Road Trip Survival: How to Pack Like a Prepper

I have a confession to make that’s a little embarrassing for someone with my experience…

I recently went away for the weekend completely unprepared. And I don’t mean I forgot to pack clean socks. I mean, I jumped in my friend’s car and went Code White—the lowest level of situational awareness besides sleeping one can go. It means you aren’t ready for anything. That you’ve completely tuned out. For someone who generally lives by the philosophy “Think like a prepper. Act like a prepper,” this could have been a very dangerous slip.

A few weekends ago, my girlfriends and I went for a weekend away to a cabin in Hotchatown, Oklahoma, very close to Beaver’s Bend state park—about a three-hour drive. Hotchatown is nowhere near a thriving metropolis, but our cabin was far from secluded. We weren’t worried about getting lost off the beaten path, getting snowed in, or ax-wielding madmen. It’s a popular tourist destination with breweries, shops, grocery stores and restaurants. Our plan was to eat most meals out and the cabin had a fully-stocked kitchen, so we felt it wasn’t necessary to spend money on things we wouldn’t use, plus space in the van was limited. I didn’t even bother taking road snacks.

Cabin in a wooded area with blue sunset background

We were far from secluded. We could have run to the neighbors for help if necessary.

We were in no rush and headed out of DFW late Friday evening. It had been raining in North Texas for a week and the forecast for Southeast Oklahoma called for more of the same, but we weren’t going to let a little rain ruin our weekend…

We arrived after midnight, unpacked the car, got settled in and went to bed.

We woke up the next morning to the type of thunderstorm only Oklahoma can produce but stayed warm and cozy with coffee and a hot breakfast. When there was a break in the weather, we decided we would go to “town” to hit the local breweries, shops and grab some dinner.

Our cabin was at the top of a steep hill and to get out of the area, we had to pass a low-water crossing. Since it was dark the night we arrived, we were completely unaware of the water flowing beneath it. When we got to the bottom of the hill Saturday afternoon, we were stopped before the crossing due to the torrent of rushing water over the road. It was the only way out and we were stuck!

A flooded low-water crossing in Oklahoma with many on-lookers

A flooded low-water crossing was a minor inconvenience but could have the potential for a real disaster.

Okay, so the situation could have been way more serious. Our cabin was in no threat of flooding, we had each other, plenty of games to play and things to talk about, plus enough adult beverages to make Cooter Brown blush, so we weren’t in any real trouble… but what if we had been? What if the whole area was prone to serious flooding and we truly got stuck in that cabin? We were in Oklahoma after all and Oklahoma will Oklahoma, so severe weather is highly likely. We could have very easily lost electricity and ties to the outside world, as cell service was spotty out there. Not only did we not have any food, but we didn’t even have flashlights or batteries. Thank goodness some of the ladies are picky about their drinking water, so at least we had plenty of that.

Usually, I am never without a plan of action in any situation, but I let my guard down this time. It was only a three-hour drive away and the worst the weather forecast predicted was rain. I never anticipated a flood. I was over-confident about my location and proximity to conveniences. As I look back and shake my head in shame, it makes me realize no matter how relaxed I am, no matter where I’m going—I must always be prepared for emergencies.

Why Being Prepared on Vacation is Important

We spend many vacations in environments we aren’t used to. For example, on the beach where hurricanes and tsunamis are a threat or in the mountains, where snow, ice and extreme cold are inevitable in winter months. We are particularly vulnerable on vacation. We’re relaxed, far from home, and unfamiliar with the area. Threats we don’t educate ourselves about can throw us off guard, making it difficult to respond appropriately, thus decreasing our chances of survival.

Even though we don’t like to think about it, disaster can strike no matter where we are. We need to be ready for it.

What to Prepare For


Do your homework. Keep track of local weather conditions and what major disaster risks the area is prone to. Is it wildfire, landslide or earthquake-prone? Knowing the likeliest of events will help you plan and pack smarter.

Social Climate

Start following the local news. What is happening in the town/state’s political and social climate? Is civil unrest likely? This will help plan daily outings and what areas to avoid if any. During times of civil unrest, it is smart to avoid city centers, government buildings, college campuses and large groups of people that gather quickly.

First Aid Emergencies

There might be critters and insects there you might not have at home, like scorpions and poisonous spiders. Think about the activities you’ll be participating in. Are you going fishing? Will you be hiking or rock climbing? Customize your first aid kit to treat typical injuries and accidents you could experience while on your trip.

How Does a Survivalist Pack for a Trip?

Plastic bug-out-box with 41 pieces of survival supplies.

This 41-piece survival kit includes everything you need to survive any emergency.

It wouldn’t have been a big deal for us girls to have brought at least one meal each. If it hadn’t had gotten eaten, we could have simply just it taken back home. Nothing would have gone to waste. Hearty foods rich in protein don’t have to take up a lot of space, nor cost a lot. Pasta with sauce, a couple of packs of hot dogs, peanut butter and a loaf of bread would have sufficed. Meals don’t have to be gourmet when stuck in a hotel room, cabin, tent or RV.

I keep a tote full of cabin supplies. In it, I have:

  • Utility knife
  • Paracord
  • paper goods
  • plastic utensils
  • dish soap
  • disinfectant wipes
  • trash bags
  • cleansing wipes
  • matches
  • batteries
  • deck of cards
  • firestarter
  • flashlight
  • barbecue utensils
  • first aid kit
  • Coffee, coffee creamer, and sugar

This is a very good start. Together, your emergency vehicle kit, three-days’ worth of food and water, and your ‘cabin’ kit should see you through a sticky situation.

What’s in your road trip survival kit? Tell me what I need to add to mine in the comment section.
Follow 12 Survivors:
  • […] Click here to learn how to pack like a prepper. […]

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: