Get Home Bag
Duration: 24 Hours
Away From Home Emergencies: Storms, Tornado, Power Outage, Flood, Biological, Radiological, Chemical, or Terrorist Incidents
Must Have Gear:
Water, Food, Clothing, Lighting, Fire Making, Weather Protection, Visibility Gear, Games or Distractions, Maps, Sleeping Kit
What is a Get Home Bag?
A Get Home Bag is meant to protect you when away from home. Think of it as a 24 Hour Bug Out Bag. However unlike a Bug Out Bag, a Get Home Bag is meant to be compact and help you for a shorter duration.
At a minimum it should provide you with water, snacks, and a change of clothing. You should have a dust mask and goggles. You should have items that would make it more comfortable to sleep if you wind up on a floor somewhere. If you have the space then add harsh environment protection and an outbreak kit.
Generally a Get Home Bag is kept in a car or truck. Some people keep one at their job. If you are a bus or train commuter then this might be your only option.
Don't go overboard! It is easy to get carried away and try to make a Get Home Bag a full-blown Bug Out Bag. Avoid this temptation if possible. You want your GHB to be lightweight and low drag, so you can stay maneuverable. We'll discuss why a little bit later.
What Should A Get Home Bag Do?
The name gives you an idea, it is supposed to get you back to your home, back to your family. It's not meant to be a deep woods survival kit (unless that is what you would need it to be in order to get home.)
Get Home Bags are meant for sudden, unexpected events that may leave you stranded far from home. Two such scenarios seem the most relevant: a large scale terrorist attack (ie. 9-11) or giant solar flare which sends an Electro Magnetic Pulse, knocking out power for hundreds of miles around. A biological or chemical attack, a train carrying toxic chemicals, and explosion at a nearby plant; all of these could cause sudden area wide evacuation events.
In both scenarios the only transportation that available to people will be their feet. So getting back to the bag weight, make sure not to exceed 20 lbs if possible, and practice hiking with it a few times to see how it feels and how your body reacts.
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What goes in a one:
- A pair of socks, pants, shirt, and underwear in a compression sack
- Extra pair of prescription glasses and/or sunglasses
Food & Water:
Hygiene & First Aid:
- Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer
- Badger SPF 35 Sunscreen
- Lava Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
- Coleman Biowipes and Camper's Toilet Paper
- First Aid Kit
- Petzl Tikka+ Headlamp
- Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife
- 100 Feet of 550 Paracord
- High Visibility Reflective Vest
- Cyalume Light Sticks
- Map(s) of local area
- Work Gloves
Shelter & Weather Protection:
Upgrades / Additions:
- ESEE Izula Knife
- Pandemic Kit
- AMK SOL Emergency Bivvy
- UST SplashFlash LED Light
- Boonie Hat
- Baofeng UV5RA Two Way Radio
- USB Smart Charger Cable for BaoFeng
The Best Get Home Bag Backpacks
Here is a list of the bags we think are the best types to make a Get Home Bag with. If you already have something at home, great, use that. Just make sure it is sturdy though, and not going to fall apart on you when you need it most!
REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack
Typical Price: $40 Amazon
Size: Large - 40 Liter
A killer bag for a great price. Similar design to the Maxpedition Falcon II but larger capacity and 1/4 of the price. All the features you would want in a bag without breaking the bank considering that it will likely spend most of its life sitting in a vehicle anyway.
High Sierra Loop Backpack
Typical Price: $26 Amazon
Size: Small - 29 Liter
Specs: The best bang for your buck. Tons of space, well designed, low-profile. A huge variety of colors available. It has all the functions some of the high-end packs have for a tenth of the price. Our first choice for beginner Bug Out Bag Builders. Definitely a contender for your kids bags. 13.5"(L) x 19"(H) x 8.5"(W) at 1.4 lbs.
5.11 COVRT18 Backpack
Size: Small - 30 Liter
Pros: High quality low-key OPSEC sensitive pack, which is a fancy way of saying it looks like a plain old backpack. We've been abusing ours for year, and love it - we use it daily, see our 5.11 COVRT18 review here. Tons of organized storage helps you know where your stuff is at all times. Padded laptop sleeve, hydration pocket, padded handle, CCW compatible. Comfortable padded straps for long-term wear. 500d nylon is durable and water resistant. 12.5"(L) x 19"(H) x 7.5"(W) at 3 lbs.
Cons: The elastic water bottle cinch straps on the sides tend to break over time. Not a deal breaker but be aware.
Packing Your Get Home Bag
It is best to keep things compartmentalized by use, so if you can pack things into clear seal-able bags or into pouches with labels on them that's the best approach.
For example, put all your fire making items, matches, lighters, etc. into one bag so if you need it you can grab it all out at once.
This serves another purpose, you are adding water repelling protection to the contents inside the bag should your bag leak in a downpour.