Here are some smarter options for having a gear bag of essential items ready to go from home or to have with you when at work or away travelling or simply on a Sunday ride out of town.
If you want to travel light there are plenty of options...if you don't want to stand out(gray man concept) you may opt for a business or campus looking briefcase-like daypack or a promotional nylon book bag you might have received at a professional conference. Few will pay attention and you could conceivably bring it to work with you and have it close by. This might be advantageous if you work in a high rise or larger office building and don't want to call attention to yourself.
Common variations of daypacks like North Face, Mountainsmith, EMS or REI make adequate everyday carry packs that can be left in your vehicle or locker. The Maxpedition VersiPacks, Eagle Molle A-3 and CamelBack BFM Gear and Bug Out Gear Packs are rough service quality pieces of work that can take plenty of abuse and you may want to invest in one or two of these as your "Go Bag" of choice if the tornado/hurricane/weather alerts go off. There are some other brands that excel as well...later on those.
You may have seen these ridiculous orange "packs" being sold at large box stores or online survial gear sites and if you buy one of these you will be mighty disappointed or worse. You can do better than that even if you are not well off. A segmented duffle bag may suffice as a car kit bag but as a go bag it really lacks versatility. Stick with something you can cinch tight and carry on your back or drag if need be.
The marketing thought behind those orange pack products has to be that people don't expect to use them so won't invest in anything of quality - but they still want to feel good about having "something". Oddly , as you go from survival site to survival site you see the same orange bags.....yikes. Try walking over a mile with one of those ridiculous things loaded up - they will break first. JUNK.
We'll show you what to put in these kits that can extend your stay without your normal services for more than the 3 days promised by the junk vendors. You can attach additional gear bags using the military MOLLE** attachment system. Camelback comes equipped with water resevoir built in to the pack. Just remember water freezes when you decide on storing your gear outside in winter.
The more time you have assembling you own gear the more apt you are to appreciate what YOU have done and how the gear you have assembled will work when you need it. No pain - no gain really applies. You can find this gear at Brigade, Camping Survival or Nitro-Pak, local EMS/REI or Military base supply store. Links are on the website.
We will also be giving you some practical tips on car kits...somethings to always leave in the car inconspicously and great to have when caught out of town or stuck in a long line during a snowstorm. When you have less than a minute of warning to head for the storm shelter or dorm shower/bathtubs having one of these packed up will make all the difference.
At bedside at night (or day for you night shift folks) having a flashlight, outdoor shoes and clothing set aside that reflects the seasonal temperatures will help if you have to bail out in a fire. A fire extinguisher to give you some precious seconds or fight your way out may be in order and practical (not stylish) to have in your bedroom as well.
We have all heard about getting out of the house in a hurry - ok...then what? Freeze to death in winter hoping we can make it to a neighbor to call the fire department? If you have 6 feet of snow outside and you are only wearing your jams..how far do you thing you are going? Do you have your car keys or is the car in the garage that is burning...!
We can recall a fire alarm on an ocean front Cape Cod hotel where we had the pack/clothes/flashlight/jacket ready to go - the elevator caught on fire at 0530 and out we went where we were met by more than one person clothed in only a light gown, shorts or a blanket.....in 30 mph winter winds ....brrr!
Ok, we'll be back with you on this one.
** Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment = MOLLE.