This is the third post in the Prepping Supplies Series that goes over get home bag (or bug in bag) supplies. You will want to customize your bag when you get a chance, but for now try and at least have these items with you.
Get Home Bag vs Bug out Bags
A get home bag and a bug out bag are very similar and very different at the same time. A get home bag is meant to get you to your supplies, a bug out bag means you are leaving your main operating base. A get home bag doesn’t need to have all the supplies that a bug out bag needs, but you do need to think about the 5 areas of preparedness when building one. If you haven’t read the first post in this series please do so, it explains the 5 areas of preparedness and the rule of threes.
Personally I use my bug out bag as a get home bag as well. My bag is almost always in my car and I don’t travel that much anyway. I’m not going to go as far as to say you don’t need this in the beginning because you should have your BOB and a car kit, but if you need to put anything off until later, this is it.
It’s up to you how you do this, especially when you are starting out. If your budget doesn’t allow you to build a get home bag right now, make sure you take your bug out bag with you everywhere.
This will be a general list but you need to tailor it to your needs depending on how far away from home you are on average, and the weather conditions in your area. If you live up north you might not need everything that goes in a bug out bag, but you might need some extra clothes and items to keep you warm.
Get Home Bag Contents:
Maps of the Area: Not only do you need a map of the area you are in, you need a map or maps of the area you plan on going which should be home. You might have the same maps in your car, but for the price of a map you might as well have a couple extra in different places. You might think you don’t need a map of the area you live in, but what would you do if the route you were going to take was blocked off?
Signal Mirror and Whistle: Sometimes you might not want to be found, but sometimes you might need some help. If your car breaks down or you are stranded because of weather you will need some way to signal for help, a whistle and mirror might come in handy..
Folding Knife: Just like the folding knife you have in your bug out bag these are convenient and take up little space. Having the right tool for the job is important, and sometimes a big knife is just too big.
Fixed Blade Knife: Fixed blade knives will stand up to heavy use, whereas a folding knife will eventually break. If you need to chop anything you will want a sturdy dependable knife to do it.
Multi Tool: You never know when a multi tool might come in handy. From opening a can to sawing a small tree branch a multi tool comes in handy more than you would think. It can get pretty expensive buying a few multi tools and a bunch on knives, but there are Lower cost tools you can buy that will do. I have my Gerber multi tool that I carry every day, and a few lower cost multi tools in my bags.
Fire Starting Kit: A fire starting kit includes a few things and it really depends on you. You can put this in an Altoids tin and include char cloth, ferro rod, cotton balls and waterproof matches, or you can keep them separate. Just make sure you have a few ways to start a fire.
Flashlight: Make sure you have multiple light sources and make sure they don’t all run on batteries. It can be a small pocket sized flashlight, a solar lantern or even glow sticks. It gets pretty dark at night no matter where you are so make sure you have this area covered.
550 Paracord: You might not need 100 feet like you do with you bug out bag, but you can never have enough paracord. When you get paracord you want to make sure it’s 550 paracord. 550 has 6 separate strands inside the paracord casing which can be separated giving you even more cordage. 550 is also much stronger than regular prarcord.
Extra Batteries: Make sure you have an extra set of batteries for everything in your bag and then add some more because you never know how long your batteries will last in different conditions.
Duct Tape: There is always a use for Duct tape right? Duct tape can be used in a pinch to close a wound, patch a hole or as a fastener. You don’t need an entire roll of Duct tape with you though, you can do what I do and wrap a lighter with it to save room. This is one of those you only miss it when it’s gone items.
First Aid Kit: Keep in mind what might cause you to need your get home bag, it could be a car accident that left you injured, or you just escaped a mob of angry rioters. This can be as simple or complex as your skill requires. Include bandages, tape, dressings, prescription and over the counter medications and something like quick clot. Make this kit as good as you can with the room that you have.
Food Items: You might not need as much food with you as you would bugging out because hopefully you will be home in 24 to 48 hours. You will need a minimum of 1,000 per day and even more depending on how active you are. Foods like peanut butter, jerky, granola bars and Survival Bars are light weight but high in calories. Remember you can go 3 weeks without food so packing food in not a necessity in a get home bag, but having food will keep your moral and energy up.
Bottled Water: I don’t keep bottled water in my bug out bag because of weight, but I do have bottled water in my truck and if I had to leave in a hurry I would make sure and grab what I can. I also know where I can get water on the route I would take. In a get home bag you might not have that option. Make sure the bottled water is sealed and doesn’t burst open getting everything in your bag wet.
Water Filter: 3 days without water is the maximum the body can go without water, but your body will be affected way before that. Making sure you have a way to make any water you find drinkable is critical. As I said in the last post I recommend the Sawyer Mini
Water Purification Tablets: Redundancy is key. These take up very little room and are less expensive than a filter. Make sure you have multiple ways to lean water. There are a few different types, just make sure you use them correctly.
Shelter: Tarps, emergency blankets, trash bags and small one man tents could all be added to your get home bag. Consider your geography, weather and time of year when you are adding shelter supplies to your bag.
Extra Clothes: Make sure you have a change of clothes in your bag. This includes a couple pairs of socks, shoes, underwear, a knit hat and shirts. This is not necessarily so you have clean clothes to wear, but clothes to change into if your other clothes become wet or damaged. Make sure what you choose is comfortable and the shoes you pack are good for walking long distances.
Personalizing Your Get Home Bag
As you begin to personalize your get home bag you need to take into account how far and how often you travel everyday, where you would need to travel on your way home and what you might encounter on your way home. You also need to make sure you are ready physically to handle this challenge. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are if you cant walk more than a mile.
It will take you longer than you think to get from point A to point B. The guest post Prepping and Unrealistic Expectations from Robert goes through this exact situation about what to expect when you are bugging in.
The next post in this series will be all about automobile travel kits. Unlike get home bags these are critical regardless of how far you take prepping. We spend more time than we think driving, and we might as well be ready is something were to happen.