Recently, when the sky turned black in the middle of the afternoon over my Orange County home, I started thinking about survival. The fires were burning in several directions within five or six miles, and I knew there might be a chance I would need to evacuate. Thankfully, the fires didn’t burn any closer, but I knew I needed some gear and I need a plan.
When a natural (or man-made) disaster comes (or when the zombies do finally arrive), your preparedness will be an utter necessity. I’ve assembled the following kit based on my own survival needs. Yes, the contents your kit may vary, but the important part is that you have one.
A) Spec-Ops “T.H.E. Pack” ($200)
T.H.E. Pack is the platform in which all your gear is carried. Depending on the scenario, you may have to walk long distances and lug all your supplies on your back. I chose this pack because of its military-esque design; it’s rough and tough and ready for use. With 1730 cubic inches of space there is plenty of room for all of your gear, and the ergonomic design and pocket layout is comfortable and functional.
The DromLite is much more versatile than the average plastic hydration bladder. The outer skin is 200-denier Cordura nylon and the inside is coated with food grade polyurethane. The hydration kit converts the spout on the bag to a hydration straw that will fit nicely in T.H.E. Pack, with the straw exiting one of the flaps on the top of the bag.
C) Adventure Medical Kits S.O.L. 3 ($56)
I’m not a huge fan of prepackaged kits; usually they are poorly made and include a ton of garbage. The following kits have nothing but essentials and are tested for survival. Adventure Medical Kits S.O.L. 3’s (Survive Outdoors Longer) are compact and include all the tools for handling any emergency situation. One side of each pouch includes a host of medical supplies including Ibuprofen, tape, EMT shears (a new pair can cut a penny in half), moleskins (for blisters, not journaling), a ton of bandages and dressings, and some other necessities. The other half of each pouch is dedicated to survival gear. A survival blanket, compass, whistle, cable ties, mini headlamp, flash mirror, and Tinder Quik (a fire starter) are just some of the items that make up these kits.
D) Army Ranger Rick Kits ($15-$25)
If this kit is a bit too large for your tastes, Army Ranger Rick has assembled a few smaller kits that contain a safety whistle (really loud), folding knife, 550 cord (parachute cord with a strength of 550 lbs.), saw, signal mirror, LED light, and sparker. Army Ranger Rick additionally offers a water purification kit with Aquatab tablets and a condom… for holding water (a surprisingly innovative and space conscious water container). But if it does turn out to be the end of the world, well, best to be prepared.
I LOVE all things titanium. MSR has developed a tough little kettle that is perfect for heating water for the Mountain House Meals. Even better is the tiny titanium Triad stove; a denatured fueled burner that is great for boiling up a few cups of water. Be sure to use it outside (denatured alcohol can have a bit of an odor) and couple with a wind break (DIY plans are available here). After 30 seconds of priming, you’re just a few minutes away from hot boiling water.
These are great for staying dry, and can be used as a potential shelter. Pair this with a poncho liner (cleverly disguised as my backdrop), which is a military type blanket. Staying dry and warm are keys to survival.
G) Petzl Tikka XP ($50)
There are a million great flashlights out there, but for practicality I’m all about the Tikka XP headlamp. These are great if you need to do any type of work in the dark because both of your hands are free. This light has 3 different brightness modes, plus an emergency flash. A small plastic lens will turn the bright beam into a wide flood with the slide of a finger. Affordable and easily found AAA batteries power the Tikka, and that makes it all the more desirable.
Bug Out Bag gear continues on the next page