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Traditionally, when you think of the items in a bug out bag, you think of a flashlight, knife, water filter, fire starter, paracord, first aid kit, and a whole list of other items that before long, fill your pack with gear that will help you survive should you have to flee the safety and comfort of your home.
When it comes to food items, the items carried in a bug out bag (also called a BOB or GO bag), are often limited by weight. MREs and freeze-dried meal pouches are popular, as are protein bars and jerky. All that being said, this article is not about BOB food for consumption. Instead, it is about three uncommon food items for the BOB that are handy to have around for survival purposes.
Backdoor Survival Contributing Author Rob Hanus is back today with another Fast Track Tip as he tells about three important “spices of life”, salt, sugar, and baking soda,
The Spices of Life
When packing your bug-out or evacuation bags, it often is worthwhile to find items that have multiple uses. This saves on space and weight and cuts down on the amount of items you need to carry. This also applies to food items.
Here are three food items that you may not have thought of, but have multiple uses and you should include in your Go bags.
Though these three items are usually considered cooking essentials, they have more uses than just for cooking.
Salt can be used for anything from putting out grease fires to preserving meat, but there’s only a couple of aspects of salt that we’re interested in most. Salt is a vital nutrient and without salt in your diet, your body loses the ability to regulate critical functions. It also can flavor wild and foraged foods to make them more palatable.
We all know the value of having sugar, and having some of this in your pack can make the instant coffee or tea taste much better. This also comes in handy when making pine tea or other foraged herb. According to this study sugar may also heal wounds faster, as it has antibacterial properties.
Of the three, baking soda probably stands out as the oddest thing to pack in your Go bags. There are scores of household uses for baking soda, but a few we’re interested in include using it as an antacid and to relieve itch and irritation from bites, stings and rashes.
Individually, these three items have enough merit to include with your evacuation and survival kits, but there are also some great combinations that you can use these for.
Salt and baking soda makes a good toothpaste that is very shelf stable. You can leave out the toothpaste and simply brush with this old-fashioned mixture.
Probably the most important use is when you combine all three of these together to create an electrolyte mix. When you’re sweating a lot or have a diarrheal illness, you need to replace the electrolytes that you’re losing. Mixing up all these of these components into 1 liter or quart of water creates an electrolyte replacement drink: 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Separately, any of these three items would be a valuable addition to your pack, but mixed together, they can become a life-saving mixture.
For those that are of the curious type, here is some information on how valuable salt has been in US history: Salt Trade, Trails, and Wars.
The Importance of Electrolyte Replacement
Dehydration during a survival situation can result in severe illness and even death. In 8 Reasons to Drink Water for Survival, I wrote about why water is important. Equally important to drinking water, however, is understanding what to do if you have gone for a long period without sufficient water, or as Rob points out, water loss due to diarrhea (it happens, especially if drinking foul, unfiltered water).
Let me repeat the recipe for this simple electrolyte replacement drink:
Simple Electrolyte Replacement Drink
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix in a quart (or liter) of water and drink when dehydrated
The Final Word
With each passing day, I seek out additional multi-use prep items. Part of this has to do with the lack of space to store everything here is my hunker-down, bug-in location. There is simply no room for everything I currently own let alone preps that are still on the bucket list.
The same theory applies to my bug-out-bag. With a bug out bag, there are not only space limitations but weight limitations as well. Try carrying 20 or 30 pounds on your back for even a couple of miles and you will know what I am talking about.
Fortunately, salt, sugar, and baking soda can be put into small packets or even in straws, then packed into odd corners of your pack. Packaged as a trio, they would make an excellent barter item, along with this recipe for an electrolyte replacement drink.
I don’t know about you, but I hope never to have to rely on salt, sugar, and baking soda for survival. But if I do, I will be ready.
Can you think of some other multiple-use food items? If so, be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: As much as the term “bug out” has been glamorized, my advice and the advice of most experts is to bug in unless your home is unsafe. Here are some items to consider as part of your bug-in preps. Off course the rule of thumb is always this: first purchase what you need to get by and later, as budget allows, add the extra items that will enhance and add dimension and depth to your existing survival gear.
But first, one item I have just purchased for my own Bug Out Bag.
Sea to Summit X Mug: I ordered this collapsible cup/mug because it is large enough to also use as a bowl. If it works out, I will order a second one.
Solo Stove: Emergency Survival Stove: The Solo Stove is perfect for cooking beans and rice using just a pot, some water, and biomass as fuel.
Chemical Light Sticks: Pick your size (length) and pick your color. Just be aware that if the color does not matter, some colors are cheaper than others. Be sure to read Lighting Your Way With Chemical Lighting.
Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards: This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out. Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness pantry.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price. Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant. I can not recommend these enough.
Midland 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios: These are the handheld radios that I own. There are lots of good uses for these radios. Handy while hiking, traveling, or simply keeping in touch with your partner while out shopping. Just be aware that getting a 36-mile range out of any handheld FRS radio is a myth. 4 to 6 miles is more likely.
Quikclot Sport Brand Advanced Clotting Sponge: A must for any first aid or emergency kit, Quikclot Sport stops moderate to severe bleeding until further medical help is available.
Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage: This is another inexpensive, yet critical item for your first aid kit. Combat medics, trauma doctors, and emergency responders all recommend this Israeli Battle Dressing (IBD) for the treatment of gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, deep cuts, and other traumatic hemorrhagic injuries.
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