8 Items You Need To Bring if You Need To Leave In 10 Minutes

C. Davis
By C. Davis March 26, 2018 07:19

8 Items You Need To Bring if You Need To Leave In 10 Minutes

Leaving home in a hurry is something most preppers have given some thought to. Your house might be well prepared to let you ride out any crisis, but what if it’s too dangerous to stay in it? That’s why most of us have a bugout bag packed and ready – if we need to go, we can grab the bag on the way out and we’ll have enough essential gear to give us a fighting chance.

Generally, though, we expect to be able to make an organized departure, with enough time to collect more supplies before we lock the door behind us and head for our bugout location. We probably have a list of things to pack up and take with us, either in our head or written down. But what happens if you don’t get the time you expected to have? Will you still be able to collect the stuff on your list?

Not long ago one of our regular readers, left coast chuck, shared a story on the site about how he found himself having to bug out a bit faster than he’d expected. He’d done exactly what most of us do – made a mental list of what to take with him, but assumed that he’d have a bit of time to get it all together. What actually happened was that his home was threatened by a major fire and he suddenly realized that he had no more than ten minutes before he’d have to leave. That’s not a lot of time – and he lost some of it because, faced with an emergency, he found it was difficult to think through what he needed to take. Since then he’s made a list of what to take next time he has to leave in a hurry. We thought that was a great idea, and we decided to put together a few suggestions on what to add to a “bugout NOW” list.

1. Bugout bag

Let’s start with the obvious one. If you already have a bugout bag, it’s safe to assume all the stuff in it was put there for a reason – because it’s useful. Grab it right away; unless it’s absolutely packed it will also give you somewhere to carry the other items you collect. In fact some (maybe most) of the other stuff on the list should already be in your BOB anyway.

Related: 11 Smart Tips to Make Your Bug-Out Bag Lighter and Smaller

2. Water

The items you grab need to reflect the usual survival priorities, and water is at the top of that pile. That doesn’t always mean you have to take water with you, just that you need to know you can stay supplied with it. In reality, to be sure of having water you probably will need to take it.

The thing is, when you realize you need to be on the move in ten minutes, that’s not the time you want to be filling water containers. If you’re planning to bug out by vehicle, store filled containers in the garage or somewhere close to the vehicle; either use preservatives in the water or refill the containers regularly to make sure the water is always safe to use.

If you have to bug out on foot – either because that’s part of the plan or because your vehicle is disabled – smaller water containers are the way ahead. GI canteens are good, but water bladders have more capacity and are great for staying hydrated on the move. Again, keep them filled and replace the water regularly.

3. Food

The chances are you have some emergency rations in your bugout bag anyway, but if you have ten minutes, grab what you can from the kitchen as well. Bread, canned goods, candy, snacks – anything that’s easy to eat and high in energy. It’s better to have too much food than not enough.

4. Weapons

Some preppers keep a gun in their bugout bag – but it won’t hurt to grab any extra ammo you have. If your designated bugout weapon is a handgun, and you have a long gun in the house, take it and all the ammo you have.

Another thing to think about is what to do with any weapons you’re not taking with you. There are various reasons you might leave some behind. If you have 50 guns and you’re bugging out on foot, you won’t be taking them all. Do you really want to leave most of them behind to arm any looters who find them? If you have guns you don’t use regularly, disable them by removing bolts, firing pins or trigger groups and storing the parts in a locked ammo can. If you have to bug out, take the can with you and throw it in the first river you see.

5. Medication

Empty the medicine cabinet into your bag before you go. Whether you need prescription medication or you just have a big tub of Tylenol in there, you’re better having it with you than leaving it behind.

Related: The Only 4 Antibiotics You’ll Need when SHTF

6. Cash

The same goes for cash – if there’s any in the house, grab it. Even if there’s a total collapse and currency becomes worthless, it’s going to take a while before everyone gets that message. That means that, for anything from a few days to a few months, you’ll be able to buy useful stuff from optimists who think those dollar bills will be valuable again one day.

If you’ve invested in cryptocurrencies, keep a paper copy of your wallet along with your other important documents. You don’t want the network to be rebuilt from backups, but your investment is lost forever because an EMP – or even an unplanned dip in a river – destroyed your wallet.

