Hi friends! As promised, I am back this week with Part II of Go Bags! Do you need one, why are they important, what should you pack, and more will be answered in this weeks blog! I talked last week a little about what is in my personal Go Bag, but I would love to get more into it with you all. So, lets get going!
Who needs a Go Bag? Anyone and everyone. Honestly, I personally believe a Go Bag is a valuable thing to always have ready to go. In the case of camping, kayaking, traveling, etc it is great because even if you have other gear, if something goes sideways, you can grab your Go Bag with your most essential items and get out of there. “But I don’t really leave my home- it’s nice here.” This is a common statement my friends and others have said to me, but my answer is that you never know what will happen. I have lived in various states in the US as well as in Costa Rica. Maybe it isn’t quite like this everywhere else, and I bring the chaotic weather with me, but in my life so far you never know if you will have a sudden tornado, hurricane, earthquake, sinkhole, wildfire, tsunami, etc coming for you, and you need to get out. Instead of panicking and worrying about where everything is and what you need to bring with you, grab your already packed Go Bag and… GO! Even if these things aren’t common where you live, you never know if in some freak instance your home will catch fire, someone breaks in and you want to hide or sneak out to alert authorities, or maybe you lose electricity and you just want to get your stuff and get somewhere like a hotel without fumbling around in the dark for everything. I sometimes even have two Go Bags, one in my house and one in my car. I am known for spontaneous beach or spring trips, and if I am driving home from the store or work and decide I would rather go to the beach instead of home, I can just go!
Why are they important?
My view is that being over prepared is better than not at all. You may never really use your Go Bag if you aren’t taking it on camping and traveling trips, but it is still great to have. At the very least it consolidates some of your things and categorizes your must have objects together. If you have food in it (which you should- dry food with a longer expiration date), make sure to cycle through it and replace it when it is approaching the end of its shelf life.
What do I put in my Go Bag?
Maybe you have thought about this for ages, or never heard about it. I am not an all-knowing wizard with all of the answers, but I do hope to give you my input on what to consider packing in your Go Bag. I always encourage others to research anything they have questions on! When packing a Go Bag, remember- it’s all about essentials. I know you may love the poster of your favorite band, or your collection of Yeti cups, but for now, they are not considered essential.
Essentials to consider include:
-A source for heat (think emergency heat blanket, hand warmers, warm jackets that pack down small, etc)
-A source for cooling off (think cooling towels, perhaps a USB charged mini fan, etc)
-A source for water (think Life Straw, water bottle, or some other filtration and storage combination)
-A source for fire (think fire starter, lint, accelerants, matches, a lighter, etc)
-A source for food (think dry food, MREs, beef jerky, almonds, protein bars, etc)
-A source for protection and direction (think compass, whistle, flashlight, mace, knife, gun [I know this is really only applicable in the US from what I have gathered] and other ways to protect yourself against bad people and animals, such as bears or pumas)
-A source for staying dry (think microfiber and a change of clothes or two if they pack down small)
-A source for power (think battery bank, preferably solar powered, to help keep your phone charged so you can contact anyone you need to)
-A source for first aid (think small first aid kit with whatever your area may require as materials. For example, some places have tons of venomous snakes and not a lot of nearby hospitals, so maybe antivenin is helpful for you. Other places may require for you to have good antiseptics and antibiotics, Poison Ivy cream, etc. Something important and often overlooked includes rope, such as paracord, and carabiners- two things I don’t leave without!)
-CASH. Cash is very important, especially in the case of you fleeing a place due to natural disaster, and card readers are down, so cash is the only option. Or you break down/get lost somewhere and find someone to tow you back (to shore, home, a town, etc) and you need to give them some cash. Worst case scenario, if the world ends and cash is no longer relevant, it is good kindling for the fire.
Now that we have some of the essentials, it is important to know how to pack it all. I put clothes, flashlight, solar battery bank and phone cable, cash, and towel in a dry bag or box, that way it is safe from the rain and any water I find myself in (this happens often- I just have to cross the stream I come across). I like to group my stuff together. As you may have seen in my last post, my protection, survival, and fire starting stuff all goes together. My food also all goes together, and is great if it can be put into a sealable bag to deter critters from smelling anything. My water purifier generally just goes with my GoPro and Nu Grip (these are unnecessary ‘essentials’ I take if I can fit them!) in a zip up case, and have a tiny Bluetooth speaker carabiner clipped to my bag. Why? Because why wouldn’t I want to jam out a little or film the moments of me being surfing with crocodiles, running down a mountain away from a panther, catching snakes, or swimming with alligators (yes, I am strange and these are all things that have happened). If you want a small bag, arrange for the things most important to you. If you want a larger bag, such as a backpacking bag, you could include your laptop, other fun gear, more clothes, an extra pair of shoes, etc. It is all your personal preference!
Make sure to think about your climate. I take a swimsuit and change of thin packable clothes, and a microfiber towel. This is because I live in Florida, where it is almost always warm. If you are in the UK, northern US, Canada, etc. then perhaps consider packing a jacket that packs down, rather than a swim suit. I also have an app that allows me to share my location with friends and family, and share my location constantly with my sister and a couple friends. Try to get in the habit of this, as it can save your life if you like to take the path less traveled like I do. A disclaimer that shouldn’t have to be said but sadly needs to in today’s world... Please pick up any trash you have or that you come across. I love my mesh Barrel Bag- it packs down when not in use, and is mesh- meaning it doesn’t hold water if it rains, and I can swim in the water with it and pick up trash that has ended up in the rivers and oceans I love, plus it’s machine washable! Please don’t be the person that contaminates our environment further. Also, please be courteous of the environment around you if you are out camping and need to start a fire. Please make sure to keep the flames small and manageable, and don’t disturb the ground/camp area too much. Put the fire out completely before leaving, and consider putting some dirt on top of it to make sure to snuff out any hot coals.
Thank you for reading, and let me know if you have a Go Bag, if you’re going to pack one after this, and what you would add or take away! You can reach me in the comments, through our Facebook and Instagram, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.