Happy preparedness month! I would like to share with you my large family 'bob' and how to build your own. I have read many articles about camping bags, wilderness survival bags, bug out bags and so on. I have looked at so many and in my humble opinion most of them are a waste of money. I am a Mom of six and for all the bases I want to cover we cannot afford to waste what money we do have. I have my spin on the 'bug out bag' because I would need to rent a U-Haul to include everything we might need in a survival situation or intense camping trip. So for those of you who also have large families, I'm giving you the best options that I have found, showing you how to build your own or add to the one I think is the very best on the market. I hate wasting money on cheap crap, so I've searched the web and am sharing the best I have found/use for our family, so y'all will quit spending money on big band aids and other useless junk. *This is my honest, unbiased opinion and unpaid advice. It's not too hard to put together a great bag for many people, just requires a bit more thinking to make it work well. Pace your self financially and do one thing at a time if you need too. Buy things in steps so as not to over whelm or discourage yourself.
To start with I would highly recommend looking at this one here, it's the best for the money. Just think about who will carry what ahead of time, so you can lot items based on abilities. It's a big bag, so think ahead. Although I have a much larger family than four, it can easily be built on for camping or survival by adding a few more ration bars which run about $10), rain coats (which are around $1 at Walmart) and a few tooth brushes ($4). It comes with everything you would need to provide water, food, rain cover and shelter a four person group for 3 days. Add those extras mentioned for more people. It also has a fire starter, lighter, basic tent, water bottle, bandages, multipurpose tool and other items most kits leave out. I hate to see so many people buying bags that lack in those needed items. Essentially a lot of people are spending money on big band aid kits. When you're not getting much more than assorted size bandages, it's a waste of money in my book. I want diversity and to be able to address just about anything that may come up. *Whether you buy a kit, carry these things in your pocket or build your own bag, you must have these things in your 'bob'. These are the most important of all: knife and/or multi-tool, cord, cover for rain, emergency blanket for cold, light of some kind, water or small filter to drink from wild habitats, some food, basic first aid, a good compass and map. Most bags have to have the last two added in by you. Only you know where you're headed and it's your job to cover that. The one mentioned above has all thes but I want to have a bit more, like the ability to deal with bigger wounds and things of that nature.
So on to the medical part. That bag also has a descent medical kit enclosed, but this basic medical trauma bag is great as well if your just looking for medical. At a reasonable price of $19.99, it comes with a lot and is the best to start with, for the money. You do need a good suture kit to go in all your survival/camping/bug out bags! You can buy this one very inexpensively here. With the suture kit, you will need clean utensils and this pack here is good. *I am NOT advising anyone to suture or perform any medical procedure themselves. This is for emergency use only, in the event a doctor/vet cannot be gotten to. This article by Dr. Joe Alton is the very best one on emergency suturing I have ever read. It cuts to the important issues and gives you a short crash course on when to and when not to close a wound. *Don't forget clotting cloths or Alum powder (the canning kind). In the basic medical trauma bag mentioned above, the clotting cloths are included. You can buy them separately, but will run you $10 to $15 a piece. The basic medical trama bag not only covers bleeding but has a tourniquet kit and directions as well! *Bleeding will be intensive if it is a full moon and much less or a non issue during quarter moon. You should research that now, before it's needed. Moon phases effect the gravitational pull of things on earth. *Note* if you have the money to spend at once and want everything mentioned already and don't want to have to track down each individual item to put things in your kit or medical bag, this one is compact and designed by a doctor. It's on my list next. While your at it, read this very important book BEFORE tragedy strikes or you find your self needing some basic medical knowledge. (Special Forces Med Book)
Now that you have food, water, rain/shelter medical and heat covered, you will need to remember a few other things: a map of the area you are traveling in and a good compass (this one is great for the price). If you're traveling with little ones DO NOT FORGET TO PACK EXTRA DIAPERS, WIPES, AND TOILET PAPER! I always throw in underwear and pants for any toddlers that are with us. I always keep this Super Salve (a product we do make) in ours as kits/bags as well. It is great for any minor wounds, cuts, diaper rash, scrapes or burns. Leaves no scarring and help speed healing. From nasal wounds/polyps to rashes, it has always come in handy and could be used as a moisturizer in as well. For lighting, I choose this hybrid flash light here. I read a review from a vet, who tested several and it got the top score. It works whether by solar or LED battery but every single time you turn it on, it works! The solar option is very strong and it's water resistant as well. For the price we bought a couple and it's brighter than any other lights we have (flash lights or head lamps).
A few other needed items I have put into our kits are: an extra bar of soap and a wash cloth or two in a gallon size freezer bag (baby wipes run out fast and I want to wash up myself), an ACE bandage, saline to flush a deep wound of debris or aid in eye/ear/nose/throat care, super glue or Newskin (for shallow cuts), a topical pain killer such as Lidocaine or Clove essential oil, a cleaning solution such as peroxide or iodine, and our Essential Oil Survival Kit. The Essential 7 Kit comes neatly in a small pouch and will cover everything from bug repellent and upset stomach to basic first aid issues. Instructions are included. *Don't forget any back up meds that may be required for sustaining life such as heart meds, Epi-pen, Benadryl for allergies or inhaler for an asthmatic. If your doctor knows your traveling, he usually will write you an extra dose prescription for 'just in case'. You can also buy your own inexpensive backpack and a can of Scotchguard for making the bag water repellant. Spray the bag and make your own from these suggestions here.
These things are essentially what I use/do and would advise anyone with a large family to look at when purchasing a bag or building their own for real life camping, travel or survival situations. I hope this is helpful for those of you who travel, camp or need a survival bag for a large family. For more on wild herbs/homesteading/gardening and the like, check out our Youtube channel at Homestead Moma.