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Spoiler Alert: prepping for emergencies is the same as preparing for camping trips. We are at a strange point in our life where we are thinking about both. However, Option A Preparing for Camping: has happy, relaxation feelings associated with it versus Option B Prepping for an Emergency: makes everyone reach for the self-medication. Either way, now is a good time to think about how you want to survive your camping trip or extended emergency.
Grab your gear, we are heading to the woods!
Begin with Rule of Three
The rule of three for emergencies: three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food. That is how I would recommend prioritizing your gear list. Right now, you and a lot of other humans are stocking up on all sorts of gear. Instead of investing all your money in super-expensive gear, I recommend diving into what you currently possess and then purchasing what you need. If you require a boost in the money side of this less-than-fun equation, I got you BuLL Crew!
When disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.Steven Cyros
Bonus: air is free! In nature, you don’t have to worry about clean air. It’s supercharged air because you are surrounded by plants which are pooping out oxygen
just for you. Plants are my favorite!
Shelters are Always Accommodating
You may be wondering, is shelter that important? Yes! My friend, nature’s beauty can make people weep but do not mistake beauty for kindness. You do not want to be caught in a snow/hail/rain/awfulness storm. Ensure that you have a shelter to hunker down and wait until the sun comes out to save your day. Basically, your knight in helium armor!
This begets the question: Do you have some form of shelter? A tent or, if you are going all in on being the next Lewis or Clark, do you at least have a tarp? There are many outdoorsy people that use a tarp as their primary source of shelter and this is a handy option if you are unable to squeeze any funds for a tent. Check YouTube for oodles of ways to turn a tarp into glamping.
The Wonders of Water
Before we get to my favorite part – food, we have to think about water. Pro tip: water is dirty, like all the water everywhere except what comes from a faucet. Those beautiful mountain streams and scenic lakes are full of things giardia, E.coli, and other organisms that make you poop 24/7. It is an awful look and feeling. To avoid this, search for some kind of water purifying mechanism. I recommend choosing whatever makes you feel the most confident. Yes, it is ideal to have clean water in containers but at some point your container will be empty. I recommend finding a water purifier that makes you feel as little anxiety as possible because you don’t want to doubt your system when you need it the most.
We don’t store water in jugs but instead use a Sawyer system. Mr. BuLL and I are backcountry campers so we try to make everything small, compact, and light. We stole a saying from the Army Rangers: ounces = pounds = PAIN! I don’t want to carry a 50-pound pack when I hike 10 miles a day. We’re discussing camping/emergencies not torture/suffering!
Whether it’s an emergency or hiking 15 miles for funsizes, food is a big source of comfort. Choose wisely. Dehydrated food is an excellent choice for camping and emergencies. There are many tasty options. We typically stick to our favorites – Mountain House and Peak Refuel. If we see a sale on something new, we will try it but won’t buy in bulk until we know it passes the comfort food test.
MREs are gross. I know some people love them but in the Navy I never had to eat them, we had a galley follow us around. That worked out for the best because I think MREs taste like a chemical’s impression of meat dipped in more chemicals. Ick! But we tried them before we bought them in bulk which was the best decision ever because I would have to mentally prepare myself for eating that
detritus. After a 15-mile day, I am uninterested in wasting mental bandwidth on that. I would rather get my bear on and scavenge for berries, plants, and possibly carrion.
Stress Test so You’re At Your Best
Ready for the fun part? Go for a stress test and practice with your gear. Visit a local state park and try out your shelter, water, and food. If that isn’t an option what about your backyard or a friend’s backyard? I am not recommending that you set up a tarp in a stranger’s yard, that is called squatting and it’s illegal. Here in Montana, it’s a great way to get on the news for being shot at as a trespasser too!
Find out what works before you take it on a camping trip or before you need it during an emergency. It is best to test your gear after a good night’s sleep, having dined on good food, and then practice with your gear. If it doesn’t perform as expected, it’s no big deal. Versus your 10 miles back from humanity or worse you need it for an emergency, then you find that you have a junk tent, awful food, and no water. Don’t set yourself up for that kind of epic failure!
Let’s Do The Thing!
Preparing for camping is a great way to prep for emergencies. Pro tip: It takes the edge off the agency in emergency. Camping is a great way to whittle down your necessities and throws off the cares of the modern world. Life becomes simple with simple needs. Whether you’re camping or facing an emergency, preparing for it beforehand will infuse simplicity into our current complications.
How are you preparing for an emergency/camping season?
You got this!