Preparedness Items To Take On Vacation


July and August are popular vacation months. I am curious to know what you have thought about taking, or have taken with you on vacation – having to do with preps / preparedness for ‘just in case’…

I do typically bring some ‘extra’ preps whenever going away on a vacation. You probably do too. For me, it depends on…

  • Where I’m going
  • How far away from home
  • Length of vacation
  • The physical accommodations there
  • My method of transportation
  • Potential risks specific to the location itself
  • Pertinent current-events which may be occurring
  • Gun laws where I’m going

A list of a few things to consider – just enough to get your own gears turning:

Preparedness Items To Consider Taking On Vacation

FOOD. Although food can be purchased most anywhere, consider packing away some extra for the trip. Fairly easy if driving, and even easier if pulling a camper. You might choose some emergency foods that don’t require cooking too. I typically take a “GRAB & GO” 120-serving Entree Bucket from Legacy Foods (they’re actually in stock at the moment!).

WATER. Similarly, consider bringing a case of water with you, or buy one when you get to your destination.

PORTABLE WATER FILTER. A Sawyer Mini or similar is good insurance for safe drinking water! They’re small and easy to bring with you. When I take my camper, I bring a Travel Berkey countertop filter to use for all of my drinking water.

GASOLINE (OR DIESEL if Relevant). This is easier if you have a pickup truck and can carry it in the back… Whenever I travel, I generally bring along extra diesel in an appropriate jug/container. Additionally, I always keep my tank closer to Full rather than Empty while traveling! I also always fill-er-up when I get there…

CASH. Although seemingly 99% of people pay for everything with a ‘card’, I always bring plenty of cash if I’m on a trip. I pay for many things with cash anyway, so it’s part of my normal behavior.

PORTABLE AM/FM/SW RADIO. A small pocket radio as simple as this one, ‘Best Cheap Pocket Radio’, or a nice portable radio like I wrote about here – Best Shortwave Radio For Travel | Portable | Handheld | Hobby Listening

2-WAY RADIOS. Maybe a pair of Baofeng’s or Midland GMRS/FRS portable 2-way radios. Great for keeping in touch under some scenarios.

[ Read: BaoFeng Antenna | Best Upgrade for HAM Radio and ALL Other Bands ]

[ Read: 2-Way Radios For Communications | FRS – GMRS – MURS – CB ]

MAPS. A Road Atlas of the region you’re traveling is a tangible backup to your electronic GPS…

FIREARMS. If you have a concealed-carry-license, and if traveling out of state to another state, check for reciprocity. The other state may honor your concealed carry license enabling you to carry there. With that said, it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the related laws of the destination state.

[ Read: Transporting Firearms Across State Lines ]

FLASHLIGHT. I always keep a flashlight in every one of my kits. And in the truck. Vacation is no exception.

FULL-TANG KNIFE. While my every-day-carry pocketknife is practical for many things, I always bring a more substantial knife on vacation.

[ Read: If You Could Only Buy One Survival Knife… ]

I bring all sorts of stuff. It’s fun to prepare for a vacation in this regard. It can be challenging, especially when space is tight. What to bring??

Now lets hear from you. What other things might you take with you on vacation for the sake of preparedness?

This article originally posted several years ago.
I’m republishing, given that it’s summer right now…

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  1. I agree with your suggested items and preps. I personally do not intend to get more than 100 miles from home until after the elections. Only then by auto and with as full tank of gas as possible. That keeps me in areas that respect cc. I do not think I could enjoy a vacation under current social and economic threats. I would defiantly not fly anywhere.

    1. Totally agree with you Phoroptor. I think the list is a good one and is hard to expand on. Food, water, ready cash and personal protection of your choice are my priorities.

      I have stopped travel/vacations through and to those states that do not recognize my CCW license–like Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota for example. Agree on the commercial travel by plane. I will drive, take a train or fly my own airplane first before going commercial air which will be never.

      If the readers have a CCW by all means carry and also practice at a range or on your own property. Get Training. “The presence of a weapon stops most violence”…
      Out here.

      1. When I go on vacation and am driving, I always bring a small boom stick. Even if I travel through an area not friendly to the second amendment (which are usually high crime areas) , my philosophy it’s is better to be in jail than dead, so I have a small boom stick.

    2. We’re doing the same, Phoroptor. We usually go away every September, but that’s a 14 hour drive and well, we just don’t feel comfortable being that far away should things blow up further. Makes us a little sad as we look forward to it each year, but it just doesn’t feel right. Using that money to prepare instead. God be with us all.

