Go Bag: Building the Perfect Emergency Go Bag

There are situations in life when you don’t have much time to think. Sometimes you just have to act to protect your family. If you need to evacuate your home quickly, a backpack is the best choice for getting out of the house quickly with the supplies you need to survive, possibly without anything else.

There are a few things that make Harbingers feel as safe as a well-designed bag of shit. The weekend bag is the same as the flight bag. It’s a bag adapted to you and your situation, specially designed to take with you on your way out. Your bag should be packed and ready when you need it.

Today we’re going to cover what it takes to list a Go Bag and give you the information you need to make your own. Hopefully you’ll never need a gym bag, but if you do, you should know what to look for when gathering your gym bag.

What is the purpose of a Go-Bag?

The Go-Bag contains the necessities of life when you need to leave your home. This bag contains everything you need, plus a few extras, but think carefully about what you put in it. Why? Because you have to carry everything, and the more you add, the harder it gets.

Some time ago I wrote an article about weight considerations entitled Your Bug Bag Will Kill You? And if you want more compelling information about weight, you should read this article first. For the rest of you, I assume you want to think about what props you need in this situation.

For people like you, I made this list of the contents of the Dodge bags. This is a free downloadable PDF file with a brief explanation of each item. All the items on the checklist for backpacks also apply to the list of travel bags.

Plus – How do you pack a bag of insects?

A well-stocked Go Bag should give you everything you need to live for at least 3 days, so that’s the extent of the list. It’s not something you can put everything into, but it’s something you need to survive in the wild. You don’t need two weeks of food and water, and most of what’s on this list can be considered basic necessities.

What should you put in your bag?


Water is essential to everyone’s survival, so you need to have a plan to take it with you. However, you will not bring all the water because it is heavy and takes up too much space. Your goal should be to get extra water along the way and treat it so you can drink it without contracting a disease that harms you in the worst way.

Water filtration is one of the most important requirements in your bag. Even in pure, natural water sources, there are organisms that you don’t approve of. They don’t know what happened upstream. There may be a body at the bottom of the pond. You should always filter or disinfect your white water before drinking it. If you don’t believe me, think about the last time you were sick and away from home.

Water bottle or container

I love Nalgene plastic bottles because they make it very easy to carry water. When empty, they weigh almost nothing, but they do take up space. However, it is not possible to boil water in a Nalgene bottle, so options for water filtration must be provided. If you don’t want to carry a water filter and you plan to boil all your water, you need something made of stainless steel and with single-wall walls. Do not attempt to boil water in an insulated stainless steel water bottle.

Water filter

There are two options I like, and both are gravity water filtration for my travel bag.  My favorite portable water filter is the Platypus GravityWorks water filter. It’s simple, has no moving parts and filters a lot of water quickly. The second filter that is perfect for your travel bag is the mini water filter system from Sawyer Products. Both convert the water collected into drinking water perfectly.

Details – Check bag Water filtration options

What about ultraviolet pens, water purification tablets or chlorine? I don’t like the taste that medical pills or chlorine add to my water, and I don’t want to rely on batteries for my drinking water. Are you exposed to the same risks with mechanical filter systems? Of course, which is why I stopped using the MSR Miniworks microfilter (which seems to have been replaced by the MSR Guardian). She has a pump that worked a lot, but she gave it up during the trip we took. Luckily I had another filter, otherwise we would have had a problem.

Optional water storage tank

I love the regular Nalgene bottles, but to avoid trips to the creek, I also bring a spare water reservoir in the Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene (32 oz.). I can fill two bottles with it for my travel bag, and it usually lasts all day unless I’m in extreme heat. This Nalgene restaurant collapses to almost nothing, so space or empty weight is not an issue.

Optionally, Gravityworks can be used in the same way. Just fill a bag with dirty water and put it in your bag. It flows into your clean bag as soon as you empty it, so it’s an extra tank. It’s also a good idea to bring extra water so you have more time to find another water source.

If you run out of water and can’t find another water source, this emergency source is essential. Yes, it adds weight to your bag, but it’s a weight you will consume gradually.


