A few years ago, I first learned about the possibility of a giant solar storm having the potential to wipe out our entire power grid, which could then take up to a decade to rebuild. How the heck would we function, I wondered. I got really paranoid for about a month, ordered paper maps and a compass in preparation for my phone's GPS to stop functioning, filled the air on my bike tires, and made my friends and family think I'd turned into a crazy person.
But the truth is, while a giant, power grid-destroying solar flare may not be the most likely of events, there are some very real disasters that could (and have) resulted in lack of access to electricity, internet, food, and many other creature comforts for extended periods of time.
With severe weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, heat waves, earthquakes) becoming increasingly more common, the hard-to-predict risk of things like disease pandemics, and the all too present fear of a zombie apocalypse, the possibility that you may one day have to leave your home at a moment's notice isn’t out of the question. But we don't want you to stress about it; we want you to prepare. Enter: the 'go bag.'
Unlike building yourself a bunker and filling it with 20 year's worth of freeze-dried food, a go bag is a realistic way to give yourself some peace of mind. Here, we've compiled a list of the practical essentials you should toss in a backpack so you can handle just about anything (for a little while anyway) when things get crazy. Pro tip: Keep it in your car, since it can also double as a survival kit if you break down and get stranded.
(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how.)