On my last post I talked about water storage as a survival essential. I started with water because it is an essential, but usually overlooked item necessary for our survival. No drinking water, no life. So I felt it was best to start this series with the number one essential. Other items are essential as well, but some items can be needed in one location but not another. Water is not one of those items. We all need it.
In this post I will talk a little bit about starter kits, and how to build them. A quick and easy way is to run out and get a survival pre-package kit. These are often referred to as 72 hour kits. They contain some of the basic ingredients for a weekends worth of living off the land, so to speak. But they are not always appropriate, and we should learn to not rely upon a pre-packaged survival kit as being our temporary salvation, unless the emergency really isn’t as severe as we sometimes think of them as being.
What do we need in our short term kit? Plenty, actually. But it won’t take up much space, I promise. As essentials you should have the following on hand for a short term emergency:
- Water in clean drinking condition. A minimum of ½ gallon per person per day should be available. Plan on a minimum of three days for a short term kit, or one and ½ gallon per person in your kit.
- First aid supplies. At the very least you should have a step up above the basic kits that you can buy in your local pharmacy or dept. store. Have plenty of Band-Aids, gauze, plastic or vinyl gloves, antibiotic ointment and so forth. I a later post we’ll go more into depth on first aid supplies, but for now, get one of the larger kits, and a good, solid carry case for it. Tackle boxes make great carry cases for most of these supplies. And don’t forget to have extra prescriptions on hand if anyone in your household needs them.
- A good quality knife and ax or hatchet. You should always carry a good strong multi bladed knife with you. And keep it sharp. But for your survival kit, you should also have a much heavier, single bladed knife, commonly referred to as a hunting knife. And I don’t men one of those fancy looking foreign jobs with the slick looking blade and jeweled handle. I mean a real mans knife. A working tool. You should also have at least a light hatchet for chopping small brush and trees. It will also double as a hammer to pound tent pegs into the ground as well, don’t forget.
- Sleeping arrangements such as a tent, sleeping bags, blankets or the like.
- Food. Dehydrated foods keeps the longest, but the taste isn’t the greatest. Canned goods are better tasting, but they are heavy to lug around. I would suggest a few days worth of canned, and enough dehydrated to last a couple of weeks.
- Bartering goods. An emergency lasting a few days won’t provide any need for bartering, but if you go into weeks, you’d be surprised at what you can barter for if you have some good tradable items. My suggestions are coffee, dried or condensed milk, toilet paper, and maybe some ammunition that doesn’t fit any firearms you may own. Never trade away what you think you may have use for.
- Sanitary needs. Try to have a camp toilet of some sort on hand. If the public sewers don’t work, you toilet won’t either. long term a sanitary pit, or outhouse will be needed, but it isn’t worth the effort for just a few days.
These are just a few vague, general suggestions, but you should have every one of these areas covered when looking at a short term survival situation. One of the things I find is that most people in any major population center tend to take the infrastructure provided by our tax dollars for granted. They forget that there are people and systems that support that infrastructure, and when that support is gone, the infrastructure collapses. It is all too easy for a public water supply to become incapacitated, and electrical systems to fail. And of course the cascading effects of this happening in either case makes survival almost impossible if you are not prepared.
We’ll get more in depth into each of these kit items/groups in later posts, but for today, just bear in mind that a good mindset is to act like you are preparing for an extended camping trip. Try to have those things on hand that you know you would need if you were going tenting in a deep-woods park someplace. There usually are no amenities, no electricity, no water, and so forth. Having a good kit means that when the crap does hit the fan, you’ll have a much bigger advantage over those around you, especially if you live in a city. Instead of scrambling for food and water, you can be sitting at home making sure the neighbors don’t loot your house. Or, in a worst case scenario, should you have to evacuate, it’ll be a few short moments to load up the car, and off you go.
As I said, we’ll get more in depth onto each of the survival tips on a point by point basis, but for now I just want to generalize so that you can get an idea of where we are going with all of this.