Home » Survival » Best Get Home Bag Backpack for When SHTF

Best Get Home Bag Backpack for When SHTF

best get home bag backpack

Most of us spend the majority of the day away from where we live.  Most of that time is spent working 8 to 12 hours a day at work.  That doesn’t always include travel time.  Most of the time when we think about emergencies or SHTF we hope that we will be home with our supplies when it happens. That isn’t always the case.  That is why it is important to a survival bag that can get us home. We call this the get home bag.  Picking the one is not something that we should take lightly.  That is why in this post we are going to be talking about the best get home bag backpack.

What is a get home bag?

A get home bag is a survival bag designed to assist you in getting home in the case of lack of transportation during an emergency.  This survival bag is mainly for a less extreme scenario that wouldn’t force you to bug out.  If a nuclear attack happens while you are at work or out and about then you probably wouldn’t have the ability to make it home.  Scenarios that a get home bag could be useful would be car break downs, natural disasters, social unrest, etc.

Get home bag vs EDC bag

A get home bag should be a part of your EDC tiered system.  The get home bag is a near body tier that is typically kept in your vehicle as you are out and about.  However, the standard EDC bag isn’t sufficient for a get home bag in my opinion.

Unless you don’t carry many non-emergency items in your EDC bag then maybe you could have enough space in your EDC to use as a get home bag.  However, in my experience, I have noticed that the items that I need for my EDC bag continues to grow and my bag gets bigger.

Typically your EDC bag has a mix of items including emergency/survival, personal, convenience items, entertainment, and tools.  So I would recommend having a separate bag dedicated specifically as a get home bag.  Depending on how far you would have to travel to get home, you may need a lot more gear in your get home bag than what you have in your EDC bag.

Get home bag vs bug out bag

The get home bag is designed to help you return home so that you have access to shelter and survival supplies.  In comparison, the bug out bag is equipped for the scenario that you plan to never return.  Typically with a bug out bag, you are packing enough to help you survive up to 72 hours until you can reach your bug out location.

What to look for in a get home bag

There are different types of bags that you could use for a get home bag.  There are backpacks, duffel bags, fanny packs, sling packs, and briefcases.  However, in order to determine the best get home bag for you, we will discuss the pros and cons of each.  First, let’s talk about the important elements when considering the best get home bag backpack.

Get home bag size

The size of your get home bag is really going to be dependent upon how long it should take you to get home.  Having a get home bag doesn’t imply that you are forced to walk home the whole time.  In fact, if you are smart, you should have rally points or other locations you can stop at along the way.

Maybe there is a family member’s house that you can go to you in the case of an emergency.  If it is an SHTF scenario, then you will most likely want to get home immediately.  That is where most of your emergency gear and supplies should be stored outside of having a bug out location.

If you have a longer travel home then you may need a bigger size bag. In comparison, if you work only a few minutes away from your home then you may need a smaller size bag.  The size of the bag is also going to be dependent upon what and how much you need to pack in your bag.

Everyone’s situation is going to be different.  For example, maybe one person is preparing for a nuclear attack near their location.  Then that person may need different get home bag contents than someone who is preparing for social unrest.

Also, when determining the size of your get home bag you should remember not to draw attention to yourself.  If looters during social unrest see you lugging a huge backpack then they are going to know that you have items that they may be interested in.  So you will want a bag that is discreet and doesn’t draw a lot of attention.

Appearance

As mentioned before, a get home scenario isn’t the same as a bug out scenario.  In a bug out scenario, your community is probably going nuts because it will be an extreme scenario.  Everyone will be freaking out and panicking. During this mass hysteria, there will be people who are looking to take advantage of the weak such as looters.

In a get home scenario, it is still a dangerous scenario.  However, during this time the community will still be coming to grips with what is going on.  This gives you some time to get home to your supplies or your bug out gear in the case that you need to flee.

In a bug out scenario, people will look like refugees with bag backpacks carrying supplies.  However, if you are wearing that same bag during a get home scenario then you are going to stand out like a sore thumb. 

In a get home scenario, you want to be the gray man.  You don’t want to draw any attention to yourself that could make you a target.  So when considering the best get home bag, I would encourage you to stay away from anything that looks tactical or stands out.

Utility

Just like every other survival bag, the best get home bag should provide you with a lot of utility.  You want your gear and supplies to be organized.  That way you can quickly grab them without having to constantly dig through your bag to find them.  That is why it is helpful to have a lot of pockets.

The bag should receive even more consideration if it has secret or covert pockets to hide valuables.  That way if you get robbed along your trek it will be hard for the bad guys to find them. That is if they don’t take your bag altogether.

