Go-Bag; by Bryce A.
Go-bag preparation; By Bryce A.
“Go-bag” has been a staple to the prepping community as well as anyone shedding the concern over a possibility of needing one. Personally, I believe a go-bag can be used in any setting outdoors or for everyday carry. The items can be adjusted according to your necessities and usage, but there are a few items that should be considered no matter the case. Being prepared in any situation that life throws at you is important, in hind-sight of the most recent blizzard storm and the number of people that had been stranded in those conditions, a go-bag would have been an essential tool to survival.
To begin, one must consider the use of a go-bag. Will it be used in your every day carry? Used during impeding weather emergencies? Or will it sit on stand-by in case of a regional or local emergency to “bug-out”. The bag should also be built around the plan of action one would case if the situation meets its requirements. This is why it is imperative to create a plan initially around the bag’s usage and where/how long the bag will be needed. Personally, my bag was built to hold me over a for at least 3-4 days, my plan being to travel to a safer location with family. My bag is also built as a weekend out of town either exploring or camping out, so it doesn’t necessarily sit stagnant for a long period of time and has more applicable uses in my life.
I will be honest, this topic is easily searched and there are hundreds of spins on content, probably from multiple experienced writers. The contents do vary, but not by a whole lot when it comes to basics. The common content categories include: water, food, medical supplies, survival tools (including heat sources), lighting, rigging and hunting/defense tools, and clothing (particularly foot-wear). This list is not all conclusive, but many people would agree that these items are necessary for survival through in an austere environment. There are so many different brands and retail stores/sites that advertise and sell most of this gear, ultimately it is up to the user to determine which brands they prefer to go with (financially, practicality, personally).
The first step when beginning your build is determining the bag to go with. This bag should be hardy, tough, and practical. The bag should be sized based on your plan of action and how long you determine you’ll need it. My bag in particular is medium sized and is capable of getting me through at least three days after full packing. I believe going “gray” is an important consideration. Carrying a molle equipped bag has many uses and obviously expands the pack’s carrying capacity, but it also stands-out. Molle in general is stereotyped to be military or law-enforcement affiliated, but it is also pretty popular with your average-joe. When I travel, I generally carry a bag without any markings, generic color, no molle, but again, the usage and capacity of my day-to-day bag isn’t necessarily a “go-bag.” Color of the bag should also be considered, depending on the environment you’re in, whether urban, rural, wooden, etc. Black or gray tends to be a more neutral approach and also plays into the “gray man” idea.
Water is the top of the necessity list. Many bags either include water bladders, or at least a pocket to put one into. Filling the water on moment of departure is the most advisable tip, but ensure to keep the bladder clean and dry until that moment as not to build up any mold. There are many different types of water filtration devices, to include straws and other filters to place directly into your water container, user preference when it comes filtration. Always keep in mind that these devices come with shelf lives and maximum usage, so ensure to keep an eye on manufacturer disclaimers.
Food is another top priority, or at least means of obtaining it. There are many dry packaged bags out there that you can purchase, just ensure to pay attention to the expiration of these items. Water is obviously more important than food, especially if traveling for a brief amount of time, so consider how much space you’re willing to give up, especially if you have hunting and gathering training and know the environment around you.
Number three on the list is probably number three in priority, but is a must-have for your bag: compact and easily accessible medical supplies. Tourniquets, bandages, gauze, wraps, sheers, pain killers, disinfectants, alcohol swabs, etc, are all important items to keep in your medical case. All these items are also able to be compact and “battle readied” for quick accessibility. It is important to place the bag somewhere where it can be accessed easily, without obstacles in the case. I place my bag in the front pocket, and pre-stage all the wraps to easily open in a time of crisis (pre-torn plastic wraps, etc.) It is important to consider that when we get injured and our body enters that fight or flight response, many fine motor skills go out the window and we rely on gross motor movements and our training. Consider this when prepping your medical supplies, but also remember to check shelf-lives and swap equipment out when necessary. Other rarer items, such as an epi-pen should also be considered based on individual needs, but I also recommend to carry one if not multiple tourniquets.
I will include the rest of the aforementioned materials in one final broad term: survival tools. This includes lighting (chargeable flashlight, or battery operated with extra batteries), heat source (fire starting tools, space blankets, lighters, strike anywhere matches), clothing (light, water resistant jacket, skivvy rolls), extra socks and foot treatment products (this is particularly important, especially if traveling long distance by foot), hunting knives and multi tools, hunting and self defense weapon (this could include anything from a “back-pack gun” to a sub-compact pistol, to include magazines and ammunition pre filled and ready to go), finally an area map and compass. Not all people know how to do land navigation outside their GPS from the phone, so doing some online searching and practice, one can learn how to operate a traditional compass and use it to land nav with a topographical map. We can’t always rely on electronics to work, especially in those rural and isolated environments.
As I mentioned before, this list is by no means all-inclusive. There area many different considerations when building your bag. This article hopefully gets those that wouldn’t know where to start and gives them a good foot in the door to their build. The most important thing to remember is that we all need a plan and prepare for that plan, but also prepare for the worse, not just in an “end of days” scenario, but in an every day crisis like weather or community power outages. This is just one more tool for your tool box.