The first two are the hardest to achieve since it takes considerable time to get, and stay fit, as well as practice those skills vital to a survival situation. But the knowledge part is easy.
I keep a modest collection of books at home that cover a wide range of subjects, everything from learning how to stitch a wound, to how to build a greenhouse. But if there was a major disaster and I had to evacuate to a retreat location, it would be impossible to bring my books with me.
A few years back I thought of bringing my laptop, with all my books in PDF format loaded on the hard drive. But laptops were pretty heavy, fragile, and had a short battery life. And how would you recharge the batteries if you had no power? Laptops run on between 7.2 V to 14.8 V. so even if you brought along a 12v solar panel you’d be hard pressed to get the battery fully charged even in direct sunlight. Without electricity the only ways to recharge a laptop were through your automobiles’ 12v cigarette lighter using a DC/AC inverter, or from a portable generator. So if you were bugging out on foot, then don’t bother bringing the laptop.
But the latest generation of e-readers, smart phones, and tablets have solved all these problems.
The first problem solved is weight and size, Smart Phones and Tablets are much smaller and lighter than laptops, and if you get a sturdy case for them they can withstand a bit of rough handling. The battery life is also much longer, anywhere from 4 to 14 hours.
The best part is that they all can be recharged from a 5.5V, 500mA source. This means that not only will my 12 volt 5 watt solar panel be more than adequate to recharge the battery, but on cloudy days I could also recharge it using either a hand cranked or pedal generator.
The whole kit consisting of a tablet, solar panel, hand crank charger, and bicycle generator, could fit in a messenger pouch 7” X 12’ X 2.5” and would weigh just over 3lbs.
Even if you had to evacuate on foot, it is well worth the space and weight to carry this kit since not only will you have access to hundreds of important books and manuals, but you could also watch some of your favorite movies on a flash drive. Anyone who has been without TV, internet and Wi-Fi for a few days knows how dull and boring things can get. Watching a good movie once a day would greatly improve morale. And since you have three alternative methods of recharging the battery, you’ll always be able to have it running when you need to. In addition the battery chargers can be used to recharge your radios and flashlights too.
Most Smart Phones and Tablets have enough on-board memory to store a couple of hundred books easily, but I don’t want to store my survival information on my Tablet for two reasons.
First, most don’t have that much storage space to begin with and since a survival library is something you would need only in an emergency, I don’t want to use up the internal memory when I’m using the device during everyday activities.
The second reason is security. Think how fast you would end up in an ‘interrogation room’ if you are stopped at the boarder or pulled over by police and they discover there are books on ‘Escape and Evade Tactics’ and ‘Army Ranger Training Manuals’ on your smart phone. There is nothing illegal about reading such books, I have them to be better prepared to survive a disaster, not plan a terrorist attack. But since law enforcement can’t seem to tell the difference between the two, I prefer to keep my possession of such material discreet. A Flash Drive or SD Card are easy to hide or conceal.
Many smart phones, tablets, and e-readers won’t allow you to use an external flash drive to upload content without either buying extra adapters and/or installing software and drivers.
Before deciding on which device you want to use as part of your Emergency Information System, do some research on whether that particular model has a standard USB port, a Micro USB port, or a SD Card slot, and if they are configured as an input. (Some USB ports are only used for charging and can’t transfer information at all.)
An Emergency Information System is a vital component to your bug-out gear since having access to a portable library of medical, wilderness, survival, technical, and homesteading books can provide you with the knowledge to overcome any obstacle and save lives. In addition, this kit will provide some entertainment to help restore a sense of normalcy during a disaster, which is especially vital if you have children with you.
Putting together a kit consisting of a Tablet, Solar Charger, Hand crank charger, bicycle charger and a couple of flash drives will run you from between $165.- to $600.- depending how much you want to spend.
I recommend you carry three flash drives. One for your Survival Library of books, another with all your personal information and scanned copies of your important ID and credit cards, and a third, or more, loaded with your favorite movies or YouTube videos.
For information on where you can purchase the various components and a collection of survival books on a flash drive click here: