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Young Living Ind Dist.
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is new territory for me. One of my sons is going to college about 4 hours away from home. My other sone is staying here for 2 years and going to community college.

As for the one going, what would be the best items to send with him, without sending the message that he is doomed?

Any ideas will be welcomed!

Thanks in advance!

631 Posts
Depends, is he going to be staying on campus? Dorms? If he's staying off campus he has a lot more play with what he can and can't have.

2,839 Posts
Have some fun with him, tell him you are going to rent me his room for a semester. Make up some funny fictituous details short fat doesnt smell to bad when he baths once a month, almost house broken with the weak bladder and all, the rash is almost healed, fungi nail isnt contagious (I think).

Capability, not scenarios
11,966 Posts
Get him the materials that allow him to get home if TSHTF. A GHB if you will:

1. Water, plus some sort of portable filter.

2. Food bars of some sort, several days' worth.

3. Multi-tool, other tools.

4. First aid kit.

5. Roll of silver dimes.

6. $250 cash in fives and ones.

7. Spare clothing, depending on year. Good boots, winter clothing.

8. Throwaway cell phone.

As 92BlueXJ noted, where he's staying determines what he can have. Weapons are probably out,

My son goes to school about 4.5 hours away; my consideration is how long it would take him to get home, hitching rides, walking, etc.
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Deplorable bitter clinger
964 Posts
This is a great question!

Our son will be heading to college this fall. 2.5 hours away in NYC.

So far we have:

a) nondescript back pack
b) food bars.
c) $200 in ones, fives and tens
d) eating utensils
d) Eton 350 AM/FM/SW radio that uses batteries, AC adapter and wind-up, and can
charge his cell phone if needed.
e) name, address and phone numbers of friends of ours that live closer to his campus
than we do. They have been informed that he will be attending school near them,
and they have already offered to be a safe haven or even just a contact for
him/us if the SHTF.
f) work gloves
g) lighter, his boy scout fire starter, boy scout knife, matches, first aid kit
h) stainless steel drinking cup, filter straw, coffee filters.
i) stainless steel water bottle

Still to get:

a) Leatherman Multi-tool
b) additional seasonal clothing/socks/underwear/hats/spare sunglasses
c) extra shoes

Any other suggestions?

650 Posts
My oldest niece will be attending college 4-5hours away from her parents. I am going to get her a FAK and some other items I feel are essential for her. It's a big concern since she will be 6 hours away from me.

I am going to make sure she has things that she will need if an emergency takes places.

First Aid Kit
Female products

Are some of the things on top of my head.

1,420 Posts
just pack him a BOB/GHB bag. I'm in school right now, three hours away, so i can give ya a few tips on things since i made one over my years of just collecting things when i had the spare cash (which wasn't very often lol). Make him something that he knows is for emergency situations only and just tell him to shove it in a corner of the room or under the bed.

For me, i use my BOB for camping and my field work also, so i get some mileage out of it but i think the idea will be somewhat the same. It makes a great conversation piece if its a military backpack if he goes to one of those hippy liberal schools like i do. It could also take the stress off of knowing "he's doomed" because there is an alternate use for his bag that they're aware of.

Your basic bag should consist of:
Water (a gallon isn't too hard to achieve)
Water Tablets since they're cheaper than your filters, but if you/he can afford one, go for it!
Complete change of clothes with a light jacket+1 pair of socks
Poncho/rain suit
Personal first aid kit
Collapsible boots- i like my vietnam jungle boots, they're comfortable and you can compress them into almost anywhere.
Cash- i keep minimum $100 in my dorm at all times (its quite difficult not to tap into that)
Flashlight w/ spare batteries
Bag of basic toiletries
Paracord (I use this for a lot of stuff in my dorm-clothesline, pranks, etc.)
Couple of MRE's-they're horribly inconvenient for a college kid. This will almost grantee he/she won't touch them unless he really needs it. Trust me, i got MRE's and i won't touch the stuff in the dorms until I go camping. It is quite awkward and will draw odd comments especially from your roommate lol. ramen is much easier to eat and make so they’ll touch it first. Also eating utensils.

