Survival enthusiasts believe that a proper bug-out bag must contain a 72-hour supply of food and water. They are quite adamant on this point, as 72 hours is typically how long it will take for emergency workers to reach you in case of a catastrophe, and I must say I can't fault them for their reasoning.
72 hours of water for one person is three gallons (11 liters for our metric friends). I'm simply not capable of carrying that kind of weight around, and the entire point of this Z Kit was that I could carry it with me pretty much anywhere. I'm building this for portability, convenience, and universal use, and that means I can't make this a true bug-out bag.
Still, compromises can be made. Realizing that I can't carry that much water, I've done the next bext thing: I bought the biggest CamelBak I could find (3 liters) and stowed it in my pack. It doesn't take up much space when it's empty, and I figure in an emergency I'll have the opportunity to fill up somewhere. I also have water purification tablets and a filter, just to be safe. If you go this route, make sure you get the kind that kills/filter Cryptosporidium and Giardia Lamblia.
For food, I have one MRE (shelf life: 5 years), supplemented with granola bars, trail mix, etc. I figure this is about a day's worth of nutrition. I'd love to get some First Strike Rations but I have no idea how to go abut ordering those on the civilian market -- they're probably still too new for any surplus items to have been resold to local Army-Navy stores. (If anyone knows how I can legally get some of these, hook me up.)
(On the subject of asking my readers for information, does anyone know anything about LifeCaps? The idea itself is promising but I won't risk my money on something like that until a source I trust vouches for them.)
Now these next bits aren't essential, but they sure go a long way to making your life easier:
- A pocket stove and a sierra cup will allow you to boil water for soup, tea, and coffee.
- A mess kit allows you to eat with a semblance of normalcy. I like Light My Fire because it's lightweight, compact, and hangs from a carabiner with its harness. The only drawback is that, being plastic, you can't cook with it. Metal mess kits let you do this, but they're heavier and often transfer heat the wrong way (hot handles, cold meals).
- Likewise, a good hobo tool.
- I mentioned flint and steel earlier, but now we're getting a bit more sophisticated. Waterproof matches are all but a necessity...
- ... and now that you've struck that match, the first thing you should light is a candle, so that you can light other things with it. I like the Nuwick 44 hour survival candle, because you can fit that sucker right into your pocket stove and cook with it.
OK, now you can eat, but what about cleaning up afterwards? Health and sanitation is next!