My Get Home Bag Checklist
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Imagine you at work sitting at your desk when all of a sudden the power goes out. The whole office is plunged into darkness and chaos.
The backup power never comes online and you frantically reach for your cell phone to act as a quasi flashlight.
You pick up your office line and all you hear is the dial tone. You quickly try your cell only to get the same message of the system being overloaded.
You hear sirens and know deep in your heart that this is no ordinary power-outage. If you are lucky and thought ahead at this point you would be able to reach for your get home bag or GHB and make your way back to your house and family.
Having a get home bag is basically like a bug out bag but your are just going the opposite direction. When you are away from home whether at the store, work or anywhere else you really need to think about survival and how you will get home in an emergency. You can be stuck at work after an earthquake or other event.
These get home bags are great for keeping in your car or at your desk at work.Nobody likes to think about begin separated from their family. The average person spends more time everyday at work than they do at home.
The statistical chances of something happening while you are at work are much higher than if you were are home. Be it a natural disaster or the collapse of society you will need a way to get home safely and securely.
Not only will you need supplies to help you get home but you might also get stuck at work. If you are forced to stay a few days someplace other than you house will you have anything to help you survive. You will need a whole batch of survival tools and gear in a shtf scenario especially when you are distance from your home base.
A get home bag is basically a survival kit that will get you home if something catastrophic happens when you are away from home.
This type of bag while like a bug out bag is usually much smaller. I personally packed by get home bag as a 24 hour survival pack. Because of where I work I figured that it should take me no longer than 24 hours to get home even if I have to detour. That being said i have also stashed extra food and supplies in my car in case I get stuck at work.
My get home bag is a simple rugged backpack. I know of people that use tactical packs, duffel and even fanny packs, it really comes down to what you are comfortable with and how far away from home you travel and work. If you stay fairly close to home you could get away with a small pack but if you have a long commute than you might want to go with a larger pack.
There are many reasons why you might need a GHB. While I always like to plan for the worst and hope for the best some people might not be a comfortable with planning on TEOTWAWKI for their pack. Even if shft or not you there are many other reasons to invest in building a get home bag.
Here is a list of common occurring issues that can conflict with your commute home:
- Power Grid Collapse
- Car Breakdown
- Severe Weather
- Terrorist Attacks
- Bridge Collapse
- Winter Snow Storms
- Acts Of War
While some of these are much or common than other do you really want to be stuck without simple survival necessities? Building your own GHB can seem like a complex and daunting task but it is actually really easy. You can build the pack at your own pace and easily budget out items you want. I will go over what I personally have in my bag and why I have them and you can choose whether you need them as well or not.
My Get Home Bag Packing List
Here is a list of what I have packed so far. Keep in mind that GHB or BOB are almost like a living thing, you will constantly be adding and subtracting from your bags. You need to really customize your bag to you. Everyone has different needs and different environments for survival. Take this list as a good staring point and add or subtract based on your needs and wants.
Water- I carry about 1 liter of water in my GHB. I also keep a metal cup or bottle as well so that if I need more water I can boil the water in the metal cup or bottle. The metal cup that i currently have in my pack is the Olicamp Space Saver Cup
Food- I keep 8 energy bars in my pack at all times. I use to pack my GHB with crazy MRE’s and other meals but I figures that I’m not going to be that far away and they would be better served going in my BOB. I do however have a few MRE’s in my car just in case. I really like Clif Energy Bars.
Shelter- I keep a lightweight and super small packed tarp in my pack. A tarp can be used for literally 100′s of things, quick shelter being one of them.
Rain Gear- I also keep a rain poncho in my pack. I have my old standby favorite military style poncho in this pack. This type of poncho is neat because it has grommets that let you hang it and use it as shelter as well as the tarp. Keeping dry in a survival situation is extremely important. Not only does it help you mentally but hypothermia is the number one killer in outdoor situations. I really love the Rothco Military Nylon Rip-Stop Rain Poncho.