7. Documents

There are documents you don’t want to lose. Birth and marriage certificates for you and your family are among those you’ll want to save, along with passports, academic and professional certificates, financial documents and the title to your home. Insurance policies are handy, too – if your home is threatened by a fire, it’s nice to know you’ll be able to put in a claim for it later.

It’s always a good idea to make copies of these documents and keep them in your bugout bag. Paper copies in a waterproofed package are durable; it’s worth getting a couple of USB thumb drives and making digital copies, too. They won’t survive an EMP, but if you have to evacuate because of a wildfire they’ll be handy to have.

Of course copies are great, but the originals are better. Keep all your important documents in an envelope. That way, if you have to leave in a hurry, you can just grab the envelope instead of having to hunt for each document.

Related: How To Disappear Completely When SHTF

8. Clothes

You’ll probably have clothes in your bugout bag, but if it’s cold out and your coat is hanging by the front door, grab it on your way past. The coat you wear every day in winter is probably better than the one you were happy to pack away for an emergency, so why not make use of it? I have a fleece and a Gore-Tex jacket in my BOB, because they pack up small and, together, give pretty good protection – but given the choice I’d much rather have my big warm parka.

This list is just some basic essentials that you can grab in a few minutes. There are probably some other things you can think of, too – but the time to think of them is now, not when you’re under the pressure of knowing you only have a few minutes to collect as much as you can. Once you have your list of the things you’ll take if you only have ten minutes to get moving, make sure you know where they all are. Where possible, keep them in a centralized location – a closet near the front door is good if you plan to bug out on foot, while the garage is an obvious place for an escape by vehicle. You know your own plans, so you’re the best person to decide how to fit this into them.

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C. Davis
By C. Davis March 26, 2018 07:19
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32 Comments

  1. Rydaartist March 26, 15:32

    Take your own pillow. Especially if you end up in a shelter. Also hard copy phone book with account numbers. Fire evacuation veteran (6 fires with a away time of up to 11 days), I am completing a Tiny House so I can take my dogs.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 27, 05:33

      A pillow’s a good thing to have, but it’s also bulky. If you’re bugging out by vehicle you can pack a few, but if you have to move on foot a pillow is going to take a lot of space in your pack. Would you take one hiking? I wouldn’t! A coat rolled around some spare clothes will do just as well – and spare clothes will come in handy a lot more often than a pillow will.

      Reply to this comment
      • ShirleyD April 13, 21:23

        But you should take the pillowcase – It will keep the coat and clothes contained better and it weighs almost nothing.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Djinn10 March 26, 15:32

    I’m having problems getting around I hope this easy cellar is everything yaw said it was.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 27, 05:36

      The Easy Cellar is impressive. It’s cheap to build, easy to conceal, and pretty tough. Because the design is so simple it’s also easy to customize it to exactly what you need. For example the standard design has steps down to the entrance, but if you need a wheelchair ramp that’s easy to do. A lot of expensive commercial shelters just don’t allow that option – unless you’re used to getting in and out of a submarine they’re not so accessible.

      Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck March 26, 16:00

    Let me add a few items to the list:

    1. Your medications.

    2. Your wallet and your wife’s purse with her wallet. I assume you carry your identification and credit cards in your wallets. I.D. and credit cards are important items to have with you even if you have cash.

    3. Toiletries. You can probably buy replacements when you reach your destination, but they may be at inflated prices.

    4. Your phone and your spouse’s phone and chargers.

    Most importantly, make a written list and keep it in the drawer of your nightstand of what you want to take and where it is located in your home. Keep it up to date if there are additions or deletions.

    We don’t keep everything that we need to take when we need to get out NOW by the front door. Not every item you want to take is conveniently located and packed up. If you decide to change the location of an item for any reason, change your list to reflect the change of location.

    Today or this week, gather all the items you plan to take and pack them up. Count the number of parcels and described the parcels on the list. We have our bug out clothes in two bags marked prominently with the name of the vendor. So on the list we have “Two XXX bags.”

    When evacuating, when you have loaded your vehicle, count how many bags are in the vehicle. Oops. There are seven on the list but only six in the vehicle. What’s missing? Aha, the green tote!

