Packing the Five Super Essential Elements of Survival

Last week our family was tooling around some truly beautiful country in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.  We had planned to do a bit of camping so our tent, sleeping bags, and other supplies were in the back of the truck, along with a couple of ice chests.

image by Paul

About halfway through our 2,745 mile journey I realized that we had all the essentials of survival with us.  We had been making on-the-spot decisions about which direction to go, which campground we should stay in each night, and debating how many miles could we push the kids before they rebelled!  What gave us so much freedom and empowerment was that we were completely equipped with everything we needed for survival.

  • Shelter:  We had a sturdy tent with an effective rain fly to protect us from the elements.  We also had a couple of tarps and plenty of rope if we’d needed to set up another shelter or a wind block.
  • Water:  We had an ice chest filled with water bottles and could have used the melted ice for drinking.  (Next time I’ll pack our SteriPEN.)
  • Food:  Our ice chest was kept full with fruit, veggies, meat, cheese, yogurt, and a lot of other good stuff!  We also had an additional crate with foods that didn’t need to be kept cold.
  • Security:  Both my husband and I had packed our pistols with an extra magazine and ammo.  This wasn’t a resort vacation, and we had no idea where we would be staying each night.  If four-legged critters posed a danger, or two-legged ones for that matter, we wanted to be prepared.
  • Warmth:  Considering we were camping in August, we felt pretty certain we wouldn’t run into any blizzards. Our heavy-duty sleeping bags and air mattresses kept us up and away from the cold ground during the night.  However, I also had hand and foot warmers in the 72 Hour Kit and I made sure everyone packed a jacket.  We also had everything needed for starting a fire.

It’s no wonder my husband felt empowered enough one day to say, “Let’s not spend a second night here.  Let’s head over into either Oregon or Wyoming!”  We had everything we needed, so why not?

image by OakleyOriginals

Is your vehicle or emergency kit packed with everything you would need?  Are the Five Elements of Survival covered?  In an emergency away from home, do you have a way to provide shelter?  Do you keep water stored in your vehicle, along with some food that doesn’t need cooking?  Have you thought about how you would protect yourself, your family and belongings?  A handgun isn’t for everyone, and in some parts of the country could get you in real trouble (unfortunately), but do you at least have pepper spray or bear spray?  Finally, do you have a way to stay warm if/when temperatures drop?  All of these supplies can be kept in a large backpack, bin, or crate.

Start thinking about what you have and could pack in order to cover these five elements.  If your home was without power for an extended period of time, are you able to continue providing water, food, security, and warmth?  What if the crisis happens during the hottest part of the year?  How could you and your family stay cool?

Chances are, you already have a lot of basic equipment and supplies to insure your family’s security.  On my FREE Downloads page, take a look at “The Everyday Emergency Kit“, “Handy No Cook Foods“, “Prep Your Vehicle for Emergencies“, and “Vehicle Emergency Check List“.  I recommend printing them out and storing them in plastic page protectors in your  Survival Mom Binder.

Get prepared and then take the rest of the day off!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

© Copyright 2011 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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  1. says

    You certainly mention all of the critical items for basic survival, although, most people will find that the more they get into preps the more stuff they feel they need to have on-hand be that in at home, on foot, or in the car. I know I used to fight for trunk space but recently "gave up" and decreased the amount of vehicle supplies I keep to a medium sized backpack. If it were up to me, however, I would pack the whole truck with stuff. :)

  2. PatTheCat says

    Nice post, good ideas & info.
    Right now, there's a hurricane barrelling into my area in the next couple days, my pick-up is in the shop for a major repair and I don't anticipate it will be fixed before early next week, have no back-up vehicle, (other than a bicycle), and a dog & 3 cats. I'm hoping it DoesN'T get seriously bad, but will be a good practice weekend… (I've already arranged rides to work.)

  3. Up the RA says

    I'm currently outfitting our family of 4 for extended camping in modest luxury – all packed into a Toyota Sienna with roof topper. Over the past 2 years I've purchased a half dozen very cheap undeveloped acreage lots in WA, OR, northern CA, AZ, UT and NV. I plan on visiting them all starting next year. The basics:

    Cabelas Alaknak 12 x 20 tent with vestibule (killer tent, get one)
    $100 Ebay tent wood stove
    Cabelas camp kitchen
    tiny Honda 2kW inverter generator
    extreme water filtration system
    popup solar shower
    Volcano II cooker
    Various odds and ends and high tech survival gizmos

    So far we've experimented with this setup in the yard of a $700K home in Seattle I have to say I could honesty live in it for many, many weeks and question the need for a huge home. The young kids have amazing fun camping out. Also looking at bigger more expensive quick set up geodesic tents and doing preliminary inquiries into earthship homes, dirt bag homes, off grid living and what not. I'm very far removed from being a Hippie, but do have an eye for value and thriftiness – thank you Scottish mother from Glasgow. If you lower your expectations (and resultant bills) I can see living very cheaply while bucking the system too as far as taxation. Youtube the movie Garbage Warrior, but ignoring the global warming hype. Land is so cheap and technology has advanced so much one can live almost anywhere for little money.

  4. clark says

    Oh, I just love your image in the upper left hand corner. So very cool,… and attractive. The purse on the right hand side isn't bad either, I guess that's called iconography? Maybe some People will learn from it?

  5. D Bro says

    Though I have never had to use it, a can of hornet spray, the one that shoots 20" seems like a good idea costing less than 5$. I keep it in a cup holder and is ready to use. Wouldn't want to get sprayed by it but if you ever do have to use it, don't brag to the cop. It could go against you if they stretch the notice on the can. Use only for intended purpose stuff. Just shake once a day!

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