While America may not be as dangerous as some places in the world, we are still at risk for disaster at any moment. Whether a tornado rolls through your town destroying everything in its path, a breaker blows causing a week long blackout, or even if your car breaks down stranding you in the middle of nowhere, it never hurts to have a few useful things on hand just in case of such situations in which you need to rough it for a bit when your everyday luxuries aren’t available. Harry’s is here to help in building the perfect survival kit.
FIRST AID AND TRAUMA KITS
In emergency situations, you may not have access to medical care if you need it, but you can’t just leave an injury untreated and risk infection or worse until help arrives. So that’s why first aid is a critical element of your survival kit. There are two kinds of personal medical kits, each equipped to deal with different levels of severity: first aid and trauma.
First aid kits contain the standard bunch of medical supplies. Usually things like several kinds of bandages, sterile pads, gauze, and ointment. Basically the things you need to care for minor injuries. Trauma kits on the other hand are equipped to handle more severe situations, usually containing the same things as a first aid kit but also more advanced things like a blood stopper kit and burn gel. The most difficult thing about choosing between the two is that you really can’t realistically predict the level of severity in a situation, but with regard to survival it’s all about being prepared for the worst.
Having a flashlight in your survival kit is most crucial when the power goes out, especially when a crazy storm hits in the middle of the night and you need to either find the breaker box or lead your family to a safety zone until Mother Nature decides to let up. However, flashlights are also useful in the event of your car breaking down on the side of the road and you need to inspect the engine, and it’s dark under the hood day or night. In the same situation, a flashlight can also be used to signal for help to other drivers, or to the tow truck or emergency personnel on their way.
When you’re buying a survival kit flashlight, there are three important things you need to look out for: lumen count, battery life, and whether the flashlight contains a rechargeable battery or requires batteries to be replaced.
LUMEN COUNT: Lumen count is a measure of how bright your flashlight shines, the higher the brighter. In an emergency situation, having the brightest possible flashlight is ideal.
BATTERY LIFE: Battery life is of course how long the battery is going to last throughout the whole ordeal, and you want something that’s going to last quite a while, especially if you’re stranded by yourself.
RECHARGEABLE OR REPLACEABLE BATTERY: Flashlights with rechargeable batteries tend to cost a bit more than those that require batteries to be replaced, which can be a worthwhile investment since you won’t have to fumble with new batteries in the dark. However when the power is out for long stretches of time or if you’re stranded on the side of the road, the wall charger that most of these flashlights come with will be useless. Though there are some models that offer an alternate USB charger feature which can be used with laptops or many newer cars.
Flashlights that require batteries to be replaced tend to cost less than those with rechargeable batteries. If they die, it’s as simple as replacing the batteries and being on your way without the restriction of not having electricity, a laptop, or car battery to power wall and USB chargers. The only thing is you need to make sure you have extra batteries on hand, or have to possibly fumble around with replacing them in the dark.
In an emergency situation, having something as simple as a blanket in your survival kit can often times mean the difference between life and death. If a blackout happens in the colder months leaving you without heat and you don’t have a fireplace or gas stove at home, or if you’re stranded on the side of the road anytime, it’s important to conserve your body heat or you may risk exposure.
Heavy wool blankets or fleece blankets are usually adequate for trapping body heat, and we have several at Harry’s. However fabric blankets won’t do you any good if they’re wet, but blankets made of virgin wool tend to have a somewhat water repellent quality due to the natural oils still present in the material. We also stock Polar Shield survival blankets at Harry’s, which contain a reflective lining that traps and reflects 90 percent of your generated body heat back to you.
Water is a basic necessity for survival, and depending on the nature and duration of some emergency situations you may not have access to the clean and drinkable kind, which is not cool. This blog post is called “Just In Case,” and it’s for that reason that having the means for water filtration and purification in your survival kit is necessary. Water filtration systems extract harmful elements such as bacteria and heavy metals through their nozzles, allowing you to instantaneously drink from a variety of sources without fear of contracting any nasty waterbourne illnesses. Water purification tablets serve the same purpose, but require you to wait for a period of time for them to do their thing before your gathered water is safe to drink.
Now that you’ve got all this stuff in your survival kit, you need a place to put it! While you could just keep it all in a trunk or box or something, it’s really more ideal for you to have a mobile option to pack up and go in the event of evacuation or similar situation. Tactical or hiking backpacks are really the greatest because there are so many places to put things and organize it all for easy access. Plus they’re designed for those who actually plan to be out and about for long stretches of time, and thus come equipped with optimal comfort features such as ventilated padding on the back and straps, and stability boards so your tools of survival don’t ironically kill you, or at least weigh you down. On top of that, many of them MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) compatible, which means they come with special webbing that allow you to add even more storage space should you need it in the way of pouches and other things. These pouches can also be easily detached and re-attached to your pack.