Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Prudent Prepping: The Basic Get Home Bag

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

I started helping a fellow sales rep who is new to earthquake country with disaster planning last week. I was asked to give a shopping list, as the rep's family is in major freak-out mode after the recent earthquakes in Mexico. They are willing to pay for supplies (within reason, I assume), so I'm putting together a BGHB (Basic Get Home Bag) as a starting point. As this is California, clothing is being left off the Suggested Item List, since those are optional. (I sincerely hope this means "bad weather clothing isn't necessary", but this being California, it could literally mean "clothing is optional". -- the Editrix) This list is also being assembled for someone with an extremely small geographic territory, relatively mild weather and proposed for a fit, healthy 20-something, so it's just the basics.*
*In no way is this the ultimate setup for anyone else. It's what I have, what I'm familiar with, and can recommend to a stranger as items that worked when I needed them. Your mileage may vary. 
HDE Military Tactical Backpack
This pack has two large zippered compartments, sizes medium and small, with the smallest (seen at the top, under the compression strap buckle) just big enough to hold a small personal-size first aid kit, tourniquet of your choice and maybe 2 other items of roughly Altoid tin size.

Here you see the opened pack and all the very convenient storage areas. There are plenty of internal zippered pockets, some of them mesh for ease of finding important items, and more than enough slide-in pockets for everything from packaged snacks, pens, pencils, fire starting gear or what ever you think might be important enough to be visible when this bag is wide open.

The main pockets have enough room to hold a change of clothes, 2 liters of water, food and improvised shelter/weather protection with room to spare. The shoulder straps are comfortable and easy to adjust, and the compression straps really do a nice job of keeping everything compact and as close to your back as possible.

Esbit Ultralight Pocket Stove
There are plenty of other stoves to pick, but I like this one for how small, light and compact it is. I have one in my gear, along with extra fuel tabs.  The tabs light easily, burn hot and if sealed, last a very long time.

My longest possible trek home is five times as long as my friend, so if it works for me then it will work for them.

MSR Trail Lite Duo System
This is the most expensive part of the gear I'm recommending, but it is also the most durable and easily adapted to other uses besides a GHB. This set is for two people going for the 'ultra-light' camping route, but with the addition of a second pot/pan, this is more than sufficient in any camping use, even car camping.

The pot is designed to cook for two, so for one person it works very well and the extra bowl and cup makes it simple to have your wash water ready after cooking.
Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
My personal filter in all my bags is a Sawyer, and I can't think of an easier filter to use or maintain. Rated for filtering up to 100,000 gallons of water (with proper care) and able to remove most common contaminants, there is not much to dislike here.

As several of us have reviewed different models and sizes, this is a favorite.

This gets into too much of personal choice to really make any hard recommendations, but here are what I have:
  • Eating utensils. I have several different sets, but in my GHB is a set of Sea To Summit Delta Cutlery. The knife really cuts and the set doesn't rattle when stored inside the cooking pot!
  • Fire starters. I also have several, but I recommend matches in a waterproof case like the UCO Stormproof kit. Extra strikers are included and the case is easily seen.
  • Survival blanket from Survive Outdoors Longer (SOL), because keeping warm can save your life.

The Recap
  • Starting preps for an emergency don't have to be expensive.
  • The information is out there. Sometimes it's as close as the person you talk with every day.

The Takeaway
Only the largest and in my opinion most important items are listed here, with links to some of my personal favorites as options.

Added together with options, this comes in under $150 for a good quality, reasonably compact and light weight Basic Get Home Bag.

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If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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