Okay, water has been covered for the most part, now we move on to the most important survival tool in your backpack and that is food. It’s a simple topic, but everyone has a different idea of what survival means. I’ve seen some people recommend cans of tuna, pop-tarts and ramen noodles in your bag. This will definitely work, but you have to consider height and weight.

Canned food is heavy and can make a lot of noise. You can also add dehydrated meals for camping. I focus on two things when it comes to the food in your bag. The first is shelf life and the second is ease of preparation/nutritional value.

Tuna and Pop-Tarts are easy and don’t need to be heated, so that’s a plus, but I don’t want the tuna to stay in a hot car all summer when I keep my bag in it. I don’t want to worry about them going wrong either, but I think it’s important to remember that when you’re running for your life with everything you need to survive strapped to your back, you need a lot of calories. For my travel bag, I have two options depending on where I store it.

For warmer conditions, say B. in the trunk of my car, I like Mainstay emergency food rations. These are true emergency food bars that can withstand temperatures from -40°F to 300°F (-40°C to 149°C). Think of it as survival rations stored in a lifeboat. It’s not gourmet food and it tastes a bit like coconut bread.

The advantage of these survival rations is that they can withstand extreme summer conditions (unless you live on Mars) and give you plenty of calories over a short distance. You don’t need to add water or anything else to it, just break off a piece and eat it. The second (and most desirable) option, if I have the choice, would be freeze-dried Mountain House meals designed for camping. I buy packets for two, just in case, and I tend to buy packets that have as many calories as possible.

The breakfast pan is excellent and will give you 680 calories and the energy you need for the hike with this hiking bag. I think the Chili Mac has even more calories and tastes delicious. All you need is a spoon and hot water. Simply fill the bag with the recommended amount of hot water, stir it in, let it rest for a few minutes, then sear it. You can take 9 or 6 and those pop-tarts. They take up space, but they are light.

Change of clothing

Food and water, of course. Okay, the last step in the survival pyramid is shelter, and we count clothes and something to protect you from the elements. Moving is easy, or it should be. You will need a good pair of long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, clean underpants and a pair of spare socks. What if it’s hot? Shorts are nice, but not necessary because you probably already live without the comfort of air conditioning, so you’re already sweating.

Why the long pants? Because they provide good protection for your feet. The same goes for the shirt. In warm weather, you don’t need to get a tan.  I recommend clothes designed for trekking, i.e. clothes without cotton. It is lighter, dries faster when wet and stores much less. What if it’s cold? Since you’re going to be wearing even warmer clothes, you should already have them with you and not in a tutu. Layering is the best way to dress, but remember it’s only to save your life.

You don’t have to be pretty and you won’t die if you have to wear the same pants two days in a row. It’s the same with underwear. I would also add rain protection in the form of a raincoat or poncho. I wouldn’t go out the door without sturdy shoes that you can walk on for a long time, and a hat that’s seasonally appropriate.

I like hats in the winter to keep me warm, but I tend to wear them and not have them in my backpack. Gloves are also a good addition, and I have something to keep my hands warm in the winter, but also always something for work.  You should also wear a good pair of leather gloves to protect your hands.


Tarpaulins or rain covers are lighter than a tent and take up less space.

It is only meant to protect you from the elements and is not a substitute for a warm and cozy fireplace. Accommodation can range from a tent to a simple tarp. Not that a tent is extreme, but tents add considerable weight, take time to set up and take down, and are usually visible from a distance.

For camping I use a tent and for troubleshooting I use a tarp similar to the ENO Pro outer tent instead of a full tent. The flaps are much lighter and protect against weather influences, just like a tent. However, mistakes cannot be avoided – again: This is about saving lives, not maximizing comfort.

Sleeping bags are another weight factor that takes up a lot of space. My tent and sleeping bag are the heaviest and largest items in my normal camping backpack. You can buy very light and compact sleeping bags, but count on at least $400 to save weight and space in your bag for everything else you need.

Again, on the subject of survival: I would recommend the SOL Emergency Bivvy adventure medical kits instead of a sleeping bag. They are cheaper than a regular bag, about $15, fit in the palm of your hand and weigh only 4 ounces. This saves a lot of weight and space in your package.

