In Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select. In Part II we discussed the Transportation Items to consider, in Part III we explored Water preparedness, and in Part IV we explored Food preparedness for your Bug Out Bag. Today we’ll discuss Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the Elements preparedness considerations for building a Bug Out Bag. Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or bugout ultralight makes it.
Today we add another article in our Top 10 series…this time it’s the Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Baking Soda
Baking Sodais composed of pure sodium bicarbonate. This common leavening agent is added to baked goods which causes them to rise due to the production of carbon dioxide bubbles. Baking Soda reacts chemically to help neutralize and regulate pH in substances that are to alkaline or acidic. Baking Soda differs from Baking Powder in that Baking Powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, an acidifying agent and a drying agent.
Sodium bicarbonate, also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate is a naturally occurring compound but can also be produced using the solvay process.
Andrew’s Note: Today we present another lesson from our Military Pedagogy series. This discussion, from FM 21-76, the U.S. Army Survival Manual [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on the importance of fire in cold weather survival situations.
Fire is especially important in cold weather. It not only provides a means to prepare food, but also to get warm and to melt snow or ice for water. It also provides you with a significant psychological boost by making you feel a little more secure in your situation. Use the techniques described in Chapter 7 to build and light your fire. If you are in enemy territory, remember that the smoke, smell, and light from your fire may reveal your location. Light reflects from surrounding trees or rocks, making even indirect light a source of danger. Smoke tends to go straight up in cold, calm weather, making it a beacon during the day, but helping to conceal the smell at night. In warmer weather, especially in a wooded area, smoke tends to hug the ground, making it less visible in the day, but making its odor spread. If you are in enemy territory, cut low tree boughs rather than the entire tree for firewood. Fallen trees are easily seen from the air.
All wood will burn, but some types of wood create more smoke than others. For instance, coniferous trees that contain resin and tar create more and darker smoke than deciduous trees.
There are few materials to use for fuel in the high mountainous regions of the arctic. You may find some grasses and moss, but very little. The lower the elevation, the more fuel available. You may find some scrub willow and small, stunted spruce trees above the tree line. On sea ice, fuels are seemingly nonexistent. Driftwood or fats may be the only fuels available to a survivor on the barren coastlines in the arctic and subarctic regions.
Abundant fuels within the tree line are–
Dried moss, grass, and scrub willow are other materials you can use for fuel. These are usually plentiful near streams in tundras (open, treeless plains). By bundling or twisting grasses or other scrub vegetation to form a large, solid mass, you will have a slower burning, more productive fuel.
If fuel or oil is available from a wrecked vehicle or downed aircraft, use it for fuel. Leave the fuel in the tank for storage, drawing on the supply only as you need it. Oil congeals in extremely cold temperatures, therefore, drain it from the vehicle or aircraft while still warm if there is no danger of explosion or fire. If you have no container, let the oil drain onto the snow or ice. Scoop up the fuel as you need it.
CAUTION: Do not expose flesh to petroleum, oil, and lubricants in extremely cold temperatures. The liquid state of these products is deceptive in that it can cause frostbite.
Some plastic products, such as MRE spoons, helmet visors, visor housings, and foam rubber will ignite quickly from a burning match. They will also burn long enough to help start a fire. For example, a plastic spoon will burn for about 10 minutes. In cold weather regions, there are some hazards in using fires, whether to keep warm or to cook. For example–
In general, a small fire and some type of stove is the best combination for cooking purposes. A hobo stove (Figure 15-7) is particularly suitable to the arctic. It is easy to make out of a tin can, and it conserves fuel. A bed of hot coals provides the best cooking heat. Coals from a crisscross fire will settle uniformly. Make this type of fire by crisscrossing the firewood. A simple crane propped on a forked stick will hold a cooking container over a fire.
For heating purposes, a single candle provides enough heat to warm an enclosed shelter. A small fire about the size of a man’s hand is ideal for use in enemy territory. It requires very little fuel, yet it generates considerable warmth and is hot enough to warm liquids.
Andrew’s Note: Today we present another lesson from our Military Pedagogy series. This discussion, from FM 21-76, the U.S. Army Survival Manual [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on Cold Weather Survival Shelters.
Your environment and the equipment you carry with you will determine the type of shelter you can build. You can build shelters in wooded areas, open country, and barren areas. Wooded areas usually provide the best location, while barren areas have only snow as building material. Wooded areas provide timber for shelter construction, wood for fire, concealment from observation, and protection from the wind.
Note: In extreme cold, do not use metal, such as an aircraft fuselage, for shelter. The metal will conduct away from the shelter what little heat you can generate. Continue reading
I was having a beer the other day with a prepper buddy and the conversation turned to what types of shelter are best to carry in a bug out bag… and that’s when the discussion turned to the poncho hooch also known as the poncho shelter. The poncho hooch is basically a tarp shelter made from a poncho, and a little cordage. Building a poncho hooch is easy so let’s look at a few alternatives: Continue reading
Here’s something that doesn’t weigh a thing to add to your Get Home Bag or Bug Out Bag… a little knowledge about how to build a Dakota Fire Pit. While a fireless camp is the least likely to be observed there may be times when a fire is absolutely necessary…water purification by boiling (when you have no other methods available) or to avoid hypothermia are two possibilities that come to mind. Such situations call for a Dakota Fire Pit also known as the Dakota Fire Hole… the next most clandestine camp to a fireless camp.
Essentially the Dakota Fire Pit is a fire pit with a separate tunnel built to supply airflow directly to the fuel. By keeping the fire below ground you reduce the light signature of the fire significantly and are able to get by with a much smaller fire than you would need above ground to accomplish the same cooking tasks.
Here are some additional hints to make your Dakota Fire Hole easier to build and less likely to be seen: Continue reading
Sometimes preparedness is about seeing the potential alternate uses of everyday items, sometimes preparedness is about keeping the ‘end’ in mind while dealing with the ‘ways’ and the ‘means.’ These were the inspirations for this periodic column on Prepography called… It’s Not This It’s That (INTIT):