How to Prepare a Go Bag for Emergency Evacuations

Posted by on Feb 18th 2020

Natural disasters, industrial accidents, war, extreme weather; there is any number of reasons why you may need to evacuate your home quickly. Having a “Go Bag” ready takes the stress out of an emergency evacuation and ensures you have the essentials on hand to survive until you can return home. Here is our advice on what to pack when preparing your “Go Bag.”

Choose the Right Bag

Each member of your family should have their own “Go Bag.” Hiking backpacks have plenty of storage pockets and a compact design. They are easy to carry in case you need to leave your vehicle and feature an ergonomic design to minimize fatigue.

Ensure it is constructed from heavy-duty canvas with straps across the chest to reduce strain on your back. Another feature to look for is a built-in waterproof cover to protect your gear in case of inclement weather while traveling.

Scan and Download Essential Documents

It is important to have your essential documents on you in an emergency for identification. Scan and store all your crucial documents on a flash drive to pack in your “Go Bag.” A flash drive is preferable to cloud storage in case of damage to the central cloud storage server in an emergency. The documents you should include are:

●Driver’s license


●Deed to your home

●Birth/Marriage certificates

●Social security cards

●Insurance documents

●Medical records

●Legal documents

Another great idea is to take photographs of all the rooms in your house, in case of looters or damage during a natural disaster. Store these images on your flash drive with your documents.

Pack Lightweight Clothing

Keep a couple of extra changes of clothing in your “Go Bag” for hygiene, and in case your travel clothes get wet or damaged. Clothing should be lightweight and include items that can be easily layered, such as tank tops, a lightweight sweater, and a waterproof jacket, as well as socks and underwear. Leather gloves are ideal at any time of the year because they can be used to pick up splintered firewood, cover blisters and handle hot cooking pans.

Pack Minimal Water

It may sound counter-intuitive, but water is impractical to carry and can slow you down. Keep enough water in your car for three days. In your “Go Bag,” carry a filtration device or water purifying tablets that enable you to drink water from streams. A collapsible water bottle is also a good idea. A lightweight device, such as a LifeStraw, which filters out 99.9% of bacteria from water, can be attached to the outside of your backpack for easy accessibility.

Stockpile Non-Perishable Food

Begin stockpiling non-perishable foods in case of an emergency. Ensure the food you pack is lightweight but nutrient-dense such as trail mix, granola, or protein bars. If you plan on being on the road for longer than a couple of days, pack some MREs. If you have an infant, don’t forget to include baby formula or purees.

Also, pack a spork, can opener, metal cooking pot, metal cup, and a portable stove and fuel.

Don’t Forget Medications

In the event of an evacuation, you won’t be able to get your prescription filled, so make sure you have a three-week supply of your critical medications.

Create a First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen during the panic of an evacuation, and emergency services may be down, so ensure you are prepared to handle minor injuries with a well-stocked first aid kit. Your kit should include:


●Disinfectant and hand sanitizer



●Medical Tape



●Pain relievers such as Ibuprofen

●Aluminum splint

●Heat blanket

●Scissors and disposable gloves

●Insect repellant


●Antibacterial ointment

●Pain relievers


Pack Survival Tools

Survival tools can help you make the best of a bad situation, whether you are traveling in the wilderness or through urban areas. Some essential survival tools to have in your “Go Bag” include a multitool that features a knife, can opener, screwdriver, and pliers, paracord, and carabiners for attaching items to your pack or lashing together a shelter. Another item that could be useful might include a lock picking kit, in case staying outside becomes too dangerous or to gather additional resources.

Flashlights, Batteries and a Radio

Batteries are a must-have for your “Go Bag.” They can be used to power flashlights and radios, but they can also double as a firelighter. Opt for flashlights and radios that are powered by hand cranking in case the power grid goes down.


Tarp has multiple uses such as insultation from the rain or the ground, but it can also be used to construct a simple lean-to shelter in an emergency. A Mylar tent or bivvy sack is a lightweight option that is easy to carry.

Sleeping Bag or Blankets

A sleeping bag or blanket is essential to keep you warm from the elements. The type and weight you choose will depend on the climate.

Other Essentials

Some other essentials you might not have considered include a dust mask, plastic sheeting, duct tape, trash bags, wet wipes, LED headlamp, candles, notepad, pencil, whistle, small bills, sewing kit, camping toilet paper, personal hygiene products, waterproof matches, and zip ties. Many of these items can perform multiple duties, from sanitation to medical supplies.

The Wrap Up

Once you have your “Go Bag” packed and stored in a secure but accessible location, compile an evacuation checklist. This includes what to take with you in addition to your “Go Bag,” such as sentimental items like photographs, as well as action items like turning off the utilities.

Maintain your supplies and check the condition of your “Go Bag” items and food expiry dates every six months. If you want to learn more about “Go Bag” survival essentials or keeping your home secure in case of an emergency, call Zero Day Gear on (855)-937-6329 to talk to our experienced staff.

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