Archive for the ‘Bug Out Bag or Extraction Kits Prep’ Category

Putting Together your Winter Emergency Car Kit

November 27, 2012

Between commuting to and from work, running errands, and schlepping the kids around to various activities, the average American spends over 200 hours a year in their cars.

This is more time on the road than we spend in vacation time in a year!

With all that time in your vehicle, the chances of you being stranded in your car due to a breakdown or inclement weather at least once in your lifetime is more likely than not. For that reason it’s an absolute must to have a Emergency Kit for you vehicle.

And with winter now fast approaching, having an emergency kit in your car is doubly important!

How to Put Together Your Winter Emergency Car Kit

What you decide to put into your car kit is really based on your needs, skill and desired comfort. In this post I’ll show you what I put in my kit but in doing so I’ll explain the core principles that you should follow. Ultimately, how you decide to fulfill those principles is up to you.

Throughout every season, I have two kits at all times in my car:

  • a core emergency-car kit and …
  • a watered down version of my Bug-Out Bag (BOB) — it’s more like a Get-Home-bag.

When winter rolls around I add some extra gear that would help me through the rougher weather if I were to become stranded.

Following the 5-Pillars of Survival (+ Tools) Approach to Building Your Vehicle Kit

For all my emergency kits (vehicle kit, Bug-Out Bag, Get-Home Bag etc) I organize them according to 5 principles of survival that I call the “5 Pillars”. Once I have all the pillars accounted for I then add extra “tools” that help make survival a whole lot easier.

Here are the contents of my emergency-car kit organized according to these “Pillars” (items with an ** are what I add for the winter season):

Personal Health & Security

Items in this category consist of anything that helps with keeping you safe, secure and healthy. Here’s what’s in my car kit:

  • small club – In addition to my carry pistol, I keep a small club near my seat as backup (this is actually not “with” my kit in the trunk for obvious reasons)
  • first-aid kit


The shelter portion of your emergency car kit should contain all those things that help to protect you from the elements and keep your body at a steady 96.8°F. Here’s what I include:

  • **extra winter clothes (snow pants, gloves, hat, heavy wool sweater and winter jacket)
  • **winter boots
  • **sub-zero rated sleeping bag
  • 2 mylar emergency blankets (in the small BOB)
  • tarp tent (in the small BOB)


The water component contains all those things that help to store, filter, collect, and purify water. It also includes, well, of course…water.

  • 1 gallon water jug
  • 2 quart bottles of water (in small BOB)
  • water purification tablets (in small BOB)
  • collapsible water containers (in small BOB)
  • small water filter (in small BOB)

Heat and Energy

This category contains all those items that you need to create fire, light and energy (including fuel). Here’s what I have:

  • matches (in small BOB)
  • firesteel (in small BOB)
  • flashlight (in small BOB)
  • road flares
  • portable 12V jump starter
  • extra batteries (in small BOB)
  • 1 gallon of gas – beyond keeping my tank always above 1/2, I pack a gallon of fuel just in case. This is rotated every few fillups
  • emergency car heater
  • extra 90% rubbing alcohol for the emergency car heater


The food category includes food itself as well as items that might help you procure food. Here’s what I include:

  • Emergency food bars (in small BOB)
  • Ruger 10/22 rifle with 1000 rds .22LR ammunition


Once the 5 Pillars are met, you’ll also want to include some extras that help you beyond “just surviving”. This makes up the brunt of what I have. Here’s what’s in my “Tools” category:

  • tool kit – for basic auto repairs
  • duct tape
  • hand axe
  • folding saw (in small BOB)
  • windshield washer fluid
  • antifreeze/coolant
  • 1 quart of oil & funnel
  • Fix-a-Flat
  • tire repair kit
  • **small snow shovel
  • **snow shoes – hey, you never know when you have to trek it home in a blizzard
  • **traction skids – you can also use two pieces of carpet, kitty-litter, or sand
  • **ice/snow scraper
  • jumper cables

A closer look

Here’s what detailed look at my car kit:

I keep my core car kit in a storage container for easy access:

Here’s what my kit looks like year-round in the trunk — plenty of space for extra things

When winter rolls around, I unfortunately have to sacrifice space for security. This is a trade-off I’m always willing to make:


Gear For Survival Kits You Should Always Carry!

