Situations we should all be prepared for

So many people I meet and talk to about prepping dismiss the practice as absurd and alarmist, and some even say a little bit weird. So I decided to write a little series of blogs listing some scenarios everyone should be prepared for. Those of you who think prepping is a load of nonsense, this is for you!

Heavy snow – getting stranded in your carmotorway closed

For the last few years, Britain has been slammed to a standstill due to heavy snowfall. Trains have been cancelled. Power lines have gone down. Villages have been cut off. This pictures shows the M6 in UK that was closed due to bad conditions. Lots of people end up having car accidents because they insist on driving in the difficult conditions with standard tyres, and a lack of experience. Other countries are used to this type of weather, and every one has winter tyres, a kit in their car, and experience driving in snow. It seems no matter how much snow the UK gets, we will never adjust to it. The featured image to this article shows the A7 in Germany in 1979 during the New Year.

This article http://bit.ly/18CBcip describes how drivers were forced to spend the night in their cars on the motorway, and how the weather was so bad that football matches were cancelled due to the dangerous conditions on the pavements around the stadium.

The Solution?

Simple preparations are all that’s needed for this one.

Put a blanket in the car. If you don’t want a thick woolly blanket taking up too much space, try a thermal blanket which reflects 90% of body heat, and takes up barely more space than a deck of cards.
A torch is always useful, and to negate the risk of running out of batteries, or having to carry spares, buy a dynamo torch. Modern ones are excellent, with bright LED bulbs and long charge times. Many, like the ones we stock also have radios, and USB ports so you can charge a mobile device.
A big bottle of water. Some would say just pack a big bottle of your favourite drink, but water is really the best option. It is more versatile, and won’t give you blood sugar spikes like the popular sugary fizzy drinks.
A 24 hour drinks ration pack contains a variety of high quality drinks that will keep you hydrated and provide some calories. There are even storm proof matches in the pack, so if you decide to include the next item in your preps, you can have hot drinks, which will help keep you warm, and raise your morale.
A method of cooking. There are several, and two that we favour are the BioLite CampStove which can also charge devices through a USB port, and the DS kettle, which is the same principle without the electronics. Both of these run on natural fuel sources, so you could either carry a bundle of dry sticks in your prep bag, or rely on finding some. Bear in mind that fuel sources outside are likely to be wet, so we would recommend carrying the next item instead of hunting for wet twigs.
Bio-ethanol fuel. This is an easy to light, non-toxic fuel which takes up little space and has a good burn time. Dragonfuel and WetFire are 2 brands which are available in blocks, and Fuel4 is available as a gel. All of these light very easily, and can be extinguished just by smothering. WetFire in particular burns well when actually in water. Please remember that if you choose to include a cooking device in your kit, you must NEVER burn fuel inside an enclosed space, and all usual fire precautions should be taken.
Pre-packed food. If you have a spare sandwich in your bag from the conference earlier in the day, then great, but just luck. To make sure you will be okay for a selected period of time – you choose, let’s say 24 hours – you should pack enough food to sustain you through that time period. Your options are dehydrated meals, ready to eat meals or meal replacements. Dehydrated food will take up less room and weigh less, but it will use up some of your water allowance, and will need heating. Ready to eat meals can be eaten straight out of the packet if you choose. Meal replacements are available in both dehydrated and ready to drink formats, so the same choice applies here.
Camping cutlery and crockery. A basic set of bowl (can be used for food and soup) mug and cutlery should be included. There are several types to choose from, including silicone, plastic and stainless steel. This is purely a matter of personal preference. The large bottle of water can also be used to give these items a quick rinse, more effectively than Coke!
Combination wind-up radio, torch and USB charger. If you choose to use a torch purely as a torch, it may not be a bad idea to get yourself a wind-up radio. Listening to your car radio all night will drain the battery. I would recommend the Encore Player, because the idea here is to leave your kit in the car. Most people can spare a bit of boot space for some decent kit, and in most cases, you would stay with your car, so don’t need the compact radio for easier carrying. If bugging out is your plan, then I would recommend the TUF Radio which is also a torch, but still compact. The Encore Player also has a solar panel, so if you are stranded during daylight hours, you have the option to charge that way. As well as being an excellent radio, which can be charged by hand or by solar (or by mains) this product also charges USB compatible devices.
An inflatable pillow. If you think you will actually be able to sleep in your car in the snow, stranded on the motorway or the middle of nowhere, an inflatable pillow will reduce your neck pain the next day. You could instead carry one of those travel pillows which is full of polystyrene beads, but that takes more space and comfort wise, there’s not a lot in it.

So there you have a list of basic preps that could make a potentially scary and unpleasant experience much more comfortable and tolerable. Some of the items which could make up you car kit can be found in our store, and many of them you will have already. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, you will need to tweak it to suit your preferences, but it is a good starting point!

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