Camping World

What Is A Go Bag?


A while back we ran a 3 part series on weather and weather-related emergencies. We spoke about things like thunderstorms, tornados, hurricanes, and flash flooding. If you have not read the articles in that series, click on the links below.

Camping And Flash Flooding

Camping In Thunderstorms, Hail, and Tornados

Camping In Hurricanes

Now that you have read the series, you would have noticed that we mention “Go-Bags.” What’s a “Go-Bag?” Why do I need a “Go-Bag?” What goes in a “Go-Bag?”

Simply put a “Go-Bag” is just a bag that you stock with items in case you need to flee your RV/campsite in an emergency. Whether it be weather-related, a fire, or anything that would make you have to vacate your site in a hurry for any period of time, it is placed near an exit door so it’s easy to grab on your way out.

Get Yourself/Family Out!!!

If a tornado whistle starts blaring at 3 am it will certainly make you jump out of bed. Almost everyone who is awakened that suddenly in the middle of the night for any reason is going to be a little groggy. If you have a “Go-Bag” put together, the only thing you will need to think about is getting yourself, your family, and your bag, to the shelter until the threat passes.

Best/Worst Case Scenario

The best-case scenario is that it will be a false alarm and you will be able to return to your RV and get back to sleep. What if it turns out to be the worst-case scenario? What if that tornado, flood, fire, or wind storm hit the RV park and your RV gets trashed?

There Is Good News

Good news!!! You (and your family) are safe. The shelter did its job and everyone is ok. Now what? The emergency situation has passed but there is no electricity, no water, and you (or a family member) need to take medication either now or in a few hours.

There Are Other Things To Do

No worries. You have read this article and have taken the necessary steps to properly pack your ‘Go-Bag”. You are good, at least for now. There are other things you should do long before an emergency hits especially if you are a full-timer. Things like scan all important documents to the cloud, scan your pictures to the cloud or external storage devices, make copies of important documents (ex… driver’s license), and store either in the cloud or external storage device.

We Are Focusing On The Go-Bag

As I stated above there are many things you should do long before an emergency hits but since this article is about “Go-Bags” I will focus primarily on this one.

A properly packed “Go-Bag” should be able to sustain you and/or family members for about 48-72 hours. This should give you some time to find emergency shelter, contact DRs for new prescriptions, and find temporary shelter. It should also provide you with a way to stay connected to the outside news sources so you can stay updated on the emergency condition.

Let’s Start At The Beginning

Let’s start at the beginning and put together a nice Go-Bag. Obviously, to do that you will need a nice-sized bag of solid construction. A good gym bag will do. The size will depend on whether you are alone or with family members. The bigger the family the bigger (or maybe even a second one) the bag you will need.

Below I Have Provided 3 Types Of Bags (Available On Amazon) That Can Be Used But Just About Anything (Preferably Waterproof/Resistant) Can Be Used

You don’t need to buy a million-dollar bag but get one that will be able to handle some “rough handling” while being packed to capacity. Remember, you are grabbing this thing in the middle of the night. You are groggy and it could possibly be banging into things on the way to the shelter.

It’s Awfully Dark Here

Hey, it’s dark!!! There could be trees, fences, fence posts, or even another RV you didn’t see. Remember there might not be any power and you’re running in the dark!!! You don’t want your bag to hit something on the way to the shelter and break open spewing its contents (your lifeline) all over the ground.

Let’s Fill Your Bag!!! The Items Below Are Not Listed In Any Particular Order.

1- Flashlight/Batteries– Pack a good flashlight in your bag with spare batteries. Depending on the time of the emergency it could be hours before the sun comes up. I know most phones come with flashlight apps but you will want your phone to keep in contact with emergency first responders, news and weather apps, and other family members.

2- Portable Phone Charger– Portable phone chargers are fairly small and will keep your phone, tablet, or even laptop charged for many hours. This alone could be lifesaving.

External Battery Charger

3- Cell Phone/Charging Cord– If you are like me, your cell phone is on the table next to the bed as you sleep. Even though we have a weather radio (highly recommended), we rely on our weather apps as a backup. It’s a good idea to have a second phone (if you are with more than one person) in the bag with the charging cord. If you are by yourself, make sure you have at least put the charging cord in the bag. You will have to just remember to take your phone. This is almost second nature for most people.

4- Medicine– It’s a good idea if you take prescription medications to pack a couple of days’ worth into the bag. This way if your RV is totaled and the contents ruined you have time to call your pharmacy and get refills or call your DR to have a new script sent.

5- First Aid ItemsAlong with the idea of prescription medications, you should pack basic first aid items like aspirin/Advil, Pepto, band-aids, and Rolaids.

6- Sanitary Items– Some wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a roll of toilet paper can come in very handy if facilities are destroyed.

7- Food Items– Some non-perishable food items can hold you over for a little while until you can get to someplace with real food, protein bars are a great choice. Also, bring some bottled water.

8- Wallet– Before you go to bed, toss your wallet into the bag. That way you will at least have your ID, credit cards, medical card, and possibly some cash.

9- Clothes– You at least want to have a change of clothes so a couple of pairs of clean underwear, shirts, and socks should also be included. Maybe even throw in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt in case you are in a cooler area.

10- External/Flash Drives– we have most of our photos and important documents scanned to cloud storage. Since we recently started a YouTube channel we now have videos that need to be backed up. Our videos are backed up to two separate external hard drives. One of those drives is in the bag. Your drives might contain your documents. If you are storing any kind of information on an external hard drive, you need to throw that in too.

Basic Items

So these are some of the items we have in our Go-Bag. You can customize yours to your needs but these staple items should always be included. Hopefully, you will never need to grab your bag in the middle of the night but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Some items will have to be taken out in the morning such as your wallet and cell phone. Just remember if you happen to need that bag one night, you will be glad you got into the routine of setting that bag up.

I’m Curious

Have you ever had to be evacuated in the middle of the night? What about during the day? What did you grab? Were you ready? Let us know in the comments below how you handled your emergency.

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