Go Bag / Bug Out Bag & What is It?
Go Bag & What is It?
Many people today have heard the term Go Bag / Bug Out Bag but no one really knows what it is? TV Show NCIS has been using the term for years when Gibbs tells the team to Gear Up or Grab their Go Bags. First, allow me to start off by saying I am not a fan of premade internet Go Bags that you purchase premade and buy off the internet. 9-10 times it is made of cheap knock off materials and when you safety and emergency happens wouldn't you like to have the confidence to in knowing you have a bag you can truly depend on?
Check out our other article on Go Bags This article will give you ideas on how to build your own and make it personal for yourself. While the basic items are listed, you will find certain items you feel more comfortable using. I.e.: there are 1000 different fire kits on the market and you need to try out several before you settle on the one or two you feel the most comfortable using. DO NOT depend on a lighter or matches alone! Also with regards to fire kits, dont depend on just one but have 3-4 back ups.
Now back to the article: A Go Bag or Bug Out Bag is a specially prepared small Back Pack that you pack in advance, but hope you never need. These bags are useful in situations that require a hasty evacuation i.e.: Break down on the road and have to hike out to safety. Your emergency kit should be self-contained in one small or medium-sized pack and should contain enough nonperishable food and potable water for you and your family to last several days. You should also pack some tools (like a flashlight and a good knife) and some extra clothing and blankets depending on the season.
Some people make up several Go Bags based on Summer or Winter as you can imagine the needs for that period are much different. I person in the City may pack differently than one in a Rural area. When investigating Go Bags on the World Wide Web, you will see countless scenarios on what you will need to have in our pack. I will list the basics but you will find over time you will be tweaking yours to make it more personal to yourself. 1st - Purchase a Heavy-Duty Back Pack. For your Go Bag, you want a bag that is large enough to carry the necessary items but not be filled to the brim. It should also be sturdy enough to carry all of the items without ripping. If you have a backpack that you are no longer using, this might work for your situation and there is nothing wrong with this. I recommend a pack that has multiple outer and inner pockets. Each person in the home should have their own bag with the essentials as listed below plus things that are personal and helpful to them.
2nd - Purchase necessary food items. While some say you will need to pack 3-day supply (per person) of nonperishable food, realistically you need enough to get you home or get by. Unless you live in a very rural area, you will need some basics to help sustain energy and get you to safety. Canned foods are the best for lasting a long time and preventing animals or other pests from getting into your food supply, but they can also be quite heavy. Your best bet is to buy some canned goods along with some other lighter options – like beef jerky, peanut butter, granola bars, and applesauce. I am a big fan of protein cookies as they have a great sustainability for shelf life and personal health benefits
3rd - Get potable water and/or a water filtration method. You need to plan on bringing one gallon of potable water per day per person, or a portable water filtration system. While a water filter is a great item to have, you need to think about adding how to hold the water. Small bag or cup / bottle to use in combination with the filter. Some of the best on the market are: MUV Adaptable Water Filter, Sawyer Water Filter, The Life Straw, Berkey Water Bottle. My personal choices would be the MUV for the most adaptable version for all occasions, then Sawyer, Berkey and then Life Straw. The MUV and Sawyer have the ability to screw it onto an existing water bottle or soda bottle where the others do not. Lastly, there is also the option to add water purification tablets, but I found those to have a bad after taste. You can slso add a cap full of bleach to a gallon of water, but how really brings bleach in their Go Bags??? 4th - Pack Practical Tools. For your emergency kit, try to think of all the scenarios that you might need to prepare for. You’ll need tools and other items to help you deal with these emergent situations. Consider packing the following:
Lamp or flashlight, preferably a hand crank one so you don’t have to worry about batteries. I highly recommend a head lamp for hands free operation.
Emergency radio w/ batteries or a hand crank radio
Solar chargers for phones or batteries. You can get them all over the internet. Get one for each member whom has a cellular device.
Swiss Army Knife, with scissor component. Who doesn’t like a good Swiss Army knife.
Good, Solid Fixed Blade Knife – We recommend a good solid fixed blade as well as a few folding knifes in both small and med / large styles. Don’t skimp out and get a good name branded knife.
Can Opener, Manual
Duct / Gorilla Tape
4 Way Sillcock Key is a must in any Go Pack for a vehicle. Most gas stations have faucets outside and most do not have a nadle but having a Sillcock will be vital when you need it.
