There really is no right or wrong bag (s) or plans. There is only what works for you. Before getting started however, do a quick threat assessment. Start with the known threats, for example, is it hurricane season, tornado season, is it wintertime where blizzards and ice storms would be a threat and is flooding a real concern.
Look at the possibility of wildfires, earthquakes, pandemics and even volcanic eruptions as well. Once you have assessed all the natural disasters look at what trouble humanity is cooking up and adjust accordingly.
Your get home items will need to change as conditions change, so it is important that you do not simply cram everything into the trunk or a backpack and forget about them. Food and water will need to be rotated out and you will need to add or remove certain items as the seasons and threats change.
As the name implies a get home bag is designed to give you the essentials needed to sustain you as you make your way home. The lone wolf survivalist and some others may think there is no need to get home, but for the majority of preppers out there, there would be an overwhelming desire to get home as quickly as possible during a crisis, but for those unprepared getting home will be much more difficult, if not impossible.
Dress for the Occasion
1.) Having the wrong pair of shoes on will make walking difficult, and having the wrong pair on may very well cause foot and ankle injuries that prevent you from walking at all. Start out by assuming you will have to spend a lot of time on your feet during a crisis, a lot of time walking that is.
The shoes you wear for work may not be suitable for walking, so for the bag include a pair of quality hiking/walking shoes or boots and several pairs of quality socks, wool socks are recommended. Adjust your footwear for the seasons.
2.) It goes without saying that cold weather coats, hats and gloves should always be in your vehicle during the winter months, but what about the rest of the year. Your work clothes may not be suited for walking so it is important that you have extra clothing in your bag regardless of the seasons.
Dresses, and suits are not ideal clothes for getting home in if you have to abandon your vehicle. You should have clothing and other items that can protect you from the hot sun, cooler nights, insects and rough vegetation. Long sleeved shirts and long pants are ideal for everyone regardless of the season.
3.) Hats for sunshade, work gloves, sunglasses, bandanas, wet weather suits and/or ponchos should also go into your get home bag.
1.) Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are a good option, because of their high calorie content and the fact each package is a self-contained full meal that can be eaten right from the package. They are easy to pack, are lightweight and have an extended shelf life if protected from high heat.
Higher temperatures will reduce the shelf life, so if they are stored in the vehicle during the summer months they should be insulated against the heat. Otherwise, you must rotate more often.
MRE’s stored at 100ᵒ F have a shelf life of only a few months, (assume one month shelf life if stored in the car during the summer months). However, MRE’s stored at room temperature can last up to three years. Storing at 50ᵒ F or below could extend the shelf life up to 10 years or longer.
2.) Sleeves of crackers and small jars of peanut butter will supply you with much needed protein. Dried meats (jerky) are also ideal, along with certain canned goods, such as tuna or chicken.
Large canned goods will be bulky and will add considerable weight to your pack, so choose carefully. You need enough food for at least 24 hours. Energy bars are another option, and in an emergency protein/energy, bars will provide you with enough energy to get home on if you have a sufficient supply.
1.) Off the shelf first aid kits would probably suffice, but make sure you have in addition to what is in the kit lip balm, sunscreen and insect repellent.
Optional medical items you may want to consider include face masks/respirators, surgical/medical gloves, face shields, impermeable medical gowns, safety goggles/eye protection, waterproof medical foot covers.
1.) Have a case or more of water in the trunk or back of the vehicle. You would of course carry the bottles in your pack as you hit the trail for home. Protect from freezing by wrapping in newspaper and putting inside Styrofoam coolers or other insulated coolers designed for vehicles.
Other Needed Essentials
- Multi-Tool And A Fixed Bladed Knife If Laws Allow It
- Duct Tape
- Personal Protection Such As Pepper Spray, Stun Gun or Baton or Firearms, The Choice is Yours Entirely, Based on Personal Preferences and Local Laws
- Mylar Blankets
- Water Filtering Straw or Iodine Tablets
- Matches, Lighters and/or Magnesium Sticks and Ferro Rods
- Walking Stick
- Flashlight (S)
- Compass And Maps of The Area and State
- Battery Operated Radio
- Lightweight Tarp (S), Certain Tarps Can Weigh As Little as One Pound and Yet are Waterproof and Can Provide Protection From the Hot Sun
- Extra Cell Phone Battery And Portable Charger
Some may be thinking there seems to be a lot of items, but remember clothing appropriate for the season and shoes it is assumed will be worn, so they will not go into your backpack as you set out on foot. This means that you will exchange your work clothes and footwear for what is in your vehicle and put on any wet weather or winter gear if it is needed. Items such as your work clothes and shoes will be left in the vehicle.
What If You Take a Bus Taxi, Bicycle or Train to Work Every Day
If this is the case, store certain items at your workplace, such as in your locker or office, and/or carry a briefcase or satchel daily with certain items inside. Many people routinely carry small backpacks and other packs to work. Laptop cases, “fanny packs” and so on can store certain items needed to get you home. Store walking/hiking shoes, heavy coats, gloves and other clothing in your locker or office.
Do you actually know how to get home on foot. The view at street or ground level will look different from the view from your vehicle, bus, taxi or train. Know the routes needed to get home and keep in mind navigational landmarks may be destroyed because of the crisis.
How far can you walk in 24 hours, well not as far as you may think unless you are accustomed to walking and carrying a pack and are in reasonably good physical shape. On flat ground without obstructions underfoot the average person can walk 3 miles per hour, assume you will not be able to maintain this pace however.
You will be carrying a pack, and the ground may be anything but even. If you are walking through a rural landscape, you can expect to have to climb over, or go around obstacles and in the city highways, bridges and tunnels will be blocked or damaged so you will be backtracking around obstacles. Therefore, your average walking speed is likely to be closer to 1 mile per hour.
You have to plan for this so if you live 30 miles from work you may need to increase your essentials, because you will not likely make it home in 24 hours.