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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspired by Chicago Typewriters thread about bug out scenarios, I thought I would "steal" some info that was posted on the 2Aforum by a man that goes by GrantK. He has put a lot of effort into writing on this subject and always enjoys sharing this info with others. So, if you are interested in really being prepared for "Oh ****" situations. This is the thread for you.

There will be serveral posts... here's the first.

Bug Out Bags – Who, What, Where, When, Why, How

Those here that know me know I’m heavily into emergency preparation. A member asked me to do a write up on bug out bags, which I’m happy to do since a little preparation can save your life. Since I didn't want to hijack someone else thread, I decided to start a new one.

Even if you don’t think you need a bug out bag or think they’re a waste of time and money I ask you at least read this first post then re-evaluate your position (which I hope to sway.) Since this can get fairly involved I’m going to break this down into multiple sections to make it easier to digest.

Part I –
What (what is a BoB)
A bug out bag, GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) kit or 72hr kit is a well thought out, well planed and balanced highly portable cache of supplies to sustain your life during an emergency when you might be forced to leave your home. It is intended to help you get safely from point A to point B and let you establish a somewhat normal life when you get to point B.

It is not a backpacking kit nor is it an arsenal with a thousand rounds of ammunition and a bunch or MREs to let you go play Rambo. Many times I’ve heard people brag about their emergency kit only to find out its nothing of the sort. It is very common to get carried away on one part because its fun or cool and ignore another equally important but not as fun part. Remember that you are creating a kit for the purpose of saving your life during an emergency, not something to keep you comfy-cozy while your out having a good time.

Who (who needs one)
Every man, women and child. Unless you are the POTUS with a team of Secret Service agents and millions of dollars spent to take care of you, you have two options, end up like the Katrina refugees in the Dome or take your safety into your own hands. Even FEMA recommends having a kit for each family member ready for emergencies.

Why (why do I need one)
For the same reason you carry a spare tire, have insurance policies and carry a gun, just in case. If you live within 5 miles of a railroad or express way you might have to evacuate do to a chemical spill. If you are down wind from an industrial area this hold true as well. A wild fire might threaten your home, tornados, blizzards, hurricanes and bad weather in general.. You could come home from work to find your home has burned down. And if you want to go extreme, terrorists could attack with dirty bombs, chemical or biological weapons, there can be riots, WWIII, or the government could have asserted martial law. If you wanted to you could make a list pages long describing things that would force you to leave your house in a hurry with nothing more than the clothes on your back and what you can grab with one hand.

Where (where do I keep it)
In a nutshell, keep a kit everywhere you can. I always recommend keeping a kit for each person in each vehicle as a minimum. Add another mini-kit in your bedroom, at work and at a couple of friend’s houses if you really want to cover all the bases.

Keeping a kit in the car means you have the kit with you where ever you are. What if you can’t get back home because it’s already in a danger? If you are at home, having it in your car might give you time to grab extras to enhance what you’ve already got packed in the car.

When (when do I bug out and to where)
The best time to leave is several hours before you think you should and at least 1 day before everyone else. In other words, by the time you think it might be time to go, you are probably already late. Obviously different scenarios have different lead times but remember that it’s the always the person that wanted to wait things out that you hear about dying during an emergency.

Once you decide to leave you better have a place to go or you’re just going to become another refugee waiting for the government to help you. For minor emergencies you might be able to go to a motel 10 miles away. For bigger emergencies you might have to go much farther. I have and recommend on having several destinations (I have three destiantions semi-local and two a couple days away) in different directions incase one direction is blocked or are in a worse situation. Set up with friends and/or relatives about 2hrs normal drive time away to come there during an emergency. Of course, you should extend the same offer to them should they need to evacuate. Have several different routes to each since it’s likely that one or more routes will be blocked by traffic or other problems.

How (how do I create my own BoB)
Well that’s what part II is going to cover. But first let me say that each kit needs to be personalized to your needs. What I have in my kits won’t be right for someone else. Also the pre-made kits are an OK starting point if you are having trouble getting started but remember that those kits are (A) intended to make money for the seller and (B) are someone else idea of what you need, not yours. What I’ll try to do in part II is to cover the areas and give some information on items that work, don’t work and are nice little perks.

Also, research recommendations from as many sources as you can find on what to include. FEMA has online information on putting together a kit as does the Red Cross, The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and many other sites. A Google search on “72 hour kits” will get you pointed in the right direction. There are also several books on the subject. Once I like is available form http://www.beprepared.com (Emergency Essentials) called, “How to Assemble a 72-hour Emergency Kit Book”

Lastly, once you have your first kit, don’t let it sit, try it out at home some weekend or take it camping. You should be upgrading, improving and filling holes as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t forget to change things out based on the seasons, what works for summer will let you freeze in winter. When you are happy with your kit, look at creating an add-on kit that contains “nice to have” items that you will abandon in you are forced to go on foot and another add-on kit you keep at home if you have time to grab it or go back home to get it. Don't forget items for pets!!!

