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Survival Backpack by Sunshine Brewer & CL Hendricks
Place a second gallon of water inside and ask yourself those questions one more time. Each gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds. By using gallons of water as a guide you can determine how much weight can be carried comfortably by you. A pack that does not fit right or is too heavy can cause many problems in an emergency situation.
The weight of your survival backpack will be determined by what you put in it. Regardless of how much weight you can carry you should focus on the primary needs for a survival situation.
Water is a primary necessity in a survival situation.
The average 125 pound woman needs about a half a gallon of water a day based on a normal routine in a moderate temperature environment. The average 200 pound man will require a little over ¾ of a gallon to remain hydrated in the same environment.
Water is heavy so packing enough water to sustain a family over a period of 72 will be difficult. It is easier to carry filtration devices or water purification tablets and a container to purify water in. Unscented chlorine bleach will also purify water. It takes 8 drops of regular chlorine bleach to purify a gallon of water.
There are some great options for lightweight, nutritious food.
High protein, high calorie food is another necessity for any survival backpack. Granola bars, power bars, food replacement meal bars are all good options. The ability to warm up food may not be available during an emergency. However keeping a few cans of food in your backpack will give you the option of having a meal that can be eaten cold or hot.
Using the can after you have consumed the contents also provides for warm beverages, soups and other foods that are lightweight and easy to prepare. Instant oatmeal, soup, oriental noodles, bullion and other dried foods may be placed in water resistant bags, (Ziplocs) and prepared in the can that once contained food.
Candles and a lighter or matches are a great asset to any survival backpack. Placed in a small can candles will provide safe lighting and some warmth. With the addition of a few pieces of wire that same small candle in a can will warm up water for hot beverages, soups or other foods. Votive candles work best but tea candles will do in a pinch.
There are emergency candles that are designed to burn for an extended time. These are taller than votive candles but will outlast them. If you want to use these as heating sources you will need a can that is larger than a soup can. Matches, lighters and fire starters should be stored in a water resistant bag separate from the candles.
Shelter during an emergency may be difficult to find that's why you should have a survival blanket in your backpack. However, if you need more than a space blanket, a simple lean-to shelter can be constructed quickly with a few tree limbs and branches. Tents are nice but in most cases will be heavy and difficult to set up in a survival situation. Taking advantage of your natural surroundings will prove faster and perhaps more beneficial during an emergency.
Extra clothing is a must-have for any survival backpack. Focus on the type of emergency that you may encounter in your area. Extra socks, thermal underclothes, mittens and hats for those who may find themselves stranded in their vehicles in a snowstorm or for those who live in flood prone areas. Heavy pants and long sleeve shirts are a must for those who live in earthquake prone areas. You will be the best judge of what your personal clothing needs are.
Heavy gloves, a flashlight with extra batteries, a jacket with a hood, a few garbage bags, and a good knife should also be included in your survival backpack. If you are able to carry the additional weight a small hatchet, medium weight rope or string and an adjustable wrench are valuable items to have during an emergency.
A medical kit that contains the basic materials is also a necessity in your survival backpack. You need to make sure that any prescription drugs that you take daily are included in this kit. During an emergency you may not be able to grab what you require. Having these medications repacked in your backpack will eliminate your need to waste valuable time searching for them.
Each member of your family should have their own survival backpack.
Each family members backpack should be packed with the minimum of the items mentioned even children. While children can not carry a lot of weight they can carry dried foods, their clothes, a medical kit that has been prepared just for them with over-the-counter medicines and lots of band-aids and a few toys.
If you have pets you will need to prepare a backpack for them as well. Some pet owners pack a human backpack for their animals while others prefer to purchase packs that the animal can wear. Either way 72 hours of food, a collapsible bowl, some water, water purification, medical supplies, an extra leash, collar and a few toys will prove valuable in an emergency situation.
Being prepared in advance for a disaster is much better than finding oneself in a disaster situation unprepared. Better to plan for the worst and hope for the best than to have not planned at all. The best way to prepare is to make sure you have a survival backpack stocked and ready to grab and go.
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Read more by Survival-Homestead.com's guest contributor, Sunshine Brewer