Having your bug out bag or INCH bag all packed up sitting at home definitely tells a lot about your emergency preparedness. But since an emergency tends to happen without prior notice, what if at the very same time it arises and you are away from home, what are the playing odds for you to survive in the wilderness?
In this post, we will discuss the purpose of a get home bag and its difference from a bug out bag and INCH bag. Lastly, we will give you a list to include in it, so that you can avoid putting in excessive supplies out of impulsiveness.
What is The Purpose of a Get Home Bag
As the name implies, a get home bag’s main purpose is to provide you with the bare necessities until you get home safe and sound. A get home bag is intended to be used as an emergency bag for short term disasters and infrastructure disturbances. Thus it is typically designed to be portable and compact which can only contain everything that you should need within about 24-48 hours—you may also find other preppers addressing it as a 24-hour bag.
Ideally, a get home bag should be carried anywhere when away from home, considering the likely odds of unexpected emergencies that may suddenly occur any time within the day. For the most part, this emergency revolves around a scenario wherein you get stuck on the road or in the wilderness and you have to travel a significant measure of distance to finally reach home, whether in your bug out vehicle, on your bug out bike or just on foot.
How a Get Home Bag is Different from a Bug Out Bag and an INCH Bag
Perhaps it’s a lot to take in with all these different emergency bags that have been going around in the prepper world, and it is reasonable if you happen to confuse one with the other since they all seem to give the same impression. Indeed, all of these bags serve only one purpose and that is to make sure you are prepared when an emergency of SHTF situation gets to your feet without warning. But the relevance of each bag varies depending on the situation.
INCH bags are intended to be used for long-term disasters or civil disturbances, to stay away from home for as long as it takes until the disaster fully subsides. On the other hand, bug out bags are intended to be used for short to mid-term disasters, approximately 72 hours and up to a few weeks while you are away from home. Lastly, get home bags are intended to be used for short-term disasters, with the goal of allowing you to reach home within 24 hours.
The similar perception a bug out bag and INCH bag share is that you are left with no choice but to evacuate home and survive in the wilderness for a significant measure of time, whereas to get a home bag, your goal is to get back home, and safely, within 24-48 hours.
What Should Go Inside a Get Home Bag
As we have mentioned before, a get home bag is designed to be portable and compact which can be perfect for every day carrying wherever you go. Do not attempt to overload it with things that you think you might need, otherwise it will only turn out to be a Bug Out Bag or even an INCH bag. Stick to the basics for a Get Home Bag.
Here’s a list of things that you should include in your Get Home Bag:
Water Filters – To keep yourself going, you need to stay hydrated. In an emergency situation, conventional water sources are most probably unavailable. Therefore, water purification straws or tablets will be of great assistance to prevent dehydration.
Survival knife – You should have at least 2 or 3 survival knives (Here’s one of my favorites, the Karambit) in your get home bag—the first one as your primary weapon and the other two as your backup. Just make sure to secure your primary weapon of choice somewhere accessible on your body.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Having an SS water bottle will definitely sustain the purity of your water, unlike in plastic bottles where your water can be contaminated by plastic bottles, especially when exposed to high temperature.
Duct Tape – Duct tape is an indispensable tool during an emergency situation, providing a quick temporary fix to anything that’s broken, from temporarily fixing a car to splinting broken bones.
Tents or Tarps – Aside from the many uses of tents and tarps, the main reason why you should want to include either of these is for portable shelter. There are greater chances that you have to spend the night in the great outdoors, thus having either will protect you from the elements.
Multi-tool – You will never know when a multi-tool might come in handy. It will not hurt a little bit to at least include it in your get home bag, considering it does not demand too much space in your get home bag. Heck, keep one in your pocket!
Compass and Maps – Just in case you have a poor sense of direction and you come across unfamiliar places and get lost, compass and maps will definitely help you navigate the right way. Make sure you know how to read them and get your bearings!
Paracord Bracelet – Do not underestimate the value this bracelet holds. A paracord bracelet is another versatile tool to assist you for quite a good number of tasks such as building a shelter, making a fire, and hunting for food and many more. It is worth a space in your get home bag without a doubt. Or even better, it’s worth a space on your wrist for easy access.
Tactical Flashlight – Having a tactical flashlight will shed you some light on your way home by the time the sun sets. We all know that it is more dangerous at night than during the day. So make sure to include this and also pack some spare batteries, just in case you run out of battery before you get to reach home. A high-quality headlamp
First Aid Kit – This is one of the most important things to include in your get home bag as it can mean life and death. You do not have to put more than the basics, such as bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, moleskin, splint, tweezers and medications.
Hygiene Kit – You should not forget to take good care of yourself even if the situation is not amusing. Go on about your day just like any other while maintaining good hygiene by including a small towel, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.
Toilet Paper – Nature’s call may happen at any given moment, thus keeping an adequate supply of tissue paper will tend the mess down there. Wet wipes can be a good substitute to toilet papers since they are pretty adaptable and effective in cleaning any part of your body.
Change of Clothes – Since disasters arise unexpectedly and we are most likely not aptly dressed for the quick turn of events. Thus, you may want to consider stuffing in a change of clothes that will suit certain weather conditions. This way it will keep you warm, dry and comfortable.
Running Shoes and Hiking Boots – If you have a long trip home ahead, running shoes or hiking boots are both excellent footwear options due to their durability no matter how jagged the path is. We recommend hiking boots to prevent from turning an ankle in rocky terrain, but we realize everyone has a budget. You should also stuff in an extra couple pairs of socks, just in case your feet get soaked in a puddle.
Gloves – Even if it isn’t cold out, grab gardening gloves. You should give your hands an extra layer of protection as well since most tasks can be and are only meant to be accomplished with them.
Fire-starting Tools – As we all know fire plays a vital role in survival due to the many benefits it provides. Firestarters like the Ferro Rod will definitely help you big time in making a fire way easier and quicker.
N95 Face Mask –N95 face mask will help you to avert inhaling debris, dust or any small toxic particles that might affect your health and put your life at risk.
Sunscreen – This one if often overlooked! You will most probably set out during the day since the night can be scary and dangerous, thus keeping a sunscreen will help you to protect your skin from the sun’s sweltering and harmful heat.
Extra Cash – A few stash of money might be useful especially when credit cards and ATM machines do not work anymore. Put your money somewhere unnoticeable inside your get home bag just to secure it from anyone who might have a probable intention of theft.
Power Bank and Solar Charger – Given that you have electronics in your get home bag, it is rational to include a power bank and solar charger as well.
Food – Food is essential to uphold your energy as you make your way home. The most convenient foods in this particular situation are energy bars, MREs, hard candies or gum, and jerky. They give you a boost in energy while keeping you satisfied.
Small Binoculars – This will provide you a far sight from your standing position, allowing you to safely check a certain area before you get to it.
Sleeping Bags – Unless you have a bug out vehicle, you are most likely to sleep in the wilderness, thus it is convenient to include a sleeping bag for a much more relaxing sleep.
Extra Blanket – You may want to add an extra blanket in your get home bag for an additional layer during extreme cold temperature.
Emergency CB Radio – You can learn a lot about what’s going on around your area and from there you can start making wise decisions on how you should carry on.
What to Use as a Get Home Bag
A get home bag needs to be super durable, because you never know what you might run into while you’re trying to make your way back home in a SHTF situation. That’s why we recommend a waterproof duffel. That way you can safely store any electronics, and you don’t need to worry about getting your bag wet. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth possibly saving your life by keeping your fire-starting materials nice and dry if you take a spill crossing a stream or river.
Some Final Thoughts
A get home bag is as valuable as any other emergency preparedness bags out there in the prepper’s world. It will definitely help in expanding your emergency preparedness since you might find yourself stuck in a situation where you are stuck and need to get home ASAP. That’s where your Get Home Bag will save you.