Are you prepared for Florence?
If you’re a hiker, a backpacker, a camper, you’re more prepared than you might realize. You’ve got a wealth of equipment designed to help you weather what Flo may have to offer. Consider:
Cooking. A Pocket Rocket, a JetBoil, a Windburner—any number of camp stoves can help you get through a few days without power in culinary style and on the cheap. About all you need them to do is boil water, which some stoves can do in a little more than two minutes. Instant mashed potatoes ($1 a pack) or Knorr’s rice or pasta dishes (also $1) make for a cheap and filling meal, comfort food at a time when you could really use it.
Fuel. You return from a trip with a near-empty fuel canister—too much left to throw out, not enough to take on another trip. So you toss it in your gear box. If you’re like us, you’ve likely got a half dozen or more taking up space. Now’s the time to use ’em up.
Light. Even a casual hiker has at least one headlamp and a good-size LED lantern. These modern lamps can cast enough light for you to assess damage in the middle of the night (most are water tight as well). And you can dial back the lumens—and extend the battery life—to cast a calming, reassuring glow in your darkened surroundings.
Coffee. Should have started here. That two-minute boil is vital when it comes to that first cup of coffee in the morning. You can just mix in a packet of instant, or if you have the MSR Windboiler with the French press attachment, you can make the real thing.
Rain gear. Rain jacket and rain pants: If it rains as much and as long as predicted, you’ll need to get out to maintain your sanity. They may not keep you totally dry, but they should keep you from getting drenched.
Camp towels. Camp towels made of chamois or another quick-drying material don’t dry out completely, but they will dry out a lot more than your cotton bath towels. Keep ’em handy when you come in from the rain.
Dry bags. Dry bags once were restricted to the domain of paddlers, but the advent of lighter waterproof fabrics has made them practical for day hikers, and odds are you have one. Even if you won’t be out long, protect your wallet, cellphone, and other valuables in a dry bag.
Bed. If worse comes to worst and you’re forced to leave your home, or at least abandon your second-floor bedroom—take your personal sleep system with you. Today’s sleeping bags—both down and synthetic—are plush as a comforter, and the newer, light-weight inflatable sleeping pads offer two to three inches of comfy cushion.
Synthetic clothes. If you subscribe to the “cotton kills” school of outdoor fashion—and you should—you already have a wardrobe made for wet weather. At a time when your dryer may be rendered useless for days, synthetic, quick-dry clothes are de rigueur.
Daypack/backpack. A sturdy pack with good suspension is nice on the trail, but is a downright necessity when you need to walk a half-mile to the store for a bag of ice and other necessities.
Camp saw. Be the fan of the neighborhood with your camp saw. You won’t replace the local tree service with its cranes and chain saws, but when it comes to clearing limbs off a car or clearing a path to the street, a well-maintained folding camp saw comes in handy in a pinch.
Preparing for a hurricane is like preparing for a backpack trip. In both cases, you need to meet your basic needs—food, shelter—for a period of time. And in both cases, how you emerge at the end of your adventure will be determined by how prepared you are going in.