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After a natural disaster, you often hear people talking about having a bug out bag, but what is it and why do you need one?
Having a bug out bag in our home or vehicle could mean the difference between life and death during an emergency.
A bug out bag is a portable emergency kit that is designed to last you for three days. These are also referred to as 72 hour emergency kits. They need to be portable and have all the things you need to survive during a disaster.
What you actually pack in your survival kit will have to do with your own needs as well as where you live. For example, if you live in area where hurricanes are common, you’ll need supplies related to surviving a hurricane.
But if you’re in an area that is more likely to be dry, you’ll want to have a different set of items. In general, though, you’ll want to have a first aid kit, a three day supply of food that doesn’t require real cooking, and a change of clothing.
Itís also a good idea to have a system for shelter, a bedroll, light sources, and tools to help you start a fire, stay dry and warm. Itís also important to have supplies for any personal needs. For example if you have small children, you may need diapers and baby wipes, toys to keep kids occupied, and children’s medications.
There are many situations that might warrant the use of an emergency kit. For example, you might have a gas leak in your home or a fire requiring you to leave it. You could also need to evacuate due to flooding or another natural disaster.
And, unfortunately, itís important to plan for instances such as terrorist attacks, nuclear disasters, or chemical spills that may require you to leave your home and find alternate shelter. Your kit won’t be designed to take care of long-term changes, but it will give you time to seek something more permanent if needed.
A bug out bag needs to be easy to grab and go. Most people purchase a back pack for their bug out bag because itís easy to carry and allows you to have your hands free. Even small children can carry their own bug out bag that has essentials.
When you have a 72 hour emergency kit, you’ll be able to have peace of mind knowing you’re better prepared for a disaster. Having a bug out bag for each member of your family will protect you during an emergency that requires evacuation.
Most preppers assume that building a survival kit is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are a few common mistakes when selecting items to add to their first survival kit. Here are a few tips to make your survival kit more useful and efficient.
A well-designed safety kit must contain tools and supplies to help you survive in a number of different emergency situations.
One common mistake made by people building their first survival kit is focusing on a narrow subset of emergencies.
They build a kit which might be fantastic for dealing with an invasion by China, but isn’t too useful when you fall off a cliff and break your leg!
The survival kit should contain items that:
Looking at the items you have collected and thinking about the possible emergency scenarios which might occur will help you evaluate your survival kit.
A common mistake that people make when building their first survival kit is going for quantity instead of quality.
There is no point stuffing your survival kit full of items which are not well-made and are prone to breakage.
This is particularly true when talking about items like sleeping bags, signaling gear and communication gear.
A poor quality sleeping bag could mean the difference between spending a night wide awake and shivering or resting comfortably.
If your cheap LED torch fails it could mean the difference between rescued and dying alone!
If you can’t afford quality items immediately, spend more time building your survival kit.
Many survivalists take pride in their self-sufficiency and survival skills.
For this reason, they sometimes skimp on items which are important for signaling or communicating with other people.
Don’t forget that a survival kit must cater for situations where your ability to be self-sufficient has been compromised by injury or illness.
Even if you are an expert in off-grid living, signaling, and communication items are essential for any survival kit.
Useful signaling and communication tools include flares, distress radio beacons, laser pointers with lithium batteries, high-power LED lights with signaling capabilities, whistles, and signaling mirrors.
Space is always a chief concern when building a survival kit.
There are some fantastic products which are designed to save space and add more value to your survival kit.
Sometimes they may cost a little more, but if they allow you to take an additional item, it is worth the expense.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a survival kit, the emergency first aid kit must include a wide array of items to deal with various medical emergencies.
Unfortunately, they can become fairly bulky very quickly.
One way around this issue is to use multiple emergency medical kits — one to carry with you while hiking or taking a short trip, and another more comprehensive kit which stays in your car or at your camp.
Smart preppers craft the contents of their kit to match the activity they will be performing and always take a medical kit with them.
Experienced preppers understand that the weather is one of the toughest impediments to surviving in the wilderness.
For this reason, everything that goes into the survival kit should be weather-resistant.
The items should be able to survive submersion in water, dusty/sandy/icy environments and extreme temperatures.
Using gear which is not weatherproof can lead to disastrous results if you are forced to cross a waterway unexpectedly or the weather suddenly turns bad.
Many people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on their survival kit, ensuring they have the best gear available.
However, if you lack the necessary knowledge to use the gear appropriately or deal with emergency situations, it could all be worth nothing.
Your knowledge base should include:
Keep in mind that this information may not even be used by you!
You might run into a situation where you have been injured and cannot gather food or light a fire by yourself.
Another person might be required to perform these tasks and having this knowledge on hand could help them save your life.
