Saturday, February 26, 2022

50 Items for Your Refugee Evacuation Kit

For most people, the idea that they could become a refugee seems like a virtual impossibility.  Even in Ukraine, in the days prior to the Russian invasion, people were living as usual and had no plan to evacuate despite rumblings of war.  Fast forward 24 hours and millions of Ukrainians were heading to the border to seek refuge in neighboring countries.  No matter where you live--yes, even in the US--you should be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice and become a refugee in a neighboring country. Here's what to take with you (remember you will be carrying this stuff so look for lightweight items, multi-purpose items, and leave out items you can do without):

  1. A backpack.  You will be schlepping your stuff at some point in your journey and a backpack makes this easier.
  2. Good walking shoes and socks.  Make sure your shoes are broken in and you are used to walking some distance in them.  Bring both cotton and smart wool socks.  Consider gaiters if you will be walking cross country.
  3. Flip flops.  You will need these at camps and/or public showers.
  4. Two complete changes of clothes besides what you are wearing.  Dark clothing that wears well is a good idea.
  5. Shorts/tank top/bathing suit (good for sleepwear, bathing in public, etc)
  6. All of your important records and documents.  All of these documents should be scanned and kept on a thumb drive you carry with you; these records should also be stored securely in the cloud, and you should bring hard copies of your most important documents (passport, birth certificate, etc) with you hidden securely in your backpack.
  7. A burner phone not associated with you.  It's unlikely in the midst of war that a government will hunt you down via your phone but not impossible depending on how valuable of a target you are.  Leave all of your electronics behind.  Also, bring a written or digital record of your contacts so you will be able to contact friends and family.
  8. SIM cards for cell service both from your country and your destination country.
  9. Cash from your country/your destination country/and other stable country (euro, dollars, pounds, yen, etc). 
  10. Battery bank/solar charger bank/wired and wireless earbuds/charging cord/USB charger
  11. Spare thumb drives/spare micro SD cards
  12. Other assets such as credit cards, cryptocurrency, gold and jewelry (well hidden in your bag), etc.
  13. A sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  You may end up sleeping on cots or floors in refugee camps.
  14. A tent and footprint.  You may end up sleeping outside until you can be settled somewhere so bring your own shelter.
  15. A backpacking stove/fuel/cook set/utensils/can opener.  This way you will be able to eat along the way.
  16. A headlamp/flashlight and extra batteries.  For traveling in the dark.
  17. A weapon (mace, bear spray, firearm, extra ammo, knife, sling shot, etc).  Be careful about crossing borders with weapons that are illegal at your destination.
  18. Water bottles/bladders/thermos/mug.  Carry as much water as you can.
  19. Water filter and water purification tablets.  For when using water from lakes and streams.
  20. Food.  Bring typical lightweight/high energy backpacking food.
  21. Map/compass/GPS device.  Use these items to navigate safely to your destination.
  22. Cold weather gear/gloves/umbrella/rain gear/sunglasses/hat.  Bring clothing appropriate for the weather you will be traveling in.
  23. Bandana/buff/ultralight small and large towels.  These have dozens of uses.
  24. A toiletry kit.  Example here.
  25. Hand sanitizer/toilet paper/trowel.  
  26. A good first aid kit.  Example here.
  27. Insect repellent/sun screen
  28. Prescriptions/vitamins/glasses/denture products/hearing aid batteries/menstrual products/condoms.
  29. Lighters/matches/flint and steel/firestarters.
  30. Fixed blade knife/pocket knife/multitool
  31. Sewing kit/repair kit/duct tape
  32. Assorted plastic bags (ziplocs, small trash bags, large trash bags).
  33. Folding daypack/lock for locker (for when you leave your backpack in a locker and only need to carry the basics).
  34. Money belt/fanny pack (for securely carrying valuables).
  35. AM/FM radio and extra batteries/two-way radios/portable HAM radio (note the laws for using these in countries other than your own).
  36. Playing cards/journal/pen/books.
  37. Paracord/carabiners
  38. For babies: diapers, formula, medications, bottles, diaper cream, wet wipes, toys, etc.
  39. For urban survival: silcok key, breaker bar, bolt cutters, work gloves, lock pick set, folding saw
  40. Goggles/face mask
  41. Signal mirror/lightsticks/whistle/fresnel lens/emergency mylar blanket
  42. Fishing kit
  43. Ear plugs/sleeping mask
  44. Binoculars
  45. Fluorescent emergency signal fabric
  46. Mosquito netting
  47. Potassium iodide
  48. Chocolate/mini bottles of whiskey/cigarettes (treats for you or items to trade)
  49. Emergency candles
  50. Other stuff: folding scissors, zipties, safety pins, rubber bands, snare wire, super glue

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