Emergency Go Bag Packing List (Not Just for Beginners)

Emergency Go Bag Packing List

Get home bag, Bug out bag are but a few phrases often use to name a Go Bag.  Which ever phrase used, the Go Bag is an emergency ensemble that has a specific purpose and function to be used during crisis’s you might encounter. Those new to the world of survivalism or emergency prepping will find the mentioned must have Emergency Go Bag Packing List both insightful and informative.

Thus, compared to the ill prepared masses, the odds will be with you to survive any number of potentially dangerous situations you might encounter in your not so typical day.

 Go Bag vs 72 Hour Bag : What’s the Difference?

After reviewing various emergency preparedness or survival sites and videos, it is my viewpoint that there are too many different variations to the phrase “Go Bag.” My research on emergency preparedness has lead me to one main conclusion. The use of bug out bag has been so overused and generically applied to just about any and all emergency bags or kits that it just makes one head spin.

Although all prepper or survival bags are by definition to be used in any emergency, the problem lies in appropriately applying the scenario or conditions in which a go bag becomes most effective.

So for instance, a bug out bag is in reality a 72 or 3 day bug out bag (BOB). As the name implies, the supplies and gear selected and assembled for this bag type is enough for one to survive at least 72 hours or more.

On the other hand, a Go Bag (or sometimes called a Get Home Bag) has enough equipment and emergency items usually for up to 3 days. Therefore, the quantity and weight for this bag should be lighter and thus even more portable than a 72 hour BOB.

Thus, if a 72 hour BOB is stored safely at home, what happens if you are out and about during your average normal day? Obviously it would be impossible to be in two places at one time. It this distinction that helps illustrate the important difference of a Go Bag.

It is a bag or kit that would be available to you just in case you are not at home where your Bug Out Bag would be found.  A Go bag can either be stored away in your car, office, gym or at school.

It is advisable to have more than one go bag stashed away in various places you frequent. You may want to consider carrying this emergency bag with you throughout the day (along with your everyday carry kit) After all, no one can predict when and where a disaster will occur.

Where Will a Go Bag Be Used? Where will your go bag be used

Where you ultimately flee will be determined by the location of the dangerous or crisis situation, the resources available and the various destination options available to you.

It is therefore important to pre-plan. First, determine what your likely course of action would be if any one of a number of possible catastrophic situations occurred in your locale or region.

Although you may not have all the possible disaster scenarios played out in your mind, these are some basic events you want to plan and prepare for ahead of time.  Those would be:

  • Natural Disaster
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Explosion
  • Biological Disaster
  • Civil Unrest
  • National or World Financial Crisis

Now that you know  you need a Go bag, where will you ultimately go with it?  Will you go home or elsewhere? In most large but localized disasters, a state or federal emergency evacuation site may be available to you. The facility may be adequate to provide you shelter and food for a short period.  If however, the disaster is long term, will that particular emergency center be able to give you the essential aid indefinitely?

Or is the particular crisis which makes staying local a bad choice (ex. civil unrest or power outage) too unstable? There are those who believe government camps or emergency centers have already been situated throughout the US to respond and provide aid and comfort to those in need . Importantly however, is the rumors in the conspiracy world that once you are forced into remaining in one of these camps you may not only lose your civil liberties but your freedom to leave as well.

Whether true or not, you want to have as many possible evacuate, escape or evade options as possible. Those choices include:

Your potential relocation options will be limited to your financial resources, and relationships.  You also have to consider the limitations and necessities of other members of your family. Your elderly parents or pets may hamper your plans to leave far away. You may also be restricted on destination alternatives by the type of bugout vehicles you have on hand. If for instance, there is limited supply of gasoline available, will you be able to reach your designated safe house with one tank of gas? This is why you need to have make preparations ahead of time before any disaster befalls upon you.

Because disasters happen unexpectedly, you and the members of your family will likely be away from each other during the event. Setting up a rendezvous point so all your loved ones can gather together to leave in unison and alternative forms of communication in case someone is left behind.

It becomes crucial to secure and memorize a phone number of a friend or family member to call outside your area to check in, report and get further instructions to meet up later.

So when it comes to getting your go bag in order, the most important thing is that the bag be comfortable. You won’t know if you will need to just travel home or leave to your bug out location far away. If at all possible, try the bag you will use and see if it fits you well enough

Basically, if you’re planning on making a get home bag kit, a regular, relatively cheap and medium sized bag should suffice.

How Long Will a Go Bag Be Used How long will a go bag last

As previously mentioned, the length of time is determined by how far you will need to get to your safer location. According to many survival experts it typically takes no more then 3 days to get home or for emergency response teams to resolve a localized event.

What if your only alternative is to get to your backup location? Then you will definitely want to consider having more high quality equipment and supplies that will be lightweight, compact and if possible have multiple functions.

Thus you should select a bag that can fit all the equipment you’re planning on using. In this case you might want to by all your favorite survival gear before you buy your backpack.

Make sure that the bag is both durable and above all discreet.  If you plan to carry your bag daily than durability is key. Then keeping your bag as normal looking as possible also becomes crucial. The last thing you want is to be a target for the authorities or would be robbers.

Or it might be wiser to choose a bag that is ready made since it is assured to hold all the prepper supplies in its pockets and compartments.

If there is further room, add additional equipment but only if you are making sure to take the size and weight measurements of these items into consideration. Above all, make sure to make a list of all the survival equipment and gear in your bag.

Familiarize yourself with the gear and identify those items that will need to be replaced before their expiration dates.  Make 2 copies of your list and keep these copies safely stored (and laminated if possible) in a handy spot in your bag.