Well that’s it for part I.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
You have to choose the items carefully. There are items designed to deal with the high temps of summer and freeze/thaw cycles of winter. They won't last as long as if they are kept in a dark, cool basement but you'll still get several years out of them. I'll go into more details in the upcoming part(s) when I give my opinion on the pros and cons of different types and brands of items.

Part IIa – Look What I’ve got

With a little luck, your kit will stay in your trunk during an emergency and you’ll make it to your destination in a couple hour drive or at worst, be used while in your car. However, since Murphy was an optimist you can’t count on it and you have to choose the contents of your kit(s) VERY carefully. Not having the one item you forgot about could cost you or your loved ones life. It’s that simple, survival is a life and death situation and just as unforgiving as an encounter where you would use your carry weapon. Having that neat looking gadget is just like trying to use a race gun for CCW. It will let you down when you need it the most. So please, please, please try the items you choose and make sure they serve a purpose, otherwise they are dead weight that will slow you down. At the same time, you don’t need the best of everything. Sometimes a cheap version is actually better because it weighs less and will last long enough to get you to your destination. Remember, once you get to your destination and no longer need your pack it doesn’t matter if it falls apart like the car in the end of the movie The Blues Brothers.

One last note before I cover the items. While a kit is commonly called a 72 hr kit, 96 hours is better and the ability to stretch things to 5 days is handy, beyond that you are carrying more weight and it will slow you down. You can carry extras in you car but assume you’re car will break down or you’ll have to abandon it and the extra items and go on foot (plan for the worst case). Even if you are trying to survive WWIII, you are still only going to use this for a few days to get to your destination (friend or retreat), not survive living in the wild for the next 5 years.

The categories
Your kit has to have everything you’ll need. With a little luck you can pick up some fillers along the way, like water, but don’t count on it. You need to address the following areas: the pack itself, food, water, shelter/heat, lighting, repairs, traveling, safety/first-aid/medical, security, communications, documentations, rendezvous, money and special needs for kids, pets, etc.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Pack
This is possibly the most personal and hardest item to choose. There is a tendency for people to either go overboard on the pack and choose a high end military grade pack or choose a pack they can’t comfortably wear for several days of walking. The ideal is somewhere in between. It should be obvious that you need a pack you can wear comfortably for several days, just as if you were back packing. However, a military grade pack such as the Mollee Modular System or older Alice Pack is over kill and draw attention to you. The durability gives you nothing after you get to your destination and the extra weight means less stuff you can carry. Remember, military packs are intended to last a long time under the worst combat conditions and be as flexible as possible, that’s not what you are targeting. An ultra light weekender backpack (in a drab color to blend in if possible) will do the job and then some. Once you’ve got all the items you’re going to carry weigh them and then go to the store with a bad of books, rocks whatever of the same bulk and weight and put them in different packs and try them on. Don’t forget the items you’ll have to carry for small children that can’t carry some (or all) of their own supplies. The pack should have well padded should straps and a waist belt. It should also have multiple attachment points to hang things from like a compass, water bottle caddy and a few easy access pockets. It should also have a rain cover. When trying on the pack, imagine what it will be like wearing it for several days, all day when you are under a stressful situation. Be picky but don’t let the sales person push you into a pack because it has some cool feature. While trying on different packs don’t forget to think about how you will carry your firearm(s). A strap on holster will work but is highly visible. A easy access pocket is the best choice for a pistol and having a packed AR7 rifle that you can extract quickly is a better choice. BTW – for dogs, get them their own pack and let them carry their own food, some water and collapsible bowls. For other pets, you have a hard choice to make, can you afford to risk your life carrying their stuff and them or do you harden you heart and leave them. For me, the only way I will leave my dog is if I am away from home when an emergency happens and there’s no way I can go and get him. If I’m at home to start with, he will be with me, period.

Carrying water is heavy and bulky so you want to carry the minimum possible and forage for extra. I prefer USCG approved water pouches. They are foil pouches of 4oz. each and will easily handle freezing and high temps with a 5 year shelf life. Other forms of bottled water just don’t measure up, period. Some people like the idea of carrying a hydration bladder (CamelBack, etc) which will provide more water but they have to be filled (they can’t be stored filled) and refilled from somewhere when you go. They add a lot of bulk and between that and their weight adds up to a negative in survival situations. Remember, the goal is survival, not convenience and comfort.

For foraged water, you can carry a camping filter but it is heavy and bulky. There are also so called filter straws or bottles with a built in filter you suck the water through but they don’t filter enough ‘stuff’ and they always clog up (I’ve used them) when you need them. A simpler way is to carry stainless steel (or ultra light weight titanium if you can find one) Sierra cup or single wall metal camp cup and a 32 ounce wide mouth Nalgene bottle, standard cone type coffee filters and water treatment tablets. You want the cup to stainless or titanium single wall so you can use it to melt snow/ice and so it won’t absorb any contaminants from the water. I prefer a titanium camp cup that looks like a coffee cup and has two wire loops for handles that fold against the cup for storage. It also nests over the wide mouth bottle to protect it and take less space. The filters, tablets should be kept in ziplock baggies and can be stored inside the wide mouth bottle along with other items.

