There are many times when you feel like you just want to bug out and get away from it all. Then there are more serious times when you don’t have a choice but you have to. As a result, it is a good idea to be prepared.
If you live on the Gulf Coast or the eastern seaboard, hurricanes are a seasonal danger. For those on the west coast, the ‘big one’ can shake your whole world at any moment. Meanwhile in tornado alley, a twister can destroy everything you own with the most limited of warnings. Wherever you live, it is a good idea to be prepared for an emergency.
Thankfully, since the end of the Cold War we don’t have to worry about the imminent threat of a nuclear winter, so a bunker in the back garden is not as popular as it was fifty years ago. You do however need to have enough food and water in your house to last at least 72 hours. Plus, a bag ready for yourself and everyone else in your house in the event of having to leave at a moment’s notice.
What is a bug-out bag?
These are bags that you should keep separate from your day-to-day backpacks or sports holdalls. Your bug-out bag should be kept with your emergency preparedness kit, your emergency water and food provisions. That way you know it will be there when you need it.
The importance of water
Water is your friend when it comes to a survival situation. You honestly can’t have enough. You should have some purification tablets and a small water filter on hand incase the supply goes down or gets contaminated.
We are very spoiled in this country to have clean water coming out of a tap whenever we want. And we only truly recognize this fact whenever we are deprived of the privilege.
Food for your bag
The most important things to consider when choosing food are the calorific content, how they can be stored and how they can be carried. Tinned foods are great for the long term but they can be a little heavy to carry. If they do not have a ring pull it can be a nightmare to try to open without a dedicated opener.
Dried foods are light and will last a long time too, but their draw back is they can spoil very easily if moisture gets into them. Another problem is the potential to find yourself without clean water to rehydrate the food, which renders them nigh on useless.
The best foods to pack
A varied mix of foods is undoubtedly your best bet. One of the best items to start with is a good stash of protein bars. These need no water or heat to prepare and can be eaten on the go if you find yourself on a journey and there is no time to get a fire going. They are full of energy and can make a tasty treat during a quick stop. They are also well known and highly valued by others and so could, at a pinch, be used to barter for other necessities.
Freeze dried meals are a favorite amongst hikers and climbers as they can replicate the feeling of having a good meal at the end of a hard day. They have gotten to the point where, while they may not able to replicate your Friday night Spaghetti Bolognese, they might just taste even better when you are cold and hungry. Trail mix and peanut butter pouches are also tried and tested for those who want something tasty and filling to eat while they are on the move.
For breakfast there are few better options than oatmeal or porridge, which can be stored in waterproof containers. With powdered milk and drinking chocolate, all it needs is a little heat and water to prepare a hearty and sweet tasting breakfast that will set you up for what is likely to be a long day ahead.
Don’t forget the little treats, low morale can be as dangerous in a survival situation as the weather. If things do get tough and your group starts to feel down, or even worse starts to turn on one another (this can happen to even the best of friends in tough times), a chocolate bar can literally be worth its weight in gold. You can’t eat gold in the mountains anyway.
On the same note, coffee and tea shouldn’t be overlooked and not just because people ‘need their morning cup.’ Coffee and cookies in the evening will stave off the chills and the social aspect of sharing a communal brew should help your companions to regroup after a hard day. It can also help as you figure out which is the best way to proceed when the dawn breaks on a new day.