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There has been a lot of interest lately in bug-out clothing. The primary concern has to do with the basics: what do I need to have in my bug-out-bag for evacuation purposes? This got me thinking about the clothing I had in my own kit – a bug out bag that I put together two years ago that is seriously in need of updating. And I do mean seriously!
I am not going to let this one rest. By a show of virtual hands, how many of you have clothing in your B.O.B.? Okay, I know that I can’t really see you through the internet but my guess is that the tally is in the 30% range. I hope I am wrong but after peeking into my own pathetic effort to put aside some bug-out clothing, I think not.
Enough ranting for today. To get us started in developing a bug-out-clothing mindset, my friend Rob Hanus is back with tips for saving money while setting aside some bug-out clothes – doing both in one full swoop.
Save Money on Your Preps with this Tip
The tip itself is simple: Don’t throw away your old clothes, shoes and linen.
Nowadays, most of us don’t wait until our clothes and shoes are falling apart before we replace them. If these articles of clothing are serviceable or still wearable, save them and put them in one of your packs or as other emergency stash items. Even if they are worn in places or have holes, they can be patched up when needed. In fact, some of the items you store can be used as repair material for the other items.
By saving these items and using in your various preps, you could be saving a lot of money by not having to buy these items new, simply to store them away in a place where you might never need them. Here are some suggestions: socks, shorts and pants, underwear and bras, t-shirts and collared shirts, jackets and coats, gloves, hats, scarves, shoes, boots, sandals, towels and washcloths, sheets, blankets, pillow cases and belts.
Places where you can use these items include: bug out bags, evacuation bags, caches (have you thought about keeping a box of prep items at your parent’s, friend’s or other location?), retreat areas, car kits and home escape bags.
It can be quite the comfortable feeling knowing that you have a change of clothes, or two, and some shoes stored away in your car, retreat or fall back position. And by using old clothes that you were going to throw out anyway, you’ll be saving a bunch of cash, too. There isn’t a pair of old shoes that I have that I wouldn’t prefer over going barefoot.
Even if these items have holes or are on the worn out side, they would be far better than having nothing. Remember, many times, you’ll also have the clothes that you’re wearing when you escape, bug out or evacuate. It’s not likely that you’ll be showing up naked to your cache location (though if you did, you would be comforted by the fact that you had a full compliment of clothes and shoes waiting for you). You can patch the holes and worn areas before you store them, or include patching materials and a sewing kit so you can repair them once you start wearing them again.
I typically opt for the “repair after needing” approach, because it’s more likely that I’ll never need these clothing items and can save time by only repairing them if need to.
There are only two exceptions I can think of for not storing your old clothes. The first is for children, because they will grow out of the sizes you stored. My suggestion here is to buy clothes that are 2 or 3 sizes bigger and store these instead. By storing sizes that are bigger, you’ll have to rotate less often.
You can alleviate some of the cost by going through these clothes once per year and pulling out anything that the child can wear now, or in about 6 months. Replace these with clothes with the size you think they’ll be wearing in two years. Yes, you’ll have to spend money to store these clothes, but you can defray some of that by knowing that they’ll be wearing these in the near future. It’s more work to continually go through these clothes for the kids, but it’s a highly workable solution (in fact, this is what my wife and I do with our children’s clothing and shoes).
The second exception is if you lost or gained a lot of weight, wait until your weight has stabilized before storing your old clothes. You could store multiple sizes, or just store the largest size and tailor as needed. These old clothes don’t have to fit perfectly, either. Obviously, too small won’t work, but too big is still better than nothing.
A special note about pillow cases, sheets and blankets. Pillow cases are one of those items that have multitudes of uses and is overlooked as an important prep item. You can put them in your pack, and when it’s time to sleep, stuff them with clothes or a jacket and you have an instant pillow that takes up no room to carry. They’re also great when used as bags for foraging, carrying supplies, lined with a plastic bag for a water carrier, and on and on.
Likewise, sheets and blankets can be used as repair material, improvised walls, strung up as shade, cleaning patches for weapons, personal cloths and even made into clothes and diapers. So make sure you save these items, too.
It Takes a Community
Something I have learned over the years is that it takes a community of like-minded people to succeed at almost everything in life. This includes families, co-workers, neighbors, friends and yes, even colleagues in the online world. It is only by opening up to members of these communities that we can learn and grow, intellectually and spiritually.
As a member of the prepper community, Rob frequently posts original podcasts on his website at the Preparedness Podcast. He also is the author of an eBook, the Preparedness Capability Checklist which can be purchased from links on his website. His podcasts are informative and his Prepper News Watch is the best. You can bet that his book is good as well.
The Final Word
There are a couple of things I am going to suggest that you think about before you go to your closet to find clothing for your bug-out-bag or evacuation kit.
The first is this: make sure your bug-out clothing fits and that the clothes in your kit are items that you enjoy wearing. If forced to flee, you are going to be stressed. As bad as things are, you are going to feel better if the clothing on your back is comfortable and enjoyable to wear. This is a no-brainer.
Second, Rob’s advice is quite valid. While you want to stow clothing that fits, your bug-out duds do not have to be brand new or even in perfect condition. Think about that old pair of comfy slippers – they may be shabby but they feel great and you like to wear them. (No, I am not suggesting that you put slippers in your bug-out bag.)
An old pair of jeans and that tired but loved flannel shirt might be the perfect thing for evacuation purposes. Just don’t forget the belt and suspenders, if you need them.
I am going to have a lot more to say about bug-out clothing mindset next month. But until then, do you have some personal clothing tips to share?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Preparing for hard times requires so much stuff. Just where do you start? How do you know whether what you have will do the job? I always like to recommend that you start by taking inventory of what you already have on hand. And then? How about these ten items that were the most popular purchases by Backdoor Survival readers back in 2012.
1. Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): This was the #1 item. These thermal blankets provide compact emergency protection in all weather conditions.
2. Streamlight Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight: You know how I love my little flashlight. I have ad mine for over a year and it is still going strong.
3. Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Another inexpensive basic for your bug out bag and your home. Water treatment tabs won’t improve the taste but they will make your water safe to drink.
4. Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: You can’t beat a Kershaw knife for quality at a reasonable price point. This knife will become your favorite for every day carry. And that includes the ladies, too.
5. Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener: I wrote about this is in the article The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money. It sharpens everything from pocket knives to kitchen blades.
6. The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: The book will teach you how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, and shows you strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. You’ll learn skills like performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library!
7. Emergency Fire Starter: Hugely popular with my readers, this inexpensive magnesium emergency fire starter will do the job.
8. Dorcy 41-1071 LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: This light is awesome. I use mine downstairs as well as on my stairway and when I get up in the middle of the night, they come on automatically. They are quite unobtrusive and give off a ton of light. Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries.
9. Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.
10. SE 5 in 1 Survival Whistle: Just a tad over two bucks – and the #1 seller in camping signal whistles at Amazon. This was a favorite for a long time but this one is even cheaper: 3 in 1 Survival Whistle with Compass Thermometer for less than a dollar.
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