Now is the time to get your kits up to date
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a few months since I looked at the contents of by bug out bag. Now that the warmer months are coming on I opened my kit to do an inventory and was struck with my clothing choice when I packed it several months ago.
It’s a good thing I checked, because there’s no way I can fit in those clothes!
The clothes we pack in our bug out bags are often an afterthought. Just grab a few old pairs of pants and shirts and be done with it. Let’s face it, you can live a week in the same clothes if needed and it wouldn’t kill you (although your companions might complain!).
Clothing provides a number of functions that we take for granted daily.
- Privacy and modesty
- Sanitation (keeping parts of the body free from cuts and infection, or harmful germs and bacteria)
- Comfort – think PJ’s when you’re sick
- Warmth and balanced body temperature
- Routine – we do it every day
- Confidence and self esteem
If you have to leave your home in a disaster situation, all of these areas WILL affect you in some way.
- Privacy and modesty – clothing could become ripped and torn in inconvenient locations during the disaster or clean up.
- Sanitation – exposed areas are more prone to cuts and germs increasing risk of injury, infection, and disease.
- Comfort – everything else could be lost and you could be stuck in wet clothes, or short sleeves in cold weather.
- Warmth and balanced body temperature – goes hand in hand with comfort, but more for health and safety. Remember Eskimo’s prove the importance of clothing to survival daily.
- Routine – returning to a daily routine is one of the best steps toward psychological healing.
- Confidence and self esteem – it’s hard to have your world shattered and not have it feel like a reflection of you. When you’re forced to wear the same thing for weeks on end, it’s a bit degrading.
There are a lot of things to consider in packing clothing for your bug out bag
Size – Always go bigger, so you can layer the clothes easily if needed.
- For children pack 2 sizes too big, include a rope for a belt, to cover growth spurts between rotations. It’s much easier to put a child in clothes that are too big than to shove them kicking and screaming into something too small.
- For adults – we change sizes just like our kids. We just tend to grow horizontally rather than vertically. Try the clothes on each year and go up one size to accommodate any fluctuations.
Seasons – there are two approaches to this one.
- Rotate clothes at the seasons – summer clothes, winter clothes.
- Pack for cold weather and include a good pair of scissors for “altering” as needed to fit the temperature.
How much – Include a change (jeans, shirt, underwear, socks) for each day your kit is stocked for, but don’t change simply because the clothes are there. This allows for damage to clothing during clean up of the disaster. When help arrives clothing may not be included, it isn’t deemed essential.
- Having 3 days worth of clothes gives enough time to hand wash and air dry at least one outfit to be used for several days at a time.
- For younger kids, pack 1-2 more changes, bedwetting is a common symptom of trauma.
Quality- is new necessary? – Nope. Buy used clothing. This isn’t a fashion contest, it’s a disaster. Find things that you would be comfortable wearing and working in for a few days at a time. If you’re going to buy something new, go with a good pair of heavy duty work pants.
For kids, pack clothing that is
- Used – they can feel the difference especially if they have special needs.
- Familiar – favorite characters, or familiar styles and brands, things similar to what they already wear.
- Kids grow out of clothes frequently and used clothing will save you a lot of money. Consider packing the same colors for the whole family, for ease of identification and visibility.
Shoes – 1 pair of CLOSED toe shoes for each person. Even if you leave with your usual pair on your feet, an extra will come in handy. In the off chance that you couldn’t find your shoes fast enough and left barefoot, you’ll be covered.
This is especially important with kids, who have a natural talent for losing their shoes. Playing hide-and-seek tennis shoes in a disaster is not a good plan of action.
Don’t forget other clothing items:
- Gloves, scarves and hats depending on where you live and the season.
- Sweat shirt
- Light coat or heavy coat – what will you need?
Take a few minutes this weekend and check the clothing in your bug out bag. Report in the comments below!