Having secret or locked pockets is also helpful if you use your EDC bag as your get home bag.  You don’t want nosey people going through your bag and “accidentally” come across private or valuable items.

Fit & comfortability

Ultimately, the best get home bag for you should fit and be comfortable to carry.  Not all bags are equal.  Everybody has different body shapes and sizes.  So you have to test what fits you.

A get home bag should ideally have an adjustable chest, shoulder and waist straps.  These straps help to pull the weight of your bag closer to your body making it easier to carry.  Along the same lines, you should pick a bag with comfortable padding.  You want to feel comfortable especially if your trek is a few miles.  This comfortability will help to sustain your morale and motivation.  The Rule of 3’s states that you can only live 3 seconds without hope.

Durability

Durability in a bag should really go without saying.  However, many people are attracted to the coolest looking bags.  But not all of the cooler looking bags are made of high quality.

During a get home scenario, you might be forced into some rough elements like hiking through woods or jumping over barb wired fences.  These elements could cut the bag.  So it shouldn’t be able to rip easily.

A good sign of a bag’s durability can be seen through its sturdiness.  Some bags tend to lose sturdiness over time due to the low quality of materials and craftsmanship.  You want something that is going to stand the test of time, especially if you will use your get home bag as an EDC bag. 

Types of Get Home Bags

Sling bags

Sling bags consist of one shoulder strap that can be worn across your body.  This makes it easy to throw the bag over your shoulder and get going.  However, the downside of this is that it doesn’t fit close to your body especially if you are walking fast.  You don’t want to be constantly adjusting your bag in a get home situation.

Some bags provide you with additional waist straps to help offset that problem.  It improves performance but doesn’t really fix the problem.  Another downside of sling bags is they are typically smaller.  That leaves you limited with the amount of gear and supplies that you can carry.  For those reasons, I wouldn’t consider a sling bag for the best get home bag.

Messenger bags

Messenger bags look similar to sling bags.  The difference with the messenger bag is that they are typically over one shoulder.  The shoulder strap is typically slimmer than the sling bags.

The main functions of messenger bags are to hold laptops and office/school related items.  You aren’t provided with many pockets.  So that limits you even more than the sling bag in the amount of gear and supplies that you can carry.  So I wouldn’t consider a messenger bag for the best get home bag either.

Hiking Backpacks

Hiking backpacks provide you with a lot of space to carry gear and supplies.  A lot of them are designed with a lot of pockets for compartmentalization.  Along with that, it easy to pack and unpack hiking backpacks.

However, as I mentioned earlier, in a get home scenario you don’t want to stand out.  If you are carrying a 55+ liter hiking backpack while others are freaking out trying to get home, then you will stand out.  People will become curious as to what the hell you are doing. 

Backpacks

Standard looking backpacks are by far the best option as the best get home bag.  When I say standard, I’m not talking about regular backpacks that you wore going to school. I would recommend more of a tactical backpack with a covert/gray man look.

Backpacks are a lot easier to carry especially if you are walking long distances.  A lot of great covert tactical backpacks provide you with waist and chest straps to keep the weight of the bag close to your body.  Along with that, they tend to be designed with padding on the back and shoulder straps for extra comfort.

Best Get Home Bag Backpack

With the previous points mentioned, I want to share my recommendations for the best get home backpack.  There are quite a few on the market now.  However, I have compiled a list 3 that I have the most experience with.

#1 Rated - Vertx EDC Gamut Bag

Quality

Excellent Quality and Sturdiness. The bag does not lean overtime with use. Unmatched craftmanship without sacrificing utlity.

Fit

Excellent fit with chest and waist straps to keep weight close to your body. Designed with comfortable back and shoulder padding.

Cost

Pricier than the options listed but provides more value for the price. 




Overall rating :  4.7 / 5

You may have seen that I also recommended the Vertx EDC Gamut bag for one of the best bug out bag options.  However, the versatility of this bag means that it can definitely be considered as the best get home bag backpack.  I love the sturdiness of this bag so much that I even use it for hiking out on the trails.

There are tons of pockets for organization.  As a matter of fact, I had to come up with reasons to use some of the extra pockets that I am used to.  Along with that, there are two water bottle carriers.  As a get home bag, one of the carriers can be used to store a canteen that you drink from.  Then the other carrier can hold another item that you use to filter water.

One downside that I have seen others complain of is about the pockets behind the water carriers.  They complain that those pockets are not usable if you are carrying a bottle.  However, I haven’t had any issues with those pockets.  I just know to store my slimmer items in them.

The Vertx EDC Gamut is also designed with a lockable CCW compartment along with a compartment to pack a soft armor panel body armor.  I love that idea because it can protect from threats from behind me.  The other option is that I can fling the bag across my chest to protect my front as well.