  2. Everything you have on the list are in my vehicle at all times anyway except the large amount of cash. I normally have about 300 on me at all times. I bump that to about 1000 if I am going on vacation.

  3. You pretty much nailed it with your list.

    An emergency cash “stash” that goes beyond vacation:. we carry two credit cards in case one bombs out, which happened to us since we forgot to tell the company we were traveling. Good thing I had the extra cash until we could make a phone call.

    Also, if traveling out of country check you have cell international calling, you can get it for a short duration (think a month) for check-ins and emergency protection.

    I carry two tablets with chargers and two types of cell chargers (car, wall). We carry a charged car power pack to jump start, with jumper cables and a small tool box to hack possible fixes (like duct taping a hose, which I have done).

    Great list, thanks.

    1. The car power pack also can recharge cell phones a tablets a couple of times. Forgot to mention also carry a house or car powered small air compressor for a possible low tire, not expensive but peace of mind.

    2. Another reason to carry two all-purpose credit cards: my husband got a couple of hundred miles from home last summer when our credit card company called to say our account had been compromised. They immediately froze our account. Since he only carried one card he was out of luck except for the cash in his wallet.

  4. No vacations for me.

    If I have to drive 50 or 60 miles, (for a doctor’s appointment for instance,) I take water for me and for my dog if he is with me, dog leash, M & M’s, hard candy, and cheese crackers for me, biscuits for my dog, extra clothes, matches, life straw, backpackers stove, metal cups for boiling water, fold down shovel, traction mat, space blankets, first aid kit, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, jumper cables, flashlights, maps, compass, whistle, cell phone, cash, credit cards, checkbook, ID, insurance documents…

    I always make sure I have a full gas tank and my phone is fully charged before leaving.

    I keep several copies of a list of emergency numbers in case I die or am unconscious, listing my pets, their names, and where to find them, along with the name and number of their vet and names and numbers of people who would take care of them if I am unable. One of these lists is bundled up with my ID and vehicle registration where I hope the police would be sure to find them, but others are in the glove box, attached to the visor, and taped to the dash.

    Since I live in Wyoming, I should take a gun — perfectly legal even without a permit, but I usually forget.

    1. Thanks DaisyK For the reminder about pets and emergency contacts. I have to travel 100 miles once a month to see a specialist and would hate to have my pets suffer if something happens to me. I will make a list of emergency contacts to keep in my wallet right now.

      I have emergency supplies and food in vehicle all the time, everything on Ken’s list except gas and gun. I never let the gas tank get under half and my new weapon of choice may be a super soaker full of ammonia, an idea I got from reading comments here.

      Also, when I go I bring a small sturdy grocery cart and a bicycle to get home faster in worst case scenario.

    2. Daisy:

      Great reminders, especially the emergency numbers on hand. I’m usually really good at that, but have slacked lately. Thanks. We’re surely living in uncertain times and that requires much diligence!

    3. DasiyK, I understand living in Wyoming to always keep a full tank of gas, but many times I don’t. But as for not taking your gun that’s a no-no, if your car breaks down beside the road and it gets dark on you, just remember Law Enforcement may only be 50 or 60 miles away, and in some places farther, lots of unsavory people in this country. Even in Wyoming! Trekker Out

    4. DaisyK, keeping the emergency contact list is important. It was how I was notified last December when my father did not make it off the airplane coming home from a trip to China. I had been attempting to contact him and people he travelled with and the. The airline, but that is a slow process. The hospital immediately contacted me upon his arrival. His info said to contact me and that I had notarized docs to give me control of his health care and Poet of Attorney.

    5. I usually let people know where I plan on going, the intended route and planned stops. If things change I will update others with that info.

  5. Good knife/machete (if can be transported)/flashlight/pair of metal water bottles/multi-tool. At least a string bag, but an emptied Camel-Bak backpack to carry it all.

  6. We’ll be heading on vacation in Sept. and I bring everything you listed and more in the form of our two back packs. When we go on vacation, I always squeeze in a couple of days of camping so I can use all of our gear and make sure it’s operational and has everything we need. We have dehydrated food in there also but I buy steaks and other good foods to make it more enjoyable. On a different note, I cooked some black beans that I’ve had vacuumed sealed for seven years to see if they were still good. They cooked up fantastic except I cooked two many and had to eat beans with everything for two weeks.

