Y2K, Nakedness and Survival Under Extremes - A list of needful things

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With all due respect to Diane earlier post about Car Camping and her list of things to pack, Id like to address a more fundamental problem. Dianes list helps you decide what to take if youre "all dressed up and ready to go". Id like to examine the other end of the spectrum and what you might want to have if you go from a starting point of "total nakedness" and have to go NOW, no time to pack, no time to do anything but GO. So Ill start with the admonition:

Put On Your Underwear First

This is sort of backhanded way of saying that one should think about and prepare a "kit" of essential items that youd take with you if it was the ONLY thing you could have. Just as underwear would be the thing youd put on first to get dressed, this kit would be the first thing you grab if you could have one thing and one thing only.

This kit is used for Survival Under Extremes. Well call it SUE.

This differs somewhat from the classic Bug Out Bag. A true BOB gets too large and is too expensive to have multiples. Every thing recommended here would be included in a good BOB anyway. Most examples of a BOB would seem to run to the 30-50 pound range and range in the hundreds of dollars.

The SUE pack is SMALL and LIGHT. If you need to go somewhere in a hurry and dont have time to "get dressed" completely then by definition you need to move fast. You should be able to carry your SUE all day with no noticeable burden, so the upper limit is around 6-8 pounds excluding water. You people in dry climates take note. For those who insist on more stuff, just build your SUE and strap it on top of your BOB.

The ideal situation would be to have one at home, one in the car, one in the office, etc. But have at LEAST one and keep it HANDY. The concept here is "What would I need at a VERY minimum if I could have nothing else to help me live in any hard circumstances"

Ill list some of the common things I think should be included for everyone in all climates. You would need to tailor the contents for personal requirements and your climate. Ill also try to describe the logic behind each of the items so that you can decide if you think its important because after all is said and done you are still responsible for you.

Knife - If I could have one thing only in the entire world it would be a knife. Get one you like. Blade at lest 3.5" - 4" long. In my book bigger is better. Fixed blades are stronger that folders. Decent quality, serviceable knives can be had for $20. If youre going to spend more money on anything spend it here. I prefer a medium to large fixed blade knife and a Swiss army type pocket knife. (I will depart from my general rule here to make a specific product recommendation. A company called Cold Steel makes a knife called the Bushman that is so superior for the need here that it deserves special mention. MSRP $20).

Mylar Sheet (so called thin Space Blanket) A true Space Blanket is a better product but much thicker when folded and would take up half you space. These are small and light enough to have two. Most of you would be surprised to discover just how cold you can feel sleeping outside in 60 degree weather - even dry. These blankets reflect heat. But more importantly are waterproof and can serve as a rain cover and wing shield. The thin but serviceable type can be found for $3-$5

Fire Starting Materials - Empty 35mm film cans come in great here. Take at least one and fill it with dryer lint. Take another and fill it with wooden matches, glue a mall piece of sandpaper to the bottom for a striker. Youll have to cut the matches off a little. (For you Aggies out there - be sure to cut off the wood end not the red end.) Throw in a candle stub about 2-3 inches long. If your in cold or wet country add a magnesium fire starter. I also wrap about 3 of duct tape around each film can. I get film cans free from photo processors. Throw in a couple of packs of paper matches wrapped in separate baggies.

Cordage - String to the uninitiated. A synthetic material is far superior. Get braided masons twine if possible. A hundred feet is not too much. Add 25-50 of parachute cord and 25 of quarter inch polyethylene rope. The twine can be used to tie up one of the mylar sheets for a wing break or shelter. You will find more uses for string and rope that you can imagine. Learn now to tie knots.

Plastic Stuff - Zip lock bags. Use the freezer bags, theyre thicker. 6-8 quart size and 3-4 gallon size should be about right. These can double as water containers when required. Theyre great for storing any food in. Add 2 kitchen size trash bags and 2 yard/leaf bag size. Total cost $2.

First Aid - Normal stuff but limit volume to about the size of a pack of cigarettes. Be sure to add a small tube of anti-biotic ointment and a couple of motel size bars of soap. (That is - the size you get at motels not the size of a motel). Cost $5-$6.

Metal Drinking Cup - I like the Sierra Club type. You can cook in it when necessary. An even better solution is the Army issue canteen and cup that fits on the bottom. I have cooked several "meals" in mine. They both fit in one of the covers that hangs on the belt of you fanny pack. There is even a little do-hickey that fits on the cup that comes off, turns over and make a kind of "stove". Whole deal, commercial made $10-$12. New Army issue about $20-$25.

Food - A few hard peppermint candies. A half dozens or so bullion cubes (you be glad for the salt later). A couple of tea bags or instant coffee packs. A couple of power bars. One 12 oz. can of Spam. I know, I know. I dont particularly like it now either. Just hang on to it for 3-4 days and you will find at least tolerable. Do without for a week and you will find it delicious. For those in hot country add some more salt. Water purification tablets.

