Christmas Gifts: Backpack

A backpack (or duffel) is the critical beginning to every go-bag.  A go-bag is essentially a portable emergency kit for one person.  At my house, we each have a go-bag containing everything we might need for a week if we had to live out of a hotel room, a friend's house, a shelter, or our car.  But this kit starts with a backpack large enough to hold what we need and small enough that each can carry our own bag (smaller bags for the kids.)  Backpacks are ideal because they leave your hands free and help you carry a load more safely than other styles of bags.

Get someone on your list started on their go-bag or emergency kit with an appropriate backpack and a list of starter supplies.  Or better yet, get their kit started with a flashlight and batteries, a can of soup with a pop top, a mini first aid kit, and a few other emergency items.

Here are a few backpack features to consider:
  • For the average go-bag, an internal or external frame back will be too large and complicated. However, the adults in our family have backpacks with plastic stays that slide in the back to provide extra support and structure.
  • Many backpacks include a divided main compartment which is convenient in separating emergency supplies by use: clothes from food, tools from toiletries.
  • Extra pockets that are accessible from the outside of the backpack help you to store certain items for instant access, like flashlights, first aid kits, medications.
  • Waterproof pockets are convenient for electronic equipment like phones and GPS or medication.
  • Sternum (chest) straps and waist (hip) belts redistribute weight and secure the load of a backpack to the wearer.  This reduces fatigue and prevents back injuries if fitted properly.
  • Many backpacks include attached whistles as a safety benefit.
  • Padded straps and a padded back will make a full pack more pleasant to carry.
  • Military packs often include loops to attach additional custom modules to the outside of a pack.
  • Each pack should include external mesh pockets or an internal compartment for a hydration bladder.
  • General quality of materials and construction should also be considered. Even though this pack may get little routine use, don't purchase a pack that will not hold up when you need it to.
Everyday Providence's Twelve Days of Christmas
Day 1 - Flashlights and Batteries
Day 2 - Water
Day 3 - Pocketknife
Day 4 - Smoke Detectors 
Day 5 - Generator
Day 6 - Backpack

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