You’re driving home from a short trip to visit some friends in another city. On the way back you begin to hear about a national emergency on the radio. Before you can piece it all together you glance at your gas tank. Almost empty. Unfortunately, the next two stations you try to fill up have empty pumps. You’re going to try and make it home, but an hour away, your vehicle gives up the ghost, and you are forced to pull over to the side of the road. Your cell phone is in a dead zone or maybe you forgot to charge it.
Either way, there is no calling for help. What will you do? Remember that show The Walking Dead? Those survivors learned pretty quickly how to prepare. Now I’m not saying you need to carry a crossbow and a really riotous machete, or harvest dandelions along the way, but there are some important things you can do ahead of time.
Today we are going to be visiting with my mentor and friend who has helped me over the years prepare for an emergency. LET ME BE CLEAR! Being prepared does NOT mean become a HOARDER! That is a waste of money, mental stability and energy. Prepping = Being Prepared. It takes time, planning and knowing what you and your family need and how to make life tolerable during difficult times.
Here is some good advice about preparing a backpack for your car. I’ve had one for years. When my children were young there was a lot of talk about having a bag in your car in case the New Madrid Fault decided to dance around and make life difficult for our neck of the woods. That never happened, but it did help me realize I wasn’t ready. This is what you need to know. Roland will help you plan this out.
Thanks, Roland, for joining me again on my blog. Your helpful hints give people some great ways to prepare. Tell us more about backpacks.
There are three kinds of bags: get home bag, bug out bag, inch bag (which means, I’m never coming home). We’ll talk about get home bag. The name says it all. It’s designed to sustain you until you get home. When designing the bag, remember everyone has different needs. There’s no right or wrong. It’s personalized for the owner.
Things to keep in mind.
- Typically, on any given day how far are you away from home?
- If you had to walk, how long would it take you?
- That will give you some idea of what and how much to have in the bag.
Can you give readers some ideas of the basic things to consider?
- Water: have a water bottle, preferably one with a built-in filter. A metal cup (not plastic) in case you need to boil water. Water purification tablets.
- Food: high energy protein things because you may burn a lot of calories. Cliff bars, beef jerky instant soup, trail mix, military MREs. Stores have all sorts of products you can eat on the go with little or no prep.
- Shelter: a light weight tarp and/or bevy sack. A military rain poncho can also be used as a shelter. If you’re going to carry a blanket stay away from cotton. Cotton kills. Wool will keep you warm even when it’s wet.
- Security: this is very personal. If you have a conceal carry permit-there you go. There’s also pepper spray (or even wasp spray). A fixed blade or folding knife or multi tool that includes a knife. You’ll also want some sort of illumination like a flash light, headlamp, glow sticks (which can also be used as a signaling device). Multiple ways of starting a fire for warmth, cooking food and keeping the boogey man away. Lighters, strike anywhere matches, etc.
- Communications: your cell phone, duh. But with a backup battery supply or solar charger. Suggest you write down important numbers in the event your phone is dead, lost or damaged. A map and compass in case GPS isn’t working.
- Keep the bag as small and plain as possible–not tactical looking. Use the Gray Man approach. Blend in avoid dangerous situations and move as quickly as you can. Don’t have so much in the bag that it’s difficult to carry.
- Have cash and change, a hat, extra glasses/sunglass and a small first aid kit and any medications you need on a daily basis.
Be familiar with the bag and its contents and update it from time to time. It may need to change depending on the season. Remember there’s no wrong way to do this. It’s what you would need to get you home if you are stranded away from the house.
Thanks so much, Roland for your input. I will add a few more things readers might want to keep in the car, especially if you travel a great deal. In my case, I needed to travel over three hours one way each month for several years. My car wasn’t new so there was always a need to feel safe on the road. These are a few more things you might want to consider. You might use this before you start out on your hike home.
- Good walking shoes. You don’t want dress shoes to hike out of a tight situation.
- A towel and wash cloth.
- Depending on the season I may have an extra pair of socks, gloves, sweater, sweatshirt, or sweatpants I can pull over my jeans. Remember, ladies, you may have a skirt or dress on when this happens. Guys may be wearing a suit. Hopefully, you’ll not be on your way home from a neighboring town after attending a costume party dressed like an alien. Yikes. Those sweatpants don’t sound too bad now, does it?
- Blanket/quilt – I keep this folded in the back of my car all the time for lots of reasons; watching kiddos play baseball or soccer in cold weather makes me a pretty popular person when one of them wants to snuggle up. However, if you find yourself spending the night in your vehicle, this will be a great thing to have on hand. It won’t fit in your backpack, but it’s good to have until you start your journey on foot. I have a solar one in my backpack.
Those last four things are always in my car. If I’m going to the grocery store or to church, I’m probably not going to take the backpack. But then again, desperate times may require you to do that. I also don’t leave water in my car unless I’m traveling. I usually have a glass of tea or a small cup of water for around-the-town trips. Remember!!!! Roland said, and I agree, pack according to you, and your family. Even if you never need it, there is a lot of peace of mind when you have it.