Go-bags & Radio Equipment Bags

Consider this scenario: during a three day flood event, you have been asked to deploy, volunteering your time and talents for an unspecified amount of time. You may be asked to work at a sandbag location, or in a shelter, or manning a barricade. You may be there for four hours…. or you may be there for longer.

If deployed, you are being sent into the field as a professional communicator and ARES team member to support emergency communications. Since you are being deployed during an emergency, you should expect the conditions to be bad. Ask yourself – what conditions will cause your mission to fail? Radio failure? Serious issues to your health, safety or comfort?

Will you be safe? Will you be comfortable? Will you have the equipment necessary to perform your required duties?

Everything in your radio equipment bag or your go bag should be included to meet these considerations plus items for your comfort.


  • Go-bag: bag or backpack containing personal items and comfort items to support you during the time you are deployed.
  • Radio equipment bag: bag or backpack containing your communications equipment and any additional equipment necessary to support that communications assignment.

The Centralia Amateur Radio Emergency Services team recommends two bags: one for your equipment and one for your personal comfort. You certainly can’t do your job without the proper working radios and you won’t want to do the job if you are uncomfortable.

Only you can plan and prepare each of these bags. Only you know what would make you comfortable in an emergency situation. Need specialized medications? Plan ahead. Like a certain snack bar or flavored water drink? Plan ahead.

You may be the only person on the team with your particular type of handheld radio. You must plan ahead to be sure you have charging systems, batteries and all instructions for your radio. It will be too late to plan for antennas and connectors if you don’t plan now. Below is a list of items I carry in my go bag and my radio equipment bag.

Go-Bag & Radio Equipment Bag Contents


Icom IC-V8 Handheld Portable Radio Playing cards
Instruction booklet for IC-V8 Kleenex
Extra battery pack for IC-V8 Snacks
ARES resource book Water
IC-213 forms Flashlight(s)
Steno pad Toilet paper
Copy – Amateur Radio License Throat lozenges
ARES identification cards Sewing kit
Leatherman tool Dayquil cold tablets
Pens & markers Extra plastic baggies (sandwich size)
Matches in waterproof container Reflective space blanket
Insect repellent 50’ rope (1/4 inch)
Compass Spare batteries (AA AAA D C)
First aid kit (pocket size & large size) Tylenol
Hand wipes Hand warmers
Snack bars Stocking cap
Extra socks & underwear Gloves
Latex gloves Dust masks
Fire starter pack MRE (military meal ready to eat)
ARRL repeater directory Map (Washington & Lewis County)
Trash bags Plastic eating utensils
Small bottle shampoo Antiperspirant
Comb Small mirror
Chemical light sticks Whistle

Radio Equipment Bag

Yaesu FT-60R handheld portable Water & snacks
Instruction booklet for FT-60R Notebook
Cigarette car charger for FT-60R Hand warmers
Extra AA battery pack for FT-60R Small first aid kit
GPS receiver Flashlight
25’ coax cable Leatherman tool
Mag mount antenna ARRL ARES resource book
Headset / mic for Icom 706 Camera
Extra batteries Pens & markers
Map ARES identification
HT microphone Tape & mini tool kit
Electrical tape Connectors