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Emergency Go Bags

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

What is a Go Bag and Why Do You Need One?

A "Go Bag" or sometimes referred to as a bug out bag is a pre-packed bag prepared with essential items you would need in case of an evacuation situation. Hopefully, you would never need to use it but if you did need to use it you will really be glad you prepared ahead of time. Every year families have to temporarily evacuate their home due to natural disasters like forest fires, floods or hurricanes. Just last week my friend lost power for days from the 2021 Texas ice storm. After a couple days of sheltering in place with no heat, hot water and small children to take care of they decided to pack up and drive to a family member's house who lived in an area not effected by the storm. I personally experienced an evacuation when a construction crew accidently hit a gas line while working on our street. At the time we had two little babies who require a big bag of supplies just to go to the grocery store. I did not have go bags prepared. We were scrambling throwing things together to get out of the house within minutes not knowing when we could return. Having, go bags ready would have made a stressful situation a little bit easier.

What Should You Pack?

The first thing you need is a bag or suitcase. I recommend something that's easy to carry and store it in a place that is easy to grab and go. I use a an old suitcase and backpack that is stored in the coat closet. Then, you want to think about what you would need for 3 days for each person in your family. This will be different depending on where you live and the ages of your children and the season. If you have a baby or young children it is best to change out go bags a couple times a year to make sure diapers and clothes are the correct size and your kids have not outgrown them already.

I like to break it down into 4categories of clothing, toiletries, food, emergency.

Decide the easiest way to organize your items that works for your family. I have back packs for each member of the family with clothing and personal items. then, I used a suitcase for food, paper products and blankets. The children have backpacks but I only have one change of clothes that can double as pajamas, a blanket, baby wipes, and a few comfort items(mini note pad and crayons, a book, a small toy). You could also include a keychain flashlight and emergency contact info in each of their bags. Kid's bags should be light enough that they can carry if needed.


I packed our bags with clothing that we don't wear much, would donate, or had extras. This way, I wouldn't miss them and I didn't have to go buy new things. In an emergency I'm not really going to care what I look like. It's about survival. I also plan in layers and for comfort and things that can worn more than once like jeans or black leggings.

*underwear (3)


**tank top


**long sleeve shirt

*shorts, pants


If you are one of those people that saves hotel shampoo, now is your time to shine. I used trial items that I already had on hand. If you don't have extra toothbrushes and toothpaste from dentist laying around the dollar store is a good place to gather items for your go bag. You can store them in a travel bag or a gallon freezer bag.



*wash cloth

*face wash

*shampoo and conditioner



*toilet paper


*baby wipes

*feminine hygiene products


It is important to pack 3 days of food and snacks. You want to choose items that are non perishable, don't take up much space and that your family will eat. Don't forget to pack something to eat in like a mug and utensils and water bottles. In a desperate situation you can eat right out of the can and use the can to cook in. Here is an example of on the go meals I packed. pick 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners and some snacks. Most of what I packed is just add water meals. I also keep gallons of water in the house. This is not packed in the go bags but I recommend keeping bottled water in your house or car year round. It is easy to grab and throw in the car as we are loading the bags.


*oatmeal packets

*protein bars

*carnation instant breakfast

*fruit cups


*weenies and beanies

*ramen noodles

*canned ravioli

*canned tuna (or individually packed tuna in a bag)


*emergency meals (Wise company is what I have)

*canned vegetable/fruit


*beef jerky

*snack crackers

*freeze dried fruit

*trail mix

*hard candy or lollipops-these go a long way as comfort items

*drink mix packets

*bottle of water

Emergency Extras

Emergency Supplies In My Back Pack

Some other things to consider including in your go bag are:

*swiss army knife

*mini sewing kit

*hand crank radio

*hand crank flashlight

* list of emergency contacts, mini note pad and pen (you may not be able to rely on electronics)

*phone number and account number for insurance.

*duck tape


*basic first aid kit

*sterno and emergency candles with a lighter

*hand warmers

*glow sticks

Here are some images of how I packed the suitcase. I put each person's food in freezer bags to give a little extra protection. I was able to fit paper towel, paper plates, plastic utensils and two picnic blankets on top. I still had room to spare if I unzipped the zipper around the perimeter of the suitcase.

If you want to see how I packed my kid's go bags check out this blog post.

© The Home Sanctuary 2021

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