Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zombie Apocolypse or Complete Anarchy? The Bug Out Bag

Due to the popularity of certain TV shows like AMC's The Walking Dead, and movies like the Resident Evil series or cult classics like Night of the Living Dead there's been a lot of talk about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse and a renewed interest in real survival skills. Do I think that zombie's will attack? I think that the likelihood is very slim. *However* I'm certainly not opposed to being prepared. I'm not saying that you should be building underground bunkers and squirreling food or telling you to take up a new interest in firearms or canning; I'm just simply saying that everyone should be prepared.

There are a lot of things that could put you in a survivalist type of situation besides raging horde of cannibalistic zombie's. Natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, earth quakes, and snow storms are all good examples. It could take three days or more for help to reach you in these situations. Can you take care of your family without today's modern day conveniences? Are you prepared? I personally think you should be. I am definitely an advocate of every person having a bug out bag (from here on out referred to as a BOB).

What is a Bug Out Bag?

A bag,kit,or vest that a person carries on or near their person,in the event of a natural disaster,civil uprising,war,or any other event that dictates that you leave the area ASAP.These bags typically contain survival gear,food,water,weapons,etc.
and another definition: 
 BUG OUT BAG is basically a large survival kit that’s filled with everything you need to survive after a disaster. A Bug Out Bag allows you quickly grab what you need should you be forced to evacuate during a disaster.
I personally feel that a BOB can be put together rather cheaply and have been discussing the concept of making one with Brandon. While it may not be something we will ever, ever use I'd rather be safe than sorry. Of course, we also have to take into consideration that help finding us- in our small town within 72 hours is slim to none. I clearly remember a snow storm as a child blocking my entire family in for 11 days without electricity (and therefore phones) and the ability to travel. Luckily my grandmother still had a wood burning stove and we survived pretty easily. I think everyone should at least be prepared for a situation like that. Of course, there's always the possibility of having to leave your home- and for some that is more than likely a probability. I will discuss making your home more livable in these types of situations in another post. This one is dedicated to a BOB.

First of all you're going to need a large bag. Obviously, right? Wrong. You need *your* bag to fit *your* needs. It needs to be roomy to carry everything and sturdy so that it survives as well. Do you need lots of small organizational pockets? That's something else you need to consider. What about the type of bag? Duffel or backpack? Since I have three children and will most likely need to carry one, I'd prefer a backpack. You may prefer a duffel. Consider what you're preparing for and what you're bringing, the shape and the size of the contents will determine the shape and size of the bag. A bag can be bought in many many bright colors which you would need *if* you're looking to draw attention to yourself. Brandon and I would prefer a nice shade of cammo brown or green. (a nice shade? yeah...right) You may need to walk a long, long way so if one heavy item can be replaced with something lighter and more compact- do it.

Then there's your contents- that's the important part of the BOB. Try to have things in there that can be re purposed for something else.

Shelter: Ideally, I would like to have a tent for all of us. But, unfortunately, tents are bulky, time consuming and really only serve that purpose- though I do have several for recreational camping purposes. For my BOB I've chosen two large and one small tarpaulins- or tarps. We live in and near very densely wooded areas, it would be no problem to tie some cord from one tree to another and make a small shelter. The second tarp is for the floor, to help keep us dry. The third is for covering our firewood to help keep it dry. We chose black for these as it's well hidden and also conducts heat well which will be good for cold nights and seasons. Leaves can be layered underneath the floor for comfort and further insulation. If it's really cold, sticks can be positioned and layered with leaves over the outside of the tarp insulating the walls. Make sure the sides of a shelter like this are weighed down well.

Heat/cooking: A lot of people pack waterproof matches and lighters in their BOB's. I would prefer flint with a piece of steel or a magnesium starter. Make sure you dig a fire pit surrounded (stack 'em high) and lined with nearby stones. A collapsible grill type of cooking rack is cheap, lightweight and would be a serious luxury in these type of situations. Get one.

