Preppers are notorious for caching stuff. Gear is our life. We can’t seem to get enough of it and at the same time we could probably all have a huge garage sale and never miss half of it. Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff? If you are not a list person, I recommend you become one. Gear management is just as big a part of survival prepping as planning for it in the first place. With a comprehensive inventory, you can not only get a handle on what you have amassed in terms of survival gear, but you can review it, refresh it, and begin to task it for specific missions.
By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog
Achieving a balance between too much and just enough is the difficult part. You want to be mobile but at the same time, you must be thoroughly prepared. This guide will help you achieve this balance and fine-tune your bug out bag.
Re-Do Your EDC
What do you keep stashed in a daily carry bag? Is it designed to sustain you for a day in case of an emergency or a longer time frame? Is there a weapon and support supplies in that bag? Where is it stowed, in the vehicle, or do you carry it into the office each day? How discreet is its carry and your protection of it?
How often do you recycle the supplies in this bag? If you keep several loaded magazines for a pistol, these should be rotated, unloaded for a time, and then put back in service again. Every 6 months ought to be about right so spring tension does not memorize. The gun itself should be wiped down with an oil cloth every couple weeks especially if you live in a high humidity region.
Related: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles
Life sustaining supplies in this bag should be used regularly and replaced, too. Drink the water on the way home, then replace it with fresh bottles every week or so. If you have energy bars, GORP, or other eats, then keep them fresh. Nothing is worse than opening a zip lock bag of raisins and M&Ms only to find them melted into a slurry.
Essential, too, is keeping this daily carry bag as efficiently stocked as possible. If you find, upon opening the bag, that it contains items never or rarely used, then reconsider the necessity of these items. Don’t over weigh a bag you have to carry or may have to tote for miles during a SHTF. Occasionally lay everything out on the floor and reassess each item’s usefulness.
Revise Your Escape Plan
In the same vein, if you travel out of town with the family either on business or a combined vacation, the stuff you take to supply might be different. You might want more gear for personal defense including a more powerful long gun. This may mean packing a half dozen mags each for a self-defense pistol and perhaps an AR. You may find you have other stuff rarely used that you could sell or trade for needed items.
Overnight stays will mean more clothing, more personal care items, and regular medications for the longer time frame. Double check your packing lists to make sure you have everything you need. If you are driving, consider taking a supply pack with extra food and water. Be sure to have a cell phone charger. Kids along? Have more stuff for them, too.
Before you leave, let your neighbors know where you are going, give them phone numbers, notify police you will be gone, and secure your domicile. Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail or better yet ask a trusted neighbor to bag them for you. That way, other outside sources do not know your travel plans. Put lights on timers so it appears like people are home. Double check locked doors, set the alarm and be sure the garage door closes.
Prioritize the Bug Out Plan
Be sagacious: assess your plan. If it is to escape a severe storm threat like a hurricane, estimate the time out of the area and pack accordingly for what you hope will not be a terribly long time. This then assumes your residence is not damaged or outright destroyed. Ask yourself if your redundancy is over extended having accumulated too much stuff or several of the same kinds of items.
Put your plans to escape in action. Ideally you are going to family or friends or a predetermined hotel location. Execute your bug out plan that you worked out well in advance of any incident. Pack and take only the items you need for this scenario.
For a worst case scenario, hopefully you have a plan. Maybe it is an escape to another house in the country, or a spot where you have set up a permanent trailer for housing or even a dedicated camping trailer. Ideally you have cached and stashed essentials at this location including food stuffs, water, fuel, tools, gear, and everything else you might need to stay for several months. This situation may finally mean to grab all those bug out bags you have spent years packing and fine tuning. This gives you important time to choose what gear is needed for the mission. Excess stuff can be contributed to a team effort or sold off for revenue to buy other more essential gear.
Mission Drives the Gear and the Plan
Again, the specific mission drives what gear to pack and take. As a prepper, try to avoid just buying all kinds of stuff that looks great but is not really purposed as it should be. Prepper budgets are usually stretched enough without buying extra neat stuff that is never used. This goes for every category of gear, too, including weapons, and ammo. If you go overboard, then do it on water, food, and medical supplies. Lighten your load of unnecessary gear.
All Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John Woods