Emergency Shelter & Bedding
You and your family should make an evacuation plan so you know where to go if you needed to leave your home. Emergency Shelter -in order of preference - friend or family-members home outside the affected area, planned and stocked bug out location, hotel, government provided shelter, your own portable shelter (car/tent.)
Since we are focusing on light-weigh portable solutions for a bug out bag, we are going to stick to the topic of the gear you should carry in this article - but make sure you dig deeper into this subject than we are here as your families well being could depend on it. Take a look at photos from the Louisiana Superdome during Hurricane Katrina. If you don't want to wind up in that situation, have a better plan.
If your bug out plan is to run off to the woods and wait it out, you are probably deluding yourself. Even hard-core bushcrafters would leave this as the last option. There are many so long-term considerations to plan for, so choose accordingly and be honest with yourself about your capabilities. The header image shows
Side note: If you are so inclined to learn about Bushcrafting and Primitive Shelters there are some great resources online. That topic is one we love but is beyond the scope of this article.
Most people will wind up at temporary shelters. Is this where you want to wind up?
If you are not an avid camper, you may not be aware of what your needs will be should you be stuck having to use your tents. One side thought - even if you do wind up at a public shelter, you may still be glad you have your tent if you are able to set it up inside. It will give you and your family at least a little bit of privacy and a sense of a place that's "yours."You will have to recreate some items in your home to be comfortable. You need a roof over your head to protect from the sun and rain, so a tarp is important. You need to protect yourself from creepy-crawlies and wind at night so a tent comes in handy. Sleeping on the cold ground can be a drag - so you need a pad. If you don't like sitting on the floor a chair will be needed, along with a small table to prepare food off the ground.
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Snugpak Ionosphere 1 Person Tent
This is a much loved tent by the military folks. It packs small, is rainproof, and gives you a little extra space for gear (depending on your size.) Obviously this is a one-person solution although you could *possibly* fit two if you are willing to snuggle up and are smaller statured - however your gear stays outside. It only weighs 3.8 lbs and packs down to 17" by 5.25" so motorcyclists can even mount these to handlebars.
Kelty Salida Tents
This is a great little tent for 2, or a roomier 1. Winner of the 2011 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Awards: its a three-season tent (not winter) with very good water and wind resistance. What we like is the extra vestibule outside, which lets you keep gear out there dry. Only weighs 3.8 lbs. It has a gear loft inside to keep things off the floor. As with most tents, you should consider using the Kelty Salida Footprint to prolong the life of the flooring and ensure no rips or tears from rocks or twigs.
Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Hammock
Price: $70 Read our Review here
If you want, you can skip the tent altogether and go for a hammock, although hammocks aren't comfortable for everyone. You need to make sure you have a couple of trees available, and a tarp is still a good idea. You have the option of the bug cover or just flip it over and use the other side without it. Holds up to 400 lbs and packs small. We also use the Tree Slings for the extra length and so we don't mess-up the trees we're hangin' from.
Ultimate Survival Base Hex Tarp
Price: $30 Read our Review here
This is a single sized tarp to cover your tent or hammock, to create a dry area, as a shelter, or flooring. Hexagon shape. Aluminized on one side. Comes with guy lines and stakes. It has 6 corners with sewn webbing loops, 2 of which have grommets. Packs small and lightweight.
Kelty Noah's Tarp Shelter
Price: $60 to $100
This is a bigger option for making a more lasting camp and cooking area. 3 different sizes, we go with the 12' x 12' in conjunction with the UST tarp. These tarps are worth the extra money because they pack down very small and are light-weight. Get the Kelty Staff Tarp Poles if you want to set it up the way shown in the image. Lots of attachment points means flexibility on how you can set it up. We like options!
Reinforced Multi-Purpose Tarp
So many different uses for poly tarps: flooring, roofing, walls, rain-proofing. These are cheap but bulky. Best for your longer term shelter needs, and not for a BOB. We have 6 in different sizes we use all the time.
AMK SOL 2-Person Emergency Bivvy
A bivvy bag packs tiny, and can protect you from rain, snow, wind, and cold. It maintains 90% of your body heat at the expense of breathability - it can gather condensation. It packs down to a few inches. This is the 2-person size, there is a single person bivvy also available. Put this outside a sleeping bag for extra protection.
Teton TrailHead +20F Ultralight Sleeping Bag
This is probably more of a 40F sleeping bag, but for the price to weight ratio this is a good contender for your BOB. There are a million sleeping bags out there, but not all are created equal. Make sure you get one from a reputable manufacturer, and that its machine washable if that's important to you. 2.9 lbs.
Wenzel Convoluted Camp Pad
To keep yourself warmer and more comfortable on the ground, or on a cot, having a nice sleeping pad helps a lot. We prefer the non-inflatable ones, not only because these are 1/4 of the price, but they stay functional even if they get holes poked in them. Once an inflatable pad is broken, its a real pain to fix if fixing is even an option. Can also be used as a flotation aid.
This is probably more of a 40¡F sleeping bag, but for the price to weight ratio this is a good contender for your BOB. There are a million sleeping bags out there, but not all are created equal. Make sure you get one from a reputable manufacturer, and that its machine washable if that's important to you. 2.9 lbs.
Cocoon Air-Core Pillow Ultralight
Price: $25 Read our Review here
These little guys are great. They pack down tiny but give you a nice sized pillow once it expands. Not the most necessary item in your kit, but the benefit of being comfortable and rested make this a very smart addition.
ALPS Rendezvous Folding Camp Chair
Don't sit on the ground! Although these aren't like your arm chair at home, they are way better than nothing. These will come in incredibly handy. Don't forget chairs! Packs to 8' x 28".
ALPS Eclipse Camp Table
Built-in beverage holders - now we're talking. This is another comfort item which will make your outdoors life much more palatable, especially when not in an established campsite with tables. Even then, the camp fire is never where the tables are, so this lets you get nice and cozy while keeping your food away from the ground critters.
Next STEP: Clothing & Weather Protection