April 28, 2012

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a quick snowshoe trek or an hour-long stroll along a wooded path. Common sense dictates that basic survival tools be taken along. Above all, this gear, or kit, must be lightweight and convenient to carry, or it gets left behind. Click here to view these products.

by Leon Pantenburg

That said:  BEWARE! If you don’t know how to use the materials in the kit, and don’t practice with them, you may develop a false sense of confidence. This attitude could get you in a lot more trouble!

Keep basic tools with you at all times. On the keyring: LED flashlight, fingernail clippers, whistle, Boy Scout Hot Spark and Classic Swiss Army knife. The other knife rides in a pouch on my belt.

Mention survival kits among recreationists and an argument/discussion will follow.

At one end of the spectrum is the guy who takes the heavily-loaded backpack full of gadgets, doo-dads, knick-knacks and neat stuff. He may not go far, because of the pack’s weight, but he’ll be safe. Unless, one time, he decides to leave all that stuff at the car, since he’s never used anything and it’s damned heavy. And he’s just going a little way…

Then he becomes the optimist, the guy at the other extreme.  Since he’s never been in an emergency situation, then it stands to reason that nothing will ever happen. He denies the need for survival gear, because he’s never been in an emergency.

Somewhere between these extremes is the common sense approach.

Here’s my take (and of course, this opinion may place me squarely in the survivalist wacko camp!): Everyone should have a collection of survival tools with them at all times.

As I type this, I have a butane lighter in my pocket, a whistle, knife, fingernail clippers, LED flashlight, small knife and magnesium stick on my belt clip, and a Swiss Army knife in my belt pouch. My wallet has firestarter, charcloth and a signal mirror in it. This gear goes with me everywhere it’s legal.

Suppose I have to run out of my house, right now. Let’s say an earthquake just hit and all the pictures are falling off the walls and it’s in the middle of January. If I have to sprint for the door and can’t grab anything else, I have the minimum tools on me to build a fire for ourselves and the neighbors, stay warm, help others and signal for help.

If I can grab my jacket on the way out the door, there is an Altoids tin mini-survival kit in the pocket. And if I can get to my car there is a full component of survival gear in there, including food, water, a sleeping bag, and several tarps. I won’t waste any time looking for equipment, when the walls may literally be falling down around me.  This will come in very handy for a quick evacuation due to a forest fire, urban natural gas leak, tsunami warning, forced evacuation of the neighborhood or city.

Any personal survival kit will ultimately boil down to opinion, knowledge, skill levels and the season.

Let’s start here: Many experts agree that a MINIMUM KIT should contain the following materials. Here are my suggestions.  Click here to view these products for sale.

Carry survival gear in your wallet. I always have (from left) firestarter, charcloth and a signal mirror with me.

  • survival knife
  • firemaking tool(s) plus the firestarter
  • compass
    map and GPS
  • mirror (for signaling)
  • signal whistle
  • flashlight
  • Some form of emergency shelter, like a tarp with rope.
  • Food and water, plus water filter.
  • Layering Clothing (fleece, wool, polypropylene)
  • Waterproof packable shell

While commercial survival kits are available, the quality of some items is sometimes reduced to cut costs. Some things, such as fishing hooks, sinkers and line are included because people think they need them. And some items are included in commercial kits because they’re cheap and take up space.

The safest bet is to make your own survival kit. Start with a realistic assessment of your skills and needs, then start researching. One size doesn’t fit all – a survival kit that works in the cold winter of Oregon, will be different than one designed for Florida, and vice versa.

Every town has a survival guru with a website, but that doesn’t mean they know anything. In fact, be leery of any survival website – a lot of people are out to make a fast buck. Start by contacting the people who work with emergencies every day: police, sheriff’s departments, search and rescue, the Red Cross and see if they have recommendations for necessary gear. They will also have a pretty good idea of  who is good teacher and who is a fraud.