Once you find a source of water that seems OK (not brackish or polluted) you pour the water through the coffee filter in the wide mouth bottle. Then add the tablet to purify the water. Don’t be tempted to add the tablet first. You might spill things and then you don’t know if you’ve got the right concentration to properly treat the water. The purified water will taste of iodine from the tablet but is safe to drink. A slightly better choice is to use the two tablet system. The first tablet purifies and the second improves the taste. The last choice is to boil the water for at least 15 minutes before drinking which in many cases isn’t practical.

This is another area where people get carried away and end up with too much weight and bulk. I hope I don’t need to explain why general grocery store food is a no-no but just in case here why. It won’t handle the heat and cold, it has a short shelf life, it is heavy and bulky and you are in life sustaining survival mode. The same goes for MREs. They are too heavy and bulky and they won’t handle the heat of being in your car trunk. If you want to add some MREs to your add-on/extras kit you keep at home to grab as you head out the door that’s fine but forget them for the primary kit and if you have to abandon your car, leave them with the car.

Backpacking food is very light weight but is still somewhat bulky and requires water to prepare which may be in short supply and if treated with tablets can make the food taste terrible. You can add (and I do) some single serving backpacking soups and I have some backpacking snack food in my add-on/extras kit I keep at home.

What I recommend is USCG approved lifeboat rations. Each pouch provides a 9 segment bar that contains 3000 calories in an OK tasting bar (defiantly won’t win any awards but it’s not nasty either). They are small and don’t weigh much, each being smaller and weighing less than a single MRE meal. They also handle heat and cold just fine with a 5 year shelf. The come packaged in a foil pouch and are ready to pack and use. These are not balanced meals but for the few days you’ll be using them they will do just fine and remember your goal here it to stave off hunger and provide calories to keep you going. Along with these bars I’ve added the above mentioned soup packets, some tea bags, hard candy and bullion cubes to make things a little more interesting.

For children that aren’t on normal food, sorry it’s not something I’ve researched. For children on normal food, they might not like the food but this is an emergency and they don’t get a choice. Also, don’t let them carry the food, you should ration it out to them to make sure they don’t eat just the candy and that they spread out eating the lifeboat rations.

BTW – The soup I carry is 2 each of instant tomato and potato. For utensils, I carry titanium, spork and rely on my multi-tool for a knife to open pouches and cut the food bars.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Part IIc

If you are forced to travel on foot chances are you are going to be spending at least one night outside and will want/need light. Also, while on the topic, if you are going to be outside overnight I suggest you stop early enough to choose and make camp before the sun goes down. This will allow you to make a better choice of camp sites and provide natural light for making camp and let you reduce your need artificial light.

There are several options for light. Fire provides poor lighting and you can’t turn it off easily if you think someone is approaching and need to hide. It also isn’t very portable since torches have to be made and need a fuel source other than the tree branch you make it out of. Light sticks are convenient but don’t give much light, can’t be turned off, have a limited shelf life, can be activated by accident and can freeze.

This leaves flash lights. Their only draw backs are burned out bulbs, dead batteries and getting damaged. Burned out bulbs can be dealt with in two ways, carrying spares or going with LED type. I prefer LEDs. Dead batteries can be dealt with by either carrying spares or recharging. Recharging just isn’t practical in an emergency evacuation, the weight of the panels, time needed and you also have to have sun which may not be around if the weather turns bad. So that means carrying extra batteries. The best way I’ve found to do this is try to pick items that use the same type of battery (AA and AAA seem best) so you can use them in the devices as needed and be sure and use top quality lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are expensive but have several advantages. Their very light weight, provide a lot more power than regular batteries, hold their power for a long time and provide good results even in winter.

I like the three light level method, a high intensity tactical light of the types that we would use as part of our self defense gear (and for the same reason/use), a medium output light for general use and a low output light for comfort lighting (to chase off the boogy man). For medium output, general use I have a Princeton Tech head lamp. This gives three levels of output plus a flash mode in case you need to attract attention for a rescue and most importantly, keeps your hand free. I also have a MiniMag 2-AA LED light. These are much better than the old incandescent MiniMags and a nice output for their size and battery life. For low level light I like the green Krill 180 Extreme that uses 2-AA batteries. This puts out about the same light as a light stick only it can be turned on and off, outputs the light in a 180degree pattern and one set of regular batteries will last 50 hrs, lithium even longer. They also have a loop at the top so you can hang them if you want.

I also have several Nuwick emergency candles but they are part of the add-on/extras part of the kit and are for only for use while staying with the car. If I have to go on foot, they’ll be left with the car unless I have a special reason for bringing them. An example would be to carve up the wax to help with a fire.

Cooking, warmth, peace of mind. If you are out over night or in cool weather you’re probably going to want a fire. Even if you don’t build a campfire you may want to heat some water to provide hot soup or tea/coffee. I cover this by having some tinder tabs to help getting a fire going and to light the fire I carry a disposable butane lighter, a refillable windproof butane lighter, magnesium bar with flint sparker built-in and a pack of USCG approved lifeboat matches. These are the size of regular wooden matches but the head covers half the match and come in a sealed plastic bottle about the size of a 35mm film can. Once lit, the can NOT be put out until the head is burned off. You can even dip them in water and they keep burning.