Light and Light

By the fire, you can craft or keep it safe. I recommend some good Bic disposable lighters kept in a waterproof bag. Simple and practically reliable protection. I also carry the Swedish Firesteel as a backup. You can also bring all kinds of other accessories, but if you can’t make a fire with a lighter or steel, you can’t make a fire.


GearLight LED headlight S500 2-pack

Weighing only 1.8 ounces (3 ounces with batteries), they are the perfect headlamp accessory for runners and outdoor adventurers. The removable, washable and adjustable headband is comfortable for both adults and children.

As far as lighting goes, I recommend LED headlights for everyone. It’s the perfect hands-free option to light your way, which is great even for kids. Everyone has their own LED headlight. I prefer these flashlights because they are hands-free and always point where the head is looking. Plus, they run on regular AAA batteries and not rechargeable batteries like some ceiling lights do.

I don’t recommend flashlights or rechargeable headlamps for several reasons. You should have a spare cable with you for now. Then you may find yourself in an area where there is not even electricity. Yes, you could bring a small solar panel to charge them that way, but I think there are a lot of batteries out there and if I brought another half dozen, I’d keep burning for a very long time and I wouldn’t get much heavier.

Self protection

The above should help you live on if you are alone in the elements. When you’re separated from other people, you have to find a way to defend yourself. The choice of protective weapons depends on the situation you are in and what you may encounter. I have a gun, so it’s my option for self-defense.

If the reason for my bullying was total chaos, anarchy, I would take the rifle and the pistol. If it was a temporary glitch due to weather or something I thought was temporary, I could only carry a concealed pistol. Whatever the situation, you need something to protect yourself. I’m giving you a choice.

Regardless of your attitude toward guns or your ability to carry them, I would seriously consider having something to protect you.

Personal pistol with 3 magazines – Individual firearms should be near the last line of defense if you have already purchased a complete set of firearms. However, they are a good first option if you are looking for something for home defense. You can read more about our recommendations here…. but make sure you have at least 3 mags for your weapon and follow the training. Weapons magazines are often out of print.

Personal rifle with 6 magazines – The best option for safety is a semi-automatic rifle. AR-15 and Ak-47 are the de facto standard for most preparers, and we discuss the merits of each in this article, but either one is good for protecting your family. Again, training is indispensable, and you need to be very proficient with your main rifle. For some reason, gun magazines are cheaper than most gun magazines, and Gun Mag Warehouse has a good selection of them as well.

Gun case or combat belt – Yes, you can store your gun in your pants like in the movies, but it’s only a matter of time. In addition, if you are one of those who likes to wear wide-legged pants, …..

You can use a combat belt, which allows you to attach extra pockets to your belt, ready to be carried at any time. I have a Safariland 6005 SLS tactical holster that I redesigned to fit my belt. I grab my seat belt, put my gun away, take off the safety catch and leave. It comes with 2 rifle magazines, 2 rifle magazines, IFAK and a drop pack.

You can also get a good Kydex-type holster and hang it, with a strong belt, on your pants and you’ll always have a better way to carry your weapon than in the back of your pants.

Ammo for every gun – guns without ammo are just expensive paper sticks. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on ammo, but the more you have, the better. You can view and download our free ammo inventory spreadsheet for recommendations on recommended ammo quantities. Start small, but start small.

Cleaning Kits – Shooting rifles releases a lot of powder and chemicals, not to mention the dirt that is constantly being carried around. Make sure your gun is in good condition and ready to fire by making sure it is clean and well lubricated. A good gun cleaning kit is not expensive, but a failure of your gun because you did not clean it can cost you your life.

Flashlight – A flashlight for a gun is not necessary, but it is incredibly useful. I have a TLR-7 Streamlight 500 lumens on my night stand and a TLR-9 Streamlight 1000 lumens on my rifle. Yes, you can hold a flashlight in one hand and train effectively, but what if your flashlight isn’t with your gun?

If you are buying a pistol light for your gun, make sure you do so before you buy your holster.


Amateur radio Baofeng UV-5RA

Communication options are limited by the scenario you are in. If it’s a minor event that you can reasonably expect life to return to normal at some point, a spare battery for your phone may be enough, or a spare charger to charge the existing phone. If mobile telephony does not work, there are still walkie-talkies, which have a very limited range, or HAM-radios.