Even if you are experienced with off-grid living, you might only have knowledge relating to a certain type of environment.
What happens if you have an accident and are left stranded in a foreign location with completely different geographical conditions, wildlife, plants and weather conditions?
Knowledge is essential to survival.
When first building a survival kit, many preppers use a checklist to ensure that they have an item for each survival task.
For example, a lighter for starting a fire or some chemical tablets for making water safe to drink.
However, if they lack redundancy for particularly important survival tasks, they are asking for trouble.
Bring two or even three ways to start a fire, have multiple options for purifying water including chemical tablets and a small filtration system.
Preppers should also consider the varying weather conditions may affect the viability of some items.
A traditional lighter might struggle to help you build a fire in an extremely wet environment, for example. If you are interested in off-grid living, redundancy is particularly important.
Some foods that are sold as “survival foods” are actually packed with sugar and can do a great deal of damage in certain situations.
If you are battling a fever or hypothermia, the last thing you want to eat is a sugary snack high in fructose corn syrup, because it will send your pancreas into overdrive.
Pack natural foods that keep well under various weather conditions and provide you with a great deal of nutrition.
We recommend the Wise Food Kits if you’re going to be stocking up on survival foods. Click here to order.
When choosing the items to go into your survival kit, the kit’s weight should always be monitored carefully.
Look for items that offer great value without adding too much weight to your kit.
For example, a Ferro-cerium rod might be a better option than a catalytic heater and gas bottle for lighting fires and cooking.
A common mistake for people building their first survival kit is not incorporating enough clothing or including inappropriate clothing.
Take clothing that is one layer warmer than you think you will need. That will ensure you can maintain your body temperature in the event of an accident or find yourself stranded at night.
Also, remember the ‘top and toes’ rule.
Most of your body’s heat is lost through your head and feet.
Even if the weather is quite warm, incorporate some comfortable socks and a beanie into your survival kit.
You should also think about the kinds of materials used in the clothing in your survival kit.
For example, cotton is fantastic at retaining warmth until it gets wet, then it can actually contribute to hypothermia!
Materials like Polypropylene are hydrophobic (repels water), which makes them ideal for a base layer that keeps moisture off your skin.
Wool is great for keeping you warm, nylon is tough and polyester is great at stopping wind penetration.
Choose your clothes carefully!
What you need to have packed when it is time to get out
Outdoor survival preparation is taking off at a rapid pace. With the current economy and political status of various countries declining, many have predicted that a catastrophic event will soon occur which will force the common man (or woman) into survival mode.
It is for this reason that many people have started to compose bug out bags.
But if you do not know what to put in a bug out bag it is ineffective.
What does it mean to Bug out?
Before you can even start planning a bug out bag, you need to know what bugging out is.
Bugging out is when a person is forced to make the decision to leave his or her current living environment in a hurry in order to survive.
In most situations, bugging out is due to a governmental crisis where a person’s chances of survival are better in the outdoors.
Typically, martial law is associated with these situations as well as events which cause a total economic collapse.
While bugging out is associated with panic and chaos, those that chose to bug out do not have to be.
What are bug out bags good for if bugging out is a hurried departure?
Bug out bags are a form of disaster preparedness for temporary outdoor survival.
Your bug out bag also has essentials which will sustain you over a period of time (such as flint and steel, string, and dehydrated food).
In the event that a person is forced to flee, those which are prepared with a bug out bag are more likely to survive.
Those which do not have a Bug out bags are far less likely to survive as they will have to gather the bare necessities and compete with others in the same situation.
Bug out bags typically hold the essentials needed to survive for an average of 3 to 7 days.
They are not intended to be your long term survival goal, but rather the emergency kit to get you to a place where you can implement outdoor survival skills to survive.
What should I have in my bug out bag?
When it comes to survival you will need to have food, water, and shelter. It is therefore critical that you have such in your bug out bag.
Water should be in bottles and equal a minimum of 3 liters (enough to sustain you for 3 days).
Your food should be non-perishable, preferably dehydrated food. Make sure that you do not pack food which requires special tools to open or to prepare.
Pack a tarp to serve as a shelter. You can easily use sticks, rocks and other natural elements to quickly build a shelter while you prepare for a more sustainable means of survival.
Toothpaste. Often overlooked but critical to a bug out bag.
Your teeth maintenance is paramount to keeping you healthy. Problems with your teeth can effect anything from your focus to your heart (as bacteria can go directly from the root under the teeth to the heart).
Apart from the three basic needs, you will need to ensure that you prepare for emergencies and other such situations by having a realistically packed bug out bag.
