Let’s go ahead and just put this on the top of my list for things I never thought I would be talking about on this platform… EDC backpacks, go-bags, emergency packs, bug-out bags, or whatever other name you like to call them.
And no, I’m by no means a survival expert, in fact, quite the opposite. I grew up with a single mom who would brush it off when I’d come home after a day’s worth of “emergency preparedness” education at school. We never had an emergency plan, never had an emergency kit; I believe the most we had was a flashlight, a pair of starter cables and the stock spare tire in the back of the family car. By the grace of God, we never experienced a major emergency or natural disaster.
So when my husband and I started talking about how we wanted to do this for our family, I was actually a little hesitant… My own mother’s beliefs about handling emergency situations had rubbed off on me. After a day or two, I came to my senses and decided that there are extremes for everything. I don’t have to be a full-on doom’s day prepper in order to love my family enough to provide them with the tools and the education necessary to help themselves in case of an emergency.
Mindset & Mentality
This is where I’d like to start, in case you’re in the same boat as I was, or you’re curious about implementing this with your family… It doesn’t have to be a scary or fearful thing.
For my mom, as a Christian, I think her mentality against emergency preparedness was strongly related to a more passive Christianity. I think that she felt that if she tried to take matters in her own hands, she was taking her faith away from God. I obviously can’t fully explain her reasoning, but even as a child who understood her point of view, I found it hard to agree with because it didn’t really make sense to me. I was often left frustrated at how she would brush it off… But I knew money was a factor too (we didn’t have the money to go all out and purchase everything at once).
This mentality stuck with me – not to her extreme – but it was the reason I was hesitant to make getting our emergency kits ready, a priority. My husband gently reasoned with me about this… As the protector of our family, I knew his heart was in the right place. He wouldn’t be the man I married if he didn’t try to make sure his family was safe and taken care of to his best ability, or that I was the one prepared myself, in case he couldn’t get home for whatever reason. Eventually, I decided that I didn’t want to be my mother…
I still fully believe in having faith and trusting God, first and foremost. I trust His plan and whatever obstacles come our way; I know He will be there to help us through it. But I also know that I would not be able to say that I tried my absolute best if I didn’t tangibly do what I could to protect and care for the sweet babies He trusted me with.
If I could give my children the tools and education they needed to be more self-sufficient, why wouldn’t I? If we could afford to invest in a 72 hour kit for our growing family, why wouldn’t we? Why wouldn’t we make our own lives easier as parents?
Another beautiful point that my friend and main inspiration for all of this, Amber (@ms.amber.elle on IG) had brought up was the empowerment factor… I’ll share her post here as I thought it was perfectly written!
Our Experiences So Far…
For those of you that don’t follow me on social media, you might not have heard about our experience with the 2021 Texas Winter storm… We were so incredibly blessed! We didn’t lose power or water at any point in time. The main concern for us was food. Texas didn’t have the resources to clear the icy roads; making it extremely difficult for food delivery trucks to make it to the grocery stores.
It was heartbreaking to see them completely wiped out… It was like the start of the pandemic all over again. Thankfully, we had enough food in our pantry to get us through but we also had already started our 72 hour emergency kit at that point. We had stocked it with some food items and it gave me so much peace of mind just knowing that it was there – especially with (at the time) have a little mouth to feed.
Since then, we’ve taken the time to think about different things we want to add, things we want to have for our home, and ways that we could bless others if we ever got into an emergency situation again.
What brought me to finally get my daughter’s backpack ready was our recent nature walk! Lily and I met up with some other moms local to the DFW area and their kiddos to go on a little hike, picking flowers, throwing rocks, and picnicking for lunch… It was beautiful and so refreshing.
Mark and I LOVE going out into nature ourselves and this was something we knew we would love to do with our children as well. When we discussed the different kind of emergency kits we wanted to have on hand, we had discussed our children having their own bags as well… We primarily focused on prepping the 72 hour kit first since it was one of the bigger ones to get set up – also the most vital in our opinion.
I decided it was time to start one for Lily since she was turning 3. The nature walk did encourage me, but I’m not going to lie, one of the biggest motivating factors was the fact that one of the little girls had gotten lost for a moment.
I knew that it was because we had all gotten comfortable after our lunch. With several adults, it’s easy to assume that we’re all watching each others kiddos and while we might be, it’s also super easy to get distracted and kids are quick!
Another anxious moment for me that day was when a little girl fell. I stopped to help her up and make sure she was okay; all while Lily had started running off with the other children. Thankfully, her mom came to help and I was able to catch up… Only to find them at the very edge of the lake, infested with alligators. I still cringe at the thought of what a horrible thing that could’ve been. I was the only closest adult and past 20 weeks pregnant – no doubt I would’ve jumped in – but would it have been ideal? No, not at all.
I’ll be breaking down the things that I’ve decided to include in our daughter’s backpack and why. This is highly personal to us and our parenting style. Feel free to omit any and all things as you see fit for your children. Education is a huge part of doing this. It WILL take time, it WILL take consistency, and best of all? It WILL pay off.
This is an obvious one… You need something to carry all your things in. It doesn’t have to be a backpack. We chose backpacks because we’re nature-loving people… But it can be a fanny pack or anything else you might see fit.
A few things I looked for when I was picking one out for Lily…. I needed it to be a decently bright color, it needed to have a chest strap, and it needed to be lightweight (if possible water resistant too).
The one I’ve linked here has worked out perfectly for us! It’s held up nicely (we’ve had it for 2 years now) and they’re super affordable. If you wait for a sale, you can snag them for under $20.