I recommend bringing a portable amateur radio that can transmit and receive UHF and VHF signals, and a dual-band antenna that allows for a longer range.

For radios, I recommend Baofeng because they are solidly built, offer all the features you need for mesh communications, and only cost about $35. You can’t win. Connect this radio to a Slim Jim antenna and 15 feet of coaxial cable, and then to an adapter plug, and you can easily talk or hear broadcasting from a distance of 30 to 50 miles, depending on where you are.

Wrap the paracord around the antenna, throw it into the tree and you’re done. You have to learn how to use this device, but in my opinion it is the best option to communicate in case of a power outage. This assumes you know how to use an amateur radio.

There is a good learning curve for this technology. Any real distance with small portable devices like this requires you to be able to hit the repeater. The Baofeng above has a much greater range than the FMRS radios you see everywhere, but they are still limited by their transmit power.

Finally, you will only hear or be heard on a frequency that someone is monitoring. If you are only looking for general information, a shortwave radio might be a better option. Amateur radio is useful if you have someone to talk to, but if you just want to know what’s going on, there may be easier ways.


The tools I’m considering with the weight in mind are a multi-tool like the Leatherman, a good pocket knife like the G10 Tenacious from Spyderco, and a great universal knife like the Gerber LMF II. What about bolt cutters, scrapers and chainsaws? I don’t think they’re good for the pocket. In any case, small bolt cutters are only useful for small or paper locks. Do you have them at home? Sure, but the chances of needing one are slim.


Gerber LMF II infantry knife

This 10 inch survival knife was tested with American troops and developed in collaboration with our country’s bravest.

What happens if you ask for SHTF and I have to break into the warehouse for security? I hear you, but I don’t think it’s worth it. Additionally, a large bolt cutter sticking out of your backpack can mark you as a troublemaker and attract unwanted attention from people who see you.

If it’s really that bad, you’ll probably find it easy anyway.

The multi-tool covers most of your fine tool needs with pliers, a small saw and a wrench. However, if you plan to rebuild the engine with it, this will not suffice. With other tools, you can boil water with a good first aid kit and an umbilical cord.

For boiling and boiling water, I recommend a JetBoil burner. The whole kit and the fuel fit perfectly in a small, relatively light container. You can use it to boil water for frozen food or to disinfect it. It’s also good for coffee. You can also get more militaristic, which I started doing by using the MightyMo Ultralight Jetboil. That’s about half, and we still have to bring the pot to a boil.

The Adventure Medical Kits are an ultra-lightweight and solid first aid kit. You can’t perform surgery in the woods or remove a bullet with it, but you can do most things with it. I would supplement one of them with a Quick Clot bag and some large pressure bandages. Tampons and sanitary napkins are also good bloodstoppers…. of course.


I know some people put their entire first aid kit in their bags, but again, I’m all about survival, I’m not thinking about going to the ball – so it comes down to this

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush/Paste
  • Conditioner
  • Sunglasses
  • Towel
  • Poop scoop.
  • Insect spraying

What about women? I put some extra candy in my wife’s bag because I know it will improve her outlook if we have to leave. Your experience may vary.

Miscellaneous machinery

Other than that, I’d add tape to wrap water bottles, lighters, etc., bandanas that have a thousand uses, and spare batteries for any equipment that needs them. What about important documents? I’m still doubting it, but I plan to write about it later. I just don’t see that situation at Ellis Island where you have to show a birth certificate, but anything is possible. COVID may soon require you to provide proof of vaccination. I see I have an ID with your current address to prove where you live.


With the Bag-Go Checklist items listed above, you’ll be much better prepared for a disaster that strikes quickly. What else do you put in your bag?


frequently asked questions

What should I put in my first aid kit?

The bag should contain a first aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, matches in an airtight container and a whistle. Strong tape, plastic wrap and a few tools can also come in handy. Tip: Remove the batteries from the flashlight and other objects to prevent corrosion.

What is the best first aid kit?

Top 10 Backpacks in 2020 | Daily Loot

What are the 10 items that make up an emergency kit?

The 10 most important items for your emergency kit are the …

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