If you have certain medical needs or conditions, make sure the kit includes the appropriate medications.

Then, educate yourself. Practice with your survival tools. Don’t take any recommendations at face value,

Click here to buy survival kits

unless the source has been proven to be reliable. Then, make your survival kit, and take it along.

Every time.

Bug Out Bag for a Toddler

April 28, 2012

We’re slowly starting to get things in place for boy #2.  I’ll spare you the details about the furniture rearranging and marathon sessions of spring cleaning meets nesting. But, I thought y’all might be interested in our Bug Out Bag plans for boy #1.  He’ll be transitioning out of his diaper bag (which was always considered his BOB) and into something more closely resembling the adult BOBs.  The diaper bag will be reassembled for the newborn, and will serve as his BOB.

Fewer Diapers, More Calories – There are differences between what a newborn needs for emergencies and what a little boy needs.  For boy #1, we knew the first things we wanted to tackle were the food items.  Ration Bars and MRE’s are easy solutions for adults, but I’m pretty sure they’d make for one unhappy young lad.  I’m in the camp that thinks BOBs should be assembled with the goal of making a bad situation better, not just survivable.   So, I turn to things like dry soups and noodles.  In familiar flavors like creamy wild rice and chicken noodle. Also in the line up are a couple servings of our favorite snack mix, full of dried fruit and peanuts and choc chips.  We make a ton of snack mix around here, and I’ll just make sure that a cup or two of it ends up rotating through his BOB.  He gets oatmeal packets just like hubby and I have in our BOBs. Again it’s DIY, just baggies full of regular oats and raisins and some cinnamon/nutmeg, already premixed.  Rounding things out are some crackers and peanut butter, whole packages of both, just to keep things easy.

Familiar, Healthy,  Storage Friendly –  With the younger (and the really old) crowd, the more familiar you can keep things like food, the happier they stay, and the better they fare during disruptions.  The middle of a flood, while trying to get through a 3 day stay in an emergency shelter is not the time to find out whether your toddler likes the dried pineapple you packed for him.  If it’s not a normal every-day type food, either find a way to make it so, or don’t pack it in their BOB.  Equally, you don’t want a hype-up, fueled on Snickers and Pepsi toddler. The blood sugar crashes that accompany processed foods and sugars will only be amplified when the toddler is trying to deal with the emotions and trials of relocation due to emergency.  Whole grains, whole fruits (dried is fine), and some vegetables (again dried into soup mixes is fine) will really help keep him stable and happy. I don’t want to have to worry over much about the food that goes into the BOBs, so everything needs to be dried and securely packaged, or like the peanut butter, sealed in original packaging.

Keep it light – Dried also helps with the weight issue. Even more so than the adult BOBs, the toddler BOB MUST BE LIGHT.   When it gets too heavy for the toddler, it’ll just end up on your shoulders, so it’s in your best interest to keep it as light as possible.  To that end, his water quotient, which was already divided between hubby and I, will remain so, even as we increase it a little.  He has his own little water bottles, and I imagine he can handle carrying that, but carrying a full two day’s worth is a bit much to ask of a 3 year old.

Age Appropriate Gear – He’ll get a whistle, just like Mom and Dad’s, but he’s not going to get a compass or firestarter or fishing kit.  He has an emergency blanket, change of clothes and light sources, but instead of a knife and first aid kit, he gets some toys and a book or two. As he ages and 1) gains interest in and 2) becomes safe with it, we’ll swap out toys for bigger boy survival gear. What we’re putting together now will just serve as the base and we’ll individualize it as he grows. Speaking  of growth, we’ll need to swap out his clothing more often than we do ours, as he’ll be changing sizes more often than we do.  Not a big deal, but it would suck to forget.

My little boy is growin’ up. It’s a good thing there’s a baby on the way to keep me properly supplied with toothless grins and contented snuggles. 😀 Anybody else got BOBs for a youngster, any hard learned lessons about what to put in it?