Preparation Overview

36Ready with Emergency Provisions and Gear

Recommended reading and reference book:  “Prepared, Ready to Roll: Evacuation and Safe Haven Selection – Book 2-3,” by SIG Swanstrom.

Water, Food, Gear and Essential Supplies

Below is a list of items for a basic emergency and disaster preparedness kit.  We provide it as a place for you to start.  It is not the ultimate emergency kit list for everyone, but it should give you a place to start as you develop your own list.  It is important that you tailor it to fit your own life, your geographic location, and your own situation.  Just remember, you need to be prepared to live independently, without government or other assistance, for at least 2-weeks.  Minimum.

Please consider this, too.  You need to stockpile supplies for both an at-home emergency supplies cache, as well as prepare a survival kit or “GO Bag” to use if you need to evacuate.   (GO Bag or GOOD Bag are acronyms for Get-Out-Of-Dodge Emergency Kit.  This is sometimes referred to as a survival kit, BOB or Bug-Out-Bag.)

If you are preparing to care for others, you will need to also take into account their special needs as you plan.  Your spouse, children, parents, pets, and others will all have different needs, some very specialized.

In an emergency, minor medical problems may become magnified.  You need to consider their routine physical needs and also minor medical and emotional conditions which may be magnified during a stressful emergency.

Prepare an Emergency Base Camp.  It may be your home, or someplace else.  But it needs to be a place your family members know about so that they can meet you there in an emergency.

You need to prepare for adverse weath­er and other environmental conditions such as extreme heat or cold.  Remember, too, in many emergency situations entire communities are without the resources they take for granted.  Here in the United States, every year there are communities which suddenly, often without warning, find themselves without electrical power, drinking water, flushing toilets, natural gas, gasoline, and propane.  At times of disaster, it’s commonplace for the shelves of grocery stores to be empty within hours and not restocked for weeks.  Gas stations drained of fuel, or unable to pump gas because they are without electricity.  And, within hours, city streets may become unsafe as police, firefighters, and other emergency services are taxed beyond their abilities and resources.

You need to prepare to be on your own.  You need to be 100% self-reliant.

For most people, your home (or apartment) should be your base camp where most of your supplies are stored.  For others who have family nearby, it might be their house.  If you have a nearby vacation home or a best friend who owns a nearby ranch or acreage, you might store extra supplies there– but you still need to have basic supplies at your home.

Irrespective of the location of your “base camp,” it is critically important that you also keep some provisions at work and in your car. (More about this will be discussed later).  Most people spend many hours each day away from home, and it may be difficult to return home, so you need to keep this in mind as you make your emergency preparations.

Since you need to develop a GO Bag (Get-Out-of-Dodge Bag) anyway, this can might be used to satisfy the need for stored-in-car and at-work provisions.

In any case, you need at least some gear and provisions in each place where you regularly spend time, and you need to always have a few key items in your pocket, purse, or briefcase.  Having immediate access to a tiny flashlight, a small knife and cloth kerchief may save your life.  When the twin towers were struck by terrorists, some people were trapped and unable to escape, but they could have saved themselves if they had a small flashlight and pocketknife.


“GO-Bag” or GOOD Bag (Get-Out-Of-Dodge Knapsack)

Preparations and Provisions for Evacuation and Bugging-Out

What is a GOOD Bag?  It’s a pre-packed provisions and gear bag, and it is an essential element for preparedness preparations.  Whether you are forced to evacuate from your home due to a storm, or you have made the choice to flee due to civil unrest or some other cause, you need a pre-packed GOOD Bag (sometimes referred to as a BOB – Bug-Out Bag).

A pre-packed GOOD Bag makes it possible for you to instantly flee in a disaster or emer­gen­cy sit­ua­tion.  If this is the kind of situation that you encounter, at that point it is too late to pack.  It’s literally too late.  You will either throw things into a bag and leave, with only a few of the things you actually need; or you will take the time to do it right, and the window of opportunity will close and it will be too late to get to safety.  Either way, you will expose yourself to unnecessary danger.  A GOOD Bag, pre-packed and ready to use, is an essential component for disaster and emergency preparedness.