Multi-Purpose Tool - Im talking about a Leatherman type tool. You can get a serviceable foreign made one for about $10-$12. These handy little self contained tool kits are idea for a SUE. Most of these have a knife blade in them. A knife is so important that having a back up here is good. (I am never without mine).

Assorted Stuff - Needle and thread, two safety pins. two paper clips, 10-12 Rubber bands of assorted sizes, 1 small and 1 medium fishhooks. Add some nylon fishing line. If you dont know how to tie monofilament now you probably will not know then. 3-4 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil about 12-14 inches square or larger. Two quarters. List of phone numbers. A few $1 bills and a few $5s.

What are you going to put all this stuff in? A fanny pack is ideal for this. Remember we want to keep it small and light and hopefully cheap enough to have several. A load bearing tactical vest or backpack may be better but quite a bit more expensive. Therefore well stick with a decent fanny pack - cost about $10-$20.

Some extras if you have room: leather gloves, extra pair of heavy socks. If you can stand the extra weight a machete is the best large item to add. Its a great tool and a passable weapon but it does push the boundary of the definition of a SUE. You decide.

All of these items in adequate quality can be purchased at a large WalMart, Kmart or any other large department store with a decent sporting goods section. If you have the urge to add weapons then youre really talking about a BOB. I have 15-20 other items in my SUE but they are rather esoteric and dont bear discussion in this general treatment of the subject.

While I have very definite opinions and experiences about what brands of the various items are best, Ive tried avoided listing any specifics because I dont want to create the idea that there is a certain "thing" you must have. Id rather see someone get all of the items of modest quality - and have them - rather that hesitating because they might not be able to afford something better. Remember - ANY preparation is better than none. And this is the stuff that you DO NOT want to be without - anywhere, anytime.

If any of this ever helps you just think a good though about ol Greybear and then try to help someone else in turn.

--Greybear, who adds a deck of cards to his kit in case he gets lost. Just start to play solitaire and some one will come along a tell you to put the black 8 on the red 9 and you can ask them to take you home.

-Got Everything?

ps, If you are VERY careful when you pack your SUE there might even be room for a kazoo.

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 27, 1999


Great post have been preparing the home but have sort of forgot to prepare myself Thanks Greybear

-- lb (lbbb@hotmail.com), March 27, 1999.


Superb. Thanks so much.


-- Mercy (prepare@now.com), March 27, 1999.

Got Room for compass?

-- V.Lost (lost@inspace.com), March 27, 1999.

Need to know where you are headed, what route will be you taking (level ground, or mountain climbing?) how far do you have to travel, are you physically in shape to make the bug out trip, are you going to carry a weapon, how many will be with you, is there water along the way, do you have enough food to sustain you and others to get there, and what supplies are awaiting you when you get there?

-- curious (curious@curious.com), March 27, 1999.

Plastic head covering with 15 minute mask against smoke inhalation, weighs nothing, costs $9 from Improvements catalog

-- Debbie (dbspence@usa.net), March 27, 1999.


Do you have a URL for Improvements? Or at least an address.

I've been trying to find a cheap version of those smoke masks for a LONG time. (We've had out house burn. Fire started when MaMa Bear was home.) The cheapest I've seen was aroung $100.

Pretty please.

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 27, 1999.

Thanks Greybear!

This is the sort of thread that makes wading through the time-wasting insults worthwhile.

I would add a pocket New Testament.

-- GA Russell (garussell@russellga.com), March 27, 1999.


Excellant list, I took notes.

Also thought I might add a couple of suggestions, just in case I stumble across you somewhere in the woods playing solitaire: ---A small pencil, like golf courses use, and piece of paper for notes, directions, etc. (or to keep score if we play rummy). ---Adequate perscription medication and maybe a couple of advil, asprin or tylenol. ---A couple of dimes. I have noticed some of the pay phones in our area require $.35 even though they still state only a quarter is needed. ---Keyring size pepper spray. ---I think I will add a small purse size pack of kleenex (T.P.)to mine since you are bringing the cards!

-- Lilly (purseweighsin@twelve.lbs), March 27, 1999.

We added Capri-Sun fruit drinks in mylar packages for the kids. We have our "SUE" in backpacks, one for each member of the family. We also include a tiny $8 plastic tent.


-- Jollyprez (jolly@prez.com), March 27, 1999.

I'd add a knife with a serrated blade, a small but sturdy flashlight, and a map

-- y2kbiker (y2kbiker@bellatlantic.net), March 27, 1999.

Good thread, greybear.

As I was putting my two person BOB together I came to the conclusion that it would be great-----as long as I had a car or truck to haul it. So, I went out, bought a small packpack, and divided out the real emergency items.

