If you are running out the door with one bag on your back, what else needs to go inside it?
First things first: consider who is going with you (all the members of your family, furry, feathered or otherwise).
A set of extra clothing for each person would be good. Pack underwear and socks for three days if you’re being thorough. Experts advise long cotton pants and a wool sweater because those will protect your skin if you are literally running through a wildfire. Synthetics might melt, leaving you with no clothes AND a terrible burn. A wool blanket can also be useful to protect yourself from fire, as well as keep you comfortable overnight.
Extra socks are always important if you are traveling by foot. If your socks get wet, you should immediately change into dry socks to avoid blisters and other scary foot problems.
If running through a fire isn’t the most likely scenario, think about what might happen during a disaster in your region. Most people end up in an emergency shelter, just waiting for news. You might want to include:
- One outfit, spare socks, and underwear for 3 days, plus sturdy shoes — in or sitting by the bag
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, creams, lotions, tampons/pads, soap, etc.
- Deck of cards, travel games, notepad+pen
- Earplugs and/or sleep mask
- Pet treats or toys
- A hat or wig to spare your dignity during the upcoming bad hair days
- Silver dollars to trade with nutty libertarians who don’t trust paper money
- Small valuables or personal mementos, family photos
- Comfort substances of choice, i.e.: booze, weed, CBD oil, kava extract, lavender oil, chamomile tea bags…
The ideal scenario is to pack everything in your Go Bag so you don’t have to think when it’s time to go. If there are items you can’t include in the bag, make a list of everything you want to grab when it’s Go Time, along with their exact locations.
Don’t leave any survival essentials or documents outside of the Go Bag. Assume your brain will be overloaded when your Go Bag is finally needed. That’s the worst time to ask it to make decisions. The less thinking you have to do, the better.
If your evacuation timeline is a bit longer and you have space in your car, it’s a great idea to simply grab your laundry hamper. Your most-often worn items are generally in there. This tactic depends on the availability of water and soap at your destination — so proceed as desired. You’ll definitely appreciate having your favorite jeans with you if your house washes away, though!
Whatever you choose to take along for comfort or convenience, make sure you take the time to test your fully packed bags and confirm that each member of your family is able to carry them. It’s a good idea to plan your Go Bags with the assumption that you may have to walk a mile. If your bag is too heavy to carry, pare down.
We covered survival, documents, and comfort. What else should we think about?