Also called a bug-out-bag, the “Go bag” is a small backpack packed with enough gear to help you survive 72 hours in an emergency. The top must-have items for your Go bag should be light, durable, and all-purpose.
A well-packed Go bag will enable you to get out of a bad situation as quickly as possible. It should be ready before disaster strikes, and it should be stored in a safe and accessible location (the closet near your front door, for example).
No two Go bags are the same—what goes into yours should ultimately be based on your own personal needs (you won’t need to include a down jacket if you live in Miami, for example). But these basics should be in every kit.
1. Non-perishable food
Food is heavy, so it’s not realistic to pack three days’ worth in your Go bag. But you should throw a few simple items in your bag to keep you going in a pinch. Pack a small stash of your favorite energy bars to munch on the move or while you wait in line to receive emergency aid.
2. Purified water
In most of the U.S., we’ve become used to having on-demand access to a nearly unlimited supply of clean, safe drinking water. But that access depends on an infrastructure system that is not above failure. And if the water does stop coming out of the tap, you’ll want to have some ready in your bag—odds are the supplies at the local corner store won’t last long.
It’s also a good idea to pack a water purification system of some kind. My personal choice is the Traveler’s Kit from Pure2Go, which can be used as a pump, a gravity-fed filter, or a straw. It packs down into a small pouch along with a collapsible 27-ounce water bottle.