10 Must-Haves for Your Survival Backpack

You might think that the chances of a disaster happening to you are very limited.  However, having these 10 must-haves for your survival backpack can give you a sense of safety and security.  In case something does happen, you’re going to be prepared.  And preparedness can give you peace of mind in addition to helping you to survive.

One of the ways in which you can prepare for a disaster is by having a survival backpack which contains all the things that you might need in case of emergency.  Make sure to pack one for each member of your family so that you’re all well-prepared.  Also remember to keep the backpacks in an accessible location.  If you have to climb a tall stool and take out a number of other bags before you reach your backpacks, it might be too late.  Instead, keep them in a box under the bed so they can slide out easily.  Or you can keep them in a lower cabinet in the kitchen.

Here are a few things you might think about packing, 10 Must-Haves for Your Survival Backpack:

  1. Clothes.  Make sure you pack the kinds of clothes that are easy to layer.  A few t-shirts and comfortable pants, sneakers and a jacket should do the trick.  Try not to pack anything too heavy or your backpack might end up getting in the way of your survival instead of helping you.
  2. Water.  You should carry a liter or two of water but not more, since water is pretty heavy.  Instead, get yourself a filtration system which will help you clean water that you find.  You can also carry a few pots and pans that will help you to collect water in case it rains.
  3. Food.  You can pack a few freeze-dried meals or cans of meat and beans.  But keep in mind that uncooked white rice can also last indefinitely as long as you keep it free of contaminants.  Plus, it doesn’t weigh as much as canned items.  Uncooked black beans will last you a year.  So will kidney beans, black-eyed peas and oats.  You might want to pack salt and a few spices as well, just so that your food doesn’t taste completely bland.  Salt lasts indefinitely.  Dried basil and oregano will last you 1-3 years and ground black pepper will last 3-4 years.  So you don’t have to worry about all this stuff going bad.  However, you might want to replace the things in your backpacks every six months or so.  Use the older ones before they expire and replace with new ones that will last longer.
  4. Kitchen ware.  If you have a Swiss army knife with a number of different uses, that’s great.  If not, just remember to pack a regular knife so that you can cut and prepare food.  It’s probably not a bad idea to get some plastic forks, spoons and plates as well.  A saucepan and a frying pan will be more than enough to prepare a simple meal.  Pack some matches and lighters (in case the matches get wet).
  5. Reference.  If you can get hold of a reference book telling you what you should eat in the wild and the things you should avoid, this can be invaluable.  You could also pack a reference book about providing medical care in case of an emergency.  Of course, it’s best if you look this over first, so that you don’t have to fumble through it in case someone is actually hurt.  Learning CPR will also be helpful.
  6. Toiletries.  You may not think that toiletries will be important to you if you’re trying to survive in a disaster but being dirty for days at a time can get really old.  If you want to go light, just pack a few bars of soap.  You can ditch the shampoo, conditioner etc.  Soap is an all-purpose cleaner that you could use to wash yourself, your clothes, your utensils etc.  If you have really dry skin, pack some body lotion or you’ll find yourself suffering due to cracks in your skin.  Butter and other forms of fat can also be used to moisturize your body in a pinch.  Pack a hairbrush or you might come out of your disaster with matted hair!
  7. Tent/Sleeping bag.  Try to get a lightweight tent and a sleeping bag for each member of your family.
  8. Flashlight.  Pack at least one each for each member of your family and remember to take plenty of batteries.
  9. Books/Music.  Yes, we know it’s an emergency.  But once  you’ve gotten your basic necessities—food, clothing and shelter—out of the way, you’re still going to need something to make you feel human.  Like Denzel Washington’s character in The Book of Eli, you might want to pack an iPod with your favorite music.  Or like Reese Witherspoon’s character in Wild, you might want to have a few books handy.  Watch Wild to understand the dangers of over-packing and wearing shoes that are too small for you.
  10. Compass/Maps.  In case you get into the kind of situation where you’re lost in an area you don’t recognize, it will be useful to have a compass and maps handy.  Make sure that your maps show manmade roads and structures as well as natural formations like mountains, lakes, rivers etc.  This will allow you to navigate the terrain and find water when you need it.  Not all of us can orient ourselves by looking at the stars.  But if this is a skill you possess, then that’s great.

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