the recent japan earthquake got me thinking about how prepared I would be right now if we had a natural disaster and I had a limited amount of time to pack things and go. With the hobbies and activities I do, I’ve accumulated a lot of things to satisfy the basics if for some reason basic public services were not available. So what would I pack?
So to carry it all, and leave room for clothing and anything I’d pick up along the way, I would likely carry my giant 80L gregory palisade. it is comfortable and has a removable top “fanny pack” for convenience. I’ve split up the rest of the post by grouping together the things I would pack:
Shelter: I’d just pack the ultralight option for my tent. this means only bringing the footprint, poles and rainfly. This would provide enough shelter from the elements, but would be somewhat lacking in case the weather is crazy cold. I did not include my sleeping bag, but if it were cold I would definitely pack it. It may be helpful that the rainfly is a nice orange color to help with rescue signaling.
Hydration: I have several water bottles and Camelbak bladders, which would amount to 8 liters of water if I maxed them out. The orange dry sack can be alternatively used to carry an additional 5 liters. Without knowing whether or not potable (note: potable, not portable) water is available, this adds minimal weight for pretty good return.
Cookware: can’t cook ramen noodles and dehydrated meals without hot water. this alternates as a heat source if absolutely necessary, but the fuel is a limited resource. all the pieces except the pocket rocket condenses to be the size of the pot alone.
Sanitation: this Steripen is possibly the best invention for hiking ever. It uses UV light to sanitize water. The UV light breaks down bacteria and viruses so the water is safe to drink. The only thing you have to do is make sure you have reasonably clean water before you sanitize. The battery is not rechargeable, but it can sanitize up to 150 liters on a fresh cell.
Electronics: to aid in rescue and safety, these are unfortunately the limited resource items. the solar charge is only capable to trickle charging devices, so its usage is limited but still possible. Headlamps and flashlights are a must if the power grid is compromised. I forgot to note that the cap of my nalgene bottle has an integrated light too. The radio would be important to try to keep contact with anyone around.
Safety: my climbing harness and carabiners would prove useful if I had to rappel down anything or secure myself if I had to sleep in a tree :). May as well throw in the belay device as well – who knows what I could encounter?
Utility: knives and a hatchet to help make a fire or to use for food gathering. The pelican case will help keep the matches and lighters dry. I picked up a hiker’s first aid kit a while back and added some more bandages like tegaderm and more athletic tape.
I don’t have a picture but clothing would be a very important thing to choose wisely:
– all quick dry things if I could. shirt, pants, socks. bright colors if I have them
– goretex hiking boots
– heavy leather work gloves
– beanie (if its cold)
So even though it seems like I have a lot of my bases covered, there are still things I’m missing:
– non-perishable food. I have a lot of ramen so I could probably try to pack that because they’re lightweight and full of carbs. The freeze dried food they sell to hikers would be ideal.
– climbing rope and/or static rope to rappel or secure things
– compass and area map in case the power grid is out
– portable radio to listen to emergency broadcasts
If I could remember to bring it, I’d want to bring my waterproof camera + charger to document whatever I may find. Depending on the type of disaster, I may consider a bicycle with pannier bags would take a heavy load off my back, but with a bike comes the spare parts ,the lock, and any other host of problems. If it was something like an earthquake, I might want to bring along my snowboarding helmet. It has a hard shell which may not be caving-appropriate, but it’s something I have that would be reasonable protection from stray falling rocks/building pieces.
Anyway, this is all I could come up with – hopefully we would never be in this scenario. it may be extreme to buy those emergency family buckets – but at least know what you have and know what you don’t have. Maybe I should invest in some of those freeze dried hiker food packs?