Check Your Preps Regularly
Mark your calendar and check your preps at least twice a year, preferably right before fall and right at the start of spring. This is when you inventory your Bug Out Bag, your Get Home Bag and any Bug In or home preparedness items.
Doing this seasonally is important because you may need vastly different sets of clothing and sleep gear for the cold seasons than you would for the warmer seasons. People tend to borrow items from their emergency kits and forget to replace them or their needs have changed and the bags haven’t been updated.
This is also the best time to fully unpack your bug out bag, go bag, automobile bug out totes, bug in, shelter in place and get home bags. I mean really unpack them (one at a time obviously) and inspect each item individually for wear, breakage, leakage, or any issue that might impair their operation.
- Unroll your rolled items (tents, tarps, sleeping mats, etc), look for mold, dampness or spots that may need patched or repaired. Let them air out.
- Unfold your folded stuff (socks, clothing, bandanas, blankets, ground tarps, etc), also check these for mold, dampness or spots that may need patched or repaired
- Unpack everything packaged together (first aid kit, hygiene kit, cooking kit, cookware, fire kit) and inventory the items. Really write them down and verify them against lists online, to see what you may be missing or what is expired.
- Check electronics, power them on, test them, check the battery compartments to ensure no leakage. You should NOT store electronics with the batteries in them. Keep the batteries out of ALL devices to ensure fresh batteries, and avoid battery leakage.
- Check your packed survival food. Check for expiration, holes or cracks in the containers, smells, etc.
- Check your home food storage, ensure you have properly rotated food and are practicing FIFO (First In First Out).
- Make sure the clothing in your pack or gear still fits properly and is proper for the season and weather. Take a look at these for mold, dampness or spots that may need patched or repaired. Let them air out
- Inspect the backpack, bag or tote itself. Is it worn? Is it still solid? Has a family of mice moved in?
This is the tedious part of prepping. It’s so much fun to buy and test new gear, but once you shove it in your bag with everything else, you might end up with a bag of chaos, and you need to do your due diligence.
Is regular inventory of your gear important?
Recently, I unpacked my bug out bag. At first everything checked out but while running down my checklist, I realized that my compass was missing! This could really have hampered my navigation abilities, if I had discovered this while I was on a hike, or worse yet, bugging out. I may as well use my maps to start fires at that point.
Because of this audit, I was now aware that I needed to order a replacement compass right away and wasn’t surprised out in the middle of nowhere! This is why these regular inventories of your gear is so important. A lost or broken item might be an inconvenience, but in a bad situation it could be a fatal issue!
You don’t have to do it all at once, but make sure to Check Your Preps Regularly, at LEAST twice a year, more often if you can! That is the perfect time to reassess your load out and ensure that all is well and working!