How to really build the perfect travel bag
In an emergency, a Bug Out Bag or Go Bag, as it is also called, is invaluable.
But before going any further, for the uninitiated, what is a âGo Bag? ” exactly ?
A Go Bag is an emergency survival bag (normally a backpack) that contains essential survival equipment that you would need during a natural disaster or short-term crisis. It is meant to be grabbed quickly so that one can rush to the door, hence the term “Go Bag”.
And while some poop the idea of ââa Go Bag, think back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thousands of people had to evacuate their homes, and many of them weren’t in the best of situations. Think of all the forest fires that destroy communities in the West. And as we’ve seen all over the world, no one really knows when the next terrorist incident might strike.
So while we can never control when, where or how a disaster strikes, we can control how prepared we are to deal with it. When every second counts, having a plan and the equipment to get you through the very important first 72 hours is crucial for survival. And your Go Bag may very well be the key to your survival when the shit hits the fan.
I have seen many websites that tout âthe perfect bagâ and so on. and to be honest, that’s all BS âWhy? You might ask. The answer is, there is no perfect, standardized Go Bag to take list, as it all depends a lot on your situation, location, and whether you are on your own or have other people with you. So what’s the first thing you need to do? Plan.
Always start with good planning:
So when you start your planning, as we were taught in our old survival classes, the SERE school, a good place to start is the âSâ of SURIVAL: âAssess the Situationâ. Here is the full acronym of the person concerned:
S – Evaluate the Situation (environment, equipment, physical condition)
U – Excessive haste is wasting and uses your senses
R – Remember where you are
V – Overcome panic and fear
I – improvise
V – Value of life
A – Act like the locals
THE – Live by your intelligence or learn basic skills
So, to assess the situation, the first thing you need to do is a threat assessment.
First of all, where do you fit in? Are you home and preparing for a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster? It would be different than racing for a natural disaster in a foreign country. Or are you working in a foreign location where there might be terrorist threats? Knowing what you would prepare for is the first consideration before building a Go Bag. Next, you will need to decide how long you are going to pack, what equipment, and how much you will need to survive.
Second, what threats are you facing? Are they natural (linked to the weather), with animals (fauna) or is it the threat of man (crime, terrorism, civil war)? All of these play a role in the planning phase.
So with that in mind, you can move on to the next consideration and that is the bag itself. Again, there is no perfect “you must buy THIS bag” answer. But your bag should be big enough to hold everything you need and strong enough to hold. You might want to consider a bag with MOLLE attachments that you can attach an almost unlimited amount of stuff to if you need to.
If you are traveling with family members, if possible, they should have their own bags with their personal gear. Sounds ridiculous, but make sure everyone’s gear complements each other. With a family, it may be necessary to double personal items in one bag and have another in a large medical bag, depending on the location, or it may be good for everyone to have their own first aid kit. .
So, now we have a plan and a Go Bag. At this point, you can start by packing the common items.
The biggest need will always be water. At a minimum, each person should carry one liter of water per day, so for a 72 hour evacuation plan, that’s a minimum of three liters of water per person. The military canteen mug is a nice item to have as it can be used for boiling water, if the need arises, or for cooking food.
Boiling water can sometimes be impractical, so it makes sense to have a back-up water filtration device or water purification tablets, but a word of common sense: they give the water tastes terrible.
Go Food Bag
A simple rule of thumb in this type of situation is that you can pack cans of meat, beans, etc., but they get heavy. On the other hand, some of the dehydrated meals sold in backpacking stores are light and delicious but require more water. So there is a delicate balance to be struck here and your situation and location may drive the train.
Have a small saucepan (canteen cup) and a small metal plate for cooking. A small camping stove with a gas canister is a great addition if space allows and hot food is always preferable.
A good choice for food might be army MREs. Yes, they have a bad reputation, but the newer versions are much better. Moreover, we are talking here about survival and not about gastronomy. Some energy bars, candy bars and trail mixes are great additions to the food bag and give you the option to eat on the go.
Boots, Clothing, Shelter
Clothing is your first line of defense against the elements and should be your number one concern. You need to protect yourself from the elements and keep your internal body temperature regulated. So, depending on your surroundings, at a minimum, a sturdy pair of hiking boots, a hat, a rain jacket, and two pairs of pants and socks are a good place to start.
Military ponchos can serve as both shelter and rain gear. The eyelets on the poncho can be easily attached with 550 parachute ropes and / or bungee cords. A survival blanket is always a great addition to keep you warm, plus it’s light and easy to store. A wool blanket will always keep you warm when wet, or double as a sleeping bag if needed. But the old woobie (military poncho liner) with a Gore-Tex bivy bag is how I lived in the field most months of the year.
Go Fire Bag
After going through the old part of schooling special forces survival, building a fire from scratch is a giant puzzle. While it can be done in all conditions, it is best to carry a few small pieces of equipment.
I would include three small must-have items: lighters, waterproof matches, and a fire steel that can generate sparks in all weather conditions. Tinder is important. I have zipper pulls for my rain jacket which has built-in tinder that can be easily removed. But if you can’t find them, get cotton balls, soak them in petroleum jelly and put them in a sealed plastic bagâ¦ voila!
Tools and protection
Here’s where things get interesting. There are a lot of different opinions on these articles. A heavy, full tang survival knife is a must. It can be used for cutting, splitting wood, cooking as well as for self-defense. A small Swiss Army Knife / Leatherman is always useful. I always make a walking stick when I walk in the woods.
If you find yourself in a situation of violence, chaos and lawlessness, protection may require the use of a firearm. And if you have to protect your life or the life of your family, that is actually not the choice at all. A firearm gives you, in addition to the intimidating factor, range and stopping power. It doesn’t have to be a Desert Eagle, just enough to stop a predator in its tracks.
Miscellaneous Go Bag Gear
Here are some other useful and practical tips to put in your Go Bag:
Cash, passports (if applicable), notepad and pencil.
I always take 550 cords no matter where I go because it has hundreds of uses. Soap and hand sanitizer, duct tape, two or three bandanas, and a few medium-sized plastic garbage bags. And don’t pack your suitcase without a compassâ¦ We won’t cover navigation today but it’s a skill everyone should have.
There is no such thing as a perfect Go Bag. It’s about evaluating, planning and testing. Pack one, then head out into the woods in your area and see what you forgot or want to add.
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