The importance of a “get home bag” and what to have in it.

Never underestimate the importance of a Get Home Bag (GHB).  We all have our Bug Out Bags and keep them ready to go at a moment’s notice, but what about your Get Home Bag?  Being away from home when a disaster strikes can be devastating if you don’t have one and trying to get home could be a nightmare.  In some cases it could even be deadly.   Whether you work in town, or across the country, and you suddenly find yourself on foot trying to get home, you will be wishing you had one.  In this post, we are going to look at a few things that you should have in one and why.

In my opinion, one of the first things you should have in your GHB is a good pair of hiking boots.  Most of us don’t wear shoes designed for walking long distances to work.  For this reason, it is especially important to have them with you.  If you start walking home and get a blister on your foot after only a mile or 2, then you could be in serious trouble. You will want to keep a good pair of thick socks with them as well.  I can’t overstate the importance of having these.  Besides making walking painful, a blister could get infected and then you would really have trouble if you didn’t have the medication you need.

Water is the next most important thing to keep in your GHB.  Whether you are walking one mile or a thousand miles, water is important.   If you become dehydrated while making your way home, you could quickly find yourself in a dangerous situation.   An average male needs to drink at least 3 liters of water a day, and more if exercising.  Dehydration can cause any number of issues from weakness to nausea and even fainting.  Bring plenty of water with you and drink frequently.  Your body will thank you for it.

Food is another thing you should keep in your GHB.  Walking burns up a lot of energy and you will need to replace the calories you are burning while walking. You should keep things like Power bars and snacks that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and high in calories in your bag at all times.  Try to avoid eating large meals as these can make you feel sluggish and cause your body to use up more of your precious water. Stick with small light high calorie meals while walking and save to large meals for when you stop for the night. Remember to pack plenty.

Pack several Flashlights in your GHB.  Being on foot can be bad enough, but walking in the dark can get your hurt!  We have all had flashlights that seem to work only when they feel like it.  This can be very frustrating so be sure to keep several in your bag for when it happens.  I keep a couple of LED headlamps and several small hand-held flashlights in my bag just in case.  My headlamps have several settings including a nice bright red light.  This will allow me to see where I am going without losing my night vision.  There are many types of flashlight on the market, so try to get one with the highest amount of lumens you can. When you find yourself walking in the dark, you will be glad you did.

Also pack maps or a  hand-held GPS in your bag ,if you can.  Maps are cheap and you may need to find alternate routes, if you haven’t already.  You never know what types of obstacles you may happen across on your way home, so be prepared to take a different way if the need arises.  If you only work a couple of miles from home, then this is not as important, but if you work 25 miles from home, then it becomes critical. If you travel out-of-state, then you should keep a road atlas or a map of each state in your Get Home Bag at all times.

Water proof matches, disposable lighters and some type of material for use as kindling to start a fire is another item I would not leave home without.  Whether it is for warmth, cooking, or light, you will need it.  Being caught out on the road when the weather is cold without a way to build a fire could quickly become life threatening and even cause death, in some cases.  Prepare for the unexpected and cover all of your bases by having a good way to build a fire in you GHB.  It would be good to mention at this point that if you have never built a fire from scratch in the wild, then you might want to practice it a couple of times because it can be harder than it looks.

It goes without saying that you should always keep a First Aid kit in your GHB for emergencies.  You never know what you might encounter on the way home, even if it is a short trip.  Be sure it has the special Band-Aids for blisters in it as well.  First Aid kits, for the most part. are very light weight and could actually save your life if the unthinkable were to happen.  It is worth mentioning that everyone should take advantage of the first aid courses that are offered by their local Red Cross.  Having a first aid kit and not knowing how to use it could be bad.  Invest the time and get trained. You will be glad you did.

I like to keep a fixed blade knife in my GHB.  It can be used for several things from cutting small limbs off of trees and creating kindling from dead wood to defending yourself should the need arise.  There are many different types and brands on the market and some even have metal rods that can be used to start a fire with attached to them.  If you are only going to have one then I would suggest you get a good Gerber knife as a start.  They are relatively inexpensive and have a reputation for being durable.  Just be careful when using your knife or you may find yourself needing that first aid kit I mentioned above.

These are just a few items that I recommend that you keep in your Get Home Bag.  There are many other items like dry clothes and toilet paper that I think are indispensable that I have not covered here due to space limitations.  I will try to post a more complete list below.  Obviously what you will need will depend on where you live, the time of year and how far you may have to travel.  Pack accordingly.  Well I hope I have given you something to think about and maybe and idea or two in the process.  Just remember that your Get Home Bag can make the difference between making it home and not.  Until next time, keep on prepping!

  • Food
  • Water
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Flashlights
  • First Aid Kit
  • Maps
  • Hat
  • Dry Cloths
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hiking Boots
  • Thick Socks
  • Medication
  • Rain Poncho
  • Wet wipes
  • Multi Tool
  • Compass
  • Sun Glasses
  • Sun Lotion
  • Toiletries
  • Small Tarp
  • Para chord
  • Kindling of some type

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