Camping is Practice for Bugging Out
Many of you may have been camping for decades. But if you stopped camping and have not done so in more than five years you have been missing out on all of the advancements that have been made in the camping industry since your last excursion.
That makes you less prepared for bugging out if the need arises during a SHTF moment. So how can you get up to date? Get out in the wild! Buy a tent and some gear, get used to it then develop your feel for equipping yourself to survive in the great outdoors. There are a myriad of choices in terms of gear and equipment. Tents, stoves, and heating systems have made advances since my father’s canvas tent. Lighter waterproof fabrics make today’s tents better than ever before. I’ve had the benefit of decades of camping experience and have seen everything from my first Hillary tent to an REI tent to the quality of a German Vaude Tent. All of them performed differently, of course, some better than others. Many of us go to Walmart to buy a tent for camping without considering that price point and quality will determine what your experience will be. You can have a great time because you are prepared or a miserable time because you were unprepared. Don’t skimp on quality. Researching your equipment before you buy it will save you a lot of trouble. What should you know when purchasing a tent. When looking for a quality tent the build quality of the seams and its hydrostatic head (permeability) rating are critical. You can buy a tent with an HH rating of 1000mm or 10,000mm. The higher the rating the more waterproof the tent will be. The quality of the seams will determine if water will infiltrate the tent, therefore the seams must be equally as good as the HH rating. Remember that condensation is also a product of the tent’s Hydrostatic Head rating therefore the higher the HH rating the more likely you will have condensation. To avoid condensation make sure your tent has enough vents. Another thing to consider is the design of the tent. Avoid tents that have slopes with doors and no rainfly to cover those doors. Teepee tents often have this problem if they lack channeling to steer the water away from the zipper. With continuous rain, these tents will ultimately leak and continue to do so with increased usage. Those with tents like that should apply a coat of waterproofing on the inside of the tent. This will give you added protection from the rain and will enhance protection around the seams. Nikwax, Kiwi, and Scotchgard all make great products for waterproofing your tent. Remember, to apply several coats if your HH rating is low.
Aside from tents, we need to consider how we will cook our meals and warm the tent if needed. In a bug-out situation, you will want a very light tent that you can pack. That makes full-size stoves less of an option and limits what you can carry with you in your bug-out bag. To heat your tent a Buddy Heater may be your best bet as anything else would be too large to carry around. For cooking, a backpacking stove is a great option as it is light and only requires wood for fuel. If you want a butane option the Jetboil is one of the best on the market. But in a SHTF situation, it may be difficult to get butane so you will be limited to your own supply. Generally speaking, you could get between 3 to 6 uses out of a single canister depending on how many people are in your group. Your sleeping bag will also be key as it has to be lightweight and easy to store in your rucksack. One with a compression stuff sack will be your best bet as you can compress the bag to a small size. There are a host of other camping supplies that you will need such as food, toilet paper, and other items that will make your travel and stay more comfortable. I will leave that to you based on your individual needs. Of course, things such as lighters, a compass, flashlights, headlamps, two-way radio, and a knife are essential.
Practice with your gear regularly in order to remain prepared to be outdoors should the need arise. Always look for more efficient ways to do things around the campsite, including finding gear that will make your job easier. Lighter equipment should always be a goal, as always keep your gear and equipment from being a burden because of weight. Remember to keep your bag simple and avoid the attention of tactical bags unless you are tactically proficient and can defend yourself when someone is attracted to it. Camping regularly in all manner of weather is the best way to be prepared and effective in the outdoors. For those that want a more detailed look into go bags and gear, you can read my article on “Your Preparedness, Your Survival”, for more recommendations. Until then, stay safe and have fun learning.