  7. Two wks. ago we vacationed to Port Aransas a 4 hour drive from our home. The Ford Explorer has a 400 miles range, however we filled up every 150 miles. We carry two backpacks weighing about 20 lbs each that contained items for shelter, fire starting, navigation & security & 1st aide kit. We also carried food, water & toiletries & boots in the SUV. In addition to the 45 & 9’s I brought along my 30.30 Marlin with a scope. Also a Nikon binocular.

  8. We’ve never carried a gun on a vacation (too many chances of crossing an unfriendly border). Other than that, good list. My first thought on reading the title was “Nothing,” but after reading the list, we carry everything on it with that one exception. I just never thought of it as “preparedness.”

    We went up to Oregon about a year ago, and to Kansas last spring, but I don’t consider either of those a vacation. I prefer staycations. :) I end up writing no matter where I go, so I might as well do that at home.

  9. We also don’t plan on vacationing anytime soon. The most we do is take a day trip and keep it 50 miles or less if we can. So our GH bags are significantly lighter. Water and life straws, food with compact calories, flashlights, fire starter, cash, extra clothing, small tarp and maps. I know some things would be nice to have but at this point I think speed to get home quicker is more important. The heavier the pack, the slower we go.

  10. Portland OR. To see my Mom in January will be the next adventure, and you ALL know how much I just LOVE Portland….. But mom is turning 95 and I sure as heck better be there. So I always rent a mid-sized four-wheel-drive and drive the 1000 miles each way. I rent because if I have to abandon the vehicle…. Well that’s what insurance is for right?

    I normally just load up the everyday-carry, vehicle-bag, get-home-bag, extra warm stuff (winter ya know), and the Bug-Out-Bag. Toss in an extra 2 cases of bottled water and a couple of cases of Military MRE’s. Ohhh and I can’t forget about Blue’s supplies, mainly extra food for him and his bed… HAHAHA

    As far as firearms, I carry all the time, even in Oregon, I could care less if it’s legal or not, If I’m carrying correctly nobody knows if I have a firearm on me or not. And if I do get nailed I will gladly pay the $200 fine, I made this decision 4 years ago when traveling through Salt Lake City UT. and Portland OR. I REFUSE to travel through 2-3 million person cities unarmed.. PERIOD. I also drop an AR behind or under the rear seat with enough ammo to occupy France…. Bad example but you get the idea.

    Other than that, keep the tank 1/2 or fuller, the tires on the ground at all times, keep rested, take yar time and drive safe.


    1. So, NRP; “I also drop an AR behind or under the rear seat with enough ammo to occupy France….”
      Is that just 1 round, or 1 magazine half full? LOL

  11. Just got back from vac. At the lake. 100 miles away. Took a water filter. 3days of food. In case I had to hump back home. (20 miles a day). And my ar. With 600 rds. in bandoliers. and a hand gun.

  12. The only thing I don’t see on anyone’s list is extra OTC and prescription medicine which can make life easier if readily available. The next thing would be the KI (potassium iodide), if something serious happened while on vacation this is one item that you wouldn’t be easily obtainable if at all.

    1. We always carry any meds. that DH needs in my EDC and I don’t take anything so nothing to carry, but good idea on the potassium iodide. I will make adjustments to our GH bags.

    2. When going on vacation, I always bring enough plus extra medicine. Don’t want to bring a weeks worth of medicine for a week vacation when the car could beak down or some other incident that requires me to stay there for a few extra days. Extra medicine always.

  13. When you live in paradise, there is no need to go on vacation. Wilderness out the back door for hiking, snow-shoeing, streams for fishing,…. I make family come here for a learning experience. Traveling brings risk of accidents, breakdowns, robbery,…too much exposure for me as the world tumbles.

  14. All of my cars already have an emergency bag with some granola bars, water, knife, cash, paracord, change of clothes, rain ponchos and life straws. I don’t really need to pack anything extra for a longer trip. It just stays in there all the time.

  15. ChiefPontiac,

    The burden of proof on the individual is at the federal level for sure. At the state level, most states like Texas place the burden on law enforcement to prove it is. Now if you’re carrying an extra 1,000 that will not even peck LEs interest, but 10,000 or more in shrink wrap hidden it the trunk under the spare tire might!!!!!

    1. I would suspect that 1 or 2K would generally not provoke LEO’s suspicion – unless one fits the attire of a gang-banger or such…

      However that statement surely does not fit every locale.

      1. Ken,

        I have heard of poor people losing @2,000. There are stories on the internet of people losing small amounts. It’s not the amount, but the amount in proportion to the perceived ability of the victim to fight the seizure. $10,000 wouldn’t cause a LEO to get greedy if the person was an attorney or city councilman, etc. But even a few hundred in the possession of a homeless person is not safe.