Now, this is where things might get hairy... depending on the rules of the school, i would get him a knife (around 3 inches for legal purposes) and a multitool

Since I use mine for camping and fieldwork for my major, I have much more “stuff” in it that includes a tri-fold shovel, machete, folding saw, ECWS sleeping bag, sleep pad, tent (I keep a light pup tent for my BOB and a nicer tent for camping, switch when need be), fire starting material, extra knives, extra water. All the extra “conveniences” is another 20 pounds easy. I can tell you that a lot of the stuff I keep in it is questionable and pushes my school’s rules but I got a RA that could give a crap, a roommate and friends that are interested in what I do, and I’m in a very low traffic area that gets a kind of crowd that isn’t nosey.

Assuming your child owns a car; keep a small GHB that basically consists of off-season clothes, snacks, water, etc. or other items that isn’t school approved.

I hope this will help you because its nice to make your kid one because mine don’t believe in this and made me build in my own time since I always borrowed their stuff on trips. I made many trips to the local surplus store in town and picked up cheap/used items but it lasts. I would also have them keep all the water bottles full and switch them every week or use it as water storage for every day usage

Edit: i'm not sure how important a nondescript bag is, when you need to get out, it is going to be crazy so no one would really be noticing what they have on their back. Depending on the kid a bag like that might be a nice talking piece to make friends or just might make his friends jack the bag (if they hang around lowlifes lol)

Young Living Ind Dist.
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have loved all the suggestions. There happens to be a group of kids from our town that are in this same college, so if something major happens, getting back here should be pretty easy for all of them to come together.

My son is rooming with one of his best friends, also from here, and I think him and his parents would be on board with being prepared as well.

We are not sending a car for the first year as there are so many with cars and his room mate has one as well. We will re evaluate this as time goes on.

Thank you for all the suggestions, I love them all. Keep them coming if you think of more.

1,859 Posts
My son just finished his first year of college living on campus in a dorm. Your biggest worry will likely be the 8 straight weeks of partying they all do since they have the freedom of being on their own. Of course they all come home when their laundry piles up or they run out of money :)

American fearmaker
14,249 Posts
I would keep it very, very simple. Just get the son a leatherman tool and a way to start fire. He's resilient and will be able to make his way home on his own if something goes bad. He will learn to catch fish, trap animals and find shelter as needed but a decent survival tool and fire making devices would be the things that he'd most need.

1,420 Posts
I have loved all the suggestions. There happens to be a group of kids from our town that are in this same college, so if something major happens, getting back here should be pretty easy for all of them to come together.

My son is rooming with one of his best friends, also from here, and I think him and his parents would be on board with being prepared as well.

We are not sending a car for the first year as there are so many with cars and his room mate has one as well. We will re evaluate this as time goes on.

Thank you for all the suggestions, I love them all. Keep them coming if you think of more.
That is even better! if you get his friend on board you can create a more "complex" list of items that could be split between the two. I don't think his friend will mind if your son will keep some stuff in the trunk. I'll be the first to admit that it will be impossible to get the whole group from your town to get along but it will make the first few weeks a lot more bearable

Dog Walker
336 Posts
A local BOL.

When I went away to college (long ago) dad made a point of "re-connecting" with old family & friends in the area, and taking us all out to dinner. I had "Mikes" phone number in my wallet in case anything ever came up for four years.

I also had a car on campus - & dad made a point of having a car kit set up that he checked whenever I came home.

87 Posts
College Student Medical Kit

I have made this up for our daughter. She's had friends knock at her door, because they knew she had what they needed, when the medical center was closed. I now make one up as a graduation gift for friends.

I used a great 'tool' bag I found pretty inexpensively @ KMart (Tool Dept.) for her medical kit. It looks like a doctor's bag, when it opens.

Her Dorm-room 'Medical Kit' is in ADDITION to her 'Flu Kit', because it is basic First Aid stuff. Below is a combined list of the 'Flu' and 'Medical'. I( designated 'Flu' with an 'F'): *Don't forget to keep a list in the bag, so you can inventory the bag each year!

FLU Kit-F MEDICAL (Medical Bag)
Alcohol Swabs
Antibiotic cream
(F) Anti-Diarrhea
Anti-Itch (Hydrotortisone) Cream
(F) Anti-Nausea
Band Aids-2x4"
Cotton Balls
Cough & Cold-Day
Cough & Cold-Night
Cough Drops
Cranberry Gel Caps
(F) Flu-Home Care Guide
Gatorade, PowerAde, or Pedialyte beverage
Gauze pads-2x2"
(F) Gloves-Instructions
(F) Gloves-Latex Free Surgical Style
(F) Hand Sanitizer
Instant Cold Packs
(F) Lysol wipe/Disinfectant wipes
(F) Masks-Instructions for wearing
(F) Masks-N95 Style
(F) Pain Relief-Acetaminophen/Tylenol
Pain Relief-Ibuprofen/Motrin
Shower Cap
(F) Sip Cup 2/Straws
(F) Soup-Instant Chicken
Tape-1" Roll
(F) Thermometers-Disposable
(F) Tissues
Wash Cloth
Water-1 bottle

87 Posts

This kit was prepared specifically for the pandemic flu. Since, there is concern this threat is not yet over, I'll be sending it with our DD, again. The other nice thing is that if she gets sick with an every day cold or other 'flu-like' illness, she'll have what she needs when the nurse is not on site (which is after 4pm on weekdays and all weekend!)

