What’s in Your Bag?

In the previous article, I expressed about some things to think about during a hurricane event. So in this article, I’m going talk about some of my “hacks” that I do to save some time. Or make do with just what I have.

In the event you do have to leave…

For the purpose of going to a shelter, chances are, there aren’t going to be enough cots or blankets. So you might want to bring a sleeping bag and your own blanket. But if you are required to keep it small, then pack several space blanket. They are small and disposable. And being in a building, it’ll most likely work more efficiently than being outside, as long as you’re not sitting on the cold floor wet and naked.

Another thing that I do is that I “FoodSave” my clothes. Meaning I pack my clothes in a vacuum sealed bag. It helps to keep it dry and it compacts it enough to give me more space in my bag. If you bring clothes, bring extra socks. If anything, having wet feet suck!

One thing I learned from flying abroad is that some international airlines will provide disposable slippers. Well, at the time of this writing, I’ve been mostly traveling with Korean Air, Thai Air, and a few other Asian Airliners that does provide this. Not all flights have them. But at least it’s a 50/50 shot. I also flew a lot of Middle Eastern Airlines and haven’t yet seen any slippers.

Having disposable slippers is really nice to have when you have wet feet. But if you take off your shoe, tie them to your backpack for added security.

Here are some items that I keep in my bag:

01. Basic First Aid Kit enhanced with my Bleeding Control Kit.
02. Dry Clothes at least two sets
03. Space Blankets, Hand warmers
04. Socks, at least three pairs
05. Flashlights, Glow Sticks, Lighters
06. Rainproof Paper and Pens
07. Copies of my identification
08. Some Cash
09. Rain Jacket
10. Backup Cellphone with battery charger
11. Sunglasses, Ballcap
12. Gloves
13. Hand creamer, Lip Balm
14. Basic OTC meds like Aspirin, Aleve, etc.
15. Paracord, Water Purifier Tablets
16. Wire/Box cutter, multitool kit (in case my pocket knife gets confiscated)
17. Tactical Pens
18. Local waterproof map and compass
19. Ear plugs (people snore in shelters)
20. Wet naps, towelettes, and any other compact hygienic products, including portable toilet paper.

Don’t forget the little guy.

Now the other part that I didn’t talk about is having pets. When it’s time to “exfil” out of your place and to a shelter, you need to be sure that the shelter is pet friendly. Most of them aren’t. But you never know. Which is why you need to plan this in advanced. But whatever you do, do not abandon them. You bought them, fed them, raised them, they are your responsibility. If anything, make sure you have a carrier that you can take them in if they are small pets. Larger pets, make sure you find a suitable harness that wraps their body and not the neck. In case your pets needs to be extracted via Blackhawk, having a full body harness is a huge help.

Last but not least, did you at least pack some yum-yums for your pets? HINT: use your Foodsaver to help keep their “nibble and bits” dry. And if anything, pack a spare leash in their carrier or on their body harness.

Other Quick Hacks

Here are some hurricane preps I’ve actually done before and has helped me out in some ways.

1. Fill Ziploc bags and/or freeze jugs of water and freeze them. If you’re using a Ziploc bag, be sure you tape the end and lay it flat on the freezer board. Another trick that I do with my FoodSaver is that I create a sealed bag filled with water. Both ends are heat sealed and then frozen. So even when the ice melts, the water is still retained for refreezing. (Provided you have a generator handy or you got mad hook ups. Otherwise, rip that bag open and drink up.)

2. Run your ice makers and bag the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space as possible between your freezer items to keep items cold. Cause you know, laws of thermodynamics.

3. Store tap water for cleaning or drinking in Tupperware-style containers. If you visit a hardware store, you can also grab a plastic five gallon bucket and use that for cleaning water. If you want a seven gallon bucket for drinking, take a look at the Aqua-Tainer.

4. Fill your bathtub with water so you can use it to flush your toilets. Or when it’s not windy, place a large trash can outside to fill with rainwater that you can use to flush your toilet. (That’s how we do it when I was overseas!)

5. If you have a grill, stock up on propane. Buy charcoal so you can grill when you run out of propane. While you’re at it, why not drop some Tiki Torches in your backyard and make the place a little more lively. After all, it’s a real suck when you’re in the dark night after night.

6. Get cash. If you plan to leave the state, call your bank so you don’t get flagged for suspicious transactions.

7. Scan or use your camera to take photos of all important documents and either email them to yourself or upload them to a cloud service. If you email them to yourself, make sure you encrypt your sensitive data. Take the originals with you in sealed bags or bins. If you can’t take the documents with you, them store them in the bins and seal it “waterproof”. Then place the bin on your second floor of your house or some place as high as possible in the event of a flood. Make sure to also grab any veterinarian records for your pets or livestock.

8. Secure all of your firearms and ammunition properly. (You should already know how to do this everyday anyway!)

9. Use old rags and beach towels on your window sills to soak up any water that might seep in. Another thing that I did was to pre-sealed my doors with plastic sheetings or garbage bags with a make shift sandbag. (I actually filled my garbage with old dirt around my house.)

10. Shutter windows, doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house now. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until it’s too late. If you have a yard with lots of trees, don’t plan on doing yard work prior to the storm arriving. Usually, if you track the storm early, then go about in having the overhand branches, trees and whatever else get cleaned up in your yard and taken away. You don’t want any kind of flying debris hitting your house or your car. Also, check with your county as to what is their collection procedure during a hurricane watch and warning.

11. Get USB chargers that plug into your car’s lighter socket to charge your phones, tablets and other electronic devices. (I mean, you should already have one right?)

12. Get a generator! If you love having luxury items, then this is a must. If you live in the city or somewhere where you can’t run a generator, then look at some of the rechargeable solar generator like Goal Zero. One of my favorite hack is using a car battery jumper starter with a power inverter. I can run something with low wattage like a floor fan quietly in my place at night and not disturb my neighbors or give away my position to potential thieves if I were to run a generator at night.

13. Keep spray paint handy in case you need to write on your house or roof. But don’t be like a smartass and writing something stupid like “Dead Inside”.

14. Keep some blue tarps and tie-downs handy. Enough to cover a leak in your roof and tie it down.

15. Fill up your car with gas and fill up any gas containers you have. Check your car’s oil and tires.

16. Use solar powered landscape lighting for ambient lighting in your house. Depending on the brightness, you could also use them as flashlights. I have the cheap 20 lumens version, so they sit around my living room corners at night.

As always, use these tips at your own risk. What works for me may not work for you. If you have your own hacks or prep list, feel free to add them here.

Stay safe. Good luck.