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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: My Daughter's G.O.O.D. Bag

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Daughter's G.O.O.D. Bag


     What is a G.O.O.D. bag? Well, before I realized that being a 'Prepper' was a real thing, and before I had ever heard of a Bug Out Bag, I had a 'Get Out Of Dodge' bag. Then, my son and I had GOOD bags. Now my daughter has joined us. The hubby has one but it is not fully packed. He claims he can pack faster than all 3 of us put together. Sigh... still working on him. Might have to make him up a secret one!
      So while my son has a camo back pack we got from the Army/Navy Surplus Store, his sister and I are still sporting her old school backpacks. Hot pink love and a sky blue peace and love backpacks might not be the most top of the line militant/prepper gear, but, they suit us just fine. After all, I am a frugal/freecycling type of gal. Hubby and I have been discussing buying her a new back pack for Christmas, but it is still yet to be determined.
     Every 6 months, my daughter and I go through our GOOD bags and check to make sure our gear is in good working order, everything is organized, clothes are of the correct season, food is still in date, and everything we have added throughout the 6 months is in the right spot. Last check was in July, so checking in November is a bit early. Glad I did though. Her bag was a crazy, horrible MESS! Both of our bags were. It seems a little goblin has gotten into both of our packs and a lot of stuff is missing or switched around. It was hard to tell which back pack belonged to who. So irritating, but it gave us a chance to really go through the bags and talk about what was in each bag and why. We also reviewed medicines in her bag, evaluated her food as a 3 day supply and created a shopping list of things to pick up.
     Not everyone's BOB/Good bags look the same, neither will your child's. An emergency bag contents are determined by what you are packing them for. Generally, you pack what is needed to get from point A to point B as easily as possible. Think of your basic needs and go from there. A good article to read on creating a Bug Out Bag is over at Survival Cache. Being for a child, I have opted out from adding a lot of the 'normal' suggestions for safety and weight issues. Read all you can on BOB/GOOD bags and then decide what should go in yours. There is no perfect emergency bags, just bags you designed to be perfect for you. 

So what is in my 10 year old's back pack? Let's review!

Even though we are now entering cooler weather, her clothing will not change. We had decided to keep her jeans and an Under Armour type shirt in her bag last July. Those shirts help to maintain your body temp and keep sweat away from your body. She also has 2 bandannas and a toboggan. What she is missing is an extra pair of warm socks. My daughter informed me that she had no socks and I needed to add that to our shopping list. (Where did all of her socks go?) In the summer, we also pack her water shoes and an extra bathing suit.

Generally, people pack a 72 hour supply. That can get very heavy when you are trying to get all the food groups in and that really is not feasible. She has some Clif Bars (tm) that are super nutritious, but on the kid enjoyment side, not so much. Nuts, fruit and grain cereal bars, crackers and canned meats also go into her food baggy, along with honey and candy. You can get honey packs FOR FREE from some fast food restaurants. Honey is medicinal and very healthy. Lasts forever, gives you energy, tastes great, sweetens things, you need some honey in your bag! After we changed out her Easter candy for some Halloween candy, I had her put her food into 3 groups. Each one represented each day of the 72 hours. We discussed portion control and snacking for energy. We also reviewed the food groups and discussed the food in her pack did not consist of a well balanced diet. She came to the conclusion she was lacking fruits and vegetables. Luckily, we have been studying foraging in our area, so at least she has a bit of knowledge of what she can eat in the wild. We reviewed what she knew for certain that she could easily identify and eat. 

     We are not skilled hunters, so canned meats is an important addition to her pack. She likes Kipper Snacks, sardines, and Vienna Sausages. I made sure all of these had pop tops so she would not have to worry about carrying a can opener as well. Also, everything she has packed is ready to eat. She will not have to cook or prepare anything. She only has 1 bottle of water in her pack, for weight safety only. She knows how to filter water through a sock or other piece of cloth. A filtering straw is on Santa's List of stocking stuffers.

