Lets face it, survival is not only for the fittest, the strongest, hell even the ones with the most money. You know that when the SHTF, the ones who survive are the most prepared, the prepper. This lonely soul has been telling everyone about the next impending disaster or the next world shaking event that is going to bring this human race to its knees.
But What Really Goes on is…..
Table of Contents
- 0.1 But What Really Goes on is…..
- 0.2 Charles Darwin coined – “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” and the ones who manage change, are the ones that pre-empt this change.
- 1 Simple Survival Guide
- 2 Survival Kits and The Importance of Planning
- 3 Building Your Bug Out Bag?
- 4 The Complete Bug Out Bag System
- 5 Types of disasters that you can prepare for!
…they all think we are crazy, oh hey there goes uncle Steve again with his crazy prepper ideas and 4 honey buckets buried somewhere on his property. That’s fine for them to say that but when the shit hits the fan, I know i will go into Rambo mode…
This just begs the question…
Have you ever been in a life threatening situation?
How many times have you or a loved one been in immediate danger?
Did you have time to think? Or did you just have to act…
Life or death comes down to the ones who prepare.
Charles Darwin coined – “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” and the ones who manage change, are the ones that pre-empt this change.
Like our friends to the right, this is preparation, when the SHTF, you want to know that your family is safe and sound, with access to the right equipment, supplies and basic needs till help arrives.
Simple Survival Guide
A nice little acronym taken from the modern prepper bible sums up the mental requirements that you need to keep in mind when in any dangerous situation.
S – Size Up the Situation
Security of space and mind always takes priority in any disaster situation, so the first thing you should do is understand your surrounding, you physical condition and then your equipment.
Surroundings – What is Your Immediate Area?
Take in what is happening around you:
- Can you hear any calling out for help?
- Is there a way out or safe zone to stay?
- Look for patterns as well, high ground, running water etc
How do you feel, what is your mental & physical condition?
Check whether you have sustained any injuries or wounds because when the SHTF, your body will be racing full of adrenalin and sometimes you won’t even notice an injury.
If you did sustain some sort of injury then you need to treat yourself with basic first aid (click here to find out the basics of first aid).
Forgetting your basic kit or bug out bag is typical of a disaster situation, that flight or fight mode will kick in and logic goes straight out the door.
Making sure you are prepared and ready to “get the right gear” in a disaster situation will be key to staying alive. Your equipment will be integral and if you have left anything behind, you will need the basics to learn how to make do and improvise your tools.
A survival kit is a package of basic supplies and tools that are prepared in advance so as to be used in emergency situations for instance when in lifeboats, the wilderness, urban or natural disasters such as floods, fires, winter storms, tornadoes etc.
This pack holds all your emergency essentials to stay alive and fight the elements until you have secured a vantage point or shelter to prepare from. The kit also enables you to treat members of your group in basic first aid or wound management, if a serious situation occurs.
You will notice the common theme that holds this site together; it is that you should always be prepared for any potential disaster and your best way forward is to read and understand the tips on this site.
U – Use your key 5 senses!
Awareness is the key here and not using one of you sense correctly can be the difference between losing yourself or some of your gear.
Always take note of your direction using markers so you dont get disorientated, this can be especially useful in a forest or wilderness disaster situation.
Smells such as sea spray when you are downwind can aid in your navigation, listening out for running water or animal calls can be helpful as well.
R – Location Reminder
You should always keep a map with you and study it well. Understanding you terrain and your location is one of the basic principles.
Always keep in mind where you are heading and the potential obstacles ahead, for example, if you are in the mountains and you need to peak a mountain, take note of the grid lines on the map and and the elevation.
Sometimes survivors get caught out trying to achieve too much in one day or take unnecessary risks. Know you limits and take your time.
V – Value and Vanquish Fear and Stress
Longevity comes down to making the right decisions and when you body is that stressed out or paralyzed by fear, you can bet your not going to survive as long as you need to. Preparing for disasters is one way of reducing this fear, just like at work you have mock emergency evacuations, why not test yourself and a friend with an emergency situation,.
This will not only reduce the anxiety when in a dangerous situation but will reduce the energy required or wasted. Preserving energy is so important in any situation.
I – Improvise Like Macgyver
These skills don’t come by instinct, you need to practice improvising and playing around. Its as simple as trying to fix something, dont use the a-typical tool that you always use, try to find something around the house that wouldn’t typically be used.
Let your imagination run wild on this one!
V – Value Your Life!
Your mind will be playing tricks on you this whole time, creating this fear spiral that if you don’t control, will take control of you. Depression and low self esteem during survival situations can be so harmful to your will power to stay alive, think of loved ones or your favorite thoughts during these times and have a high value on your life. You are worth it!