Along a similar note, I also carry an Esbit folding stove with extra fuel tablets. The stove and one tablet will heat a cup of water to boiling. The stove can store 4 tablets when folded up and if you allow 3 per day for 4 days you need 12 tablets total. The folded stove is about the size of a deck of cards.

I know some people that pack a tent and sleeping bag in their kit. I also know people that go camping with nothing but a tarp. Being as the goal here is survival and not being comfy-cozy I go minimalist and have an 8x12 tarp, several Mylar space blankets and two Mylar space sleeping bags. To put it together I also have 100’ of parachute cord, and a bunch of large brass safety pins. This will let me build a lean-to, a wrap around or just about anything. I don’t carry a sleeping bag because I won’t be getting undressed and in cold weather I will probably be wearing the extra cloths that are part of my kit for extra warmth. I won’t get into field craft here but if you lay down a good base of pine bows and seal the edges nicely you’ll be surprised how warm you can stay with a simple reflecting fire. TRICK: you can dig a fire pit big enough to lay in, build a fire and when it burns down to coal, burry it with the original dirt and sleep on it and nice and toasty. Just make sure you cover the coals with enough dirt or you’ll find things getting a little too toasty!

When choosing space blankets I like the ones that are orange on one side and silver on the other. It makes it easy to get the reflective surface point towards you which is what you want. Also, you can use space blankets if you are trapped in your car to stay warm by either pinning them around the interior or use the pins to tuck them into seams where panels meet as well as wrapping yourself in them.

On more trick, I carry a pair of collapsible hiking sticks. These help with walking and can be used as supports for building a shelter.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Part IId

I had originally intended to cover clothing as part of shelter but forgot. Besides, it probably should have a section of its own anyway. First thing, be sure and change out the clothing at least twice a year (more is better) to allow for the change of seasons. In general (and what I do) I recommend two changes of clothes. For cold weather these should be oversized so you can wear them on top of your current clothes or each other. In summer make them oversized so the breath better. They should be rugged. I carry two t-shirts and two long sleeve shirts even in summer, two pairs of pants and underwear and four pairs of socks, two light weight liner socks and two heavier over socks. I also carry one pair of shoes (my daily wear shoes are low cut hikers) but many will want two pairs. A hat, either a booney style for summer or a knit cap for winter. In winter I also carry a balaclava, warm ski mits and ski goggles. I also keep a pair of work gloves all the time. These are not the bulky ones but the snug type that ranchers commonly use. Backpackers and hunters have the clothing issue down to a science so check out those types of stores.

No matter how good your gear is Murphy will break it for you. So, I cover repairs by carrying a couple campers’ rolls of duct tape, a travelers sewing kit, a handful of large brass safety pins, about 100’ each of parachute cord and mason’s string, a small coil of solid light gauge stainless steel wire and some heavy rubber bands. Don’t forget a multi-tool, I like my Leatherman Wave but and good quality one that has its own belt sheath will do fine.

A hand-held GPS is nice, and I own one, but the batteries will go dead. Topo maps are great for backpacking but aren’t updated that often and are almost always out of date for the areas most people will be traveling. If you are going to be traveling through a national forest topo maps are great! Map books are nice but expensive for what you get and considering how often they need updating/replacing the cost adds up pretty quickly. For traveling in the types of areas most of use will be crossing to get to our destination I like regular gas station maps. They get updated often to show new roads and housing so you can avoid them or use them to your advantage. Also, they are cheap enough to replace as new ones come out without feeling like you’re throwing money down the drain. Be sure and have maps for all areas you might travel through. You’ll also want to water proof them. You can pick up spray water proofing for maps at map stores and camping supply stores. Don’t water proof them until you have marked them with you additional information (described later in this write up under “rendezvous”). To this add a good compass such as a Silva Ranger and your good to go. BTW – You do know orienteering don’t you? If not, pick up a book on it, learn and practice.

The other mode is by vehicle and with luck, that’s all you’ll need. I’ve had people ask me about using a mountain bike, motorcycle and even horse. While those have advantages of being to go almost anywhere, they aren’t good for bad weather, don’t allow carrying as much gear and chances are you won’t have your kit with you at all times. That means something with 4 wheels. Obviously, it needs to be reliable. If possible, it should have 4 wheel drive so you can get through on washed out road and snow. Four wheel drive will also allow you to drive off the road to get around traffic jams and evade if the situation turns bad. A pickup truck a SUV is the best because of the amount of gear they can handle. I like SUVs more just because all the gear is inside with you

Safety is mostly a matter of staying out of trouble and using common sense but it is something you need to think about. It also crosses over somewhat into first aid in that staying safe is easier if you stay clean and healthy. So be sure and include TP, Kleenex, antiseptic hand wash and a backpackers towel. Backpackers towels are very small and light weight while being very absorbent. This will let you wash up if you find a decent water source and you’ll feel much better which will help you state of mind.

