As we make our survival preparations, we must recognize and consider our comfort expectations and realistically take them into consideration. The comfort expectations of each individual is entirely subjective and therefore can vary even within a small family unit. For instance: my expectation of comfort in a survival situation is far lower than that of my wife or (even bigger difference) my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law’s idea of “roughing it” is the Holiday Inn; my wife’s idea of roughing it is a tent and sleeping bag; my idea of roughing it (thanks to the U.S. Army) is a suitably insulated sleeping bag (hopefully) not in a cold puddle.
Those expectations of comfort (or misery, depending on how you look at it) should have an impact on how you plan and prepare for emergencies that occur. Different emergency circumstances, however, can completely deny you the ability to exercise higher levels of comfort, so you have to at least consider and prepare for an acceptable (to you) lower level of comfort as the situation may mandate.
As has been previously discussed in other articles and blogs, not all preppers plan and prepare for the same disaster or emergency scenario. Some preppers merely plan to live comfortably during a power outage; others plan long-term to “live off the grid” but still in comfort and with an eye on security/protection/defense. My own approach is a redundant and layered preparedness system that allows me to live comfortably at home during power/water outages, but also offers an acceptable balance of comfort (and misery) for my family if we’re forced to leave our home for any extended period of time.
The obvious reality is that your comfort level will get reduced in direct correlation to the amount of space, equipment and gear you have to work with; however, with proper planning you can increase your comfort levels in two ways:
First, you can insure that your evacuation equipment includes the items you feel are most important for your comfort and survival, and
Second, you can learn to modify your comfort levels through experience.
In my blog Is Camping or Backpacking Prepper Practice? I detailed out how such activities can serve to help you practice bugging out. Actively camping is one of the best ways to learn what you will or won’t find comfortable in an environment outside your home. Again, everyone has a different expectation of comfort. I have a friend – a Marine Corps veteran AND Army Special Forces veteran (same guy) – who is only comfortable camping if he brings along his cot. Of course, that’s more than he can easily carry on his back (cots aren’t light) so if he ever finds himself bugging out with just his Bugout Bag and his weapons, he won’t be – and doesn’t expect to be – sleeping comfortably.
My own expectation of comfort is reduced at every layer of preparation I have:
- Home: I expect to be pretty comfortable. Depending on the season, the worst I expect during a power-outage is to be warmer than I’m used to at night (summer months). Since my house has a woodstove, even if the power is out, we’ll not be cold.
- Vehicle Bug Out: I still expect to be pretty comfortable. Conveniences of home (like a bed) will be missing, but I shouldn’t be getting wet in the rain, nor cold or overly warm at night.
- Bug Out w/ just Bugout Bag: This is where my comfort level starts to get compromised because I don’t include a tent with my Bugout Bag. Since my shelter will be found, made or set up using a surplus poncho, I expect that environmental conditions will have a greater impact on my comfort (or misery). However, with survival as the goal, I still expect to be successful and stay alive.
- Vest: I have an even lower expectation of comfort if all I have is my survival vest.
- Belt & Platforms: I have the same expectation of comfort with just my gunbelt and equipment platforms as I do with my survival vest.
The bottom line throughout all of this is that you have to be aware of, and take into consideration, your expectation of comfort during emergency situations as you plan and prepare for them. Additionally, you have to honestly and objectively recognize the circumstances that may (or will) prevent you from enjoying your identified expected level of comfort, resulting in an unavoidable level of misery. It’s far better to identify that during your preparations than under realistic and unforgiving conditions when there’s nothing you can do but suffer through it.
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