With the war in Ukraine, the need for a Go Bag has become more palpable. Over these weeks, time and again as I watch the news and observe the numbers of refugees rising, I’ve tried to put myself in their shoes. At the time of this writing, more than four million individuals have left their homeland. The logistics of what that means are simply staggering. I simply cannot grasp the profundity of the situation, as a whole. What does that fully mean for the individuals and families who’ve had to leave their homes with little more than the clothes on their back?
Maybe you’ve considered, as I have, how a situation like that would affect your own life. Is there anything to be learned from this awful situation? My logic takes me to preparation, hoping the need never comes. It’s a specific category of prepping. Prepping, in a broad sense, is fairly common. Plenty of folks keep food and water stores, stock up on OTC meds and paper goods, and have a generator and alternative heat source stored in the shed. You get the picture. In my neck of the woods, it’s just what you do. You never know when hard times will hit, so you prep for them accordingly.
But over these last several weeks, something about the footage and images of the mass exodus from Ukraine turned on a lightbulb in my sluggish brain. Prepping for hard times has been so ingrained into my thinking, that it never fully occurred to me that all of my preparedness could mean absolutely nothing…if I was forced to leave my home. All of the useful, necessary stockpiled goods would be of no use if I was forced to leave home in such a way. Therefore, preparing a pack stashed with essentials seems obvious. A Bug-Out Bag, if you will.
Most likely, many readers of The Mag Life Blog already have their Go Bags packed and ready in the unfortunate case it becomes needed. If you don’t, maybe you should take some time to look into it. Lists of Bug Out Bag essentials are numerous. You won’t have any trouble finding ideas and suggestions.
But today, we wanted to point out a different kind of list of suggestions for your Go Bag. The video you see just below goes beyond your typical list. It comes from Prepared Airman [YouTube channel], and it’s presented from the perspective of a military professional who has years of experience using a gear bag on missions.
With years of experience under his belt, Prepared Airman has taken note of things that are often overlooked in the usual lists. He calls it a Minute Man Kit, which makes sense—as in, being ready at a minute’s notice.
Here’s the video:
Let’s do a rundown on what Prepared Airman suggests for your Minute Man kit. Though this list is primarily made for official operations, I think we would all do well to take note and learn from his experience.
Why a notebook? Well, so you can write stuff down, of course. Who knows what kind of things you might encounter or the details you’ll need to remember. Memory is a fragile thing. You may be distracted and unable to remember important details. Perhaps you learn helpful information from someone, or you make an important observation. You can write it down for future reference. Prepared Airman points out that this is a good way to keep inventory of how many rounds you’ve expended, lost items, items to be replaced, or reminders on what to bring next time.
Also, don’t forget to bring pens or your preferred writing utensil.
Socks are often left out of Go Bag lists. Even if you only plan to be gone for a couple of hours, pack the socks. You can’t predict the future (remember Black Hawk Down?_and it’s important to take care of your feet. Keep in mind that your feet are your main means of transportation. If you don’t take care of them properly, you’re not going anywhere and you’re not performing your mission.
Remember what Lieutenant Dan told Forest and Bubba: “There is one item of GI gear that can be the difference between a live grunt and a dead grunt. Socks. Cushion sole, OD green. Try and keep your feet dry.”
3. Chin Strap Extension
This next item on the list might be a little extra for some readers. But in Prepared Airman’s experience, it makes a big difference for the guys who have occasion to wear gas masks and helmets.
He says, “Literally, you clip it in to the same chin strap and it makes it longer. Once you put on your gas mask, your chin is taken up, and you need to push it back. With the extension you can wear your helmet and your gas mask together with no issues.”
4. Cleaning Rod
You can use a cleaning rod to push spent cases from a jammed firearm. As he puts it, “One stuck case in a chamber can end your effectiveness. If you have to go to your secondary weapon, it’s less effective than your larger weapon system. With the lightweight cleaning rod, you can just tap the case out and be done.”
In the case that your gun malfunctions…hey, it happens…carry a small bottle of CLP (Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative).
6. Small Red Light
A small red light will help immensely if you’re doing night operations. Why red? It’s less powerful than a white light, and it helps decrease your visibility while still making it possible to do what you need to do in the dark.
7. Detainment Based Items
Considering that you may not know how long you’ll be away from the comforts of civilization, you should plan for a way to keep yourself hydrated. It won’t matter if you have all the cool-guy gadgets and gear if you dont. Prepared Airman reminds us that after three to four hours, you’re done. Going without water is worse than going without socks. He uses the HydraPak.
Water bottles or a hydration bladder are other options. Just make sure you have water on you.
10. Map Case
Prepared Airman suggests packing a plastic zip bag, and he says to get a pretty thick one. Why should you think about how thick the bag is? Durability of course.
They’re good to put paper maps in, and if it starts to rain, your map will stay dry. If you have a certain location you’re aiming for, or if you’re on operation, if your maps get wet you can get off course and, “someone is gonig to get very upset with you, or worse.” You can also use a pen or marker to write on the plastic over your map, and later you can wipe it all off.
11. Batteries for Your Specific Devices
This one’s a bonus. Have backups batteries for all of your devices. Have them readily available, with some kind of organizational system that allows you to find the correct battery instantly. Prepared Airman has learned from a ranger to have the batteries in pre-positioned locations, grouped according to the shape and feel of the batteries. That makes them easily accessible by touch, rather than needing to see them in the dark.
So those are the items that Prepared Airman says are often forgotten when people pack their kits. Some of the items are probably not surprising, but sometimes we forget the simplest things. What do you think? What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.