I heard a funny story last night. My friend came from CA about a year ago. Katrina and Rita were their first big experiences with hurricane season. When asking her 14 year old daughter about what to do for a Category 5 hurricane, the reply was with a shrug of shoulders, 'Evacuate?' 'What about a Cat4?' 'Uh, [another shrug] evacuate?' 'What about a Cat3?' 'Evacuate?', etc. It seems that she's learning to prudently obey emergency announcements. Good for her!
I found this sort of amusing since I unknowingly walked down the street during Hurricane Gloria (1985) to check on our neighbors kids who were home alone. I didn't know I was pretty much in the thick of it. I thought it was still on its way.
Miserly Bastard asked me to comment on his second emergency preparedness post
. Let me first say that *nothing* qualifies me to give anyone survival advice. Every year I like to go camping off-grid for 10 days in very extreme conditions. It's Leave No Trace
and I pack everything in and out. I am actually not very good at it and my friends usually help me out when I've forgotten something. (They drive, I fly. That makes a huge difference when selects the 'just in case I need this' items.) Other than that, I might go on one or two short weekend trips in advance to test stuff out and make my shopping list for the big trip.
I found his list, extremely comprehensive. It actually made me laugh at its thoroughness because I kept thinking as I read, 'I wonder if he's going to include firearm protection.' That sounds nuts, but it's not. People I know survived Hurricane Andrew in Miami. One guy tells a story of receiving a call from Coral Gables. His friend's family estate is running out of potable water, can he come over in his pickup and deliver some? The guy obliges but is stopped on the road by people who would do him harm. He pulls out his gun, waves it a bit, scares off the would-be hoodlums and delivers the water. I asked if he was just exaggerating, but apparently stories like this were pretty common in the aftermath of Andrew.
For some reason I thought MB mentioned wintertime so some of my comments address cold-weather extremes. I suppose the heat would be off for a while in an emergency since any gas lines running into the building will be shut off. I also think that this is primarily his shelter in place stuff, but I assume that he might be on the move as well. So onto my comments:
1) Cotton blankets: Why cotton? Wool keeps you warm when wet while cotton does not. Wool is also hollow core and is a better insulator than cotton. Mylar space blankets are further down the list. Are you hoping to use them with the cotton blanket? If you are looking for a light covering, try a cotton sheet instead. It packs down smaller. I'd go with a cotton sheet, wool picnic blanket, and mylar blanket.
2) Jerry can: In most states, you MUST decant gasoline and other flammable fuel in RED containers. Absolutely no question on this. Make sure you get a RED one for gas and learn to fill it properly!
3) Blue water can: They come in 3 and 5 gallon sizes. There are collapsible clear ones too. I don't care for the clear ones too much since they jiggle around a lot when not completely full. I personally cannot carry 5 gallons of water. That's roughly 40 pounds! I prefer 2.5 gallon 'suitcases' of water from the store. They are easy to carry, have their own spouts and can be cut open for a wash basin. Generally speaking, 1 gallon of water per day per person is sufficient. Some places say 3 gallons, but I've found that to be overkill if you aren't going to shower daily.
4) Speaking of, he forgot to list a washbasin unless he plans to use his eating bowl. Eww!
5) AA batteries: He's absolutely right, AA's are more common than C or D cells. However, hand crank radios may be best since batteries may be scarce. Unless he's planning on swapping them out all the time, he might want to rethink his dependency on electronic items. I'm not saying get rid of them all. There is no way to get rid of them all. DO NOT buy Kirkland AA's in bulk. They do not last a long time. Since we're all very frugal and appreciate value for our money, get Duracell or Energizer.
6) I think he forgot a headlamp. These are awesome for hands free work in the dark. Petzl Tikka LED's are my absolute favorites. Unfortunately, they take AAA's. Fortunately, LED's use little power, so AAA's will last a long time.
7) Potable aqua: Is this water or some special brand? 3 Bottles? What size?
8) Steel Mirror: Good for signaling if you know morse code. High polish steel won't break, but it will bend. I learned the hard way. I got one as a gift from a Pohang Iron & Steel executive. I put it in my wallet for putting on lipstick on the train and shoved said wallet into back pocket. Bent the poor thing till it was a fun house mirror. I'm still sad about that.
9) Sleeping bag: He doesn't actually mention this one. I recommend natural down because it compresses small (but do not compress it for storage!) and will keep you warm in 0F degree weather.
10) Tampons: 5? boxes? I hope for his wife that he meant boxes.
11) Baby wipes: I highly recommend unscented Wet Ones in antibacterial formula.
12) Shampoo: Ixnay on the shampoo. It uses too much water. Get No Rinse or Dr. Bronner's liquid soap. Dr. Bronner is a funky guy, but the soap is pretty good stuff.
13) Vaseline: Good for personal care, and in a pinch, lubricant for moving parts.
14) Clothing: I would add a wool sweater and jacket to the list.
15) Hat: I'd add a wooly hat and not just a baseball cap. But make sure you have hats with brims just in case you are outside for long periods of time. Sunscreen isn't enough.
16) Ball point pens: Grease marking pens, wood pencil/graphite, and sharpener. I'm not sure a ball point writes on waterproof paper. Maybe it does.
17) Knife: I know he's got a really nice knife listed, but I'd have a utility knife and spare blades included so I don't nick the edge of the SRK. As nice as some tools are, they can still break if stressed in the precisely wrong manner. I would probably keep a honing/sharpening kit around too. Or alternatively, have one serrated knife and one smooth. You can get ones that are half and half too.
18) Tent: You forgot the stakes and a mallet. 12" ones should be sufficient for most ground surfaces. I like Power Peg plastic ones, but make sure they fit into the rings of your tent.
That's about all I have to say. Believe me, I don't have this sort of stuff when I go camping and I'm not this prepared. I live in a studio and my gear literally takes up an entire closet. I have some in the travel duffle I put on the plane. I have some in large Rubbermaid totes. Some folks use flippy-crates.
I do agree that the time to plan is when there's no emergency. I think sometimes I'm a little off the reservation, but living in a prime target area and having lived in an earthquake zone makes you think. I have been camping with ex-military and appreciate their knowledge and expertise. Learn how to tie knots before you need them. Learning to tie a trucker's hitch is not fun in the dark, when it's raining, when you really need it.
Alright. That's enough on this topic for me today. Please feel free to leave some comments or suggestions below.