    If you have a valuable item that just absolutely must go that is breakable, get a box or packing that it can be conveniently fitted into so that when time is short you can easily pack it and not have to worry about whether it will be destroyed while you are hastily evacuating. Note the location of the packing so you don’t have to search for it.

    It is important to have a designated place for items we use every day. For instance, the phone. If you always place your phone on the nightstand next to the bed. That is fine. Where is the charger. How about your spouse? Do they always put their phone in the same place all the time? How about the charger for the phones? Is it always in the same place all the time? How about the charger for the phone for the car? Is it always in the same place all the time?

    If you plan on taking a notepad or laptop computer, the same questions apply. If you have to hunt for the charger occasionally, you are not following the discipline necessary to have an organized evacuation.

    While we were organized and we evacuated promptly, due to a lack of detailed prior organization, we left behind some items that we should have taken.

    Finally, while flashlights are great, it is much more convenient when you are trying to move around and pack up stuff to have a hands-free light. So make sure you have either an area lantern or lights that you can place on your head close by. I store such lights without the batteries in them so that they aren’t corroded and useless when needed. Store the batteries for those items with the item itself if you store them without the batteries so that you don’t have to waste time getting the batteries from the place where you store all your batteries. Replace them periodically with fresh batteries. You don’t have to throw the old batteries away. They may still have life in them. If you have to use the lights for an extended period, even a battery that only provides light for an hour will be useful.

    A few items that we didn’t take but should have: The phone charger for the car. It was in the hall closet where we keep our jackets. Makes sense because the hall closet is near the front door and so it is easy to get it on the way out to the car – if one remembers that it is there and might well be needed.

    My wallet. I had been on line doing Christmas shopping when I decided to call it a night and go to bed. I left my wallet by the computer instead of putting it on my dresser. I was going to continue shopping the next morning so didn’t put it in its usual place.

    Our prescription medication was on the dining room table but we didn’t look there to see it. Left without it. We were able to get replacements because the drugstore where we have the prescriptions on file was still open. It could well have been evacuated and closed and we would have been a week without medication.

    Those items and their locations are now on my check list of items to be sure to place in our vehicle.

    The check list is like having a fire extinguisher or a tourniquet. You hope you never have to use them. But if you need them, the need is immediate and imperative and if you don’t have them it is too late.

    Fortunately, my wife took her wallet and so when we needed to make purchases we could use her credit cards. We had cash we could have used, but we made a Costco run during the week we were evacuated. Her Costco card got us in the store. Mine on the desk by the computer wasn’t a lot of help. When we came back the road blocks had been lifted. Had we wanted to return prior to the road blocks being removed, we could have used her I.D. Good looks and charm haven’t been working that well for me recently and without her I.D. we would not have been able to return. Fortunately, I drove carefully and didn’t get stopped, otherwise I would not have had my driver’s license.

    The prescriptions and the wallet were the two most important things I overlooked in our bug out. A written list would have prompted me to get them and take them with us.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 26, 18:14

      Thanks for helping with this, Chuck! It was your experience that got us thinking about it in the first place. Having a list is vital, to avoid the deer in the headlights experience when the moment arrives and you need to get out fast.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Miss Kitty March 26, 17:14

    Excellent article and thanks for your additional comments Chuck. The only thing I would add would be in your pet’s bob to make sure you have a hard copy of vaccination records, any meds they need, and your vet’s business card. Also a good photo of your pet in case they get separated from you.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 26, 19:25

      Yes, I thought about pets, but since the bobcat got our last koi, we have no pets so to speak, although fish in my view hardly qualify as pets — I don’t want to get flamed by all the fish lovers, please. Feeding a fish isn’t quite the same as petting Old Fido. Sorry, reasonable minds can differ.

      Since we don’t have pets, I wasn’t up to speed on what to recommend, but lots of folks who did have pets found they couldn’t take them to the shelters or were unable to retrieve them because they let them roam at night and just didn’t have time to try to find them. Some got their pets back and some are, apparently, gone forever.

      So, I would recommend the same if you have pets. Plan ahead, make a list of what you need and where it is. And maybe housebreak Fluffy she she doesn’t have to roam at night. Besides, the coyotes are very active now that the mice and other small animals they depend on for food have moved elsewhere. Fluffy makes a very nice meal for a coyote.

