Emergency Preparedness Products for the Homestead or the ‘Bug Out Bag’

Reader Contribution by John D. Ivanko and Inn Serendipity
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Sawyer Tap Water Filter 

If the last two years taught us anything, it’s to be prepared. From massive wildfires on the West Coast to frozen pipes in Texas, from a catastrophic derecho in Iowa to massive Nor’easters and hurricanes, the weather has become increasingly variable, unstable and unpredictable. And, in many cases, infrastructure and the government response to calamity, vulnerable or lacking.

While our completely solar-powered homestead, when combined with woodstove for heat in the winter, might tease us into complacency, we realize it’s impossible to predict the next turn of events in what seems to be Kunstler’s Long Emergency reality. My wife, Lisa Kivirist, and son Liam, and I are no stranger to disaster preparedness. We always have our stash of bottled water, stand-by flashlights and other lights, and even a solar-powered backpack for when we’re on the move. We have several go-to solar ovens that we use nearly every day in the warmer seasons to bake our zucchini bread or re-heat leftovers; in an emergency situation on sunny days, they can purify our water and cook our meals regardless the time of year.

But we’re always on the lookout for new items, to be better prepared. Ready for anything. Here’s a few of our latest findings. Like survivalists, we prioritize water, shelter, electricity, and food. While some folks might consider “essential services” a delivery person or healthcare professional, we realize life can be turned upside down without water or power — and that could be just one ice storm away.

Sawyer Tap Filter Water Filtration System

For millions of Americans living in Texas and other southern states in 2021, safe drinking water became a vital necessity — after a deep freeze completely disabled the electric grid and froze pipes. The Sawyer Tap Filter, capable of filtering up to 500 gallons per day, provides a quick, easy-to-use, highly effective solution to filter water during boil alerts, after hurricanes or other natural disasters, or even when traveling overseas and local sources of water may not be reliably safe.

A leader in water filtration systems, Sawyer has taken their other filter technology and, with various adapters included with their system, provided a means to attach it to most household faucets and even to a garden hose. The filter fits on most taps 17 mm to 20 mm in diameter. Since no pore in the filter is larger than .1 Microns, it removes 99.9999-percent of harmful bacteria, like salmonella, cholera and E. Coli, as well as 99.9999-percent of harmful protozoa, like giardia and cryptosporidium. No microplastics make it through the filter.

It took me less than two minutes to get the filter unboxed and attached to a kitchen faucet, for a drink of safe water. Besides the tap filter, the system includes an extension hose, threaded spigot adapter and even a tap gauge. No batteries or chemicals are used in the filter, but the device must be kept away from direct sunlight and once used, cannot be allowed to freeze.

Mishmi Takin Waterproof Hiking Boots

I’ve put thousands of miles on hiking books, from a wide range of manufacturers. I’ve been on the Appalachian Trail and in the Everglades with them, but comfortable and light hiking boots are also what I rely on all day on my feet on my homestead or in the woods to work up a load of firewood.

In an emergency situation, or for everyday work, quality footwear is essential. It’s rare to find a hiking boot that is both highly breathable and 100-percent waterproof. The Jampui from Mishmi Takin, however, have stood up to our cold, snow, slush, water and ice in Wisconsin, yet after hours of moving around, still keep my feet dry. Even when using them in warm environments, their eVent membrane lets the shoe breathe, so my feet didn’t sweat. The boots were originally created to withstand rainy and humid tropics. Their Vibram Megagrip rubber on the sole provides excellent grip. 

Mishmi Takin Waterproof Hiking Boots

If I have to have reach for one pair of footwear to put on my feet, to get through anything, anywhere, I’m reaching for these. The Jampui are light and sturdy, and required little time to break in. They’re only sold online, outside the typical retailer network, which is why I never got a chance to try them out before.

Haeleum Insect Shield Repellent Apparel Long Sleeve Tee Shirt

In an emergency or if we’re bugging out in a crisis or disaster, time is of the essence, as are the choices we make in what we wear or put into our bag. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of minutes after an evacuation order is given. So we avoid overlooking our clothing options.

Climate change has not only resulted in more frequent and more extreme storms, it has allowed some insects populations to explode. Lyme disease, that can result from a tiny tick bite, has rapidly spread throughout the entire continental US. As I covered previously, Lyme Disease is best avoided, but impossible to avoid completely if you’re a homesteader who spends a lot of time outdoors like my family does. West Nile Disease, contracted by a mosquito bite, has become more common than ever before. Mild winters or other seasonal irregularities have made some insects greater potential dangers.

So, now I have another tool for trying to stay healthy in the outdoors. An Insect Shield Repellent Shirt from Haeleum is always on stand-by, used when I’m out in the fields when ticks or mosquitoes are particularly prevalent. The shirt helps repel mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers and midges. The ordorless shirt contains built-in, permethrin-based, insect protection, so additional sprays or lotions are not needed. Besides warding off insets, the comfortable, moisture-wicking, light-weight and highly breathable shirt provides 40-plus UPF sun protection, making it an ideal shirt to be wearing in a warm-weather natural disaster. Haeleum’s Insect Shield Repellent Shirt is EPA-registered, should last through 70 washes and is approved for use by all ages.

John D. Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, have co-authoredRural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winningECOpreneuringandFarmstead Chefalong with operatingInn Serendipity B&Band Farm, completely powered by the sun. Both have been speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer andphotographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solarand9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, a 10.8 kW solar power station and millions of ladybugs.

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