The Lady’s B.O.B

November 5, 2008
This one could use a few extra MREs in her BOB.

This one could use a few extra MREs in her BOB.

Ever check out a firearms or preparedness forum? Threads abound where members show off or list the contents of their bug out bags. It’s the male equivalent of Ally Sheedy dumping out her purse in The Breakfast Club.

What’s a BOB? Well, it’s pretty much a grab-and-go 72-hour (or so) survival kit that you would take with you into unknown conditions in the case of a major emergency–anything from a house fire to massive evacuation to flat-out armageddon. Assembling a BOB is actually a lot of fun, if you’re into gear, gadgets and doodads.

There are variants on the basic BOB, such as the “Get My Arse Home from Work To My Real Bug Out Bag” bag, which you might carry in your vehicle, or the “I’m At Lockdown At Work” bug-IN bag, or maybe the “I’m Stranded in my Car for Weeks” bag. But the true BOB is equipped to provide warmth, a change of clothing and footwear, personal protection, shelter and the very most basic of survival tools.

When planning your primary BOB, take into consideration the most likely catastrophies that could strike your area. Factor in local climate, and whatever plans you and your family have for rallying in the case you have to bail from your home.

And factor in the fact that each person has his or her own requirements to keep safe and sane in a stressful scenario. Especially if you’re female.

I’m not going to list absolutely everything you should have in your BOB, since you can find that information anywhere. But, true to the mission of this blog, I will add a few things you won’t find in the typical survival blog or forum. That’s right–GIRL STUFF!

Feminine Protection: Well, DUH! Of course you’re going to want to pack along stuff to prepare you for the Invasion of the Red Army, if you get my drift. If you’re not familiar with applicator-free products, give them a test run and seriously consider adding them to your bag. Most brands make a multi-pack. Note in my Welcome post, I celebrate the OB tampon as one of the best survival tools due to the compressed volume of fire-starting cotton and bonus prize of 12″ cord.

For longer-term emergencies, consider reusable pads or cups, but ONLY if you’ve familiarized yourself with their use well in advance. Having to bug out is bad. Having to bug out while on the rag is horrible. Having to bug out and all you have to keep yourself tidy is some weird miniature toilet plunger is a catalyst for a meltdown.

You’ll also want to carry scent-proof baggies, or the more rugged and less-disposable O.P. Sack to transport soiled reusables.

Chocolate: I’m not being divine here, I’m serious. Chocolate has positive neurological effects that would be beneficial in a BOB situation, and it’s also a good energy boost. Problem with chocolate is that it melts, so use caution when packing in a BOB that will be stored in your car, for example.

If you have kids, chocolate is a great motivator. Looking after the psychological well-being of you and yours is often overlooked in emergency preps, and attitude is everything.

Toiletries: Along the same line as chocolate, toiletries will help your sense of morale. I’m not a fan of beauty magazines, but you can always rifle through them for sample packets or perfume strips, which are easy to pack and will help you feel better after a few days away from your shower and Spin Spa. Go easy on the fragrances, as an overdose of eau d’parfume can be more offensive than body odor.

I love witch hazel packets and baby wipes. But lacking these, a steaming hot bandanna rubdown is the best part of waking up to a back-country morning.

If you’re a cheapskate like me, you like free stuff. Save complimentary hotel toiletries, or even better, write to the manufacturers of your favorite products and request free samples. Now, you can pack the stuff that works for YOU. Don’t go overboard, though; you want your bag as light as possible, and in spite of the importance of morale, comfort and hygiene, your favorite hair gel will need to be 86’d if it comes down to that or emergency food rations, water purification or first aid items.

Sports Bra: Do you normally subject yourself to underwire, or otherwise less-than-comfortable undergarments? Get yourself a breathable, moisture-wicking, non-cotton sports bra, like this one, to stash in your BOB. It will help regulate heat, prevent chafing, and provide comfort while carrying a heavy pack.

Self-Defense: Whether you’re bugging out over road or trail, you must have some basic unarmed and armed defensive skills. Don’t rely on pepper spray alone to get you through a rough spot. Get a firearm and learn to use, carry and draw it. Get a good survival knife, and take a class in blade fighting. Contact your local police department, city college or YWCA to find out about effective, affordable women’s defense courses that teach simple physical and verbal techniques. I specify women’s defense courses because some of these offer techniques that are rarely taught to men, and I strongly believe that women-only classes allow participants to focus better on learning.

Train, and practice, and remember that you’re worth fighting for.

MISC: It’s a good idea to pack along pharmaceuticals and herbals that will help you if you’re bugging out with Aunt Flo, in addition to a basic first-aid kit. If you’re menopausal, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the shelf life of your medications, and have an extra month’s supply on hand to rotate into your preparations.

The necessities for a woman’s survival pack differ than those for a man’s, and there’s no shame in admitting it. Plan to take care of yourself.

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Prepping for Pets: An Intro

November 3, 2008

Most of us have at least a rudimentary BOB (Bug Out Bag) or, as I like to call it, a GOODY (Get Out Of Dodge, Yo!) bag for ourselves and other household members. What about our pets?

Regardless of the scenario, you’ll need to make accommodations for your animals, and I’m hammering out a series of posts that will take into consideration the non-human members of your little tribe, focusing primarily on domestic pets rather than livestock.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, The Humane Society of the United States cited a Zogby International poll that found that 49 percent of adults say they would refuse to evacuate if they couldn’t take their pets with them. Those who did leave their pets behind doomed their animals to exposure and starvation, and in theĀ  emergencies of long durations–such as Katrina–even beloved, gentle dogs can pack up and become dangerous marauders.

Should you have to evacuate your home, how will you handle your pets? Think long and hard about this question, because your decision will have an emotional impact on you and your family, as well as an impact on the well-being of your animals and the community at large.

What about longterm “bugging-in” scenarios? You’re probably already working out a longterm food storage program for yourself, but how will you feed your animals?

Whether your pet is a pocket Chihuahua a-la Paris Hilton (erk) or a working breed, you’ll benefit from the topics currently in the pipeline:

1. Dog Packs: Great for hiking trips as well as buggin’ out, a well-fitting pack will let your dog carry a portion of her share of gear. We’ll discuss proper fit, materials and appropriate suggestions for what your dog can carry, as well as conditioning your pet for short and long packing trips.

2. Small Animal Carriers: Need to haul your kitty cross town? Maybe you’ve got a bird, ferret or pocket pet. We’ll discuss carrier options, as well as accomodations that will make your pet more welcome if you end up couch-surfing, camping or–heaven forbid–in a shelter situation.

3. Long-Term Pet Prepping: We’ll discuss alternatives to the relatively short shelf-life of dry kibble, and the importance of vaccinations and current vet records.

4. Common Emergency Preps: We all have a plan to evacuate pets during an earthquake, fire or other more common emergency, right?

Bookmark this blog, and check in soon for more on these topics. In the meantime, be sure to check out my Amazon store, where you can find emergency food rations for dogs and cats, as well as other useful pet supplies.