Re-Prep – Your Winter E-bag

Posted on November 27, 2011

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Time is here to Re-prep, or reset your Emergency Bag, BOB, GHB, etc….

For those that haven’t noticed, ‘ole man winter is here.

BOBs (for the purposes of this post, all bags are BOBs…) need to be reset now and then for new missions, conditions or contingencies. Replace old foods and water supplies.

Winter bags could benefit from the addition of:

  • Heavy socks
  • Fresh underwear
  • Winter clothing as dictated by your geography (see below)
  • Parka or rain covering
  • Goggles
  • Hand warmers, or other types of compact heat such as chem heaters, pain relief heaters or those nifty little 108 degree chicken shippers
  • If you have MREs, pack some meal heaters for them, too
  • Foods with higher levels of fat than usual, to keep your body fueled and heated

Anything that you would put on for a long walk in bad weather should be in your bag, or be ready to wear in conjunction with your BOB, and stored with your BOB. Do NOT separate, or use those items for daily or intermittent wear. It needs to be with your bag.

Suggestions for winter wear, subject to your needs:

  • Boots; hiking type, water proof
  • Gloves suited for operating your equipment and pack
  • Hat, cap, baklava, ski-mask, etc….
  • Waterproof or resistant pants, over shirt and coat

Regarding your boots, whether you have  a pair or not, be sure they are well broken-in before you stage them for your winter gear. If they are new, I suggest you put them on and use them, even indoors if need be. Get them in shape for duty, and get your feet used to wearing them. If you don’t, you may well end up very uncomfortable, and maybe unable to use them.

Your gloves should be tested. Put them on and see what you can and can not do in operating your gear. Open and close your BOB zippers. Coat or parka zippers or buttons?  See about eating and drinking. Can you pull out your medical kit, or open it if mounted externally to your BOB? Can you get the gloves or mittens off FAST if you need to for emergencies? Not everything is usable with gloves, so quick ditching of them is a useful skill.

Your head wear needs to be effective for your environment. A lot of body heat is lost through our heads. Yes, as calm as you may be, you are a hot head, or should be. Be sure your head gear protects against heat loss. You can always remove items as you heat up, and regulate your temperature by donning or ditching layers.

Wet clothing will suck the heat from you pronto. Especially cotton. Cotton fibers collapse upon themselves when wet, and transfer heat away from your body and out to the air. It’s great for cooling in the summer, but it can kill you in freezing weather. Your outer layer of clothing needs to shed water. Some of the waterproofing sprays such as Camp Dry can enhance the shedding ability of clothing. Be sure to test any treatments you apply for effectiveness.

Want a really good test? Suit up, go outside and have you best buddy spray you down with a garden hose. If you do well against that, you’re probably pretty water resistant. Better yet, make it a contest, and douse each other. Who says you can’t have fun prepping?

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Posted in: BOB