Cade’s Corner: Basic Survival Go Bag

Today I want to take a few minutes to go over some important preparedness basics. 

Most people understand that being prepared can make all the difference in the event of a crisis or emergency situation. 

And by now, with all the crazy things happening in this world, nearly everyone understands it CAN happen to you – and at some point it likely will.

But here’s the simple fact. Most people also haven’t started. 

So whether that’s you, or you’ve already taken some steps to be ready in an emergency, this will be a good overview. 

Let me quickly show you how to put together a survival kit, or “go bag.” The basics.

This isn’t intended to be comprehensive. And your own personal situation may require items specific to you or your family, like medications. But the point here is to take the first step, get the basic materials together…

And then make it better. 

So I’m going to show you a bare bones version. Which – let’s face it - is better than nothing, and something you can put together TODAY. 

Plus, I’ll share some simple ways to make it even better – without spending a fortune to do it.

Ok, let’s get started. 

For your basic survival kit, hurricane box or go bag, you’re going to need something to hold your gear. A backpack is ideal, because you can pick it up and go and keep your hands free if you’re on the move. 

But in a pinch, any duffel, cinch sack or even a trash bag will do the job if it’s all you’ve got. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough, at least for now. 

That means get it together now, and make it better as soon as you can. 

Now, let’s talk about food. 

In an emergency, no matter what it is, you’re going to need something to eat. You can start with non-perishable, portable foods like granola bars, beef jerky or packs of crackers. 

For a quick & dirty version of a kit, having something – anything to eat – beats the alternative. 

But this is something you’ll want to upgrade soon. Because when it comes to food, you can’t be complacent. 

These quick things you can pull together here don’t last forever, and they aren’t meals. So upgrading to shelf-stable meals like a 4Patriots 72-hour Survival Food kit makes total sense. You get significantly more calories and you will be a lot more satisfied. And you don’t have to worry about rotating your food every few months. 

A pack of 4Patriots Emergency Food bars is another great option, because these bars last 5 years, and can withstand extreme temperatures. So stashing them in your car or garage isn’t going to be a problem. 

Next comes water. At the very least, I’d suggest some bottled water and a canteen or refillable bottle. Again, this is the bare minimum.

To make your kit better, you have a few options. A Patriot Pure Personal Water Filter makes virtually any freshwater safe to drink. It’s portable, lightweight and very functional. Or you can even get a collapsible water bottle that will not only treat waterborne contaminants, but also functions as a rechargeable lantern. 

It’s upgrades like this – things that serve multiple functions – that’ll take your kit to the next level. 

I’d also suggest you assemble options for light. Seeing your way in the dark, during a storm or power outage, or making sure others can see and find you, is a must. 

So a well built flashlight should definitely be in your bag. 

But if you’re going to pack a regular flashlight, you’re going to need to include batteries too. That’s why a HaloXT is a great upgrade choice. It’s rechargeable via solar, can offload power to juice up your phone in a pinch, and has other life saving tools that make it perfect for stashing in your car. 

You’re going to need fire too, for cooking and warmth, so some lighters or waterproof matches are a must. 

To upgrade here, a rechargeable, flameless lighter like a Firebolt is smart. Because it can help you start a fire even when it’s windy, and it has a built-in flashlight function. Plus it never needs fuel.  

Again, multi-functional wins the day. 

Once you’ve covered the basics with your kit – food, water, light, and fire – you can customize it with all kinds of items. Spare clothes, items for shelter, first aid and more. 

Just be careful not to pack too much.  I’ve seen some folks pack 50-60 pounds of stuff together and they can hardly lug it out the door. This is a go bag, not a “drag bag.”  

Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect out of the gate. But you do need to start to get prepared, and the time to start is now. 

Even a very basic kit puts you ahead of most of your friends and neighbors, believe me.  

You definitely don’t want to wait until a storm is bearing down on you, or you have to leave the safety of your home quickly, to start thinking about these things. 

I want you to be a survivor, not a statistic. So do yourself a favor, and commit to getting a kit together as soon as possible.


  • ROBERT a BROWN - November 23, 2022

    i have most of the items you mentioned in your article. I have backips for lighting,navigating,and starting a fire along with shelter and i also have several survial sleeping tents that are foldable and can fit in your pockets. But I am having trouble finding an isogonic chart. If you could dorect me to a site that has them it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Donna G. - April 14, 2022

    I am thinking of the past winter, listening to weather warnings. They tell you to be prepared for being stuck in the cold on the side of the snowy road and keep a flashlight & food in your car. Well, how about a blanket? Always keep a well stocked first aid kit in your vehicle, even if you usually just go to the store. YOU may be a safe driver, but the other driver might not be. Also, don’t leave bottled water in your vehicle too long. Cars get pretty hot.

  • Marion Bracey - February 01, 2022

    All excellent points for a go bag. I would add for those of us on medication to make sure you bring a long to. Put meds in travel size script bottles to fit in your go bag. You can back up supplies of meds in a separate bag to go. I also agree on a first aid kit. You can put a mini one in your go bag ( bandages, antibiotic ointment, tape and Tylenol). Thanks

  • Marlene Holland - November 03, 2021

    Thanks so much for this enlightening article. I gave my grandchildren starter kits when they went off to the big wide world after graduating from college but this article has given me the information I needed to complete those setups. Thanks again for the help!

  • Tammie Rizer - November 02, 2021

    I have been preparing for several years but the one discouraging thing is finding a 72 hr survival food or long term storage bars that are Gluten-free. Some of us out here can’t help life processes, is there anyway you can get a handle on having this kind of product available? I want to be ready but can’t get sick eating foods my body can’t tolerate. Thanks for listening.

  • Brandy Creel - November 02, 2021


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