New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Step Twelve: Go-Bags - How to Make a Preparedness Plan that Works & Not Go Broke

Step Twelve: Go-Bags

“If you are prepared, you will be confident,
and will do the job.”

Tom Landry

Go-Bags have many names (BOB, E-Kit, Grab Bags, etc.) and can be for anywhere from 3 to 10 days. In terms of “just in case” preparedness we are only concerned with the 72-hour or 3 day Go-Bag. This should be enough to get us to our retreat.

All Go-Bags should provide for one or more people/pets with three (3) days worth of the basic needs to survival and be light enough for on foot mobility.

Here again we must balance some human traits – namely we humans tend to want to help just about anything and anyone. We only have two logical choices here:

  • We can plan and be prepared for extra people and animals
  • We can plan and be prepared that these extra people and animals are on their own and we will NOT be of any assistance.

The third, unspoken, choice is to risk everyone’s lives by trying to stretch insufficient supplies with too many people and animals.

This Go-Bag discussion will assume that we are going to plan and be prepared for the unexpected extra people and animals.

There are three (3) types of Go-Bags:

  • Individual: One for each person and pet in your household. This is where you can individualize the bag, so if “Johnnie” has asthma you can put an extra inhaler and or RX script in his bag.

  • Household: Large enough to cover the normal number of people/pets likely to be in your house (including guests) at any given time or at the least a combined Go-Bag that covers your immediate family and pet members.

If Johnnie and Suzie each have a friend spend the night about once a month – you add a people count of two. If Aunt Bess and Uncle Joe regularly visit with their Yorkie – you add a head count of 2 more and a pet count of 1.
  • Vehicle: This covers the maximum number of people/pets that can be in the vehicle at any given time. One for each vehicle you own.

This way even if you have a classic two seater that you, your spouse and shepherd only ride in every Labor Day to lead the parade, you can account for your friend or neighbor that is walking next to your vehicle when the crisis hits. Or if something inside your individual go-bag got damaged, you can retrieve the vehicle go-bag and you now have a replacement for the damaged item and a little extra for that friend or co-worker that has latched onto you.

Think small, lightweight, compact and multi-functional items for your go-bag tools and supplies. Much like a backpacker‘s pack. Items like: Leatherman tools; Swiss Army Knife; mess kit, first aid kit, MRE’s, food bars, space blanket, water treatment tablets and containers, etc.

Be A “Go-Bagger”

  • Individual go-bags should be with you as often as possible. I’ve been known to check my go-bag at the coat room when going to a formal. I also have a smaller (Altoid Tin type) Emergency Kit (E-Kit) inside some of my go-bags that can fit in my purse when the larger go-bag must be left in the car.
  • Business people: Many backpacks are also brief cases with plenty of room for your supplies and laptop too.
  • Ladies: Many “Satchel” type handbags are large enough to hold your go-bag needs along with your normal “purse” contents and still be fashionable.
  • Children: Many backpacks have wheels and handles so a child can “carry” their own. Some backpacks have smaller detaching “kangaroo” packs where your child’s pack could be attached to your pack during a crisis. Diaper bags now come in backpack format with plenty of extra room.
  • Pets: If your dog is large enough, get a doggie backpack and have it carry its own crisis supplies (Yes they even have these for cats now too). Walk your dog with its go-bag so it is familiar with it Before Crisis Use. For smaller pets; store their go-bag in their travel crate then have a portable luggage cart for the crate & go-bag.

It is recommended to have two water purification methods in your go-bag: Filter & chemical. A three (3) day supply of water for 1 person will weigh apx 24 pounds, so just keep a quart. Use re-fillable water containers (canteen or other stainless steel are best).

If you happen to be at your retreat with ALL your go-bags and then must vacate - you have the advantage of having extra supplies!

Note: Pre bottled water nowadays is made of plastic that breaks down quickly. According to studies from Bingham Young University: In 1-2 years the plastic decomposed enough to contaminate the water. Not enough to make a person sick, but the taste was bad and could not be “freshened” up. In 3-4 years, more than half of these bottles decomposed enough to leak. (Someone told me that this biodegradable plastic is utilized for all use-and-toss bottles that are 2 liters or less, as of this writing (12/2010), I have not verified this.) Aside from that you really don’t want to have trash to hide if you are mobile for any reason and it is easier to crack or break plastic than it is metal; plus the new stainless steel containers don’t leave that awful “canteen” taste in the water.

Next week will be a few quick bits of information on Food and Water Storage …

Campmor For all things Camping, hiking, backpacking , etc and consistent “best bang for the buck” value see
Grab-Go-Bag-Adult, Infant, Disabled and Animal Check List
Prepping for Animals, Pets & Livestock
Preparedness Bags Checklist Compare
(goes with “What is the Difference Between All the E-Kits and Bags and What Do I Need?”)
What is the Difference Between All the E-Kits and Bags and What Do I Need?
(goes with "Preparedness Bags Checklist Compare")

"Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday"


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