6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge- Day 6: Open Topic

Today is day 6 of the 6th annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge, and with just one more day to go, it’s nearly time to break out the noisemakers and throw the confetti. Oh wait, I have toddlers, noisemakers would be superfluous and my living room already looks like confetti was thrown all over it. Still, we’ve made it this far, and that’s worth celebrating. Keep with it, you’re nearly there.

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We’re wrapping up this week with one more open topic day before tomorrow’s overall experience recap. I’m having fun with this post, it’s a chance to talk about whatever I want and be as creative as I care to. Your posts are amazing, that post on “Dad’s point of view” and the diaper storage reveal with the painted milk crates, the airline travel blog and the hard look at consumerism in the diapering world, you are all so smart and imaginative.

One of my favorite attention getters when explaining why I love flats is how easy and affordable they are, and how sustainable they are while traveling, making them kind of perfect for a zombie apocalypse. Okay, okay, I know The Walking Dead isn’t really a likely scenario but given that I live on a peninsula attached to a peninsula (St. Petersburg, Florida) and am surrounded by water (not to mention a hurricane prone region), there is a good possibility that at some point I may need to leave my home for an emergency. Having a “bug out bag” on hand packed with supplies to sustain my family for a few days in tenuous circumstances can provide peace of mind, or just leave me ready for a fun weekend camping trip.

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I’ve packed up a simple day pack fixed with a single padded sling strap, perfect for carrying while babywearing, along with an insulated cooler tote and of course my trusty five gallon bucket for laundry/water/an instant chair. My list of essentials includes a compact travel first aid kit, a minimal sewing kit (I prefer to make my own, bobbins full of quality high tension thread would be better than the cheap all purpose thread those kits include, but for quick mending the included accessories could be useful), a high quality tarp with grommets in the corners (ground cloth, tent, etc), duct tape, paracord, clothespins, a mess kit and a utensil kit that includes a spoon, fork, and spatula/knife, a flashlight, a mini survival kit that includes a sharp knife, fire starter, whistle, and a few other emergency items, a good compass, and a water proof notebook with a pen and a mechanical pencil. I also threw in some trail mix, camp meals, instant coffee, water purification tablets, and vitamin concentrate for flavoring drinking water. Kid safe bug repellent, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer, cloth diaper covers and flats, a wet bag or two, a manual breast pump (if I need to leave the kids with my husband for any reason, including uninterrupted sleep, being able to pump a bottle of milk can buy me some time and this Evenflo pump is super easy and compact, perfect for travel) a cooling towel (just wet it and it gets cool for ages, great for overheated kiddos) and a baby carrier. I considered putting my Lillebaby Airflow into the bag, it’s breathable and great for Florida heat. But in terms of versatility in an emergency, I prefer my wrap from Cassiope Woven. It’s a soft cotton material that can be used to tandem wear my girls, or wear just one or the other in many different ways. It can double as a blanket or a hammock, and is easy to wash and pack.

Not pictured is a small bottle of Dr Bronners all purpose soap, EcoVessel thermos, a laminated map of the area listing water sources and main roads, a small hatchet, a trowel, a poncho, and of course hats and clothes for everyone.

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I went into a lot of detail about camping with flats during the 2014 challenge, so I won’t harp on too much about what a breeze they are to travel with, but I feel that in an emergency I would much prefer to wash and care for flats and covers than try to deal with shopping for disposables and finding a way to responsibly toss them (considering I doubt the garbage truck is picking up if there is a true emergency). I know it may seem silly for me to think about something like this, but every book and movie I enjoy with a post-apocalyptic setting and a baby always seems to ignore the basic needs of raising a little one.

I grew up reading books like Gary Paulsen’s The Hatchet (and, like, all his other amazing novels) and Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, so I’m endlessly fascinated by the prospect of living off the land despite very little experience in the wild. It’s fun to consider what small comforts could make life easier if I needed them. And those flats can be more than just diapers, too. Meticulously washed and sun sanitized flats can be used as bandanas, head scarfs, tourniquet/bandages, a makeshift knapsack for gathering berries/greens/etc, or a small picnic cloth/play mat for your little ones.

I’m excited to read what you have planned for today, and I’ll be back tomorrow with one last post for this year’s Flats & Handwashing Challenge.

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