Hello my friend and welcome back! Today’s post is about the common mistakes people make when putting together a “Get Home” bag and how to avoid them. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and have a seat while we visit.
First let me clarify what I mean by a “Get Home” bag just so we are on the same page. A get home bag is a bag or backpack that you keep with you in your car at all times to help ensure you will be able to make it home in case a disaster strikes while you are on the road and away from home. I have written a few articles about them on different occasions and I feel they are a necessity for anyone who works are travels away from their home. I once met a man who insisted he didn’t need one because he only worked about 5 miles from home. I began asking him questions about what he would do if this or that happened while he was at work? Well, to make a long story short, he now carries one in each vehicle that he owns. If you don’t have one , you need to get one but be smart about what you put in it.
One of the most common mistakes that I have seen is for people to assume that because they work a short distance from work, they will need only a small amount of supplies. This can actually be a fatal mistake depending on what the disaster is. Let me give you a few examples: Let’s say the disaster is a Tornado that rips through your town leaving it devastated and in shambles. In this scenario, the streets will be blocked in many cases and you will have to detour around them and this can be a painstakingly slow process. You would also want to try to stop and help some of the survivors where you can which would only add to the time it would take to get home. Your 4 hour walk has just turned into an all-day affair and if it occurs in the afternoon, then you could find yourself in need of a place to spend the night. It could also be raining which would only add to your misery. If however, you have a small tube tent and a sleeping bag of some kind even if it is the little SOL disposable ones then your night will be spent much drier and warm. So in this case, food would also become a concern.
You would be surprised how many people don’t include food in their get home bags. They just don’t think they will be on the road long enough to need any. Of course you don’t want to over load your pack with heavy food that you might never need, but you still need to have something just in case. In this case, I would recommend the S.O.S. Ration bars that they sell on Amazon. They are actually pretty cheap and provide enough calories for 72 hours. The ones I have don’t taste bad either and they are small and light. If you work over 10 miles from home however, then you may want to consider packing some homemade MREs consisting of power bars and crackers with a few small cans of meat of some kind such as Spam or other types. Just remember to check the expiration dates on the cans and change them out before they expire.
Another big mistake that many people make is loading their get home bag down with bottled water. Water is the most critical item but all things should be packed in moderation. You will want to add a few bottles for sure if for no other reason than to have the bottles when they are empty. Just remember that water is very heavy and it will add up quickly. A good way to get around this if you live in a place with plenty of water sources (not in the Desert) is to pack a “Life Straw” or other water filter so you can filter your water on the way home instead of needing to carry a case of water in your pack.
Other items that you need to be sure you have, regardless of how close you are to your home are: a good fixed blade knife, a rain poncho, good walking shoes and thick socks, a dry set of clothes, and a way to start a fire. These items along with the ones we discussed above will make your trip home a much safer and happier trip. Now, if you are going out-of-town or work over 20 miles from your home, then you may just want to bring your bug out bag instead. The idea here is to have what you need and as few things as possible that you will not need. The single biggest mistake that so many people seem to make is to overload their get home bag with items that could be replaced with items weighing much less. When you pack your “Get Home” bag, think carefully about each and every item you put in it and ask yourself if there is a lighter alternative available. By the same token, you should plan for the unexpected because old Mr. Murphy never rests and you can be sure to see him on your trip home when the time comes.
Well that is it for today’s post and I hope you have found it interesting. Until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared. God Bless America!