Essential Items for an Ostomy 'Go Bag'


Brand new member here; I get my ostomy in 3 days. I know it will be a while before I go out for anything other than appointments, but I'd like to know: what are the key essentials I will need in my "go bag"? I don't want to have to carry a trunk around, so I know I can't be prepared for every situation, but what items would be good for most situations, most of the time? Also, what would be good to carry? I'm not a fanny pack kind of guy, and I don't want to suddenly start carrying a "murse". A backpack seems overkill (and unwieldy for carrying everywhere all the time.) I'm sure I'll have more questions as I wrap my head around my new reality, and I appreciate any/all advice you "pros" can provide. Thanks!


Hello JCool.

It's a good question you ask and the answers lie in what your circumstances dictate. If you have a colostomy things may be a whole lot easier as you may  have the opportunity to irrigate and not worry about any tote bag at all. Otherwise, the amount of emergency extras will depend upon your own particular circumstances, which you will only find out by experience. 
Many newbies take everything they need to begin with and this seems sensible as you really don't know what it is you may need. However, after a time things settle down and you will have a much better idea of how much stuff to take.  It's mostly about being prepared and feeling confident which doesn't necessarily come straight away.
When I first started, I took a small bag with all the things I normally would use daily in the toilet. Within a few weeks I realised that I did not need all that stuff and reduced it to one change of bag, a couple of incontinence pads, and some wet wipes for cleaning up.
It tends to be a learning curve that each individual needs to face in their own way, but I hope that there will be other's who contribute to help you decide on what you might start out with.

Best wishes


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For me, I carry a change of equipment....bag, barrier ring, remover wipes, a small towel, scissors to cut the hole, and wet wipes to clean the end of the bag if I need to empty. I carry it all in a small lunch bag actually. I normally only carry the whole bag of goodies inside if I think I might need them, otherwise I just carry the wet wipes in my pocket. The whole bag I leave in my vehicle so it's close and I have another bag in the bag I carry my work stuff in. In my nearly two years of having my ostomy, I've never needed any of it except the wet wipes cause it's so much easier to clean the end of the bag with them than toilet paper, especially in public bathrooms.


You probably won't be out and about much at first while you heal and get accustomed to your new circumstances.  Once you are physically and psychologically comfortable with leaving home, you will have begun to adopt what will be for you a "routine."  Hopefully, you will have had the assistance of an ostomy nurse to get you over the initial learning curve.  Before long, it will simply depend upon what your personal comfort level requires.  Many people on this site carry emergency kits with them.  I never have.  I've had an ileostomy since 1964.  I can recall only one instance when I could've used an emergency kit.  I just toughed it out and got through it after a quick potty trip.  

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Hi there! I wish you the best with your upcoming procedure. I'm in agreement with the aforementioned responses. I'm 2 years into an ileostomy and it took quite a while before I could venture out. At first, I brought everything I would need to perform a complete pouch change. In time, I adjusted to what equipment I truly needed because at first I felt I needed everything with me. I was scared. It takes time, patience, and a good stoma nurse, LOL. Finding groups/sites like this helped me a lot.

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Welcome JCool. I always carry a 'full change' with me (just in case). I usually just leave it in the car (except for extreme weather conditions) ... close enough if I need it.

This is a great group to ask questions. So many helpful people on here. Good luck with everything.


I see a lot of great advice on what to bring so I won't comment on that. You said it will be a while before you are out and about. Why? I encourage you to not let this define you. Live your life. If you have an accident, you have an accident. No big deal. Enjoy yourself and screw this bag!


Jcool, in addition to a bag/barrier ring, etc, put a disposable bag and some folded up paper towels in there, too. If you should find yourself in need of a change due to a leak, you'll put your old bag in the disposable bag, tie it up and put it in the garbage. If it's a bathroom with several stalls and people see you coming out, you look very inconspicuous and will easily toss the bag of contents into the garbage.

ron in mich

Hi Jcool, when I first got my ileostomy 30 some years ago, I got a child's size backpack/bookbag and took underwear and socks along with wafer and pouch and a clip. By the end of a year, all I took with me was the clip for the end of the pouch, which was much easier to take along than a backpack of stuff.


