So, you may have heard that California is burning down, and our air quality is terrible in the Bay Area. Also, about 3 months ago I ended up locked in to a service drive, 8 miles from civilization, with the sun quickly setting. By sheer luck I had water and snacks in my car so wasn't miserable, but that easily could have been a pretty awful situation. In honor of After Disaster Broadcast, I'm going to make a lovely list of scram bag supplies I kind of wish I'd already had prepared *before* a natural disaster hit my area, and I advise keeping in your car in case you end up stranded somewhere.
1. A Particle Mask: Even if you think you're some sort of super-lung badass, don't have chest pain, asthma, or lung issues, and aren't super noticing the smoke/dust, it's harming you. If air quality is bad in your area, you are doing yourself a serious disservice by not protecting yourself. On very bad days, poor air quality feels like a heaviness and difficulty breathing, but even on mild days of bad air it is exhausting and headache-inducing to breathe in tons of particulates.
The cloth ones at the hardware store are fine in a pinch, but they're hot and hard to breathe in. If you're going to be wearing a particle mask all day/night because you're in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (or 30 miles away from a massive forest fire) something more serious is significantly more effective and comfortable. My GVS P100 mask arrived a few days ago and I'm SUPER happy with it. Even on hot but smokey days, the seal is good, not too sweaty, and it's easy to clean. I wish had had this when the smoke was REALLY bad last week, and now that I have it I plan to keep it in my car in case of emergencies in the future. A serious particle mask is kind of like insurance: you don't ever want to be in a situation where you need to use it, but if you are in that situation it's usually an emergency and you'll be super grateful that you thought ahead.
2. Water Source: Nothing is more miserable and potentially dangerous than being thirsty. Some parts of NorCal right now have a boil warning on their water because of broken pipes, but also no electricity or gas to boil it with. If you end up stranded in your car, you're equally fucked. One obvious solution is to keep some jugs of water just in case in your trunk, but the lifestraw is also good in a pickle and can be added to a scram bag for making a fast exit.
3. Warmth: I keep something like this jacket in my car. It's not fashionable or durable but if you're stuck somewhere and cold, its super good to have on hand. There's also a variety of compact windbreakers on the market good for cold and wet emergency situations.
4. Survival Tools: It's always good to have a lighter and a knife on hand. I am almost always wearing this hair-clip multitool, which has a small but functional knife on it and other tools. I also keep a cheap $5 switchblade in my car- again, it's not stylish or durable, but it works when I need it to and that's the most I ask of a pocket knife. There's so many different kinds of fancy lighters on the market, but honestly just a pocket lighter will do as far as making sure you've got a flame source if you need it.
Of course, everybody's personal scram bags may have additional needs, depending on what your priorities are. Backup meds, protein bars, and first aid ointment likely make sense. But for me personally, I'm focusing my scram bag on breathable air, drinkable water, and not being so cold I'm prone to getting sick. I've got enough fat storage to be okay (tho crabby) if I somehow can't eat for a day or two.
What is your #1 "gotta have it" scram bag inclusion?