Camping & Survival

Prepping is Smart, Not Crazy

Disasters can be unexpected

The media portrays the lives of preppers and survivalists on our home televisions with regularity. They usually portray them as being a little off. Some of this is no doubt due to the behavior of the individuals, while the remainder is due to clever editing by the producers. While a portion of the media pushes the average American to think that preppers and survivalists exist on society’s fringes, the government and other parts of the media encourage all Americans to prepare their homes for a catastrophe. This contradiction exists amidst poor economic times, high sales in the gun industry, and raised feelings of insecurity among the general population. I will to go out on a limb and say that preparing for a potential disaster is a good idea. A practical amount of emergency supplies can’t be bad thing.

The first step in preparing for any disaster is to perform a threat analysis. Make a list of the most likely catastrophes in your geographic area. Since I live in North Texas, I am not too worried about a volcano erupting in downtown Dallas. However, North Texas is vulnerable to frequent tornadoes, hail, gusty winds, floods, grass fires, and even hurricane remnants. We also have small but steady earthquakes in some areas. If we get a winter storm and the roads ice over, everything in Texas tends to shut down—including the electrical grid. This makes planning for a disaster in my area particularly difficult, since we must be prepared to bug-in for ice storms, or bug-out for wild fires.

Disasters can be unexpected
Disasters can be unexpected

At the bare minimum, residents in all parts of the country should have a 72-hour kit. It is not expensive to plan for a 72-hour long emergency and it may save your life. You may not be able to think of everything, but having the bare essentials can really help should the SHTF.

  • Water – one gallon per person per day
  • Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
  • Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
  • Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
  • First Aid kit & instructions
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers
  • Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape, and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a crowbar, hammer and nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Large heavy-duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets.

A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety. Here are some ideas:

  • Firearm
  • Ammunition
  • Flashlight
  • Battery operated radio
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocketknife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
  • Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • Permanent marker, paper, and tape
  • Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to any drugs or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
  • Prescription medications and first aid supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Any special-needs items for children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets!
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Comments (6)

  1. These are all outstanding suggestions, and I agree with them. However, some items that I don’t see on here that are just as important are a sledge hammer, two 6 ft pry bars, a light chain saw and a heavy duty one and various assortment of nails–6-12Ds,a large assortment of screws perferably with square heads and T-25s. 4 sheets of exterior plywood and an assortment of 4x4x 8’s,12s,16s and the same in 2X6. You’ll also need some tarps,and a couple of large rolls of 6 mill plastic sheet. You are also going to need some at least two large floor jacks, and a powerful block and tackle a couple of come-a-longs, along with a minimum of 5/8 static rope and at least 60 ft of dynamic rope along with a number of steel and aluminum carabiners and a couple of climbing saddles–I have at least three in different sizes. Two or three lengths of chain (15-20ft each), and a couple of good axes won’t hurt either. The stuff I just quoted will be used much more than all the ridiculous info on guns and MRE’s. If you are living in a lowland area, than a jon boat is must along with a small outboard and at least one spare set of oars. In 9 out of 10 emergencies, you will be hit with either tornados, hurricanes, big freezes and high winds. And a decent generator is really a must. That chain saw is going to do you a lot more good than any firearm or 5,000 bullets sitting in your basement. And to be honest I’ve never seen a Zombie invasion in my lifetime.
    As far as weaponry is concerned, you don’t need anything more than what you hunt with and if you don’t hunt, get yourself a cheap shotgun or two. You can buy them used very cheaply if you stick with 2 3/4 shells and you certainly don’t need anything even remotely looking tactical–that is just dumb. And quite frankly while I have one tactical style rifle,they are about as useless as teats on a bull. Same goes for handguns. A 22 revolver is just as good if not better than the best 45 acp (yes, I own three including an assortment of Glocks and Kimbers–but the truth is that they are useless). Give me a 22 mag rifle along with 500 rounds and a 22lr or a 22 handgun and I’m done. Bad guys do not analyze the size of the bore when they have a firearm pointed at them. Never be dumb enough to wear camo during an emergency unless you want to volunteer as a target for both the good guys and the bad guys. If you need camo, get “natural” camo like earthtones, browns, grays, soft greens and you will be just as well camoed without sticking out like a sore thumb. Never have anything that looks like it came or is like the Military. Your job is to look as innocent and non threatening as possible. After 50 years of fooling around with all kinds of firearms, the gun I use the most is my S&W 640 snub in 38 plus P and my 22s. The 38 goes with me anywhere and even backpacking. If I go into the back country, I usually choose my 41 Mag Taurus but it cannot be loaded hot-very light and easy to carry. The 44 would be even better. But a close 2nd and just as good is a S&W Mdl 66 4 inch. Very light and very well balanced. You can shoot light target 38’s or heavy 357s for hunting.The odds of you having to bug out are very slim to none. But the odds of having to take down trees, that have hit your home, clogged your street etc. are extremely high. The odds of you having to shoot it out are close to zero but the odds of you needing a block and tackle to be able to hold a tree are very high. So get the stuff you will need and leave the military “tactics” to the armchair tacticians.

  2. It really bugs me how so many of these shows and the media make the preppers seem like crazies. There are so many regular people that have started prepping and it is good to see as everybody will be better off if there is a problem.

    That is a great list of Bug out bag contents thanks for the info.

  3. We in the country sides don’t usually gather bug out bags. You in the suburbs and city better have one, better to be safe than sorry. I don’t suggest you try to carry a gallon per person but get a good survival straw and pump instead. One of the biggerst problems you may encounter is someone trying to take what is yours from you. Don’t go with the belief that just a stick or knife wil protect you, get a gun. With the current news being what it is anyone that says prepers are nuts think again. Durring the past wars and troubles it has been the farmers that were the best survivors. If you don’t need to be in the city get out, sell out, move out as soon as you can. Best wishes to you all.

  4. very true about having a bug out bag. Make sure you also have 3 meals per day for 3 days for each person so they can continue to work, fight, survive!

  5. Every family needs a bug out bag, the list above is a great start, we live in east Texas and have sat out three huricanes, probably set out the next one too, it’s comforting to know all your basic needs are in one place and easy to grab

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