While attending and speaking at several Preparedness Conferences I have noticed the same thing time and time again . . . people are hungry for knowledge and preparedness items (a good thing) - but most have not put a lot of consideration into the actual use of their Go-Bags (not a good thing).
“I live at my homestead I don’t need as go-bag.” you say. Listen up – unless you never travel off your property AND/OR live in an impenetrable fortress, we all need a go-bag in case of an emergency evacuation.
With that said, you may want to consider questions like: Is the bag durable enough to hold the items under harsh conditions? Will the bag stand up with all the contents packed in it during a grab-and-go or extended use and carry situation?
I’m concerned that a lot of us have loaded our bags with 'anything and everything' preparedness, while not giving any thought to the weight of the bag and if we can actually walk or hike with it (let alone pick it up). Remember, in a poo-hits-the-fan scenario, we may not have a vehicle to throw a bag into.
Another issue is weight distribution and balance. Most of us find pockets and sections in our bags and just start cramming anything into them that fits (not good). By having an uneven distribution of your contents could actually make the bag more difficult to carry; cause extra physical strain and fatigue- or worse - could damage the bag while travelling. Then you’re really in a heap of trouble. Have you ever tried to carry a ripped grocery bag full of groceries? A one hand carrying actuivity turns into both hands and arms carrying ... that type of ‘heap of trouble’.
We need to start thinking “smart packing” – not “hey here’s another space I can shove something into!” The placement of the items in your bag can really make a difference.
Carrying 30lbs verses 20lbs is vastly different, especially over different terrain. Plus – as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for” – so a cheap bag (not to be confused with a good one on sale) is not necessarily going to stand up to the abuse.
Now keep in mind – wearing a weighted vest is NOT the same as wearing a go-bag. You need to use your actual EDC BOB INCH GHB Go-Bag (whatever your pet name is for your bag is.)
We need to start strapping our bags on and walking….just to “try it on for size” if nothing more. After all, you wouldn’t buy shoes without trying them on first and walking around the store in them would you? Just sayin'. Start by walking around your house or apartment, doing some simple chores, and then walking around the yard. This should immediately tell you, how your bag is loaded and if you need to make some changes, (like learning to live without some items - after all its amazing how much we can actually get by with using skills and knowledge).
You can repeat the challenge after you adjust your bag, and then increase the distance and terrain you carry it.
Another thing – don’t run with the bag – jog or shuffle - you don’t want to beat up your joints.
If you find the bag is still unmanageable over a longer distance, yet you can’t live without anything else in the bag, you are going to have to increase your endurance.
Air squats and thrusters: (holding your bag in front of you, air squat and then force the bag above your head while you stand)
Push-ups wearing your bag
Crunches with the bag on your chest
Pull-ups wearing the bag
These all simulate real-life movements – pushing, pulling, lifting, climbing, and will help to increase muscular strength and endurance.
Now it’s a given these exercises may seem a little extreme for some of us. And that’s okay. Flexibility is key - as well as dynamic stretching. Doing lunges while wearing the bag would be a good addition.
You can also, try wall sits (backs to the wall), jump squats (not using the bag as this has potential to damage joints), flutter kicks (lying on your back and kicking your legs), planks (a strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time – like say in a push-up position with the body's weight on forearms, elbows, and toes).
Because I think this is such important prep skill– I am dedicating a section on Survivor Jane called Survivor Jane Go-Bag Challenge!!™and have enlisted the aid of some experienced military and fitness trainers who are also preparedness-minded to address topics such as exercising to increase your endurance, how to pack a go-bag, proper distribution of a go-bag, what to look for in a good go-bag – all of this in anticipation of the upcoming ‘Survivor Jane Go-Bag Challenge!!™ Event” where preparedness-minded people will come together to learn and compete with one another much like a 5k run (minus the running) in fun; competing in a Go-Bag obstacle challenge!
So, I am making this challenge to you, pick-up your go-bags, get with your friends and/or family and create a group and start the challenge today (practicing in numbers makes us more accountable and encouraging of one another.) Remember start slow and work up. The first step is always the hardest. Keep in mind this challenge could mean the difference between life and death.
So hop to it!
Hey never thought about hopping? Nah.
- Survivor Jane
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