Of course a decent first aid kit is required. The one I have is no longer made but the reason I choose it should give ideas on what to look for. Mine is a soft sided zippered multi-compartment pouch about 5x6x3. It has internal compartments that can be used to keep things organized nicely and easily holds a first aid quick reference chart. I keep assorted band aids, sterile pads, adhesive tape, elastic wrap (ace bandage), ointments, tweezers, small magnifying glass, and assort OTC remedies. Since I don’t trust the shelf life of the ointments and OTC items, I swap them out when I update the kit every 6 months. You can find the single use ointments in some drug stores and on the web. I also keep a small bottle of CampSuds for cleaning and a dry tooth brush. I don’t trust the shelf life of toothpaste and figure that water or even dry brushing is better than nothing.

For personal medical needs, I keep my last pair of glasses in the kit along with lens wipes. I keep several small plastic vials (from a backpacking store) with my personal meds in at home and at work to grab quickly if needed. I change them out every week. I don’t trust keeping prescription meds in the kit. I also keep a list of my meds (name, dosage, doctor, etc) in the kit (see documentation section for details). Don’t forget special hygiene needs for women and babies.

I’ve noticed a sizable group of people saying things like they are packing their AR15 and 500 rnds of ammo. While being able to defend yourself is important, don’t make it the focus of your kit. You will be in much better shape by being stealthy and avoiding a bad situation then trying to fight your way out of one. Also, once you pull that trigger, you’ve announced your location, very possibly to the exact type of people you want to avoid in the first place. That said, I carry an extra 50 rounds for my CCW weapon along with an AR7 and 100 rounds of CCI Stingers.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Part IIe

This is one of my favorite areas of emergency kits because it encompasses one of my hobbies. You want to stay in touch with what is happening around you so you don’t stumble into a situation as bad or worse than what you’re leaving as well as contact those at your destination to let them know you’re coming or even to come and pick you up part way is you have to abandon your vehicle. To keep up with what’s going on you want a radio. AM is normally going to provide better news and information than FM and gives better reception over different conditions. A weather radio also can help you modify your route based on weather conditions that might be changing. A shortwave radio will cover a wider area in case the emergency has wide ranging effects. There are small pocket radios that meet all these needs and run off AA batteries. If you get one, remember it’s for news and information, not entertainment so use it for a short period every hour or so to get updates then turn it off to save the batteries.

To contact others you can go with cell phones, FRS/GMRS, CB or ham radio. Katrina showed that cell phones will go out so I wouldn’t rely on them. FRS/GMRS have a very limited range so they won’t do you much good. CBs have a limited range as well and even the hand held ones don’t seem to last long before the batteries give up. That leaves ham radio. If you don’t have a license, get one. They are easy even for children to get and you don’t have to know Morse Code, just some basic rules and simple radio theory. I personally know of kids as young as 8 getting their license. With a VHF ham radio, you can do use repeaters to cover a very wide area, up to several hundred square miles is easy. Many VHF ham repeaters also have a hard wired connection to the phone system that you can use to call your destination. Hams are also very much into providing assistance to other hams and can be counted on to respond to you in many emergencies if you ask them for help. A simple hand-held VHF radio with 2 or 3 small battery packs will more than cover all your needs. As an example, mine not only covers the ham frequencies but police/civil frequencies, NOAA weather radio, TV, frequencies, FM/AM broadcast bands and SWL bands. The radio is the size of a larger cell phone. I’ve added a better antenna and a clip on rollup antenna for better reception of AM broadcast and shortwave. To stretch the battery life I plan on using it for short periods. A couple of my destinations have ham radios as well and we have agreed to monitor the radio non stop with planned contacts for 20 minutes after and 10 minutes of the hour. This is to avoid those using on the quarter hour contact times. I also have ham radio gear at home and in my vehicle.

But to include here is very personal but think about how to prove who you are, getting refills for prescriptions, accessing accounts and generally trying to carry on a normal life once you get to your destination. Items to think about are account numbers, insurance information, I’m counting on having my wallet with drivers license, ATM card, credit cards, copies of marriage and birth certificates, divorce paper, copies of assorted legal documents, etc. Don’t forget names, addresses and phone numbers of family, friends, neighbors and especially those of your destination points!!! You should also have phone numbers for work and school and police for your home location. To track this I have a water proof note pad with all my information written in it. I’ve have the account numbers, companies and phone numbers for credit cards, bank accounts, trading accounts, mortgage, utilities, doctor information license plate number and vehicle VIN. To address the issue of identity theft I’ve developed a simple way of encrypting the account numbers that I can do in my head. I take the second half of an account number and first add a value to each digit then a rotate the numbers but that same value. The number isn’t critical as long as you will remember it without ever writing it down. Here’s an example of how it works with an 8 digit credit card number. Oh, the reason for using the last half of the account number is that with credit cards, the first half provides commonly recognized information and if encrypted someone might know it’s encrypted and figure out how to decrypt it. So you don’t want the number to look encrypted. Anyway, lets assume the last 8 digits are 1234 5678 and your encryption key is 7. You add 7 to 1, add 7 to two, etc. dropping the overflow giving you 8901 2345. Next your rotate the numbers by seven as well. You can rotate either direction but I’ll start by rotating right so rotating once gives 5890 1234, rotation twice gives 4589 0123 and so on until you get 9012 3458. To decrypt just reverse the process. First rotate the opposite direction by the same count then subtract the number leaving the originals digits that you match up with the fist half of the account number. For account numbers with an odd number of digits, you can always include or drop the middle digit in the encrypted group, just be consistent and don’t be too tricky or you might trick yourself.