      In addition, it might be well to make arrangements ahead of time to be able to leave your animal at some safe location for the duration. Folks who had their homes burned are finding they can find rentals for themselves but many rentals will not take pets PERIOD. No inducements can make them change their policy.

      The town of Ojai has a fairly large horse population and a good portion of that town had to evacuate. Putting Fluffy in her car carrier is a lot easier than hooking up the trailer and getting Old Dobbins in there plus feed and water etc.

      There is still bitterness in the whole area about the lack of warning issued by officials who should have known better. The fire is supposed to have started at 18:30 and was deemed out of control by 20:30. I went to bed at 23:00 and listened to the 22:00 news and there wasn’t a word of the fire on the hour long news broadcast. The first inkling I had was when I got up at 0400 and smelled smoke. I was told a police car had driven down the street announcing the warning to evacuate but being partially deaf and having a bedroom at the back of the house, I didn’t hear that brief warning.

      Folks with large animals had about the same amount of time to flee as I did. I’m really glad I didn’t have to consider how to save my wife and my horse. I would have hated to put the horse down but I wouldn’t want it to burn to death either. I don’t know what all the horse owners did. I have a feeling some just don’t feel like talking about it.

      Good point about pets, Miss Kitty. For some pet owners, loss of the pet is almost like losing a child. So you need to be thinking about Fluffy, Fido and Old Dobbins if you have to evacuate.

      We all think about an EOTW situation causing us to have to evacuate but sometimes the local event, while just a blip on the 6:00 o’clock news is pretty much a kick in the teeth for those involved. There have now been three fires in the hills behind my house in the fifty years I have lived here and this one is the closest call so far. I had considered that our house was pretty safe and I still do as we didn’t even have much ash fall on our property due to the winds. We have had more ash from fires much further away. BUT seeing houses fully engaged in fire about 500 yards away with just under hurricane force winds blowing does cause a moderate amount of concern for the safety of one’s loved ones and oneself.

      It’s really hard to put into words how the experience has changed my outlook on preparing. I had always felt confident that I had done pretty well in my preparations. I now have a whole different appreciation of things. I just hope the readers of this list will really give some serious analytical thought to their preps.

      Reply to this comment
      • Claude Davis March 27, 08:15

        Hi Left Coast Chuck,
        Again, thank you so much for all the insightful and down to earth comments. You can learn more from them than in many of our articles. I would love to read and post an article written by you on any subject you would like. I have tried to contact you via email but I couldn’t reach you. If you are interested please email me at me claude.davis@askaprepper.com.

        Reply to this comment
  5. CJ March 27, 01:19

    Although I don’t live in a danger zone, I do have a forest close by, so anything is possible. I keep a suitcase packed at all times, and a med case. All I have to do is through them in the car. I keep my BOB in there 24/7. Actually , in 10 minutes, I’d be good for a long time. The longer I have, the better I am.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 27, 05:00

      CJ: As I tried to make clear in my posts, you probably don’t walk around with your 110 volt phone charged connected to your phone. Sure, you may have your car phone charger in your car, but if you are not living in your car you may not want to have to run out to your car when you want to charge your phone. It may be a long trip from your room on the third floor of the local Holiday Inn down to the parking lot where your car is.

      There are papers you need to take. Are the insurance policies and title to your car in the same place as your marriage certificate/divorce decree, birth certificate, passport, deed to your house? Do you have guns you really want to take with you and are the cases to transport them readily available? Where is the ammo stored? What about extra cash and your medical insurance card and social security card?

      Most of us don’t keep all those things in a nice neat stack just inside the front door or stacked along the blank wall in the garage so we can just neatly put them in the car and drive away.

      Throughout our evacuation I didn’t feel any panic. I wasn’t hyperventilating, didn’t feel dizzy, had what I thought was a well-thought out plan of evacuation that I had seriously thought about beforehand. I did feel time was of the essence because from my vantage point on my street it appeared as though the fire had jumped the intervening four lane road north of my property and was burning in our tract east of my home with the wind blowing from east to west. It was blowing at 70+ miles per hour which is just below hurricane strength so I realized if my assessment was correct, I only had a few minutes to load and get out. Everyone else in the tract who had heard the cop car had gotten a head start and most of them were driving down the street as I assessed my position.

