More and more people today understand the necessity of creating a go bag, or a bug out bag. When you need to get away in an instant, having everything you need to sustain yourself for several days conveniently stored in a single bag can literally be a life-saver. While people like to tailor the individual items of their go bags to cater to their own specific needs, there are eight categories of items that make up the core of a successful go bag.
You can go without food for weeks, but you can’t last more than a couple of days without water. You’ll want to have as much water as you can carry on you, plus the ability to find or store more. That means extra canteens, collapsible water bladders, water purification equipment, etc.
Don’t neglect food. You don’t have to carry a week’s worth of food on you, but figure on carrying at least a few meals. MREs are calorically dense and easy to pack, while freeze-dried hiking food, although expensive, is light and handy to carry.
3. Warming Supplies
This encompasses both fire-starting equipment as well as blankets to keep yourself warm. Even in temperate climates, temperatures in the 50s or 60s at night can lead to hypothermia if you aren’t wearing warm enough clothing. A light blanket or a space blanket can come in very handy.
You never know when you’re going to need to tie something down, suspend something from a tree, or rig up a makeshift hammock or tent. Carry plenty of paracord with you because rope will always come in handy.
At the very minimum pack an extra pair of socks. And if you think you may be gone for days, pack extra underwear. Just those little items can make you feel a lot better. If you have the space, think about an extra pair of lightweight clothes or an extra layer of clothing to help you face whatever weather you’re experiencing.
6. Navigation and Communication
This encompasses any equipment you need to navigate and communicate with the outside world. Whether it’s a map and compass, a GPS with extra batteries, or a portable radio, you’ll want to be able to stay attuned to what is going on in the world around you and be able to move to where you need to. Keep spare batteries for electronics and perhaps a solar charger for rechargeable electronics.
You don’t need to carry a full tool kit, but be sure to have whatever tools you may need to survive on your own. Multitools, Swiss Army knives, hatchets, and saws all can have a useful place in your go bag.
8. First Aid
Last, but not least, you need to be able to keep yourself healthy and in working condition. At the minimum you’ll need a boo-boo kit, with bandages, aspirin, and basic first aid. But it doesn’t hurt to carry a trauma kit and items such as chest seals, combat gauze, tourniquets, etc. After all, you never know what you’re going to face.