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How To Pack A "Go" Bag: The Most Important Items You Can Carry

Whether you call it a "Go" bag, a bug-out bag, or your emergency kit, everyone should have a bag of essentials that they can grab on the go when the going gets tough. Unless you're a dedicated survivalist, however, you may not really know what to pack after you grab the basics like medication and food. Here are the most important things that you need in a bag that you can grab on the run (that are light enough for almost anyone to carry).

1.) A reliable knife. 

If you're a fan of NCIS, you're probably familiar with Rule Number 9: "Never go anywhere without a knife." This holds particularly true in emergencies. Choose a stainless steel blade for durability and a serrated edge for the most flexibility of use. If automatic blades are restricted in your area, you can still find plenty of folding knives that are lightweight and durable. For example, you can buy piranha knives or other pocket knives.

2.) A personal water filter.

It's smart to have a couple bottles of water in your bag, but it's smarter still to have a personal water filter, like a Lifestraw. Personal water filters remove waterborne bacteria, which can make otherwise unsafe water drinkable again. Some even include carbon filters that will remove foul tastes and odors as well.

3.) A USB battery pack.

Unless there's a catastrophe that takes down global communications, your cell phone could be one of the most important tools that you have. For example, refugees that flooded out of Syria in 2015 used their smartphones as a resource to communicate with family members that were scattered all over. But smartphones need power, so your bag needs to have a top-rated USB battery charger (or two) in it in order to carry you through a temporary disaster.

4.) Pre-made kits.

There are several types of pre-packaged kits that are perfect for an emergency bag. They're small, lightweight, and they contain some of the basics that can make life on the go much easier to handle:

  • a dental first-aid kit, including temporary fillings and pain relief for a sore tooth
  • a first-aid kit, with bandages, antiseptic, Benadryl (for allergic reactions), and antibiotic ointment
  • an eyeglass repair kit, including spare screws and the tiny screwdriver that's needed to repair your frames
  • a sewing kit, including needles, to repair torn clothing if needed

5.) A spare pair of sneakers and extra socks.

One of the things that people fleeing sudden disaster need the most are a decent pair of shoes. Socks also protect your feet and keep them from blistering if you have to make a long walk to safety. One of the items needed most in the recent refugee crisis in Europe turned out to be nothing more than shoes since many refugees had literally walked theirs right off their feet as they fled their homes.

While there's no perfect pack for everyone, having just these basics in a bag that's ready to go can save you a great deal of stress if you ever find yourself in a situation that gives you little time to prepare and less time to think.