Any serious prepper has a Bug Out Bag, that single bag that holds only the essentials that your will grab if forced to leave in a hurry. This bag is usually designed for use during evacuations or times of civil unrest. The contents of these bug out bags are usually set up to allow you to protect your family, address medical emergencies and otherwise allow you to survive when away from your main stockpile. But do you also have a Get Home Bag?
What is a Get Home Bag you ask? They are like Bug Out Bags except they are specifically equipped to allow you to get home, to your stock pile or family when an emergency leaves you stranded due to a shut down of the transportation systems. The key function, getting home by foot, requires your gear be altered from your normal Bug Out Bag.
Naturally, the bag you select must be capable of holding all of your gear but it must also be portable, and since your will likely be traveling by foot, that means being carried. This usually means selecting a backpack, although most people will upgrade to a tactical pack due to the ability to add outer carriers, carabiners etc.
Most people do not wear hiking suitable clothing 24/7. Going to work, church or even a day at the beach with the kids all require you to dress accordingly- and that means dressing in clothing that will not allow for long distance hiking. Your GHB needs to include a change of clothing and shoes suitable for the task. Do not forget that in most areas this will also mean swapping out those clothes as the seasons change.
Food & Water
An emergency that leaves you stranded will most likely result in the immediate closure of stores, gas stations or restaurants all the places you would normally obtain food and water while headed home. Unfortunately, this does not eliminate the fact that you will still need food, and more importantly water, during your travels. The answer? Carry these items with you. It is generally recommended that you have food (MREs, energy bars, jerky etc.) on hand for up to 72 hrs. Water is a little harder to carry, especially if you drink anywhere near the recommended amount of 6-8 glasses per day. Instead, consider obtaining a drinking straw- a drinking device that filters water as you use it.
Map & Compass
Most people have a complete understanding of how to get from work to home. But do you know how to get from point A to Point B? Chances are your phone, GPS or other electronics will be useless. This means you will need to rely on doing it the old fashion way- a map & compass. You can also use to map as a guide to shelters, food & water sources etc. by marking it with these items when found during scouting trips.
First Aid Kit
Every survival bag should include a first aid kit. You will need a small supply of bandages, tapes etc. needed to address cuts, scrapes and hiking related injuries. If you take any prescription medication make sure to have at least a 3-day supply as well.
No, I am not suggesting your carry a full-size tent in your GHB but some type of shelter may be needed to protect from weather when trip takes more than a few hours. It is recommended that a small tarp or other similar material, which can be used to construct a wide array of shelter designs, be included.
For more tips on building your own Get Home Bag check out this YouTube video.