In the SEAL Teams, we carried a lot of equipment – all of which was not only vital to mission success – but absolutely necessary when the sh*t hit the fan.
It’s what we called “first line” gear. It’s what was on our body (including what’s in our shirt or pants pockets, as well as on our belts) that if necessary, we could ditch everything else in a pinch. Or if we were on E&E = escape and evasion.
An E&E was the worst-case scenario. Basically, it’s when you’re separated from your team and are literally “on the run” with the bare minimum of life-saving equipment.
Now even if you are the average civilian that isn’t planning on being in combat – you’ll be surprised to hear that some of the same principles still apply.
I don’t want you to put together a sixty-pound backpack full of survival gear that you need a dolly to carry around. I’m talking about a Go Bag.
The concept is that it is easily accessible and you can grab it and GO. It will have everything you need to survive up to 72 hours. Which is why the right gear – which is compact, light-weight, and has multiple functions – is the way to go.
I would highly recommend at a minimum you have the following light-weight, life-saving items in your Go Bags. As well as have multiple packs in your home, office, and car.
1. Water. I am making this the first item because it is one of the most important. Most humans can go up to three-weeks without food, but only last two-three days without water. This will keep you from the possibility of dehydration and heat related problems. I suggest getting a bladder hydration system that includes a small shoulder pack with a chest strap. These are lightweight – yet can hold up to 3 liters of water in the bladder with a suction hose that lays over your shoulder for convenient hydration.
2. Multi-tool. These are invaluable during a crisis situation. Because you’re trying to save on space, having a tool that has multiple uses is essential.
If this is not an everyday carry you definitely need one in your Go Bag.
3. Rain Jacket. You always want to dress in layers when outside in an environment where sunny and 75 degrees can turn into a wicked thunderstorm in a matter of minutes. Don’t be fooled by that fact that it is sunny and clear skies and you have nothing to worry about. It’s so important to stay dry. This will dramatically reduce your chances of getting hypothermia! You can get a really nice water/wind proof jacket that will reduce to the size of your fist and put it in your hydration pack pocket. If you want to go easier on the wallet, but still be effective I suggest a heavy-duty lawn bag. Just make holes for your head and arms.
4. Navigation/Signaling. If you get lost or need help these compact and lightweight items could be the difference between life and death. I suggest items such as a whistle, compass, thermometer, magnifying glass, LED light, or small camping survival tools.
5. Fire +. Why do I need to start a fire? Well when you get lost or injured and day turns to night and you are soaking wet and toying with hypothermia – you will want a fire. For this I will make two suggestions. A butane lighter, which are again compact, reliable, and windproof. But if/when that fails your back up comes in the form of a bracelet, which you can wear on your wrist or attach to your hydration pack. The one I use has 100 feet of paracord which can be used for a dozen different things: hanging shelter, tourniquet, water crossing, you name it. Integrated into the buckle itself is a flint stick and sharp edge. This will allow you to start a fire. Don’t forget a half roll of toilet paper. Other than the obvious, it is ideal to use as a fire starter.
6. Food. As I mentioned earlier you need water but will definitely want food to stay alive. This is why the 4Patriots Emergency Food Bars are perfect for your Go Bag. High in calories, compact, and in water/impact resistant packaging. When I was in POW school the pleasure I got from a simple mustard packet felt like a 5-Star meal. The 4Patriots Food Bars will be a feast!
7. Feet. Trust me, a silver dollar sized blister on your heel will ruin your day. Been there, done that. I highly suggest packing a thin liner sock that you wear between your foot and the socks you will wear. This acts like as second skin and will eliminate the friction between the skin and your footwear.
8. Sun Protection. A good hat as well as sunscreen will protect you from immediate and future issues. Don’t forget the top of your ears. Several of my friend’s parents are missing their upper ears because this wasn’t something they worried about back in the day.
Be a survivor, not a statistic,
Former Navy SEAL / 4Patriots Contributor