August 11, 2015
The Minimalist’s Guide to Go Bags
Are you ready to go in case of a natural disaster? Learn how go-bags...

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The Minimalist’s Guide to Go Bags


Are you ready to go in case of a natural disaster? Learn how go-bags help you prepare in this post from the Firearms Training Center.

On September 11, 2001, the unthinkable happened in America. Terrorists had finally caused death and damage on our own soil.

Fortunately, it was contained, as things could have been worse.

Many changes came about as a result of September 11th. One was the Department of Homeland Security recommending every American have a “Go Bag.”

Just like their name implies, they contain the bare necessities you and your family need to survive for a few days in the aftermath of a major catastrophe. When you need to evacuate your home in just minutes, you simply grab this bag (usually a backpack) and go. Hopefully large-scale terrorist attacks like that never happen again. But in Texas, you can count on tornadoes and flooding, and perhaps a rare blizzard.

There’s a lot of stuff, and differing opinions, on what your go-bag should have. But, the rule of thumb is to have enough supplies to last you 72 hours.

Here’s what we think:

  • 3 1-liter bottles of water per person
  • 1 dozen energy or granola bars because they’re non-perishable
  • A LED flashlight that charges mechanically with a hand-crank (don’t want to have one with dead batteries!)
  • Hand-crank radio
  • Extra sets of car and house keys
  • First aid kit
  • Refills of any medications you and your family take (check to make sure it’s not expired)
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Cash in quarters to make phone calls, prepaid phone cards, and $100 in small bill denominations
  • Waterproof blanket
  • Whistle
  • Lighter and matches
  • Local maps marked with an agreed-upon meeting location in case cell phone service/GPS isn’t available
  • Lists of emergency contact numbers
  • Copy of important documents like the deed to your home, insurance cards, photo IDs, passport, bank statements, driver’s licenses
  • Special needs personal items for anyone in your home, like glasses or hearing aids
  • A small multi-tool or Swiss army knife
  • A solar charger for your smartphone
  • Long-sleeved clothing in case you have to survive in cold weather
  • A go-bag for your pet with a leash, and enough food and water for a week

Additional Points to Keep in Mind

Make sure you have one for each person. You can keep yours in your closet, or under your bed. Hung up on the wall in your basement is a good place too. You may want to keep yours in your car, just in case disaster strikes while you’re at work and you can’t make it home.

Remember, your go-bag is for emergencies only. You don’t grab the extra flashlight when you need it – because it may never make it back into your bag.

Those are some ideas for packing yours. And hopefully, you’ll never have to use it!