Saturday, February 2, 2008

A 72 hour Earthquake kit from a San Francisco Resident.

While watching what happened in New Orleans and with the full knowledge that I live on a fault line I felt it was more than naive to think that something like that couldn't happen here. FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, while they seem slow, useless, stupid, and poorly managed beyond belief, they do say each resident should have enough supplies to last 72 hours without essential services. So at least they have some good advice...even if they couldn't find the Superdome. I'm no survivalist, but I was an Eagle Scout.

After reading a lot and asking around I finally got the money and resources together to put together my own 72 hour Disaster kit. It has enough gear to get me through 3 days of being out of home. If things are still in the suck beyond that I should have a decent head start.
I had a spare North Face "Recon" bag and so I built out the kit to fit. Here it is full of all the gear:
Here's a breakdown of what's inside it:

1 - Shemagh. Head cover, dust mask, water strainer, sun blocker, camouflage.
2 - Carabiners. For general purpose use.
3 - Lights: Fenix P3D + Petzl head lamp. The p3d puts out 200+ lumins at max output and has a low light mode that makes a pair of Lithium 123c's last forever.
4 - Work Gloves: I went with a pair of Carpentry gloves from Home Depot. Good to have for moving debris, building shelters and other such things.
5 - Small plastic bottles for odds and ends.
6 - Surefire Spares carrier: Water tight, probably bomb proof. 6 extra 123C batteries should be enough for a few weeks let alone a few days.
7 - Wire Saw: Taking down trees, metal, or just about anything else.
8 - 550 Cord: 50 feet. For building shelters and tieing things down to the outside of my pack.
9 - Lock Pick set. You never know what you'll have to get into or out of while essential services are down.
10 - MSR MIOX Water filter. I got a little pricey with this item. It's small, compact, and will purify a a metric fu**-ton of water on a pair of 123c's
11 - Compass. I'm a boyscout...never ever get caught out without one. Nuff said.
12 - Zippo and FireSteel. If you need to make fire, make it in style. The Zippo is a bit of a luxury item as I'm also carrying the FireSteel.
13 - Knives: Gerber EZ-Out-- cheap, rugged, simple. Fixed knife: Benchmade Nimravus combo blade. Badass, SHARP, bomb-proof and well balanced. Good utility knife and as well as a combat tool. This is the closest thing to a gun I'll carry.
14 - Safety Cross 3 day food and water pack. In a rush, this will keep me alive until I can find better food and water. It's also light and compact.
15 - North Face "Recon" bag. I wish it didn't have the reflectors, but those can be removed. I've had this bag for about 6 years now. It's been to Burning man rugged piece of equipment.
16 - REI hikers first-aid kit. Everyone has an opinion on what kit to carry. This is a simple one built for people who will be walking a lot. Down the road I should invest in a better one. But this will due for now.
17 - Black nylon rip-stop Poncho. Great for staying dry and can be lashed to a structure and used as a rain shelter.
18 - Space blanket. Stay warm, stay dry. Light weight and essential.
19 - Camelback 100 oz watter bladder.
20 - Army Field manual: Survival Evasion Recovery FM-21-76. Online version: here , maps, and water purefier. All in a plastic bag.
21 ?? Leatherman Wave. It's not in the picture because it's on my hip. Never ever get caught out without a multi-tool.

All said and done, it was a few hundred dollars due to my splurging on a flashlight, knife, and water purifier. Most of the other gear I already had around the house. Here are a few more things I'd like to add:
Another better folding knife
Another backup flashlight. Maybe a Surefire or Night-ops. Something a little more rugged than the P3d. Or a good head-lamp that runs on Lithium batteries.

I have a bigger Offsprey bag which I'd pack with a change of clothes, sleeping bag, and a few other things if I have more time to get out. But if I have to grab and go, this kit sits in my closet ready to move.

Special thanks to this website for the inspiration. My bag isn't nearly as hardcore as his, mostly because I'm not packing a Bushmaster AR-15 (stupid California gun laws) nor am I packing any heat. San Francisco strikes me as a less than dangerous place where a knife should be enough to dissuade someone from messing with me. Even if I were bringing a firearm, I wouldn't be talking about it here.

More pictures here

I'd love to see your comments, thoughts, suggestions. Have I forgotten anything?
That's it. Be safe, be well, be prepared.

UPDATE: After reading some comments from Reddit and Digg I'm going to add a survival radio and a knife sharpener.


permaculture said...

Found this blog post from

You've inspired me to pack a bag myself ready for 'the pandemic' heh heh.

You might add:
"LED dynamo-powered head torch (wind the handle for one minute,
light for 90 mins.)"

A Hexane 'Tommy Cooker'
Available from ex-military stores & camping shops, etc.

A 'Silver Foil' sleeping bag might be preferable to the survival blanket: Cheap, effective, folds up small.

Alternative/addition to the Shemagh - A Travel Towel: dries fast, folds up small, doubles as a scarf or smoke/dust mask. Unwanted wetness can be a killer on cold days. Douglas Adams would recommend you 'always know where your towel is.'

If you're staying in one place, a 'Storm Kettle' might be useful.
It can boil 1.4l of water from newspaper, dried grass and twigs. Boiled (sterilised) water is needed for cooking, drinking, first aid, and this kettle can provide that without needing specialist fuel.

Thanks for the excellent post, Chris. :)

Erik said...

Id be weary of carrying a pick set. If I caught you with one I would assume you were a looter. Just my 2 cents.

Gramjen said...

This sounds like a great emergency kit. You may want to consider adding a Benchmade Nimravus to the mix since they are useful in multiple scenarios. It is smart to be prepared like this when living on a fault line.

IdavD james said...

Just about 12 pound force and you can smash the side window in a second! In an emergency situation, that's really-really helpful.

@ Earthquake kit

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