Saturday, February 9, 2013

Get Home Bag

Imagine. . .
     You're sitting at your desk, the lights flicker and go out. You hear crashing sounds outside. You go look out the window, you see a couple accidents and all the rest of the cars on the street are stopped. People are staring at their phones and mp3 players with dumbstruck looks. You look at your phone, it too is dead.
What happened?
Was it an EMP ?
People are already starting to look panicked.
When will the power come back on?
Will the power come back on?
What do you do now?
That is just one possible disaster scenario that you will better prepared to survive if you have your Get Home Bag under your desk.

What is a Get Home Bag?
A Get Home Bag is a pack that you leave at work, in case a disaster happens while you are at work. You just grab your bag and hit the road. Act normal, and by normal I mean, just like the rest of the people trying to get home.

I recommend a plain backpack, one that looks like any other backpack. Some of you may want to go for a military or camouflage pack but in a "Get Home" situation you are more likely to draw attention to yourself  with one. You want to look like any other person with a backpack, NOT a survivalist with supplies and a plan.

What should you put in your Get Home Bag?
That could vary, depending on where you live, how big your city is and what kind of work you do.
If you work a few blocks from your home in an office building, you might not need as much as the guy who works in a factory 22 miles from home across a combination of rural roads, farmland, a river and busy city streets. Adjust your supplies according to your needs.

1 Liter of water in a Stainless Steel Nalgene Bottle. A metal bottle gives you the option of boiling water/cooking food if necessary. You can toss some Water Purification Tablets in your pack too.

3-6 Energy Bars
Sustaining energy is key when travelling on foot. In an urban environment, so is NOT having to prepare food. I like Clif Bars but pack what you like. Having food you like can also help lift your spirits, making the trek home easier.

There are so many ponchos available, it's hard to narrow it down. Just choose one that will keep dry and you should be fine. Staying dry is important. Even when the temp. is as high 50° F, hypothermia is still a possibility, and is the #1 outdoor killer.

I personally like a lightweight Trail Tent. Hopefully, you won't have to make camp on your trip home, but a shelter is good to have, if you do have to stop for the night. You can just pick up a tarp if you prefer.

Shoes & Change of Clothes
Tennis Shoes are an important supply. A lot of people work in dress shoes, if you wear tennis shoes to work, you can delete this from your pack. The same goes for clothes. At the very least, I'd add a pair of leather gloves and a hat.

Fire Building Supplies
Bic lighters are inexpensive and dependable. WetFire is a good tinder brand (will start nearly anywhere) but cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly will work too. Take an nickel sized glob of petroleum jelly and work it into a large cotton ball until it is totally saturated. Wrap the cotton ball in a paper towel and squeeze until the excess petroleum jelly soaks into the towel. The cotton should be greasy but still easy to fluff up.

Quality Multi-Tool
I'm not even going to pretend to know why one is best. I like Leatherman, always have. Choose one that isn't going to break the first time you use it and has needle-nose pliers, flat & Philip's screwdrivers, knife, saw, bottle and can opener. Wire clippers can also come in very handy.

A source of light is not only useful, it may mean life or death. If you're in a large building and the power goes out, a stairwell can be a death trap. Flashlights are always good to have but a headlamp gives you 2 free hands. Or pack both, they don't take up much room and don't forget extra batteries.

First Aid Kit
Your kit should include items such as bandages, medical tape, gauze pads, splint, tweezers, lip balm, Tylenol, aspirin, antacids, etc. A small mirror, hand sanitizer and "wet naps" aren't a bad idea either.

Emergency Blanket
Mylar blankets are cheap, lightweight, and compact. Keeping warm is critical in any survival situation. Have at least 1 Mylar space blanket in your pack.

Face Mask
If there was a terrorist attack (like 9/11) there may be large amounts of toxic dust in the air. Or if a biological agent was released, a face mask may give you enough time to evacuate the area before you succumb or become infected.

Self-Defense Items
Disasters are a breeding ground for frustration, desperation, and confrontation. Violent crimes skyrocket in the wake and aftermath of any large scale disaster. Ideally, your self-defense items should keep some distance between you and an attacker.  Avoid hand-to-hand combat at all costs. Pepper Spray is enough for most encounters. A Stun Gun can also come in handy. As well as a compact handgun, like the Kel-Tec P-32. I don't recommend a handgun to anyone who hasn't been trained. An untrained person is more likely to injure a bystander or themselves. And DON'T carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Paper Map and Compass
Having a map of your area can be invaluable. Have several routes from your work to your home mapped out. Expect and plan for detours. Also, depending on your city, you may want to only map your route close to home, in case someone else gains possession of your map. Do not rely on your cell phone or GPS system. Your brain is more impressive anyway.

