When many people are faced with the prospects of the outdoors, disasters or survival situations a laundry list of gear and solutions comes cascading to mind.  Half-remembered emergency preparedness programs, television dramas and the contents of the outdoor section of department stores  Truth be told, no amount of gear will replace good judgment and level-headed decision making.  However, the act of planning ahead, considering your needs and making preparations with your own hands is the crucial first step in being prepared.

Three immediately categories of basic preparedness come to mind.  We’re going to outline the goals of each.  In later articles we will break down each into greater detail.  While there are probably many things in each strategy that aren’t negotiable, there is still there is a lot of room for personal decisions.  Keeping in mind that one person’s “must haves” are another’s “essentials” here is the overview:

The Bug Out Bag:

The aim of the Bug Out Bag (BOB) is evacuation preparedness.  It’s the sort of thing every home or car should have tucked away, particularly in light of recent disasters such as floods, fires and weather that succeeded in crippling large segments of the general population and emergency response agencies.  Depending on your needs and group size, the BOB can be anything from a shoulder bag to a large bin suitable for a vehicle’s trunk.  In general though, your Bug Out Bag Goals are:  72 Hours of Survival (Food/Water), Short Term First Aid, Medium Term Medical, Relocation Assets (Documents and Funds), Communication, Basic Tools, Defense and A PLAN.

Survival Kit:

Often confused with the Bug Out Bag, the survival kit is an attempt to provide the very basics of survival in a portable, discrete package. The aim here isn’t so much relocation but basic existence: stabilize your condition, provide basic food/shelter and assist in rescue or navigation .  Many are quite small, but in general a survival kit’s goal is to be so ubiquitous that it is always at hand (or contained in a larger subset of gear).  Many commercial solutions are available, and while few will meet everyone’s expectations they can be a good starting point for building your own.

The 10 Essentials:

The 10 Essentials is as much a philosophy as a collection of gear.  They mostly likely arose out of Americans’ mass return to the outdoors after nearly half a century of Industrialization.  In essence they are a checklist of things that should be included in any outing beyond the immediate presence of civilization (even long road trips).  You’ll find the 10 Essentials actively debated and discussed among hiking, adventure and hunting enthusiasts.  While the two solutions above aim mostly with being prepared when you find yourself in a bad situation, the 10 Essentials are often explained as a way to avoid getting in that situation in the FIRST place.

I hope you enjoyed this brief overview and invite you to return to The Extopian over the next few days as we delve into each in further depth and detail.  As always your civil and productive opinions, suggestions and comments are appreciated.

Further Research: