Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Scott's $30 IFAK Challenge

When we the staff at BCP decided to try our hands at making a $30 emergency kit, I thought about the restrictions and, based on those, made an executive decision:

I would purchase everything from one physical storefront, traveling to and from it by foot or by bicycle.

I figure that there are plenty of other reviewers who will order things online, and plenty who will take time to carefully cultivate a specific list of what is needed. I, on the other hand, showed up at the store, and could only purchase what was physically available in a single visit.
  • The first thing I looked for was something to carry things in. I found a small laundry hamper (about 1.2 cubic feet) with comfortable handles and holes in the sides. This gave me a large enough container to hold everything, and has plenty of spots to which I could tie things. 
  • I then purchased a four-foot three-prong extension cord, and have since braided it into a comfortable handle. In a pinch, it will still serve as an extension cord.
  • I bought a binder pouch and put into it super glue, band aids, nitrite gloves, electrical tape, allergy pills, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and antibiotic gel. I figure that this is the core of my first aid kit. 
  • I also had bandages and rubbing alcohol, but those did not fit into the binder pouch. 
  • If I were to assemble this kit without the restrictions I put on myself, I would purchase proper medical tape of some sort.
  • I made sure to buy a razor knife (to cut things accurately) and some feminine napkins (in case of a major spill of some sort). 
  • I figured that being able to start a fire is important in an emergency, so I got a lighter and sparklers. Sparklers are not as useful for starting a fire, but they will stay lit in damp conditions, and along with the rubbing alcohol above they will make it easier to get recalcitrant tinder started. 
  • I put in a flashlight and spare AAA batteries. It is surprisingly bright, and LED flashlights have come a long way. 
  • Complimenting the light are a mylar blanket and emergency poncho in case of foul weather.
  • I decided to purchase some cotton string and a four-pack of glow sticks, so that I would have a method to mark off areas and possibly even signal for help.
  • At the end of my shopping trip, I had room in the budget for some one-liter water bottles and granola bars
Total cost: $28.66 including tax.

This should give me an inexpensive, light, portable kit that I can keep in the back of a car, on my shelf, or even strapped onto the back of a BoB. This is affordable for a college student, someone on a fixed income, or even someone who wants to start prepping and is not sure how to start. I figure this makes it a fairly accessible item.

  • If I had spent more time on this, I would have gone to another dollar store and gotten one of the cheap “back to school” backpacks they have in stock, or even a duffel bag. 
  • I also would have made sure to put in a suture kit and a tourniquet, but given the limitations of what I had on hand, I feel I did pretty well.

Don’t forget to practice.

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