One of the great unknowns when it comes to preparing for an emergency is what time of the year it will occur. If we hunker down in order to deal with a crisis, this won’t matter as much, although we certainly hope our furnaces or air conditioners will continue working. But if we have to bug out, the particular season of the year might matter very much.
A disaster that causes us to leave our homes may result in having to spend a significant amount of time in the great outdoors until we are able to find our way to a reliable place of shelter. Depending on what part of the country in which we live and which season of the year it is, this could mean anything from sweltering heat to freezing cold. Per usual, the key is being prepared.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on clothing items that should be packed in a bug-out bag in anticipation of cold weather. It’s considerably easier to shed layers of clothing when the conditions are too warm than it is to find clothing that will keep you from freezing. And even in a desert it can get pretty cool at night, so bundling up will be the focal point here.
Let’s take a look at some of the clothing items you’ll want to include in your bug-out bag. You won’t have room for all of them, but by keeping some of them in your bag at all times and having others in your vehicle, you should be able to stay warm while you’re dealing with a bug-out situation.
This might seem rather basic, but you’d be surprised how many people fail to pack in their bug-out bags extra sets of the clothes they wear on a day-to-day basis, including underwear, socks, jeans, T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters.
Regardless of the weather conditions or whether you are inside or outside, if you have to bug out quickly from your home, you’re probably not going to be able to get back there right away. But you are going to want to change underwear and other clothes, so make sure you pack them.
Gym shoes — or do you say sneakers or tennis shoes? — are probably the most comfortable shoes you own, and they may be what you’re wearing when you have to leave your home in a hurry. But if you end up doing a lot of walking outdoors in a bug-out situation, you’re going to want some good, solid, waterproof hiking boots. Uneven terrain and wet conditions will make you wish you had them.
If you live in an area of the country that gets snow, you should also pack a pair of snowshoes. They will not only give you considerably better traction, but will also do a better job of keeping moisture away from your socks.
Speaking of socks, it’s very important to pack thick ones for warmth, comfort and health. With thin or worn socks, you’re more likely to experience cold and possibly frostbite, not to mention blisters. When it’s very cold, you can double up on socks.
Because you don’t know how soon you’ll be able to wash them, you should have at least four pairs of socks in your bug-out bag. Change them when they get wet from outside moisture or perspiration. If you are able to stop somewhere as you are escaping whatever caused you to bug out, try to dry any wet socks. Finally, you can use thick socks as mittens in an emergency.
Of course, the best way to keep your hands warm is with gloves. Pack at least one and preferably two pairs of heavy-duty, leather work gloves. One of the best types is rancher-style, fleece-lined leather gloves; but it can’t hurt to also have a pair of cloth gardening gloves. On really cold nights, you can wear one pair inside the other. Even if the weather is warmer, work gloves will help protect your hands from harm as you engage in various survival tasks in the outdoors.
Battle dress uniform
It might not hurt to have a military-wear, camouflage set of clothes you can wear outdoors during an emergency situation. These “hunting clothes” can be purchased through Sportsman’s Guide or Cheaper Than Dirt.
Coat and jacket
Just because you probably don’t have room for a winter coat with a warm hood in your bug-out bag, don’t fail to have one available for yourself. At the very least, keep one in your vehicle. It could mean the difference between being miserably cold and pleasingly warm.
In addition to a winter coat, pack a windbreaker. This will be a better choice when the weather is not exceptionally cold, and it should keep your upper torso dry if you’re caught out in the rain. In both cases, you might be able to use them as bedding in certain situations.
Among the hats you should pack in your bug-out bag is a ski mask, a heavy wool hat that pulls over your ears, a wide-brim hat to keep the sun off your face and a ball cap. That last one won’t keep you warm, but it could help to keep the sun out of your eyes on bright days. Plus, it looks cool.
Long thermal underwear can be a lifesaver in cold-weather bug-out experiences. It’s available at all sporting outlets. Because of the flexibility of “long johns,” you can shove them inside boots and other items in your bag to save space. Flannel pajamas could also work here, but they’re not as form fitting.
You wouldn’t forget to wear clothes when you go outside your home, so don’t neglect to pack many of these clothing items in your bug-out bag or vehicle. Staying warm when you’re bugging out is essential to your comfort and health.