      You may say to yourself, “Well, I’m not a deaf old man like LCC but there may be circumstances that prevent you from hearing the cop car racing down the street with his PA system on. Remember, he is running form the fire too. Or as in some areas, there was no official warning whatsoever, just the fire racing over the hills to the east.

      So, despite having what I thought was a well thought out plan of evacuation because I had given it serious thought beforehand, I still managed to screw up. The lack of ID and forgetting our prescription medicine could have been serious. It turned out not to be, but I sure don’t like having to depend on good luck. I cured the lack of a car charge cord by stopping at the first Target I came to but that was $30 I could have avoided spending had I had a list before I needed it.

      So while you may feel set, I would wager the $30 I spent on the car charger that you don’t have the deed to your house in your bugout bag. You don’t have your medical health insurance card in there or your social security card. I’ll bet most of the other papers I mentioned are not all in just one place in your house just waiting to be plucked up and placed in your vehicle.

      I urge you and everyone reading this series of posts to have a written list of what you want to take as I have described with a list of your baggage. I forgot to mention that somehow I managed to leave my wife’s suitcase with her clothes sitting in the foyer of our house by the door to the family room. Had I made a list of the number of bags we were supposed to pack and checked it before we drove off, I would have noticed that we were short one bag. We were able to buy replacement clothing when we got to my daughter’s house, but that was another expense we didn’t need to incur.

      I can tell you that each time you go out to put luggage in the car you are paying close attention to the fire and nothing else. A written list will help keep you on track.

      Reply to this comment
      • CJ March 29, 00:34

        Your information is invaluable to others, because you’ve been through it. I’ve had to bug out a couple times unexpectedly, so that’s why I keep things ready. Actually, I do keep my medical cards in my wallet. Other papers or copies of are in my medical bag, along with a weeks worth of meds, and some necessary toiletries. I’m 70 years old and don’t rely on my memory anymore.Those cases set in a corner in a small room., next to a closet that I keep camping equipment. If I can’t bug out in my vehicle, I probably will stay unless no choice. Then I’ll strap on my Bob and go. Yes, I have a phone car charger in the car, but also an extra regular charger in my med bag. I also have two extra full charged portable units. I also have a converter in the car to use small appliances should I need to. I’ve gotten stranded in my car and know what I wished I had. Thank you for your input.

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  6. Stumpy March 27, 03:01

    One hing that I have learned is that when you have documents in a fire proof safe is to not open the safe for a couple of days after the fire. back in the late 70’s or early 80’s a close friend lost her house to a fire. She had the normal stuff in it, Birth certificate, Passport, Insurance papers, and other stuff. The day after the fire she opened up the box and poof everything burst into flames.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 27, 04:18

      Good point, Stumpy! The physics and mechanics of it as not hard to understand. I think I have read that a house fire burns at between 1700 and 2000 degrees F. The air inside the safe probably got hot enough to scorch the papers and use up the oxygen. When the fire extinguished and the safe started to cool down, the door got sucked tight against the frame sealing it against any more oxygen leaking in, thus smothering any smoldering paper. When the door was opened, oxygen rushed in and the insides, insulated and retaining heat over 450 degrees ignited the papers. They may have been scorched inside the safe, but as soon as they burst into flame there was no telling if they were scorched or not.

      Very good point to remember post fire. Hope it is something nobody has to remember in the future.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Rydaartist March 27, 06:50

    The Chinese have a curse, “May you live in interesting times.”. Here is my record, Santa Cruz County, CA…3 100 year floods, two major earthquakes (one was the San Francisco of the 1980’s) and 6 fire evacuations in Lake County Ca. You have to be nimble and strong.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady March 29, 06:12

      I’ll just say wow. I mostly grew up and stayed in Napa County till I was 25. Loved the Bay area and Lake County too. Shopped outlet stores for my school clothes in Santa Rosa. Helped as a volunteer making firebreaks driving a D9 Cat when I was 19. Calistoga area.

      Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady March 29, 06:44

      I have several bug out bags and a box of things always in each vehicle that changes winter into spring and fall going into winter. Some things the same all year, some seasonal.
      Sure the list could be expanded but I try to have the important things covered. Always have some food, water, clothing, blankets, TP in an oatmeal container, a minimal set of tools and jumper cables and always a shovel. The bug out bags sit ready to grab on the floor of the linnen cabinet. Perscriptions are in a drawer close by. Try to keep it all handy.
      Since I pastor in another town there is a packed suitcase at the foot of the bed at all times. I commute 100 miles to a friends home where we can shower Saturday night and get ready for church Sunday morning. Then home again in the afternoon. I change out clean laundry and church outfits week to week so the bag stays ready to grab. Seasonal clothing in vehicles. Some more clean under wear would be handy if in a hurry to bug out. Going in the car or truck it would be easy to grab a set of pillows. If taking the class c motorhome just grab bags, meds, and go. It has food and kitchen, bathroom, shower, propane, gasoline, and water tanks and a generator. There are even some changes of clothing and a madeup bed ready to be used. Only drawback is poorer gas mileage.

      Reply to this comment
  8. mbl March 27, 15:35

    One thing i’d suggest is to have practice runs. A prepper friend and i have discussed this, and so far, we’ve only done one at her house. She invited me over, and in the middle of a regular conversation, i said, “Go. You have to evacuate now. NOW.”

    And i timed her. She, as LCC mentioned has everything written out. She goes to one tote, it tells her what’s in there, and what else she needs to grab. She gets the second item, it tells her the third tote/box. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    We didn’t try corralling the cats as we were still unsure if it would be best to take them or leave them (we’ve since decided it would be worth it to take them), but it was still a good drill. She had everything in her launch area within two minutes, and loaded it into her car herself within five minutes.

    We had a post-mortem afterwards, including taking things back out of the car, and then my asking her questions such as, “Hey, i need to cook something, do you have X?” Just to see what she had/didn’t have.

    I”m still assembling things for a quick bug out. Currently, i’d need more than two minutes to assemble all the items in the launch area.

    In my to-go tote that has a lot of what i need, i do have a list of what is inside and a list of what i else i need to grab and where it is. Ideally, i’ll be able to corral more of those things in one spot so i won’t need to go all over the house.

    Since we get some pretty severe winter weather, i routinely make sure my phone is charged up. I’ve recently decided to keep the handheld VHF radio i use for my sailboat charged up all year round, because in case of an emergency, i can get NOAA info, and while it’s against the law to use it to talk on land, i can listen in, and if the emergency is bad enough, it may make sense for me to use it to contact someone. And our evacuation may indeed have us on a boat.

    I decided to have a more robust BOB in the truck, so some of the useful items are already there, but i can’t leave water in there all year long, since we do have freezing temps for several months on end.

    We are due for another drill soon. Our thinking is that if we can at least get used to what to grab when for our stuff, it’ll be more familiar in a crisis, and then we can spend what extra time we have left trying to get our kitties.

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis March 27, 16:19

      You can leave water in the truck all year round – just don’t fill the containers all the way if you expect freezing weather. Fill them to about 80% capacity and they should be fine. The water might be frozen, but it’ll be fine when it thaws.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 27, 17:38

      Try leaving the water overnight on a freezing night in a styrofoam ice chest. Fill it as full of the water containers as you can so there isn’t a lot of empty air inside the ice chest. I would start with the .5 liter water bottles first and move up to larger bottles. You may be surprised. Make sure the bottles are standing upright so the ice freezes up into the open space at the top. If they are on their sides the ice may force the lid off. I keep .5 liter bottles of water in a styrofoam chest in my car and in SoCal in the summertime the car can easily reach 140°, yet every time I take the water out of the ice chest it is cool to drink, despite the inside of the car being hot enough to at least make jerky. Styrofoam ice chests are quite efficient.

      As Claude suggests, if you only fill the bottle 80% it will freeze but not burst the bottle. I keep 2 liter bottles in my freezer constantly. I don’t allow any empty space in the freezer. If I take something out that leaves room I shove a 2 liter bottle in. I don’t fill them all the way and (fingers crossed) none of them have burst yet. I always freeze them standing up before I lay them on their sides.