Motel samples of shampoo, conditioner and lotion are in another baggy. She insists on carrying a full size bar of soap, but also says she can use it for washing clothes. I'll let her have it. She has tissues, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and chap stick. Medications are loose in another baggy. Not every child can be responsible enough to carry their own medicines, but I am confident in her ability.  I quiz her regularly on which pills are which, uses and her dosage. She used to have a bag with an extra hair brush and rubber bands, but they seem to have disappeared. Her bag of band aids, neosporin, and hydrocortizone has also disappeared and has been added to the shopping list.

Every child's bag needs a bit of entertainment. She has chosen a book and Uno cards to carry with her. Missing is her little activity pad and most of her mini colored pencils. Colored pencils are a good addition for a bag instead of markers or crayons. They do not melt or dry out. The pencil shavings can be used for tinder and a sharpener can also be used on twigs to make kindling. More Santa's List stuff to replace missing items!

Goodness, my kid loves gadgets and gizmos! A lot of the stuff, I am not even sure she needs, but she knows what to do with it, so it stays. Some of the best are a paracord key chain with a compass (yes, she knows how to use it, but also knows the directions with out it), recycled pill bottles stuffed with dryer lint as a fire starter, and her multi-tool thingymabob. She wants a 'real' knife to go into her bag, but I am still debating on that. (See my Pumpkins, Knives, and Becoming More Independent post and you will see why) She has her own lighter and pill bottles stuffed with dryer lint. We are working on perfecting her fire making skills. 

YES! That is a solar garden light! She will attach it to her backpack for when she is walking so it can charge by day. At night, she will have her own little personal light. It is not super illuminating, but it does give you enough light for personal space. We brought in ours from the front yard when our electricity went off a couple of months ago and it kept us from tripping when we moved around the house. We also tested reading by it. The little light you see is a battery operated 'tea' light. It also provided enough light to read by. In the Gadgets and Gizmos photo is her military flash light she got from a field trip to a army ammo depot. We keep the batteries separate and make sure we switch them out and test them often. My daughter asked for a candle to to carry, but she is a bit klutzy. Hot wax and flames... Ummm... NO!

Some sort of shelter is generally included in most emergency bags. Now that I think about it, she used to have a towel and a large garbage bag in her back pack, but they are no where in sight. We have a small, lightweight tent that me or the hubby will grab and carry. The towel can dry her off, be a pillow, or a blanket. She has a bed roll type sleeping bag that can be slung over her shoulder or attached to her backpack. Also missing is a weapon. I think flight would be better than fight. We are working on self defense skills, but I have seen her in action enough to know she is not easily bullied. (Those stories are for another post!) 

I'm not sure how much her bag weighs, can you believe I do not have a scale at my house?  I will be taking it to work with me to weigh her and the back pack together. We will go over it and remove items that weigh more than they are worth after we find out. We are planning a hiking trip for next week around a local lake. We will carry our back packs and test out the functionality of the items inside, see if they need to be adjusted for weight, and it will also serve as practice in cause we need to Get Out Of Dodge. 
Our GOOD Bags are stored in her room behind her bedroom door. It is part of our evacuation procedures that she will grab these bags and either put them into the truck, or by the front door. Just depends on what we will be Bugging Out from. 
     We are back to being organized in our GOOD bags and we will pick up needed items in the next few weeks. Now, most of you die hard BOB carrying preppers will say, "Get you a proper backpack!" However, after reading an article on The Prepper Journal webpage, Is Your Bug Out Bag Going To Get You Killed?, I am inclined to say that our bags will be less conspicuous than my son's camo bag. If we are hiding in the woods, yes, we might as well paint a bulls eye on our back! I think we can fix this by draping or covering them with a jacket or trash bag.

What's in your child's BOB/GOOD Bag? I would love to hear what other great ideas you have!