Her FLU KIT included:
-N95 Masks (several styles) (with instructions on use)
-Latex free gloves (with instructions on proper removal)
-shower cap
-Hand sanitizer
-Disposable Thermometers
-Pain Relief (Tylenol)
-Anti Nausea
-CDC Guidance on Home Care for Flu

87 Posts
College Student's Two Week Food Box

This box was prepared for our finicky DD. If you decide to do this, you can alter the box to the taste of your own student. I have to say that this box came home complete. Nothing was taken out during the year.

The reasons for the box are multiple:

*Your Student may need to be quarantined in their room in the event of an large-scale outbreak (like the pandemic flu, last fall) or other attack.
*Your Student may not be able to get home in a large-scale emergency.
*Your Student may be able to get to stay with a family in the area, if they have two weeks of food to offer.
*You Student may leave the box behind for a friend, if they can get home, but the friend cannot.

The Two-Week Food Box is a tub that is labeled and duct taped. Her bed is raised about 3 ft. off the floor. She has drawers under the bed, and the tub/tote fits behind the drawers where it's really hard to get at.

I had to be creative with the food box, so that it contained foods that she would eat. I told her that she can open it up and eat it all at the end of the year. It includes:

(the Hormel 'Completes' dinners are fully cooked, 90 second heat up in mircrowave - there's one in her room. If she has to eat them cold ... then she eats them cold)
(3) Hormel 'Completes Dinners' (Chicken breast/potato/gravy)
(3) Hormel 'Completes Dinners' (Turkey/Stuffing/gravy)
(3) Hormel 'Completes Dinners' (Roast Beef/Potato/gravy)
(3) Hormel 'Completes Dinners' (Beef Tips/Potato/gravy
(6) Canned Corn (Individual serving pop top cans)
(6) Canned Green Beans (Individual serving pop top cans)
(6) Success Rice boil-in-a-bag *
(3) pkg. of chicken noodle soup*
(6) Ramen Noodles (Chicken)
(6) Soup-Campbells Chicken & Stars w/ pop top
(3) Dry Gravy Pkts-Chicken
(3) Dry Gravy Pkts-Beef
(2) Sm. Peanut Butter
(5) Pkg. of Graham Crackers-4sheets/pkg*
(10) Chewy Granola Bars*
(12) Apple Sauce (Cinnamon,snack size)
(6) Cheerios-Single serve*
(6) Rice Krispies-SIngle Serve*
(3) Gold Fish Crackers-Single Serve*
( 8 ) Teddy Graham Crackers-Single Serve*
( 8 ) Vanilla Frosting-to dip Teddy Grahams-Single serve*
(2) 6pk Snickers Bars
(1) Bag Reese Peanut Butter M&M's
(2) 6pk Reese Peanut Butter Cups
(1) 12 pk. of shelf stable milk
(15) Hot Chocolate Envelopes
(60) Tea Bags - 3 20/pk packages*
(6) Gatorade-32 oz bottles (had to pack in a sm. duffle bag, it made the tote too heavy. Tote was already heavy!)

Items with * were all vacuum sealed for freshness. I made miniature labels for each package and vacuumed it into the pack for easy identification. I also printed small cooking directions for each package.

I also included 14 each: paper plates, paper bowls, plastic knife,fork,spoon.

She has a stock of cases of water in her room and her car is with her, where she keeps more cases.

I know that I will have done all that I can to keep her safe. She is only 2 hours away. I'm thinking w/ current situation, we can get her home. If not, in her room she's got a good flu kit, a decent two-week food box, a basic first aid kit,and an additional FULL first aid duffel bag in her car!)

87 Posts
The following information can be copied in accordance with the Creative Commons License.

From Get Pandemic Ready

Special Concerns: College Students

Why This Is Important

Families with college students living away from home will need to plan to bring their students swiftly home, since colleges will lack the means to feed students, provide care, and prevent high infection rates in crowded dorms.

