as cilantro, are great for cleansing and the immune system. It is best to do some homework on the nutrition values of various garden plants to determine which seeds are best fit for your seed bank. Take for example lettuce. Iceberg Lettuce contains a lot of water; it also contains Thiamin, Potassium, Iron, Vitamins B6, A, C, K, and it is a good source of dietary fiber. The downside to Iceberg Lettuce is that it can be difficult to grow. Now consider Leaf Lettuce, which doesn’t contain as much water does have similar nutrition values, and growing Leaf Lettuce is relatively easy. For this reason I chose Leaf Lettuce seeds for my seed vault. You should compare and evaluate all the seeds in your seed bank in this manner. Not all tomatoes are the same, nor are melons. You also need to take note of your geological location because where you live will determine what seeds you should stock. Choose seeds from plants that thrive in your climate and location with proven success. Doing so will ensure the best odds of gardening success in a post-SHTF world, which may be upon us sooner than any of us realize.
Though a bug out bag should consist of much more than what I have written here, consider the “Seven Little Things” I’ve discussed. If you’re lacking any of these items, waste no time implementing them into your bug out bag. Should you ever have to actually bug out, taking only what you can carry, the Little Things will be the most important things.