What is a Go Bag?

What is a Go Bag?

What is a Go Bag?

Have you heard one of the radio ads from Ready.gov playing lately about getting your family prepared for a disaster or emergency and heard the term "Go Bag?" Are you wondering what that is, and how to make or get one?

We put this comprehensive article together to help you make your first Go Bag, and how to get them for your family too.

Do you REALLY need a go bag?

House fire Go-Bag Bug Out Bag

In a word, yes. Everyone, everywhere needs a Go Bag. Why? Because emergencies can happen literally anywhere at anytime. Sometimes an emergency situation happens so quickly that you don't have time time get yourself organized - you have to get out of the house, or the area you're in as quickly as possible. Think about things like a structure fire, a tornado, or earthquake. It's a smart idea to have a Go Bag (we call them Bug Out Bags, it's an old military term) ready ahead of time.

What kind of bag are we talking about? Frankly any old bag will do, but a backpack is best in case you have to walk any sort of distance with it. It's a good idea to have a Go Bag for each member of the family, even pets! We'll see why in a second, but keep that in mind.

What goes in a Go Bag?

It's typical to think about the things you'd need for a 72-hour period away from home, but not in a resort but say stuck in your car. So beyond just needing a change of clothes and a toothbrush, you would also want some food and water.

Here's a list of the primary things you need in your Go Bag:


Print out this checklist if it helps you to have a paper copy of the items below.

  • Backpack
  • Bottle(s) of water
  • Flashlight
  • Pen and notepad
  • Snack bars
  • Cash
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Change of clothes
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant
  • Beach Towel
  • Dust Mask
  • Pocket Knife
  • First Aid Kit (band aids, alcohol wipes)
  • Chap-Stick
  • Work Gloves
  • Deck of cards and/or a book
  • Cell phone charging cable
  • Poncho or umbrella
  • Street Map of Local Area
  • Sturdy Plastic Cup
  • Fork and Spoon
  • Luggage Tags with name and contact info on each pack
  • Printout of important phone numbers
  • Copies of ID's, Bank account numbers, and Insurance Policies

Those last 2 items are important in case you don't get the chance to grab your wallet or phone on the way out.

If you want to take a deeper dive into what can go into an Emergency Kit read our article: 80 Bug Out Bag List Essentials.

Who Needs a Go-Bag?

Who Needs a Go Bag?

Every member of the house hold should have a go bag, including kids and pets. For kids, it's important to have toys, books, anything that can distract them if you are forced to abandon your home. Pets will need food, and any special medications they may need, leashes, etc.

At the absolute minimum you need to have 1 bag with the most vital things: important documents, a spare set of keys, printouts of important contacts (family and friends phone numbers) and cash. Keep it near your bed or by the front door so if you only have 5 minutes to get out of the house you can grab it - hopefully along with your wallet and cell phone.

How to learn More

This entire website is dedicated to helping you put together the perfect Go Bag for you and your family. Feel free to look around and get informed. A great place to continue reading is our Choosing a Bug Out Bag article, which explains our Four Part Emergency System which keeps you prepared no matter where you are for unforeseen events.

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