Go Bag Essentials Quality and Price

As we’ve said before, quality of the bag should only be considered if you’re planning on using it regularly. Otherwise, any bag that has enough storage space to hold all your necessary survival gear will do.

You’ll probably (and hopefully) use it just once or twice and even the cheapest bags offer enough quality and durability for doing that.

The price for which you can get one starts at around $10-15 and for that amount of money you can find something perfectly suitable for your needs.

If you are planning to use the bag regularly for long amounts of time, choose wisely. Bug out bags can go up to a couple of hundreds of dollars and, to be honest, sometimes the price difference doesn’t reflect the difference in quality.

It is usually just the brand name you’re paying the extra money for. So, go to Amazon, or some site that deals with bug out bags, look for the ones that fit into your plans and check out the reviews. In the reviews you can find the answers to most of your potential questions and find out which one is the best for you.

The price isn’t everything so don’t just go and buy the most expensive one, do a little bit of research before giving into the popular belief that the more expensive, the more durable.

Go Bag Essentials Size and Weightgo bag size and weight

The size of the bag should be suitable enough to fit all of the equipment you’re planning on using so as mentioned make an equipment list before choosing the size of the bag.

The link mentioned above, provides extensive research on the sizes and weight of the average bug out bag sold. It should help inform you to what is available for purchase.

There is really a broad assortment of bag sizes, from small pouches bag enough for just a couple of the most important items up to survival and tactical backpacks in which you can fit a half of your house, so basically there is a size for any potential use.

Please note that go bag basic equipment will not be possible to put in some small satchel.

Weight of the bag should be important if you want to use it frequently, especially if you’re having many long trips, because just the weight of the equipment can be over encumbering. Experts suggest carrying no more than 25% of ones overall weight. However, an overweight individual will be restricted to carrying a lighter go bag.

It’s best if you can try it out at the store and see if the weight is ok for you, and if the bag is comfortable enough. If you need the bag just for the survival kit or get home kit, weight will not play the most important role, but nevertheless be careful not to choose a bag that is just too heavy, because maybe one day your life will depend on it. Then, try to find your desired Go Bag on Amazon of the same or similar size bag to get the best pricing.

Emergency Go Bag Packing List Essentialgo-bag-essentials-equipment-and-supplies

Go bag essential equipment can vary but there are a couple of items that should go into all bags. I use the data I complied in my major research article on Bug Out Bags.

I applied various axioms from The Rules of Threes, the Boy Scout of America Handbook and the Army Survival Manual  the list.  Then I used the information provided by experts in emergency preparedness and survivalism on suggested survival gear you should have in any emergency bag.

The difference on the appropriate survival gear and supplies to have in any type of prepper bag is depended on the number of days (1 or more days) you need to use it and or the specific use of the bag (ex. tactical bag). The following (in order of importance) are the prepper and survival gear you at least need as a minimum you need to have.

Shelter/Clothing – whether it is a full tent, blanket or just a large garbage bag that will protect you from the rain, having some sort of shelter in your bag is essential for any kind of potential use.

Fire/light – a pocket flashlight and lighter are good enough for most go bag survival kits. Look for a sturdy, waterproof flashlight, with metal body. A good choice can be a LED flashlight. It uses less power while retaining very bright light beam.

Document/Informational – paper and pencil to write down important information for later use is advisable to have.

Signal/Communication – In an emergency situation, a mini radio or cell phone is necessary to keep informed on the crisis at hand.

Navigation – Whether it is a map, GPS or compass, it is essential to have in case you are forced to leave away from the disaster site.

Water – Having a survival purification straw  and at least 1 liter of water daily (more in hot weather), will give you the hydration required.

Food – it’s pretty obvious that food is a must have in any go bag, at least 3-days’ worth of food is the way to go. Choose energy/protein bars or ready-made meals which can last for years.

First aid/Hygiene – item that needs to be in even the most basic go bag equipment list. You can get hurt pretty easily while out in the wild and having a first aid kit could potentially save your life. There’s a huge selection of kits on Amazon or some similar site, just look for the one with lots of positive reviews, one that is constructed for the wild, like the Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit.

Safety/Protection– a tool that can help you in numerous & different situations, and a great thing for self-defense. The best choice is a folding knife with stainless steel blade, similar to Benchmade Griptilian Knife or Spyderco Sage Carbon Fiber Plain Edge Knife. Carrying a firearm is not advisable.

Miscellaneous – When it comes to this category, there are many useful options to select. But the two most favored items are Paracord or Duct Tape. They provide a variety of uses in an emergency situation

Try to keep up with expired survival supplies and replace them when necessary. That also goes for equipment. Test out the survival gear BEFORE restoring it into your bag at least once. If necessary purchase extras to those items that will be used up quickly (i.e. matches).

For the most comprehensive list you can use, my link here gives you all the prepper items and gear most mentioned by the experts in both survivalism and emergency preparedness. Select the Go Bag essentials from the list and either add it to your do it yourself emergency bag. Or use the list to see if your ready-made bag needs missing or additional contents to make your bag more personalized and complete.

Sources

http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/03/21/what-should-you-put-in-a-go-bag/

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/207898.pdf

http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/healthAuthors/ADMIN/PDFs/e_go_bag_checklist.pdf

http://www.writeitforward.com/survival/the-grab-and-go-bag-an-essential-survival-thing-you-must-have/

http://www.disastercenter.com/guide/family.htm

http://nbcert.org/disasterpreparation.htm

http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/2013/11/get-home-bags-for-everyday-people.html

http://www.survivorgeek.com/pages/Emergency-uses-for-Paracord.html

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/50-ways-to-use-duct-tape-for-survival/