Hi. I’m the Ancient Dragon. I’ve been around a long while in the preparedness thing, and I thought I should perhaps give back a little of what I’ve gotten over the years. I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even most of them. But I do have lots of opinions and I’m enough of an egotist to think some of them might be worthwhile to share, if only as a starting point for conversation and debate. So here goes:
My pet peeve: Bugout Bags. Or 72 hour kits if you prefer. I’m talking mostly about the type of bugout bag designed to be carried in a backpack, not in a vehicle. I’ve recently been watching a few people on Utube sharing the contents of theirs, and I’ve developed a list of the 10 dumbest things I’ve seen in bugout bags. Here they are:
10. Glow sticks. You’ve seen these. Smack ‘em or crack ‘em, and a chemical reaction produces light. Why are they dumb? Because they are single use, non-directional light. Far better to carry a battery flashlight that you can turn off or a hand cranked one that doesn’t need batteries at all. With those, you can actually shine the light at what you need to see!!!
9. A large bottle of hand sanitizer. It was so big, this bottle must have weighed two pounds. If you need to keep clean, carry baby wipes, individual cleaning wipes, or even alcohol pads. Maybe the chap had a fear of germs, but even a two pound bottle of hand sanitizer won’t last him forever.
8. Camouflage anything. Packs, hats, pants, shirts, jackets, binoculars….the list goes on and on. Now camouflage is good, but two things come to mind here.
First, in Manitoba you would need a minimum of two camouflage patterns and a set of whites to even begin to cover the seasons, and that is both bulky and expensive. I also want to point out that the colour palette of the camouflage, even if right for the season, say, green for summer, might still not match the background green for a variety of reasons. Worst camo ever? The guy displaying his desert camo clothing in the woods. Not as camouflaged as he had hoped….
7. Cup of noodles. Two problems here. You’re packing empty space, of which there is never, ever enough, and depending on the brand, you may not even get that many calories from it. There are far better food choices out there.
6. MREs or IMPs. Lots of calories, but the weight is hellish. Two IMP lunches can weigh an amazing FIVE pounds! I know because I have been stupid enough to carry these hiking. They are meant to be kicked off the tailgate of a truck, not carried around by people.
5. Food in cans and jars. If I see another can of tuna fish or brown beans come out of a bug out bag, I’m going to scream. Again, weight penalty is the problem here. Though I admit it is better than the guy on Utube carrying a glass jar of his favourite spagetti sauce. Honestly, have these people thought about buying a dehydrator?
4. Hollow handled survival knives. Especially the Ramboesque ones with saw-back blades that don’t saw anything. The knife blade will separate from the handle if used anything like a survival knife will be used, leaving you without knife and life. But your corpse will be the coolest ever with one of those knives!
3. A can of WD-40. The gentleman’s stated purpose was to be able to lubricate the mechanism of his folding knife. Because they jam so often, you know…..
2. A Wal-mart machete. For cutting through the vines in Virginia. Because it is a jungle out there….. But giving him the benefit of the doubt in that he needs to cut his way through brush, a Wal-mart or Canadian tire machete is too light and has too poor an edge to do the job. If you really need a machete, get a real one, not a cheap imitation.
1. And the single dumbest thing ever? A full sized spray can of deodorant.
So there you are. 10 things I thought were silly to carry in the context of a 72 hour bag. What have you seen that you wouldn’t carry? Or maybe you disagree with some of my opinions?