Pencil & Paper
You may need to record information or leave a note for someone. One of the best ways I've found to do so, without the risk of my work being ruined is the Rite-in-the-Rain pocket journal.

Money, Money, Money
Cash only. Everyone understands cash, it's the universal language. Don't store all your cash in the same pocket and have a roll of quarters stashed in your pack for vending machines and such.

I keep 100 feet of paracord with me at all times. There are 1000's of uses for paracord and it weighs less than 8 oz. Trust me, you want it in your pack.

Emergency Radio
Pick up a small hand-crank emergency radio. Make sure it receives NOAA All Hazard Weather Alerts. This could be your only source of disaster-related information in an emergency. Get the one with the USB phone/mp3 charger.

Rescue Signal Items
Small signal mirror (mentioned in First Aid) and a whistle.

Other Items
Small towel, toothbrush and paste, bandana (multiple uses), toilet paper, soap and maybe some hard candy, to take your mind off things.

Weighing in at less than 25 pounds, you should be able to carry this pack all day and night.

Remember the goal of this pack is to get home. Once you're home and you reconnect with your other family members (or just to gather your thoughts in the safety of your own home) you decide how you want/need to proceed. Are you going to Bug In? Or are you going to grab your Bug Out Bag and hit the road?

If you have any critiques, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

~The One™

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bug Out Bag

A “Bug Out Bag,” or B.O.B., is a pack containing assorted items needed for surviving periods of time without modern conveniences. Once disaster hits, you won’t have time to shop or to search for supplies. However, if you've prepared and assembled a B.O.B., your chances of surviving an evacuation or home confinement are much higher.
  • You may have many items in your home already. Modify the list according to your own specific needs. 
  • Place your supplies in an easy to carry bag or backpack. You can pick up inexpensive, quality packs from military surplus shops or higher quality packs from camping stores. Pick a bag that is both comfortable and sturdy. A pack with a waist belt offers great lower back support.
  • Store your B.O.B in a convenient place known to all family members and keep another in your car. 
  • Rotate your stored food and water supply and batteries every six months to ensure freshness. 
  • Re-evaluate your B.O.B. regularly, and update clothing or supplies seasonally. 
  • Ask your physician about storing prescription medication as it may do more harm than good if expired. 
  • Have a phone tree to make sure your family and friends are accounted for in an emergency. 
  • Come up with contingency plans. For instance, know how and when it is necessary to shut off gas and electricity. Don’t forget about your pets! 
  • Have an evacuation plan with your family or team in case you become separated during an outbreak. Pick a safe meeting place that works for everyone. 
  • Learn skills, like First Aid and CPR, which may be useful in an emergency. Hone these skills so you’re comfortable using them in a crisis situation.

The first step in building a good Bug Out Bag is the pack itself. It doesn't matter how good the rest of your equipment is, if your bag isn't comfortable, big enough (or too big) or durable. I should also say that I'm against 2-person packs. Everyone should have their own pack. No only does it make carrying a pack easier, it also keeps a person supplied in the event of separation. Build a pack for EACH person. So let's get started.

The Regular Backpack
I recommend this to be used as your "Get Home Bag" only.
The don't hold up like other packs, so I wouldn't want to trust it to hold my precious survival goods. If you have no other choice go for it, but keep an eye out for a better pack. And the sooner, the better.
The Large A.L.I.C.E. Pack
A.L.I.C.E. Pack
All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment
A decent choice. It will last many years and many outings.
They can be found used starting around $20 and NEW starting at under $80.
I personally recommend the removable frame. After carrying one long distances, you're going to want that added support.
A.L.I.C.E. Pack Frame

Or you could get something like the Condor Assault Pack. A buddy of mine has uses one for his Bug Out Bag and loves it. He also carries it when he goes camping or hiking, which gets you used to wearing it and gives you the opportunity to rotate your supplies.
Condor Assault Pack
It also starts at under $80. I haven't used it personally and based on product reviews, I'd say it's a hit or miss as far durability is concerned. I can say that, just trying my buddy's pack on, it is comfortable. Even with 45# of gear and supplies in and on it. It also unzips wide and lies flat, allowing you to access most of the supplies simultaneously.

S.O.Tech Paladin Mission Pack, Expedition
This pack has a larger capacity than the others.
My favorite part is the additional, drop down pocket that can be retracted when not in use.
DROP DOWN POCKET DIMENSIONS: 9.00" x 13.50" x 10.00"
For $150, it offers a lot at a decent price.