Have a first aid kit, have clothes (especially socks), flint and steel, a flashlight, rain gear, a Swiss army knife, a survival knife, an hatchet or hand axe, and a shovel.
Where there are several pre-made survival kits available, you will always need to modify your bag to fit your needs. Those which are in areas that have an extremely dry climate should pack more water.
What to avoid?
A great deal of people will argue that you need to have weapons in your bug out bag. I would agree that you need to have a knife and an axe.
They can serve as tools for a long time.
Other things to avoid:
Where should I keep my bug out bag?
Once you have established the contents of your bug out bag, it is critical that you have your bag in a location where you can get to it at all times.
This means that you do not store your bug out bag in your home.
In the event where you are not able to return to your home (whether from a natural disaster or a man-made disaster) you would be out of luck and your chances for survival would be bleak.
Neither should you have your bag just exposed to the elements as it would be stolen or damaged.
Find a location that is both secure and safe from the weather and from prying eyes.
Will a bug out bag ensure my survival?
NO, it will not, but it will ensure that you can survive.
You must have some items in order to get started on your wilderness survival.
However, you must prepare with outdoor survival training, emergency training (such as CPR), and then practice your plan.
Your bug out bag is temporary solution.
It’s important to be prepared for anything and everything. Taking the right precautions and training allows you to protect your family in any emergency.
Are you really prepped or are you doomed for failure?
You have a survival bag made and you believe that it is up to par.
However, many times those which take on off grid living find that their survival gear is greatly lacking.
Understanding the common mistakes which new wilderness survivalist make concerning their survival gear will ensure that you do not do the same.
So here they are, the top 10 mistakes to avoid in your Survival Gear.
1) Keep away from Goliath Sized Packs
You want to ensure that you can carry all your gear in your survival pack, but at the same time the pack has to be manageable.
Getting a pack that is huge will only make you a target for others which are trying to survive as well as become a burden to you.
As you will be toting the pack over large distances, ensure that the pack does not weigh more than you.
Image Source: Flickr user Jonathon Seah
The best survival packs are those which contain all the necessary items in the smallest space.
Consider, if you have to tote a 70 to 100 pound bag on your back that is the equivalent of carrying a 9 year old child all day.
2) Don’t pack just water, pack water purification tools
If you pack bottled water and a few canteens and expect to survive then you have already been defeated.
Water will be your primary objective in wilderness survival.
You need to ensure that your pack has water filters, water purification tablets, and that you have a way to heat up water.
Water purification tablets should be used with any water which is held for a day of more to ensure that you do not get contaminants.
When possible, you should save those bottled waters and canteens for days when you cannot find any fresh water.
3) Don’t forget to pack paracord
String is often overlooked as a luxury item.
However, a nice amount of paracord can be used to make fishing line, it is needed for a bowdrill, it can be used to hang your clothes or to make a very quickly shelter (if you have a tarp or large sheet).
Where it may not appear at first glance that string is important, you do not want to have to sacrifice your clothing or weave rope cords if you can avoid doing so.
4) Go beyond the standard first aid kit
Your emergency preparedness kit needs to go beyond the everyday first aid kit.
By this I mean that you need to have ample gauze, bandages, tweezers, superglue, needle, thread, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Nail clippers, pillars (for when tweezers just won’t work), and if possible a survival heat blanket. These are best to have packed in your bug out vehicle.
Do not forget to pack Benadryl or the equivalent either as you may have an allergic reaction to plants and other digested food.
5) A pack without a whetstone is a doomed pack
Regardless of how sharp your knife and axe are currently, they will become dull. Yes, you can make you a “natural” whetstone, but why?
This is time that can be dedicated to hunting and tracking and other survival skills.
Besides, if you are in a situation where you need a sharp blade you do not want to have to go about finding a suitable substitute for a whetstone.
The size of the stone does not matter too much (though you do not want to get one that is too small) so long as you can keep your knife and axe sharp.
6) You forgot to pack dehydrated food
Until you can actually do so, you have to eat.
Finding a good game trail can take days to find. If your wilderness survival begins in winter, plants and game may be unavailable for a substantial amount of time.
To minimize the probability of starvation, you need to have non-perishable food. The best way to do this is with dehydrated food.
Dehydrated food lasts a very long time, and let’s face it if you forget food it will probably outlast you.
7) Don’t pack your gun
You may have seen on prepper videos and other survivalist broadcasts that certain survival gear packs have guns stored in them.
This is a very bad idea.
First, it is impractical to have one in your pack.
If someone comes up on you and you need a gun, the time that it takes to get out the gun and then use it will be too long.
The person will already have fled or mugged you.
You’ll want to have your gun on your person, ideally in a gun holster.
