(Disclaimer: I’ll be putting a bunch of links to items in this series of posts; the links go to the Amazon pages for those items. I’ve got an Amazon Associates account; as such, if you click through the link and purchase the item, the cost to you wont’ change, but I get a percentage. That being said, the items I’m linking to are examples of what I’ve got, not of what I think you should get. Assess for yourself, and get what you feel you need/want/can afford. The links are not an endorsement of the items, nor of Amazon or the individual sellers on Amazon.)
The “Go-Bag” is designed as a sort of mini-BoB, to be maintained in the car. Its true function, the way I’ve got things set up, is to supplement and “flesh out” the GHB, providing additional supplies that aren’t as easily toted everywhere. (Remember, the GHB in my system is the “absolute minimum” I’d need to get home; in a ‘full-use’ scenario, my GHB, combined with my EDC, will get me to the car, where I’d fill out my supplies.)
In the grand scheme of things, the Go-Bag is very similar to the GHB, just “more”. One of the things it’s used for is following an accident: provide first-aid in the event of minor injuries, or (as happened late summer last year) to provide a few things to occupy and distract the kids, while waiting for the police and your Significant Other to arrive. Since the purpose of the Go-Bag is both for “getting home” and for “staying with the vehicle,” as the case may be, some of the contents of the Go-Bag are not necessarily for carrying along in a “gotta get home now” situation; I’ll leave which is which as an exercise for the reader.
Things that live in the car include, in no particular order:
- a container of some sort to hold everything relatively neatly (and to satisfy my OCD, to say nothing of my wife’s);
- basic tools (a small hammer, wrench, and screwdriver; something like this one is a good start, but you can cobble together whatever you need);
- a folding shovel (this one is inexpensive and functional, or you can spend a bit more for durability);
- a blanket (something that was too “worn-out” for the house–don’t go out & buy one specifically for this, but do get one, especially if you get cold/freezing weather where you are);
- several mylar emergency blankets;
- a roadside repair kit (almost a go-bag in and of itself!);
- A full set of clothes for each family member (changed seasonally; these are usually “last year’s” clothes for the kids–they may not fit perfectly, but they’re better than nothing), to include shoes (sneakers and a pair of sandals/flip-flops), and at least a ‘hoodie’ during the colder months;
- rain gear (ponchos at least, suits if you can manage it);
- a quality first-aid kit;
- some high-calorie food (we keep a jar of peanut butter, which we change out every other month or so; we’ll keep some hard candies, as well, and often a package of beef jerky);
- some rope or line (usually more 550 cord);
- a gallon bottle of water;
- collapsible dog food bowls, and a meal or two of dog food (optional; replace “dog” with “cat” if that’s what you’ve got, or drop entirely if you don’t have any);
- dog leashes (see note above);
- a flashlight, plus extra batteries (check these regularly);
- an old cellphone (even without a subscribed service, in most areas 911 is still available) and its charger (remember to charge it every now & then);
- a lighter, box of matches, and some tinder (dryer lint, or steel wool);
- some candles and a large-ish tin can (an old-style coffee can works great);
- a medium-sized container of cat litter.
The latter two items are for those of us in areas that get heavy snowfall; the cat litter can help provide traction if you get stuck on ice, and if you’re stuck in a drift with nobody around, the candle, lit and inside the can, is a safer method of keeping warm than running the heater.
Here again, as with the GHB, there are some things conspicuously absent: weapons of any sort. I’ll probably go back and add a knife to the packs in my cars–they’ve got plenty of ‘non-combat’ uses, and it’s good to have a backup for the one in my GHB. Firearms are absent by design–as mentioned before, the laws about such things are Byzantine at best; I don’t bother, but your mileage may vary. (If you’ve got to have one, a few points: make sure it’s legal and licensed; double-check the laws in your state regarding keeping one in the car; I’d keep the weapon and its ammunition separate, just for added safety.) One thing I do need to add, in looking over the list, is a water-purification method of some sort–possibly more Lifestraws, but more likely something a little bigger.
The other topic I’ve got for this post is my “every-day carry”, or EDC. This is a quick and simple list: I try to dress for the anticipated weather, and always have a hat (I may leave it in the car, but there’s a couple of ship’s ballcaps at my desk that I can use in a pinch). I’ve typically got a pocket-knife (when my father is asked if he has a knife on him, his usual response is “do I have my pants on?”). In my wallet, I’ve got a mini Fresnel lens. That’s pretty much it; much of what I might need is either a) in my GHB, b) in the Go-Bag, or c) easily scrounge-able or improvised; if I need it from my BoB, I’ve got a whole new level of trouble.
Speaking of the BoB, that will be the next post in this series–after we do the final “why/why not” post next week. Enjoy, and be safe out there!