        When I used to serve summons’, I had occasion to serve one that said, “The State of Colorado vs. $769.00.” This was 15 or 16 years ago, so that is more than it would be worth now. The person I served told me that her boyfriend had been arrested for failure to appear on a speeding ticket. The money was laying in plain sight on a coffee table and the police stole it. They didn’t have the money for a lawyer and since it was a “civil” matter, they couldn’t ask for one to be appointed to them.

  16. Our standard vacation/travel/road trip carry kit, consists of our EDC kit, one on each of us, my folding stock Mumbai-Hotel special-defense-Thug-repellent-gear, extra water, food, cash, we always carry cash! And we choose to drive in vehicles that don’t attract attention, nor do we drive differently than the “flow of traffic” so that makes it much harder for the constabulary to “pick us” unless they are looking for out-of-state plated vehicles to “fish”.

    We don’t travel anywhere without our protection gear, period. Our lives matter too much for us to turn butt up in submission to any of Soros’-political-pimpage-social-justice-weenies.

  17. I keep a stocked first aid kit in the trunk, along with my “Trunk gun” (AR15, 6 mags of ammo and a cleaning kit). I’ve also made a habit of keeping a couple gallons of water (we always have our Nalgene water bottles, plus a water filter) and some baby wipes in the event a stop in woods is needed. Ponchos for keeping dry if necessary, plus the usual get home bag.

    As a CCW holder, I always have 18 little friends available. I’ve been considering getting some bear pepper spray that Amazon sells, as it could be helpful if ever stuck on the freeway/interstate by “protestors”. Strong enough for a grizzly bear, should work well on humans :-)

  18. This article is perfect timing for us. Getting ready for a few trips in the next few months as it keeps hubby happy. He is still a tad burned out on all the prepper stuff and the homestead lifestyle. I keep trying to find a happy medium, (some prepping on the sly), and I do realize that we cannot live our lives in fear. So I have agreed to a few vacations; more like long weekends away but I do plan for the worst case scenario. And I too, will no longer fly. It’s driving our own vehicles (and I do carry). This morning I have been wondering if we are just going to continue a long, slow collapse. This could drag out for years. Anyway, blessings to all here…..

  19. Our preps and animals kind of hold us hostage to some degree so we don’t do vacations although that’s not the only reason. We’ve been on several “vacations” over the years only to return home burned out and broke. Plus, the current state of America combined with my temperament renders a true vacation untenable. I can find a lot better things to do with my time than spend a bunch of money looking at things I can never have or worse, wind up beaten to death by some psychopathic cop, or in prison for beating his a$$ to a pulp, all because I wasn’t subservient enough to satisfy his adolescent cretin brain cells.

    Over the years we’ve incorporated things into our lives that are interesting enough on their own to keep us from not really wanting to go see how other people live. We’ve built-in enough diversity into our lives to be quite content to never have to go anywhere on vacation.

    Then again, I’m afraid that if we did go somewhere for a week or long weekend to “unwind”, we’d come back to a house broken into and ransacked. I have collected too many valuable tools and preps that I don’t care to have stolen and passed around on the black market only to be used in a crime somewhere by someone, whom it is quite likely I’d use those same items against if they broke into my home while I was there. Some things are actually worth staying home for.

    Besides, we’ve already been around the world a couple times and figure we’ve seen enough of other peoples insanity and poverty. We don’t really want to see any more. Just saying.

  20. I couldn’t agree more with ‘Crabbe’.
    Why go anywhere else when you have all you want where you are?

  21. Well since my “house” goes with me everywhere, I’m pretty prepared. I did make sure I bought an RV with 100 gallon fresh water tank. I have lots of food especially dehydrated stuff because of the weight factor. And NRP would would be proud of me, I have TP stored everywhere you can imagine! We have 60 lbs of propane and we are having solar panels installed soon. You really have to think about what you need and what you can do without. A water filter system is a must! Our truck has 2 fuel tanks plus we have 2 5 gallon extras. And some for the genny. I wouldn’t fly anymore just too scary! We try to go around big cities as we hate those too. If things look bad we will high tail it to our property and stay put. We do like to boon-dock away from lots of people and we make sure we can defend ourselves.?

  22. You might want to take Mexican Train and books for the days when it is raining, and it always rains or even snows when you go on vacation.

  23. The last two weeks of July – I drove cross country to help out my brother.

    He lost his machine shop, and his outbuildings from one of the worst fires this summer.

    I took all my tools for easy roadside repairs on the car (If needed – and none were needed.)

