A get home bag is a very useful piece of kit that should either be a part of your everyday carry or in your vehicle and ready when you need it. There’s a lot of discussion around the preparedness blogosphere about what should be in your get home bag. One thing I think is important to keep in mind is that we are all in different locations and situations. This makes a big difference when packing both your bugout bag and your get home bag.
With this in mind, today we’re going to discuss how to pack a get home bag that is tailor-made for your situation and lifestyle.
Why do you need a get home bag?
A get home bag is important because disasters don’t always happen when you’re sitting comfortably at home. Most of us have a job we have to go to everyday, kid’s soccer games and dozens of other errands that make up the lion’s share of our day. This means that the probability of you being away from home when disaster strikes is just as likely as you being at home.
This is where the Get Home Bag (GHB) comes in. Your GHB should basically be a smaller version of your bugout bag, tailored specifically to get you from wherever you are back to your home as quickly as possible.
This means that, unlike what a lot of other prepper sites might tell you that your get home bag needs to be tailored for you specifically since we all have different daily routines, commutes environments. For example, someone who lives 10 minutes away from their office is probably going to have a much different get home bag than someone that works on the road hours away from home day in and day out.
What standard equipment should be in everyone’s get home bag?
There are a few pieces of equipment that should be in everyone’s get home bag, regardless of who you are and how far you typically are away from home.
- Food and water – No matter where you are, having at least a bottle of water and a small amount of food is important to have in your get home bag. Obviously if you are hours away from home and ever find yourself in a situation where you are unable to get home in your vehicle and will need to walk, having food and water available will be invaluable, especially in a SHTF scenario where help might not be readily available. Even if you never go too far from home, you never know when you might find yourself stranded with you vehicle during inclement weather.
- Socks and Gloves – I can’t count how many times I’ve used the socks and gloves out of my GHB. Whether you simply forgot your gloves at home on a cold day, got your socks wet (ugh…wet socks are the worst) or, in a disaster scenario, need to walk home in cold weather, these will be invaluable.
- Defensive tools – Personal security is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of prepping. I never want to leave home without some sort of defensive tool. If I was ever in a situation where I would need to walk home from more than a few miles away I would want to have a backup defensive tool available to me. Additionally, in a serious disaster scenario, you never know what situation you might find yourself in when trying to get home. Without your car you are completely exposed and the chances that you may need something to defend yourself with go up significantly.
What about “survival” gear?
Although I am a huge fan of outdoor survival and think it is a very important set of skills that every prepper should practice, I tend to stay more realistic when it comes to packing gear. It seems like nowadays every prepper site out there wants you to carry an entire load out of outdoor survival gear wherever you go. I don’t understand this.
Of course, if you live in a remote area or are travelling for long distances regularly, this makes sense. Vehicles are temperamental, and in a serious disaster situation the roads may not be conducive to travel on. It would only make sense that you would have shelter material, water purification, 3-4 days of food and all the other gear that you would need to travel comfortably outdoors over a few days to get home because you’ll actually NEED it.
However, how many of us are really in that situation? Most of the preppers I know work within an hour of their home. Why in the world would you need to carry hunting and fishing gear, huge knives or axes and enough paracord to repair the Titanic when worst case scenario you just have to walk for a few hours to get home?
In my opinion, before you put one single piece of survival gear in your get home bag, or your bugout bag for that matter, take a minute to really think about it and determine how likely it is that you’ll ever use it. If the answer is “probably never” then all you’re doing is adding more weight to your pack, which will only slow you down and add more time to your trek home.
Get home bags and being “Tacti-Cool”
It seems like more and more people in the preparedness community are getting into tactical gear and clothing. Personally, I honestly don’t really see the point in a lot of that stuff, but hey, to each their own. One thing I do think is important to keep in mind here though, specifically with get home bags, is that being “Tacti-cool” is the last thing that should be on your mind when all you’re trying to do is get home as quickly as possible.
I think it’s extremely important in a disaster situation to remain “grey man”. This means that I don’t want to attract any unnecessary attention whatsoever. Dressing in 5.11 pants, camo and having an obviously expensive bag around your shoulder is only inviting trouble in a real disaster situation.
If you were forced walk home in the aftermath of a disaster situation there is a real chance that you could encounter pockets of civil unrest and serious human threats. If that were to happen, why in the world would you want to advertise that $200 backpack (and the gear inside) by looking like one of the extras from a Rambo movie?
Personally I think the guy wearing normal, non-descript clothing and carrying a cheap, garage sale backpack with only the most necessary gear is going to have a lot easier time blending in and sneaking past a threat like this than the guy hauling a 60 pound pack in tacti-cool clothing. Again, just my opinion here but I think it’s something important to think about not only with get home bags, but with any type of gear.
Carrying a get home bag is extremely important, however it’s equally important to make sure that you’re packing gear that you’ll actually need. There’s no one giving out cool points in a disaster scenario and the people that survive will be the ones that thought ahead and took a practical approach to disaster preparedness. Take a few minutes today and think about how you’d get home and what gear you would need if you were faced with a serious disaster and let us know in the comments!
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