There are 1000s of packs on market, that range in price from the low double digits to over $1000, so, in the end it really comes down to personal preference and individual requirements.

Currently I rock a n old school canvas frame pack from the 60s or 70s. $2 at a garage sale was hard to pass up. I still works great and is pretty comfortable but I do have to pull everything out to access the stuff at the bottom. I plan on upgrading this year.
My $2 pack

Now on to filling your pack.
  1. Food- Have at least a 5-day supply of non-perishable food on hand.  Foods that require little to no water to prepare are best.  Mainstay bars Mountain House Dehydrated Food and MRE's are good choices.
  2. Potable Water- Water Filters and Tablets, are a good choice, you can just throw them in your back and call it good. I like the LifeStraw® best, you just put your straw in to any creek, pond, puddle or container and start sucking. If you live in a dry climate, 3 Gallon Rigid Water Containers might be a good addition to your Bug Out supplies. These rigid style containers are more durable than gallon water jugs, so they are less likely to leak.
  3. Spices- I like my food with spices, and if you have to catch your own food, you'll probably want spices. Spice Straws are a good option. Plastic Soda Bottle Lid Capsules will work well, also.
  4. Mess Kit- Most mess kits double as cookware but I like to keep them separate. I like this fancy little kit. Along with a frying pan and a camp knife, you'll be dining in comfort. Store your dish washing equipment and camp knife inside the frying pan to save space.
  5. Emergency Stove- Nice to have, especially if you live in wetter climates. I haven't added one to my pack yet, here's a simple Alcohol Stove but I'd probably just make my own. I would use this as a last resort when I couldn't start a fire otherwise. Or if I was hunkering down in a small cave, and the smoke from a fire would force me out. Denatured alcohol can be found at most home improvement stores, in the paint section. Fill a 1 liter water bottle and put it in your pack.   *Food coloring added to denatured alcohol will make it easier to see when pouring it your oven. It will also stop it from being mistaken for water.*
  6. Can Opener- The smaller and fewer moving parts, the better. The P-38 and P-51 are great choices. The P-51 is about twice the size as the P-38 and the one I'd go with, if I had to choose.
  7. Flashlights- One or Two flashlights per pack. For the second  flashlight, I recommend a hand-crank light. Extra flashlight batteries.
  8. Collapsible bucket- Doesn't take up a lot space, stands upright when filled with water and lessens the number of trips from site to water source. I recommend the 20 liter (5.28 gal) bucket. Heavy if you fill it but better to have the extra capacity when you need it.
  9. Glow sticks- You never know when you might need another source of light so toss some in your pack.
  10. Hand-crank radio- Hand crank and solar power is best, and if it has an USB port to charge your cellphone, it could help you get in touch with family or the authorities. A hand-cranked radio requires no batteries or electricity, and can provide news bulletins, weather updates, and information on evacuation routes, etc.
  11. Multi-tool- Don't leave home without a multi-tool!
  12. Knives. At a minimum, I’d recommend a folding camp knife with a serrated edge and a large, fixed-blade hunting/survival knife.
  13. Paracord- A must have in your survival kit for tying up food, making a shelter, and plenty of other things. I have AT LEAST 100ft in my pack at all times, probably closer to 250ft. And I have a belt made from 100+ ft that can be disassembled if I need it.
  14. Change of clothes- This is not vital, but if you can fit it, take along an extra set and lean towards cold weather gear. You might be surprised how much clean clothes can help you stay calm in a stressful situation. If you have a FoodSaver, seal your change of clothes in a bag.
  15. Anti-diarrhea medication- Diarrhea can lead to life-threatening dehydration very quickly in a survival situation.
  16. Canteen and canteen cup- A canteen is always good to have, and the canteen cup makes purifying water easy when used with the Canteen Cup Stove.
  17. Vitamins- While on a survival diet, chances are you will be lacking the required nutrients from food alone. A good multi-vitamin will help keep your immune system up.
  18. Emergency blankets- Mylar blankets are inexpensive, take up very little space and help hold in heat in an emergency, I would carry at least 3 in my pack.
  19. Bug repellent, Sun block, Hand sanitizer and Lip Balm. 
  20. Compass- You don't need a super fancy compass, but one with phosphorescent dial will be indispensable at night.
  21. Maps- Maps of your surrounding area and your bug out route. 
  22. Fire-starting materials- Butane torch lighter, water proof matches, a magnesium stick, Waterproof Dryer Lint Fire-Starter. Also, throw a magnifying glass and some Bic Lighters in your pack.
  23. Signal Mirror- A signal mirror is one of the best ways of attracting attention. Practice using it.
  24. Safety Whistle-Safety whistles can be used to communicate with family members if separated, and to attract attention from rescuers.
  25. Fishing line and lures- If you can get to a natural body of water, chances are there is a food source in there. Could also be used for barter.
  26. Camp axe. Probably the most important tool when setting up a camp. A good camp axe can help clear a camp site, split firewood, and chop down small trees for shelter.
  27. Machete- Not strictly required, but I wouldn't want to Bug Out without one.
  28. Folding Saw-Good for cutting branches to make shelters or cutting firewood. A hand chainsaw is another saw worth throwing in your pack.
  29. Folding shovel- There are a lot of tasks that just  can't be done without a shovel.
  30. First aid kit with handbook- Make sure you include any specialized medication you made need.
  31. Survival handbook- There are a lot choices out there, if I had to choose just one, it would be the SAS Survival Handbook.
  32. Edible Plant Guide- Choose one that pertains to your region and a small game trapping book isn't a bad idea either.
  33. Roll of Gorilla Tape- Gorilla Tape makes Duct tape look like masking tape, put a roll in your pack. It has a lot of uses. Here's a few.
  34. Money- At least a hundred bucks in bills in a Plastic Match Holder and a roll of quarters for vending machines, etc.
  35. Ponchos and a Tarp- Staying dry while in the field, can really give you a morale boost and help keep you from getting sick. With a section of tarp and a little rope tied between two trees you can provide instant shelter in a survival situation.
  36. Morale Boosters- Deck of cards and maybe a book of card games- Games are a good way to keep boredom at bay. Candy, hard candy is best but things like Skittles and M&M's can be good, too. Food Save them in their packages, if you can. An mp3 player with headphones, if you have a means of charging
This list is getting long and I'm sure I've forgotten some things. I will add them if I think of any more. And remember, don't go broke trying to make your pack. You can buy things one at a time to build your Bug Out Bag.

