Building a Go Bag can be a daunting task the first time. Here are some suggestions for getting started. A Go Bag is as unique as the individual who is going to be using it. The best way to test your bag, and then fill in gaps, is to go camping with it. See if you can really live out of your bag for 72 hours. This can be as simple as "camping" in your own home. Can you go 3 days with no electricity or running water? You would be surprised at what we take for granted in daily life. Remember, the Go Bag is to get you through the first 72 hours of an emergency. Feel free to add to these recommendations as you need!
I highly recommend assembling all the components of your Go Bag before purchasing a bag. You would be surprised at the volume of supplies that you will have. Try to get a bag that is bigger than what you expect to need. This will give you room to expand as you add to your bag. I am currently on my 3rd bag, as I continue to grow with my skills and supplies.
Select clothing that is appropriate for your climate and season. It is important to go through your bag at least twice per year to change out the clothing in it. If assembling bags for children, be sure to allow for growing little bodies!
First Aid Supplies
Please read the First Aid post to help you to determine what you will need for a first aid kit. The link provided below is a good kit for those with limited first aid training. As your skills improve, you can add to the kit.
Food and Water
This is the backbone of your Go Bag. You need to have essential food and water available. In the event of an emergency, there may not be access to clean water, or the ability to cook a meal. Your Go Bag needs to be able to provide you with these vital supplies. If you know an emergency is threatening (blizzard or hurricane), you can fill the hydration bladder with potable water beforehand. If you find yourself stranded (earthquake, fire or flood), the Life Straw can be used to obtain drinking water from any source. It is best to have food supplies that are non-perishable and easy to eat. As your skills improve, you can add easy-to-prepare meals, like dehydrated backpacking meals. Remember, the Go Bag is to get you through until emergency responders can reach you, or until you can reach an established shelter.
Other Valuable Supplies
There are many things that will be worth their weight when you are in an emergency situation. One that is frequently taken for granted is light. Investing in a good light is definitely worth the money. Remember to keep a good supply of spare batteries.