Matt Jones has a bunch of del.icio.us links today about what constitutes a “go bag” — i.e., the bag you keep for an emergency situation.
Browsing around, I found a couple of links on the subject. Pretty useful if you’re planning on keeping a go bag, and I recommend it. It may sound like retard survivalism, but just remember New Orleans (or San Diego last year).
It reminded me that I need to put one of these together again. I have most of the stuff I need. Here’s my list of stuff I keep in my go bag, usually. It’s not as completist as what these guys talk about, and it should be, but this is really basic stuff.
- A sharp pocket knife, preferably a Gerber Chameleon II (because your finger goes through the hole and it’s nigh-on impossible to slip and slice your fingers off)
- A big-ass carabiner
- An “unbreakable” water bottle with a looped screw-on lid, which hangs from my backpack strap; where I live, in Nevada, you need as much water as you can carry. Mine claims to be heatable above boiling point as well.
- An LED headlamp and a small LED flashlight; if you’ve got the space, get a Mag-Lite, because you can use them to bash people over the head
- Three black t-shirts
- A first aid kit
- A bicycle lock, which can also be used as a loop or a flail or to hang heavy things from
- A small roll of heavy-duty “contractor” trash bags, which can be used in any number of ways
- A small heavy hatchet
- Cheap plastic lighter to augment my Zippo
- Trail mix
- A solar battery charger for cell phones, GPS, etc.
- Toilet paper
This is by no means a complete go bag, and I should probably go and pick up a large ALICE pack from the surplus store and load it up. I’d probably also include water purification tablets, a wool blanket, heavy-duty socks, MREs (military rations, Meals Ready to Eat or, apparently, Mostly Rat Excreta), and (as one of the linked authors suggests) wax paper and a china crayon-pencil, for waterproof writing. This is a fairly heavy load, but remember, I regularly carry 50 pounds of gear in my bag anyway (laptop, big hardcover books, cameras, cables, etc.) I can carry about 100 pounds of gear for long distances, though I’d prefer not to. Being overweight and a smoker, I don’t move very fast, but I can keep moving all day.
Clothing? Cargo pants, black t-shirts, and — in a real emergency — probably something approximating a Tuareg robe. Which sounds dumb, but again, I live in one of the driest, hottest places on Earth, and in a real emergency I’d rather look like a dorky Jedi than a dead fashion victim.
I wear extremely worn, comfortable combat boots every day as a matter of course, but I’d also pack some flip-flops, just in case. And I have a straw cowboy hat which serves me extremely well in the heat — it’s loose-woven enough to breathe, very light, but it also blocks the sun on my face and neck as well as could be expected. Also useful for batting away insects.
If I lived somewhere cold and wet — or even in the tropics — this would be a much different list, of course. But survival in the Mojave is primarily predicated on keeping hydrated and keeping cool. If I had nothing else, I’d take water with me before anything else.
How about you? What do you recommend as indispensable survival gear?