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Thread: Questions about urban survival packs for homeless

  1. #1

    Default Questions about urban survival packs for homeless

    Hi all, I have a question to ask all of you,over the next year my wife and I are going to be slowly putting together roughly a half a dozen packs to donate to one of our homeless shelters that are filled with items that would be needed or handy if you where in fact homeless.what I would like from all of you is a generalized list of what you would put in the packs. We are leaning toward the basics without providing anything that could be used as a weapon (or include me in a lawsuit lol) so knives and or homemade survival candles etc.
    So far we have the following items
    Personal hygeine items
    Gloves
    Toques
    Raingear
    Paracord
    Carabiners
    Basic first aid kit
    Phone card
    Whisle
    Tarp
    Blanket
    Energy bars/mres
    Tool kit
    Flashlight/headlamp
    Glow sticks
    Matches/ferro rod
    Possibly some type multi-tool(something that doesnt have a knife if possible)
    Waterproof wallet
    Literature on soup kitchens/shelters and basic safety skills
    Hypothermia/frostbite literature
    Anyways this is about where we are at,winters are damn cold where i live so the idea is to hand them out in the late fall next year since winter in when it would be most helpful and to spread out the cost. We have decided to spend roughly 300$ on this project. Any ideas you guys have would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
    D


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    Last edited by Duece; 11-22-2015 at 02:01 AM.


  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Why not ask one of the homeless shelters what would be best? Better still, ask all of them.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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  5. #5

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    duece you are to be commended for your act of caring thank you.
    i too was homeless once for years. now mind you every homless person has a differnt story as to why
    they are where and not all have camping/survival skill sets that said they would have little or no use for some
    of the items listed.carabiner,whistle,glostic or ferro rod.my guess the alchiholics for instince would most likely trade the items for other things,ya know.mabey find some that look as though thier camping out already they would most likly have need for such a set up.

  6. #6

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    also ask some to show you thier set up ask what do you use most
    mabey doll store first-aid supplies soap,razors tampons for the ladies,deordorant sticks
    gloves wool socks,do any use fanny packs mabey a canteen. meet some and talk to them
    see what they use already.

  7. #7
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Seems a heck of an idea to help out the less fortunate.
    I do thing your list is more of a urban BOB than a Homeless kit.

    I think you may want to concentrate on:
    Blankets, sleeping bag, tarp,
    Coats, rain gear.
    Socks, underwear, toiletries.
    Whistle, flashlight........

    But I don't think I would include the paracord, carbineers,
    Tools?....
    Mre's?

    Or the advice of checking with the shelters to see what the people that deal with them everyday, need.

    Just a thought.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Hmm 2005 1% of the population or 200,000 across the provenances and 6000 are youth... I suspect it's much worse today just don't have the facts... I am with Hunter on this one if you are going to do this - it should be a limited urban list. Not a backpack but a bag with draw strings. coats and blankets

    Follow Trevor's ideas with a go fund me

    http://articles.mcall.com/1999-06-29...trevor-ferrell

    Oh and the list would include a MRE not as we know it - there is now a UN-refrigerated meal that you open and eat at the supermarket. You are supposed to heat them - but don't have to.

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    Your list should look more like this:

    Personal hygiene items or Female hygiene items Toothbrush and paste & Whole roll of TP
    Fleece beanie, Gloves 2 pairs of socks
    Rainjacket with hood & donated coats
    Whistle & basic Swiss Army with can opener
    8x10 Tarp & Paracord
    Fleece Blanket (doesn’t retain water)
    Breakfast Bars & string cheese & jerky
    Cheap Flashlight based on AA and LED.
    Paper Matches & candle
    Literature on soup kitchens/shelters and basic safety skills
    Hypothermia/frostbite literature




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    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 11-22-2015 at 12:10 PM.
    “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

    Theodore Roosevelt 1907

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    My concern is how cold. You can give a person all the things they need but if they can't stay warm then it matters not.

