Since this trip started in California, I basically had to head east for the trip (I won't be moving to the socialist-leaning Oregon - the eastern half of the state would be a wonderful option, but all of the political power is in the western part of the state - it's become more of a northern annex of California).
So, I had to prepare for mountains (Sierra Nevadas) and lots of arid desert that is punctuated with towns here and there. Twenty-plus miles between civilization is not uncommon. In short, lots of geographically diverse space to cross, and it could suck badly if you broke down in one of the dead zones.
This article gives suggestions on "15 things that should be in your vehicle during winter" is a good start.
Some of these supplies may save your life.Aside from the road salt, sand and snow chains, my car's Get Home Bag contains all of those items for two adults for three days.
- A shovel
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery powered radio with extra batteries
- Food and Water for 3 days
- Extra winter layers – hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Any necessary medications
- blanket(s) and/or bivvy bags
- Tow chain or paracord
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
- Snow chains
Things I have in addition to these listed items include:
- A pistol with 50 round of ammo, holster and mag pouch
- An AR7 survival rifle (a break-downable .22LR rifle) and 50 round of ammo
- Three means to make fire: Bic lighter, strike-anywhere matches, magnesium fire starter bar; plus Vaseline-soaked cotton balls and dryer lint for tinder.
- A means to purify more water. I have three additional means: purification tablets, a Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter and hiking pot/fire to boil
- A small ax.
- A fixed blade and folding knife.
- A multi-tool
- An 8x10 foot tarp
- Two cans of, "fix a flat"
- Mobile phones
- A 100 yd roll of 550 paracord (I know it was listed in the first list, but I want to make the point that I WAY over-do it with cordage. So many uses.)
- Roll of duct tape
Obviously, gear only gets you part of the way there. You need to know how to use it. So, skills needed include:
- How to change a flat tire
- How to start a fire
- How to build a shelter with the tarp (including knot knowledge) and local materials
- How to find water in arid locations
- How to accurately shoot both of the firearms
- Basic first aid
- How to stop profuse bleeding
Accept The Challenge
If you breakdown in BFE, how well are you going to fare? Are you alone, or with others? How many? What ages and skill sets do they possess? What skills do you possess to keep your name out of the local news reports about, "a body was recovered"...?
The Rule of Threes is one of those things you should keep at the front of your mind:
You can live...
- 3 minutes without air
- 3 hours without shelter (obviously during extreme heat or cold weather - and I consider fire to be a form of shelter)
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food
Prepare and develop skills accordingly...
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