A Go Bag is a bag or backpack that holds enough supplies to be able to sustain a person for three days with relative comfort. It’s important to note that “relative comfort” is, well, relative. Living out of a go bag for three days is far less comfortable than living in your home for three days, but it is also far more comfortable than living with nothing for three days.
Want or Need
When selecting what goes into a go bag, it’s important to keep in mind that there are things that need go in the bag and things you want to go in the bag. The things that must go in the bag are things that provide or give access to food, water, shelter, and safety. Once you’ve packed the things you need have, you can fill the remaining space with things you want to have. Remember that if you ever need to use the bag, it’s going on your back.
Once you’ve got your bag packed, put it somewhere safe that you can get to quickly in the event of an emergency and be sure to check in on it every few months to keep it updated and replace any items that have expired.
In an emergency situation, it’s important to think of food simply as fuel for your body. You want to pack food that has a long shelf-life, is packed with calories, and is simple to prepare and consume.
A few examples of some foods that are good for a go bag are:
Be sure to also pack the utensils you’ll need to consume the items you pack. Oatmeal is great, but you’ll need a bowl and a spoon to eat it. If you bring canned food, you’ll need a can opener.
While you’ll be able to survive three days without food and still be relatively healthy, going three days without water can have much more serious effects on your body. Finding a source of clean drinking water should be a top priority in an emergency and having a supply on hand will make that much easier.
The exact amount of water you should have standing by depends a lot on your particular situation and environment. If you’re in a temperate climate and not being very physically active, you might be fine with a 1-liter per day supply. If you’re in a desert climate and are on the move, you’ll need significantly more.
Some basic supplies you should pack to help address your need for water are:
I use the term “shelter” to refer generally to anything you can use to create a microclimate around you. Your clothes are your most basic form of shelter. A tent is a more advanced form of shelter.
Your specific situation is going to determine what your needs are for shelter. If you live in an arctic environment, your shelter needs are very different than someone who lives in a hot desert environment.
Generally speaking, your shelter needs would include:
While food, water, and shelter all contribute to your safety, here I’m referring specifically to items that help keep you from physical harm.
Your specific needs for safety depend on your situation, but there are some more general items that will help you ensure your safety:
Having a Go Bag packed and ready is important. Equally important is having a plan for how to use it and how to react in probable scenarios. Keep your plan simple. In an emergency, you probably won’t have time or the ability to execute a complicated plan.
Make a plan for how you and your loved ones should get in touch with each other in the event that phone and internet service is interrupted. Having a friend or relative that lives far away that you can contact with a brief message is also a good idea.
You should also plan a few locations as rally points for your family. Select a couple locations like a church or school that are within a short walk from your home. Also pick somewhere that is farther away in the event that the emergency forces you to evacuate the area. A friend or relative in a nearby town is a good place to set as a rally point.
Whatever plan you come up with, write it down and keep it in your bag. If you ever encounter a need to use it, you’ll be glad to have it as a reference so that you don’t have to figure out what to do while you’re in the midst of the emergency.