Handguns, Seeds, and MRE’s
We’ve done a reasonably in-depth dive into the concepts of go bags, while avoiding just another list like those you can find online everywhere. But there’s one thing we haven’t addressed: the big What If?
You might say, “But that’s what a go bag is for, isn’t it?” True. So maybe we should say the What if?, after.
We bring it up now in this discussion of go bags to mention two final notes. The first about one more item you need to consider: a handgun. If you need a believable reason, The Road delivers that too, practically in the opening scene. The father has a gun, and without it they’d have been dead before the story started. Even after he’s run out of bullets, having one can be a deterrent. That’s up to you. And how you store your weapons, with children in the house, well, most people won’t just leave them in the bottom of an unlocked go bag. You might consider a small, tough, lockable case. Such take up space and are heavy. But if you have to flee your house and end up somewhere where it’s not safe yet, and you may have to carry your go bags a lot longer than expected, well, circumstances may be such at that time that everyone who has a firearm is openly carrying them anyway. You can opt to get rid of the lock case then if it’s too bulky. And if there was no need whatsoever for a weapon like that, you can always sell it, the case, and the ammo. Who knows? If you lost things in a fire and the insurance company isn’t paying out yet, maybe anything you can sell isn’t a bad thing for your cash kitty.
But the other thing to think about is just what that father and his boy were facing when things went from temporary to a whole new permanent way of life. Which gets back to something as fundamental as not starving. A short while back we discussed buying seeds, and we’ve been gratified to learn that all over the world people were thinking the same thing. Demand shot so high some people are having a tough time finding seeds for common vegetables at the moment, and we think the more people out there growing food the better.
But seeds and growing are for when you’re still at home, or have found a place. And while they’re so light and compact we wouldn’t mind if you put a variety in your go bags, the priority is getting some place where you feel safe enough, for long enough, to actually plant something. So, keep in mind, the priority is: a relatively small to medium sized pack of bare essentials, which is light enough to snatch and run without being slowed by something that could catch you fast, like a fire in an old timber building. And we’ve gone plenty into that without repeating ourselves further. But if there’s still a little room in the packs, or you're just absolutely stuck between purchasing a nice compact backpack and one that’s just a liter larger in the volume it can hold, well, that’s a real tough call. In your shoes, where we try to put ourselves every day, we still might opt for the smaller and lighter one. But one factor that you can mull is still the What if?
If two days needs to turn into a week. Or a week needs to turn into an unknown stretch of time... what are the things missing in your small pack that you would dearly have wished to have for you and your family? It might be as simple as sleeping bags, which can be tied onto a smaller pack.
Then again, blankets and sleeping bags can be acquired or improvised on the road. Survivalists are happy with a campfire and a cover of bushy fronds in reasonably good climates.
Perhaps MREs instead of just protein bars. There are plenty on the market, and they’re thriving right now. They have shelf lives of five years or much longer, and some come with their own heating elements that only require you to provide a little liquid. Most providers have calculated the rations a family of four might need for six months, and they sell exactly that at a bulk discount.
That’s how most of us end up using any extra space, because they’re light, reasonably compact, and can either save a life or be traded for something important.
Either way, remember, even if we’re referencing tragic stories, or frightening situations, it’s the imagination that allows you to feel sadness and yet hope at the same time. It allows you to plan, adapt, and turn it all into an adventure, even if your go bags never once get used.