A – Acting like a Native
This is a bit hard to do in an earthquake situation but if you get caught in the wild or in a desert, you need to be more aware of your surroundings and that awareness applies to what’s in your kit.
Whether it is a animal or a native person to the region, you will need to mold to the environment by using your tracking or pattern recognition skills. Keep note of what animals are around and their habits.
L – Learn the Basic Skills and Trust Your Gut!
Prior preparation and skill acquisition are key to surviving. Can you light a fire without a magnesium starter? What would you use?
These simple skills will greatly increase the chances of staying alive but not knowing one could be your detriment!
Overall the SURVIVAL acronym will keep you mind ticking over the basics but all preppers need to know these 6 minimum requirements. They are, in order of importance:
- First Aid, Food, Water, Shelter, Fire and Signals.
This should be your pattern always when in a disaster situation.
Survival Kits and The Importance of Planning
When we discuss planning on S.Gearhead.com we arent talking about a 40 page manual with a 600 item checklist just for a 24hr period. No, we simply want you to get into a planning mind frame all the time.
The simple stuff, like checking for exits when going into a new building, to simply having a one stop shop in the trunk of your car. Once prepared, you don’t need to worry about it when the disaster strikes, peace of mind is the key!
Create Your Survival Checklist
To be prepared it is essential that you go through 3 very important steps and create a checklist.
On your list you should:
- Create a family plan, and practice it with your loved ones.
- You should purchase the best overall kit and store it conveniently in your home.
- Get the basic training in first aid, and CPR/AED.
Your plan should involve a possible contact plan, as you may not all be together when an event occurs. Agree on places to meet if possible. Be informed!
Find out how the local authorities are communicating via TV, Radio or other channels. Listen carefully to the instructions given. Create an Emergency contact card for all household members, this should include cell number addresses, school and work. Keep this in your personal belongings such as in your wallet/school bag.
Remember that special attention needs to be given to the young ones as they are most likely to panic and need your assistance, and it is very important that you reduce fear in uncertain circumstances. As a last preparation ensure that the kit you have chosen fits your needs which can be special compared to others, and might need to be slightly adapted, such in cases of special medical requirements.
Options for Survival Packs
Depending on the type of emergency you encounter, your kit might have to be adapted slightly, but a strong basic pack will equip you for 95% of the way. There are many types of products on the market and it can be difficult to choose the best or most suited, therefore good research might be required to ensure that you have all your special needs accounted for.
So now you are ready to look into the specifics.
We will be using different terminology throughout the site but to start you off on the basics, lets us start with the good old BOB backpack.
Building Your Bug Out Bag?
A bug out bug or BOB refers to a larger portable pack that is prepared by survivalists to be used in disaster situations. The idea behind a bug out bag is to help the survivor evacuate the situation rather than a kit, by where there are enough supplies for long term evasion.
They are also referred to as 72 hour kit’ or Get Out Of Dodge’ (GOOD). They are specifically designed to be more portable to an individual so that if there is no other form of transport available, it will not be difficult to carry. The kits are packed into duffel bags or backpacks.
The packs come in various sizes and at the same time contain different supplies & tools that will provide the survivor with the essential basics such as shelter, health & first aid needs, food & water, rescue signals among others.
It is always recommended that these kits should contain enough supplies that can last at least for 72 hours or even for an indefinite period of time because in most cases some major disasters can erupt and may take more than 72 hours… on a lighter note, if you just need to survive your first day back at work…
Additions To Your Pack?
The contents of the kits often depend on a number of factors including the area that you live in (e.g. elevation, climate etc). Below are some of the basics items;
- Disaster plan – This includes rallying point, emergency areas location, evacuation routes, area maps, trail maps among others. Always make sure that your plan is protected by a waterproof laminate or store in a ziplock bag.
- Professional survival book- This book should be studied before hand and also kept for reference during the disaster. Check out our recommended top 10 preparation books here.
- First aid kit – This should contain all the necessary first aid tools that may be needed during the disaster.
- Clothing -Have all the necessary clothing such as gloves, socks, rain suit, jacket, poncho, hat, bandannas etc.
- Water bottles & water purifiers – Check out our list of top picks.
- Other basic necessities that should be included in the packager are; assorted knives, flashlights, camp axe & shovel, fire starting, radio, cordage, water (including water purifiers & filter), cash & documents, firearm & ammunition, emergency medicine, extra food, solar charge, extra batteries, signal devices etc.
For a simple printable bug out bag list – Download here
The Complete Bug Out Bag System
You can make your own kit or you can go the easy but obviously more expensive route of buying a complete system. There are a couple of tiers for these systems which you can use in different situations and for longer periods of time.