I now have the BOB in three containers. The first is your SUE, the second adds a few ammenities (sleeping bags, sleeping mats, small stove, some dried food, contents of larger 1st aid kit), and the 3rd completes the kit. If I have to go solo on foot, I pick one backpack. If dual, two backpacks plus bags. If I have time and a car, I can take everything.

Might want to add a small container of bleach and a couple of coffee filters to the SUE, for doing something with water.

-- De (dealton@concentric.net), March 27, 1999.

Add a pistol, and a rifle if the situation warrants it.

Don't leave home without them...

-- sparks (wireless@home.com), March 27, 1999.


Good list.

As a bug out bag, consider a good aluminum-framed back pack. Test it out beforehand.

Once used a smaller day-pack for 2-nighter in the Grand Canyon. Major pain! Wrong equipment can kill your back! (It was a spontaneous adventure).

Water was the heaviest item. Plan for it.


(P.S. Love my Sierra Club cup too! Quite versatile.)

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 27, 1999.


Finally found it. Smoke hood from "Improvements"



-- Mercy (prepare@now.com), March 27, 1999.

Thanks Mercy

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 27, 1999.

You forgot to add sometbing for water purification. Either carry a small container of bleach (with dropper) or some iodine tablets. If you can afford it, definitely carry one of the small ceramic water filters from PUR or Katadyn. Water is essential. If you are looking for a small effective weapon, consider the Kel Tec P11 (9mm) - very small and light weight handgun.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), March 27, 1999.


-- rb (x@z.com), March 27, 1999.

Some good additions. What's more important and the real purpose of the thread is to get people to think on the subject of a SUE and do what they think appropriate.

Once again, a SUE is small and light. VERY basic stuff.

Do it NOW.

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 27, 1999.


Here is a URL for the smoke inhalation hood.

http://www.ImprovementsCatalog.com/product.asp?pf%5Fid= 163429zz&dept%5Fid=230

Good suggestions all. Thank you for this thread, Greybear, very timely. Was making up a bugout bag last week and found it getting much too bulky. Dilemma was, the BOB needs to be stored somewhere that I can grab it, but am not going to keep such a big thing by the bed or by the door. So the SUE concept is just perfect. The BOB will stay in the car. One pair of SUES stays by the bed, another couple by the door - grab them and run.

Other ideas - Keep two pair of shoes by the bed, a non-tying pair ready to step into, and a sturdy tying pair to grab as you go, change into later. In my SUE - extra set of car keys so as I stumble out, I can grab BOB out of the car too (if the situation warrants).

-- Debbie (dbspence@usa.net), March 27, 1999.


You all have made several good ideas "jell" into one central focus. For this you all are to be congratulated.

However, once you have distilled your SUE down to the final decisive items that you consider to be absolutely vital to your personal circumstances and you feel all warm and furry about it all, may I suggest one additional thing that you had best address?

Designate a meeting place, a definite time frame in which you will meet there, and an additional (secondary) site where you will assemble at a later time after that should you not be able to assemble at the first site. Two places are the minimum, three would be even better.

Additionally, scout out at least two (2) different approaches to each of these places. These are all just contingencies folks. Same as is your SUE and your BOB.

Like most things y2k, you will probably not need them at all. But, if you need them at all, you need them real badly and in one h*ll of a short time frame, so plan well Little Ones. You MAY need to actually use these da*n preps.


-- sweetolebob (buffgun@hotmail.com), March 27, 1999.

For Diarrhea and Dehydration you need electrolyte . Powdered Gatorade in small ziploc bags. Takes up little space and just add to water. Or make your own as mentioned by Taz in a previous thread.


-- Martin Thompson (Martin@aol.com), March 27, 1999.

SOB Thanks for the crystalization. Something was floating there for me and you crystalized it. Make VERY FLEXIBLE plans on getting OUT from where you are as well as where you will meet. Sit and discuss the various strategies with the rest of your family, group, or whatever. Make at least (as you suggested) 2 o rmore places to meet, and take into account that some of the places on teh schedule may not be accessible.

Especially take time NOW, TODAY (Palm Sunday BTW) to have the talk with your sig other about this as you can do it in the comfort of your home and not on the d**N cell as you drive like H**L across town.

You NEED to contemplate the scenarios that scare you so that if/when one of them happens (remember Murphy IS Y2K Compliant) you will not freeze into spinning thought inaction (BT, DT, Got the t-shirt, covers most of the scars, and doesn't cover the DUMB feelings, which tend to haunt you at odd moments.


-- Chuck, a night driver (reinzoo@en.com), March 28, 1999.

How about a map? You can put your notes on it marking the meeting places that were mentioned earlier for meeting places. Also, if possible, a booklet about poison plants and edibles for the area you're in. [That SUE is getting heavier!]

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), May 24, 1999.

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