Perhaps I should first ask if you know what a go-bag is?
Some people call it a day-bag or a "bug-out bag" — or a "BOB" for short. It can also be called a survival kit or an emergency preparations bag.
Whatever you choose to call it, a go-bag should be an essential part of your lifestyle. Generally speaking, it is a bag packed with essential items you could use if you have to face a threat or a crisis, including a medical emergency.
First, everyone’s go-bag will not be the same. Each person and family has different needs and a different lifestyle, therefore the size of the bag and its contents will depend on who’s putting it together.
When you put together a go-bag, your first step will be to get a pen and paper and make a list of all the things that you want to put inside it. Keep in mind that if you plan to carry the bag around with you, then it can’t be too heavy, too big or too bulky for your size, strength and weight.
I will add my two cents in a moment as well.
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Decide. Do you want a go-bag that you can take with you on your daily routine? Or do you want one for each vehicle? Having a nicely outfitted bag that is accessible in your home is not a bad idea either. Make sure that you keep it in the same place all the time and that all family members know where to access it in case of emergency.
Lastly, consider the aspect of "time" relative to your go-bag or survival bag. Ask yourself: Is this something that I will need for a one-time event or is it something that I may need to survive for one, two or even three days?
If you answered "days", then you need a larger bag and should consider a large backpack. You would also have to consider other essential elements in the case of longer-term survival needs. Things like water, food and protein bars become key elements in your planning. Some of these items may be perishable, and so you must also plan to replace unused food and water as the expiration dates pass.
Once the bag is packed, you should keep it someplace where you can get to it quickly in an emergency, maybe a closet in your home or the trunk of your car. Or you can carry it around with you.
You can also devise a system of bags where each serves a different purpose, like one for your home, one for your office, one for your car, one for your boat, one for camping, one for sightseeing in a strange city. For the sake of our conversation, let’s discuss the essentials for a go-bag that you will carry with you as you move about in your daily routine.
Jeff Cantor’s ready for almost anything with his go-bag
Developing your go-bag should be a fun and pleasurable experience.
If you’re going to carry your bag, it limits the size of the bag and thus its contents. Here are some of the contents of my own go-bags, and I believe many of these items may be essential for you as well:
- Handgun and extra magazines — for personal defense.
- Collapsible water bottle — For collecting or carrying water from a source, like a fountain, lake or stream.
- Water purification tablets — In the event you have to purify water for drinking, these tablets work fairly quickly and are effective against questionable water sources that may contain bacteria.
- Tactical flashlight — This is a fantastic tool to serve many purposes besides providing light, including a personal-defense weapon. With someone suspicious at night, you can use it to "light him up," meaning shine the light in someone’s eyes to let them know you see them. If you have to engage, then shine a blinding light in the attacker’s eyes while holding the flashlight away from your body. This will trick him into thinking you’re in one place while you attack from another position.
- Medicines — Your prescription meds of course, but don’t forget over-the-counter remedies for allergies and other common ailments.
- Eyeglasses and sunglasses.
- Tactical folding knife — Can be used in a myriad of ways for survival and personal defense.
- Tactical pen (2) — Another tool that can be designed to perform many functions besides self-defense, including breaking windows and even taking notes. Take two, they’re small, unassuming, But, they’re great force-multipliers when wielded correctly as a striking weapon. The impact point is very powerful. And you can use it to strike limbs, including bones, to make an attacker release you so you can either escape or counterattack.
- Solar blanket — The space-age material can keep you warm in the event you get caught in severe cold. The blanket can even be used to build a small shelter.
- Waterproof lighter or waterproof matches — The best ways to build a fire or light something on fire.
- Handcuff key — This could quite literally "set you free" if you’ve been locked up by robbers, kidnapped or unlawfully detained. It’s a good idea to keep the key on a chain.
- Large bobby pins — These are great for picking locks.
- Paper clips — They have a multitude of uses from self-defense to holding things together and to picking locks.
- Zip-lock baggies (gallon and sandwich size) — The heavyweight baggies have a slew of uses, like collecting and storing water as well as protecting important papers from the elements.
- Rubber bands — One of the best inventions ever for binding things together.
- Cell phone and solar charger — Absolutely essential items in an emergency, especially during the aftermath.
- Hat — It should have a flexible brim to protect you from the sun.
- Fold-up rain poncho — You can find this inexpensive rain gear in most sporting or outdoors stores. They can also be used as tarps to protect things or haul things.
- Dental floss — Floss is a very underrated a survival tool. Aside from cleaning your teeth, it can be used to make weapons or a fishing pole. And multiple strands can be intertwined into a rope or even a saw to cut through plastic, wood or some metal.
- Duct tape — A fantastic product that can bind things, fix holes, plug leaks, make splints and has an array of other uses.
- Quick clot — Quick clot comes in small, easy-to-open packages that you just pour right into a wound to stop the bleeding. It’s been tested by paramedics and by battle medics.
- Zip Ties — These are great for binding things together to make critical survival needs like shelters.
- 550 Paracord — This is military-grade paracord that you can use for binding, hauling, and lifting.
- Lock pick kit — Lock pick sets are legal in most places. And they can be a lifesaver whenever you’ve mislaid your keys.
- $300 plus in cash. Small denominations such as 5s,10 sand 20s. After an emergency, you’ll need it to buy goods and information.
- Change of clothing — This is dependent upon lifestyle. This also may be something you keep in your vehicle rather than your daily go-bag.
Once you have established the items for your own bag, step two is to select a go-bag.
In choosing a bag, make sure it fits your lifestyle, budget and will hold everything you want it to. There are a number of companies that have great go-bags. To find them, just type "go-bags" into Google Search or try amazon.com.
I have provided an image of one of my own go-bags to give you one idea of size and lifestyle fit.
Keep in mind that my list of items may differ somewhat from your own. And that is perfectly fine. Just consider what could be essential to you in an emergency or a threat situation and create your own list.
It does not have to be difficult to pull together the equipment and in actuality it should be fun. The most critical factor — once you have all your essentials and a bag — is that it is accessible.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!