Author Topic: BOBs and small children  (Read 5049 times)

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Offline starla22

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BOBs and small children
« on: August 16, 2012, 01:53:37 PM »
Hi there everyone,

I'm new here! I didn't see an intro forum (forgive me if I missed it), so this is my first post. I've looked around this subforum a bit and didn't see this topic already covered, and would love to hear your thoughts.

What I can't wrap my head around is the idea of BOBs and small kids. Like, under five. IMO, a child over 3 or 4 can carry their own pack, but it wouldn't contain their sleeping bag, much of their clothes, or much water. Maybe a small water bottle, flashlight, a bit of light food, a sweater... Then if you have more than one child under five, then what? Is there a point to having BOBs if you have one or more children under five? Even under ten? And if so, how would you change the layout of them? I advocate babywearing (using a good quality, ergonomic baby carrier) for kids under five as they won't be able to keep up, and any reasonably fit parent should be able to carry a kid up to 35-40 lbs on their back. That leaves one parent (unless you're a single parent) to carry all the gear.

My feeling is that with small children, it's best to bug-in unless absolutely necessary to bug-out. Would BOBs still be a good idea to pack just in case, even to have in case you're evacuating by vehicle and have to abandon the car?

I'm teaching a preparedness class for parents at my store (we specialize in baby carriers and cloth diapering), and I'm not sure what to tell them. I also have a 6-year-old who is quite fit and able to carry her own pack, but still couldn't carry her sleeping bag or much weight in water. I'm just not sure whether to worry about BOBs or just do at-home preps and a car kit.

I would appreciate any input! TIA!

Offline Langenator

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Re: BOBs and small children
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 02:23:01 PM »
I have 4 kids, ages 8, 6, 3, and 17 mos.  I would not try to bug out with them unless it was absolutely necessary.  On foot, only as an absolute last resort - as in, the tsunami/lava/zombies/Martian tripod war machines are coming, and we're dead if we don't run.

Expecting a 3 or 4 year old to carry much more than a personal water bottle, a few snacks, a toothbrush, and some items of entertainment value (a book, small toys, etc) is probably about the limit.  And they still walk very slow, and not very far.

A better idea would be to put them in a sturdy jogging stroller, or a garden wagon.  Yes, it's probably quite the insult to their big boy/girl-ness, but it's a lot better than carrying them on your back (and if you're carrying a kid on your back, you severely limit the amount of other important stuff you can pack on your back.)

By all means, sheltering in place (aka, 'bugging in') if you can would be the best option.

Offline TsMom

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Re: BOBs and small children
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 02:51:54 PM »
I agree with Langenator's stroller idea if it you must bug out on foot.  I would suggest a stroller with all-terrain wheels.  We have a Jeep stroller with an extra air pump.  We took it to the beach one year and were able to use it on the sand uphill. 

The benefits of a stroller are that you can carry a pack on your back and have room in the bottom of the stroller to store additional gear or the child's Bob.  Also there is usually some sort of sunshade to protect the child from sun and some rain fall. 

The disadvantages are that they will slow you down, and no amount of all terrain gear will get you through a thickly wooded area if that is a necessity.

Offline starla22

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Re: BOBs and small children
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 03:33:13 PM »
Thanks! :) I guess I was wondering more how the parents' BOBs would look different in these situations. Not so much about babywearing vs. stroller. I can definitely see situations where a stroller would be handy as it would give more space to carry stuff, but in most real emergencies it would be far more secure to have baby/toddler on you. That also facilitates breastfeeding on the go, as well as comfort for the child. With the child in the carrier you can tackle any sort of terrain. I wouldn't want to be slogging down a gravel road (which is what we'd be on near our city if we flee) with a stroller, even an all-terrain one, for any period of time, and I certainly wouldn't want to rely on that without a carrier for backup. We also live in a climate where there is snow on the ground about eight months of the year, and as I learned when my daughter was a baby in my neighbourhood where some of the sidewalks didn't get cleared, I couldn't go a lot of places using a stroller, even on sidewalks. So in that situation a stroller or wagon would be useless.

At any rate, was curious about the setup of the BOBs when small children are involved.

I posted to another board and my friend had these ideas...

"I still haven't had money or resources to do it... but yes. I plan on having BOB's for my kids. While yes, I would do the back country camping with little kids, (mine are older now) I think its more for things like evacuations. Where you get placed in a big school gym or stadium. I don't think you should/could/would want to rely on what "they" would give out to you. My kids would want familiar things/food/games/clothes.

So, I am going on the theory that they don't need duplicates of some things I carry. I will also go light, and double up on what I can. I won't carry one time use things... so instead of water, I will have a backpacking water filter, but the kids will have a small bottle of water tablets... Things like that. Extra shoes? Nope. 1 pair of hiking shoes on feet? Yes. Big battery flashlights? No. Little LED windups, or tiny bug lights? Yes. Big tent? No. Bivy bags? Yes.

They will each have their own bag. With my own 1 set of clothes/hats/outer layer, I will have the main gear... , bivy bag, double sleeping bag, backpacking stove/fuel, main foods, water filter, first aid... B, as she is big/old enough, will have the same as me. The little ones will have different bags. They will have important docs, a fav toy, hats/mitts/socks/extra sweater/long underwear, small snacks, water tabs, backpacking dish set, mini first aid kit, mini emerg kit.

We rely on my bag and B's bag for the gear. We each take a small kid in a bivy with us to sleep. I choose bivy's because they are small, stealth, waterproof, and warm even in winter. Double sleeping bags so we can share and carry less... You get the idea?"

Another friend of mine said she's keeping their second (single) bike trailer so they could potentially put the BOBs in the small trailer and the two kids in the other, and she and her husband would ride the bikes. As a back-up plan to car or walking.

Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: BOBs and small children
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 06:15:42 PM »
Something else I would suggest is a (Oh my Gosh, I can't believe I'm saying this) is a child leash...or even a rope that can be looped through a belt loop on the pants.  While I had 4 children in 5 and 1/2 years, and never used a leash....I wouldn't hesitate if i were in a bug out situation, or being caged in a stadium or gymnasium...

my daughter has a bike stroller for her 4-5 year parent can pull the kids with the stroller and the other parent can pull a cart...

one other thing i would suggest is up with an older couple or teen agers whom could help with the younger ones...when my children were young, they went everywhere with me and i had a friend whom was 10 years older than I....she was a Godsend!  Of course this couple (could be Grandparents) would have to be part of your bug out plan....

Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Offline starla22

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Re: BOBs and small children
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 07:40:51 PM »
All great ideas, AmishEggPicker! Thanks! I love the idea of teaming up. As I research I can't help but think that living with a larger, extended family would be so beneficial in an emergency situation. It also makes me think that it would be nice to add more adults to our personal bug-out plan. There are three families (DH and me with DD; one mom/dad combo with their DD and DS; and one single mom with teenage DD and two younger DDs) heading to my parents' place. My parents are 60 but it might be nice to have another adult or two coming along... I guess when we get there there is a fairly good chance some of their neighbours might join us, I hope.

And yeah, child leashes have their place! Some things that seem really silly in everyday life can be a boon to safety in other situations!


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