Preppers usually put a lot of thought into what they will eat, what tools they will need, weapons (to get or not to get), and of course medicines and first aid… And if you’ve also done and decided that sort of thing – then you are indeed on the path to being well prepared for most disasters. However, prepper’s clothing is the other very important thing that you need to give a thought to now – and start preparing!
To that end, we have for you here some information that may be of help. We’ve compiled a list of must-haves – as well as a list of factors to keep in mind when selecting individual items of clothing. So – to start…
Clothing essentials for every prepper
To begin with, these are the clothes that you should be dressed in when you first take your stuff and step out of the house to go off grid. These are the clothes that will allow you to cope and give you a tactical advantage over those dressed in their regular clothes:
- Tactical pants – the keyword in all these cases is ‘tactical’ – your clothes need to be a lot more functional, because that is what gives you the advantage. Look for something that has a lot of pockets, won’t shrink, fade or wrinkle easily, and will also resist water and stains to a certain extent. Another thing you could look out for is double reinforced knees as these places are bound to face a lot more wear and tear.
- Tactical shirt – short, needs to be comfortable – because they will determine how you feel. Look for shirts that have ‘pit zips’ which allow you to cool off if needed by undoing a few zips. Another great feature that you should look for is fire retardant material, something that will resist melting and becoming a hazard if in contact with fire.
- Tactical jacket – jackets are primarily for protection – and this one should be able to provide that. This should also have pit zips and should be a size and shape that is conducive to layering – you never know how cold it can become.
- Bug out socks – your feet will be bearing much of the brunt, you being on the move. And that means that your feet need to be kept safe and comfortable. Choose socks that are comfortable and aid in long hikes. One that wicks away moisture and keeps your feet fresh and dry is also going to be something you’ll appreciate in the long run.
- Work gloves, preferably heavy duty – gloves, in any everyday situation, are built for insulation. And when bugging out, you’ll also need to keep your hands warm. But – merely keeping warm won’t suffice here… You’ll also need to keep doing the necessary chores to stay alive – like gathering fire wood, setting up a place to stay, etc. Therefore, choose work gloves over mere warm gloves – they insulate and also do not affect your ability to use your hands.
- Sturdy shoes – as mentioned already, your feet need to be cared for. Therefore, to deal with all the hiking and off roading, you need to have sturdy shoes – ones that will support your feet and protect them. But remember to break your shoes in before placing them with your prepper’s supplies. New shoes will come with blisters and that is something you would want to avoid at all costs when off grid.
- A hat – keeping your head protected is imperative. If you need warmth, then go for woolens. But if it’s just to protect against sunlight and rain, a plain baseball cap also work. Avoid bright colors or slogans though.
- Last minute bug out essentials belt – this is another thing you should seriously consider. These are ideally narrow and comfortable belts with quite a few pockets sewn into them. They can be used to store absolute bug out essentials, stuff like water filtration tablets, flint, first aid basics, small knife, etc. These are ideally worn right against your skin, under your clothes.
Since these are the absolute essentials, it is usually advisable that you keep a set of these (in your size, of course) next to your bug out bag. That goes out for each individual member in your family. When the disaster strikes, just as you stop to pick up your bug out bag, you should also slip into the clothes and then step out of your home.
And now for a few words on…
What to look for in bug out clothes
As you can tell – the one set of essentials is good enough for you to make it out. But you will need more clothes. And these you could pack into separate bags, or keep in your bug out bag. Remember however, that unless you are bugging out close to your homestead, you should think realistically and only carry 2-3 sets, maximum. Therefore laundry is essential and you need to think realistically about that as well. And when choosing your clothes, keep these factors in mind:
- Choose clothing in camouflage colors and light shades. There are two reasons for this. First, if you are living in the middle of woods, the camouflage helps you to stay hidden. Secondly, bright colors always attract the eye sight. And after a disaster, people are desperate and panic and tempers are run high and the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself.
- Waterproofing is another thing that will help you. You will be exposed to the elements, and that means that there will be rain and morning dew. But clothes that are borderline waterproof, without sacrificing breathability, will allow you to at least get yourself to shelter before you get drenched completely. They also dry sooner.
- Warm inner clothes are another good idea. You may know just how cold the nights can become, but with the heating in your house, chances are you’ve never had to experience it. As a result, make sure you have warm pieces on hand so you can layer up as the sun goes down.
- Choose clothes with pockets. When you are bugging out, being able to carry little essentials with you is a great help. This could include a scarp, extra gloves, extra socks, also small weapons, fire lighting equipment, flashlights, antiseptic ointment, a compass, etc.
- Choose clothes that are breathable and will wick away sweat quickly. You will get sweaty, very fast and very often. And if allowed to soak your clothes, the sweat will make you cold and lead to hypothermia in colder climes. What you need are clothes that will let the sweat evaporate naturally and repel it. This way you will be protected. Mind you – 100% cottons are actually a bad choice for these situations.
- Also pick clothes that are suited to the place you will be in. For heavily mosquito or insect infested areas, you will need clothes that will protect you against the bugs. You can also consider mosquito and bug head net caps. In case of areas with snow, you need to again have particular clothing.
- One thing that we mentioned with the tactical shirt earlier – flame resistance. This is another good feature to consider. At home you probably use an induction stove or a hot plate – so you stay far enough from open flames. But when bugging out, you’ll be working pretty closely with open flames, for food as well as for heat and protection. So – take the best precaution you can by wearing clothes that do not put you at risk.
- A final consideration is bulletproof clothing. While this may not be an essential, it will depend on each person’s individual situation. If you think you are in an area where firearms will be fairly common, then do use some bulletproof protection. But always give it a good thought before you decide on it. Bulletproof clothes tend to be quite heavy, and that’s a lot of weight to carry around just on a hunch.
Besides these factors, there is always the thing about not being too flashy, provocative or attractive! Ladies (and even men), this is the one situation where looking good and attractive can actually land you in mortal trouble. Dress down instead, and go for regular clothes – clothes that allow you to blend in instead of stand out. The best way out for women is to dress like ‘soccer moms’ and for men to dress like regular workers. As for the children, keep them in nondescript clothes in subdued colors.
No – prepping for a SHTF situation isn’t an easy or a quick process. It takes some time and a lot of consideration. And today the focus is on prepper’s clothing – why to take and what to take. Once you have understood the why of it – picking the right clothes and accessories will come naturally to you.