This is mostly for couples and families but some information here is handy for everyone. How are you going to get together with your loved ones? Mom is working downtown, Dad is working over on the other side of town, junior goes to that private school the next town over and sis goes to high school. Where will you all meet? What if that place is in the path of the emergency? Do you know the procedure for getting your kids out of school? Is there a way to have a family friend get them out? Can you get them out during a “lock down”? If the school is evacuated, where will they take the kids? Be sure and know have ways of dealing with these issues.

Each person needs a map(s) of the areas they are in with rendezvous points marked on them. The address should be written and phone numbers noted. Also maps should have other rendezvous points marked on them. Also on the map(s) mark all churches, schools and public buildings (don’t forget fair grounds and camp grounds). Check with your local OEM/police/sheriff/etc and mark a list of all planned shelters. Some have this on their web sites, others will require calling around. Be up front and let them know why so they don’t think you are planning something nasty. In most cases, you’ll want to avoid the area near shelters unless you want to get herded into one with the masses which is generally a bad idea. On the map, be sure and included the name, address and phone or other contact information for your destination sites even if the site isn’t on the map. Set up priorities for the shelters based on ability to get to them under different emergencies. It’s somewhat complicated and takes a lot of thought and planning but you don’t want to be wandering around trying to put your family back together any longer than necessary during an emergency. In short, have a plan and have several more for when the others can’t be used or flat out fail. For kids, most have book bags and putting a few maps in the bottom won’t be noticed and will always be with them. Include a prepaid phone card so they can call you if needed. If they are driving, they should have a complete kit in their car.

Just because in an emergency, stores might not take credit cards, checks and ATM cards. I carry $200 in bills (tens and twenties), a roll of quarters and a $50 prepaid phone card that doesn’t expire. The quarters can be used for pay phone is the card can’t be used as well as for vending machines that seem to be outside many places these days.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some topics because they are items that I feel don’t meet my needs. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have something, just that it doesn’t meet my needs and nothing more. There are also items in my kit that I don’t discuss with anyone, deal with it.

A couple of items I didn’t mention elsewhere are ziplock baggies to put things in, larger garbage bags to keep things dry. I line my kit with one and put items in their own baggies within the main bag. For many items, I put them in FoodSaver vacuum bags to protect them and make them smaller. For instance, a full roll of TP becomes very small when the air is removed. I also several mini sized books, an SAS survival manual, a copy of the New Testament, a first aid manual and two fiction books. Having a coloring book or pocket games for kids can help them deal with the stress and keep them from adding to yours, be sure to address that aspect!

These are items that are nice to have but you can live without and will abandon if you go on foot. If have several, one in the car that includes items to make staying with the car easier such as extra food (camping food), blankets, extra water pouches, shovels (one is a mini-folding shovel that will come with me), candles, tarps, the backpack for my dog, Loki, with his collapsible bowls, lease and collar, more tools and items to repair the car like belts, hoses, road flares, sky flares, more duct tape, worm screw clamps, fluids, etc. My car kit also has an emergency survival kit that includes minimalist fishing gear, trapping snares and other interesting items (I’m hard core). I also have add-on kits at home with more stuff like treated jugs of water, MREs, my medications, vitamins, Personal items I don’t want to loose, Loki’s food and emergency medical kit, extra clothes and assorted additional supplies to supplement what I keep in the car. The important thing here is that if it’s in the car, it must be able to deal with the heat and cold and everything in on/in your extras group(s) are expendable and NOT required to survive.

Part III – putting all together
Once you have your kit put together, test it. First at home on a weekend and then when camping. Think about what you wish you had and what you absolutely need and adjust you kit and add-on kits accordingly. Imagine how you’ll deal with the deep laceration or a broken leg. Your kit should always be a work in progress and updated as you learn what works for you. The items I’ve listed are what work for me TODAY, tomorrow may change things.

Also, you already know how to get to your destination(s). You just pick up the expressway from Main Street, take exit 123A drive 4 miles and turn left. Well during an emergency that isn’t going to work because everyone else is doing the same. Go for some weekend drives and explore the back roads so you have as many possible routes as possible. Be sure to evaluate the roads for areas that might wash out or provide other problems getting through. Is that building over there a warehouse for dangerous chemicals that you want to watch out for? These excursions can be combined with a visit to those at your destination, just leave early and tell them you’ll be later than usual. You can try more routes on the way home. For those planning for the worst, look for ambush points where brigands may try to take what you’ve got.

