One day, a get home bag could be your best friend. What’s that? Never heard of a get home bag? Here’s some information on get home bags that could be critical for you and your family.
In other articles on this site, you’ve heard us talking about bugout bags and how important they are in helping you survive after natural or manmade disasters.
But there’s another kind of bag that you absolutely need to have. It’s called a Get Home Bag.
Where bugout bags are essential for those times you may have to evacuate your home and go to a safe location, a get home bag is packed with things you’ll need to make it safely home if you’re away at the time a crisis or disaster hits.
You or a family member may be at work or school, miles away from your home, and suddenly SHTF. That’s when a get home bag tucked away in the trunk of your car becomes invaluable.
It Can Happen Anytime, (And Probably Will)
Scenario: You’re on the road a couple of hours from home, fishing with buddies, visiting a friend, whatever. Suddenly you hear the sirens wailing up from a nearby village. Checking your cell phone, you discover it has zero bars. It’s dead. An ominous feeling comes over you, and you realize something big (and bad) is happening. You have to get home.
Out on the highway, you find it choked with cars. Everyone else wants to get home, too. The traffic’s not moving, and you’re now getting desperate to get home to family. Finally you get so desperate you decide to pull over and abandon your car. Now you’re trudging past vehicle after vehicle of equally panicked people, and with darkness approaching, you still have many miles to go. You have no food, no water, nothing to help you survive. And it’s getting cold. Very cold.
This can’t be happening. But it is. If only you were better prepared…
Behind The Concept of a Get Home Bag: The 6 Priorities of Survival
Get Home Bags are designed to get you safely home in any kind of an emergency. They’re smaller and lighter weight than a bug out bag. But in a critical situation, they can not only get you home but save your life on the way.
You can use a commercially available bag or one you build from scratch.
Any well-stocked get home bag will include the 6 priority elements of survival:
- Tools & Safety (including self-protection)
Think about all the scenarios you might encounter should a disaster strike you any distance from home.
- Will your cell phone work if the grid fails and you have no coverage?
- What threats could you face? Will roads be crowded or blocked?
- Will you have to abandon your vehicle and walk? Are you fit enough to walk a long distance?
- Will you encounter desperate, potentially dangerous people who are targeting vulnerable victims?
The answers to these questions can help you plan the contents of your get home bag.
How Big Should Your Get Home Bag Be?
A good measuring stick of the perfect get home bag is that it’s large enough to contain all the items you’ll need, yet comfortable enough to sling over your shoulder as you travel.
It could be a long trip, so find a durable, lightweight version that you won’t mind carrying.
What Goes Into Your Get Home Bag?
Knowing what’s going on will be critical in a disaster scenario. In normal times, we rely upon our cell phones. But in a disaster, that cell may or may not be working.
So what other means of communications are available to you?
- Portable Radios: A good candidate for the perfect get home bag might be a small emergency radio that can tune in weather or news channels. This could give you the info you need to plan ahead or make changes on the fly.
- Police Scanner Apps: Download a good police scanner app to your cell phone. This could help you identify danger areas to avoid and give you up-to-date intel on the current situation.
- VHF/UHF Ham Radio: If your local cell towers are suddenly inoperable, a good VHF/UHF ham radio (portable version) tucked away in your bag could help you stay in touch with what’s happening at any given minute and what the authorities are advising.
You can go without food for several days or longer, but you’ll need water in less time than that.
Plan on packing at least a couple bottles of water, plus a small water purifier such as this one, and some water purification tablets.
You’ll want some lightweight food items that can give you nourishment and sooth the hungries in case you’re on the road for any length of time. We suggest high protein, nutritious foods like protein bars, trail mix and nuts.
Depending upon the weather, you may want/need some heat. Your bag should include some type of fire starting device, anything from a box of matches to a fire starter stick.
Now, in many get home situations, a fire may bring you unwanted attention. You want to keep a low profile, so as an alternative, rely on your clothing and shelter for warmth.
An emergency Mylar thermal blanket is a great option for providing heat without giving away your position.
You never know when you might be on foot and so far from home that you have to spend the night outdoors. A lightweight tarp (even a sheet of polypropylene) can help you rig a quick shelter from the elements. Include cords and stakes if you go this route.
Tools and Safety
Don’t forget to include tools that make your outdoor survival more convenient and comfortable.
- Small Survival Knife and Hatchet
- All Purpose Multi-Tool Device (screwdriver/pliers, for example)
- Folding Saw
- Extra Cord
- Gorilla Tape
- Work Gloves
- First Aid Kit (small and portable)
Actually, this list could go on and one. These are just starter ideas. You’ll no doubt add your own ideas as you plan your bag. Just remember: you have to carry whatever you include, so keep your bag light!
Also, include some personal defense items such as small knife, whistle, pepper spray, etc. If you add a fire arm, be sure to include any permits required by local laws and ordnances.
It’s Good To Have a Plan.
Spend some time thinking about things like how you’d get home if your normal routes were blocked. Identify areas you’d want to avoid, places where you could resupply, meetup spots where you could pre-arrange to meet family or friends.
Also, plan for credit cards to stop functioning. Put some emergency cash into your bag just in case you need to buy your way out of trouble, rent a hotel room, purchase gas, pay someone for a ride, etc. .