8) Avoid florescent colors when selecting a survival pack
Logically, a fluorescent survival pack will hinder your chances of survival.
First, as a survivalist you want to blend into the surroundings and not be noticed. Colors which attract attention are a danger to you.
The more attention that you draw from other survivalist the lower your chances of survival become.
Yet, your main concern should not be from the other survivalists.
Consider, if you are trying to track or capture game and you have a bright pack giving away your location you won’t be successful.
This is why camo was invented.
Pick a pack that has natural greens, browns, or one that has a cameo pattern.
By picking a design that accents your natural environment your chances for survival increase dramatically.
9) Have a way to repair your pack
The easiest way to have your survival gear go to ruin is to have a damaged pack. You can easily avoid such by packing a small sewing kit, or better yet, choose duct tape.
Tears and rips are bound to happen to your pack.
If left unattended, they will grow leaving you to decide what gear can be carried and what gear must be sacrificed.
10) Pack a complete pack; do not rely on a partner survivalist
Finally, do not pack a half pack.
Those who go into a survivalist “partnership” do so with the lowest probability for survival.
If you are in a wilderness survival situation, your pack should have everything you need to survive.
Think about it.
If food rations get low and your pack does not have the food in it, who is going to be the person to control the food.
If an emergency happens and the decision comes down to you or him, do you think that your survivalist buddy will let you live and die?
More than likely they will not.
Make sure you pack a complete survival gear kit.
Image source: Wikipedia
21 Life Lessons from James Bond
James Bond is arguably the world’s most famous spy. He always has a witty one-liner, he manages to get out of even the trickiest of situations, and somehow, at the end of the day, he still has time and class to seduce any woman he lays his eyes on.
While it’s his debonair attitude that sells movies, it’s his levelheadedness, cleverness, resourcefulness, and loyalty that make him a worthy role model.
Implementing some of these lessons can you get into the mindset of a spy. James Bond isn’t just protecting queen and country; he’s also protecting you.
This quote, from The World is Not Enough, is actually courtesy of Q. Here, Q teaches us that it’s important to lick your wounds in private, both to save face and to keep your enemies from knowing your weak points.
Courtesy of Q in The World is Not Enough, James always knows what’s next, which gives him the upper hand. When it comes to you in your life, it’s good to know where you’re headed, regardless of where you are.
Always be one-step ahead.
In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond quips on the joys of learning another language.
The more people you can communicate with, the better.
Written skills, verbal skills, and language skill take you far.
This quote from License to Kill gives a bit of insight into when to tread carefully.
James knows it’s wise to give the woman with the knife the center stage for a time—so that he has time to formulate an escape plan.
This lesson from Skyfall is an ongoing theme in the James Bond canon.
Whether it’s country, queen, or your family, find something worth fighting for.
In Die Another Day, Bond yearns for the old ways. Learning from traditional methods and employing classic tactics is nothing to be ashamed of.
Sometimes a little glue and duct tape go a lot further than a bunch of fancy gadgets.
Here in Goldfinger, James teaches us the importance on admitting our flaws—so that we can better overcome them. His answer? Carry a gun.
In A View to a Kill James used this line to flirt—but it’s also indicative of how the famous spy finds time to train, learn new techniques, and find time for extracurricular activities.
One of the best ways to learn something about another person is to open up. Casino Royale shows us James at one of his most vulnerable states; let yourself shed a little armor once in a while.
In Skyfall, Bond reminds us of our own mortality, the mortality of our loves ones, and the mortality of our enemies. A greater respect for life can help you when making life-and-death decisions.
The world famous spy reminds us here in For Your Eyes Only that overreacting isn’t helpful. Keep a level head when in intense situations.
In Skyfall, Bond reminds us that being young doesn’t necessarily mean better, and that old doesn’t mean spent.
Keeping with the theme of loyalty to country, here in Goldeneye Bond reminds Alec that he’s in his profession because he was meant to be. Own what you’re doing to succeed at it.
While it in itself was a film inconsistent with the franchise, this quote from Never Say Never Again inspires us to set goals for ourselves and stay consistent.
Here in Casino Royale Bond give us insight on advice. Remember to stay humble.
This quote from The Living Daylights is the other half of Bond’s success. He plans and he reacts in the same moment.
When it comes to guns, Bond sums it up in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Weapons are powerful and deserve respect and care.
This quote from License to Kill reminds us to always be looking for the things others didn’t think of.
In You Only Live Twice, Bond is given a second shot at life.
When motivated to change your life, take the opportunity.
From The World is Not Enough, Bond reminds us that we, as humans, aspire to do and be so much.
You can achieve anything and everything.
The classic catchphrase is an important reminder to always stay true to yourself.
Click the “Play” button to learn more!