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29 MUST HAVE Items on Your Go-Bag List

29 MUST HAVE Items on Your Go-Bag List

A go-bag is a bag packed with essential items and kept ready for use in the event of an emergency. (Hopefully, you will never need to use it, but if you do, it can be a lifesaver.)

There is plenty of information on the internet about Go-Bags.  If you don’t have a Go-Bag, perhaps this will inspire you to assemble one.

With my daughters having finished school and left home, we have several backpacks remaining that make great bags to hold some of the essentials.

As planners, we regularly ask the question, “What if?

We work to prepare for unexpected events such as job loss, medical disability, extended stock market losses, and untimely death. Being prepared extends to physical dangers such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes. It can even include extended power outages and auto breakdowns.

In the throes of an emergency,
there can be little time and often NO cell signal!

In our instant society, it’s easy to think, “I’ll just pick up my phone and call for help.” But that isn’t always an option.

A big question is where to keep your go-bag? That depends on what disasters you are preparing for.

Here in the snowy Midwest, the car is a natural choice. In the event of a tornado, it should be easily retrievable from the vehicle. This requires a bag for each car and I’ve also found items from my bag helpful for roadside emergencies.


  • Water
  • Camping water filter (e.g. Lifestraw ®)
  • High-energy bars (rotate annually)
  • Freeze-dried food (low weight) or MRE
  • Emergency radio
  • Crank-powered charger
  • Walkie-talkies with batteries kept separately (rotate annually)
  • Emergency flashlight (batteries kept separately or hand-crank version)
  • Toolkit or multi-function tool
  • All-purpose knife
  • Duct tape
  • Rope (such as 550 parachute cord)
  • Mylar infrared blankets
  • Extra jacket, gloves, hat, shoes
  • Change of clothes
  • Disposable jumpsuit
  • Rain poncho
  • Camping shovel
  • Emergency medication (rotate monthly)
  • OTC medication (rotate annually)
  • Large plastic trash bag
  • Sunscreen (rotate annually)
  • Wet napkins
  • Hand sanitizer


Remember to Pack small – think big.


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