Build an Ecofriendly Bugout Bag

Build an Ecofriendly Bugout Bag

It’s the sort of thing a survivalist might do; put together a backpack full of items essential to life if the nation or the world goes into meltdown status. But you don’t have to be a survivalist to recognize that hot August days and nights fray tempers and lead to moments when “bugout” status could mean the difference between safety and real danger.

Hybrid Solar Lantern LED

Hybrid Solar Lantern LED

Hot weather can lead to car problems. Heat stroke among the very young and the very old, or the very active, can lead to death if not treated promptly. This is also the month when youngsters want to sleep on screened porches or tents that allow for airflow, instead of inside a stuffy house where air conditioning has been set at 78 to 80 to conserve energy and keep power bills affordable. It’s also the month when pool owners find all the neighborhood kids waiting for an adult to serve as lifeguard. And, given how hot July has been – breaking all-time heat records in almost every state – August looks to be another sweaty, miserable month.

You probably won’t need a Swiss army knife (though it couldn’t hurt). Nor will you need weapons. But you will need other essentials, including drinking water – and water purification tabs might actually become necessary in some drought-ridden states if they have to shut down the drinking water facility and some power plants because of low water tables. Invest in some sturdy, reusable, recycled aluminum water bottles as well.

It would also be a good idea to stock some cans or jars of food that don’t require heat to be palatable; canned beans, cheese and crackers, or tuna are good examples. Make sure you buy only cans that are not lined with BPA.

Other essentials include:

  • Sturdy shoes and protective clothing (long pants, 100% organic cotton socks, a waterproof, lined jacket, and a warm, waterproof hat or poncho with a hood (for the frugal, a plastic, recyclable trash bag works almost as well)
  • Given the drought out West, and the number of people who have been evacuated from forest fire areas, a tent or other outdoor shelter would be more than merely fun. Be sure to add a ground cloth; the last thing you will need if you’re sleeping rough is a poisonous bug bite or poison ivy or oak.
  • Speaking of, pack a first aid kit. Expand it with extra band aids, insect repellant, povidone iodine, calamine lotion for bites and stings, a topical antibacterial and antifungal, diphenhydramine for allergic reactions, all natural hand cleaner, and – as any guy knows – duct tape, which can do double duty rigging up a quick splint or patching a hole in a tent or ground cloth. You can save time by buying a weekender medical kit, but you will still have to add some items, as even the best kit seems to be lacking one thing or another.
  • Not essential, but sweet to have (and, when you’re not using it in an emergency, you can put it inside a sunny window to charge your electronic handheld devices): a portable solar charging station
  • Add a solar-powered lantern, and a hybrid solar flashlight to your kit, as well as sealed boxes of what we used to call “farmer matches” (the long ones with a wooden stem) and toilet paper (duh!)
  • Finally, buy the kids a recycled bike tube backpack or messenger bag: use it for school and, should your family ever be evicted, let even the smallest help carry bugout bag items (it will make them feel special)

Finally, take one weekend in the back yard, pretend you’ve been evacuated, and use your bag. This is the best way to find out how many times the kids (or grownups) have to go back in the house to get something really necessary, and where possible add that item to your list and your bugout bag.

Of course, this does not include an Xbox or a set of drums. It may include a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop, though, as long as you have enough batteries or a solar charger.

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