If you work and travel within a few walking hours of home, consider a get-home bag instead of hauling a massive survival bag in the back of your car. With a get-home bag, there’s not quite as much to pack, it’s convenient to carry, and it makes traveling back home to your family fast!
Why Would You Need a Get-Home Bag List?
Having a basic get home bag list is essential to your survival at work or in an unfamiliar place. Have you ever been in a place with limited water and food? If so, it was probably a stressful situation for you. However, an urban get-home bag list provides all the essentials you need in the event of a terrorist attack, earthquake, tornado, or just getting lost in a new place on your own. In such events, you’ll need protection in the form of shelter, hygiene items, and helpful gear to aid your survival.
How Much Food and Water Do We Need?
The most obvious point to make is that you can’t carry heaps of gear around with you, as you’ll potentially be carrying this bag around for long periods of time. To aid your survival, we recommend enough food and water to last three days. Usually, within this time, you’ll either be rescued or your absence will at least have been reported to the officials. Remember, a get-home bag isn’t the same as a survival bag, but it’s something that is meant to literally get you home safely and healthily. Should you find that transportation at your work has been cut off, you’ll need adequate supplies to stay safe.
We recommend two liters of water over this period of time to offer good hydration. Water purification is essential for maintaining a healthy standard of water and limiting chemicals that can enter without a water filter. Without a water filter, the water won’t be as clean. You can also store purification tablets too, as these safely dissolve chemicals and bacteria found in water.
What to Include in Your Get-Home Bag
A get-home bag checklist is important to ensure you have all the essentials you need. Take some comfortable shoes with you. A pair of sneakers is a good choice. Although you’ll need to make sure they’re sturdy enough to last hours of wear. Also, a mylar blanket is lightweight, cheap, and will keep you warm in cold conditions. Most people carry a cell phone with them on their daily errands. But, if you don’t have a spare charger or power source to charge it, there’s little use for it. Instead, we suggest carrying a spare cell phone in your bag to contact authorities (if necessary), or for communicating with your family. Ensure you have food and drink which will provide you with energy for at least two days, as well as spare money in case you come across a store.
Finally, keep personal hygiene items in your bag for personal comfort. Baby wipes and tissues are some ideal hygiene items to keep yourself clean.
Dad’s Get-Home Bag Story
My husband works about 15 miles away from home. In the event of a regional or national disaster, he might not be home in 30 minutes as his normal routine usually has it. And if that regional disaster meant that no transportation was working, he’d have to walk back home. 15 miles is a long walk – especially if you’re not prepared with a get-home bag.
A get-home bag (read more about emergency bags here) is like a survival kit box specially packed to get you home. Unlike a bug out bag that is geared to last for days and maybe months, the get-home bag has a survival kit inside to help you survive for a day or two. The bag is designed to get him home from work, assuming a very conservative 6-8 hour hike.
• Learn to create your own 72-hour kit for more extended emergencies or evacuations
While he should be able to get home at that time, we do plan for variables and pack personal hygiene items and extra food and water. This bag stays in his car at all times. His car is in an open parking lot, and he keeps this emergency kit inside should he ever forget it one day. He has a small kit in his office under his desk as an extra survival kit at work, too (you can read more about one here).
If he’s traveling farther for some reason, he grabs his BOB (bug out bag) to throw in there, as well. He also has a small car kit, so he’s got all the essential gear he needs.
When we first began preparing, all the different designations of each bag confused us and made us feel like we were doing bag on bag on a bag of the same stuff. Then I saw this video on Youtube by Sensible Prepper (Sootch) and so much made sense, and we were able to begin creating bags for their purpose.
While Sootch’s bag is a great idea, the type of bag you use also will make a difference in regards to the amount of gear you pack, lending itself to different organizational ideas based on its structure. The following is a rundown on my husband’s new Get Home Bag.
Dad’s Get-Home Bag
Everyday Carry Items (EDC)
This is what he carries inside it at all times. You’ll see a few of these items duplicated in the bag for extra safety precautions:
- Knife – choose a versatile one which can cut and chop man-made materials
- Flashlight – don’t settle for a cheap brand, and make sure you have batteries
- Multitool – this versatile tool is the perfect size to keep in your backpack
- Lighter – don’t go without fire or ever be alone in the dark
- Phone – make communication with your family if your current cell phone runs out of battery or has no service
- Pistol – for emergency uses only. Keep in an appropriate case for optimum safety
- MP3 player – while this might be considered a security issue for some, for DH, it is a big comfort for a long walk home, or in case there are limited people around
- Various other geeky things that are personal and unique to him – gotta love him
- Reliable & Safe, child-resistant, 100% quality inspected and long-lasting
- Long durable metal wand keeps hands away from fire.
- Retractable hook for convenient storage
The Get-Home Bag
This is a nondescript black backpack. We keep many of the small items in little bags we’ve found along the way. This keeps them from getting lost at the bottom of the get-home-bag. It has few straps so we can hook things or tie things to it. One day, we’ll upgrade to a better-designed hiking backpack. But we certainly don’t want our pack to scream, “HEY! This dude is prepared, and he’s got the stuff you want!” Your survival kit should be moderately muted so other people don’t ask for your gear.
UPDATE: We have upgraded his backpack to the one above. We found that with normal wear and tear in the car, that small, nondescript backpack wore out after a while, so I upgraded him to this one which we purchased from Amazon for less than $30.
• Want to get a peek at my EDC? Check here.
Organization of the Get-Home Bag
We initially took Sensible Prepper’s Zone idea and built our bag with Zone 1 to start, and expanded as we could to create a full bag for my husband. We’ve packed close to this need as well so that the things that are the most essential for survival are the easiest to grab. However, my husband has worked with it a while and reorganized it to fit this model for him. He thinks this way makes more sense to know where to quickly grab the item he needs. It’s something you’ll want to play with a few times to find the best model for your own needs. If your emergency kit makes it hard to locate things you need, you’re in trouble.