It's just finding a balance on what's right for you and your confidence.

I've always traveled light, no fuss, no drama. I have an ileostomy. I carry one spare bag folded in half in my pocket. No point carrying adhesive remover sprays, wipes, etc. In my view, if the bag is leaking, it will be unstuck anyway, and toilet paper in the bathroom is more than adequate to wash and dry skin in an emergency to save on carrying more than you need too. It's served me well for over 30 years.

It's best to get out and about as soon as possible after surgery to build your confidence up and trust in the bag.


Do not keep a spare in your car. I did that and in the hot summer it welded my spare bag shut. I keep a change in a zip lock in my coat pocket.

Audrey Warren

Coloplast, Hollister, and ConvaTec will send you emergency kit bags upon request.
I agree that wet wipes are best for cleaning the closure.

Also, I cut several bags in advance to have ready to go; I wouldn't want to have to cut a bag with a leak happening.

I also disagree with the "just get out and live your life" advice. I'm still a newbie and remember how anxious I was the first few months. But, it does get easier with time. It's a real learning curve. Hopefully, you'll have a good WOC nurse.

This is a great site and everyone's experience is different. Good luck and hopefully you'll soon be glad that the pain you suffered is gone.

Reply to Audrey Warren

Audrey, why not live your life. Certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to run a marathon the first week but please don't stay locked up at home. Take baby steps but please get out and about. Hope you have a speedy recovery &zwj


Don't forget a change of clothes as well as your supplies. If you do have a leak, your clothes will let everyone know.


Flushable wet wipes, M9 in a very small travel container, 1 or 2 bags cut to your stoma size, small plastic bag to put your dirty bag, tissue, underwear. I use a barrier ring so I take a couple of these too. This is my bag for work or if I am out for the day, but if I am going shopping, walking the dogs, etc., I carry nothing extra. Just check my bag before I leave the house. The products are pretty good these days once you find the right combination (wear time and bag selection), accidents will be very rare.


Hi J,

As folks have's a process, and it needs to play out for you. What works for any one of us is pretty irrelevant to you, even with something as simple as what you keep in your Go Bag. Hindsight is 20/20, so if you're like us, and you will be, you'll probably overpack at first like we all did, until you find your 'normal' in this new world you've just been dumped in. And then you'll adjust based on how things play out.

In the seven plus years that I've had my front butt I went from bringing everything with me, minus the kitchen sink because it was just too dang heavy, to now bringing nothing. It's funny because I ran across an "emergency kit" the other day that I made years ago. It was in the back of my truck behind the seat, and when I looked at all the crap I had in there I just laughed. I've learned over the years that due to my high output it's just not practical for me to successfully change my barrier when out and about. It just won't happen. So I just keep a roll of MicroPore tape in the console of each of my cars, and a towel in the back seat. I can clean up with the towel good enough to get tape around the perimeter, and then throw the towel in my lap just in case, as I drive home.....or back to the hotel, etc.

Now if your amount and frequency of output does allow you to change your barrier away from home..........I'd suggest this. Try it. Go out on your deck at home or in your driveway and pull off your barrier. Then use your kit to replace it. Then you'll know for sure what exactly you need and what you don't. And if you run into trouble......just go inside and get what you forgot......and continue. And THAT's what you need in your Go Bag! And don't forget your phone...........because the expression we get on our face when we realize we've sprung a take a selfie!



This is the least amount I carried with me in what looked like a cosmetic bag, and of course my sister-in-law chose the one that said something about crap on one side. I overpack for everything in life, so overpacking was what I did in the beginning down to a full outfit change. The blue tape is silicone—apparently I'm allergic to the adhesives in some other medical tapes. The pill is Imodium, if needed. I had a loop ileostomy.

I did carry the trash bags that come with the ostomy bags as well, adhesive remover wipes. I like the adhesive remover spray to use at home and the wipes for on the go.

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