Emergency Backpacks for your Family

Have you ever heard the term "Go Bag"? That is the bag you grab on your way out the door in an emergency. This post outlines what we have in our family's emergency backpacks (everyone has their own) and walks you through creating them for YOUR FAMILY, step-by-step.

I started building these bags after my daughter took a CERT class a few years ago. Knowing that our family is prepared for an emergency helps keep me calm. When the world is stressing me out, I focus my nervous energy on emergency preparedness and learning new skills to make our family more self-sufficient.

The "Go Bags" listed below were not created in one day, or even one week. We added a few items each month, and when my husband found tactical items on sale. The result is what you see below. Even as I was compiling this list, I realized we were missing some items (clothing, for instance). I always consider these a work in process. I will update the links below as I add items.

• Family Backpacks
Everyone in our family has their own backpack. Our girls are strong enough now that they can carry their own supplies. The contents are tailored to their needs and contain fewer items that the adult bags. 

• A "Cold" Backpack
This backpack stays inside in the A/C instead of our garage. It contains heat sensitive items (for everyone) like batteries, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, Epi-Pens, deodorant, lip balm... Basically anything that will melt or be ruined in our 100+ degree garage. You may not have that issue where you live and can add those items to your main backpacks.

• On-The-Go Backpack
Each vehicle has a similar emergency backpack with slightly different items. I will go over this in a separate post. 

• Pet Backpack
Yes, we also have an emergency backpack for our dogs. I'll go over that in a separate post as well. More important than their backpack is keeping extra food for them on hand. We buy 25 lbs. bags of food for our dogs. When we open one, we purchase another to store in the garage. If we have to leave in a hurry we can toss the sealed bags in our vehicle and go. 

Telling Them Apart
We use Tactical Backpacks for many reasons. They are rugged, have all sorts of handy loops and pockets, and you can attach hook-and-loop patches to them. Every backpack has its' own patch for quick identification. You can find them easily on Amazon, and Etsy has a great selection of unique patches.



Tactical Backpack

Personal Fan (very important in hot climates)

Paracord Bracelet

Extra Exterior Pouches

Mesh Bags (to organize inside the backpack)


Cleaning Wipes

Multi-Purpose Tool



Emergency Glow Sticks

Mylar Thermal Blanket

Emergency Poncho

Durable Work Gloves

Fire Starter w/ Compass and Whistle

Smokeless Fuel Tablets

Waterproof Matches

Hand Warmers

Ultra-Light Survival Tent (Mom and Dad)



Travel Toothpaste + Toothbrush (Target travel section)

Baby Wipes (Target travel section)

Deodorant (Target travel section)

Organic Bug Spray

Thieves Hand Sanitizer


Portawipes (Toilet Paper Coins)

Campsuds (All-Purpose Environmentally Friendly Soap)

Travel-Sized Tissues

Organic Tampons

Organic Pads

Menstrual Cup (which we hope to never have to use)

To Sterilize Menstrual Cup



Water Pouches (take up less space than bottles)

Liquid IV (Hydration Multiplier)

Life Straw

MRE 8-Day Food Supply

Organic Instant Coffee (Adult Bag)

Tactical Spork



Large First Aid Kit (Mom's Bag)

Mini First Aid Kit (Kid Bag)



Chest Seal

Israeli Compression Bandage

Legit Masks + Filters

Medical Scissors (Mom's Bag)

The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide (Mom's Bag)



Thick Pencils w/ Sharpener

Small Notebook w/ Plastic Cover (Target)


Tactical Pen

State Map


I found an extensive list of documents recommended for an emergency binder. I  am in the process of compiling all that information and I am planning to use these printable worksheets as well.

While I think having that information on hand is important, I also know I'm not going to shlep all that around in a backpack during an emergency situation. These are the documents I keep in my backpack in a binder with plastic sheets. I am the keeper of the information.

Birth Certificates

Social Security Card

Drivers License


Immunization Records

Marriage License

List of Medications

Allergy Information

Insurance Information

Pet Microchip Numbers

Whew! You made it through the list. Pat yourself on the back! Are you ready for the next step? 

You probably noticed that our backpacks are missing key items like cooking supplies, solar lights, chargers, etc. All of those items are in our Emergency Bins. That post is coming soon! Subscribe to my email list to receive a notification when the post goes live.