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Newly Updated: Grab-N-Go Bag Essentials You Must Have


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A grab-n-go bag can range from the bare essentials to a complete "bug out" set up. This slideshow gives you the essentials to consider and then you configure it for your particular location, possible emergencies, and situations. Links to everything are included.

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Newly Updated: Grab-N-Go Bag Essentials You Must Have

  1. 1. The Grab-n-Go Bag Basics Everyone Should Have
  2. 2. A grab-n-go bag is a staple of survival and emergency preparedness. It’s something you can take with you, and is your survival kit in your house, in your car and at your work. It’s too late to prepare once the emergency is on you. There will also be a huge run of panicked people buying many of these same items and they won’t be available; get it together NOW so you have it ready. Please remember, there are an infinite number of emergencies, opinions, equipment, and needs. The following is a basic template for essentials we all need.
  3. 3. The Grab & Go bag should be tailored to your locale. Try to get items that have multiple uses, rather than just one. The Grab & Go Bag
  4. 4. How much can you carry? If you aren’t experienced in backpacks, ask an expert at your local outdoor store. No matter the backpack, have waterproof bags to put everything inside the backpack. Keeping gear (and yourself) dry is paramount in a survival/emergency situation. The Bag Itself
  5. 5. While I list a number of items in the following slides, the next one shows a pre-packaged kit you can get on Amazon. I’ve looked it over and bought it as a start for my son. It includes generic basics and is much better than having nothing, or waiting until you can do your Area Study and make your own tailored kit. Prepared for basics today is better than being an expert tomorrow. I have purchased all the items I list, but feel free to find what suits your needs. All profits from Affiliate links go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which funds education for the children of wounded or killed Special Operation soldiers.
  6. 6. Using my Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide you can do an Area Study and tailor your GnG bags to your specific situation and environment. However, to be prepared, a basic, well-stocked, pre-made one is a good idea. Click on images on all pages to link to gear.
  7. 7. The following items are for building your own kit. Remember, the Area Study, will help determine what’s needed. A free slideshow is available on how to do an Area Study is at How to do an Area Study is also in The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. A key is to figure out your priorities. For some, such as my son and grandsons in San Diego, water is high on the list. Building Your Own Bag
  8. 8. 4 full 500ml water bottles. This is your immediate emergency supply if you have no time to fill up your . . . Containers. Either a built in water supply such as a Camelbak or separate containers. Most backpacks have external loops on which you can secure canteens and water carriers. Your first priority is to fill up these containers with potable water. The four water bottles are to sustain you to get to that point. They also then become extra water containers. WATER
  9. 9. Compressible water containers. For after establishing base camp Purification. Lifestraw or equivalent and two bottles purification tablets. Click on images below for links. Water
  10. 10. You must have a way of quickly filtering water for your family. Assume all water you find in nature is contaminated. Besides the life straw and pills, there are ones that produce more volume. There is also a slightly more expensive system that doesn’t require pumping and works via gravity. Either one can be a lifesaver for your family.
  11. 11. Fire is your friend in a survival situation. I know we’d all like to use that bow and stick, but for emergencies, a lighter is much easier. The plasma lighter on the left is also a flashlight and rechargeable. I pack several lighters. Windproof. Stormproof matches in a waterproof container. Click on images below. Lighters and Matches
  12. 12. Since I list a rechargeable lighter on the previous page, power becomes an issue. I used to focus on using batteries for power, because rechargeable requires, well, charging. However, I’ve become a fan of solar, which allows a renewable power source from nature. The small solar power bank on the left is light and in my bag. The more powerful one on the right is heavier. It’s attacked by velcro to my Jeep dashboard facing the windshield. Power
  13. 13. Non-perishables for three days minimum. Food that doesn’t require refrigeration. Don’t have food that will make you thirsty. Plan for infants and special dietary requirements. Note expiration dates. Click on image for a good, 25 year expiration, supply from the company that made our Long Range Patrol meals in Special Forces. It’s what we have on hand and in our grab-n-go bags. Also good for camping. Food
  14. 14. I have a variety of ration bars (click on each for link): ER Bar Grizzly Bear Emergency Food Rations DaTrex 3600 Below are some before going into a ziplok bag inside my GnG bag and someinto my Jeep. Make sure you store them inside a ziplok bag because once you open the package, it’s not resealable.
  15. 15. A small, portable stove is key. Make sure you have plenty of fuel which comes in various sizes from small to larger and heavier. The stove screws onto the fuel canister. This stove is inexpensive and has a built-in click lighter, and two cups in the form of the case. I’ve brewed many a cup of coffee/hot chocolate/meals with it.
  16. 16. Pots to cook in with utensils. I use the pots below with a larger stove that I pack in my Jeep. Here I’m brewing up on the front bumper of the Jeep in the Smoky Mountains. Note chow for Scout, our rescue dog, also laid out.
  17. 17. Know what the emergency broadcast stations are. Below is a hand crank/solar radio/flashlight combo I have in my Jeep and in my grab-n-go bag. Click on image for link. Survival Radio
  18. 18. I carry a SpotX 2 Way Satellite messenging system. I’ve gone many places where there is no cell phone coverage. While going to Hole in the Rock in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, my clutch began to burn out. 120 miles from the nearest civilization. Luckily I managed to sustain in third gear out of there but it made me consider the situation. There are places all over the country, including in the Smoky Mountains, with no cell coverage. I view this as a potentially life-saving investment. Also peace of mind as my family can get hold of me any time and I can update them on my progress.
