Most preppers are already acquainted with the idea of bugging out in response to major trouble, leaving home and hitting the road in order to survive.
But have you considered that trouble may strike when away from home, and that you might need to get home first in order to better prepare for what comes next.
To do that, some experts recommend a get-home bag. What is a get-home bag, and how will it help you survive?
A get-home bag is a smaller, more portable version of your regular bug-out bag designed to help someone make it back home. GHBs typically contain supplies to sustain a person for 48 hours or long enough to move home on foot (food, water, clothing, tools and first-aid and shelter supplies).
There is much more to learn when it comes to packing and selecting a get-home bag. Keep reading to learn more!
You Might Be Away from Home when Trouble Strikes!
One of the main reasons to have a get-home bag is that you might not be at home when trouble strikes. Natural disasters, accidents, or other emergencies can occur without warning and leave you stranded away from home. Having a GHB with you will give you the best chance of making it back safely.
Think about it: Even though we are all serious preppers we have jobs, responsibilities, lives that just don’t get to push ‘pause’ while we wait for The Big One to occur.
You might be on a business trip, out camping with the family or away at college when an earthquake, hurricane or other major disaster strikes.
If you live in Los Angeles and are visiting New York City when an EMP attack takes out the power grid, what are you going to do? You can’t just ‘bug out’ because you don’t have your bug out bag with you! This is where a get-home bag comes in to play.
A Get Home Bag is Not a Bug-Out Bag
Now that we have established that a get-home bag (GHB) is essential for any prepper who might find themselves away from home when trouble strikes, it’s important to understand the differences between a GHB and a BOB.
A bug out bag is designed for long-term survival away from home. It contains more supplies than a GHB and is meant to help you live self-sufficiently in the wilderness for an extended period of time.
A get home bag, on the other hand, is meant to help you make it back home in the event of an emergency. It contains fewer supplies than a BOB and is designed to be portable so that you can carry it with you wherever you go.
A GHB should not be used as a substitute for a BOB. They are two different bags meant for two different purposes. Make sure you have both in your prepper supplies!
What to Include in a Get-Home Bag
The supplies you include in your get-home bag will vary depending on your specific needs and situation.
However, most bags should contain the usual survival items like food, water, clothing, tools, first aid supplies and shelter materials with careful attention paid to packing light; remember, you are probably going to be moving home on foot!
Since a get-home bag is designed to supply you with just enough equipment and supplies to make it home in an emergency, you will need to be selective about what you pack. The watchwords are light, low-profile and easy to use.
You don’t want to sacrifice capability, but you are also not trying to pack for a situation full of uncertainty: you will generally know where you are and where you are going, and you are trying to get there at best speed.
Your GHB loadout should reflect that. You want to keep your speed up as much as possible while supplying all of your survival needs in a pinch.
Food: You’ll want something that will provide energy and sustenance for the journey ahead. Choose high calorie foods that won’t spoil easily or take up too much space, like granola bars, nuts and beef jerky.
Water: A person can only survive a few days without water, so it is essential to include at least a couple of bottles of water in your get-home bag. If possible, choose purified or distilled water to avoid getting sick from contaminated water sources.
Clothing: Pack clothes that are seasonally appropriate, will protect you from the elements and help you blend in with your surroundings.
Choose neutral colors, and avoid bright colors and patterns that will make you stand out. Don’t forget to include footwear that is appropriate to a long hike if you don’t wear them daily!
Tools: Include a few basic tools that will come in handy on your journey home. A knife, multi-tool, flashlight and headlamp are all essential items.
Compass/Maps: If you find yourself lost, a compass and/or map of the area can help you get back on track. A regional map, city map and atlas are good inclusions.
First-Aid Kit: A small first aid kit is a must-have in any get-home bag. Make sure to pack supplies for common injuries like cuts, scrapes and blisters. Include bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain relief medication and anything else you might need to treat minor injuries
Shelter: If you are forced to spend the night outdoors, you’ll need shelter from the elements. Pack a tarp, tent or sleeping bag to stay warm and dry.
Definitely Pack a Get Home Bag
A get-home bag is a smaller and lighter variation of a bug-out bag intended to support a single person while they return home from a distant location should disaster strike. It is an essential part of any prepper’s supplies.
By having one on hand, you can increase your chances of making it home safely in the event of an emergency. Be sure to pack yours with care, paying attention to the specific needs of your situation.
Do you have a get-home bag? What items do you include in it? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our articles on bug out bags for more information on long-term survival gear. Stay safe!
Tom Marlowe grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, He has the experience in helping civilian shooters figure out what firearms work best for them.