(Disclaimer: I’ll be putting a bunch of links to items in this series of posts; the links go to the Amazon pages for those items. I’ve got an Amazon Associates account; as such, if you click through the link and purchase the item, I get a percentage. That being said, the items I’m linking to are examples of what I’ve got, not of what I think you should get. Assess for yourself, and get what you feel you need/want/can afford. The links are not an endorsement of the items, nor of Amazon or the individual sellers on Amazon. If there’s interest, I can start doing reviews of particular items at a future date…)
The Get-Home Bag (GHB) is not generally the first of the series of bags that preppers usually work on–that distinction goes to the Bug-out-bag–but as it’s the one I’ve been putting thought and effort into lately, it’s the first one I’m going to talk about.
The purpose of the GHB is, in brief, to help me survive a trip from wherever I may be (most likely at or near work) to home, or another “safe” location. Given my typical circumstances, I’m aiming for enough to carry me through about a 50-mile trip on foot. Ideally, I’d be able to stick on or near some major roads; given the nature of things, however, if I’m having to hoof it home, the roads are probably a less than stellar idea; as such, I’ve got a number of back routes & “shortcuts” that I can take, the better to stay off the radar.
My personal GHB comes in two parts: there’s the car’s “Go-Bag,” and my personal bag that goes with me into whichever vehicle I’m going to be in. My personal bag also stays relatively near: it “follows” me into work, for instance. It’s lightweight and compact (about the size of a football); if something happens that I have to ditch a part of my stuff, I’m going to try to keep my bag with me. The contents are still a bit of a work-in-progress; here’s what I’ve got:
- a good multi-tool (my trusty Winchester served me in good stead while I was on active duty; the Leatherman Wave has been getting good reviews, but will set you back a bit more);
- a flashlight (mine is an LED Lenser V2; it’s got two modes, one with 5 white LED’s, one with a single red; the 3 AAA’s that power it will last for a long, long time);
- a compass (I’m not the best at cross-country land navigation, but I’m working at it; this is the compass I’ve got, but look around and get what suits you if you need one);
- a map of my state;
- a knife (I’m fond of Mora knives; they’re decent quality, and inexpensive; biggest drawback in my opinion is the plastic sheath. Due to work security, this item stays in the car; more on that later);
- a signaling mirror (not just for signaling; also good for some minimal amount of personal hygiene);
- a small Fresnel lens (helps with reading the maps, and can be used to start a fire in a pinch; small & light enough that it can’t hurt);
- a LifeStraw (for water safety–there are lots of water sources between my workplace and home, but I’m going to want to filter them at least);
- a small bottle for water (filled with the other stuff, in the meantime);
- a pack of mylar emergency blankets (extremely small, but potentially very useful);
- a package of long-shelf-life food (typically some trail mix);
- a small package of hard candies;
- several fire-starting tools (matches, a lighter, and flint-and-steel, with a small container full of some sort of tinder);
- a small first-aid kit (mine is self-assembled, but this one looks like it’s roughly comparable; I’d add a tube of an antibacterial, and probably some cloth band-aids and a few “travel-pack” aspirin);
- some of the ubiquitous 550-cord (I generally don’t get the near fetish some survivalists have with the stuff, but it does have its uses);
- some cash.
All of that fits into (or strapped onto) a pouch for a larger water bottle than what I’ve got in there. There are some conspicuously absent items: I don’t have any sort of firearm, nor ammunition for such. The laws for that sort of thing are extremely varied from place to place (I cross several state lines with a bit of regularity), and I don’t want to have to mess with that. For self-defense, I’m willing to rely on inconspicuousness/camouflage/hiding, with hand-to-hand an option if absolutely necessary (yes, I’ve got training). Also, my workplace prohibits firearms or larger knives; as such, my GHB knife stays in the car when I go in. I’ve got a small folding pocket-knife as part of my “every-day carry” (“EDC”), so I’m at least minimally covered there; also, the plan includes trying to retrieve the car’s Go-Bag. It’s got more supplies, and would better sustain me for the trip; I’ll go over the Go-Bag in a separate post (I’ll probably do one on my EDC, as well).
There are also some things I’m contemplating adding: possibly a small amount of fishing gear (some line, a few hooks, maybe a float or two); I’m also contemplating a metal cup of some sort, and probably a “headband-style” light.
One other thing I should mention is the physical preps for having to use a GHB. (Not carrying it; it’s only a couple of pounds, and hardly a burden.) Don’t underestimate the amount of pure physical work involved in walking 45-50 miles, nor the time requirement: I’d be happy to do it in four or five days, but figure I can make it in three if I’m doing really well. If you’re not in the physical shape to make that sort of hike, you might want to re-consider the GHB, and turn it into a “Bug-In-Bag”, to shelter in place wherever you might be, until help finds you or the situation allows/requires that you move.
Again, the GHB is kind of a “moving target,” and its contents change frequently; what I’ve got listed above is a pretty standard pack for me. What do you think? Do you have a GHB, and what’s in yours?