  19. 19. Jeep at Hole in the Rock, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 120 miles from the nearest paved road. Zero cell phone coverage.
  20. 20. A tent is valuable but takes up a lot of space and weight. At the very least, you need an emergency sleeping bag and a poncho. I have the emergency sleeping bag below in my G&G bag and in all our cars. It’s inexpensive, light and small. A poncho can be worn, but also made into a shelter using 550/parachute cord. The latter is useful in many, many ways. Click on images. Shelter
  21. 21. Being able to see in the dark is key. Batteries tend to be heavy and get used up but AA/AAA are light and small. Also, with solar, you can use rechargeable lights. Consider the following array: Handcrank light (the one below also has window breaker, seatbelt cutter, USB cell phone charger); a headlamp for moving and doing things in camp; and a single AAA light I keep in a sheath with my Leatherman Click on images. Light
  22. 22. I always have the one on the left on my belt along with the single battery flashlight. It gets used every day. I have the vice grips Leatherman on the right in my Jeep and it gets used a lot. The flashlight was linked earlier. Multi-Tool
  23. 23. There are plenty of prepared ones you can buy. Below is one I have in house and in grab-n-go bags. Click on image for link. Make sure you have medications to last a week. Extra glasses, contacts, etc. First Aid Kit
  24. 24. I recommend adding a trauma pack with quick-clot bandages to your first aid kit along with a splint, an Israeli combat bandage, chest seal, medical scissors— all in one convenient packet. I can verify the Quik-Clot works. I carry a Quik Clot bandage on my bike and in our cars and day pack. QuikClot Bandages/Trauma
  25. 25. Appropriate for time of year and environment. Socks. And more socks. Pants and long sleeve shirts of a material that dries quickly. I generally pack one extra pair of pants. A wool cap— most heat escapes through the head. A boonie hat— keep the sun off, protects your head. Clothing
  26. 26. Not just for weather but to protect your hands. In the field, I always wear gloves. The ones on the left are very light and touchscreen. They provide some protection but little warmth. The ones in the middle are touchscreen and provide some warmth. The ones on the right provide more protection. Clothing
  27. 27. A folding saw. A survival knife with sharpener. A Signal mirror. I have all below in my bag . Click on images. Tools
  28. 28. Snares are an effective, passive form of hunting that is also very secure. The steel cables also have other uses. An array of zip ties— you’ll find many uses for them, including, if need be, handcuffs. The middle ones are basic; the ones on the right are for major things. Tools
  29. 29. Or download the contour map for your area for free, then print it out, or order the map sheets. Click here or on image below for USGS free downloadable topo maps. I also have a series of National Geographic area specific maps for various National Forests and Parks Map
  30. 30. Location Apps There are several topo map Apps you can get. I’ve used a number over the years but the best one I’ve found is Gaia. The basic app is free and then there are two levels of membership. The premium, which is discounted 20% via my affiliate link, is $32 for a year but for the number and types of maps you get, it is definitely worth it. One useful thing to using any map app is to download the map tiles you want to use beforehand (when you’re out in the wilds with no signal) and you learn how to use the app. They also send interesting email updates on various outdoor activities that are very informative from outdoor experts.
  31. 31. To the left is an example of some of the many maps you can download and use. You can have multiple maps on screen at the same time, adjusting them as you need. In this case, I have the US Forestry Service Map at max along with USFS roads and trails along with public lands. I can bring up hidden layers as needed. Also note the Historic Topo for 1930 which is fun to play with. You also have National Park Service Visitor, topo maps, streets maps, weather and more. There are dozens of different types of maps available to premium members.
  32. 32. While we rely on GPS there are many emergencies where that might not be available. In that case, a compass is invaluable. I have the one below tied of to my survival vest. Compass
  33. 33. Tooth brush, toothpaste. Liquid, disinfectant soap (double bag). Foot powder. Toilet paper or baby wipes. Feminine Hygiene. Baby products Toiletries
  34. 34. Power will be out. ATMs won’t work Store computer systems will have crashed. It will be a cash environment for a while. How much? Enough for: plane, bus ticket to evac site; cost of hotel room for at least 3 nights; cost of 3 tank fulls of gas; food for family for two weeks; misc. expenses. CASH
  35. 35. 20 Things Every Hiker Should Have In Their Day Pack (which also makes it a basic Grab-n- Go bag!) This slideshow is on my web page and a useful way of upgrading what you already have.
  36. 36. This is what is in my daypac k. More info HERE
  37. 37. This was just the an overview and probably overwhelming. In the The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide the GnG bag is broken down into a basic one everyone should have and then a list of more advanced items. Grab-n-Go Bag Your main bag is wherever you spend most of your time. For most of us, that’s at home. Have it readily accessible so you can literally grab it as you run out. You can also toss it in your car easily.
  38. 38. More Free Information I constantly update free, downloadable slideshows like this on my web site for preparation and survival and other topics. I also have YouTube Survival videos. HERE Also, I conduct Area Study workshops for those interested in properly preparing for their specific circumstances.
  39. 39. The guide on the left is the complete preparation and survival guide. The one on the right is a pocket-size manual with just the survival portion. Useful in your Grab- n-Go bag, car and kitchen drawer. SURVIVAL GUIDES
  40. 40. New York Times bestselling author, is a graduate of West Point and former Green Beret. He’s had over 80 books published, including the #1 bestselling series Green Berets, Time Patrol, Area 51, and Atlantis. He’s sold over 5 million books. He was born in the Bronx and has traveled the world. He’s lived on an island off the east coast, an island off the west coast, in the Rocky Mountains, the Smoky Mountains and other places, including time in East Asia studying martial arts. He was an instructor and course developer/writer for years at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School which trains Green Berets and also runs the SERE school: Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape.