This post series is for anyone who has an interest or curiosity in building their own Bug Out Bag. In the next 3-4 months leading up to the release of my book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit, my publisher has authorized me to write a series of 12 posts outlining the 12 Supply Categories needed to build the perfect Bug Out Bag and WHY they are important and necessary. Each post in this 12 Step Series will highlight a separate Bug Out Bag Supply Category.
In my book I elaborate on each of these supply categories in great detail with 100s of detailed photos, instructions, practice exercises, recommended gear and specific supply check-lists. The purpose of this 12 Step Series is to identify, define and explain why each of the 12 Supply Categories I outline in my book are critical elements of a well-thought out Bug Out Bag. I will not get into recommended gear, survival instruction or specific check-lists – I have to save something for the book! This blog series isn’t as much about pitching my book as it is about selling the idea of building a bug out bag. I truly believe that every person should have their own 72 hour disaster survival kit – especially in the uncertain times we live in today. You can almost look at this post series as 12 Reasons Why People Need a Bug Out Bag. It is my hope that this series motivates people to begin building their own kit that may very well serves as their survival life-line one day.
Supply Category # 3: Shelter and Bedding
As fun and cool as it looks, building a natural shelter should be your LAST option in the midst of a Bug Out Evacuation. Natural improvised shelters are labor intensive, time consuming and calorie draining – all of which you want to avoid when getting to a safe destination is your # 1 Priority.
Shelter solutions MUST be included in your BOB and they MUST be tested to work for you and your Bug Out Crew.
Exposure to the elements is the #1 Outdoor Killer – period. A sudden and violent natural disaster (natural or man made) can force you and your family from your home with little to no warning. When the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan in March of 2011 it forced TENS OF THOUSANDS of people from their homes with as little as 30 minutes warning. There wasn’t an ‘evacuation safe-haven’ for these people to stay in and no one was waiting at the city edge to cradle them with warm blankets and hot chocolate. Many of them fled to the mountains with what they could carry on their backs. Did you know it was also freezing outside? Can you say BUG OUT BAG?
In extreme conditions, SHELTER can be (and often is) your #1 priority. Humans can die in as little as 3 hours (or less) in extreme cold or hot conditions. There have been countless instances of hypothermia in temperatures as high as 50 degrees. Combine water, wind and cold temps and you have a recipe for death. Besides your clothing, the shelter and bedding you HAVE WITH YOU is your best defense against fighting the battle against exposure. While not very glamorous, this chapter in my book is extremely important. Shelter and Bedding is a critical supply category that should be carefully considered in EVERY Bug Out Bag.
It’s so important, in fact, that I encourage redundancy when it comes to Bug Out Sheltering solutions. Even if you pack a lightweight tent in your BOB, the knowledge and supplies to construct a quick tarp or poncho shelter as a wind or rain break can save your life. I discuss many of these shelter options throughout this chapter. Your main shelter system might get damaged, lost or stolen. Back-up solutions to critical supply categories are important because NOTHING is guaranteed. The survival gain from a light-weight backpacking tarp is well worth any space and weight sacrifices you might make to include one in your BOB.
A roof over your head is only 1 aspect of shelter. In a disaster Bug Out you must be prepared for worst case scenarios. No shelter system is complete without bedding that can keep you warm in the worst of climates. Besides FIRE (which I will discuss in a later post) BEDDING is a key component to keeping your core temp in check during frigid night-time sleeping conditions.
Bedding consists of not only what is ON TOP of you but also what is UNDERNEATH YOU. Conductive heat loss into the cold earth below can render even the best sleeping bag and shelter system virtually useless. Understanding HOW the body loses heat in a wilderness environment is critical to selecting Bug Out Bag Shelter and Sleeping Gear. Even the simplest short-comings came prove deadly in extreme environments.
As with any critical Bug Out Supply category, what works for you may not be the best solution for the next guy and vice versa. Selecting gear is only the first step and it is very personal – there are no RIGHT or WRONG answers. However, all human survival needs are the same and SHELTER is at the top of the list. Your shelter and bedding systems MUST be tested to work and must meet your expectations. If they do not, then it’s back at ground zero. Mother Nature & Mankind can be brutal and merciless adversaries. It’s important that now, during moments of peace and normality, that you invest the necessary time into selecting gear that will withstand the conditions that only a Bug Out situation can present.
Build YOUR perfect Bug Out Bag with the help of my no nonsense book: Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag – available on AMAZON and everywhere books are sold.
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,