As many of you know, I recently returned home from a very long road trip (8200 miles) with Mrs.J (and our mini-Dachshund). Being preparedness-minded and being so far away from home for so long, I wanted to bring along some specific prep items for “just in case”.
The just-in-case preps were intended to cover some of our potential needs if things went bad while we were out on the road so far from home.
While it would have been physically impossible to bring enough preps to cover all scenarios, the fact that we traveled in my truck enabled us to bring a bit more than an ordinary car.
Here is some of what I dragged along with me:
First of all, my ordinary 72-hour kit is always in the truck. I simply left it intact. This kit is typically designed to include ordinary prep items and enough food to assist for an approximate three day period.
MSB articles: related to “72 Hour Kit”
I did three things in this category.
1. I nearly filled a 70 quart Sterlite plastic storage bin (love these things for general storage and organization) with various canned foods to be used during the trip and/or for emergency. This included foods like canned chicken, vegetables, fruits, ravioli/canned-pastas, beef stews. Since nearly all hotels have microwave ovens we would occasionally eat this instead of ordering out. Brought bowls, utensils, can-opener to accommodate.
2. I brought along one of my buckets of freeze-dried ready-to-eat meals designed to provide enough calories for a month if need be… similar to this one:
3. In addition to my current supply of food bars that I normally keep in the truck, I bought lots more, especially the CLIF Bars.
Related article: The CLIF Bar Might Be The Best Energy Food Bar For Survival Kit
I filled another 70 quart Sterlite storage bin with drinks which included bottled water and other various cans of beverages for the trip.
Since water is one of the most important prep items for survival, I also packed an extra drinking water filter (in addition to the small portable Sawyer Mini that I keep in my 72-hour kit).
MSB Articles: Drinking Water Filters
While our plan was to stay with friends and/or in hotels along the way, I brought along a tent, just in case. It happened to be the Snugpak “Cave”.
While this particular tent is a fairly heavy duty (but still portable) all-season tent and small enough to strap on to a backpack, an ultralight tent would be even easier if you had to travel on foot.
Also brought along several fleece blankets.
If we ever had to hoof it, we were set to go with these backpacks…
I also built two kits into two separate Maxpedition Versipacks. These little packs are great for a day hike or other such needs. They’re not too big, not too small, can easily sling over your shoulder and they have enough pouches and storage compartments to fit just the right amount of “stuff” ;)
I always keep a pair of 2-way radios in the truck, and their are countless potential uses for “just in case”. I never had to use them, but it’s peace-of-mind having them.
I also brought my trusty portable AM/FM/Shortwave (with SSB reception) radio, a weather alert radio (especially while crossing “Tornado Alley”), a CB radio, and of course a cell phone.
Outwear & Footwear For The Seasons
The timing of the trip meant that we needed to take a variety of clothes, jackets, and gear for the various climate zones we would be traveling. We left in a raging blizzard and 12 days later later were 80-degrees sitting poolside at one of our friends in Twentynine Palms ;)
So we kept a storage bin which included winter coats, spring/fall coats/sweat-jackets, rain coats, hats/gloves, and we also brought along winter boots (no choice upon departure), hiking boots, and walking sneakers.
Each of us also had our own separate bin with extra clothes (in addition to what we had in our backpacks).
GPS. Portable handheld GPS unit with appropriate maps.
Non-electronic Map! Also, and very important, I had the latest Road Atlas for the country and I would also pick up paper maps at Rest Area /Visitor Centers as I entered new states.
Flashlights. Several flashlights, several headlamps. I ALWAYS keep a flashlight on the nightstand. I also discover where the hotel stairs/exits are in relation to the location of my room each night (power outage / fire, etc..).
Batteries. I brought extra batteries for my various electronic devices.
A “real” wrist watch ;) I happen to wear a particular Luminox.
Internet. My MiFi internet adapter so I could stay connected and keep working while on the road…
You have to overcome your normalcy bias when considering this category for a road trip. Most people don’t give it much thought since their world is seemingly secure with little or no worries of incident. However, I know better ;)
I had two general concerns. One was not knowing all of the locations that we would be staying along the way and the other was the “what if” SHTF while we were gone.
I split up the security category into three areas. Pepper spray, Knives, Handgun.
Related: Pepper Spray For Self Defense
I always keep a can of pepper spray and a decent full-tang knife for quick ready-access in the truck. While I’ve never had to use them (and hopefully never will), they’re there. In addition to my regular EDC every-day-carry knife, I also brought along several additional knives (listed later).
I also brought along my Smith & Wesson M&P 45, several extra mags, holster, and ammo. I was very careful with the legality of this and I was sure to transport in the most legal way possible. Handgun unloaded, no magazine inserted, in its locked case (which I kept within a separate “laptop bag” for extra concealment). The magazines and ammo were kept in its own small lock box and stored in a different location (within another shoulder bag for extra concealment). Both kept in the back of the truck, “not accessible to the passenger compartment”.
A provision of the federal law known as the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, protects those who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local restrictions which would otherwise prohibit passage.
There is an EXCELLENT book (updated annually) on this subject which is referenced in the following article…
Read more: Transporting Firearms Across State Lines
Along with our overnight bags and valuables, every night I would bring in the handgun bag and the ammo bag. A hotel room is evidently an extension of your home and entirely legal to posses a firearm unless otherwise posted. Due your due-diligence in exploring this regard.
Fuel. I would always keep the truck fueled up above one-half tank and I would fill ‘er up before checking into the hotel for the evening. I kept a 5-gallon jug of diesel “just in case”.
Parking. I would always request a room where I could view my truck from the window and/or park near or outside that particular window. If this was not possible, I would park nearest to the front entrance preferably under a light.
Alarm system. I kept a portable alarm system (motion sensing) in the truck overnight with the receiver in the hotel room. I would place one sensor on the dash and one inside the tailgate facing out. Fortunately the alarm never sounded! (Although I did test to be sure it worked.)
Cash. Although most people solely rely on plastic to pay during a road trip, it is smart to also bring EXTRA CASH, for “just in case”. I brought plenty.
Passports. Although we had no intentions of leaving the country, during a long trip it may be wise to bring along your passport, for “just in case”.
First Aid Kit. Although I always keep one in the truck, I beefed it up a bit more for the trip.
In addition to other ordinary items that one would take with them for a road trip, I know there was an awful lot more than I just mentioned (the truck was full), but these come to mind.
It’s always a challenge deciding what to take and it’s all affected by how much room you have, how long you’ll be gone, where you’re going, and the current events (risks) going on in the world at the time.
Food for thought.