Tuesday 2 May 2017


Not the usual post, and not for what could be called the "usual reasons" (aka expecting civilization to crash'n'burn). I'm not saying to have a SHTF bunker hidden in the hills, with solar panels and ten different firearms and enough ammunition to kill an army.

I live in New Zealand. Because of that it's always good to have emergency stuff handy. Whether for potential tsunami, eruptions dropping ash, heavy storms wrecking powerlines (or flooding places like Edgecumbe and causing slips through Coromandel and eastern/central New Zealand), and earthquakes (Christchurch multiple times, Wellington, and Kaikoura - all recently).

With all this, basically it's a good idea to have something to throw in the boot of the car and GTFO when you need to. It's also good to test it, taking a week-long camping-style trip (which also uses up old stuff which you can then replace).

Food: tinned beans, spaghetti, stew, fruit, tinned fish and meat, tinned desserts. Nuts and raisins. Heat'n'eat stuff like what comes from the Kaweka Food Co - meals for one, you just need boiling water. Milk powder and tea, oxo cubes, cup-of-soup. A couple of 10-liter containers of water. Enough of all that for a week (for one person) costs less than a hundred dollars.

Cooking gear: butane camp stove and a couple of gas cannisters, camp cooking gear (if you like tramping and hiking - otherwise just an ordinary pot), plastic knife/fork/spoon/chopsticks. Plate/bowl/cup are optional, generally just eat and drink out of the pot.

Other gear: torch, lantern, batteries, medikit, basic medicines (asprin), wet wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, some form of digging tool, a medium bottle of hand sanitizer, water purification tablets, waterproof matches, a couple of decent knives, sharpening steel. I also include a lifestraw.

Optional stuff: fishhooks and line if you want to do the "living off the land" thing. Take some basic nylon line in the boot, a proper rope can be handy. A sharp hatchet if you want to make campfires (and learn how to use a Dakota Fire Hole and feather sticks, firesteel, etc). A proper axe or chainsaw is a good idea if you're likely to run across downed trees where you're going.

The food will all fit into a single plastic bin. The rest of the gear will fit into another. (Okay, maybe not the axe/chainsaw.) One person can pick a container up and put them into the boot, 1 minute tops.

Other bits'n'pieces to throw in: a few plastic supermarket bags, 4 sets of undies and t-shirts and singlets, a warm jacket, a good down blanket or a sleeping bag. Don't waste time with a tent, you can sleep in the car with the windows cracked open - I've done it many times (make sure you have a rain guard). A couple of books. Time to get together from scratch, 5 minutes tops.

Pets: depends what you have. Take food and extra water. If there's a bona-fide tsunami coming, you're in the washout zone, and your damn cat won't play ball...

Optional stuff, for whatever reasons: 12v compressor and an air-mattress, 12v appliances (you can idle your car for an hour without chewing up much gasoline), a jetboil (for 2 minutes to get boiling water - I'm seriously thinking of one), whatever the hell else catches your fancy. It's a good idea to keep 10-20 liters of gasoline in the basement in case you need to top up before you go, take the remainder with you (make sure the container is a good one).

For those who are thinking of an RV or camping trailer to live (or retire) in, consider an ordinary car and converting a cargo trailer:

Have a bit of fun, plus some weekend trips for practice and to see something new (for a week-long roadtrip, think about overnighting at a campground every 3-4 days just for the chance to wash clothing and shower).

Live your life.

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