    I took my EDC Bag, and my BOB. After all, the BOB is everything you’d need just in case right?

    Sadly I left my firearm at home locked up. I’d rather not step foot into Cali with a gun. Lord knows what would have happened if I would have had any problems and a LEO were to show up. Blissful ignorance with your gun in your car loaded and an expression of “Oh? I forgot?” would only show irresponsibility of owning a firearm in a LEO’s eyes I’d think.

    I also took extra canned goods and 2 cases of bottled water, along with a gallon of oil and a gallon of distilled water and coolant/antifreeze – you know… for crossing the Mojave Desert – You just never know when your car will get thirsty and overheat out there.

    The trip went well. No mishaps. Take care of your cars, and they will take care of you.

    My brother sure appreciated the extra hands. He will rebuild.

    He tossed four cast iron skillets into my trunk while I was packing. “Here, They are already prebaked – now all you have to do is season them” LOL!

    I love my brother. :D

    1. Y03,
      California is NOT an “issue” if you know HOW/WHERE to transport a firearm. Outside of the major metro area cities, mostLEOs are gun-friendly with “normal people”. I was born and raised there, served in law enforcement in SoCal, we raised our kids there too. It’s not as bad as one might think the scum in Sacramento want it to be.
      Just don’t attract law enforcement attention, and no one will ever know what you have with you. Yeah, it IS that easy.

      1. TP I could not agree more. I can’t believe the number of people on this site that travel without a gun, especially with the condition this Country is now in. Maybe if you have to travel on public transportation you would go unarmed, but never in your on vehicle, I can’t imagine not being able to protect my family if the need arises. Most of us know the States that are unfriendly about gun ownership, so if your worried just do the safe thing and put your fire arm in the trunk separate from the ammo, then get it back out when in friendly territory. Just remember a gun is not for killing people, it’s for protecting you and your families lives, anything else is unacceptable! Trekker Out

  24. I always take a get home bag with empty camel pack, mini-Sawyers, 2 full water bottles, para cord, compass, several weather proof fire methods, 2 fixed blade knifes, 2 folders, rain gear, a full sized .45 ACP handgun w/ 128 rounds in my bag, a compact .380 with 106 rounds in the wife’s. A Keltec Sub-2000 in .40S&W with 160 rounds in my bag, whistle, a box of energy bars, several carabiner clips, two flashlights in my bag, one in the wife’s, camo clothing, camo rain gear, extra batteries, bug spray, ibuprofen, and a few other items I’m sure I’m forgetting.

    I also keep a hatchet, extra para cord, tool kit, level 2 body armor, and my Sheriff work bag in my vehicle at all times. My work bag has a medical kit with gunshot and hemorrhage wound packs, more ammo and mags for my .45, OC (pepper spray), an assist open folder, cuffs, more rain gear, police radio with mic and ear piece, a duty belt, baton, two more lights and batteries, and a few other items. I also always make sure I have a good pair of shoes, even when traveling just out of town.

    We live 20 miles from a city of 200,000 and go there once in a while. These items always go with us. Anytime traveling further, I also always take a Rand McNally and usually throw in some extra water and food. I also keep about $300 in silver and $500 in cash when traveling. I always keep $100 in silver and $100 cash in my vehicles. Been thinking about switching the Keltec out for one of the AR’s, but a rifle that folds in half and fits in my bag is just too convenient.

      1. Amen. Going to be a lot of stuff abandoned within a mile of hoofing it, by some folks. Can only guess that is the plan if vehicular traffic stops. Probably a fine inventory as long as the “shagb” (stuff hits a gentle breeze), not involving a loss of use of the SUV.

      2. Not planning on taking it all. Will assess the situation and take what I need. Also have a wife and 4 kids aged 7 to 15, so they will be carrying some things.

    1. ChameleOn, your pack out is the closest to mine – I always travel with my hatchet too! And I always bring PMs along with cash. My vehicle contains a lot…more than I would walk away with but it would depend on the situation. And packs are loaded in order of what is needed to grab and run and what can be left behind.

  25. My family used to declare that I had everything ‘including the kitchen sink’ in the vehicle when we left on a trip. I would smile and say at least I will have it with me if I need it.

    We no longer travel but I still have carry items with us when we go to town, it is still a ways to be without dh’s special go bag. I keep larger bottles of water in the car for us to refill our drinking containers.