Extra Shoes- Depending on where you work and live you will probably need an extra pair of shoes. Even if you are an urban dweller you will need different shoes. The nice dress shoes that we all wear to work just won’t cut it when in a shtf scenario or survival situation. I keep an extra pair of hiking boots or walking shoes. Make sure you pack a pair that are comfortable and also throw in a good pair of wool hiking socks. Here is a detailed comparison of the best combat boots.
Extra Clothes- Again what we wear to work just won’t fly in a survival situation. Pack a nice pair of comfortable clothing ie cargo pants, jeans or anything else you like. I also pack a nice pair or work gloves and a baseball hat.
Fire Tools- Nothing is worse than needing fire and not having the right tools. I have a few of the cheap bic lighters in my pack. I like them because they are super cheap and they work. I also have some tender packed as well since you never know if you will be able to find any. I have had really good luck with wetfire tender. If you are on a tight budget you can easily DIY your own fire started with a few cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly. The fire started and the lighters are a simple way to ensure you will have the most basic of needs met.
Trusty Multi-Tool- You should always have a good quality multi-tool with you no matter what. I personally always look for one that has a good blade and a saw side to it as well. I also expect a good one to have a set of pliers, wire cutters, cross pint drivers and screw drivers. I also have a high quality survival knife as well.
Lighting- Having a light source is so important. You never know when you might need to illuminate an area. Not only is it safer but it will give you peace of mind. I have a Energizer 7 LED Headlight that I really like and is not to expensive. You can also use a regular flashlight as well I just prefer the hands-free aspect of a headlamp.
Personal Hygiene- I have added to my pack a little baggy with items like a small washcloth, a travel size toothbrush with toothpaste, hotel size soap, toilet paper and a tightly folded bandana.
First Aid- I have a small yet well packed first aid kit in my pack. Look for a kit that has bandages, tweezers, moleskin, sunscreen, splint, medical tape, insect repellant, gauze pads, a small mirror and other medications. I would pack advil, asprin, antacids and benadryl.
Warmth- I have a small emergency blanket packed in as well. These mylar blankets are super small, lightweight and super cheap. These little blankets will keep you toasty warm and they can double as a shelter or signaling device as well. I really like the 2 Pack HeatSheet Mylar Blanket.
Face Mask- After so many reports coming out after 9-11 about debris related problems this piece is on the top of my list. These face masks will protect your lungs from debris, dust and other contaminants that can cause life long problems and sickness. I really like the 3M 8000 Series Respirator face masks the most.
Self Defense- This is another completely personal aspect of your pack. Whether you want to pack a gun or a baseball bat I highly suggest you do pack some from of personal defense. When people get scared or desperate they will act in chaotic and un-predictable ways. I keep a bottle of pepper spray as well as my Kel-Tec P-32 Pistol. My wife so kindly sewed a patch of Velcro to the shoulder strap of my backpack so I could attach the pepper spray in a quick grab location.
Old Fashioned Map and Compass- Having a paper map of the area you are living and working in can be a real life saver. You will be able to re-route yourself and plan alternative routes in case there are blockages.
Cash- I always have cash money on my at all times. I also make sure to pack some on our BOB’s and get home bags. When the power goes out so do the terminals that process your debit or credit card.
550 Paracord- This cord has literally 1000′s of different life saving uses
Compact Emergency Radio- I have a compact Dynamo emergency radio that is hand crank. You want to make sure that if you are buying an emergency radio you get one that will receive NOAA All Hazard Weather Alerts. This radio could be your only form of information when your in survival mode. The one I have also has a really neat USB integrated cell phone charger so you can hand crank your cell battery back to life which could be really helpful. The Etón American Red Cross ARCFR160WXR.
This is what I have in my small 24 hour get home bag. Like I said before you will really want to customize this list to your own needs. If you work far away from home I would also suggest putting a pair of roller blades or something similar just in case.
You never know if the roads or freeways will be passable and if you have a long way to go after you come to an impassable area you will be glad you don’t have to walk the whole way.
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