Get more first aid training, Red Cross puts on some that are a good start and fairly cheap. The more you have, the better you are. I’m currently looking into taking a First Responders course. Improve your field craft skills. Can you make a lean to? How are your orienteering skills? Take an evasive and off road driving course. Read, learn, practice, practice, practice.

One last point and its very important, don’t discuss you plans with friends and neighbors that don’t need to know. They may try to join you and rely on your plans with no preparation done them selves and expect you to help them and risk your safety while they haven’t done squat to protect themselves. This is even more important to get children to understand. It’s a private issue, not public. It’s a cold, hard world where only the strong and those that prepare survive.

Thanx to GrantK


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Like I said it’s better to be prepared. Katrina got me thinking cause I have little ones. I don’t want to rely on the government to save me - cause in the meantime my little one could suffer for it. In Indiana we have the nations supply of VX gas, one drop ’ell do ya! Outside of that I don’t we are big military target.
I’m in the process of a general purpose BOB. Water tables, fire starters, multitool, tp, xword puzzle book, sleep bags, food that I have to rotate…by the way were do you get the marine rations with five year shelf life? I have mixed emotions on my firearm. I would want to explain why daddy had to shoot, but I don’t want anything bad to happen to them either. We could survive 72 hours easy. More and think we’d be trouble. We camp primitive a lot but we still have access to water and facilities. I don't want to end up in the Super Dome with my kids looking up at me and crying and saying I'm hungry, thirsty, or worse and not be able to anything about it. Being totally helpless in front of my kids and not being able to help them would devastate me. Besides why leave to someone else what you can do for yourself? And we saw the bang up job the government did in ‘Nawlens!

Cool site for long term food storage but have not used them.


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13,432 Posts
I do have a storage container full of supplies and gear. And, I keep around 15 gallons of water at all times at home I need to work on food again, though.

Those damn gallon jugs leak quite a bit, and I had them on top of my food. Leaked all up in it and grew mold before I noticed - this was last year. I haven't replaced the food items yet. So, right now I have none.

I did put all of that together after the Katrina situation, though.

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4,440 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, this whole subject of emergency preparedness was a little daunting to me after reading many posts by GrantK, I just had to break it down into sections so I could wrap my mind around it and then try to address things piece meal (no pun intended).

1. What did I think were the most likely situations I needed to prepare for?
2. Figuring that Murphy's law says whatever I plan for, what really happens will probably be different than what I figured, how can I be adaptable?.
3. What supplies do I really need.
4. Where do I keep them?
5. How much weight can I carry if I'm on foot?
6. How can I protect myself and my wife in these different situation?
7. How much money and maintenence do I want to put into this?

The situations... There is no way to know for sure what may happen on that day and what others will be doing. So I will just tell you how I approched it. Everyone will have a different take on the subject so go with what works for you. But this is what I did and am still doing.

Being caught seperated and away from home.
Being at home but knowing I can stay put until things return to normal.
Being at home and neeeding to leave.

Caught away from home meant equiping the cars. Each car needed a gas can, a syphon hose, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, regular tool box, a duffle of clothing, a first aid kit, food and water, personal stuff like womens stuff and toilet paper, shelter, lighting, radio, space blanket, Knife, gun, compass... dang this was looking like a big project just for the cars! But it really wasn't once I got started. Read on.

I bought two large duffles with shoulder straps for each car, a backpack fitted for the primary driver, some bungie cords, and a 8x8 blue tarp.

One duffle has the toolbox with a small socket set, small open end wrench set, allen wrench sets, a multi tip screwdiver, duct tape, and a small hammer. I'm not going stop and rebuild the engine, so all I want to do fix a radiator hose or put a belt back on, replace the battery, that type stuff. The tool box, extra engine belt, tarp, fire extingusher, go into this duffle.

Gas can, gallon of antifreeze, and fixaflat, are bungied together so they don't roll around in everyday driving. Also, a case of bottled water that I rotate out every couple of months. This lets me have water while stuck in the car without having to get water from the backpack supply.

Second duffle has clothing, sweat clothes, boots, stocking cap, blue jeans, tennis shoes, underwear, socks, belt, jacket, gloves, shorts and shirts, etc... all used stuff from the closet that I don't wear anymore anyway. We all have stuff like that around. Use it. I also have a pretty extenisive first aid kit in the car.

Backpack... this is where you have to stop and think a little. This will be the real survival kit. Most of the stuff above will be left in the car if you need to go on foot. Ravage the clothes duffle for the appropriate items to keep or leave depending on weather, leave as much as you can. But if you have the two duffles with straps, and someone is with you, you now have a way to spread the weight between you, allowing you to bring more water from the car.

Weight is very important here. This is what you must carry for hours and yet still have what you need for an extended hike of miles for a couple of days. I found that hiking websites and survival websites have differences in their lists. The experienced hikers know what they need through experience of getting caught in the hills for days. I'll try to find some lists that hikers made after they got back from being stranded. Very good info. And hikers know how to pick a proper backpack and keep it lightweight and still have what they need. I'll post possible list for you to choose items from later.