Obvious reasoning for this too… We live in Texas and while we practically have summer for 9 out of the 12 months, when it rains – it pours.
Again, just something that’s good to have. In case you lose our rain poncho, it could maybe make a good little tent to shelter from it.
These are so much fun for kids but it does truly come in handy sometimes! Lily has already gotten use out of hers when the power went out in our apartment once during a heavy storm.
I’d almost recommend having one of these instead of a regular flashlight but the ones we have for the kiddos don’t take up much space!
We have ones that use batteries because we can always carry an extra set of batteries – we don’t always have somewhere to charge things. Though, if your child is old enough and you feel like spending a little more for the convenience… They do sell dual powered flashlights and headlamps.
Sawyer Squeeze (& a plastic bottle)
I debated for a while on whether to get this or the Sawyer Mini which is what Amber recommends. After watching several videos and clicking through survival blogs online, I decided on the Sawyer squeeze for the faster flow rate.
When we started Lily’s EDC backpack, she was only 2.5 at the time. Given that she was so little and didn’t have much strength compared to an adult, I figured any advantage I could give her would benefit her.
Once we had a chance to play around with it, I am truly happy with our decision. It doesn’t take that long at all to filter honestly and especially using a ‘Smart’ plastic bottle like the ones you can buy at the grocery store check-out fridge, you can squeeze fairly easily.
That being said, I do recommend carrying a disposable plastic bottle that fits it (as much as I hate using disposable items and plastic), especially if you’re out in nature where you’re child could potentially get lost. In doing so, you’ve given your child a lightweight method of being able to filter water – should their reusable container run out.
This is totally optional. I strongly debated even using this with our daughter but I’d rather be safe than sorry and it honestly doesn’t take up much room anyways.
I will say that carrying this around full time can become so annoying – but it does have a magnet to stop the ringing.
The reason for this is in case our child were to get lost. If they’re little enough (like 2.5) I’d attach it to them the entire time. Even if your child were to run off, you’d be able to hear them in a fair distance.
I also let her know that in case she were to get lost and couldn’t find me. She could also pull it out and start ringing it like crazy.
Using a whistle can take some skill for a little one to use. The goal is to create a unique whistle tone to our family to use. She does have a whistle hanging on her chest strap, but until we’ve mastered it, we’ll continue having her carry the bear bell as well.
I’ll tell you this is more for convenience than true emergency but oh boy, it comes in so handy! Cleaning sticky fingers after lunch, cleaning up limbs after playing with dirt and worms at the lake… You can imagine how many of these we have to replace.
Because we live in Texas… We value these on the hottest days. I wondered for a long time if they were a waste of money – they’re NOT. When it’s 105 and you just feel like you’re melting, every. single. degree that you’re able to cool yourself down helps!
I will say, from non-toxic point of view… Don’t cheap out on these or fall for the marketing gimmicks. In my research, I’ve found some that can cause skin rashes due to chemicals put into the fabric that are suppose to keep you cooler for longer.
First Aid Kit:
I decided to build her one instead of purchasing one already pre-made. The biggest reasoning for that, is because they’re usually made out of cheap products. I also wanted her to have the kit in a (mostly) waterproof bag or container.
While I did initially want her kit to be in some sort of red container, I ended up going with a small make up bag from Walmart. It’s clear and easy to find things in, the plastic material holds up against water – protecting any supplies – and the zipper makes it super easy for her to open! It’s also big enough to fit all these supplies, but small enough that it doesn’t take up too much space in her backpack.
- Band Aids (if you’re looking for a good non-toxic brand, we love these bamboo ones)
- Medical Shears (my daughter does well with normal scissors)
- First Aid Ointment (we LOVE the doTERRA Correct X)
- Skin Tape
- Burn Treatment Pad
- Gauze Pads in two different sizes
- Bug Spray (our favorite blend is Terra Shield diluted in coconut oil, with 15 drops of Citronella)
- Hair Ties
- Nail Clippers
You’ll want to pack some snacks for your kiddos! I’m not the biggest fan of most processed and packaged snacks but when you’re in a pinch they sure do come in handy.
I try to keep these on hand solely for this purpose. But you should consider doing a bag check every once in a while, and replacing any of the consumables (band aids, snacks, etc).
Here are a few of our favorites! They’re not perfect, but they’re organic and they’re pretty tasty.
MadeGood Granola Bars (Chocolate Chip)
Good&Gather Cheese Sandwich Crackers
A few other things to consider adding as your children get older… Fire starters, pocketknives, paracord. Perhaps consider doing quarterly inventory as well. During the fall and winter you could add an extra pair of socks or hot hands.
Because I can recognize hardships, like my own as a child, I realize that not everyone has the funds to go out and buy everything to create an EDC bag for their children. It can add up really quick especially if you have multiples!
The only piece of advice I can offer, is to prioritize it in whatever way you see fit in your budget. Perhaps that means just creating a first aid kit at first. Perhaps that means making their EDC bag their gift one year for Christmas or their birthday. And even if that is not a possibility…
For the purpose of this post, I asked my husband what piece of advice he’d offer… And he suggested mental preparation in the form of self-awareness and knowledge. Which reminded me about the book I got (another recommendation from Amber) called Spotting Danger Before It Spots Your Kids. If all you can do is get your hands on this book and teach them age-appropriate situational awareness, your children will already be better prepared!
I hope this post gave you some insight into why we’ve decided to implement these for our family, especially at such a young age. The world can be a scary place, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s no better way to prepare our children for the trials that are to come than by instilling the word of God into their hearts and giving them the tools they’ll need to succeed. After all, Noah didn’t wait until it started raining to build the ark.
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