Advice from the Experts:  A suitcase or duffle bag is inadequate for use as a GOOD Bag.  You need to be able to carry your GOOD Bag on your shoulders, comfortably, perhaps for an extended period of time and considerable distance if you end up on foot.

A knapsack, containing 10-15 lbs of supplies, is generally far bet­ter than a large backpack that is ungainly or too heavy and gets left behind.  

Keep your emergency supplies and your GOOD Bag pro­tected inside a duffle bag and store it in your car’s trunk.  The colors of your clothing and GOOD Bag should be subdued and similar to the color of the terrain, but not camo or military-like. Don’t store batteries in flashlights or electronics. Frequently replace water and other items susceptible to quality or safety degradation.  Check your kit regularly.  Storing your GOOD Bag in a trash sack may keep it clean, but it may encourage mold or other problems. Excessive heat or cold will damage some of your GOOD Bag provisions, so storage must be appropriate to your environment.

Young Children, Elderly, and those With Physical Limitations

Each member of the family or group that is bugging-out (fleeing), who is physically able, should carry their own GOOD bag, even if it’s small.  Young children, elderly, and physically feeble individuals may not be able to carry everything they need, but they should at least carry the important items that are unique to their personal needs.  This will generally include essential clothing, their medicines, their spare eyeglasses and other personal-needs gear, plus at least some water and Power Bars (food).  You may shudder at the thought of becoming separated from them, but if that does somehow happen, or if you need to transfer them to the care of another, you want your loved one to have those things they actually need.

Seasonal Clothing / Needs for Environment or Conditions

In addition to your GOOD Bag, you need to have a seasonal bag containing such items as warm/cold weather clothing, rain/sun/heat protection, boots and durable clothing to imme­diately change into when an emergency situation occurs.  Having multiple changes of clothing is overrated.  What you need are the right clothes for the situation, so change into your situation-appropriate clothing early, and leave the impractical items behind.  More about clothing will be covered later.  The point we’re making here is that these items should be in a separate bag, but stored with your GOOD Bag.

What to Get? / Where to Buy?

Though a sporting goods store may offer a good selection of suitable clothing items, their “camping” or “backpacking” departments are often stocked with goods that are of insufficient quality.  Shopping online from a trustworthy vendor such as REI ( is usually a more reliable resource.   REI has stores nationwide which offer training and product-comparison materials, and sales staff who are better informed than those found in most stores.

On this website, brand recommendations (italics) are made only when quality or specifications are highly important.  This doesn’t mean that these items are your only choice, it just means that you need to pay particular attention to the specifications and quality.

Specific Provisions & Gear

You can’t have all of the below items in your GOOD Bag (Get-Out-of-Dodge Bags), as it would become too large and heavy.  But if you have a number of people in your family or Bug-Out group, these all of these items can be included.

As finances allow, you need to stockpile as much of this as possible.  Again, the below list is a place to start as you develop your own emergency preparations.  This list needs to be revised according to your own needs, your financial ability, and your own geography and environment.

Remember to remove unnecessary packaging from all items, and compress clothing in Ziplock-style travel bags.  Everything should be stored together, and protected from excessive heat/cold, moisture, insects, and other things which might cause damage.

Emergency / Disaster Supplies List

Below is a basic list of provisions and gear to create a 2-Week Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Kit, and a GO-Bag (Evacuation Supplies).

This list of provisions and gear is provided only as a place to start, to help you develop your own list of supplies.  We hope that you will find this generic list helpful, but it is not intended to take the place of personal planning for your own circumstances and situation.  Be sure to add, remove and make changes to this list as appropriate for the number of people being served, the special needs of children, elderly and infirm, and for health, weather and other environmental conditions where you will be operating.

GO-Bag:  Use either a medium-size internal frame backpack or a stout knapsack (such as a CamelBak H.A.W.G.) as your bag.  It should be equipped with a 100-fl. oz. water bladder, stored empty until needed; and your bag needs to be constructed of waterproof materials and designed to be carried on your back using pad­ded shoulder straps.

