Kat & Tony’s weekly newsletter from Penang, Malaysia, mentioned natural disasters and survival. They noted that most “survival situations” are resolved within 72 hours. (Mississippi’s Emergency Management agency’s motto is “The first 72 are on you.”) They also linked a video from Uncharted Supply Company promoting a bug out bag (BOB), Seventy2.
As I have a passing interest in preparedness, I clicked over to the 20 minute video and watched about two minutes. [But see updates below.] In slowly ginning up the sales pitch, the dude makes the insightful comment that if you are in a situation where you need a knife, you shouldn’t need a knife to open the box in your BOB that contains the knife. No. You should not.
Let us pause. If you get nothing else from what I hope will be an informative series of posts, please get yourself a pocket knife and put it in your pocket. A Buck, or Swiss Army knife will do nicely. Those multi-tools come in handy– I carry one in my sack– but they are too bulky for my pocket.
My aims for this series are to 1) offer a critique of pre-packaged emergency preparedness kits and BOBs such at Seventy2, and 2) put together a BOB in real life. You heard that right. We do not have a BOB because we have already bugged out to The Farm. I can think of no circumstances, which have any meaningful probability of happening, which would necessitate our bugging out. (We are far enough inland to not be subject to hurricane evacuations, and there would be absolutely zero tactical advantage to knocking out rural north central Mississippi.)
However, I can think of circumstances under which we should have a bag of useful things in the truck, should we hit some sort of snag in the routine, or come across another’s emergency. To be clear, the BOB I will put together will not be a true BOB– a bag that’s packed with things one would need to flee one’s home in advance of an impending threat. Rather, it will be a bag containing items Mr. Big Food and I might need to get home on foot (EMP?), to use if we are trapped away from home (massive flooding?), to help others in a serious emergency (car accident?). We’ll still call it a BOB, though (it’s a search engine thing).
One general, and one specific observation about Uncharted Supply Company’s Seventy2 below the fold, as well as one almost true life scenario.
The general– and to me quite obvious– observation which applies to this and other companies, as well as to the multitude of local, state, federal, and privately run preparedness web sites, is that all emergencies require the same stuff to survive for 72 hours. There is seldom any acknowledgment that the sort of emergency you are most likely to encounter is the same sort I am most likely to encounter. For example, why would Tony need a beanie in his BOB?
INTERJECTED UPDATE #1 after watching the video. You can cut off the beanie top without damaging the hat, and use the cuttings for a fire starter. Frankly, I thought that was cleaver, though I’m not too sure how I feel about wearing a flammable beanie.
[I did a bunch of research on the topic preparedness lists, etc. quite a while ago. I took notes. I’ll see if I can find them so that I can support this claim.]
The specific observation is that $349.99 for the Seventy2 is outrageous! From the web site, the bag itself looks and is described as being pretty top notch. And good bags/backpacks are expensive. But why shell out that kind of dough for a bag that holds what otherwise to me looks like stuff– stuff that’s supposed to help me survive in an emergency for 72 hours– I would never need facing the sorts of emergencies I am likely to face?
INTERJECTED UPDATE #2. After watching the video, I can sorta, kinda, imagine how they justify the price. But not really. And that speaks to the general observation. More on this in another post.
The descriptions on the web site are pretty short on information.
It’s waterproof and has two beams. How many lumens? What kind of batteries? How wide is each of the two beams? What are their ranges?
INTERJECTED UPDATE #3. 500 lumens. So, a waterproof flashlight (available at Lowes for about $20).
#1 You live in Cincinnati– the city of seven hills. It’s just after 5pm and you– in your new front wheel drive Mustang– are trying to make it, along with many others, up one of those hills. Snowing like crazy; getting dark. Everyone abandons his or her car on the side of the road and starts walking. You’re about 10 long blocks from home. You grab your bag, take out the flashlight and go.
#2 You live in Mississippi– relatively flat as a pancake. Same time, substitute 4WD truck, ice storm & black ice. Not going anywhere. You’re five miles from the nearest anything. Grab bag, get flashlight, go.
Who needs the 500 lumen flashlight and who needs the 1000 lumen? Hint: There are no street lights out on the highways in rural Mississippi.