While the article is clearly written for "normal" times when you have a reasonable expecation of help from decent people and/or official help, what happens when the shit REALLY hits the fan when you're on the road or away from home?
You need a SHTF bag.
It should be as light as possible and tailored for your "worst case scenario."
How to determine the"worst case scenario."
That's easy. You are at the furthest point from your home during a normal day and all that it entails when the SHTF.
The "reason" is immaterial. It could be an earthquake, tornado, civil unrest, martial law, etc. The point is to get away from that situation and home.
To show you where "I'm coming from," I'll share my "worst case scenario."
I work in Louisville, KY, 42.5 miles away from home. When the SHTF, I have to get out of the city and make my way home any way I can.
To make this task easier, I have a SHTF bag, ready for instant use. Just grab and GO.
Before you start building that wonderful SHTF kit, sit down and plan how to get home. Then THINK about how far you are willing to go to ensure your survival. The mindset you have is what will get you to safety or get you killed and all the gee-whiz toys in your SHTF bag won't save you.
What I expect:
I won't be the only one wanting to leave town. I work close to major roads, and while I plan on being able to get to the roads before the inner city folks stream out of town, I AM NOT COUNTING ON IT. I expect thousands of panicked, unprepared people to jam the roads trying to go anywhere but where they were. If I manage to get to a road, I expect some yuppie dipshit in a blinged-out Prius will cause a semi to flip over, jam the road and I'm stuck x-number of miles from home. Thus the SHTF bag comes in handy.
Planning your SHTF bag:
Consider YOUR intellectual and physical abilities. By "intellectual" I mean, "Do you have any survival training or skills?" I do not consider "camping" a skill. Most campers (myself included) take everything except the kitchen sink when they go. Survival training and skills reduces the weight of the SHTF bag and increases your survivability.
By "physical," I mean, "Can you carry your SHTF bag and weapon two miles before you need to rest?" Weight is THE big factor. The heavier and bulkier it is, the less distance you can go.
A dark-colored book bag will do just nicely as long as you do not overload it. Make sure the shoulder straps can handle what you put in.
WHAT TO PACK:
The SHTF bag should contain suitable food, medicine, shelter, clothing and other items needed to make the trip home easier.
Food: MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) ARE available in various forms. These lightweight meals contain sufficient calories to keep a person alive. They are easily stored and take up very little space. I have 4 MREs in my TSHTF bag.
Medicine/Health: You will need a first aid kit. A GOOD one. If you cannot treat a gunshot wound with one, it's not good enough. Go to a surplus store and buy one inside a little green plastic box. It has several bandages suitable for gunshot wounds, sunburn, normal cuts, etc., inside. It's handy and reasonably waterproof.
If you have a medical condition needing "maintenance" medicines, inevitably, you miss doses and wind up with extras in your medicine cabinet at home. Stick them in your SHTF bag so you will get that next dose on time.
If you wear glasses, get a second pair in case something happens to the first.
Get the strongest painkillers you can get. Over the counter pills are good for the little shit, but you need something SERIOUS, just in case. IF you have medications, keep the medications in the prescription bottle, just in case you run into some asshole cop with a drug dog before TSHTF. You cannot be charged for possession if you have a LEGAL prescription in the properly-marked container. If you can get it, "Torodol" is a non-narcotic pain killer that stimulates the body's ability to fight pain on its own. It's a SHORT TERM solution for INTERMEDIATE pain (it kills pain for kidney stones easily). You don't get drowsy or buzzed. Again, keep it in the PRESCRIPTION bottle so you don't get charged with some crime before.
Antibiotics are vital in wound management. Again, get legal prescription for a suitable antibiotic and keep it in the bottle.
Shelter: While you're at the surplus store, buy TWO ponchos. One to use as a tent, one to use as rain gear. You should buy at least 50 feet of "parachute cord" (green is the best color for camoflage) for setting up your shelter.
Clothing: The weather is NOT your friend. In winter, hypothermia will kill you. In summer, dehydration will kill you. Take your choice. Have a long-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved sweatshirt or wool sweater (wool can still keep you warm even when soaking wet) in your pack. You need at least 1 pair of socks. You will need two hats. One knit cap for cold weather, a dark colored baseball cap or "boonie" hat for summer/rainy weather. You will need (especially women) a second pair of good shoes. Three-inch stiletto heels won't cut it.
Water: Anything drinkable and purified beats nothing. Even if all you can do is break open a vending machine and load up with sodas, that's better than nothing. Use canned/bottled liquids when you cannot use this: Lifestraw Water Filter
Like the name implies, just go to your nearest stream, put one straw in and suck away. If you have a gallon jug, just fill it with water and ALWAYS USE THE STRAW. There is a version that simply pumps stream water into a canteen.