Now, if you are at home (or can get home) and can safely stay there until power and water return. Generators (this is a whole section all to its own), mre's, potable water, water for fushing the camode, lighting, propane cook stove, canned goods, gallon drums of dried food, there are many sites and lists of things to think of on this subject of holding up in the house. I'll try to post some good ones. Remember, if you stay home, you may have to defend it from looters... generators make noise and attract attention as does lighting, and small generators will eat up your gasoline that you may want to keep for the car if things change on you.
On this line... buy three or more 5 gallon plastic jerry cans. Once a month I use them to refill my gas tank in the truck, then I refill the cans.

You are at home, are were able to make it home, and it's time to get organized and leave... If you have more than one car, make sure to empty it's gas tank into the car you are taking. Take all the kits from the cars you are leaving behind. Take all you home survival stuff that you can. I have one more clothes and food kit in the front hall closet on in the bedroom I am working on now. It is for the situation of waking in the middle of the night, and smelling smoke or gas, or whatever else that would make me want to get out of the house NOW!. Just grab this bag on the way out and dress outside.

And have a plan on where you are going and multiple routes on how to get there. For goodness sakes, if you do not have a Garmin GPS with a full US map loaded onto it, get one instead of that next hand gun you are looking at. Maps are great... a fully laoded GPS is better. And you can practice using it by geocaching and hiking carrying your car backpacks to find out just what you can carry and for how long. Testing out the backpacks is a must.

I'll be back with items lists for those who are still reading this thread.


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6,036 Posts

Excellent post!!!!!

I personally moved to a place that has a small town, (mostly a fishing village) access to water wells, geografic isolation (only 2 roads ie. bridges that go into the town) Horse farms, dairies in the area, small farms, Town is right on the ocean.

My plan is to hunker down and wait it out. I've spent the last 30 years buying this and that so it wouldn't hurt my cash flow too much. I'm glad I did because by the looks of the world situation and all the WACK JOBS that are getting the bomb I don't think we have too many years left.

I figure after 3 to 5 years of tough times the survivors will be able to build a stronger society and all the weenie, sniveling "please take care of me government" type will have died off.

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They say that if you bug out in a vehicle you should always go in a convoy- at least two vehicles in case one is compromised.

And I would like you to know about jolly ranchers. Those little candies. They are pure carbohydrate and require practically no water or energy to digest. It is possible to live off of jolly ranchers for months. They are a very good way to pack calories into a light weight kit.

Here is how I'm prepared to refugee in different situations.

I have a few kits all packed up for different scenarios.

The core is a BOB (largeish butt pack) with the essentials for wilderness survival. I live in a heavily forested area where it is possible to walk for 100 miles in most directions without coming out of the cover of trees. I'm an experienced outdoorsman so cross country foot travel would be my preferred method of evacuation. I can, and have, walked to friends houses several counties over this way. I think it would be within me to walk from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire, with no more kit than this 15lb pack. This is actually on of my goals.

In addition to this butt pack I can add:

highway/ city back pack:
this unsuspecting pack has GPS with road map, tire inflator, JB weld, duct tape, locking pliers, hose and hand pump (for drawing gas out of tanks- underground and other wise) , bolt cutters, pair of respectable cloths, crowbar, money, non-lethal device...

winter kit:
my very special open cell foam clothing. This stuff was made by a company in the 90s and they folded when they didn't get a military contract. But it was defiantly the best insulation ever conceived. Arctic explorers will pay thousands of dollars for a used pair of northern outfitters boots. Anyway, it is comfortable to sleep right out in the snow in this stuff.

and the less probable:

evasion kit:
15 lbs shoulder roll of some serious cammo and electronics

SHTF kit:
If there were no way to avoid people bent on killing me I have a 35 lb vest full of ammo and armor. Trauma kit too. ..More a part of my collection of militaria than a piece of survival kit.

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4,440 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Promoted Pawn said:
Texas Armadillo-
What a well thought out post. If we had a preparedness room this would be a good sticky.
Thanx, but please keep in mind that I didn't write most of that. I just brought it over from another forum. GrantK wrote it. But I am glad that someone finds it of value, I do.


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4,440 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Fick said:
Here is a great rifle for the BOB. It breaks down for storage and the action/barrel and 2 mags are stored in the water proof stock.

Made by Henry Repeating Arms. U.S. Survival .22

I would be interested in the camo version of this one. I'll look around for one tomorrow. Thanx!


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13,432 Posts
Fick said:
What do you guys think about this as a sort of rifle kit for your 1911. Would you prefer this kit and your pistol or the pistol and diffrent caliber rifle?

There is another carbine conversion U can use a 1911 with - I forget the name but it starts with an "M" - Something like Megtech or something. I'd pick that over the one in the link.

Me personally - I am fine with the PS90 and a 9mm handgun. I guess matching ammo would be nice, but oh well..

The best combo is probably the Keltec Sub and a Glock - both even use the same magazines.
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