I learned a very important thing about myself last week: I’m absolutely horrible in evacuation scenarios.
Through years of being avid Walking Dead fans, my husband Pat and I have had every “what if” scenario conversation (usually surrounding a weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse). And I mean DEEP convos. What would we do with our dog? What would we take with us? Do we need to buy a gun? The list goes on. For those of you at our wedding, you know the “until death or zombies do us part” at the end of our vows is for real.
I think every outdoorsy person has a “survival in the woods” fascination.
I always claimed my strength would be food…..So what the F happened last week?
Here’s what happened.
4 am wake up call with an immediate evacuation due to fires less than a mile from our house. What do I grab? Nothing I’ve ever talked about in any zombie convo. Ever. I grabbed 10 pairs of underwear and vitamins.
What did Pat grab? Everything he said he would. Food, water, our dog, her food, phone chargers, jackets, and important documents. Oh yeah, and his gas tank was full while mine was empty (we learned that long gas station lines are a real thing in emergency situations). His car also had sleeping bags, headlamps, a tent, and a first aid kit.
Here’s our marital scoreboard:
Safe to say that building a bug out bag has been on my mind lately.For two reasons actually:
It makes me adventure ready at any moment. It breaks down any barrier of not feeling ready when a fun opportunity arises.
I can sleep easier knowing that if there’s another natural disaster, I’m ready.
Here’s what will be in my bug out bag moving forward:
Base water: In a glass gallon sized jug to be specific. The idea of water in a plastic bottle sitting hot in my car in the middle of a California summer is not appetizing. Plus it starts to taste bad. Glass, on the other hand, is a better option.
On-the-go water option: In the event where I can’t bring my glass water jug along, I’ll also have these BPA-free collapsible soft canteens.
Water purification: Because not getting sick from bad water is SO important to any adventure (or survival) and having two different options is key. One I already keep in my car is a Life Straw. For less immediate needs, I like these purification tablets. An ultra backup is boiling water, but let’s try to save stove fuel for food.
Cooking kit: Nothing fancy. Just a cooking stove with extra fuel, small metal pot, spork, cup, and bowl. Also important to have a can opener and multi-purpose collapsible knife.
Food: My golden area! Costco actually has some really great items you can leave in your car like organic nuts/seed blends and this shelf-stable cooked organic rice. I picked up a few cans of Amy’s Organic Soups of which I plan to add in some canned chicken, tuna, or sardines from Wild Planet. For a lighter weight meal that doesn’t require cooking, I’ll pack ingredients for Trailside Kitchen’s no cook Antipasto recipe along with some trusted packaged food products for snacks.
Clothing: Might not be the most fashionable since I plan on always leaving it in my car, but who cares really? I’ll be packing 2 pairs of wool socks, 1 pair of pants, 2 pairs of quick dry underwear, 1 fleece, 2 shirts, 1 rain jacket, 1 pair of sandals, and 1 pair of hiking boots. You don’t have to, but I’m also adding in a down jacket, warm snow pants, hat, and gloves – because I’m no fun when I’m cold.
Fire: another important element for both comfort/heat and potentially cooking. Pack lighters, all-weather biodegradable matches, and a fire steel.
First Aid Kit: REI has all kinds of options for every scenario. Pick which one will be most applicable to you.
Lighting: Flashlights, headlamps, and candles are a must.
Extra phone charger: Important for keeping your battery full. But what we experienced was a no cell phone situation where cell towers and power (wifi) got knocked out. So I would also recommend old school maps and a hand crank radio too. I’ve never listened to the radio so much in my life but the updates were faster than the internet.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Tent and sleeping bag
Dust masks: because you never know – the smoke coming off so many burning buildings had my lungs and eyes irritated in minutes.
Cash: $100 – $300 our card got shut down and denied from a few big shopping trips getting supplies for friends, which is not an ideal situation.
Extra gas: One of those fancy red containers will do.
Medications, extra glasses/contacts, and VITAMINS! Here we go, something I did right. I grabbed probiotics and immune boosting vitamins. Because good digestion and immune function are important in every situation!
Based on this list, it sounds like A LOT of stuff. And my former two-weeks-ago self would have agreed while eye rolling, but it’s really not that much with the chance that you already own most of it. Because you never know when a fire will destroy whole neighborhoods leading up to your almost-downtown home (still doesn’t feel real). Think of it as a way to put everything in one place.
What’s AMAZING is the support I’ve seen come out of the NorCal fires.
In our Trailside Kitchen community alone, we’ve raised $1,500 in less than a week.