30 May

One Step at a Time: Gander Mountain’s Contribution to My 72 Hours

shoes-69682_1280Monday was Memorial Day and I was lucky to the have the day off of work. As is typical on the widely acknowledged first day of summer we did some yard work, attended a cook-out with some of our good friends, and enjoyed being together as a family.

My wife and I did our best to teach our sons about Memorial Day and how it is a holiday that is much more than just fun. It is an additional opportunity to honor the brave men and women who have fought and died to make and protect this great nation.

Because the oldest is only six  (and the other three are four, two, and nine months) we are not sure how much of what we taught them actually sunk in but we tried. And we will keep trying every year. We feel it is extremely important to remember those that went before us and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the liberties we do today.

In addition to the normal Memorial Day traditions and goings on we took a trip to a really cool store. I had not been there before but had wanted to go for some time: Gander Mountain.

Cute little hat! We almost bought it for him.

Cute little hat! We almost bought it for him.

The kids and I loved it! And my wife did a good job enjoying us enjoy it. So many awesome manly things. The boys wanted to buy everything. Tents, sleeping bags, kayaks, guns, knives, you name it. It was pretty cool.

Our visit to Gander Mountain wasn’t just for fun though. We went with a purpose. We needed to buy a few things for our mini-72 hour kits (one for the car and one for my office).

We weren’t able to pick up everything we needed (for example, we ran over to Sam’s Club to buy some granola bars and candy bars) but we picked up quite a bit. We purchased compasses, tarps, some ponchos, a couple of neat emergency blankets, and a flashlight.

We are planning on going to Walmart to pick up the last few things we need for the two kits. We’ll get a couple of cheap backpacks, water purification tablets, a couple of whistles, and a few other little odds and ends to complete our kits. We plan to do that this coming week (I’ve been out of town at a conference for my work this week so the kits were put on hold).

I’m excited because when these kits are done we’ll get to move on to the next thing and we will be one step closer to being prepared.

Speaking of being prepared, since our trip to Gander Mountain my boys keep asking when we are going to get some kayaks. I’ll have to figure out which preparedness step kayaks fit into…

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24 May

72 Hour Kits for Your Car and Work

family in the mountains by car

Last post I shared how my family ended up with our 72 hour kit and a list of what is in it. If you missed that post check it out.

When my wife and I finished putting together our family’s 72 hour kit I asked her where we would keep it. She decided that the best place would be our son’s closet and I did not object. It is probably the best place in our home. So that is where it went.

A few weeks ago I heard about someone who was driving this last winter and whose car broke down. This last winter was unusually cold, so cold that a few times they cancelled the public schools here because the heating systems could not keep the buildings warm.

I imagined what I would do if my car broke down, especially during bad weather in the middle of nowhere. I realized that my 72 hour kit safely tucked away in the boys’ closet would not do my family any good in that situation. And what if for some reason I were stranded at work and could not get home? What then?

To solve the car concern we put together a “lite” version of our 72 hour kit that contained the essentials but not nearly as many of the amenities that our full 72 hour kit has. The “lite” 72 hour kit we keep in the car (we only have one so we keep it there but if we had two or more cars we would have one in each car).

To put it together we started with our full 72 hour kit contents list and took off the things that we thought we could get along without if pressed and stranded in our car. Things like markers, crayons, coloring books, and games came off. Matches and blankets stayed on though.

Because I work about three minutes walking from our home we do not feel like it is really necessary to have a 72 hour kit there for me, however, I am also responsible for the well-being of my team at work and so my wife and I put together a little kit that I keep at the office anyway just in case one of them need it.

Like with the car kit we pared down our full kit to include only the things that I would need if I were stranded at my office. Pens, paper, garbage bags, and a first aid kit were dropped because those are available in abundance at the office. Blankets, food, and some personal hygiene items made the cut.

If you would like to see what is in our “lite” 72 hour kits you can view the list for our car kit here or for our office kit here. I welcome any questions you have so please send them to me. If you have advice and suggestions please leave a comment so that everyone can benefit from your wisdom and not just me.

By the way, all of the things in all three versions of our 72 hour kits can be purchased at Amazon.com. If you found this or other information on this site helpful please consider purchasing through this link. If you do, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. And you will receive my gratitude.

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20 May

How many hours? 72, of course

Last March we went and visited my parents. Even though they live in San Antonio, Texas we chose to drive there. It is simply too expensive to fly our entire family these days (there are six of us). We had a lovely visit with them and really enjoyed getting to know San Antonio better. It is a truly beautiful city with a rich history (the Alamo is neat but the Missions of San Antonio are way better).

As we were packing up our minivan for the trip home my dad asked me to bring back the Christmas present he had put together for us and for my sister and her husband (they live near our home). When he brought out two large, black duffel bags I remembered what our Christmas presents were (and had to completely rethink my packing strategy): 72 hour kits.

I am sorry to say that it took me forever to open up the 72 hour kit that he gave us and go through it but when I did I was pleasantly surprised at the great job that he did. The kit had almost everything.

It had a basic first aid kit.

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And some miscellaneous survival gear like a whistle, rope, matches, and bug repellent.
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Toilet paper is always handy not only for when nature calls but you can use it to start fires too. Duct tape, a poncho, hand warmers, and solar blankets were some other great things to have that I would not have thought of.
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Baby wipes are a necessity for my family because we have two children in diapers. Also, they are great for cleaning and would help us keep the little ones from getting too dirty. More solar blankets, some glow sticks (which would not only give us light but keep the kids entertained!), and a couple more whistles. Why more than one whistle? There are six people in my family and each group should have one (myself and the kids I am with, my wife and the kids she’s with, and our older sons) in case we get split up or need to split up.2014-05-08 21.42.21

The gloves made sense to me to protect my hands. The tarp too because we could use it as shelter. The duffle bag was a stretch but after some thought I can see why it would be helpful to be able to split the kit up and make it easier to carry. The safety vest, however, I’m still not sure about. Maybe because it is bright and would be easy for rescuers to see?
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Meals-ready-to-eat (MRE’s) are good too. There weren’t enough for the whole family to have each have three square meals but there was enough to get us through a 72 hour ordeal. We may add some later but for now it would tide us over.2014-05-08 21.45.44

There is more in the kit but these are pictures of some of the highlights. I have put together a list of everything (Google Doc) that we have in our main 72 hour kit. It is specific to our family but gives you a starting point. Download a copy and delete the things that you do not need and add things that you do. Because our family is not on any medications at present you will notice that there are not any listed. You may need to add them in your case.

I have to say thank you to my Dad (and Mom) for giving us this great gift. If you are looking for a gift to give someone you love consider giving them a good 72 hour kit. It is a gift that may save their life.

By the way, all of the things in the 72 hour kit that my parents gave us can be purchased at Amazon.com. If you found this or other information on this site helpful please consider purchasing through this link. If you do, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. And you will receive my gratitude.

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