Starting an Emergency Bag: Part II
Today I would like to continue talking about some things that you might want to add to your emergency bag as you begin to put one together. I would like to stress that you want to keep this bag as simple as possible. You are not trying to survive for years or even months out of this one bag. Yes with the right skills, knowledge and gear someone could survive for a prolonged period of time with just this one bag no problem, the average person will not be able to. So let us move on with the thought of keeping your emergency bag as simple as possible.
You should now think about adding a basic first aid kit. You want to be able to take care of minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, stings, insect bites, headaches, stomach issues as well as any other minor problems. You are not preparing to do major surgery here, nor do you have the room to place everything you would need to do surgery in your emergency bag. Again keep it simple. Think about your medicine cabinet at home. If you can, you should add in any medications you may need. There are many quality first aid kits available on the market. If you buy a premade first aid kit, make sure the bag or case that it is housed in has room to spare. You will want to customize it to your needs. You can also put your own kit together from scratch. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier to start with a basic kit and then adjust it to your needs.
Next you are going to want to look into purchasing, repurposing or making a stove setup. There are many types on the market and there are many different types of stoves you can make by recycling tin cans. I don’t have the time to get into all of them now. Maybe on a future post I’ll compare different stoves and their benefits and weaknesses. I have made and used rocket stoves and other homemade stoves by recycling materials but I always end up going back to my MSR pocket stove. I love this stove because it is small and lightweight. It also came with a titanium pot with a lid so I am now all set with my cook set as well. The pot is the perfect size for one of the fuel canisters to fit right inside with the lid closed. To me this makes the perfect kit. I just add a CRKT eat N’ Tool and I’m all set for cooking and eating quickly on the go. This setup makes it easy to cook or heat water quickly and doesn’t really make any smoke that I’ve seen anyway. As soon as I turn the stove on I’m good to start cooking or heating water right away. You can adjust the flame really easily as well. The only downfall with this setup is that once the fuel canister is empty, you’re out of luck. Although, I have to say that these fuel canisters do last a really long time, especially when you only have to heat up water for your meals. I also like the fact that it’s a quick process to take apart and pack up. There are no ashes to put out or hide. You can be up and on the move quickly. This is just my setup and why I have chosen it. You have to figure out what will work best for you.
You are going to want a couple of good light sources. I carry a small light similar to the smaller mag lights that take two AA batteries. I also carry a good quality headlamp. It is much easier moving and doing things with your hands free. Since I have the Ultimate Survival Kit I also have a small keychain light as well. You are going to want a couple of good light sources. Nobody likes to be left in the dark! You will also need to pack batteries. Pack them separately and properly, this way your batteries will be fresh and not ruin your light source if they leak acid for some reason.
Another item worth adding to your bag is a set of two way radios. I recommend getting a set that can both take batteries and be recharged by plugging them in. This way you will have two options for power. If you have a family, buy enough radios so that everyone can have one in their own bag and predetermine the channel that you will use, that way everybody knows ahead of time. It may be worth writing the channel on each radio or marking each radio somehow. These can come in very handy if you get split up or if someone gets lost.
One thing I highly recommend adding to your bag is a good quality multi-tool. Do not skimp here and buy a cheap one! You will most likely be using this tool a lot and you don’t want it failing or breaking on you. Many of the cheap multi-tools break very easily and are not made well. I recommend buying a SOG, Leatherman or Gerber.
One simple cheap item I would also recommend adding to any emergency bag is a deck of cards. They are cheap but could save your life. By playing a card game it will get your mind off of the stress of the emergency situation and will actual calm you and put you in a better frame of mind. If you have kids this is a must. This will give them a sense of normalcy, it will give them something to occupy their time and it will keep them calm.
Tomorrow I will delve into this subject a bit further. I will go over some optional things you can add to your emergency bag depending on your situation and if you desire for your emergency bag to be more of a bug out bag. If you do not have an emergency bag now, do not become overwhelmed that you need to go out and buy all kinds of expensive things. Start slowly and do what you can. For meals you can simply use oatmeal packets, ramen noodles and any other prepackaged foods. You can make your own cook stove out of a recycled container. There are many ways to start cheap and at least have a basic emergency bag. It’s better to have something than nothing at all. Are you prepared for any of the possible natural disasters that might happen in your area?