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    • mbl March 28, 14:24

      RE: the freezing water thing, I’m thinking that if I need to evacuate within 10 minutes in winter, I want to be sure I have water that isn’t frozen in case I need to have it in a liquid state before it thaws.

      I have some of those 3.5L water blocks and will take those from the house to my vehicle in freezing weather.

      I’ve allowed room in various sized containers to see how well it works. Some have become misshapen, and haven’t reverted to their initial shape,

      A Styrofoam chest buys some time, but when we get a spate of 20 below temps, which happens at least several days in a row, the water freezes.

      So, I’m thinking having some in the truck ready to go and possibly frozen is okay, but I do also want to know I have some that is liquid and immediately available. ymmv

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck March 28, 18:51

        Smaller containers will thaw quicker than larger containers and the water doesn’t have to be completely thawed to be potable. Draining a couple of bottles that haven’t thawed completely can satisfy your needs. Take a bottle out as soon as you depart. Put it by the heater vent if it is that cold out, you will be running the heater anyway. That will hasten the thawing.

        Have a 2 liter bottle in the kitchen ready to go. That will give you water if you need it before your bottles in the ice chest thaw. Frozen water in the ice chest isn’t bad. You can chuck items from the fridge in there if there is room. You might need ice for a sprain or bruise if you are bugging out. Ice doesn’t hurt water even if it freezes and thaws multiple times. It isn’t like that steak in the freezer that has pretty much lost its taste by the 10th time it has thawed and frozen.

        You may have read that water stored in plastic bottles dissolves plasticizers and drinking them will affect your health. I would suggest that the study is flawed and like so many “studies” fatally flawed.

        First, I saw no peer review of the findings. That is always very important for any study. Having fellow scientists in the field look at your study and your data and pick holes in it.

        Second, the time frame was too short and in my view, at least, not broad enough to apply to the 330 million people in the U.S.

        If your choice is retrieving water from a stream where you have no idea what is upstream from your position, filtering it and boiling it versus drinking water from a plastic bottle that has been sitting in an ice chest in your vehicle for a year, well, that is a no-brainer in my view. You may disagree. That is your choice. I think if I were going to feed that water to someone not past puberty, on a regular basis I would boil it first. If you are 30 plus, I think possible effects of plasticizers on your long term health in an EOTW situation is going to rank way down on the list of possible bad things happening to you.

        Water born infectious disease is going to be the first thing to worry about and water stored in unopened plastic bottles is going to be your best choice for water. I won’t bother to list all the other concerns that one would have in an ultra emergency because they are all familiar to us.

        Don’t be distracted by minutia. You have to have water to survive. Water from a known source, stored under known conditions is always better than water from an unknown source, even if it looks sparkly clean and refreshing.

        Reply to this comment
        • mbl March 29, 01:30

          Yes putting a frozen bottle nearer the heat vent will help it to thaw out quicker, but I’m thinking if I’m in a situation where I need to evacuate quickly and am injured or sustain an injury that requires washing a wound, I want liquid H2O, not the ounce or two that may have melted.

          As for the containers, plastic make the most sense as they are lightweight and fairly unbreakable. I did forget a full container of bottled water, which froze solid and split open the bottle, and that experience had me wonder just how much I could put in a container and have it hold without breaking. As Claude mentioned, 80% seems about right. The containers that became misshapen had a bit more than that. They were still functional containers, but never went back to their original shape after the water thawed.

          My current practice is to take a water bottle with me any time I leave the house to drive somewhere, so the habit will be engrained if there’s a situation where I have to leave at once.

          I live in a place with four seasons, and each season has its advantages and drawbacks. The biggest one in winter is knowing that I can have water in its liquid state at the ready. Well, I suppose weather would be the biggest problem because it’s hard to drive In whiteout conditions.

          I’ve also been caught outside walking in whiteout conditions, and it’s a very strange thing. Even if it’s somewhere you know well, like your back yard, it’s easy to become disoriented within a minute. The first time it happened to me, I decided I needed to know how many steps was between two points so I could make my way to place where I could get my bearings again.

          I suppose something similar could happen if you are near a large wildfire and needing to navigate through lots of smoke.

          I need to talk with my friend again, as one of our waypoints was a house where the owner has recently died, so that place won’t be an option for us anymore.