    When & if dh is up to traveling, we will go north towards the Dakota’s we have family and friends that live up there. I will have to learn how to pack all over again. ;-)

  26. I just drove from FL to TN and and back, took a rifle with me. Did not take a battle rifle but a lever action .44 mag. Didn’t want to try and explain an AR to some unfriendly LEO. I also keep an E-Tool and extra boots and socks in my car as well. You just about covered everything. I had a bail out bag ready with food, water filter and ammo, etc. in case I had to abandon the car and hoof it.

  27. Recently did a 3000 mile circuitous road trip with my wife. I brought along my usual ALICE pack get home bag with clothing, food, and some spare ammunition. I also keep, separate from the bag in case the bag is taken, $1000 in cash, just in case of emergencies.

    During our trip, my credit card number was stolen in a tourist area. The credit card company’s fraud algorithm caught it, thankfully – but they shut down the card as a result. I did have a debit card, but after having my credit card stolen, the last thing I wanted to do was use my debit card and risk having that compromised as well.

    My emergency wad of cash, plus the few hundred dollars I had in my wallet, allowed us to continue our vacation. Of course, this wasn’t a life or death situation, but it served to demonstrate how reliance on credit cards and electronic banking makes us vulnerable.

  28. I, like some others here, don’t travel far from my home for vacation, but stay in my area. Where I live is where many come to vacation, in fact my job depends on helping vacationers have a good time. My time off is fishing the lakes I grew up on all the summers in my life, and then I go home. My daughter vacations at my home and couldn’t be a better place for her to be.

    I carry a 3 day BOB in my truck and in my boat I carry it with me plus an emergency blanket, rain poncho, oars for breakdowns, life-jackets, and fishing gear.

    I’ll never forget an old rendezvous friend named George Patterson (Peg-Leg) who took 4 boy scouts on an afternoon boating trip and got stranded on an island during a severe storm in the early ’80’s. He carried the essential tools and a rain poncho and they caught the food they ate, spent the night in a makeshift lean-to with a fire started by birch bark which fueled to dry the wet wood they found, and were able to leave in the morning with every one fine and dry. It wasn’t just the tools needed, it was the know how.

  29. A good place to start would be to examine what you would normally take on a five-day backpacking trip.

    1. Well said. Just got back from WY on a pack trip to 10.5, 10 mi in with the family. Items listed are nice, but each situation is different as is the gear.

      1. SDman, interesting. Where did you go, and did you have pack horses? Trekker Out

        1. Cloud Peak Wilderness and yes on the packhorses….my teenage boys. First time I didn’t have to lug one of the tents.😀.

          1. That’s beautiful up there in the Big Horns, my step daughter and son-in-law use to live up there at a church camp, near Burgess Jct.

  30. Top 5 items to take on vacation:
    5 – Fixed blade knife
    4 – Fire starting kit
    3 – LifeStraw
    4 – 20 silver ounces
    1 – Gun/Ammo

  31. To Sunny California:

    I would like to hear from you about the new regulations on guns allowed in that state now. I still have family down there and may have to visit for business etc. I knew the laws were restrictive when I left and all guns within my truck were unloaded before I crossed the border (in locked cases, separate from ammo) In my truck and in luggage, I bring a pump shotgun and small revolver/Ruger LCR. open assist lockblade is always on me as is pepper spray when I have to travel in San Jose, CA. I avoid San Francisco as handguns are against the law there.

    My last vacation was to hunt ground squirrels in Eastern Oregon so I brought several rifles in 17 HMR and 22 Hornet with slightly over 1000 rounds of ammo. I did not use ammo as barter items this time butt my load in ammo was a lot lighter on the return trip home.

    1. A few years ago when I left beautiful CA, it was illegal to transport your gun anywhere other than to or from the range. No stopping at the grocery store for a soda, no other errands. Guns were to be in a locked case with ammo locked somewhere else. Ridiculous!! What if you were going hunting? That is not the range.

  32. Be sure to include “TP Kits” — one (or more) in each vehicle, and one in each “emergency bag”(EDC/GHB/BOB/INCH, etc.) Having found myself traveling and lacking a TP Kit when I really needed one (unexpected gastric distress about an hour down the road from that damn desert diner), I can tell you it would have made for a whole lot safer, less stressful, less unpleasant, and more complete and efficient job of “cleaning up” if I had just had these few necessary items organized and handy. Believe me, when that “urgency” widens your eyes, you do not want to find yourself on the side of the road searching frantically for a grape leaf to wipe with.

    Assemble simple, compact, lightweight “TP Kits” from these common items:
    -A quart-size Ziploc Freezer Bag containing…
    -Partial or full roll of quality Toilet Paper
    -Small tube of Petroleum Jelly
    -Several pairs of Nitrile Gloves (you decide how many)
    -Several Sanitizing Wipes (e.g., Purell, Wet Ones, etc.)