Water: Experts suggest, at the very least, 2 liters of water per day per person. There's Brandon, myself and 3 children to account for here. Do you see how heavy that would get? Instead we're going to pack water purification tablets (water is in no short supply here) and several empty two liter bottles or a clear water bag type of thing (less space) I saw somewhere (still trying to find it- will update when I do). I recommend the bleach type tablets as the iodine could cause serious health issues if consumed long term. Boiling water is the most safe and obvious solution though it may not be a fast option. I will also cover that later. We do still have to carry several two liters, as they can also be turned into small fish or crayfish traps. That's a project for another post though.

OK, so that's your shelter, heat, and water. Very important things. The most important, in my opinion. Now, class, let's move on...

Food: This isn't a subject I'm willing to spend that long typing about at this moment. So I'll keep it short and sweet. In home you can store much more than in a BOB- I'll go over that in the in home post. As for your BOB you can carry MRE's, high calorie snack type bars (both can be purchased online) OR you can make your own- recipes courtesy of a simple Google search. I am a strong believer that your BOB should only hold enough to last you a week. Past that, you should learn the skills to gather your own.

Useful Tools: Everyone's list here is going to differ. Again, what goes into your BOB is up to you- it has to be personalized to your needs. I'm going to try to stay brief on each extra I have chosen. The machete. Not only is this good for self defense but it will make cleaning an area for your base camp a hell of a lot easier. The hatchet. I'm still debating this one as I also intend to carry a compact saw and string saw (I have no idea what it's actually called but it's small and effective in cutting firewood.) It's basically a metal rope that you pull back and forth to saw through branches and such. The shovel. I don't mean a huge cumbersome shovel but a little folding shovel, useful in trapping, digging latrines, and many other uses. Trash bags these could really come in handy especially the clear ones. Several crank or solar powered flashlights have their obvious uses. A radio to contact help. Don't forget the batteries for it, it's useless with no power. Consider a solar powered battery charger. Blankets, think space blankets, wool or emergency are very important for obvious reasons, again. A change of clothes for each member of the group. A fishing kit, is imperative if you have access to fishing. Buy the high test fishing line. It's going to be more expensive but it's longer lasting. Buy an assortment of hooks and sinkers and plenty of them. This is not the area to skimp. You won't last long without food and fish are an easy source with bait readily available. The knife, try to find something sturdy and tactical type. It will never stop serving you. Rope is so important. It can be braided to become compact. Most people suggest 25 feet. I think more than that is necessary in this area for the shelter support, traps, clotheslines, tying down the shelter, fishing, climbing and so many more. Rat traps- yeah, you read that right. They're not going to last long as they're not made to survive long term exposure, but they may end up helping you immensely. Not to mention they're lightweight and small. I'm going to modify mine before putting them in my BOB by drilling a hole in one end to attach a rope in case I don't kill what I catch and lacquer the entire trap in hopes of preserving it a little longer. These can be baited (peanut butter will work well) in or around any area where you have seen or seen signs of squirrels, chipmunks and other small critters that are all edible. I also plan on carrying 4 conibear traps. I don't necassarily agree with them and I'm sad that they've killed people's pets but you know what? If it's a survivalist situation- I don't care and I'm going to feed my family. I am also fairly good at setting snares, a skill that should at least be looked into. A pot, for cooking, and boiling water. Aluminum foil for making a no fire oven for boiling water- which I will descibe in another post as I tend to build one later with Brandon. I'll post pics. Pepper Spray, not only for self defense from humans but wild animals don't like the feeling either. Bowls or plates, along with utensils for eating with. A necessity? No, but definitely something I'd like to have and would sorely miss. Another good tip, if you're not trying to hide from other human beings would be to attach jingle bells on your BOB to warn large predatory type animals that you're coming so that they (hopefully) move in the other direction. Other tools I would have include a weapon of some kind, binoculars, a wetstone for sharpening and candles but I think I've pretty well covered everything here I'll let you decide on your own weapons, if any. No, I did not forget the first aid kit. I have an extensive kit that would go with me that I'd like to describe in a later post as I think it deserves it's own special mention. I'm sure that I've forgotten something here.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. I've linked 3 websites at the bottom to direct anyone for more reading on the subject. If nothing it else, it's interesting reading!

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