Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grab and Go

On ocean passages, sailors prepare a "ditch kit" that they can grab on the way out the hatch if they have to abandon ship. The ditch kit contains basic ocean survival equipment that will help keep them alive while floating in a life raft awaiting rescue.

The same concept should apply to us, even if we're not crossing an ocean. For us, the kit is called a Grab 'n Go Kit — also known as a 72-hour Kit. The purpose is to give you what you need to live on for the first 72 hours of a disaster if you are caught away from home or have to evacuate, with the assumption that local, state or federal relief organizations will be on-site rendering aid after that time period.

For ultimate versatility, organize your Grab 'n Go kit in a "backpack" style piece of luggage that has substantial wheels, an extendable handle, and shoulder straps. Just because you're in survival mode is no reason to live like a heathen. To make life easier when you're on the run or are living in a refugee camp, here are basic recommendations for items to be included in your kit:

  • A couple changes of underwear and socks
  • Long -sleeved shirt
  • T shirt
  • Pants
  • Windbreaker
  • Rain poncho or rain suit
  • Billed cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Spare eyeglasses (if you need them)
  • Contact lens solution (if you need it)
  • Bandana or large handkerchief
  • Work gloves
  • Power bars
  • Trail mix
  • 3 or more MREs or Mountain House meals
  • Folding military-type can opener
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paper plates
  • Backpack stove, fuel, and lightweight pot (JetBoil Personal Cooking System is excellent for this)
  • 2 liters of water
  • Backpack water filter
  • 1 roll of toilet paper
  • 1 heavy-duty trash bag
  • Disposable towelettes
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • Bar of soap
  • Liquid camp soap
  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Small towel, washcloth
  • Hair brush
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun screen
  • Lightweight tent or tarp
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • Sleeping pad
  • Emergency-type blanket
  • Flashlight (hand crank type, or take spare batteries)
  • Fire starter and tinder
  • Knife
  • Pepper spray
  • Signal mirror, whistle
  • Lightweight rope
  • Trowel for digging a latrine
  • Emergency radio (hand crank type like Grundig FR200, or take spare batteries)
  • Deck of cards to alleviate boredom while in a refugee situation
  • Roll of quarters (for showers)
  • Small cache of spending money (keep this hidden)
  • Photo ID
  • Pencil and notepad
  • Prescription medications (rotate to keep these fresh)

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