Just recently I was watching an episode of Mountain Men which comes on the History Channel but I was watching it on Netflix. This is a great show to watch to learn a lot about survival. It features a number of men from different parts of the country like Alaska, Montana, and North Carolina.
There was a trapper named Marty who lives in Alaska. He stayed in a cabin that he built hundreds of miles away from his wife and family where he goes to trap during the winter. This cabin is in a remote area which is also hundreds of miles away from the closest town. Top that off with dangerous below freezing temperatures and you have a potential recipe for disaster.
One day as he was checking his traps on his snow mobile when his engine decided to blow. Marty was now 26 miles away from his cabin. He has no way to communicate with anybody to call for help. He can’t simply just grab his cell phone to ask Triple A to come pick him up for the roadside.
Many of you may know that Alaska doesn’t have many hours of day light. To make the situation even more complex than are many wolves that cover the land in packs. So Marty had to find a way to safely return back to his cabin to call for replacement parts.
Night was already settling in. It typically takes the average person about an hour to walk 3 miles on normal conditions. The mileage decreases when you figure in the blistering snow. So he is 26 miles. It is going to take him at least 8 hours to walk back to the cabin.
Luckily Marty packed a survival/get home bag that included a tent for shelter and other tools to survive. Eventually he would return back to the cabin and order a new part for the snow mobile. If he hadn’t packed that survival bag he mostly likely would have died.
As you can see there are many situations that call for a get home bag. Other situations could include natural disasters, vehicle break down in a remote location, civil unrest, etc. These bags are meant to supply you with enough so that you can make it home or to a survival cache. This bag is not meant to bug out into your location. Having a get home bag doesn’t mean that you will be walking all the way home but should be prepared for it to occur.
A get home bag is not the same as a bug out bag. Bug out bags include prepper gear that will help you survive at an alternate location for up to 72 hours. Get home bags are packed with gear to help you get to a location within 48 hours. Bug out bags are also stored at your residence or survival cache while a get home bag is something that you keep close by every day.
The need for specific prepper gear will be unique to each situation. So you have to take in a lot of variables in order to determine what will be required.
There are 3 important prepper gear considerations to make for get home bags:
1. Type of threat
For the most part if you ever have to use a get home bag it may be when you are leaving work. We spend most of our lives at work so that will mostly likely be the time it would be utilized. So you need to be aware of potential threats around that area at all times.
For example, if your job is located close to where riots are likely occur then you know that you need to be prepared for civil unrest. So you might need to carry some extra armor in your bug out bag. Maybe if your job is located next to a place where deadly chemicals are kept or transported then there may be a threat of accidents. Then you will want to keep prepper gear that can protect you from those chemicals.
Of course there are other extreme situations that could occur like your city falling to a nuclear attack. However, that is less likely to occur. In a previous post HERE I explained the different threats and likelihood that they would occur. Nonetheless you will want to always stay up to date with the news so that you can identify potential threats.
2. Distance to travel
Not everyone has the luxury of working close to your house like I do. Some of us have to travel 30+ miles to work every day. I’ve had to do this before as well.
Remember that it takes the average person about an hour to walk 3 miles in average conditions. Depending on the season those conditions can be rougher. That can make the walk even longer.
Therefore knowing that it will only take me a couple of hours to walk home from work I know that I won’t need a tarp to sleep over night or food that will last longer than a day. On the other hand you may have 30+ miles to get home. Remember, the get home bag isn’t meant for you to walk home all the way. It is meant to give you the resources to get home.
So let’s say riots break out around your place of work but you live 30 miles away where it is safe and quiet. Then you know that the rioting is only isolated. You will only need to get outside of that area and find a way to get home. Maybe you can call a cab or a friend to pick you up.
Also, there will be other occasions where you are traveling for recreation or vacation. These vacation spots may be a lot further away than your place of work. Then you will need to adjust your bag accordingly. Either way you need to always be aware of the distance that you would have to travel home with a bug out bag.
Weather conditions can slow you down from getting home. There may be tornados, hurricanes or even snow that can affect you. So your bug out bag should always have the appropriate gear for each season.
So being in the sunshine state of Florida we go through a lot of rainy seasons especially in the summer. On top of that the humidity can make you feel like you are in a jungle or rain forest. With that being said I know to pack light clothing for hot and humid days. I also include a rain jacket.
Different seasons can also affect your grip and even the ability to start a fire. If you live somewhere that rains a lot then you need to have the prepper gear to help you build a fire in the rain if you need it. You could also use a write in the rain note pad.