The decision to use a medium-size backpack vs. knap­sack should be based on the fitness of the individual who will be carrying it, environmental conditions, and terrain. For most reasonably-fit and healthy people, the weight of the fully-packed bag (bag and contents) should not exceed 20% of their body weight.

In an emergency situation, always keep core essen­tials with you in your pockets, or in the pockets of a vest or fanny pack which is worn constantly, even while sleeping. The GOOD Bag is for essentials, but the most important “core” essentials such as a small flashlight, lighter or fire-starter, water purification tablets, a collapsible water container, face-covering scarf, self-defense pepper spray, and a pocketknife should always be kept on your person. 

A change of clothing for an emergency situation can be stored in a separate bag and kept with your GOOD Bag, but be sure to change into these clothes as soon as practicable when an emergency strikes.  Hand carried items reduce mobility and increase fatigue.

The following list is only a place to start.  It is pro­vided to help you develop your own a GOOD Bag and a 7-Day Supply Kit lists.  Personal needs, envi­ronmental conditions, health, children, pets, and the need to assist others must also be considered when developing your personal supply lists.    



–  Hiking Boots; made from waterproof but breatha­ble material, and tops which extend above the ankle for lateral support and protection (wear these).

–  Water shoes or lightweight tennis shoes.

–  Moisture-wicking liner socks, 3-pair (wear 1-pr).

–  Backpacking socks , 3-pair (wear 1-pair).

–  Underpants (3-pr); and for women, sports bra.

–  Gloves (work gloves AND surgical/latex gloves).

–  Wool watch cap.

–  Boonie or full-brimmed hat with retention strap.

–  Bandana, cotton or water- wicking synthetic.

–  Ripstop BDU pants, 2 pairs (wear 1-pair).

–  Polyester long underwear (1 pair).

–  Long underwear shirt (1).

–  2 Polyester T-shirts, one w/ long-sleeves (wear 1).

–  Gore-Tex rain pants or snake-proof gaiters.

–  Heavy-duty belt with strong buckle.

–  Polar fleece long-sleeve pullover (1).

–  Shirt (long sleeve, roll-up sleeve style (wear).

–  Gore-Tex shell or parka.

–  Camouflage GI poncho (can also be used as shelter, or to hide unattended gear).


–  Disposable butane lighters (3 +).

–   FireSteel or Ultimate Survival fire-starter tool (2).

–  Fire NuggetsTinder Dust, or combustible tinder.

–  Strike-Anywhere or Storm-proof matches in a water­tight plastic container.

–  Magnifying glass (small size, for starting fires, etc.)

–  Space All-Weather Blanket or SOL Thermal Bivvy.

–  Tarp (6×8’ fiber-reinforced plastic tarp).

–  550 7-strand braided GI paracord (100-feet).

–  Sleeping bag, foam pad, and nylon bivy sacks are valuable but may be too large or heavy if using a H.A.W.G. or other knapsack-size GO-Bag.


Of the two, pure water is more important than food.  You can live as long as 3-4 weeks on almost no food, but your body and brain will start to suffer greatly after just one day without water.

Water and Food preparations should be sufficient for y-days.  Prepare for extra people.  (Some equipment can be shared, but water supplies and food, shelter, and other supplies must be prepared for on a per-person basis.

A 14-day supply of canned food, per-person may be difficult to store, and would certainly be difficult to carry.  Even a 7-day supply of military meals (MRE – Meals-Ready-to-Eat) would be unreasonable to carry in a GO Bag (Get-Out-Of-Dodge) knapsack.  Dehy­drated meals made for backpacking, such as “Moun­tain House”-brand meals are more packa­ble.  How­ever, keep in mind that when the product label indi­cates “Serves 2,” it is generally only adequate for one active person.

Easy to store long-term, and sufficiently lightweight to pack in a GOOD Bag, are such things as:

–  Peanuts or trail mix (dried fruits, nuts, and seeds).
–  Power Bars (8+), and Beef Jerky (4+ packages).

–  ZipFizz electrolyte powder (see the article on hydration)
–  1 -gal Ziplock bag of oatmeal, and a 1-gal bag of rice.

–  Raw honey, cinnamon, salt & pepper, plus a small bottle of Tabasco sauce or other strong sea­soning to help make any food more palatable.
–  1-quart Nalgene bottle, filled with some of above.

–  Drinking water (minimum of 100-oz) of pure drink­ing water should be in your GOOD bag, plus the capability of purifying water.  Water filtration is not enough.  You need to purify other sources of water.  This can be accomplished by boiling it for at least 5-minutes, using purification tablets, or using a water purification system that filters to at least 1-micron.

–  Potable Aqua Iodine water purification tablets (2 bottles, even if you have a water filtration system)
–   “MSR” water filter (1-micron filtration) or similar.

Cooking at home: Propane camp stove with at least 7-propane bottles, or a one full 5-gallon pro­pane tank.  (Keep in mind that you may be without elec­tricity or natural gas, so your kitchen stove and con­ventional cooking methods may not work).

Cooking equipment for an extended-duration GOOD Bag:

–  “MSR DragonFly” multi-fuel stove, full fuel bottle.

–  Pot w/ lid and heat exchanger (store stove inside).

–  MSR windscreen and heat reflector for cooking.

–  Insulated mug with lid and handle (Size: 16+ oz).

–  Stainless steel spoon, plus sturdy plastic spork.

–  Dish/pot scraper and brush.

* Use Hefty OneZip Click plastic bags to organize by category and to protect items as appropriate.



–  Small, strong plastic backpacking spade.

–  Backpacking saw (blades for wood and metal).

–  Pry bar, 15”+ (Titanium or lightweight steel).

–  Leatherman Wave multi-tool knife/pliers.
–  Knife sharpener or stone.
–  Topographic map GPS receiver (expensive), or
–  NSGS map of bug-out location and route alterna­tives, laminated or sealed in slide-lock plastic bag.

–   Heavy duty Dacron sailmaker’s thread and needles, or upholstery needles and thread.
–   Insect repellant – 98% DEET (in slide-lock bag).
–  SPF 50 sun-block and Chapstick.
–  Polarized sunglasses, rated also as eye protection, with protective case and floating retainer strap.

–  Molefoam Padding, tape and blister relief items.
–  Cortisone cream (sm. size; poison ivy & bug bites).
–  Benadryl (travel size, for insect stings).
–  Epipen (for severe allergic reactions to stings).

–  Medication for both diarrhea and constipation, as well as for upset stomach.
–  Ibuprofen and aspirin (20 of each).
–  Field guide to edible plants (region-specific).
–  Photocopy of ID (passport/driver’s license/meds).

–  Cash, plus items to barter.

–  P-51 military (pocket) can opener.

–  Swiss Army  Explorer-model pocket knife.

–  Sheath Knife 4+ inch stainless steel blade.

–   550 Paracord (braided, 7-strand nylon, military).

–  Nylon fishing net (9×3’ min, 1” mesh).
–  Toothbrush and baking soda.

–  Wilderness concentrated soap (1-3 oz plastic bottle).
–  Safety razor, comb, backpacking toilet tissue.

–  Signal mirror (metal, lightweight; protect surface).

–   Greatland Laser Rescue Flare (or a laser pointer).
–   Flashlight: Mini Maglight w/ extra batteries.

–  Petzl or Black Diamond LED headlamp.

–  Rechargeable batteries and solar battery charger.

–  Heavy-duty duct tape (20’ minimum).
–  Gun Oil: Royal Purple or Militech-1  (1-oz  size).

–  Super Glue (6-small tubes, store in Ziplock bag).

–   Sharpie and Fisher Space pens (black ink).

–   “Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal”-  5×3” notepad.

–  Portable radio with hand-crank and cell phone charger / adapters  (operates on AM-FM-NOAA weather bands).  Or, an ultra-small radio such as Kaito KA1121, plus a hand-crank battery charger.

