How important are dry, warm clothes? Have you ever had to spend much time in wet clothes or get warm after a wet chill? Don’t forget to include clothes and shoes in your 72 hour kit. What should you pack? Plan for any type of weather, especially if the emergency becomes a long-term survival situation. Consider the weather patterns in your area as well as those of an area you might be headed to in an emergency.
Survival clothing needs to help protect you in a situation that could get messy or extended. They should have the following characteristics: 1
- Durable – This may be the only clothing you have access to for a while. Make sure it is made of sturdy material that is easy to repair.
- Comfortable – If you have to be in this clothing for several days, it should be easy to wear, without binding. One size bigger (two sizes bigger for kids plus some 440 paracord for a belt) will allow ease of movement and make layering an option.
- Versatile – This clothing should be adaptable to changing weather, different types of terrain and different situations.
- Inconspicuous – Select clothing that will blend in to crowds and your environment. Dark and subdued colors work best, unless you need to keep up with your kids in a crowd. In that case try to select the same color for everyone.2
- Natural Fibers – Cotton, denim, silk, wool only – avoid polysynthetic fabric blends because they are more flammable than natural fibers.
Store the clothing you pack in plastic bags and seal them tightly to squeeze out the air and to keep them dry. Wet clothing can extract heat from your body much faster that than dry clothing. If you layer clothing and are exerting lots of energy, try not to perspire. If you feel like you’re getting warm, let your body heat escape a little at a time. Start by removing your head gear, then loosen your collar, unzip the jacket and roll up the sleeves.
The basic principle is to peal off layers to cool down and be prepared to replace them before you get chilled.
Pack clothing that can be mixed and matched should the weather change, you get wet or injured. Review them every six months to a year to make sure things still fit. Include closed toe shoes for everyone. Pack extra socks to keep feet healthy. Don’t forget head protection. Include these:
- Head covering – hats, knit caps, ear covering and scarf
- Sweat pants/jeans or work pants
- Cotton shirts, short and long sleeved, waterproof jacket or poncho, sweatshirt or wool sweater
- Two – three changes of underwear
- 5-6 pair socks, sneakers or hiking boots, broken-in
- Work gloves
- Thermal underwear for cold regions
- Heavy coat if you live in region that gets cold in winter
Pack clothes for each child in your family that will fit into their individual back pack. Each person will need to be responsible for their own clothing items.
Billie Nicholson, editor