Your Get Home Bag is designed to carry essential items to help you get home quickly. In the middle of chaos, it becomes your lifeline and should include the following items:
1. Water Filter
In most situations like a traffic jam or snow storm, you should be able to get home within a relatively short period of time, probably less than 5 hours. A person can go as much as 3 days without water. But dehydration can set in quickly after several hours in a hot car or if you have to walk to get home.
But in a SHTF or natural disaster scenario, you may not be able to get to your home at all. Critical roads may be simply impassable or rioting crowds may make getting home immediately more dangerous. For this reason, always carry at least one bottle of water and a LifeStraw personal water filter and make sure you know how to find an alternative water source if need be.
GHBs are designed to get you home quick. In most scenarios you should be able to get to your bug out bag at home without needing shelter. But just in case you do get stuck for an extended period of time, carry at least some plastic sheeting or a tarp and some paracord or clothesline. Throw in a couple of large garbage bags too. Follow tips in this article to build a shelter.
In most cases you’ll be on the road for several hours at the most. The basic recommendation for a get home bag as far as food is 3 days’ worth. If for some reason you can’t get home quickly you can stretch 3 days’ supply twice as long if needed. Your main concern for food to keep in a get home bag should be maintaining your energy levels.
The survival rule for food is 3 weeks but in reality most people could last at least twice that long. The problem is your energy level doesn’t replenish without food. So your GHB needs to include energy packed foods. Nuts are great (especially almonds), trail-mix, maybe sunflower seeds, your own pemmican. A little chocolate never hurt and it can boost morale when things are tough.
The ability to build a fire for warmth and for cooking is one of the most important survival skills you’ll need. Always carry at least two methods for fire starting as well as something for tinder in case there isn’t any readily available. Again, you may not need it if you get home quickly but why take a chance. Flint and striker, waterproof matches and several lighters are standard.
Chances are your clothing isn’t suitable for the sudden change in weather or conducive to a survival situation, if you’re in rush-hour traffic after work when disaster strikes. You will want to change clothes as soon as it’s safe to do so. You won’t change clothes every day so one or two sets is plenty.
Pack a maximum of two outfits for layering against cold, including thermal underwear, not cotton, and socks. Rain gear is essential. Waterproof pants and a jacket with a hood to wear over everything else to keep the cold rain from soaking through. A wool cap and rugged work gloves to wear while you’re building a shelter.
Waterproof pants make loud crinkling and swishing noises and aren’t the best idea when you need to stay undercover and unnoticed. Some manufacturers make rain pants designed for hunting with the fabric on top, making them a lot quieter. Covering your rain pants with nylon ones will keep the rain pants from rubbing together and making noise.
6. First Aid
Keep all first aid supplies in a Ziploc freezer bag or another watertight package. Ibuprofen is a temporary solution for fever and can buy you a few more days until antibiotics can be obtained. Multiple size bandages are useful for dealing with midsize cuts to severe lacerations. For securing bandages, pack adhesive tape and self-adherent wrap, which is more flexible and permits more movement. For sprains, cloth wrap is best.
Items like alcohol, iodine and hydrogen peroxide are surprisingly less effective for wound cleansing, as they damage cells and slow healing. Clean water is better for cleansing an open wound, apply Neosporin and the bandage. If clean water is not available, resort to alcohol as it will still target bacteria. Topical ointments for stings and bites are good to have too.
Alcohol can also be used for tick removal on animals and humans. In many situations, you simply won’t have enough first-aid items in your GHB to administer the necessary aid. A bandanna can be used for a tourniquet, a makeshift sling or splint for broken limbs. Rely instead on your first aid knowledge.
7. Self Defense
When you’re out in the wild, you may need to flex your muscles when dangerous dogs or aggressive wildlife cross your path. Even fellow survivors with less-than-honorable intentions may pose a threat. For these reasons, you may choose to arm yourself. A reputable handgun and a concealed carry license are your best bets.
The gun should be a last resort for threats when there is no other way out. If you’re going to carry a weapon, learn how to shoot, reload and carry it safely. Know yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- When chaos erupts, will I keep my cool?
- Can I reach my weapon in time to change the situation?
When chaos reigns, military personnel and law enforcement have the upper hand over an ordinary citizen. A firearms self-defense course is a good way to prepare yourself for a heated situation so that you can come away unscathed.
If you’re close to a part of town where rioting and looting are going on, a knife can be useful. Some potential thieves and rapists may be scared off at the sight of you holding your bowie knife in a Rambo-style position. Pepper spray also works against attackers as well as aggressive dogs.
Landline phones, cell phones and internet connections may all be down in a disaster. News broadcasts through AM/FM radio signals will keep you up to speed on what’s happening, how bad it is, and when it’s safe to come back into your home area.
Weather information will be important to prepare yourself for frigid temperatures or impending storms. It’s far better to know what to expect in advance than to suffer through a freezing night without having adequately prepared.
A radio could alert you to a nuclear disaster. Learning the wind direction may help you to steer clear of danger headed toward your area. Equip yourself with an emergency radio that carries several news and weather stations. It should have both a hand crank and rechargeable battery. A two-way radio will allow you to communicate with others on several different frequencies.
9. Survival skills
Everyone needs a GHB. Unless you’re a shut-in, there is a good chance you’ll be away from home when SHTF. The reality is people are on the move all the time, to work, to school, and travelling to far-away places. The supplies you need may be hard to come by in an emergency.
Even more crucial than get home bag supplies, survival skills are by far the most important ‘tool’ you can have. Without knowledge, you’re bound to make potentially lethal mistakes out in the wild. Keep your survival skills sharp and up to date. Practice fire-starting, shelter-building, and basic first aid well in advance.
Clear instructions on what to do in a catastrophe should be stowed inside your child’s backpacks. Knowing they have needed supplies will help them to stay put until you can get to them. Their backpacks should also contain a couple EDC items, such as a flashlight, a mobile phone, and a wallet with $5 – $10 in it. Start teaching them basic survival skills early on.
You can have all the tools in the world, but if you don’t know how to use them, you may as well chuck your GHB into the river, and hope for the best. Have a clear plan and talk about it with your family. It’s vital that everyone is on the same page when it comes to preparedness.
What does your GHB look like? Tell us below.