sorry i dunno the original source. do u?

Starter kit for the Apocalypse

In the ladies' guide to the apocalypse by summerburkes7 Comments

Sitting around talking about the Apocalypse, as we do, we once told Otto about our ongoing fantasy of packing a basic survival kit. W

hy have we not done that yet?, we asked. We can quote lines from Mad Max 2 and Tank Girl like any good DPW woman can, but for some reason we have not yet taken the first step at home to ensure our own survival (except the knowing-our-firearms part).

sorry we dunno the original source. do u?

It’s easy, Otto said — go get a camping backpack or a rolling airplane pilot’s suitcase from the thrift store, and just throw all this stuff in there and you’re basically good to go. And we got out a pen and paper and he rattled off this list to us.

He says, above all, travel light, and make sure you’re in good enough shape to walk 10 miles each day, and that you know even just a little bit about weapons. But failing that, if you’re an Indoor Kid and you meet a Karate Kid out on the move, you’d better have your gear together enough so you can trade a fresh cup of coffee for some ass-kicking backup.

So here’s Otto’s cursory list for initial survival:

Water and electrolytes, salt

Tea — not just for calories and minerals but for staying awake. Coffee has fewer minerals etc., so tea is better, but if you’re an addict pack some pre-packaged grounds, too

Food — Avoid dehydrated food like MREs or dried fruit because you have to add water, so if you eat it it will dehydrate you, especially if you’re in a situation where you can’t add water because a nuclear weapon has gone off. Canned foods and preserved jar foods are your best bet, and salted nuts in sealed bags (airplane nuts, not pretzels)

Mirror, for reflective surface to signal — the international SOS signal is three flashes or three fires, and this is one situation where it’s OK to build smoky fires

Knives, ax, scissors, razor blades, Leatherman (or similar multi-tool), hammer, a handful of nails (taped together so they don’t go everywhere)

Sharpening steel and flint (very very important to start fires) — hard rock and water will sharpen knives also

First aid kit

Gun and ammo (no speeches please — like Steven Colbert said, the 2nd amendment is there because it has the 1st amendment’s back)

Tent and Gore-Tex sleeping bag

Multifaceted work gloves (weather, climbing)

Bear spray or mace

Single propane stove item and iron skillet (doubles as a weapon)

Metal cup, utensils, cheesecloth or screen for straining water

Candles, matches in a waterproof case

Flashlight and batteries — batteries stored separately in case of nuclear attack or electro-magnetic pulse

At least 100 feet of thin high-tensile nylon or hemp rope — no big stuff

Fishing net

Hand-cranked radio

Rain poncho — also useful to collect water / morning dew — or heavy trash bags or tarp alternately

Sewing kit (including leather awl and thimble), leather and denim scraps for patching

A few pairs of socks (and if you’re female, contrary to what they tell you in the movies, be sure you don’t try to negotiate the Apocalypse in 5” stilettos)

Meds for your particular conditions, and any warning bracelets you should put on immediately

Compass, grid map of the local area, angle protractor (the round one, not the circle-drawing one) and grease pencil

Conversion charts, weather stuff, prevailing winds, almanac stuff

And of course a diary and pen; and some large paper and a Sharpie and tape, in case your band or circus plays somewhere after the shit hits the fan and you need to flyer.

Cyclecide Bike Rodeo SF bomb bike is not a pipe.

the other three horsemen are teething, and they’re pissed

Also, did you know you can survive 21 days on just water alone? That’s what Otto says. If you can make tree bark tea, you got about six months. If it’s got chunky hard bark (pine and maple), it’s good, but strip bark (eucalyptus, birch) is bad. Boil it well to make sure you have enough nutrients to get you by.

Sometime next week, we’ll publish the recipe for SamX‘s “Hobo Crack Tea” — made exclusively of herbs and tree bark — so you can put some o’ that in your pack too and live like a fancy hippie Marine.


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  1. Pingback: Hobo Crack Tea « Dilettante - by Summer Burkes

  2. Pingback: Apocalypse recipe: One year of sustenance « Dilettante - by Summer Burkes

  3. while i know this post is about two years old now, it’s on the fist page of google responses to “survival apocalypse” so I would like to point out a few major flaws here.

    First, to much weight will kill your ability to move through rough terrain, slow you down, and cause a massive amount of pain. A small tarp or tube tent takes up MUCH less space than a normal tent, less weight, too.

    a hatchet, AND a hammer is overkill. a good medium camp ax/survival hatchet is a must. But it’s a multi-use tool if you know how to use it right.

    Cast iron is both heavy overkill, and comparatively fragile. You see it used as a weapon from time to time…sure. But a small steel pot weighs less, can be used for far more cooking tasks than a skillet, AND you can store food in it without oxidization. Get one with a lid you can strap/tape securely.

    On the subject of food. MRE’s do NOT require the addition of water. Whoever told you they do has never eaten one. That said I would not recommend them for the emergency stash. again, bulk. Nutrition bars to get you by, preferably ones sold in bulk packs, not individually wrapped items such as power bars. Further, any food stores should be carefully watched and consumed and replaced near the end of their shelf life.

    Medications are a good idea, but they also have a relatively short shelf life. Pay ATTENTION.

    Also consider a wind up flashlight instead of a battery powered unit. Not having to worry about power for light will save you a lot of stress.

  4. Thanks, drackar! Yr right about some o’ dis. However, to clarify, what I meant about the MREs was that you need water to digest food, not that you need to add water to MREs to make them edible … so it’s best not to eat dehydrated foods when you have no water supply. Also my mom bought me a wind-up flashlight for Christmas and it broke almost right away. So batteries for your flashlight might explode, but wind-up flashlights might break immediately,and one can carry extra batteries, but that makes the pack heavy, so make your own call. Other than that, spot on! Scratch the skillet, hammer, and unwieldy gypsy tent and listen to Drackar. Hey, I’m still learning…

  5. There are plenty of this you(Summer) will do that others will not when it comes to surviving. Personally, I see your survival pack as a sign you feel there will still be some kind of civilization at the end. You seem to rely on a lot of more modern conveniences and extras even the most novice backpacker wouldn’t carry. That is fine and dandy. Everyone has their own way. I’d worry about different things but then we are different! :)

    As far as the flashlight issue with Drackar, I recommend field testing different types of survival flashlights. I love the shaker type of flashlight. I have had mine for years and even keep one in the survival kit in my car(for those times you run out of gas in the desert on the way to Vegas.) I also think a 3 cell Maglight is good if you can find a way to stay stocked on batteries. The weight of the Mag can be used as a weapon when in use(or not). I keep one of these under the seat of my car as a weapon.

    Light weight backpacking gear is a good thing to thing about investing in. A good 4 season sleeping bag for backpacking is worth the money as it will take up little room in your pack and keep you warm in the winter.

    My best advice from one survival girl to another test drive your pack/supplies. Not just trying them out in the backyard. Go camping in a very wooded camp ground or take a 2 day hike and try things out. See if you can use these items if you have to before relying on them to find out you aren’t able to use your hatchet with any strength or that you ended up spraying yourself with the mace/pepperspray because of a wind shift.

  6. Great list with the flashlight you can also go with a windup and not have to rely on batteries. I have a couple of them I keep in my bug out bag. They can also be used as a charger for a cell phone or Ipod.

  7. MRE’s aren’t dehydrated, they are “Meals Ready to Eat.” Granted if that is all you eat you’ll be backed up to High Heaven. The Main Entree and the rest can simply be opened and eaten.

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