    I would go with a thermal tarp, basically a Tarp with a thermal blanket lining. Many ultra lighters use them + Wool blanket to survive sub zero temps. They won't be comfortable but they will survive when they would other wise freeze. Army surplus wool blankets + thermal tarp should be the basis of any kind of minimalist outdoor kit. You also have to remember not to go flashy or expensive, getting robbed when homeless is just as dangerous as the cold I have been told.

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    Stick with the basics of life. Some clothing, particularly underwear, socks and t-shirts along with a coat is a good base for them. As far as hygiene goes, stick with tooth paste, toothbrush, soap and deodorant. Beyond that, I would just hook them up with a lighter, flashlight, blanket, and some simple food stuffs.

    As previously noted, even if they can't use something they will trade and barter amongst themselves. Don't expect them to keep what they are given.

    There is a homeless man that sleeps on the bus stop bench at the corner where I work. Many times, I have woke him up before the buses run and given him a cup of coffee and a cup of oatmeal. One day, it was raining and I had and extra poncho in my car. It was a decent poncho, not the disposable ones but not too expensive either. I gave it to him thinking it would help him out. The following week he was out there and it was raining again. I asked him where the poncho was. He told me he traded it for a lighter, 3 cigarettes, and a pair of socks. He said the lighter and socks were of a greater overall need for him.

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    Duece. that is certainly a commendable and thoughtful project, but instead of handing some backpacks filled with "stuff" to the homeless shelters, might it not be more useful to take the cash you'd spend to buy the "stuff" and give it to the homeless shelter? The people there would know better what to buy and distribute, wouldn't they??

    Just wondering.

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    I think its great you want to help people

    Saying that I am in contact with homeless fairly often

    They are better outfitted than you would imagine and you will just be giving them things to sell or trade

    Im in agreement , give money or items to the shelter and let them find the ones who need it
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    There was a special program on a Milwaukee TV station (which I can't seem to find a clip) about "homeless children"....but all seemed to have cell phones....so I guess there are many kinds of "homeless" with many different situations.

    Follow your heart....but don't be surprised that you good intentions won't do much in fixing the situation.
    You are making your self feel better, that's about it.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidlastink View Post
    My concern is how cold. You can give a person all the things they need but if they can't stay warm then it matters not.

    I would go with a thermal tarp, basically a Tarp with a thermal blanket lining. Many ultra lighters use them + Wool blanket to survive sub zero temps. They won't be comfortable but they will survive when they would other wise freeze. Army surplus wool blankets + thermal tarp should be the basis of any kind of minimalist outdoor kit. You also have to remember not to go flashy or expensive, getting robbed when homeless is just as dangerous as the cold I have been told.
    http://www.amazon.com/SE-ET3683-Emer...s=thermal+tarp

    interesting idea on thermal tents. I am on the fence about the wool clothing... doubt it... what worked in WW1 & 2 was wool clothing... today 300 weight fleece is lighter and better thermally as it traps more body heat. I have poly micro fleece thick blankets that are thinner and lighter and work better than a Coleman sleep system.


    Oh why? well that interesting... Fleece is smaller than human hair - and is spun in such a way that it traps more air than wool does. The rival is Alpaca - lighter and warmer it helped the Inca survive the high altitudes.

    good post!
    “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

    Theodore Roosevelt 1907

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    Does fleece behave the same way when wet. I only have memories of being cold when my fleece stuff was sopping wet form playing in snow etc. Is there a natural fleece vs synth? When you say fleece I picture old navy and such type clothes.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Fleece today is mostly synthetic. "Polartec" was the first and the inventor didn't patent it. It polpropelene and is water resistant. Our military used it high up in Afghanistan. With a shell over the top offers even more protection.
    “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

    Theodore Roosevelt 1907

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post

    interesting idea on thermal tents. I am on the fence about the wool clothing... doubt it... what worked in WW1 & 2 was wool clothing... today 300 weight fleece is lighter and better thermally as it traps more body heat. I have poly micro fleece thick blankets that are thinner and lighter and work better than a Coleman sleep system.


