2008/09/18– Let There Be Light!

Sunday night SE Indiana/SW Ohio was rocked by the remnants of Hurricane Ike. I lost power from 2:15 Sunday until 10:30 last night (I celebrated Beau’s 8th “Homecoming Day” in the dark with him on the 16th). I was all right since I have enough food on hand to survive a zombie uprising, plus I have good water sources close by to filter with my backpacking filter after I do run out of potable stored water. I also have my JetBoil and a French Press coffee maker. A friend of mine got me an early birthday present–a hand-crank coffee grinder (yeah, it’s those little things that make the day brighter).

Despite being pretty well prepared for such an occasion, I still used some of what’s in my emergency kit. I used to joke about the post-9/11 knee-jerk Terrorist Preparedness Kits politicians insisted would be the savior of us all. That is, until I was living just outside of Detroit during the 2003 blackout. I was raised in the rural Midwest, so I’m used to power failures, even those lasting several days. But the ’03 blackout was quite a bit different.

After that experience I cobbled together things I’d need to make it through 72 hours without any support from the outside world. Mostly it’s things I already have–my backpacking stoves, lights, water treatment, tent, sleeping bags, etc. I now also have a small stash of water and non-perishable foods stored in a plastic tote ready to go if I need to load up and leave. I don’t keep this all in one big box (it would be HEAVY), but I do know exactly where everything is and can usually have it pulled together very quickly.

What’s in my kit varies from what’s recommended. It’s geared to what I need in my area of the country and my situation. That said, I’ll list what’s in mine and also link to other suggested lists.

Contents of my Bug Out Bag

  • Water-1 gallon per day per person or pet. For me this is about 10 gallons to have on hand ready to go.
  • Water Treatment- for when the water runs out (filter or tablets).
  • Food- for 3 days, including various canned goods, packets of fish, meal bars (right now that’s Clif Mojo bars and granola bars), powdered whole milk, chocolate milk mix, and I’ll be adding dehydrated foods in the near future. I also have coffee, powdered creamer, and sugar. Even if you don’t drink coffee, it’s a good thing to have for barter/goodwill. MOST of what’s in my kit doesn’t need to be heated to eat it.
  • Can Opener– it would be silly to have canned food with no opener.
  • Shelter– tent or tarp to hold me and all of my animals.
  • Dishes– plastic; bowl, cup, spoon, and fork. Also, a large enameled metal cup to heat over an open flame. This cup could take the place of the cook pot below, if need be.
  • Camp Stove– alcohol stove as those are the easiest for me to fuel on the road.
  • Cook Pot– to boil water. Nothing fancy.
  • Lights– head lamp and regular lights. I have a solar-powered light and will be adding a hand-crank one in the near future.
  • Candles and matches– small to provide light, in addition to the 44-hour emergency candle listed below in the roadside kit.
  • Radio– mine is a small Grundig World Radio which gets Shortwave, AM and FM. I also have a small Sony Walkman type that gets AM, FM, TV audio, and Weatherband. There are now some really nice hand-crank radios out there that are worth the investment.
  • Batteries– For lights and radio.
  • First Aid Kit– includes any medications I may need, plus basic wound care. The same one I take on the trail. (addressed elsewhere on this site).
  • Toilet Kit– includes a TOWEL, biodegradable soap, wash cloth, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, tooth brush, tooth paste, and a hair brush.
  • Paperwork– A copy of my ID, my car insurance and registration, renter’s insurance, vet paperwork on the animals, and a photo of each of us.
  • Multi Tool– I use a Leatherman.
  • Pet Food– for the dogs and cat. Enough for 3 days.
  • Car Chargers– for my phone and other electronics as needed.
  • Pre-paid Calling Card– because the cell doesn’t always work.
  • Cash– because the card might not work.
  • Extra clothes– two pair socks (wool) and underwear, two t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a wool sweater (warm when wet and doesn’t melt in heat), wool stocking cap, wool mittens or gloves, a face mask, and a puffy vest or jacket. Even in the summer these are good to have for cold, wet nights.
  • Sturdy Footwear– in my case these are hiking boots.
  • Rain Gear– at least a poncho, but usually a jacket and pants.
  • Sleeping Gear– sleeping bag or blankets (including sharing with the dogs), sleeping pads.
  • Games– a deck of cards and 5 pairs of colored dice. Sounds silly, I know, but it could be one of those things that keeps you from going nuts if you have to spend several days in an evacuation shelter, a tent, or your car–especially if you have kids with you! There are a LOT of really good dice and/or card games.
  • Animal Containment– leashes, tie-outs, and crates.
  • Roadside Kit (always my car)-
  • Maps/Travel information
  • Jumper cables
  • Jacks (yeah, I have two) and something to block tires
  • 4-way (spider)
  • 44-hour candle and matches
  • Fix-a-Flat
  • Work gloves
  • Winter hat
  • Fleece sleeping bag
  • Traction pads for tires
  • Spare tire
  • Tire gauge
  • Roadside reflectors
  • Fluids- oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield cleaner
  • Spare fuses
  • Spare belt
  • Long screwdriver
  • Socket set
  • Paper towels (or rags)
  • 2-C cell Mag Lite with spare bulb and batteries.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?


Bug Out Bag (Wikipedia)

The Big List (Survival-Center.com)

The Ultimate BOB (Survivor Magazine)

FEMA Plan Ahead