If you have any critiques, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

~The One™

Monday, February 4, 2013

72 Hour GO Bag

A lot of this info in this post comes from the website, which provides information about San Fransisco, California. Being that SF is a major metropolitan area, the info transfers over quite well  to any major city.
*This is just a 3-Day bag, I'll be doing a write up about a more long term Bug Out Bag in the near future. Some people only build a 72 hour bag, in a lot of situations I believe that would be a mistake. Most situations will probably require more than 3 days without supplies, and you could also help out others who are injured or displaced.*
 The recommended minimum for your 'Go Bag'.
  • Water (1 Liter per day per person is the bare minimum. So your 3 day Bag should have at least 3 liters of water.)
  • Food (freeze-dried foods and high calorie food bars are easiest. You can make our own if you like.)
  • Portable radio and extra batteries (I like a wind-up radio, myself)
  • First aid kit with handbook
  • 5-day supply of any medications you take regularly and a copy of your prescriptions
  • Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)
  • Personal hygiene supplies (including toilet paper and feminine supplies)
  • Emergency lighting (e.g. glow sticks, flashlight, headlamp) and extra batteries
  • Change of clothing and a hat
  • Sturdy shoes, in case an evacuation requires walking long distances
  • Dust mask
  • Pen, paper and tape
  • Cash, in small denominations
  • Copy of health insurance card and driver license or identification card
  • Photos of family members for reunification purposes
  • List of emergency contact phone numbers
  • In children’s Go-bags, include medical consent forms, a family photo for reunification purposes and a favorite toy, cards or book.
  • Remember to make a Go-bag for your pet

These are minimums and may not be enough for your particular situation. Just remember that you can always add more, but if go too heavy it won't be comfortable. And this is more of a "Grab and Go" bag for an
earthquake, tornado, hurricane or even a terrorist attack; a situation where you will likely return home in a few days.

If you have any critiques, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

~The One™

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cooking in a Blackout

Make a Survival Staff

Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living

Some Knots

Build Your Own Teardrop Trailer

Hello to All

Hello Everyone,
I'm started this blog to help people who don't have the info and to help keep myself fresh on survival info and techniques.  I've always liked the outdoors and minimalist survival. And part of me thinks an "End of Days"... well, at least, an "End of Society as We Know it" scenario would be rather exciting. Please share any experiences, suggestions, critiques, comments, questions or complaints with me. I will address them all.

I look forward to our future together.

~The One™