Oh yeah, prepper crap again. When a leading financial adviser tells you to prep your bag
, you might want to listen. Sure, they are often wrong, but what are you out? Nothing. Still got the bag ready and, more importantly, got the habits to let you get out of Dodge right now.
Before we look at the bag itself, lets take a peek at two far more important things.
So, you got a car. Well done. How much fuel you got? One of the easiest preps to do is keeping your gas tank topped up. Run it down to 3/4 then fill it again. The very last thing you want in a bad situation is to have to stop for anything. A full tank will take you a fair distance, probably further than your bladder can manage in one sitting.
You need to know where you are going. While freeway driving is a breeze in some cases, in a real panic the back roads are your friend. Even though the route may be longer, you will use less fuel over all by not being stuck in traffic. So grab a good map and work out alternative routes.
So, what should go in your bag?
How the hell should I know, I don't know your circumstances! This is the problem for the "one size fits all" bags sold by survivalist stores and Amazon. You have a baby - those things don't come with formula or diapers. A pair of young children? Crayons and paper to distract them are not standard. However, there are certain basics that should be considered.
A bug out bag is usually considered to be for 72 hours or so. So for each member of your party:
3 pairs underwear
3 pairs socks (5 for the drivers, your feet get sweaty)
1 spare T shirt.
You can live in the same jeans for three days. We are talking getting out, not smelling good. If you are that fussy about smells though:
Sanitary wipes, for taking a sponge bath on the move, not for wiping.
Toilet paper. This is surprisingly important and should be standard in your glove box anyway.
A folding shovel. They weigh about a pound. And really, are you just going to crap on the verge and leave it sitting there? You bury that shit.
Next, food. 72 hours of food in the same bag. Hey, you always wanted to start that diet. Dehydrated is your friend as far as weight is concerned. It is distinctly less friendly if you can't find safe water. Because we are discussing a bag in your car, we'll add some dehydrated food, since you can throw a few bottles of water into the trunk.
First off - Crackers. Preferably salted. Bread sticks work and seem to be immortal, but they are slightly difficult to spread things on.
If you are feeling adventurous, a couple of packs of dehydrated pasta with sauce goes a long way for a very light weight. Assuming you have a way of heating the water. A small travel kettle that plugs in to your cigarette lighter is a huge help here, since it can be used on the go. Dehydrated potatoes, in a jar, not a box should be your first purchase. Just add water for something filling. Dried fried onions are dirt cheap and not only make the mash taste better, but give you some much needed fats. The water doesn't even need to boil. Simply to be warm. Tucking a bottle of water down your back while you are driving, or stuffing it under one of the heater vents, is usually enough.
Instant soup mix is again wonderful if you have the water to spare. That plus a few salted crackers will make you feel like a new person!
But maybe you don't have a cigarette lighter to run the kettle. Then you need some tins. A tin of corned beef split between 4 will keep hunger pangs at bay for hours, especially if you pack some sachets of sauces that you stole from the restaurant. A tin of spam will not only keep hunger pangs at bay, but also any thought of or interest in food for the next several hours, until your body gets over the shock. Baked beans and tinned spaghetti can be eaten cold on crackers or heated, again, by jamming the tin next to a heating vent in your car.
And finally for food - sweet stuff. Candies. Jam. Peanut butter. OK, I know peanut butter isn't sweet, but it is calorific and goes with anything.
Other things not considered.
A damned tool kit. You are in your car. It breaks down, your family is broken. Basic tools, basic spares and the knowledge to use the former to fit the latter.
The commercial bug out bags do have a few valuable additions that should be considered.
Foil blankets. One per person. These you need purchase, but they are dirt cheap.
Matches. Since the demise of 35mm film, match containers have become much more difficult to find. Find a straight sided container. Slide a strip of sandpaper, rough side out, into it. Poke one of those silica gel packs inside, fill with strike anywhere matches (AKA Kitchen matches) and close it again.
Flash light. Trust me - you'll need this. Battery ones are far more convenient. Just make sure the batteries are sound. You can get wind up ones, but they are about as useful as a candle in a hurricane.
Fire lighters. Why you want to spend money here? It's only your family. You are a romantic soul, you have candle lit dinners once the brats are asleep? Save the candle stubs. Put them in a paper envelope. If you don't need the bug out bag, you have the saddest anniversary gift ever. If you do - you have fire lighters that work anywhere.
First aid kit. Head down to Walgreens. Grab a plastic box of bandaids and a packet of aspirin. Take out enough of the bandaids to let you put the blister packs of aspirin into the box. Trust me - you need any more than that, you are screwed.
Water purification tablets. Worth having, though the first time you have water treated with them you might want to call them colon purification tablets. They tend to leave a harsh taste at both ends of your digestive tract. Hence the emphasis on toilet paper previously.
Light sticks. Really? When was the last time a glow worm lead you safely to the toilet? Get real.
Cutlery. While I admire your dedication to carrying on the fading embers of civilization, two of each is sufficient for one vehicle. Save your MacDonalds ones. Also, grab as many napkins, pepper and salt packets as you can.
Now to consider society. Or what is left of it.
Cash. You will always find someone willing to swap printed paper for goods. People have that habit, you know? It's been a while, so take advantage while you can.
Gold. You bleep kidding me? Get out of here. Unless you luck in to someone who needs it, you are shit out of luck with that. Better off with jewelery. You can trade that, if it is pretty enough to catch someone's eye.
Weapons. I would not presume to recommend. It does help if your entire family both know how to use them and attack like a honey badger on meth, but those are up to you.