When, in the course of “human events,” it becomes evident that the “junk” has hit the fan, your medical, bug-out, vehicle and home kits need to work well and last through whatever life may throw at you.
The process of weeding out the “fluff” to get down to the meat and bones of a good product you can bet your life on (and your family’s lives) can be annoying at best and detrimental to your survival at worst. In an effort to show you some basic solutions to the challenge of selecting such important components of preparedness kits, Category Five has developed these helpful guidelines.
Length, Width, Height: Start With The Basics
Making sure you have room for items in your home, vehicle or bug-out bag will save you both time and money. You would be surprised how many of your “favorite” bug-out tools won’t actually fit into your bug-out bag. You may spend a lot of time making sure you’ve considered every other guideline (below), but if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t ship.
Capacity: How Much Can It Hold?
Make sure it can contain what you want to put into it (or carry on it) as well as ensuring that the capacity measures up to your specific needs.
Adults need more water than kids do; men need more food than women do. Not carrying enough of something is almost as useless as not carrying it at all.
Weight: A Much-Underestimated Category
This can make or break every step of a journey. Make sure an item is necessary. If not, leave it behind.
Construction: Because They Truly Do Not Make Things Like They Used To
Take your time to research the quality of what you’re purchasing. Customer reviews of just about any product can be found online. Pay attention to what customers are saying, but be aware of false reviews and fake review sites that are nothing but marketing engines for the product manufacturers.
Price: A Deterrent For Many People To Preparing In The First Place
Hand in hand with quality construction, you often get what you pay for.
There may be some amazing deals where there is a world of difference between two products of the same price, yet don’t fool yourself into thinking you can build a great kit for $20. Spend twice as much up front for something that will last, or buy four of the same thing over and over because they keep breaking. In the end, spending more can save you money.
Shelf Life: Father Time Is Not Always On Your Side
A cousin to quality construction, shelf life is specifically reserved for perishable items (i.e., food, medicine, chemicals). The bottom line: Make sure it will be around when you need it. Have a plan that accounts for rotation. If possible, spend more for a better product like freeze-dried versus dehydrated foods.
Value: What Is Included?
With so many preparedness retailers available, you can often get a great package deal. However, don’t neglect the other guidelines and allow yourself to get sold a package of junk. Are you getting the best bang for your buck or double the trouble?
Utility: Does It Multitask For You?
As Alton Brown from the Food Network would say: “No unitaskers!” Always purchase something that can be used for things other than what you bought it for. Multitasking helps with system redundancy as well as weight reduction.
Check out www.CategoryFive.org for some great videos and ideas, or simply surf the Internet to help get your creative juices flowing.
Having these basic questions answered at checkout will help ensure you do not have buyer’s remorse and will give you peace of mind that you have a quality product you can depend on when you need it most.
–Christopher Teasdale and Austin Fletcher