I recently went on a trip to Chicago so I thought a lot about my preps and what I could take with me. These are things I considered:
1) Operation Security: I have a tendancy to post things on Facebook about my trips and places I visit. This time, I went on information blackout. The last thing I want is for someone to know I was out of town and hit my house with just my wife there.
2) Baggage: It was a one night trip so I minimized the volume of stuff I took. Air security and prohibited items makes it difficult to take preps along, especially if you don’t check a bag. Even if you check a piece of luggage, there are still prohibited items subject to confiscation.
3) Threat assessment: I am not big into threat assessment, but I did consider a few things like crime, travel delays, flight cancelations, weather and shelter.
Considering all of the above, this is what I ended up taking.
-Checked bag. There is no way in hell that I am traveling to Chicago without Mace and “sharps”. So, that means checking a bag. I carried my Tailwind Tanto blade, a Husky razor blade knife, and my Leatherman Wave. Out of my tactical bag, I had to check a magnesium fire starter and light sticks and put them in the checked bag.
-Google Map: Since I had not been to Chicago since 2007, I printed a map and carried it to supplement my Blackberry GPS.
-Extra $400 in cash and extra energy bars.
-To deal with flight delays, I had my Kindle and iPod. Unfortunately, I forgot my ear buds, so the iPod was useless.
-I wore a good pair of walking shoes, just in case I ended up needing to hoof it.
-I brought extra toiletries just in case I got stuck, both in my back pack and carry-on. That way, if I got stranded without my carry-on, I could go 72 hours without toiletries.
After the trip was over, I wished I had done a few things differently.
1) Instead of a duffle bag, I wish I had taken a roller. Carrying both was cumbersome.
2) I started to think what would happen if I I had zero support for 72 hours. I clearly did not have enough food or water. Next time, I am carrying two empty, plastic water bottles to fill up after going through security. I will also take a Datrex 72-Hour bar, if only in the checked bag.
At the end of the day, if the SHTF while I was traveling, I would immediately be thrust into adaptation mode. Being miles from home with few preps beyond EDC/Tactical bag, relying on business associates and friends for support after 72 hours would be my only option. I really felt vulnerable the entire time I was there.
Any additions/subtractions from my strategy?
Complete Tactical Bag list:
Paracord 10 ft Rite in the Rain Notebook Rite in the Rain Pen 6 Led Flashlight Monocular 10X25 Paper Passport Backup Credit Card Cash = $240 Map Case 64 gb Flash Drive Medication 5 Days Five Multivitamins Four Antacids Two Halls Aquimira Filter Straw Bug Replellent Sun Tan Lotion 2 Garbage Bags Leather Gloves Light gloves Emergency Blanket Rip-stop poncho Bandana Mace Compass Ball Compass Small LED flashlight Plastic Self-Defense tool Sharpy Zip ties (8) Klean Canteen 18 oz 4 AAA batteries First Aid Kit Wet Wipes Tea Bags (4) Crystal Light (3) Light Sticks (2) Signal Mirror Bic Lighter Tinder Mag Fire Starter Candle Digital Watch Twelve snack bars X 140 Ranger Beads Knot-tying Guide
As someone who travels occasionally for work, I find myself in the exact circumstances you’ve described. It’s a dilemma. To check or not to check a bag. In the end I’ve checked more bags so that I can take a few extra items that are prohibited from carry-on.
Being caught 1000+ miles from home with little more than an overnight bag and an EDC kit is worrisome.
But I prepare as best I can and hope for the best.
I would say you did fairly good with your strategy. Heck, at least you’re making a well-informed decision based on forethought, which is better than most of us.
I would add an AM/FM/NOAA Weather Band radio to the mix. You could do far worse than the Eton Scorpion, which features solar and dynamo power, digital tuning, an LED flashlight, IPX‑4 water resistance and (in case an inability to open bottles of imported beer threatens to precipitate TEOTWAWKI 😉 ) a built-in bottle opener.