Tip: I will link to some products that you can grab quickly from Amazon, but you can get most of this gear at local stores, too. The below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission if you purchase anything through these links, but it doesn’t cost anything extra for you.
Get-Home Bag Zone 1 – Quick Safety
- Flashlight – this small, portable flashlight is in his bag at all times, but he also has a larger one in his car
- Headlamp – he wants to be hands-free if he’s walking at dusk or in the dark. His hands can then be carrying other tools that are necessary, and still available to defend himself. He chose this one for himself
- Bucket hat – this is a collapsible hat that will cover more of his neck to keep him warm during a long walk and to keep more of the sun off of him.
- 2 Bandanas – one for draping across the back of his neck to tuck under the hat, the other for use as a sweat rag/dust mask if needed
- N95 Mask – two options to protect his face against dust and debris
Get-Home Bag Zone 2 – Defensive Gear
- Gun Cleaning Kit – easy to carry around and handy accessories to keep your gun clean
- Ammo – bring spares if you need to use your gun
- Extra magazine – an extra magazine for your gun
Get-Home Bag Zone 3 – Tools
- Knives – utility knife, combat knife, and folding serrated knife
- Rain Poncho – you could easily use a trash bag to shelter from the rain, but we’ve opted to go a full rain poncho to cover man + pack if need be.
- Binoculars (or a monocular) – this helps you to see ahead to avoid potentially dangerous things you’ll cross in your path (large crowds, etc.).
- Trash Bags – kept for ground cover or shelter.
- Cash – small denominations and coins.
- Paracord – he keeps a short length of paracord tied to the outside
- Extra batteries – this is just for his flashlights. He carries the same flashlight in his EDC that he has in his get-home bag so that he doesn’t have to pack multiple kinds
- Map – while he knows his route if he’s relatively close to home, if he happens to travel to a part of the area he doesn’t know well, the map will come in handy
- Compass – for the same purposes as above
- Eating Utensil – probably never needed, but it’s one of the very first kit items we bought years ago, and he loves keeping it handy
- Zip Ties – tie them around your shoes to help your feet grip to the floor in icy conditions
- Duct Tape – repair any ripped clothing and use as a bandage for injuries
- Striker fire starter and waterproof matches and lighter – get a fire started for heat and light if necessary
- Road Flares – attract attention if you’re alone in the dark
- Chemical Light Sticks – a short-term light source if your lighter runs out
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Get-Home Bag Zone 4 – Life
- TP – because you never know when nature will strike, and like Sootch, we keep the core full of tinder to start a fire. Be sure to keep it in a zip-top bag. He could use a newspaper, leaves, grass, or even sacrifice a bandana, but it’s a comfort thing. It’s just a small roll, not a full-sized one
- First aid kit – this is a relatively small kit for any survival situation. It’s got a variety of adhesive bandages, ace bandage, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, a few rag strips, pain reliever, acid reducer, topical allergy cream, super glue (for small wounds), scissors, fishing line (plus needle), and a little roll of duct tape
- Sunscreen & Bug Spray – being in the South, there are only about six days a year when you might not need either of these
- N95 face masks – protects the face, blocks out any harmful chemicals, and prevents you from getting sick
- Gloves – who knows what he’ll have to do, from climbing a fence to moving debris. If it’s winter, an extra pair is handy to keep warm
- Extra socks – rainy or wet terrain calls for this
- Lighter & Fire Starter – we duplicate here because rain may be an issue. While he may not need these because he’s close to home, he keeps them in case. Plus the kids made him an extra fire starting pill bottle just in case (they wanted to make sure he was well taken care of)
- Water – emergency water bag (2)
- LifesStraw Water bottle – acts as a water filter and keeps water tasting fresh.
- Protein bars, trail mix – nutritious food to keep you energized
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Get-Home Bag Zone 5 – Outside the Bag
- Sleeping Bag – he carries SOL Bivvy sack. He also has a blanket he can grab in case the weather is disastrous
- Carabiners – a few of these are on the outside of the bag to carry things like a collapsible water bag, his water bottle, and anything else he may find along the way to use. Having water on hand is important to survive
- Hatchet – again, more of a ‘comfort’ item for him. He wants the added protection and tool for cutting firewood if necessary. There is a designated paracord loop built in to carry this
- Sturdy Shoes (socks stored inside) – a pair of sneakers isn’t ideal for a long walk
- For camping in temperatures between 20°Fto 40°F
- Fits most campers up to 5 feet 11 inches
- Dimensions: 33 x 75 inches
Other items we want to add to the Get-Home Bag
- Ham radio – while operating a ham radio to transmit without a license is illegal, listening in is always okay, and if it is a real emergency, transmitting is allowed. *This has been purchased and is on the way!
- Pepper spray – (he wants this for animal control more than people control)
- Collapsible hiking pole – (both has helped for walking and a weapon. He knows he can get a stick or branch most places, but would rather have something he can grab from the start)
Even though it seems there’s a lot here, the bag is relatively lightweight at just over 16 pounds at this time. This is within the 25% body weight limit so he can be light on his feet.
NOTE: Of course, if you’re expecting weather that is going to be harsh, be sure to adjust your bag to what you’ll need in your situation!
Share Your Thoughts: What do you carry in your own get-home Bag? Have you created one, yet? Do you have an emergency car kit?
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I love helping people feel more at ease about their preparedness. Preparedness doesn’t have to overwhelming, scary, or about an upcoming doomsday. Simple everyday preparations can put your mind at ease and help you out in a sticky situation.