We need to be realistic and flexible. Once a pandemic begins, it may be more difficult to travel for many reasons, and we don’t know how much warning we will have. So preparation for different contingencies makes sense.


Planning is the most important action you can take right now. Key parts of your plan are as follows:

  • Communication. This establishes how family members will contact each other. Include back-up communication systems, and contact information for primary and alternate destination locations.

  • Locations. In most cases, the primary location to reach will be home. For some, this may be the ultimate goal, with stops in between. Identify these intermediate and/or backup locations now. Make the necessary contacts and arrangement with relatives/friends. Add the contact information to the communications section.

  • Travel. Identify primary and alternate ways to get to pre-established locations. Include detailed maps and secondary routes. Highlight the routes on an atlas, and put in your child’s vehicle, along with contact phone numbers.

Once you have followed the steps above and have the plan ready, you will want to establish how and when you will take those steps. This is called Activation. In this part of your plan, you identify the thresholds or trigger points that drive the next steps you take. Each person has their own internal “risk meter.” For some, a threshold may be a World Health Department (WHO) declaration of ‘Pandemic level 5’. For others, the same action threshold may have been reached a week earlier by careful attention to news events. What’s important is to identify your thresholds NOW, rather than in the middle of crisis.

Flexibility: Tailor Your Plan to Your Child and School

In a severe pandemic, schools will likely close to contain spread. Colleges, universities, and boarding schools should be developing emergency response plans for a pandemic and communicating them to parents and students. Schools will want to get students home, but they must also have plans to care for those who are ill or cannot get home. Check your child’s school to see what plans they have. If they have no plans, ask them “Why not?” and show them plans that other schools have. The University of Maryland is an excellent example of how one university is communicating its Avian Flu Plan with students.

Many college students live “on the edge” and don’t have extra cash to get home; especially if anything happens to their credit cards. In a pandemic, credit card machines might not work. Extra cash and supplies will give greater flexibility. The farther away your child is at school, the more back-up options you might need to arrange.


1. Dorm Room Emergency Kit. Dorm preparation can be simple (three-day supply of food and water as for any emergency; first aid kit, etc.), or it may be more complex (two weeks or more of food and water) depending on how difficult it might be for your child to get home. Include extra cash, but be careful of theft concerns. Include personal protection against infection: nitrile or latex gloves, hand sanitizer, safety glasses, and at least a week's worth of respirators. (See: Staying Healthy-Respirators) Given the close quarters on campus, the more expensive P-100 respirators may be the better choice. Be sure your child knows how to use all these items correctly.

2. Communication. Besides a cell phone and recharger, students may need a way to text message. An emergency radio is also a good idea. Remain in communication with your child’s college to learn of its plans. If you have close friends or family nearby your child’s school, make sure these people have a way to communicate with you and your child.

3. Travel:
  • Car: You may arrange to pick your child up, or students may have a car on campus. Make sure ALL cars have a large road atlas with multiple routes mapped in case one route is not possible. Include a basic car emergency kit (whistle, jumper cables, money for gas, extra container for gas, etc.). Include some extra food and drinks so you and your child can minimize contact with others at rest stops along the way.

  • Planes, Trains and Buses: Even a student who has a car may end up needing to get home a second way. You may wish to buy your child an open ticket on a plane, train or bus. Though expensive, a “first class, open-ended” ticket that can be used any time might make sense: in an emergency, flyers on “budget” tickets may get bumped by more “special” flyers. Planes, buses and trains all would carry more risk of exposure than car. Be sure your child has plenty of respirators and hand sanitizer to lessen risk of infection.

  • Walking and Biking: If your student is healthy and physically fit, he or she could simply walk or bike to the airport, train or bus station, or even home - especially if it isn’t too far and the route is safe. Store a backpack with necessary gear: good walking shoes, maps including primary and secondary routes, extra food and water and handheld GPS unit. For personal safety, travel in groups.

4. A Safe Haven

If travel cannot be arranged, what will your student do? Can they stay in their college dorm rooms until a ride arrives to bring them home safely? Could a friend, loved one, or family member who lives closer by let the student stay while school is closed or alternative arrangements can be made? This may be an extended stay; you would need to plan for this. Consider your options now.

5. Education:

If possible and practical, students may wish to continue their education ( by computer, textbooks, etc.) in the event college is closed. There may be distance learning options offered.
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