It seems that all too often, preppers can be overly concerned about the supplies and tools they have in their 72-hour kit, and forget that everyday items like clothing are just as important in a survival situation. Making sure you’ve packed the proper clothes in your bug out bag is very crucial – and can often mean the difference between surviving and emergency just as much as any other item. A survival situation can strike when you least expect it – when you’re on vacation, when you’re on your way home from work, or even when you’re in bed for the night. You don’t want to be caught with just your Bermuda shorts, your business casual office wear, or your sleepwear for the next 72 hours. But if you’re not already packed with the clothing you need, that’s exactly what could happen.
Should you pack seasonally?
Some preppers prefer to pack clothing according to the season – warm clothes in the winter; lighter clothes in the summer. This isn’t the best idea, however. Depending on where you are when an emergency strikes, you may need to be prepared for any type of weather. This is especially true if you wind up in an emergency that turns into a long-term survival situation. That’s why it’s best to pack for any season. At the same time, consider the regional weather patterns in your area as well as those areas you may be headed to in an emergency. You don’t need Arctic gear if you live on the Gulf Coast, for example – but you still want a coat that will keep you warm at night if you have to head north in the winter.
The attributes survival clothing needs
You don’t want to simply pack regular clothing in a 72-hour bag. This is clothing that will have to help protect you in a situation that could rapidly unravel or last for a very long time. Make sure your survival clothing has the following attributes:
• Durable. This is all the clothing you have – so it has to last. Avoid clothing that is made of thin or cheap material, and make sure it is designed in a way that makes it easy to repair.
• Comfortable. You may have to walk out of your current location, which could take days, so you want to be wearing comfortable clothes.
• Versatile. The clothing in your 72-hour bag should be adaptable to different kinds of weather, different terrain types, and any possible situation that could arise.
• Inconspicuous. Select clothes that are not brightly colored and will not attract attention. You want to blend into crowds and your surroundings. You don’t want to attract attention from looters in urban areas; in rural areas, you don’t want to be easy to spot from a distance. Try to avoid camo, as it can attract negative attention.
• Natural fibers. Cotton, denim, silk and wool only – avoid poly synthetic blends. Synthetic fibers are far more flammable than natural fibers; for that reason the USMC banned Under Armour for troops stationed in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
What to Pack
The following list is a basic description of what you will want to have in any 72-hour bag, but you should feel free to adapt it to your regional weather patterns, the area you live in (rural or urban) and other considerations. Remember to select dark, subdued colors for all layers.
• Head Gear: watch cap, baseball hat, etc.
• Tops: 2 cotton t-shirts, 2 cotton long-sleeved shirts, rain jacket or poncho, wool sweater and topcoat (depending on region).
• Bottoms: Silk weight base layer, 2 pairs of pants – BDU with extra pockets is best, but avoid camo patterns. Durable denim jeans or work pants (such as Carharts) are also good for colder climates.
• Footwear: MULTIPLE pairs of socks. If you aren’t regularly changing your socks, you stand the risk of developing trench foot, a bacterial infection that is painful and dangerous. You want at least six pairs of socks. Wool socks are crucial in cold regions. Hiking boots are also crucial, as you may have to walk for days.
• Accessories: Leather work gloves or flight gloves are best. A rigger’s belt is preferable because it is extra long and can serve several uses if need be.
Do you have any tips or advice that was not covered in this article? We would love your feedback and questions.