Matches and a Good Small Fire Starting Kit – If you choose Matched, we recommend storm proof / water proof matches but if you have the ability to have a fire starting kit like a ferro rod, these are better and more reliable. There are so many fire starting kits, pick the one or two you feel the best you can operate. It is always best to have several back up’s as these can be built or purchased in very small units.
Tin Cup and possibly a Stanley Adventure Nesting Cook set and tin utensils.
5th - Pack Extra Clothing & Blankets. In order to protect yourself from the elements both Summer and winter, you will have to build two kits, maybe three kits depending on the season I recommend a Spring / Summer & Fall / Winter Kit based n the region you live in. You’ll definitely need to bring extra clothing items that will help you if you are stuck outdoors. Keep your specific area in mind as stated above, as your local weather/outdoor conditions will influence what items you choose to pack. Try bringing: Spare clothes – gloves, good walking shoes, extra socks, underwear, layers, wind/rain-resistant clothing. Mylar blankets and / or Mylar sleeping bag– they are lighter than full sleeping bags, but still good for warmth.
6th – Bring camping supplies if possible. If you anticipate that you’ll need to sleep outdoors during an emergency situation, consider bringing camping supplies like a small tent and sleeping bags for each member of your family. This may be vital for those long family trips. It is better to be prepared. These can be life-saving if you’re stuck out in the cold.
Remember that these supplies can be difficult to carry unless you have a special backpacking backpack that you can attach the tent and sleeping bags to. They make super small / space age tents now days and packs now days so do your part and do some research.
7th - Bring necessary sanitary products. You will still need to take care of your sanitary and hygiene-related needs while you’re stuck outdoors or away from home for an extended period of time. Consider the following items:
Dust mask to protect you from possibly harmful airborne debris
Sanitary towelettes – Toilet Tablets as an amazing product to have and they don’t take up much room.
First Aid Kit – Including bandages of various sizes, sterile gauze, antibiotic cream, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, antibacterial soap, hydrocortisone cream, tweezers, and a splint.
8th - Pack all of your necessary medications and prescriptions. Bring any medications or prescription items you might need while you’re away from home. This includes prescription eye glasses, prescription medication, and over-the-counter medications.
If you have to take medications, make sure you keep them all in one place, and can sweep them into the Go Bag without any searching. Refill your prescriptions before you're nearly out of them and make sure you have an extra set in your Go Bag.
Remember that medications expire, so you will need to keep checking your go bag once you’ve packed it to ensure that the medications aren’t out of date. Once they expire, toss them and replace them.
You should also bring any medications your pet may need.
9th - Bring important paper items in sealed plastic bags. You may want to include copies of important documents, a paper map of your area is not a bad idea in case cellular networks are down, and some extra cash in your go bag. To prevent these items from being damaged, make sure you put them in plastic water-resistant bags. In today’s world, think about getting a thumb drive and scanning all important documents and putting them all ona thumb drive. It is still important to have hard copies identification for your person, but other items can easily be stored ona portable thumb drive and this takes up little to no room in a portable Go Bag. Some documents you should consider bringing include:
Copy of your passport or driver’s license
Children’s birth certificates
Marriage or divorce papers
Titles for any property you own
Keep in mind, there is a difference in a Go Bag for your Home and a Go Bag for your vehicle and while they may contain similar items they are totally different. Go Bag for your home may contain more food and emergency supplies while the vehicle Go Bag is meant for one to two people or your family to get to a safe place. Most people create vehicle bags with less gear and more for one to two night outdoors only and not for a 5-7+ day survival. Emergency Preparedness Kits for your Home are also totally different too and they need to have different items i.e.: 1 Flash light for every member of the home, more batteries, more sustainable food, etc. You generally have a roof over your head so you don’t need tents or staying out of the elements. Emergency Space Blankets are still not a bad idea to have for each member of the home as they can easily be added to your Go Bag if you have to leave your home due to an emergency I.e.: Fire, Tornado, Flooding, etc. We hope you found this article helpful and if you have anything you would like to add, please leave your ideas in the comments section below. Please stop back often and check out our other blog articles as we plan to continue to bring you helpful articles for the Everyday Prepper in all of us. Shown below are some images of other Go Bags as samples.....