Last minute pro tips:
1. 5 gallon buckets (available at Lowes and Home Depot for example) are great for use in storing water, food, or used as a latrine. A potty seat is available at camping stores that fit on top of the bucket. Lids are available that make the buckets pretty much waterproof. You can also store non-food items that are at risk of water damage.
2. A decent flashlight is a must. LED and at least 100 lumen or greater. Waterproof is a huge plus. Most high end flashlights are about 300+ Lumens and are waterproof. Avoid batteries that are AAA, C, D, 9V. AA and 18650 Lithium rechargeables work great. CR123A are ok and common for high end flashlights. The batteries are not as easily found as AA but they are available at Lowes, Home Depot, and any store carrying camping goods. CR123A rechargeables are not advised as they tend to shut off when running low, giving little to no warning when they are nearing end of charge. 18650’s do the same but I have found they last longer and give more warnings, like dimming lights or causing the flashlight to switch to a lower lumen mode.
Olight S1R Turbo S rechargeable 900 Lumens CREE XP-L LED Flashlight
Great tactical light-
Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight, 1000 Lumen
3. Cell phones are likely to have coverage loss during disasters, but they are still recommended since they may still offer signal and a way to call for help, receive information, and entertain one while they wait for the all clear. Use waterproof pouches like Dandy Case, they are reusable and water tight. A zip loc bag works in a pinch. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Double bag for extra protection. Bring a power bank for recharging. Old cell phones that no longer have active service (working SIM) are great for emergencies. Charge them fully, shut off, and place in a waterproof bag. They work like a tablet and can be used to call 911.
4. Food. Count on the loss of power, so all refrigerated food will be lost. Obviously eat that first. Don’t count on utilities like natural gas or running water. A propane grill or camping stove is a great way to cook during power loss. Have canned goods, freeze dried food, dry goods like crackers, beans, and rice on-hand for long term. You can go 30 days without food, but you can only survive a few days without water. If you run out of stored water, a water filter is a great backup plan. Katadyne and other manufacturers offer pumps, water bottles with built in filters, and real time filtration like the Life Straw. Always have a filter as a backup to bottled water.
5. Remember survival fundamentals: avoid injury, regulate core temperature, stay dry, hydrate, and maintain food rations.
6. Self defense may become necessary. Firearms work well if the operator has training. Non-lethal options like pepper spray are a good backup. I advise against stun guns, they don’t work when they get wet and you run the risk of shocking yourself, and they must be used at close range. I also advise against bladed weapons unless you are an expert in hand to hand combat. The best solution is avoidance. De-escalate when possible. Situational awareness is 80% of the battle.
7. Transportation. Last minute evacuation or escape (from imminent threat) may be necessary. Keeping a kayak or inflatable boat is recommended if possible. Inflatable mattresses work in a pinch but are not stable and hard to navigate (i.e. you fall off when sitting on the edge – required to paddle). Cars aren’t always practical – flooded roads, traffic jams, fallen trees, eroded roads, and other obstacles are likely. A motorcycle is the best solution for long distance travel on less than favorable terrain. Bicycles are excellent as they don’t require gas but range is obviously limited. Evaluate what you have and what you are capable of using. I.e. small children rule out some options.
8. Communication and plan. Have a plan and communicate it with friends and family. One of the biggest problems with war and natural disasters is the lack of communications. Communication is essential to avoid unnecessary casualties. i.e. relative goes looking for you when you are safe, and is injured or killed unnecessarily. Evacuation plan. Meetup points/times. Don’t count on the cell phone. 2-way radios when close enough. Have a paper map or waterproof GPS device for navigation.
9. Tools. Have a knife on you at all times. Fixed blades are most useful for survival but quality folders work well and are more practical in certain situations. Multi-tools work well for various purposes but are poor knives (clumsy). In emergencies a tool may be required to fix or build something that can provide transportation, shelter, etc. It’s hard to tell what will be needed ahead of time. Large tool sets work well when bugging in. Go lightweight when bugging out. There are some most frequently used tools that can be carried – Leatherman with bit set. Fire starter is handy but I recommend the small Bic lighters. Get a handful for a buck each and they last a long time. Carry several.
Benchmade – Griptilian 551 Knife, Drop-Point, plain edge with satin finish
Swiss army knife
Leatherman – Wave Multitool, Stainless Steel
Leatherman 931014 Black 21 Piece Bit Kit
Fixed blade knife with kydex sheath – Boker Magnum Urban King Knife Fixed Blade
10. Secure property. Put up shutters, tie down things, bring stuff inside.
bug in vs. bug out
Bug out bag
Rules of survival
regulate core temp
powerbank for cell
case for phone