When you take those 3 variables into consideration you are able to better identify what you need to include in your get home bag. Below I have included some suggested prepper gear items to include for all traveling distances. These are just some suggestions for basics to get you started. You should build upon this list depending on your traveling distance.
- A Durable Bag – Now a get home bag doesn’t have to sophisticated and expensive like a bug out bag. As a matter of fact the get home bag should be a lot smaller than a bug out bag. You also don’t need a whole lot of pouches and mollie webbing like a bug out bag should include. For example, my get home bag is just a Jansport backpack that I used for school when I went to college. However, the bag should be durable and water resistant. You don’t the rain ruining all of the prepper gear packed in the bag.
- A folding pocket knife – You should already have a knife that you keep on you at all times and is included with your everyday carry (EDC) gear. No matter if you work in an office you will still find a million and one uses for a knife. Currently I carry the Spyderco bryd Cara for my EDC knife. Now this isn’t a survival or heavy duty knife but it get the job done. It is light and I can flip it out quickly when I need it.
- Multi-Tool – You will also be surprised how often you would use a multi-tool. Just the other day we had to switch some computers around and was able to use the screw driver on the multi-tool. So this could also be helpful in a get home situation where you might have to fix or open something.
- Bandana – A bandana is another EDC item that can be used to keep you cool by dabbing it in some water and placing it over your head underneath a hat. They can also be used as a mask, bandage, sling or water filter. There are a million and one survival uses for a bandana as well. These are just a few.
- Flashlight or Headlamp – Of course it goes without saying how helpful a flashlight can be in an emergency situation. However, you want to have a durable and reliable one. Currently in my EDC I have the Ultrafire 7w 300lm Mini Cree LED flashlight. The great thing about this flashlight is that it is small and compact. In an emergency situation you don’t want to be carrying something big and bulky around. The other great benefits include the fact that it has a commonly found battery AA NiMH battery. It is easy to zoom in to focus. The light is brighter than many of the other flashlights that I have seen.
- Water -All preppers know or should know the importance of having clean drinking water. Therefore, you will want to include water in your get home bag either in a plastic water bottle or stainless steel. If it only takes you a couple of hours to get home then you won’t need the steel bottle. You would really need the steel bottle to purify harvested water or cook MREs.
- Concealed Carry Weapon – Notice I said CONCEALED. You don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb. Yes we know that preppers like to brag about their guns and bags but you don’t want to be a show off during an emergency situation. You also want to remain low key and not draw any attention. My current concealed everyday weapon is 111G2 9mm by Taurus. It’s small and light enough that I can safely carry it without being weighed down or feeling uncomfortable. It’s also big enough to fit my whole handle for better accuracy.
- Reliable Footwear – When the crap hits the fan you don’t want to be trying to run to safety in some dress shoes or work boots. Mostly you will be going nowhere quickly. So you want to be wearing something that is comfortable and reliable. These can either be hiking boots or some walking shoes.
- Rain Gear – Proper rain gear can make a world of difference. This is especially true if you are living in colder climates. If you get wet while walking a long distance there is a big chance that you will encounter hypothermia. That’s never fun. So be sure to pack either a poncho or small traveling umbrella. Emergency Essentials have some really great rain ponchos for a reasonable price.
- Gloves – There will probably be moments when you are trying to get home that you will have to touch some unsafe things or disgusting things. Instead of getting cut or infected be sure to carry a good pair of work gloves.
- First aid kit – You might also get a booboo on the way home. Most likely mommy isn’t going to be there to patch it for you. So you will have to be the grown man or woman to do it yourself. Emergency Essentials also have some great first aid kits at reasonable price. I have some for my blackout kit as well.
- Food – Depending on how long your travel will be you need to plan accordingly. If it is going to take you a day to get home then you might need to consider having some MREs. On the other hand if it is only going to take a couple of hours to get home then you won’t need to weigh your bag down with a lot of food. Just pack some snacks.
- Fire – This bag should include a few ways to start a fire including starting a fire in wet environments. If you traveling a long distance this could be helpful to keep you warm or purify water.
- Spare cash – In a worst case scenario you won’t be able to use your card at a store. This is especially true after a natural disaster. Therefore keep a small amount of money on you for emergency situations.
- Paracord – There are so many survival uses for paracord. Such uses include making bandages, pitching a tent/tarp, tying things etc. My EDC includes a paracord bracelet that is 10 feet in length. Make sure you are buying 550 type 3 as this is the strongest.
These 3 points are some important considerations to be mindful of when building your get home bag. Please a comment below if you have any additional suggestions. I would love to hear them. Your feedback will help the prepper community as a whole.
Photography by hobvias sudoneighm