    Oh why? well that interesting... Fleece is smaller than human hair - and is spun in such a way that it traps more air than wool does. The rival is Alpaca - lighter and warmer it helped the Inca survive the high altitudes.

    good post!
    I cycle year round, upstate NY, in -20° temps. Gotta say that not all fleece is the same. For instance, I bought a fleece sleeping bag liner from Walmart to use in the office for short naps and would always wake up clammy and chilled. The fleece pullover I got from EMS, though, while I was active would wick my sweat away from my skin perfectly, although my Silnylon shell would still trap the moisture within my "heating envelope" even with pit and pocket vents open and front unzipped to half-mast. In the end though, treated down works best for me so far this year, although I've cut my cycling commute from two hours down to 30 minutes by stealth-camping near the office, so I'm not pedaling full-out like previous winters.

    Believe me, I've tried all kinds of things to keep the moisture down, and so far, I have yet to be successful. But then I don't think its possible. You can't dress for subzero temps AND dress to sweat... It's an either/or situation. So if you're hollywood-style bugging out, running from zombies, jumping chasms opening in the pavement, all while dodging poorly aimed bullets, just be prepared to change your clothes when you stop to wait for the next wave.

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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seniorman View Post
    Duece. that is certainly a commendable and thoughtful project, but instead of handing some backpacks filled with "stuff" to the homeless shelters, might it not be more useful to take the cash you'd spend to buy the "stuff" and give it to the homeless shelter? The people there would know better what to buy and distribute, wouldn't they??

    Just wondering.

    S.M.
    Nah.... Here's the thing about "do-gooders": most people's idea of what is good for everyone is limited by their own experiences. Thus, you end up with idiots thinking that living without electricity and heat is a horrible thing. The homeless people that most people imagine, are what they see on TV and movies: the drunk guy sleeping under a bridge in a cardboard box covered in newspapers. These guys are out there to be sure, and there actually very little you can do to help such self-destructive souls. Another type are fake homeless... People that make a living pretending to be homeless... I guess these two are what the shelters are good at weeding out.

    But many homeless are too proud to go for handouts, and many more still don't need them, and no one ever sees them. I am basically living as though homeless. I have a house, but since my car died, I can't afford to replace it, I've been cycling to work, which would be a 2 hour ride, if I wasn't stealth camping nearby instead. If my kids were living with me, they'd get taken from me for sure, even though I know what I'm doing. Others just don't get that it's possible to be completely comfortable with proper knowledge. As recently as 1985, most of the people 45 minutes drive from the nearest city, heated with wood stoves. This usually meant one section of the house was heated, with the doors closed. Many people still had a dug well, so when the power went out for two weeks in the middle of the winter, no one cared much. That's how I grew up. Now though, let the power go out for a day and there's a big uproar... OMG, I'm missing my favorite crappy sitcom, and I don't know how to put on a sweater, and an actually warm hat might ruin my hair!!!

    So with that perspective in mind, if you want to donate the real deal to someone that needs it, you need to figure out first who in your city knows who to give it to. That's the hardest part. You don't scant to give it to someone who's just going to sell it all for booze, or worse, just toss it in the nearest dumpster because it wasn't cash. You want it to go to someone that will appreciate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Davidlastink View Post
    Does fleece behave the same way when wet. I only have memories of being cold when my fleece stuff was sopping wet form playing in snow etc. Is there a natural fleece vs synth? When you say fleece I picture old navy and such type clothes.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walks.in2.trees View Post
    .....................

    I am basically living as though homeless. I have a house, but since my car died, I can't afford to replace it, I've been cycling to work, which would be a 2 hour ride, if I wasn't stealth camping nearby instead. If my kids were living with me, they'd get taken from me for sure, even though I know what I'm doing.


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    Last edited by hunter63; 12-04-2015 at 01:50 PM.
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    It's a tablet actually, using Google voice, over data, in place of a phone, have to have both voice and GPS for work. Cheaper to have a single data plan for the tablet, than a smartphone with a data plan which is like having two phones.

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