My “go” bag

Like I'm really gonna get out of here alive. (But what if I do?)

Like I'm really gonna get out of here alive. (But what if I do?)

Living in New York definitely brings home the idea of the impending apocalypse. Any subway at rush hour reminds me that disaster is just one panic away. We handle ourselves well here when disaster happens, and I’m glad to be in the city, but obviously 8 million people can’t just carry on as usual if there’s no electricity, or an epidemic, or a “dirty” bomb, or catastrophic economic collapse. I probably won’t survive such an eventuality, but in case I do, I want to be ready. I have extra water stored, and some stockpiled food. And I have a “go” bag.

It’s a comfortable backpack, built for a woman’s frame, which, for once, actually fits me. I could carry it for a long time if I had to. I have first aid stuff in there. A flashlight. Warm socks. Every so often, when I’m in a drugstore, I’ll buy something for my “go” bag: antihistamine, bandages , anti-diarrhea medicine. And if I’m ordering something from Amazon, I might include an inexpensive item from my survival list: 100′ of paracord, a firestarter, a basic compass, all for less than $10. On the slightly more costly side, I bought a sleeping bag recently, and I’ve got my eye on a portable solar/self-powered radio, a tent, and a wicked survival knife.

Of course, I can use these things for camping if civilization continues. But if it doesn’t, it’s all in one place so I can grab it and go. I can add some bottled water, food, more clothes if I have time, and then join the crowds of people who will no doubt be streaming out of the city some day.

I can see it so clearly. I don’t know what the disaster will be, and I don’t like to speculate much on specifics. I fervently hope it’s not as bad as I fear it will be.

I’ve considered including some things that will comfort me, like my favorite book. Survival lists often recommend a deck of cards, for people suffering withdrawal from TV and the internet. I’ll probably bring a few of my notebooks. What else would you want to save from your life, if you could only bring what you can carry yourself? Photos? Do you have your photos on a disk, do you know where that disk is, could you grab it while sirens are going off?

Am I bumming you out? Thinking about this stuff makes me feel better, actually. Denying that it could ever happen is foolish. Obviously it can happen. Would you rather be prepared, or unprepared?

What I need now is a “go” bag that will hold my cats. AbsurdBeats and I were discussing this the other night.

I’ve read books about survivalism, like The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley. One thing disaster and survival experts definitely recommend is to visualize yourself doing something positive. That way your mind has some suggestions to make if it ever does happen.

I hope it doesn’t. But if it does, I want to be ready. What about you? Do you have a “go” bag?

4 Responses to “My “go” bag”

  1. absurdbeats Says:

    I’m halfway there—I like to be prepared, and already have a fair amount of camping stuff (tho’ not all in one bag. Hm. Mebbe I should load it all together).

    But it’s entirely possible that one of the reasons I moved to New York is because I know that here I wouldn’t survive the apocalypse. Think Lou Reed and ‘Fly Into the Sun’. . . .

    Then again, a dirty bomb ain’t the apocalypse, and if a slow death by radiation poisoning can be avoided, well, gosh-darn-it-all, it should be avoided.

    Now where the hell’s my compass?

  2. Walking in your footsteps « AbsurdBeats Says:

    […] recently posted on her ‘go’ bag, a pack to which she’s been adding what she’d need to survive if she had to get the […]

  3. Shanghai Slim Says:

    Residing in a country that within living memory experienced a civil war, the worst famine in human history, invasion and occupation by the Japanese military, SARS, and the Cultural Revolution … I used to worry a lot about this. I built up a major survival kit. I kept on hand a month’s worth of distilled water, six weeks of dehydrated food supplies, a major first-aid kit, hiking boots, spare glasses, a water purifier, 20 rolls of toilet paper, a crank-generated flashlight/radio, a lightweight tent, a portable solar oven, waterproof and fireproof clothing, and a small collapsible boat.

    Then I realized I was overdoing it.

    Since then I have vastly simplified my disaster kit. I carefully thought through every potential disaster scenario I might conceivably face, from political upheaval to nuclear power accident to an outbreak of zombism (Chinese zombies in the streets!). I got it down to just three items:

    – a compass
    – a Glock 9mm
    – a heavy-duty rucksack containing US$10,000 in South African krugerrands and eight boxes of ammunition

    I figure any disaster this won’t get me through is not one I’d likely survive anyway – or want to.

    See you at the post-apocalypse shindig!

  4. soundofrain Says:

    A collapsible boat! What a great idea!

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