Fire: Buy a Bic lighter. Thousands of lights in a neat little package. It takes practice and patience to use a magnesium firestarter, fire piston, fire trough, whatever. A Bic lighter will do just nicely.
Map: Your "normal" route home will most likely be impossible due to traffic jams, human congestion, etc. Your travel needs will determine if you even need a map. If your plan is simply "get across town and lock my doors," you probably know the roads well enough to make that happen. If you're like me and have to drive long distance between towns, a road map won't do.
You need an ACCURATE topographical map that shows the terrain as well as roads. The "topo map" also shows animal trails, streams, creeks, swamps, wetlands, and locations of buildings. Just as importantly, you need to know how to READ the topo map to get the most out of it, otherwise those brown squiggly lines won't mean a damn thing to you. Those little lines will show you the easiest terrain to cross.
I anticipate being stuck in a monster traffic jam with no help coming to clear it up. Depending on the situation, leaving my car could become my best option. While I know the way home by my primary route, what if a bridge is gone? What if there's troops patrolling the roads, looking for looters? What if there's equally desperate people who aren't as well prepared as I am, blindly following the roads and willing to rob/kill those who are prepared?
My solution: cross country. Distance myself from people needing help and or seeking to take what I have.
Helpful items: I carry a few things to make my trek easier. Basic rule: If you don't NEED it or anticipate a serious need, don't pack it.
1: My old government issue "Laundry bag" to help carry goods I might pick up along the way (remember the vending machine).
2: 1 quart canteen.
3. Poncho LINER. This is a nylon blanket. You tie it to one of your ponchos and you have a reasonably warm blanket that is lightweight.
My SHTF bag contains a folding knife with a whetstone. A vital tool AND a weapon.
I also carry my "saperka" entrenching tool.
It is lightweight, can be used for digging and chopping. With practice, it can be used as a chopping, slashing and throwing weapon. Good for finishing off wounded game or silently killing some asshole who thinks I'm going to provide him a survival kit.
Load the bag up, put in your trunk or behind the seat of your truck. COVER the bag with cloth so the bag does not attract attention or get sun-damaged.
Now to complete the SHTF requirement.
Firearms: If you can, keep a rifle/carbine in your car. You should buy the best you can get. While all the well-published experts recommend you carry an M4 carbine with the latest high-tech Most Righteous Holo-WonderSight, the Ultimate Atomic Death Ammunition, most of us don't have the money. We make do with what we have.
Buy the highest quality, compact weapon you can afford AND SHOOT WELL. In an ideal world, I'd have an M4. I can't even afford a "Draco" (chopped down AK47 without the stock) pistol.
There are many viable alternatives such as the old Winchester 30-30 lever action. Don't discount old surplus guns. The M44 Moisin-Nagant rifle is a neat little package firing one hell of a powerful round. It also has a folding spike bayonet which can come in VERY handy. As a last resort, I can use it as a baseball bat.
While the holosights and such work, they may fail. Stick with iron sights. They're VERY hard to damage and very reliable. You don't need pinpoint accuracy.
I recommend 50 rounds in appropriate stripper clips, magazines, or speed loaders.
If a rifle/carbine is out of the question, I recommend a .357 revolver in stainless steel as it will need less maintenance and .357 revolvers can shoot .38 Special. If your trip home takes longer than expected, the .357 can bring home the game.
Three helpful tips on firearms usage:
1. Stay out of sight as much as possible. There will be people who might see you as a "protector" and expect you to protect them. Some may see your weapon and do whatever it takes to get it from you.
2. The weapon is for YOUR survival, not anyone else's. Remember, you can carry only so much ammo. Don't play Good Samaritan. If you see a crime being committed, do not try to save the day. IF you survive that, you will probably wind up with extra mouths to feed and people who will slow you down. You will DEFINITELY have less ammo. You are not out to save the world, you are out to save yourself.
3: You MUST shoot to kill. I cannot emphasize this enough. As a society, we are "conditioned" to use the least amount of force to resolve a situation. When society breaks down, there are no rules. You do not have the luxury of a warning shot. Shooting to wound is not an option.A dead enemy is no threat. A wounded enemy could get away and bring his buddies with him.
SUMMARY: Prior Planning prevents piss-poor performance. When the shit hits the fan, only you can save your own life. The SHTF bag is only an aid to survival, not a guarantee of survival. Practice using those items. Check on those items every so often to ensure medicines don't go out of date.