by luis castellanos
When shit hits the fan
I find myself pondering doomsday scenarios a lot. Should I blame it on the Walking Dead? I loved the series. Really, just the first 3 or 4 seasons; after that they just got stupid. I mean, when Andrea died in Season 3, I felt obligated to feel bad, but ended up crying tears of relief. I digress. Sometimes, I’ll be sitting at a stoplight thinking about how the guy walking down the street might try to carjack me so I double check the door locks. If the person actually got in the driver’s side, and my kids were still in the car, then I’d make sure I dropped my iPhone (while being pulled out at gunpoint) so I could use the “find my phone” feature to track the vehicle. I’d probably have to carjack someone to get a chase car, so it’d be tricky. After some careful explanation, I’d use their phone to call my wife so I could track down my grey odyssey in real time. A makeshift weapon, some patience and the element of surprise would be my best bet after that.
So, that’s how it goes, just thinking about car jackings, EMP bombs, riots, home invasions, etc, etc.
A while back, I started travelling a lot for work, so I decided to take some real steps towards becoming more prepared for bad situations. I bought a gun (actually 2 guns: a small 9mm easily concealable, fast and accurate and a short handle shotgun that I’d probably shoot while closing my eyes and hoping for the best), purchased a home alarm system and made a go-bag. The point of this post is to show you the things I put in my go-bag and get you thinking about yours. As a bonus, I really like cases and bags and organizing things, so if you’re like me, this is a great excuse to buy a nice, expensive backpack or duffle-bag in the name of family safety.
There’s a good survival “Rule of 3” that goes like this:
You can live for 3 hours without shelter
You can live for 3 days without water
You can live for 3 weeks without food
With that in mind, I took a trip to survival central, aka REI. It’s crazy how many cool and useful gadgets you can fit under one roof.
Your first priority in getting the hell out of dodge is to ensure you are dry, safe and warm. You’ll need blankets and waterproof clothing as well and a drybag to keep socks, electronics, your ham sandwich etc. from getting wet. In the event you need to make a fire, a flint sparker is way better than the bow drill you think you can make out of your grandma’s favorite sweater and some spruce branches: trust me, it won’t work.
Next, you want to have water on hand and a way to purify more water. I always keep a few glass bottles of water in my car. Texas is hot as hell in the summer. I’ve got 3 little kids in tow, so a flat tire or blown radiator on a back-road could literally put us in 100-degree heat for hours. Water on-hand could save lives. When Zombies attack, portable water purification systems will enable you to travel light and stay hydrated over longer periods of time.
Finally, food is a challenge. It’s heavy, it’s expensive, it goes quickly. I have some freeze dried stuff on hand, some high-calories bars, etc, but my thought is portable food will last about a week and that’s hopefully all we’ll need. After that, we’re killing frogs, hunting deer, cooking squirrels, etc. Times are pretty hard.
To help you get started, I’ve attached a PDF with gear categorized along the shelter, water, food lines from my REI tour. You can find this stuff online (Amazon) as well. If you have any cool survival gear you’d like to share, I’d love to check it out!