Discover more from Lee Muller’s Insight is 20/23
PART 1: My two-week prepper's backpack
A reader, Simon See’s, suggested that I create a list for prepping in my prior post:
I started thinking of what I would have on my list, but then quickly realized that are multiple scenarios that I could prep for.
I decided to start with this goal of a two-week prepper’s backpack for a couple reasons. 1) it’s less overwhelming than planning for two to four months or more and 2) the idea of a two-week backpacking trip actually sounds like a great option, if I can work it in!
Now, I may have to make a few modifications to a typical hiking trip (for example, rather than hiking through hilly terrain, I am thinking about a 68-mile walk to a safer location lol - my “if SHTF” place - roughly 5 miles a day which I think should be completely doable for most people, plus some extra time for mishaps, taking a wrong turn, or interesting places or people along the way), keeping it in mind that what I want to put together is a list of what I alone is responsible for carrying, and that I am responsible for myself. I realize I’m responsible for more than myself, but this at least gives me a start in assessing the difference between need and want … likely the greatest distinction that we should keep in mind when prepping for whatever sort of scenario.
So, why am I not thinking about packing a car and more stuff than just for myself? Well, I am and I’m thinking that can be a Part 2 post. This two-week backpack is more about me needing to leave a situation as quickly as possible, with the possibility that I may not be able to return because of destruction or safety. We’ve all experienced 3-day blackouts and have survived relatively fine, so this just takes it to the next level.
That said, I’d like to make this a collaborative effort, so if I leave something essential off of the list, please comment and I can edit this post and add it if I think it would be a good idea.
Do I think I really need to plan for a two-week jaunt? I hope not, but I think it will start to force me to start thinking about longer term scenarios and being prepared even if I’m not mobile and I’m just in one place. My “if SHTF” place is where I’ll need to start prepping for more than two weeks, but for months. Hoping that will be my Part 3 post, but only after I’ve accomplished putting things together in this list and Part 2: packing a vehicle for myself and others.
Caveat: I am not an expert at anything! These are just my personal thoughts as I think to prepare for unexpected situations. It is advice to myself more so than advice for others. Please take what you would like for yourself from this post, if you wish, or leave it altogether!
I’ll try to group things together and include as much detail as I can. I will assume for now warm to wet weather, and add some things at the end to consider colder weather.
a medium to large waterproof backpack (with wheels and pull-behind handle, if you need) - note, some larger items may need to be tied to backpack instead of putting inside
1-liter of water, refillable container (why not more? I don’t know that’s just what other places suggest, assuming you can refill along the way)
two weeks of food - foods not requiring refrigeration or heating, for example, nuts, dried fruit, jerky, dry cereal, crackers, or granola/survival bars, make sure all in waterproof containers or coverings
towel that can double as a blanket or extra layer
eyeglasses, include a back-up pair if you can
meds or medical device(s), if applicable
personal alarm or security whistle
pepper spray, knife, gun/ammo, and/or other preferred personal protection items that you may legally carry with you
Survival Made Easier
a paper list of contact phone numbers, addresses, and printed directions to places you need to go if you don’t have these memorized (put in ziploc bag)
candle and matches kept in waterproof bag or new lighter
small flashlight (keep a pair of fresh batteries in a plastic bag with the flashlight, but not inside) - better yet, a headlamp in order to keep your hands free
at least three ways to pay - cash, credit, check, phone tap/transfer
ID, passport, picture(s) of loved ones, living will and/or other important documents such as titles, external hard drive (along with ways to pay, these are best organized in a fire and waterproof envelope)
Clothing and Shoes (roll to save space)
comfortable walking pants
long sleeve shirt
at least three pair of socks
running shoes (no mesh toes! ones that will keep your feet dry in the rain or puddles)
pocket can opener - you may pick-up or be given handouts along the way
mess kit - bowl, fork, spoon with mesh bag
pen, paper, small notebook
small lock (tell me how this could be useful, seems it could be more trouble than worth?)
plastic bags, of various sizes including one-two large garbage bag, lots of ziplocs for waterproofing individual items
Comfort (think travel size)
floss (can also be used to tie things)
soap and washcloth
lotion or sunscreen
small mirror, razor?
hair ties (can be multi-purpose, stronger than rubber bands)
feminine products, if applicable
hat and/or sunglasses
sleeping pad (inflatable saves space and weighs less)
pocket sleeping bag
one-person tent, hammock, or tarp (seemingly azure blue is a smart choice these days!)
lightweight wind jacket and/or waterproof poncho (much lighter than an umbrella plus frees your hands)
more plastic bags (to cover feet, waterproof, separate clean/dirty)
Emergency (think travel size)
first aid kit with the follow items:
band-aids, gauze, medical tape
tylenol/motrin (even if you don’t use, others you meet may need or can use to trade)
emergency warming blanket
oral numbing gel
hand crank emergency radio/usb charger/flashlight
hand or body warmer packets
medical alert device
Entertainment or Passing Time
your weightless awesome singing voice; otherwise, harmonica, tin-whistle, or ear buds
hacky-sack or cards
small book (my pick “The Secrets of Warmth”) and/or Bible
Colder weather (plan to wear instead of carry)
long underwear or extra layers
Need to travel more than 70 miles away or want a faster way to travel? Consider a bike and making sure it is equipped properly equipped for travel with headlamp/bike light, manual bike pump, extra tube, small bike tools, and bike lock. Also, think on the type of bike needed for the trip: mountain, road, hybrid, or fat tire bike. Will you be able to bike with the backpack on, or will you need a bike rack to carry it?
There’s another question of whether I would actually want to have these important things already packed together. My answer is no, I wouldn’t want everything packed together for a few different reasons; however, having the list as a start, knowing I have these items, and where they are is more important. Pre-packing some of these extra times for emergency purposes for certain groups, especially food/water and comfort items already in a backpack, would certainly be a time-saver.
I hope this helps some start to get to thinking about what’s important to have during emergency situations. I’m definitely interested in knowing if there’s anything I missed or whether something is unreasonable, so just let me know.
Even if this “backpack” is something you cannot or plan to travel on foot or bike with, at least you can begin to think of things you’ll need on hand if emergencies come up.
Thanks for letting me think out loud.
Now, let’s see if I can actually get everything to fit … and how much it weighs!