Bug-out Bags 2
In the last post we covered what a bug-out bag is, and listed some of the basic needs. But what about seasonal specific items? Let’s start with winter in all but the southernmost states. If a quick evacuation is needed during the winter, the necessities change greatly. Anyone who lives up north knows to keep their car full of fuel, and stocked with a few items such as a warm blanket, a couple of days worth of ready to eat food such as MRE’s, nutrition bars etc; a case of drinking water with at least 3 or 4 bottles in the passenger area, and the rest in the trunk; a gas can with several gallons of gas (or diesel), several days worth of medications, and a few paperbacks and toys if needed.
Much of the same rules apply to bug out bags. In the winter months, the number one enemy is hypothermia. So in addition to the basic items listed in part 1, we need to add at least one full set of thermal underwear per person, several pairs of premium wool socks, a good set of winter gloves, and a full face ski mask. Depending on your region, you should also have a good quality winter jacket, with a knit cap, another pair of cold weather gloves and as many of the “chemical” types of hand warmers as you can stuff in the coat pockets. These items should be in addition to the jackets that you wear on a daily basis. They should be located with your Bug Out Bags, so valuable time isn’t wasted searching for them. Always keep your bags in a closet with easy access, and add a battery powered light to the closet so items can be issued out no matter what time or electrical availability. Make sure that items are ready for all members in your family, and never, never grab some of the items out because a child lost his or her jackets etc!
Adjust the straps on the bags to fit with your coat on. Practice taking short trips at least around the neighborhood wearing the cold weather gear with packs. If you carry a gun, place it one of the easily accessible coat pockets. If you see anyone approaching your group, remove the glove on your glove hand, and put your hand on the gun. YOu can fire right out of the jacket and then pull the gun out for continued fire.
Remember that in cold weather appetites increase so you need more supplies than in warm weather.
Use your seasonal changes to make a complete inventory of all your items and ensure everything is ready to go. In a bug-out situation one single item could cause the loss of life in one of your family members. Check the expiration date on any edibles and replace as needed. While freeze-dried meals are extremely convenient, they all depend on having hot water. Operate the camping stove to ensure you will have a way to heat water. If you have MRE’s, remove them from the box and place them in gallon-size zipper bags to take up less space. Do not open the bag to check the contents in advance. That way everything will be there when you need it.
Use a permanent marker to write the expiration date on all food types because it makes it much easier to see when you need it. Remember to also update your medications by rotating the oldest and replacing them with the newest. With the exception of insulin, most medications don’t lose their effectiveness for up to two years after the expiration date.
At least two or three times a year take your weapons and fire all of them at a gun range or wherever you usually practice. The whole key of weapons being useful to protect you and your family is based on practice. You don’t want to try to use your weapon for the first time in an emergency. That is why police officers and military are required to fire their weapons on a monthly or weekly basis.
Practice driving your bug-out route, paying special attention to potentially dangerous areas. It’s better to have a longer route than be trapped in an area where you cannot defend your family. In any type of mass evacuations, law and order will cease very quickly. Never underestimate how bad people can be when they are panicked.
So now we have a pretty good idea of what is needed to protect your family and give them a chance at survival, no matter what. The best defense is knowledge. If you think a situation in your area might get out of hand, it will be wise to increase your readiness and above all, stay informed.
The best advice I can give anyone is to read the articles on this blog about moving to a rural area. Even if you only purchase the land, you will at least have a place to go where you can defend your family. The odds of your family surviving increase greatly if you’re able to get to a location where you are not surrounded by desperate people. Unimproved property can provide a place to bury a few caches, such as heavy duty tents, food supplies, and other items. We will look at this in more detail in upcoming blogs.
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