Lets start out
The Basic Bug Out Bag System – From Forge Supply
This pack is supposed to last you five days on the trot without having to refuel. Weighing only 18pounds with a super comfortable Granite Gear Coyote Assault Pack, you wont even want to take this one off.
Included are your basic tools and fire starters, Food and water gathering devices, moderate navigation and shelter systems a nice adventure first aid kit and enough weather and 7 1200 calorie food bars.
We have completed a full review here for the basic bug out bag.
The Ultimate Bug Out Bag System
Weighing in at 38 pounds, this is the rolls royce of bug out bags with a heavy lean to “ill look after myself, thank you very much”. The price tag will make you ship your pants but hey, when it hits the fan, whats your currency worth anyways…
Designed without compromise, this pack comes with supplies to repair even the backpack, shovels, knives, saws, full MSR cooking kit & stove, ballistic flashlights, radios, water pumps, tents, pepper spray, you wont just survive in the wilderness, you will thrive!
Now if you haven’t gotten that out of your system, the interesting parts, the disasters and what to prepare for…
Types of disasters that you can prepare for!
There are many situations that may require survival kits. Some of them are natural disaster situations such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fire, tornado, winter storms etc. However, there are other day to day situations that may also require special kits and they include; lifeboats, military, vehicle kits among others. Below is a brief discussion on the same;
This is one of the top natural disasters that often occur anywhere. It is therefore very important to have a life pack in case an earthquake occurs. Below are some of the key items for such a situation;
- Family photos as well as descriptions – this will help the emergency personnel to find missing family members.
- Heavy duty gloves
- Copies of personal identification and other important papers(e.g. driving license, insurance documents etc)
- Goggles and dust masks
- A radio and a flashlight( the LED type is very efficient)
- Extra batteries – (lithium ion batteries have a long shelf light)
For the latest earthquake data and updates – check out the earthquake gov site here –http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/top_states.php
US Earthquake Hotspots –
Here is a short video on what to do during an earthquake…
Hurricane – A more in depth Hurricane survival kit checklist
There are many different names but the most common is a Tropical Cyclone or Typhoon characterised by a low pressure centre with a rapidly spiralling storm system wreaking havoc as it passes.
Think of a storm on steroids, spanning up to 2500mi (or 4000km) wide and reaching speeds of 75mph (120kph). These storms are capable of generating surging waves and tornadoes.
If you live in any of the cities below, this is a natural disaster that you should be prepared for. The kit for hurricanes has the following items:
- A sleeping bag or a warm blanket per person
- A self powered flashlight or one with spare batteries
- A self powered radio or a battery operated one
- Change of clothing
- A cell phone with a spare battery that is fully charged
- Cash and credit card
Is your area prone to Hurricanes?
Guess where the top 5 most vulnerable Hurricane cities are in the United States?
- Tampa, Fla.
- Miami, Fla.
- New Orleans, La.
- Norfolk / Virginia Beach, Va.
- Houston / Galveston, Texas.
Check out some in depth analysis here for these Hurricane prone cities – http://www.climatecentral.org/news/top-5-most-vulnerable-us-cities-to-hurricanes
Some intense footage from Katrina in 2005. Check it out.
There are many regions around the world that experience winter and sometimes even winter storms. This is why it is important to have a winter survival kit and some of the items include;
- Personal identification and other documents such as social security card, driving license, insurance policies among others
- Alternative methods of heating your home e.g. dry firewood, furnace fuel, kerosene etc
- Battery powered radio, watch/clock
- Blankets and warm clothing
- Extra batteries
- Emergency shelter
Floods are also another disaster that people should be preparing for. If you live in a frequently flooded area, it is important to collect emergency building materials as well as plan and practice an evacuation route. Also prepare a kit and some of the items that you should include are;
- A copy of insurance policy
- All your documentations e.g. identification card, driver’s license etc
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Family photos and descriptions (incase some of the family members get lost during the floods)
- Portable battery powered radio and extra batteries
Fire Safety & Emergency Kits
Fire is another natural disaster that can occur anywhere. This is why it is very important to always be on the lookout so as to be well prepared incase it occurs. It is therefore necessary and some of the items that should be included in the kit are;
- Protective clothing( for the whole family)
- Fire extinguishers
- Battery operated radio
- Knapsack sprayer
- Buckets and mobs
- Smoke masks
Other natural disaster e.g. tornadoes
There are several other natural disasters that can occur anywhere. Tornadoes for instance can occur anytime, anywhere and that is why it is important to have a pack for such situations. Some of the items included are;
- Personal identification, driver’s license etc
- Your insurance policy documents
- Fire extinguishers
- Copies of any medical prescriptions
- Emergency cash and credit cards