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Preparedness 101: What’s in Your Go Bag?

A Go Bag is, according to Google, “a bag packed with essential items, kept ready for use in the event of an emergency evacuation of one's home.”

If you had two minutes to get out of your house in an emergency situation what would you grab? Would you be prepared to survive a few days – not at a hotel – in a natural or man-made disaster? I’m not paranoid, but it’s far better to be prepared and have a plan, just in case, than scramble at the last minute to grab what you think you might need.

To that end, I’ve compiled a set of two Go Bags (I’ll get to why I have two in a minute). If I had to leave in a hurry I’d grab these, a bag of weaponry/ammo from the safe, my purse, and I’d be driving away in my Jeep in less than two minutes.

For my primary Go Bag, I purchased a large backpack from Jax Outdoors military surplus. This holds most of the items on the list below. However, in a survival situation you won’t want to unpack your whole backpack if you need something from it, and you don’t want to take your pack off/on frequently, so I also have a Side Bag. (Full disclosure: having a separate side bag was my husband’s idea – I would’ve used one backpack – but after a fairly lively discussion I conceded that having a second option for frequently used items is a good idea). In my Side Bag I’d carry the items we’d use most often, such as water, snacks, hand cleaner, etc., and it’s big enough to stick my purse in it on the go.

So, I’ve got one Side Bag with frequently used items. A backpack Go Bag with a day’s survival items. A weaponry pack (firearms soft case). And my Jeep, which itself is part of our preparedness plan and holds a variety of survival items to cover a few days’ time.

Go Bag Items (these are items my husband and I have collected gradually and added to my Go Bag – about once a year I go through the bag and update items or add stuff. Also keep in mind I store a good collection of survival and recovery items in my Jeep, so you might check out this list as well).

Gerber tool

Spoon (because it was free from Jax Outdoors and everybody should carry a spoon)

Bamboo sporks

Extra carabiners

Zippo hand warmer

Flint and steel (2) – one goes in side bag

Industrial lighter

Small lighter (2) – one goes in Side Bag

Pocket bellows

Lighter fluid

Jute rope (for starting fires)

Medications – pain, nausea, antibiotics, allergy

Collapsible water bottle (2)

Book: The Pocket Outdoor Survival Guide

Bar of soap

Wash cloth

Various rope, cordage, and smaller carabiners

M Tape

First aid kit – goes in Side Bag

Large gauze roll and hurt-free wrap

Hand warmers

Flashlights – some go in each bag


Backpacker meals

Jerky and other snacks – goes in Side Bag

Energy gel packs

Tea bags

Instant coffee

Breath mints

Nalgene bottle filled with water – goes in Side Bag

LifeStraw water filter

Hand cleaning wipes – goes in Side Bag

Baby wipes


Change of clothing (pants, tank, windbreaker, undies, socks) – in Ziploc to remain dry

Change of kids clothing (pants, shirt, socks, fleece, undies) – in Ziploc to remain dry

Playing cards

Feminine products


Gun oil

Gun cleaning kit

Neck knife

Bushcraft Bayonet


Firearms (take-down .22, .22 handgun, extra clips, ammo – one caliber for your weapons and ammo ensures you aren’t sorting through everything to find the right stuff and it’s cheaper. Also, we chose .22 caliber specifically because of its versatility – small size yet can hunt plenty of small game) – in firearms case

Hopefully disaster won’t strike but I’d urge you to put together your own Go Bag just in case. You may never need it, but if you do it could save your life. Do you have Go Bag suggestions? Leave comments below, and thanks for reading!

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