The following list of gear will give you a solid base for building out your go-bag. I don’t necessarily like the term ‘bug out bag’. That gives the impression that I’m leaving without a pre-determined destination known. I prefer either go-bag or bolt-bag. If you have a plan, you have a destination to ‘go’ or ‘bolt’ too. If you need to ‘go’ or ‘bolt’ to either your home or an alternation location, chances are you’re doing it quickly which is why I like to keep the contents of my bag to only whats needed. As your skills evolve so will your kit. I prefer to keep a minimalist loadout so that I can be fast and agile when on the move. Lets take a look at what I carry.
Water – Staying hydrated on the go is vital to survival; more so than food. Without water your body will begin to shut down. When selecting a water bottle for my go-bag I need something durable. My go to for that is the 32 ounce Nalgene water bottle. They have been around forever, are proven and extremely durable. Along with the water bottle you’ll want a way to filter and purify water on the go. If you’re truly in a situation where you are relying on your go bag, then you probably don’t have time to make a fire and boil water. The filter system I chose is the Sawyer Squeeze system. It’s simple to use, durable and has no moving parts. Between the Nalgene water bottle and Sawyer Squeeze filter system, I’ve got a bomb proof system to keep me hydrated.
Knife – The knife is the most difficult tool to reconstruct in the field. It can be done, but it’s time consuming (something you don’t have a lot of when on the move). I always have a folding knife on my person and a backup inside my go-bag. Your environment and skill level will dictate what type of blade you choose. In my pocket I more often than not carry the Emerson CQC-7. Inside my go-bag I have a small Mora Eldris fixed blade. This is a small knife, but will make quick work of basic survival tasks such as fire prep or processing small game. Stay tuned for a more detailed review on the all new Eldris.
Fire – I carry a small fire kit in a water-resistant Fire Bag made by The Hidden Woodsmen. Inside that kit I carry two bic lighters, a ferro rod, strike anywhere matches and a tin of Mini Inferno disks. Those contents will give me guaranteed flame in any weather condition.
Light – On my person I carry a Streamlight Protac 1L-1AA. This is a small, lightweight yet powerful light for everyday carry and self-defense. You also have the option of either a single CR123 battery or a single AA battery as the power source. Inside my bag I keep a Princeton Tec EOS headlamp. The EOS headlamp is affordable, durable and waterproof. Hands free is the key if you’re on the move and need both hands for navigating obstacles. Also if you need to render first aid to yourself or someone else, having both hands is necessary.
Medical – I always have some type of medical kit on me and inside my bag. On my person I always have a SWAT-T Tourniquet in my back pocket opposite my wallet. Inside my go-bag I keep a minimalist medical kit housed in a Vanquest FATPack 4X6 pouch. On the outside of that pouch is a CAT-T Tourniquet. Inside the pouch I keep basic, easy to use life-saving items such as a chest seal, hemostatic gauze and a pressure dressing.
Now that you have the basic contents for your go-bag, you’re going to need a bag. I have recently obtained a 5.11 Havoc 30 backpack (review coming soon!). Here are my thoughts on the bag. Use the bag that is with you day in and day out. The 5.11 Havoc 30 is the backpack I use for work every day, so that is the bag that contains the above gear. I see a lot of people who have a separate ‘go-bag’ in addition to their everyday carry bag. What good is that going to do if you cannot get to where your go-bag is located? My bag goes into work with me in the morning and leaves with me at the end of the day. If I’m unable to get to my car for whatever reason, I still have my go-bag with me. Just my 2 cents…
When you put your go-bag together I recommend actually taking the gear out into the field and actually using it a few times. That’s how you figure out what works and what doesn’t. When you need the gear in a real life situation, is not the time to find out it doesn’t work or fulfill it’s intended purpose.