How long should you prepare to be without resources? There is not a person on this site that has not asked that question and for as many people who have asked it there are that many different answers. This week we have a question from Betty who is a new member of the NSRI Facebook Group but has been prepping for about a decade now and like most of us, she is looking for a sanity check on if she has enough prepped or not. So sounds like we got ourselves a topic to jump into.
The Get Home Bag
The Get Home Bag or “Truck Bag” as we call it in my house is enough stuff to get you home to your supplies in almost any occasion. I have no doubt there will be some posts on this one, but here I go:
- A few bottles of water
- Freeze-dried, no-cook snacks along with some protein bars
First aid (what I put in there would rival many ambulances, but having been a first responder on multiple car accidents, I don’t think you can be too prepared)
- Hunting knife
- Matches, lighter & tinder
- Lightweight emergency shelter
- 9mm + 2 mags (locked in combination safe)
- Backup battery bank
- Zip Ties
- Physical Map of the area with Family Rally Points marked
- A printed copy of the family communication plan.
I’m sure I missed something off the list that is in there, but you guys will help me out if I missed anything crucial. This is the kit that gets you home and the answer to the question in this case of how long do I prep for, well this prep will keep me as long as I need to get home. In a really bad snowstorm, I have had family members stuck on highways for close to 20 hours and I have seen stories of you folks up north in Alaska and Montana needing days worth of supplies if you get stuck. The duration of the prep needs to fit your location and your purpose.
Go Bag/72 Hour Kit
The purpose of this prep is to get you somewhere other than where your main home is. This is a Get-Out-Of-Dodge bag and it should be packed all the time. It’s not enough to have the stuff laying around, you need to have a kit that you can grab on a moment’s notice and get in your car to go. In fact, I would recommend that you have one for each person in your home. When I put my list together for this prep, I take into account what I have in my truck already because that is my “Go Vehicle”. Let’s start with my bag is meant for just one adult male and my wife and kids (even the dogs) all have their own. My bag is a medium backpack with shoulder straps, a sternum strap and a light hip-belt in case I need to load it up in a car failure and take on some of my family’s load if we need to hump out of somewhere on foot.
My bag contains the following stuff:
- 2 t-shirts
- 2 underwear
- 2 socks
- 1 long-sleeve T-shirt
- A pair of old jeans that still fit
- Webbed belt
- Hat with brim
- 100′ Paracord
- 2 Carabiners
- Physical map of the state and of the region
- Handcrank radio
- Chem Lights
- Pocket Knife
- One Hot meal for 5 (Valley Food Storage Potato and Cheese Soup)
- Two no-cook meals (Pouches of tunafish/chicken salad with crackers)
- Small pot
- IsoPro stove and fuel
- Backup power bank
- Personal water bottle
So that is what is in the bag at any time. There is also a laminated card on the bag with a checklist of items that go in the truck. The tag reads like this:
- Portable Safe – This is in my gun safe and contains passports, copies of insurance documents, birth certificates, wills, marriage licenses, deeds, cash, silver, and some family jewelry.
- 55 Gal Water – This is a big blue potable water barrel that I picked up through SteelRiverCompany that goes in the back of the truck with a pump and gets filled with water before I pull away if there is time
- 25 Gal fuel – This is 5x5Gal fuel jugs. I use and fill one each month now so I have 12, but depending on space will just grab the most recent 5.
- Firearms – These are my XD .40 which goes on my hip (9mm is in the car as backup), My .22 LR M&P that my Kids can operate, my 5.56, and my pump shotgun which is held by my beautiful wife sitting next to me as we drive (I dare you not to think “shotgun”!)
- Ammunition – There are 3 ammo boxes in the safe that we grab when we practice that ae marked and have everything we need
- Tools – I have a toolbox that I grab that has the most common stuff that I might need to fix up the truck along the way or gain entrance back into my house if it is damaged.
- Food Pails – I grab 3 buckets of Freeze-Dried food from Valley Food Storage. It will cover my family for 2 weeks.
- Cell Phone & Chargers
So now you have a look at my prep and the topic of the day is how long was I planning to survive for with my Go Bag and Bug Out List. The answer is really 2-fold. First, if I only have time to grab the bugout bag, then I have 72 hours of survival gear between my go bag and truck bag. if I needed to use my Truck Bag to get home, I would just plus it up before I bugged out. If I grab all the rest of the gear that I mentioned on the way out that is on my exfil card, then I now have 2 weeks for 5 people. For my family of 5, that is the minimum that I feel safe with. I am sure I can do better in some areas, but the prep I have in place is most likely overkill for getting me to my secondary location. It will, however, sustain me if I get to my secondary location and it is no longer viable and need to press on to plan C.
So is two weeks the sweet spot?
If you are bugging out and you have one vehicle with people, it is for me. However, my secondary location also is already stocked with stuff as well as my relatives also have the same stuff ready to go. So if I show up and they are the relief that I needed, I am reinforced with their prep. If I need to hit my contingent (3rd) location, I have also placed 2 weeks of supplies there as well to keep them safe if something happens, but also so that I have it if I show up. So although I am leaving with 2-weeks of prep, I really have more already in the plan.
What if you don’t need to leave or of leaving is more dangerous than staying?
Shelter in Place
There are times when it is safer to stay in place and not go out. When that happens we ‘Hole Up’ in our house and this is historically in the United States and Canada for a period no greater than 2 weeks. But there are many folks that are planning for a disruption worse than we have seen in the US in over 150 years in which there is a time where Rule of Law is suspended. We have seen glimpses of this in the wake of Dorian, Katrina, and Sandy, but it has always been isolated and shortly after the ability to evacuate has been possible in the next 10 days. But as we look around the globe, even in what we might think of as developed countries, there are coups and violence from non-government groups that have caused people to need to shelter in place for the part of months.
If you are a person who believes that your country is next on the list to endure such upheaval, then you are going to need to prep a little harder. I am ready at my home to hole up for 30 days without stepping foot outside if needed. Now the only reason I would do that would be because there is massive rioting between me and my egress points. With three small children and with everything on my property insured, I am bugging out to somewhere safer every time. Or as we consider it at my house “impromptu vacation”.
So this is where you are going to need to go out a bit on your own and use the Facebook Group to probe a little deeper to see who else out there is prepping beyond the 3-month mark. Who else has multiple locations for their prep?
Let me know in the comments below how you are prepared or what else I need to add to my bug out or get home to keep my family safe.