New to preparedness? Go camping with your go-bag, even if it’s just in your back yard

If you’re one of The Prepared’s many new readers whom COVID-19 has woken up to the importance of preparing for the worst, welcome. You may have alread
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  • Comments (8)

    • 10

      This is an excellent piece whose advice will go largely unheeded, I fear. Most folks will balk at the idea of “practicing” with their go-bags, under the sense of “Oh, I’ll just take my bag but find a place to stay (motel/hotel/whatever)” However, considering the combination of COVID plus human displacement due to natural disasters (see, for example, Michigan’s recent dam breaks) or, worse, acts of terror, it seems both highly unlikely and definitely undesirable to shelter amidst large groups. I can easily envision situations where folks are bugging out from urban or suburban areas and simply can’t find a (safe) roof under which to huddle. You’ll want to feel comfortable–if not confident–in your ability to navigate a night or two on state land, parks, etc. Plus, the practicing should be fun and a good excuse to play around in the woods 🙂

      • 6

        Well said. All we can do is encourage people to practice and repeat as many times as needed: you are not prepared until you’ve actually used your preps!

    • 11

      An excellent piece – practice makes perfect.

      Years ago, doing search and rescue (SAR), I learned to keep my gear in a backpack, organized and ready to go.  Sometimes we had hours to respond, but often the call was urgent – respond immediately!  Over time, i refined my gear, learning what worked and what did not.

      You most likely will have to make seasonal adjustments.  What works for mid summer will not do for winter.  If you live in the western US, with mountain ranges, you might be required to deal with very cold conditions up high, compared to warmer temps in the valleys.  It is easier to pull gear out of your pack, rather than adding to it at the last minute.  I was on operations where everything I carried was used.

      Use your equipment.  You need to know that it works, and what its quirks are. A critical situation is no time to be unwrapping a new, shiny gadget.

      My day pack is within reach, fully set up.  i no longer do SAR, but you never know.  We had to evacuate a year ago because of an approaching wild fire, and my pack was the first thing in the car, followed by lots of other stuff.  If I had been required to walk, the pack had basic, fundamental items that would have seen me through.

      • 2

        As a former EMT and SAR I totally agree. I keep my gear in plastic bins, one being  a cold weather bin that has the heavy bag, parka, Sorels and other winter gear. Keeping an inventory sheet taped to the bin is good practice: I put anything that expires in pencil. 

      • 1

        Organization is key to quick deployment and rotation of gear. Valuable skill to master.

    • 6


      Have you walked any considerable distance with the GR2 fully loaded? I really, really want to buy one, but for walking any distance with any weight, the lack of a load-bearing hip belt has prevented me.

      I think of the 26L GR1 / 34L GR2 as more EDC packs or very practical, minimalistic go bags as opposed to backpacking bags. The 40L GR2 just seems like it wouldn’t be comfortable after a few miles.

      Just thinking out load (that was an intentional pun).

      • 7

        I have not, and in fact I’m assuming I’ll be miserable. However — and this is a big one — I have three small children (ages 7 to 11) who would be tagging along in any on-foot bugout, and they are veeerrryyyyy sloooowwwww and complainey. So they, and not the pack, will almost surely the the limiting factor on any on-foot bugout’s ability to rack up daily mileage. 

        Once the kids get older, I may consider switching to something with more support. Or not… a lot of people do long distances and rucking challenges with the Goruck packs and seem to do ok.

      • 6

        Oh, man, I totally understand about the kids. So much so, in fact, that I think we ought to have some topics / guides / blog posts about how to prepare a family from a disaster.

        The first 47 seconds of this Warrior Poet Society video makes the point pretty hilariously. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ5HD4wAyCU

        I mean, as much as I have thought about packing all of this camping gear into my 60L Kifaru, with a wife and two kids under seven, the only way we are “bugging” anywhere is in a car on the way to a hotel or a friend’s house.