–  Suunto (or similar) backpacking compass.

–  Plastic whistle, with lanyard.

–  Trash Bags (2) 3-mil, 42-55 gal. construction-grade plastic garbage bags for: shelter, raincoat, to bury gear, for water collection and many other uses.

–  Lightweight mesh bag (food foraging and carry).

–   Bible, New Testament w/ Psalms & Proverbs (sm.) (Source of comfort & wisdom during  difficult times).

For information on firearms and ammunition, see article: “Firearms & Tools for Defense and Hunting.”

Supplies for Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging:

–  Selection of fishhooks, lures, flies, bobbers, line-weights, and a spool of monofilament leader.

–  Wire snares or traps suitable for small game.

–  Wrist-Rocket slingshot (or, 5’ surgical tubing to make a slingshot, and for siphoning fuel, water, etc).

–  Binoculars (small & lightweight, 8×25 or greater).

Note:  As you develop your list of supplies, re­mem­ber that there are at least 4-levels of equip­ment and food/water preparations required:

a) Home and Work Preparations (self/employees);

b) Vehicle transported equipment, and/or

c) Mountain Bike or Motorcycle Carried Supplies (Items in addition to your GOOD Bag);

d) On Foot Bug-Out  (Required in addition to above).  Note:  On foot GOOD Bags (also known as BOBs or Bug-Out Bags) can be either a pack as used for backpacking, or a knapsack-size pack which is far more convenient to handle, run with, as well as ligh­ter in weight if you find yourself in the situation of having to walk for many miles;

e) Pocket-Kits (Items carried in your pocket, purse, briefcase, every day/always— just in case — see the article on KOP Kits).

Advice from the Experts:  A suitcase or duffle bag is NOT adequate for use as a GOOD Bag.  You need to be able to carry your GOOD Bag on your shoulders, comfortably, perhaps for an extended period of time and considerable distance.  Remember, even if you initially evacuate in a vehicle, you may still end up on foot.  Be prepared to walk for many miles, and to be self-sufficient–without relief aid or other help for several days.

A knapsack, containing 10-15 lbs of supplies, is gen­erally far bet­ter than a large backpack that is ungainly or too heavy and gets left behind.  

Storage: Keep your GOOD Bag pro­tected inside a duffle bag and store it in your car’s trunk.  The colors of your clothing and GOOD Bag should be subdued and similar to the color of the terrain, but not camo or military-like. Don’t store batteries in flashlights or electronics.  Frequently replace water and other items susceptible to safety or quality degradation.  Check your emergency supplies regularly.  Store your 7-Day Supply Kit indoors, in plastic bins stored togeth­er for easy and quick access.  Use the stored food and water, constantly rotating your stored items with fresh supplies. Insects, rodents, and excessive heat or cold can damage provisions, so store appro­priately for your environment.

Recommended Retailers for These Products:

REI:  REI specializes in quality backpacking and camping gear, and these compact and transportable items can form the basis for emergency and disaster preparations.

Brigade Quartermaster:  Brigade Quartermaster is a prime supplier of goods to the military and soldiers serving overseas.  Many of these items are also useful for emergency and disaster preparedness.

Note:  We do not have a relationship with these retailers, nor do we receive any compensation from them as a result of our making these recommendations.

We Invite Your Participation in 36 READY

If you know of other products that should be included in this list of emergency supplies for disaster preparedness, or if you know of other reliable vendors or products worthy of being recommended, please contact us.  We welcome your participation in the 36 READY project.

The information on this website is constantly revised in an effort to keep it current and increase its value for your disaster preparedness.  Your input helps us keep it relevant.

Keep in mind that the traditional 72-hour emergency preparedness kit or disaster kit is not adequate.  You need to plan for at least 7-14 days of self-reliance.  At the very least, you need to maintain a stockpile of unrefrigerated food sufficient to feed you and your family for 1-week, and with sufficient water or water purification capability to meet the minimum requirement of 1-gallon of water per-person per-day.  

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