Survival Tip #9:
Go bag, part 1.
Also known as bug out bag, emergency survival bag, or too lazy to unpack my hiking pack.
Today we will cover the three most important things about the go bag, the bag itself, water, and food.
The go bag is your emergency bag that is always loaded and ready for the next disaster. You can grab it and “go” at a moment’s notice and set out confidently into the Primal Age.
One bag to save your life. The common mental image of a go bag tends to be a duffel bag; however your best bet is a hiking pack. After all, they offer proper weight distribution via various straps, are water proof, and compartmentalized.
The two key things when picking your pack is storage and weight. You want a pack that can hold at least 5,000 cubic inches (85 L). When it comes to weight every ounce your pack weights is one less ounce of supplies you are going to carry. Don’t sacrifice weight for quality, but a try to find a pack that is six pounds or less.
Anymore most backpacks come with a bladder pouch. A bladder is a plastic reservoir, usually one or two liters, that is stored within your pack and has a nozzle and hose which clips to the front of your pack for easy access. This isn’t something you must have, but it does provide you the ability to drink in motion, which will come in handy.
Here is a good example of a quality pack.
First and foremost you need water. If your pack has a bladder keep it full (make sure to cycle your water out weekly). Whether it has a bladder or not, make sure all water bottle pouches are full with the largest and lightest bottle you can find. As necessary as water is to your life, it comes with the price of weight. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. I suggest carrying 2 gallons of water in 2-4 containers which before container weight is nearly 17 pounds. *A cheap solution for bottles are 2 liter soda bottles.
Still on the topic of water, you may ask what happens when I run out? Well, you dehydrate and eventually die, which is why you don’t let yourself run out. Since any water you’ve ever drank out of a tap has been treated and filtered we don’t have a strong enough immune system to just dip the bottle in a river and drink it. There are four commonly used treatment tactics; UV, pump filter, iodine, and boiling.
UV is the most sophisticated of these, however I advise against it since it relies on power.
Boiling is the most primitive, and should always be an option, however not your primary.
Iodine tablets are light weight and take up very little space in your bag. All you do is drop one in your bottle, let it do its thing, and drink up. The issue with them is you can’t carry an infinite supply.
A filter hand pump takes up more room and weight than iodine tables, but is my suggestion for your primary choice. A filter can treat more water than the same weights worth of tablets.
When it comes to your go bag, I like a rule of threes. Three different water bottles. Three different treatment options. I advise having a pump filter(with a few spare filters) with Iodine as a backup, and boiling as your choice whenever it can be. This way if your pump breaks you can ditch it along with the filters and keep going on the iodine tablets, and worst case scenario you can boil it. *Also keep in mind the abundance of bottled water in today’s world. Any time you can scavenge safely do so.
With food you want the most calories for the least weight. A human body at rest burns 1,500 calories a day. Each mile covered on foot is an additional 100 calories. So, now isn’t the time to worry about nutrition. Military MRE’s are your best option; however they aren’t cheap and easily scavenged. Protein bars and other similar items are great options. Pop Tarts are a common go to for hikers since they are 200 calories per pastry. Make sure whatever foods you choose are nonperishables.
One great way to boost your calories is by using protein mixes and other similar products. By adding them to your water supplies, you can continually keep a calorie intake while in motion. These do not replace the need for solid food and should only be used in addition.
Now I’m sure there are more scientific formulas than this one, but this is my simple layman’s set up. A pound of fat requires 3000 calories to burn, and you don’t want to lose more than three pounds a week. So if my destination is 80 miles away, and I plan to do that in 7 days my consumption would be 8,000 calories in transit and 10,500 calories for the days for 18,500 calories, minus the flex 9,000 for the three pounds you can sacrifice, leaves you at 9,500 calories to be sure you can survive.
I use that example because I strongly recommend not only having that many calories, but that sort of foot travel time line. Remember, same with water, scavenge when the danger is low.
You may be sitting at your computer thinking that seems like an abundance of food and water, but it won’t seem that way when you are running out. If there are any areas to have too much of it is food and water. The other thing to keep in mind is that for every twenty people to read this maybe one will actually have a go bag, and a topic to come will be forming a survival team, so you want be able to share if the situation calls for it.
On a side tangent you should keep an emergency bag always prepped and loaded whether or not you say it’s for the Primal Age. There are plenty of less than end of the world situations that they become valuable.