There is one con that I have read on other reviews that I haven’t experienced.  It has been reported that the grab handle has torn off for a few customers.  Honestly, that isn’t a big deal for me because it can always be sown back on.  Yea, it does suck if that happens but it hasn’t happened to me so far.

Along with that, the bag does have an extra grab handle on the front pocket.  For the most part, I don’t grab the bag by the grab handle when putting it on. I always grab the shoulder strap.  If you tend to grab your bags by the handle then this may be something that you should consider.

Pros

  • Tons of compartments for organization
  • Locakble CCW Compartment
  • Top of the line quality
  • Extremely sturdy
  • 2 water bottle holders
  • Generous amount of storage space

Cons

  • Grab handle has been reported to rip

#2 Rated - 5.11 COVRT18 Tactical Backpack

Quality

Made from water resistant 500D Nylon with YKK zippers. It isn't the highest Nylon but provides good quality without looking tactical.

Fit

Although the bag is produced with high quality materials it still lacks sturdiness. 



Cost

The price is about average for this type of bag. It provides a good quality product for the price.


Overall rating :  4 / 5

The name of this bag says it all.  Ideally, when you are looking for the best get home bag backpack, you want something that is covert.  The idea is to remain a gray man without sacrificing on needed survival gear and supplies.

5.11 is known for producing above average quality that it still falls behind to Maxpedition in my opinion.  The pack is constructed of 500D nylon.  This provides strong quality without compromising the weight.

The 5.11 COVRT18 Tactical Backpack also provides many pockets for organization to keep your supplies secure. One downside that I will point out, however, is about its sturdiness.  The bag doesn’t keep a sturdy shape.  This can cause you to frequently adjust yourself while moving.

Another downside is that the paddings aren’t the most comfortable but will do the job.  Even though the bag lacks sturdiness, it is designed with a chest strap to keep the weight of the bag close to your body.  The bag also provides you with 30l of storage space which should be enough for a get home bag backpack.

Pros

  • Great quality material
  • Tons of compartments for organization
  • Generous storage space
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Lacks sturdiness
  • CCW compartment isn't lockable

#3 Rated - Maxpedition Entity 35

Quality

Maxpedition is known for producing high quality products which remains true but lacks sturdiness.




Fit

Not only lacks sturdiness but also chest and waist straps to keep the weight close to the body.  However, the bag does provide a padded back and shoulder straps.

Cost

The price of the bag is around the price of the Gamut Plus. Being that the bag lacks fit and utility it is better to wait for a discounted price or go with the Gamut Plus.

Overall rating :  3.3 / 5

The Maxpedition Entity 35 is another great option to consider for the best get home bag backpack. It is ranked third best in my opinion but I like it because provides the gray man look with a tactical bag capability.

The Maxpedition Entity 35 looks like a standard, everyday backpack but is designed with a CCW compartment.  The downside is that the CCW compartment isn’t lockable as the main compartment is.  That is one thing that does disappoint me with the bag.

One thing that stands out about the Maxpedition Entity 16 is its size options.  There are different sizes from 16 to 35 liters.  This is convenient because not everyone will need the same size.  But 35 liters should definitely be enough as a get home bag backpack.

It can also be adjusted to use as a sling bag.  One of the shoulder straps can be removed and tucked away leaving you with one sling shoulder strap.  Some CCW owners like this idea.  Converting the bag into a sling gives the ability to quickly sling the bag over the chest to pull a weapon.

However, although it can be converted into a sling, it isn’t designed with any chest or shoulder straps.  Which I don’t understand the reasoning.  If you go through the trouble to design it as a sling bag, why not design straps for it as well?

The bag does provide some pockets for compartmentalization but not as many as the previous two bags mentioned.  Also, the bag does lack sturdiness in comparison to the Gamut Plus.  Of course, Maxpedition provides great quality material and craftsmanship, but I just don’t like how the bag doesn’t retain its shape.

Pros

  • Top of the line quality
  • Different sizes to choose from
  • Lorem ispum sagittis
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed duius labor eiusmod sed.

Cons

  • Water bottle holders have no elastic or compression features
  • CCW compartment lacks a locking feature
  • Not enough compartments for organization
  • Lacks sturdiness

About Aaron

Aaron is the founder of Smart Prepper Gear which is a blog dedicated to helping people prepare the smart way now so that they can thrive later. He has been involved with preparedness since 2009 after feeling the effects of the financial crisis that affected most of the country. Aaron also volunteers with CERT (community emergency response team), ARC (Amateur Radio Club), Red Cross and currently studying to be a certified NRA instructor.