So you’ve got your bug out bag or BOB, you’ve squared away your EDC or Every Day Carry and you’ve packed your INCH bag (I’m Not Coming Home). Did you know there is another pack that is just as, if not MORE important? One that you absolutely must have in your home that I bet many of you don’t have?
It’s called a Blackout Kit or BOK for short and it is a vital prep you should undertake.
What is it?
First up a blackout kit is going to be cheaper to build than your bug out bag, it will contain only a few items and it will be small enough to take up little space and it won’t get in the way.
So what’s all the fuss about?
Well, imagine having all those preps, food, water, sanitary items and weapons. Now imagine the power going out across town and it’s dark.
I don’t just mean the ‘turn the lights off’ kind of dark, I mean really dark. The kind of dark you only get when you go hiking in the wilderness.
Absolutely zero light pollution, the power is out right across town as far as you can see from your bedroom window.
You will obviously have a list of priorities, if you have children, that may entail making them feel safe. Making sure pets are tucked out of the way so they don’t get under your feet. Grabbing the backup gas or solar generator to get the refrigerator and freezer going again.
This is all good stuff. However there is one vital step required before any of this.
You need to see where you are going. In pitch darkness that will be difficult. This is where our blackout kit comes into play.
How Does It Work?
It is meant as a first action device. Something that can help you get to your preps, make safety checks and then go about your business.
Think about it, what good is having a generator in the garage if you can’t find your way to the damn thing in the first place without tripping over the garden hose and smashing your knees on the concrete?
So we need a way to bring calm back to the situation and other family members. This is what the blackout kit does.
It is a way for you to get from being plunged into darkness, to a relaxed and stress-free state in as little time as possible.
What it isn’t
It isn’t something that will cover every eventuality. It is designed for one thing only and that is a power outage.
It won’t contain emergency food or weapons or even clothing.
It isn’t designed to last for days on end or allow you to live off the land.
What items to include?
This is an example list of what items I have in my blackout kit. The total cost for a kit like this using items from Amazon can be as little as $30-$40 – a small price to pay for such an important and overlooked prep.
- Chem-Light/Glow Sticks – A great source of light, especially when working or just to provide some light to a room and preserve batteries.
- Torch – Most obvious items and is a must to get to the circuit breaker and the rest of your prep items.
- Batteries – AA and AAA for the torch and headlamp!
- Head Lamp – When working you may need both hands
- 9hr Candles – These will burn much longer than those small tea light candles and they provide good light
- Matches – To light the candle, start the wood burning stove or light your alcohol stove
- Lighter – As above
- Emergency Contact Numbers (Laminated) – Water, power and gas companies, friends, family and neighbors
- Hand Warmers – If in winter, working with cold hands is tough
- Pocket Screwdriver Set – To replace a circuit breaker or switch
- Pliers – As above
- Leather Work Gloves – Helps against cold and sharp metal objects
- Resqme Escape Tool – To break a window if you need to escape
- Small Knife – Always handy to have and many uses
- Multitool – As above
Of course there are more items that you could add and it may vary from season to season. If you are in the depths of winter, where the possibility of a power outage is increased, you can add items that your may need.
All of the items in the list above are designed to be both small and light weight. Your blackout kit should weight no more than 2-3 lbs and be easily carried.
For those of you who love your gear, the pack you choose to store your gear is important. We all have put favorite brands and features and what works well for one may not for the next person.
Here are a selection of packs well designed for this kind of application.
Maxpedition Gear Beefy ($26.04) – well know brand and used heavily in the prepper and survival community. The ‘Beefy’ measures 6.25-Inch (L) x 8.75-Inch (H) x 2.5-Inch (W) and has a front mesh pocket and velcro pouch for easy identification.
Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch ($36.65) – a little bigger than the beefy, this pouch can pack a lot of gear and is perfect for some of the more bulky items listed above.
Things To Make Your Blackout Kit Even Better
These are some nice to have additions to make your situation that much easier.
- Glow In The Dark Tape – Use on the outside of the pack and the torch handle
- Paracord Carry Strap – Easy to sling over your shoulder as you move in the darkness
- Spare Circuit Breakers – A quick fix is something blows
- Mobile Phone – Great to call the repair company etc
- UCO Lantern – Use in conjunction with the 9hr candles for a great source of lasting light
- Emergency Radio – For updates on the situation should it be a widespread power outage
Where To Store Your Blackout Kit?
The most logical place to keep your BOK is within reaching distance of your bed. If it’s daylight and you have a power cut, it’s easy to find your way to the circuit breaker and your preps. In the middle of the night however, it gets tricky, so under the bed, in the nightstand or a drawer is perfect.
Even the bottom of the closet, where many people choose to store their BOB is an ideal choice.
Already have a blackout kit? Let us know what you keep in yours in the comments