If you’ve ever been camping, you know what it’s like to survive away from the comforts of home. And, believe it or not, every time you're sleeping out in the woods, you are also preparing for a disaster. Think about it… your outdoor gear will be your survival gear following and during an emergency. The differences between camping and plain old surviving are few.
I briefly mentioned in another blog post how you can take your family out camping in your backyard to practice using your camping and outdoor gear. This is actually a very good way to learn what more you need for your camping/survival gear. Then, head into the wilds and take it out for a field test. Go camping and see how prepared you really are! If you had to camp out for three days, a week, a month…would you be ready? If you plan ahead, you will be.
The following is some outdoor gear and resources that you generally use while camping, and will be glad you have during an emergency.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to your camp site? Why, set up your tent, of course! If you’re really roughing it, you might be making a lean-to from some pine boughs lashed together with nothing but your shoelaces and dental floss. If you’re like me, however, you’ll probably have some sort of really cool tent. My dream tent is the Barebones Safari Outfitter Tent, but since that isn’t in the budget just yet (“yet” being the key word here…), I’ll be content with a regular ol’ tow-man, pop-up backpacking tent.
While shelters and tents make camping a much more enjoyable experience, shelter for disaster situations is important for many more reasons. While camping, you might be able to tough it out for a night or two, but while surviving after a disaster, your camping tent will be where you live. It’s where you and your kids will sleep, where you’ll hunker down during rain, snow, and storms, and where you will have your privacy from everyone else surviving around you. Yes, your camping tent is more than just a temporary shelter during an emergency. It’s your home.
Food and Water
I’ll combine food and water into one category for brevity’s sake. That being said, bringing food and water for your family isn’t always convenient while out camping. That’s why we always fill up our canteens, coolers, and whatever else we carry water in before we leave. We fill up some water containers from our home faucet and put them in the car. And, before we head out to wherever-it-is-we’re-going, chances are we’ll hit up the store in search of the perfect food to cook up over the camp fire. Hot dogs and marshmallows are always a popular choice; easy to cook and the kids love them. But there’s also the thing about keeping the meat cold while you travel so it doesn’t go bad. While camping, that’s not too hard. After an unexpected disaster? That’s where it gets a little bit more difficult.
Survival food can just as easily be the same stuff you bring camping. Tips-for-Camping.com recommends freeze dried food, because a) it’s delicious (it is!) and b) it lasts for a long time (our freeze-dried food lasts for 25 years!). All you need to do is add water to reconstitute the food, wait a few minutes, and you’ve got yourself a tasty home cooked meal! And in a disaster, isn’t that what you want…Some of the comforts of home?
Water can be gathered just as easily during a disaster. Besides having water storage in your home (which we definitely recommend), having a water filter can supply you with good, clean water wherever you are.
These are two things that can be a great addition to your camping gear that can be instantly used for your own survival. We’ll always need food and water, and if you already have that on hand, then you’re two steps ahead of the game!
Speaking of food and water, there are plenty of times when you’ll want to boil water or cook food that isn’t freeze dried. Enter the campfire. Cooking over a fire while camping is half the reason we go, is it not? Nothing says camping like a nice fire going, the smell of smoke in the air, while your camp stew cooks over the fire. Mmm, delicious! What are you cooking that stew in? Some sort of pot, I’d wager. Possibly even on a camp stove. Those are always fun, especially when your firewood is all soaked because it rained the night before. Thanks to your little stove, you still have a way to be the camp chef.
After a disaster, you may not have access to a fire pit to cook with. You may not have a stove or oven, either. That’s where your little cooking stove comes in handy. Even if you’re stuck inside without power, you’ll still have a way to cook your food and prepare dinner for your hungry family. And, since you’ve taken it camping with you so many times, you’re now pretty savvy with it and can use it just like your kitchen stove.
Because accidents always seem to happen when you’re far away from help (it’s like they plan it that way), first aid kits are a must while you’re camping. And, since disasters tend to cause accidents, you’re going to want a first aid kit around for one of those – just in case. One of the benefits of being prepared is that you can take care of yourself immediately without waiting for emergency teams to come find you. That could take a while, because disasters tend to affect a lot of people at once. And if a lot of people are looking for medical attention, they’re going to take the most serious cases first.
But if you are fine, you can take that kit with you and help others who need assistance. A Boy Scout is always supposed to be prepared and help others. Even if you’re not a boy or a scout, you can still take that way of life to heart and be prepared with gear so that when others do need help, you’ll be ready. And who knows, it could be your own family you’re helping.
Your camping gear really is your survival gear. And, the more you go camping and use your gear, not only will you have a lot more fun doing it, the more savvy you’ll be, making it all the easier to adapt to an emergency situation. In fact, the people at Homestead Dreamer suggest that those who are frequent campers and outdoorsy people have an easier time adjusting their mental state around a disaster when it comes. This is because they’ve already been doing the surviving gig for a long time – and they do it for fun! They also mention a wide range of skills that are developed while camping. From building shelters to starting fires, these are skills that might just save your life.
As fun and enjoyable as camping is, it’s also a great way to prepare for survival. Practice makes perfect, and in a survival situation, you’re going to be glad you’ve already been doing a lot of practicing in the form of camping.
What other camping gear, skills, and other things will help you survive a disaster? Let us know in comments!