My personal go bag was also my laptop case because I traveled a lot with my job. Hence, it also carried a few items that were not in the go bag when I was just going to and from the office, in case the airline lost my luggage. When traveling to and from my office it also contained less than when I went to visit family, since I usually had my auto go bag to supplement my personal one.
For my personal go bag I had at least 1 liter of water; a collapsible 1 gallon water jug; water purification kit; food bars; first aid kit and flip card instructions; miniature survival flip cards guide; emergency space blanket; Light weight poncho or miracle fabric jacket; a couple of different sized freezer Ziploc bags; self contained travel toothbrush, hair comb and brush; small bottle of waterless anti-bacterial hand gel; compact package of wet wipes; compass; Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool; ribbon saw (AKA combat saw); small hammer-hatchet-crowbar tool; small folding shovel tool; multi-functional flashlight (can be a torch or lantern or flashing beacon); rechargeable batteries and solar recharger; reflective mirror; emergency whistle; two pairs of socks – one for winter, one for summer; compact flint box (instead of waterproof matches); lighter; 100 Ft of all purpose nylon/cotton ¼” – ½” rope; along with a small portable hand crank radio. When flying I had to remove some of these items and check them, but otherwise they were always with me.
Seems like a lot, but when loaded with everything except my laptop it was only about 6-8 lbs. Even now with my advanced years, I can still carry this backpack with relative ease, as long as I forgo the laptop.
Overall this go bag is really a scaled down version of my 50 Lb pack that I used back in the day when I backpacked all over the wilderness.
My personal go-bag came in handy when I was on a contract job in LA and we had an earthquake. It wasn’t one of the big ones, but it caused enough damage and wrecked enough havoc for 48 hours that I was glad I had it with me. It made surviving in an office building with no electricity or water bearable.
Then there was the time we were day hiking in Arches National Park and we were in the bottom of a canopy canyon when a flash flood hit. We were only stuck on that ledge about 12 hours, but it sure was nice to be able to use that space blanket to keep the wind, rain and next morning’s sun off of us.
Or the time the kids and I were camping in Gunnison Canyon and a flash flood took out the campground and we were on the opposite side of the river from our vehicles and escape. Our go-packs were what made waiting for rescue for almost 30 hours comfortable.
Or the time my daughter was driving through the Arizona desert and her car broke down. Her cell didn’t have any bars and she was able to stay with the car until another vehicle came along the next day to assist. She only had an auto go-bag back then, but she is an avid go-bagger now and rarely goes anywhere without one.
You never know just when or where a go-pack will come in handy. So a Prepper is always prepared.
You can use the information links in the appendix or search online for more specific information on the various go-bags. Just remember any list will be a guide. You may need some different items that what are on the list.
Long Term Self-Reliance
If any of the situations you are preparing for is one you think may be months or years in length, then you will need to know other skills and crafts. There are a multitude of skills and crafts that would be needed depending on the when, what, where and who of the incident.
The best thing to do is research about homesteading and off-the-grid or preparedness and survival from various web sites and in books. Attend a living Colonial or Native American village that offers hands-on instruction. Check out the various documents on my Google link and explore other resources.
There is a ton of free downloadable how-to information from Practical Technology and FAST. These two groups work with the poor and “third world” countries on everything from small village sanitation and water systems; to wind mills and wind turbines; solar panel making; gardening; fish farming; livestock; making soap, candles and fuel; medical and dental; even solar powered communications like HAM radios and satellite internet connections (assuming they are still available in the crisis) and the like.
If this is the type of Preparedness you are seeking then remember to think NO TECHNOLOGY – NO ELECTRICITY. No fuel unless you can make it; no electricity unless you can make it; no power tools; no water unless you have a well with a pump that utilizes wind or solar power; no public utilities; no soap; no toothpaste; no TV; no internet; no phones; no clothing or shoe factory; no pharmacy, cosmetic, fabric, grocery or hardware stores. Get the picture!
Can you garden; know how to harvest and store your own garden seeds; hunt, dress and cure or smoke the meat; raise chickens; make butter, candles, soap, vinegar; make moccasins/shoes; spin and weave; build a cabin; milk a cow or goat; cook on a wood stove or bake in a wood stove or solar oven; grow and grind your own grain – make bread? What about the lifelong medical and dental needs? Do you know herbal and “old way” medicine? Can you grow the plants needed? What will you use for cooking oil or machinery oil? Can you ride a horse or harness and drive a horse drawn cart or wagon?
These are all the things one must consider if you want to be prepared for a long term crisis. So research, learn and do and you will be prepared, if and when it actually happens. You might even find life a little more satisfactory as you become more self-reliant along the way.
For example: Since I am getting ready to move rural from my urban homestead, there is one thing right now that I am actively attempting to learn and that is HAM radio. This could prove vital if any of my top probabilities occur. I used to include a “concealed carry” permit, but after taking the class and seeing all the paperwork, I decided I didn’t want that much documentation about my firearm capabilities to be in any centralized system, so I never took the test or applied.
I have mentioned defense a time or two in passing so far. Defense is a very personal choice and will depend greatly on what kind of situation you think you may find yourself in. You need to consider both 2 and 4 legged intruders and dangers. I am a lifetime NRA person. I own several firearms which I fire regularly at the firing range, keep cleaned and loaded and have extra ammunition for. These are my defense tools of choice after avoidance. Yours may be different.
There are really only about 5 kinds of defense tools available to the average person:
- Avoidance, Alarms and Traps: This should always be a first defense choice. This includes good locks, good hiding places; alert and keen awareness of your surroundings and possible threats; manual and electric alarms (electric alarms may not be available in a crisis) and traps. Think non-electric or solar powered for the alarms, motion detection lighting and the like. Talking your way out of a tight spot or running away. That proverbial “Fight or Flight” option. However, be aware that avoidance is not always possible and should be backed up with another choice.
- Self-defense instruction and Close Combat skills: Karate, Judo, military hand-to-hand combat and the like. But remember this not only means a long time commitment to acquire sufficient skill; it also means a face-to-face, one-on-one, close quarter confrontation. If you are female, this means this is your “hit and run” option. Women rarely have the physique to go one on one with a male for any extended length of time.
- Knives: There are all styles and some have specific uses. All are multi-functional in some way. A knife should always be kept clean and sharp. You also need to know how to use the knife. Using a knife for defense is not the same as filleting that fish or carving the turkey. These are also close contact weapons.
- Bludgeon Weapon: This can be a large stick or branch or baseball bat or crowbar or golf club. Again knowing how and when to use it are keys to how effective they will be. These also require close quarter combat and are most often weapons of convenience.
- Firearms: Handgun, shotgun, riffle. Any firearm requires the owner to be aware of each type’s limitations and strengths besides the general safety, maintenance and use of the firearm. It is never wise to just own a firearm and not practice with it. You need to know how and when to use it, so you don’t shoot yourself in the foot; how to clean it to keep it safe and functional, so it doesn’t blow up in your face. Depending on the type of firearm, this could be a close or long range defense tool. If you are in or going to be living in a rural environment, I strongly recommend at least one of each firearm type. As these will need to be a defense tool, against two and four legged intruders and a hunting tool for meat.