Thursday, November 8, 2007

Back to the Bug In Bag

Alright, as promised, back to the contents of the bug in bag.

Obviously what you carry in your bag is going to depend a lot on which part of the country - or planet - you live in. Someone in Canada is going to carry different material than someone in Arizona due to the different weather conditions each may have to confront during extreme climate variations.

What I'm going to cover over the next few posts are generic items to any bag no matter where you live and items that serve pretty much only one purpose. That way we can knock the obvious out of the way and then deal with some of the other stuff that is multi-functional.

What are the critical items for a humans' survival? Food and shelter right. That's what we start with in our B.I.B.

For food I'm going to carry some protein bars, dark chocolate and/or beef jerky. They all take up very little room and yet provide tons of energy when you might have to hoof it for a few hours. Along with that I'm going to have a couple of bottles of water. No need to get fancy with camping gear bottles...a couple of water bottles from the super market work just fine. (I'll touch on these later during the first aid section too but water can be used for washing debris off (remember the images of 9/11 and the soot that covered everyone?) and irrigation of wounds.

Next comes shelter. The first thing I put in any B.I.B. is a pair of training shoes. Think about it. The whole concept of the B.I.B. is to get you home when you're stranded. That's probably going to mean walking, and lots of it. Look at the people in New York during 9/11 and the black out a few years later. There were stories of people having to walk upwards of twenty miles to get home. Think about where you work, and think about where you live. Now imagine having to walk it in high heels (for the women) or some thin soled leather corporate shoes. Not much fun eh? Much easier in a good pair of trainers.

Next should be some protection from the elements such as wind and waterproof jacket. My North Face folds up into its own pocket and takes up about as much room as a large grapefruit. A lot of times black outs (power outages) and accidents are going to be caused by bad weather so it only makes sense to have something to protect you from same.

A level up from that is a survival blanket available in any camping or sporting goods store. These fold up into tiny packets but work brilliantly to keep in the bodies heat (up to 80%) and stave off hypothermia should it become necessary to hunker down for any length of time or help someone suffering from shock.

Other items that come under the "shelter" banner include the following:

Gloves: I keep a pair of work gloves handy either for protection from the cold or rough surfaces.

Hat: Either a woolen beanie or a broader one for marching in bright sunlight (mine changes depending on whether it's winter or summer)

Chapstick: Lips will crack fast if you're out in the elements...why be miserable

Sunscreen: Skin will burn equally quickly...have some handy. Bad sunburn can be extremely dangerous

Dust mask: These are available in boxes at your local home goods store. Again, think of trying to walk out of a smoke filled building or those images of what people were attempting to deal with on 9/11 and the bombings in London.

Alright, that does it for food and shelter for a basic pack. Remember, if you live somewhere with temperature extremes you'll need to consider some additional items obviously.

Over the next couple of postings we'll cover the other essentials for a good pack.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Just like the dust mask, I recommend a pair of protective glasses dedicated just to this bag. I threw an old pair of shop glasses in mine, and am considering extra sunglasses as well. I also put a small container of Visine in my first aid kit.