How many times have you gone out on a trip, whether it be a survival trip or a vacation trip, and you have returned home only to dump your luggage or gear in a corner and forget about it. I believe we have all done this a few times. The fault with this, especially with survival gear, is that it needs to be ready at a moments notice and your very survival could be impacted by the condition of your gear. I am always encouraging people who want to learn survival, bushcraft, bugging out etc. to take the gear they have purchased into the wild. Get familiar with your gear and hone your skills. A survival kit is not going to be any help if you don’t know what’s in it and how to utilize it. Hopefully people have heeded my advice but now that you have done so you must practice The Three U’s.
Upkeep, Update, and Un-compress. These three words can apply to every piece of gear you have. When you come back from a trip there is no doubt that things have been used and or consumed. Clothing, shelter, gear, tools have gotten dirty. Food, water filters, medication and first aid have been consumed or contaminated. Its time to think of The Three U’s.
Upkeep: Upkeep is crucial to prolonging the life of equipment and gear. My mom always told me “dirt destroys” and she’s not wrong. If you think about it dirt is like sandpaper without the paper. Scraping your metal joints and slowly slicing the fibers of your textiles. Keep your gear clean and oiled and it will wear out slower. Your edged tools are going to wear down from use but keep them sharp and rust free. Just a little Upkeep can go a long way.
Update: Your first aid, batteries, and food have expiration dates so be sure to keep them all up to date. If your perishable items are constantly updated then when the real bug out situation occurs you know nothing is going to expire on you right away. Its like when you buy a road flare for your car and it gets tucked away and forgotten. You car breaks down and its dark. You find the flare and snap it to life only to have it not ignite. Not necessarily a survival situation but a good example to keep things Updated.
Un-Compress: I have always thought to be self explanatory but I have since found out that a number of people don’t know how to store their gear. We all want our bug out bag to be ready at a moments notice but the fact is, there will be some things that will need to be packed in that moment. One of those items is a down or synthetic sleep system. Could be a quilt, sleeping bag, whatever. These items cannot remain compressed for an extended period of time. Check with the manufacturer for what they recommend for compression times. If you keep these items compressed for too long it ruins the insulation of the sleep system and drastically will reduce the temperature rating. Not only for storage but if you have used the sleep system your body has probably gotten it wet from condensation and you will not want mildew or mold to grow. The first thing I do when I come home from a bug out is pull out my top quilt and let it air out.
We have all spent money on our gear and no matter the price its important that you get the most use out of it. Not only do you want it to serve you well for many years so you can learn and grow with it but when that emergency/survival situation happens you don’t want to be second guessing the integrity of your gear. Make The Three U’s part of your routine so you are set up for success when you need it the most.
Check out my video of the 3 U’s of Preparedness: