Survival Gear – Why you need it and what is essential to have on hand
The right gear is just as important, if not more so, than keeping emergency food and water on hand. Your emergency kit and stored supplies should have everything you need to survive, not just for a few days, but ongoing. This means having a survival kit, tools, weapons, medical items, and vehicles that will fill the essential needs if you find yourself in a crisis situation.
You can never predict just how long an emergency situation will last, so preparing for the worst case scenario is always a good idea. At best, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. At worst, you will have everything you need to stay alive.
Emergency situations are rarely hygienic. From flood waters carrying diseases to bodies and insects doing the same, staying healthy can be a challenge. It’s vital to have a well stocked first aid kit in your emergency survival kit. The right first aid supplies could save your life.
Apart from being able to patch up wounds, you will need basic medications. Painkillers, anti-parasite meds and pills to prevent stomach upsets, as well as antibiotics, all have a place in the your first aid kit.
Water is also important and stored water will run out faster than you anticipate. While there may be plenty of water around, it should not be considered safe to drink until treated. In this case, a hand water filter pump is your best bet for preventing disease. A good filter should put out enough water for a family in a few minutes and will eliminate many of the hazards that come with drinking potentially contaminated water.
A shovel, even a folding one, is a good tool to keep on hand for digging latrines. In the event that you cannot do this where you are, consider building a simple compost toilet with a five gallon bucket, sawdust and lime, layering these each time the toilet is used to keep the smell and potential for disease down.
In many survival situations, your home is no longer a viable shelter. You will need to have alternatives and preferably something that can be moved quickly and easily. An emergency tent should be included in every survival plan. Tents are simple to erect and light enough to carry if you need to head out.
Look for a tent that will hold everyone in your group or ensure that there are enough smaller tents to go around. Simply having shelter will boost morale in a bad situation. It is also useful for keeping out bugs, maintaining body heat in cold climates and providing shade in warmer climates.
Your bug out bag will also do well to have a sleeping bag in it, particularly in areas where winter hits hard. Optional gear includes socks and a hat to help stay warm. You can adapt the kit to your location and the local climate.
In addition to the tent and other supplies, having a small camp stove is a good idea. A hot meal, even if it is just soup or a cup of tea, can make even the worst situation a little better. Choose a stove with a simple and easy to find fuel and be sure to extra tins or canisters on hand.
While the electricity is on, an electric food dehydrator is useful for storing food. Dried fruit and vegetables are light to carry, but pack a nutritional wallop and can be reconstituted anywhere. If there is no power, a solar food dehydrator is simple to build and gives you the ability to dry extra food anywhere you have enough sun.
Unfortunately, in any survival situation, security is going to be a big concern. This is particularly true if you have supplies on hand. Anyone without will be looking for them and they may be willing to use force to get what you have.
A gun that you are comfortable with is a good addition to any emergency kit. In addition to warning human predators away, it can be used for hunting in many cases. Another option for food is always good.
Guns do make noise, which can alert others to your position, so silent weapons are also handy. An ax or machete can serve dual purposes, while a hunting knife is useful for keeping two legged predators at bay, as well as four legged ones. A knife is an essential component of a bugout bag.
Having a Jeep, dirt bike, bicycle at the ready can mean the ability to bug out quickly, or get home if you are caught traveling when turmoil strikes. Your area, plan, and circumstances will determine what is best for you, but we will list the most ideal vehicles for surviving here.
Finally, don’t forget communications. A hand crank radio is your best option, since batteries may be hard to come by or may drain quickly. A simple radio will give you the ability to listen for broadcasts, but a two way one lets you communicate with other people or even rescue squads in the area. Walkie-talkies can be helpful in a large group, as well.
Your choice of survival gear will depend heavily on how many people are in your group, as well as your own personal needs. However, certain things, like shelter and security, are universal. Plan ahead and stock up so you’ll be ready, no matter what happens. See the individual posts for more great info.