Weathering the storm!
Weathering the storm is something that we should all be prepared for. While I could be talking about what is coming with the “Refugee”/ Terrorist invasion of our countries, I am not. There are enough people out there that are discussing their thoughts on that subject and I can see no good reason to jump on that bandwagon again. Instead, today we are going to look at adverse weather conditions and how to deal with them in a bug out situation. Grab a cup of coffee and have a seat and we will get started.
When you are bugging out the last thing you need or want is bad weather, but it could happen. What kind of weather are we talking about? Everything from Thunder Storms to Blizzards could be encountered while bugging out, depending on where you are. I am as guilty as anyone for not planning for this in the past. It’s really kind of funny, we plan for disasters both natural and manmade, but we tend to think the weather will be nice when we have to bug out. I guess subconsciously we just don’t want to add an additional layer of complexity, on top of what we already fear will be a bad situation. The problem however, is that history has shown that the weather seldom cooperates in emergency situations. Old Mr. Murphy has a bad habit of raising his ugly head at the worst possible time, so we need to prepare for this as well.
So how do we prepare and what do we prepare for when it comes to the weather? Now that is a really good question and the best answer that I have been able to come up with is to have at least to setups ready for bugging out when the time comes. Depending on the time of year, you will need warm weather gear to handle thunderstorms and summer heat and in the winter, you will need cold weather gear to handle snow and blizzards, as well as ice. The wind will be the biggest obstacle as far as weather goes, I would think. Staying warm and dry can be achieved fairly easily as long as the wind is not blowing. However, when the wind is blowing, the challenge is multiplied and even the simplest things can quickly become nearly impossible. Have you ever gone camping and tried to put op one of those Pop-Up tents on a windy day? Trust me when I say that it would try the patience of a saint! Now add blowing snow and rain to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.
So how can you prepare for this? Make sure that you have plenty of tent stakes, bungee cords and rope because you will need them. Naturally, you will want to try to get as much out of the wind and other weather as possible, but sometimes you can’t block it all with trees and shrubs. This is where those extra tarps you packed will come in handy. Tie the tarp between two or more trees to form a wind break and then butt up your tent behind it. This will save you a ton of trouble and make setting up camp much easier. By taking two tarps you could also create a “V” shape angled into the wind as well. This will funnel the wind around your camp site and allow you to limit blowing snow and rain as well.
Never build a campfire in the open on a windy day as you could start a forest fire very easily from the blowing embers. Always build a wind break so it is mostly out of the wind, and even then the ground should be saturated with water or snow when doing so. As a rule of thumb, I would never build a camp fire in the wind unless my life depended on it. There is just too much that can happen too fast to take the chance.
So what else can you do besides packing extra tarps, rope and tent stakes? Regardless of the time of year, make sure that your boots are water proof. There isn’t much that is worse than having to walk for miles in wet soggy boots and socks. It isn’t good for your feet either, as they will quickly develop blisters and become water-logged as well. You are going to want to make sure that you have a good rain slicker suit or poncho in your pack for these times. If it is winter then you will want everything to be insulated including your boots. Every spring and fall, I go through my bug out bag and switch things from summer to winter clothing. I also keep a good waterproof boonie hat in my bag to keep the rain off of my face. These may sound like simple ideas, but they can make all of the difference in the world when the time comes.
Now I will be the first to say that you need to keep what is in your bug out bag to minimum to lower the weight of it. It won’t do you any good if it weighs too much for you to carry. However if you don’t have what you need to survive in it then there is no point in carrying it at all. Shelter is an absolute must and if you use lightweight materials such as plastic sheeting and paracord instead of tarps and heave rope then you can save some weight right there. You can also get the large aluminum nails that are made to be tent spikes for hardly anything and they add very little weight to your bag. Think smart when you are preparing your go bag and be sure that you do account for the chance of stormy weather when the time comes to bug out. Well that is it for today. Until next time, remember to prepare for the unexpected and that prepping is a direction of travel and not a destination!