Arrive home safely

The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina sparked a lot of interest in disaster preparedness: From government websites on how to prepare for an earthquake to TV shows about surviving a systemic breakdown, survivalism is now the new black.

And I’ve caught the bug as well: I’ve written about preparing a kit for your office and getting ready on the cheap, and I’ve recently packed a “Get Me Home Bag” for my car, based on a UTG Man-Purse Messenger Bag.

Old and busted

And it didn’t really work. I had too much stuff for the bag, making it clumsy to carry and putting too much weight on my shoulder. I needed something else, and Brownell’s was there with a Paladin Go-Bag.

A Paladin Go Bag from Brownell's

Right off the bat, I could tell the Paladin bag was better-built and more rugged than the UTG bag. It had a pleasant, solid feel to it and looked like something that could handle a lot of abuse. Also, while it looked only a bit bigger than the UTG bag, it had a cavernous interior pocket and multiple outside pockets. The Go Bag is the perfect compromise: It’s bigger than a messenger bag, but smaller and more portable than the more-common three day assault pack.

UTG v. Paladin

And my, can it hold stuff!
I’ve crafted a three-day kit for the unique needs of living in the Phoenix metro area, and the Paladin bag swallowed it whole. The purpose of all this stuff is two-fold: Get me home from work if a major social disturbance or disaster interrupts my normal commute, and something to take with me on trips outside of Phoenix that’ll keep me going for at least three days.

72 hours on the go

Some highlights:
– Hydration pouch
– First Aid Kit
– Light sticks
– Flashlights
– Extra Ammo
– Knives
– Survival blankets
– Trauma Kit
– AM/FM Radio
– Signal mirror
– Water Filter
– Water Tablets
– Solid Fuel Stove
– Molefoam pads for sore feet

Some Arizona-specific items include a trowel, plastic sheet and tubing for building a solar still (Yes, I know, they’re not 100% effective, but in the desert, some water is better than none), sunscreen and a big floppy hat.

Does it all fit inside the Paladin bag? Yep. Easily, in fact.

The bag was fully up to the task of carrying all my gear, though I will say that the big interior pouch is hard to keep organized. A few mesh bags would be a good thing to have with this bag to keep all your little bits and pieces in one place.

GO, bag!

And even better, it fits great inside the trunk of my car, much better than its UTG predecessor.

Junk in trunk

That’s a couple of jugs of bottled water and the Go bag in the back of my Honda Civic. Honestly, the bag and water go in there like they’re made for it.

In all, I love this new bag: It was designed for serviceman to bring the essentials of life with them wherever they go and it works great for us civilians for the same purpose also. I have full confidence that if I ever need it (and I REALLY hope I don’t), the Paladin Go Bag will hold up to the task.