    Should the call of nature ambush you at an inopportune moment, you’ll be glad to have a TP Kit at the ready.

    Very good article and comments. Thanks.

  33. Just came back from a “vacation” to Ren, Nv stayed at one of the big casinos took my bugout bag stored in a suitcase to try not arouse attention, yes it had a browning 14 shot spare mags etc. Felt very protected in the room while at night watched hotel security chasing all the druggies/hoodies/wack jobs out of the parking deck from my 20th floor window……had a fun time but was glad to get out of dodge and back to the boonies and home……end of story

  34. 3 Main things are Cash, Get home bag in the boot and keep the fuel tank topped up regularly. It’s pretty precarious nowadays so I always check the media for updates on the destination before going.

  35. Being a former Boy Scout I always have the “Be Prepared” items in every vehicle. I break it down into 3 categories- I want to be able to eat, sleep, and crap in comfort. If you can do those three things, you can put up with most else you encounter. Loose the comfort zone in any of those three categories, you quickly loose effectiveness. Consider what you need to have to do those if you had to abandon your vehicle and hike home. That is what you need in your get home bag. Weapons- more important to have skill with what you have than have the latest wiz bang gismo, all tricked out. Whatever you take, be proficient with it. My wife used to drop me off for a week at a time with what I normally carry in my pockets (chap stick, lighter, Swiss Army knife) and a rifle. I did just fine. My best friend and I did that every year for 21yrs, until he passed away. We grew up in the woods. Developing skills by spending time out in the woods beats buying lots of stuff every time. Practice, practice, practice. One cold miserable night out in the weather will teach you more than all the blogs you will ever read.

  36. Well, this is timely. My son and I are traveling from VA to Michigan next Monday to see a good friend, staying at her cottage for a few days, doing some hiking,kayaking, etc. She’s 84, always on the go and it’s hard to keep up with her. Then on the way home, stopping in northeast Ohio to visit my sister, age 78. She lives alone with no family except me in VA. I want to check on her. It will be a short visit as she’s not allowing anyone into her home because of virus fears. What a contrast. (She’s also a Trump hater, my Michigan friend loves him.) We’ll be on turnpikes/interstates most of the way and only stopping for gas and bathroom breaks. Have masks, plenty of disinfectant wipes, and plenty of hand sanitizer, Lysol spray, first aid supplies and also will have cash. Also bought a brand new can of bear spray at REI last week. Always also have wasp and hornet spray in the car. We’ll be packing snacks. Don’t know what to believe as far as he virus goes. I have to admit I’m a little concerned (both virus and violence) but we plan to take precautions and enjoy our time away. Hopefully the crazy Michigan governor won’t close down the state.

  37. Ken, your list of items and your comment; “I take all kinds of stuff.” made me chuckle as it took me back to memory lane, maybe the primer and beginnings of my prep-per lifestyle.

    I was 26, 27 maybe. Going through a crummy divorce. Had met an older man, well, eleven years my senior that was helping me out emotionally and spiritually.

    He was a long-time fisherman and I was in the beginning stages of becoming a lifelong addict myself so we decided to go out one weekend on a fishing trip. I was similar to Ricky (one of the above contributors), took only the bare essentials.

    As we got the small 12′ boat in the water, I trotted back to the van and retrieved my cap, tackle box and rods and headed for the boat. Meanwhile, my friend had already made two or three trips and had not even touched his tackle. I watched. After the boat was almost completely filled, similar to a lady’s purse—with everything under the sun—I finally said, “Jim, where are we gonna sit!” He assured me we might need any of everything boarded. I was quietly almost seething for the lack of comfort as we got underway, but:

    Everyone knows the rest of the story…It started to rain later in the day. Of course he had extra rain gear. We were doing so well, the day went long…food enough for the whole week let alone a long day on the lake. And on the story goes with other examples of; “Oh yeah got that, it’s right up under such-and-such pile.”

    We fished many more years after that first outing and in time learned a valuable lesson about preparing for: What may be needed.

    I have become one of them…ahhhh!

  38. For us a vacation and all that’s involved is just simply to much work in an effort to relax. Another good reason to stay home and recognize that happiness is a state of mind not where you are. A great checklist for leaving home for any reason however

  39. As a long time New England skier, I always pack my car as if I was going to have to spend the night in the car after skidding out into a ditch or get stuck in a parking lot or road side due to road closures. So the 10 basics, 3 days of food+water, extra layers of clothes, shovel, sand, come-along to self-winch, etc. Non-winter load is change shovel type and leave the ski equipment at home. Always had a pair of snowshoes for winter as well.