          It was a great location, hand pump well on the property, some outbuildings, and good places for caches.

          Reply to this comment
  9. Labienus March 27, 23:28

    This is why you have the bugout bag ready ahead of time.

    I usually have some simple stuff in it as a base, then I’ll add or deduct from it depending on what is going on.

    -morakniv companion
    -cooking tins
    -dried food
    -water bottles
    -medicine
    -firekit
    -wool blanket
    -marlin 60

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 28, 00:06

      With the exception of the Marlin, all that stuff x 2 is in my car 24/7/365. The only exception is if I have to leave my car for service, then I take it out. There are items that one uses in daily life that you don’t have to run out to the car to retrieve but that you certainly want to take with you in an evacuation.

      There are documents that you wouldn’t want to store in your car but that you definitely want to take with you.

      Your daily meds – ditto.
      The list goes on.

      Reply to this comment
  10. deb March 28, 18:50

    great suggestions. but what if you don’t have a car? how will you decide what to take then?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck March 28, 19:06

      It’s always easier to discard unnecessary items than it is to wish that you had what has become a life-saving item.

      I can’t tell the future. What I do is stock what I can that I think I could might need. I can only make that decision at the moment at hand and that is governed by how urgent the need to leave is.

      With the fire the urgency was great in my estimation. I left lots of stuff that I would ordinarily have taken with me. If I have more time, even if a motor vehicle was not feasible, I have several alternative modes of moving gear. Do I have time and can I take my bicycle with its trailer? If I can do that I can haul a lot more gear than I can carry on my back. Do I have time to convert one of my ladders to a travois with wheels? The Indians moved their teepees and their households on travois pulled by the women in the days before they acquired horses. Even the dogs pulled small travois. You can travel over some rough country pulling a travois. There was no Interstate road system when the Indians were dragging travois.

      Do I have time to make a trip to the big box hardware store and pick up a cargo wagon? There are cargo wagons that can haul up to 1,000 pounds if you can pull the load.

      Do I want to pull a wagon weighing possibly 500 pounds?

      Can’t make that decision until the moment arrives.

      So the decision regarding what to take other than some very basics, matches, a large knife, food, water, firearms, ammunition, stove, sleeping bags or tarps, warm clothing, changes of underwear and socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, wipes. . .

      Then how much one takes depends upon whether one anticipates returning or not.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Clergylady March 29, 06:20

    Love the article and comments. Good in put.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lucy March 30, 04:13

      What a great article and comments! There is an immediacy to all this that is compelling and alive.

      One small aside, regarding bugging out in an RV, or any vehicle that gets low mileage. When Hurricane Irma was about to hit, my sister and her family in Palm Beach County in southeast Florida were all packed up to go — but. My brother-in-law’s job delayed their leaving as soon as they might have. On the radio they heard about the many-hour lines of traffic snaking north, and that the gas stations along the way were running out of gas. They decided to bug in, to sit tight, rather than run out of gas for their monster RV along the way. They packed all 8 people and two dogs into an interior concrete block bathroom to wait it out. Fortunately for them, Irma changed paths and went up the west coast of Florida, and their house was still standing at the end. As LCC says, though, we don’t like having to depend on good luck.

      I’m not sure Irma’s changing course was necessarily good luck for my sister. We can hear the urgency, the warning us to amend our ways in Chuck’s postings; I fear my sister has a blithe disregard for the real danger that they escaped, that it “wasn’t all that bad.”

      Reply to this comment
  12. Clergylady March 30, 05:11

    When Irma went up Florida my daughter and son in law needed to stay in the Jacksonville area as they were both on call. They had planned extra food, water, meds et in their apartment. Area was cut off but safe for a few days. Bathtub of water and so on… glad they were ssfe but it is still unsettling to have your baby staying put in a huricane.
    I have a class c motor home and a tank of gas will take you a long way but if it were fire and immediacy… my car or truck would be my choice. Faster, easier to manuver, better mileage..all would be considdered. We keep extra 5 gal cans of gas here and rotate to keep them pretty fresh. A few on a rear trailer hitch mounted platform would be handy unless fire is upon you then no way would I be hauling around cans of fuel.
    Glad you were safe Chuck and thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment
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