How To Build a Get Home Bag
by Creek Stewart
Art of Manliness
Just over one
year ago I wrote a post about how
to build a 72-hour disaster survival kit called a Bug Out Bag.
Much of my time between then and now has been spent writing a book
on the same subject – a more detailed and thorough version of that
post. The title of that book is Build
the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit
(to win a copy, see the giveaway section below).
If you liked
the post about how to build a Bug Out Bag, then you are going to
like this post as well. Your Get Home Bag is just as important as
your Bug Out Bag. Look at it as your Bug Out Bag’s little brother.
They are similar in concept and design, but the end goal is altogether
I’d like to
open this post with an excerpt from my book – actually the first
hear the sirens in the distance. Your electricity is out, and
your home phone has no dial tone. When you try to use your cell
phone, you get the same message over and over: “All circuits are
busy.” You know a disaster is quickly approaching. And you know
that waiting this one out is not an option. In the breath-taking
stillness, you can hear the clock on the wall. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
The eleventh hour is here.
this… YOU ARE AT WORK! As you reach under your desk to grab your
Get Home Bag (GHB), thoughts of your wife and children rush through
your mind. Then, you quietly say to yourself, “This isn’t going
to be my typical commute home today.”
As a whole,
we spend surprisingly little time at home. Between our time in a
vehicle, at work, in school, running errands, visiting friends,
attending meetings and making appointments, some of us spend more
time AWAY from home than AT home. Many of you are nodding in agreement.
These countless hours away from home must
be considered when developing your disaster preparedness plan.
Is a Get Home Bag?
The name says
it all. It is a survival kit designed to get you home in the event
that a catastrophic disaster occurs while you are away. I sometimes
call this bag my 24-hour bag, and you’ll rarely find me away from
home without it. A Bug Out Bag is a much more substantial supply
kit (typically 72 hours) and stays at home. It’s not practical to
tote your BOB back and forth to work every day. Your Get Home Bag
bridges that preparedness gap. Depending on the situation, just
getting home can be a survival journey in and of itself.
can take a variety of forms depending on your personal preference.
My GHB is a
small backpack and that is what I recommend. However, I have friends
who use duffel bags, fanny packs, web-gear, sling packs and even
spare briefcases. Ultimately that is your decision, but I prefer
the hands-free utility of a backpack.
a Get Home Bag Even Necessary?
There is an
infinite list of events that could warrant the use of a Get Home
Bag. Many are regular occurrences. A GHB doesn’t have to save you
from TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) to be a worthy
investment. Even if never put to that grave test, a GHB can provide
for you in countless other less catastrophic scenarios. Below is
a short list of events from the news headlines in the past few years
that could possibly interfere with your immediate and uninterrupted
commute home. I’m certain several people reading this article can
account for some of these from personal experience.
- Severe weather
- Power grid
- Acts of
- Bridge collapse
- Winter storms
- Zombie apocalypse!!!
some disasters are more devastating than others. Millions of people
have found themselves in need of a Get Home Bag at some point in
their lives. For some, not having one has cost them their future.
I was watching
a documentary the other day which interviewed survivors of the 9-11
terrorist attacks years later. I was surprised at the severe lung
problems people have developed from inhaling the dust, fumes, smoke,
and pulverized building material while escaping from in and around
Ground Zero. It was an after effect I had never considered. An N95
face mask (mentioned later) in a Get Home Bag could have eliminated
a GHB is not a daunting task and can easily be done in one afternoon.
For the investment of time, money, and energy, I know of very few
other things in life that can have such a dramatic and lasting effect
on your future than a Get Home Bag – should you ever need to use
Get Home Bag Packing List
Below is my
list of recommended GHB supplies. I fully expect for you to make
your own additions and subtractions from this list. After all, it
is YOUR kit. Different lifestyles, careers, and environments are
all factors that will dictate the items in your kit. These kits
are very personal.
Liter of Water in a Metal Container. I suggest a metal
container because it gives you the option to boil water and/or cook
in if necessary. I also carry a
metal cup that fits snugly on the bottom of my metal Nalgene.
Energy Bars. Don’t over pack with elaborate meals.
High calorie bars are simple and sufficient meal substitutes. They
require no heating or preparation – now that’s my kind of meal!
Poncho + Tarp
Poncho. I personally use a military version with grommets
in the corners which can be used as an improvised shelter if necessary.
Being wet is not only miserable, it’s deadly. Hypothermia is the
# 1 outdoor killer, and your vulnerability skyrockets when you are
wet – even in temperatures as high as 50 degrees.
Tarp. I pack this to use as a shelter canopy. It can
also be used as a ground cover and many things in between.
+ Change of Clothes
Shoes / Hiking Boots. Especially for people who wear
dress shoes to work, this is a really important addition. Pack a
comfortable pair of tennis shoes at the very least. A good pair
of wool hiking socks isn’t a bad idea either.
change of clothes and a pair of leather gloves allows you to change
out of your suit and into something that offers more protection
the rest of the article
© 2012 The Art of Manliness