As I get deeper into the personal safety and survival industry with Galactic Bioware, I have become fascinated with the “Go” bag and what kinds of gear one should pack to prepare for the widest array of situations. We’ve all seen these in films and novels, but I hadn’t previously turned my mind to making one and what I’d include if I were to.
I wanted to share some of the gear that I have studied and catalogued that I think would be a great generalist “Go” bag. I’ve also done somewhat of a literature review of all the major “Go” bag recipes online.
All of the below should fit inside a 52 litre bag and can be carried whilst running for a prolonged duration.
The below has not considered 1) clothing/warmth, 2) local radio broadcasting issues in your country, 3) whether these items are legal in your country, and 4) any medical/special needs that you might have. It goes without saying that this is not to be taken too seriously and is not advice of any kind!
Condor Colossus Duffle Bag (52 Litres)
MyMedic “The Medic” Medical Kit (to be mounted on the outside of the Colossus)
Iosat Potassium Iodide Tablets (at least 48 tablets)
Learn & Live First Aid Kit
10 x 23 in 1 Water Test Kit
Water purification tablets (at least 120 tablets)
Sea To Summit reusable quick dry towel
Toothbrush and 2 x large tooth paste tubes
Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier – Stainless
Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
Smith & Wesson Bullseye Extreme Ops Serrated Tanto Knife
G-Shock Digital Military Black Series, Shock Resistant GD400MB-1D
Orienteering-level analogue compass (not powered)
Nitecore MT20A 2XAA 360 lumen LED torch
Tecsun – Best Emergency Radio (AM/FM/SW Solar Powered with Hand Crank)
EasyLog Dual Channel K, J & T-type Thermocouple Data Logger with Graphic Screen
Thermocouple Hand Held Immersion Type K 3 X 150 MM
Nitecore NWS10 emergency whistle
Wiley X Valor | Polarised Grey Lens W/ Matte Black Frame
Small tarpaulin (~1 square meter to collect water)
3 metres of Paracord (7mm to 10mm)
Hazmat & CBRN
MIRA Safety CM-7M Military Gas Mask
MIRA Safety CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask
CBRN Gas Mask Filter NBC-77 SOF 40mm Thread x 10
ParticleMax P3 Virus Filter x 10
2 x MIRA Safety HAZ-SUIT Protective CBRN HAZMAT
RADEX RD1212-BT Advanced Radiation Detector
Solar Eclipse / Welding Goggles (Shade 14)
Pro-Lok 11pc Pick Set & Case
125KHz RFID Copier/Writer/Readers/Duplicator (10 spare tags)
Cash (ideally USD) and any gold/precious metals that could be tradeable
Any land titles / asset titles
You may not want to furnish these, depending on the situation, and they can always be dropped if its more dangerous to have them than not.
Batteries (assorted collection), see my note below on battery type consistency.
Matches (double waterproofed)
Long-life high-energy snacks (3 days worth of energy for you)
Few cans of tuna / long-life protein
2L of water across 1 x one litre vessels (fill up on departure)
Roll of toilet paper
Try to keep devices that need batteries in the same battery size e.g. all AA or all AAA.
I’d carry enough batteries to power 1 month of expected use of each of the powered devices.
Avoid anything with rechargeable batteries unless you are going to commit to a portable solar/generator system, then have everything run off that. This is riskier in my view in an adverse situation than a cache of batteries.
You’ll likely bury/drop/hide equipment you don’t need regularly to come back to later, so better to pack more and shed it than not have what you need.
As part of Galactic Bioware‘s product development effort, I’ve had to get very deep in the issue of the handling of protected fibres such as those that comprise the well-known Kevlar (Aramid) by DuPont and less well-known, but much more interesting, Dyneema (UHMWPE) by Royal DSM which are common soft fabrics used in body armour products.
tl;dr – anything which can be used to make body armour outside of the US is extremely regulated as a weapon.
Each of the countries in our supply chain has different laws that apply to protected fibres, the ingredients for soft body armour. This makes for a complex regulatory web that impedes innovation in the civilian, defence and military sectors as a whole.
My opening position with this company is that our production should be onshore in Australia to help contribute to Australia’s efforts to rebuild a real economy based on advanced manufacturing, materials science, engineering, research and development, as opposed to, well, digging stuff out of the ground. This is particularly important for the state of Victoria, which has been the most severely economically debilitated by COVID-19.
The politics of body armour is not well known, but it is self-evident once you start to think about it. Some of the policing challenges in Australia’s modern memory start around the time of Ned Kelly and his gang which is a well-known but rare case of body armour being worn in a relatively contemporary society.
Ned Kelly’s home made body armour from c. 1880
State’s desire for a monopoly on violence
Principle of escalation in crime management
State monopoly on violence
The opening position of most contemporary societies (ex. USA) is that the state should have the monopoly on violence through police and the military. This means that weapons, and the protection from weapons, the argument goes, should only be available to these groups. Civilians do not need body armour in their daily lives, as the risk of harm from weapons is low.
In the State of Victoria, body armour is so defined:
“body armour” means a garment or item— a) that is designed, intended or adapted for the purpose of protecting the body from the effects of a weapon, including a firearm; and b) that is prescribed by the regulations to be body armour;
In New South Wales, the definitions are similar, as they are across most states in Australia.
The police in Australia have a great track record of not shooting people unless absolutely necessary, and violent crime is very low, so the question is why should anyone want body armour in the first place?
Well, low risk is not no risk. The world is becoming increasingly fragile and the availability and proliferation of weapons is definitionally higher than is reported.
Body armour (in general) also protects against innocent accidents e.g. hunter cross-fire to park rangers and hikers, bomb shrapnel, stab wounds, etc. It must be noted though that body armour is surprisingly lacking in versatility, for example, armour that is good for resisting ballistics such as bullets might be hopeless with knife slashes.
Whilst the state has monopolised violence at law, they have not in practice, and the disarmed and disarmoured civilian population currently absorbs this risk.
Principle of escalation
Escalation is best summarised by Commissioner Jim Gordon in Batman Begins:
Jim Gordon: What about escalation? Batman: Escalation? Jim Gordon: We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds.
It is a well accepted and rarely challenged argument that the greater the availability of body armour, the more it can be used by criminals to resist arrest and potentially do more harm whilst at-large. So that if body armour is legal, then criminals will be harder to catch.
Critics of this position suggest that if criminals can obtain weapons illegally, they can also obtain body armour illegally. Therefore, making body armour illegal disadvantages law abiding citizens seeking lower overall risk of harm, and does not really impact on criminals. Body armour in the hands of law abiding citizens does not pose risk to other citizens.
In an increasingly uncertain world with the visible breaking down of many systems that were assumed to always work, some of these legal positions may need to be revisited.
As a result, when Galactic Bioware launches its first product range in late 2020, the products, while Made in Australia, will not be available for Australian consumers.