    My everyday carry has always include cash stash, multi tool, flashlight, and vary-by-jurisdiction protection. Anyone ever carry the original Maglight where you could keep screwing on extra sections for additional D cell batteries? I had a Local LEO recommend that I should stop adding to mine back when I was in my 20’s

    Never let the gas tank get lower than half.

    In Pacific NW, carry skiing load plus extra water for earthquake. I always hope to avoid an earthquake with a side dish of avalanche given our constant travel through avalanche areas. I am a firm believer in Mr. Murphy.

    Leaving on vacation is adding in a suitcase of whatever event appropriate event clothing is required.

    Drive politely to avoid conflict.

  40. What’s a vacation? Seriously, been a long, long time. I do miss traveling to see the grand babies tho. Breaks my heart. But no more traveling for us during these crazy times. And no more flying – ever. Have talked to our kids about meeting somewhere halfway to visit. Not this year tho. And next year? Who knows? I do not plan that far ahead anymore. But I hope.

  41. We travel in a small motor home and are usually several days from home. We take a lot of what you mentioned including 2 large backpacks in case something happens and we have to walk home. They are usually packed with things we would need to travel home. Of course we are old enough now that we don’t think we can carry the packs! We bring along a small hand truck (made for women) with all road tires to ferry it along.
    Also so many states are now aloud to take any cash they find in your vehicle and keep it. I am always leery about taking a lot of cash.

  42. Everything on Ken’s list along with a 1500 watt inverter. I have heavy 2 guage cable with Anderson connectors connected to the inverter and the battery for quick hookup.

  43. I would take a couple of walking sticks, my cast iron Dutch oven and a tube of Shoe Goo.

  44. Battery operated air compressor for flat tires. Tire plug kit. Full first aid kit. Trauma level. Extra batteries and quick charger for the phone (if you have a phone with replaceable batteries).

    Fire starter, matches, blankets or low temp sleeping bag. Extra socks and undies. Trucker’s “pal”…5 gallons bucket with kitty litter in plastic bags…for that unexpected incident. Don’t forget a poncho. You can sit outside on the truckers pal with your poncho…darn near anywhere….! :)

    Semi-sweet chocolate bars. Protein bars and jerky.

    Vitamins, extra C.

    Coffee…..ground, for those times when you can’t find it.

    Emergency cooking unit, dishes, utensils, sanitary wet towels.

    Full tang knife. Esee 3 4 or 5
    or any Tops knife. Folding knife or multi-tool. Victorionox rescue knife.

    Cash, credit cards. Two handguns, one long gun. Multiple rounds of ammunition.

    Cooler with block ice in gallon jugs which you can drink as it melts. Lots of food items.

    Keep your head on a swivel.

    And have a good time……

  45. We cancelled our two week vacation 2 1/2 hours north at a lake cabin rental for fishing. With everything going on did not want to leave the home unattended. Also cancelled the fall annual duck trip; not going to fly, plus a 7 1/2 hour ride to the hunting camp, too remote and too far from home. Any length travel locally has the emergency bags (3 day packs), bag of tools, spare parts and repair items, portable compressor, medical kit, portable power pack, container of cloths. Many types of persuasion items. Many other things, a rolling (until it doesn’t) fun factory.

  46. I am taking the grands back home on Sunday. Most things are already in the trunk (your lists are covered and more), but I add extra, including their backpacks for this trip. The tanks is always kept above half full and I have my paper maps.

    We don’t really like to travel anymore but will do so for family. And having a business and animals keeps us close to home most of the time. One will stay home and one will travel…and we have protection of all sorts.

    What is in the vehicle is not what would go with if I/we had to hoof it, selections are done based on what will be expected. And if it was that bad, all of us would come back north.

  47. We will be taking our annual out of state hunting trip this fall with another family. This year it is a camping elk camp, not a travel trailer area. So we will be taking everything needed to camp for 2 or 3 weeks with us. Most of that is what has been mentioned above. We will be in grizzly territory so the firearms and bear spray are my first priority. The only states we will travel through are those that are 2nd Amendment friendly.

    The one thing that I travel with always now is an idea that came from Ken years ago. A gold bar. If worse comes to worse, that gold bar is an insurance policy that we could potentially get whatever we needed. Whether used as a bribe or a payment, it has the ability to maybe get us out of trouble or out of Dodge.

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