Right now it seems there are several nasty storm systems moving across the Midwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States. Coupled with the recent and violent wildfires on the West Coast there has never been a better time to make sure you are prepared for a “bug out” situation or as we prefer to call it: an Emergency Situation. And just because you live in a tiny house does not mean you can avoid thinking about this or that you don’t have room to keep an emergency bag on hand. Properly assembled they can actually take up very little room.
We first talked about this a year ago or so. Since then we have refined our emergency needs and our idea of what is essential. And now that we are living on the road full time we have a few tips that we think are more important than ever whether you are stationary or in nomadic flux.
Each one of us has a BOB (that’s what we’ll call it for the rest of the post) that is sized to fit us and has some extent of water resistance to it. You don’t need to rush out and purchase a Kelty backpack with waste strap or a high-end Alice pack. Just a good bookbag or army surplus bag will suffice. So long as you can wear it comfortably and it can offer 2000 cubic inches (more or less). You also don’t want your pack to weigh more than 4 lbs or so empty because your emergency gear will fill it up fast! But what do you fill it with?
A BOB is intended to carry the essentials for 72-hours of survival. You aren’t looking to restart a human civilization or take up homestead in some remote area just from what you have in your BOB. You only need to focus on the key elements of 72-hour survival.
WATER & FOOD
- In our two adult packs we keep 1 liter of bottled water per day. The toddler pack only has 2- 16 oz. water bottles as that is about all she can carry. As a parent your first priority should be to keep your child safe so you may want a little extra water to keep them healthy and hydrated as well.
- For long-term emergencies, you may want to consider something like a LifeStraw or water purification tablets.
- Each adult pack also has an altoids tin that holds 3- single serve instant coffee packets, 3- gatorade single serve packets, sugar packets, powdered creamer packets, salt packets, and pepper packets.
- Eating utensils (designed for camping) or individually wrapped utensils (easy to get at fast food restaurants).
- 3- Dehydrated, Freeze-Dried, or MRE meals.
- A minimum of 3- Energy bars, Trail Mix, Peanuts, etc. servings.
- Canned or packaged foods such as sardines or tuna.
- Comfort treats that are easy to pack (a bag of Swedish Fish for me, Red Hots for her, and a single serve of Apple Jacks for our daughter).
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
- A minimum of 35ft. of paracord.
- Duct tape.
- A knife and multi-tool that includes a can opener, screw driver, etc.
- Folding shovel. (not necessary but I like mine so I keep it fastened to the outside of my pack).
- A small tarp. You can use this as a makeshift shelter to keep out wind, rain, and the sun.
- Solar powered flashlight with LED lights. Depending on the Lumens of the light this can be quite small.
- An LED head lamp. (We found a Doc MacStuffins for our daughter so as to make using it less anxious.)
- Spare batteries (typically AA and D are best).
- A glow stick.
- Power inverter for your car to charge your phone or other electronics. NOTE: A number of phones now have AC plugs in them so this is unnecessary. If you have a 12-volt charger for your device this is also unnecessary.
- A hand crank 911 radio with weather radio.
- A whistle for each individual.
- Waterproof matches.
- Magnesium fire starting tool.
- Emergency Mylar foil blankets.
- NOTE: Sleeping bags may be something you want to consider depending on your situation. If so, look for ones that come with a compression sack.
- Rain poncho.
- 1 change of- warm clothes (if in winter season) or lightweight clothes (if in summer).
- 2- changes of underwear and socks.
- Boots or walking shoes. NOTE: These are optional as I our everyday shoes are Merrell hikers so there is no need to carry them along.
- Leather work gloves.
FIRST AID & PERSONAL ITEMS
- A basic first-aid kit. You can buy assembled kits but if you research and build your own you’ll have a better knowledge of what you need and how to use it as well as save a few dollars. Basics include: band-aids, gauze, cloth tape, anti-septic wipes, antibacterial ointment, scissors, tweezers, non-latex gloves, saline solution to use as eye wash, rash ointment, Aspirin, and dust masks.
- NOTE: You may want to include a separate container including over-the-counter medications: anti-diarrheal medications, pain and fever medications, Tylenol, Benadryl, etc.
- A first aid handbook or cheat sheet.
- Personal items such as bar soap, mouthwash, toothbrush/toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.
- Essential prescription medications. Rotate these out when you rotate the food/water.
- Extra eye glasses if you rely on them for vision.
- Sunscreen and bug spray.
- Diapers or Pull-Ups if necessary.
- Small pack of baby wipes (unscented).
- Rash ointments.
- Trail Mix or other non-perishable snacks. Be cautious about sugars.
- Small stuffed animal.
- Favorite small book.
- Cartoon band-aids.
NOTE: The kids bag is not so much for survival as many items will be carried by the adult. The kids bag is more for comfort and to help ease an already stressful situation.
- Forms of identification. Some people also like to include copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, social security cards, insurance policies, and so on. You may even want to have 3 areas in which you store this information: Xerox copies in your bag, on a thumb drive, and in “the cloud.”
- Cash in small denominations. Don’t think just bills. Rolls of quarters are wise as well.
- Laminated list of important phone numbers and information including a recent photo of each family member.
- Local and regional map and compass.
- The SAS Survival Handbook or a similar guide.
NOTE: Many of the above items can be vacuum sealed to save room and to keep dry. Consider investing in a FoodSaver kit or a Ziploc brand vacuum sealer.