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January 07, 2020 4 min read

If you’re a self-reliant person, chances are you’ve asked yourself questions similar to how long should you prepare to be without resources?  And What resources do you need in your Go Bag? Determining how long your supplies will last and what survival gear you should have on hand are complex questions with varying answers. 

The National Self Reliance Initiative Facebook Group is full of valuable conversations around these questions.This week, new group member, Betty, asked for our input on this controversial topic. Below, we will dive into not only how long you should be prepped for, but what items are going to be the most important in emergency situations. 

The Truck Bag

The Truck Bag, as we call it in my house, is a survival kit designed to keep you well-equipped while away from home, regardless of the situation. Included in this kit are the following items:

  • A few bottles of water
  • Freeze-dried food, MRE meals and protein bars
  • First-Aid kit 
  • Hunting knife
  • Hatchet
  • Matches, lighter & tinder
  • Paracord
  • Lightweight emergency shelter
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Blankets
  • 9mm + 2 mags (locked in combination safe)
  • Backup battery bank
  • Zip Ties
  • Physical Map of the area with Family Rally Points marked
  • A printed copy of the family communication plan

Although the items on this list are not exclusive or exhaustive, what I’ve provided are widely regarded as necessities that will get you home safe. The benefit of having this emergency survival kit in your truck is that most of this gear won’t expire - even the freeze dried food will last for 25 years! Therefore, you know you’ll be ready for whatever, and for any duration of time.

The 72 Hour Go Bag

The purpose of this survival kit is to give you three days of provisions. Use it as a Get-Out-Of-Dodge bag and make sure it’s packed all the time! It’s not enough to have the stuff laying around; to be fully ready for an emergency, you need to have a kit that you can grab on a moment’s notice and get in your car to go. 

In fact, I would recommend that you have one for each person in your home and ensure they know exactly where it is. When I put my list together for this prep, I also take into account what I have in my truck already, because that is my “Go Vehicle.” 

My personal 72 Hour Go Bag is meant for one adult male. It’s a medium backpack with shoulder straps, a sternum strap and a light hip-belt in case I need to take on some of my wife's load if we need to travel somewhere on foot. My bag contains the following provisions:

Additionally, attached to my 72 Hour Go Bags is a laminated card with a checklist of additional items to go in my truck. The tag reads like this:

  • Emergency Food Supply – I always store two One Week Premium Freeze Dried Food Kit from Valley Food Storage. Each kit will provide plenty of food for one adult for 1 week.
  • Portable Safe – This is in my gun safe and contains passports, copies of insurance documents, birth certificates, wills, marriage licenses, deeds, cash, silver, and some family jewelry.
  • 55 Gal Water – This is a big blue potable water barrel that I picked up through Steel River Company that goes in the back of the truck with a pump and gets filled with water before I pull away - if there’s time.
  • 25 Gal fuel – This is a 5x5 gallon fuel jug. I use and fill one each month now so I have 12, but depending on space will just grab the most recent 5.
  • Tools – I have a toolbox that I grab that has the most common stuff that I might need to fix up the truck along the way or gain entrance back into my house if it is damaged.
  • Cell Phone & Chargers

Now that you know what I have in my bags, we come back to the question of how long should you be prepped for.

The short answer is that I always want to be prepped for 2 full weeks. With the kits I’ve provided above, this is quite easy to do! 

If I only have time to grab the  72 Hour Go Bag, then I have  72 hours of survival gear for myself. If my wife grabs her Go Bag, she also has 72 hours covered. Adding my Truck Bag gives me additional supplies for an extra day if needed. Finally, if I have time to grab all the rest of the gear on my laminated checklist, I then have 2 weeks covered for 2 adults. For my wife and I, that is the minimum that I feel safe with. 

Take a look at the kits here and find the right one for you!