Top ten Get Home Bag items you need to have make it home quickly and safely.
Of course there are other items that are good to have in your bag, click here for a comprehensive look at why you need a Get Home Bag and exactly what to put in one –> Get Home Bags for Everyday People.
1. Water: Recent studies show women need around 2 liters of water a day and men need
around 3 liters of water a day. The need for water will increase with physical activity so pad
your numbers on water and include a way to collect and purify more water. The average water bladder holds 2-3 liters of water, the average water bottle holds a quart. Once more than 3 or 4 liters of water is added to a bag it becomes difficult to carry all of your water needs for extended periods of time, for this reason in addition to actual water, pack a way to collect and purify more water. Most recreational backpacks come with water bladders these days, if yours doesn’t you can purchase one separately to add to it. You need the ability to “collect” more water (meaning, get it into your water bladder or other larger container) and then purify it, so that you are able to reach home or the next fill up point, don’t count on there being a puddle around each time you get thirsty or need water to use a traditional Life Straw.
Chlorine dioxide water tablets or drops (if you can find them) and iodine tablets are a lightweight, long shelf-life, inexpensive option for purifyingnbulk supplies of water. Water filters, even the smaller ones, are handy but can be bulky and expensive, for this reason a water bottle with a built-in filter may be just the ticket giving you not only a way to purify water but also collect it.
2. Shelter: Consider a bivy as an emergency shelter in your Get Home Bag. They are small and light weight – while not luxurious they can be combined with other items to make a quick improvised shelter that will keep you alive on a cold night. If you are more than a two day walk from home, however, you may want to consider a lightweight one man tent.
An emergency bivy should not be a sleeping bag replacement, at best it’s an emergency shelter and it will not keep you warm alone. They are best used this way in conjunction with emergency blankets, sleeping bags and/or tarps situated to block wind and reflect heat.
3. Two Ways to Make a Fire: While the purpose of a GHB is not to go camping, having a means to start a fire will make you that much more prepared if your situation goes from bad to worse. No emergency kit is complete without at least two ways to start a fire. I prefer matches in a water proof container and fire steel.
4. Food: Look for energy dense easy to prepare food. Energy bars and meals bars are great for this purpose and they are light weight. MREs are nice as they don’t require water, but they tend to be heavy and in all honesty you can live on meal bars just fine for a few days if you had to. Other inexpensive light weight food ideas include; instant oatmeal, packets of tuna (not cans), top ramen and jerky.
5. Clothing: If your average commute is the daily trip to the office you need to pack a change of clothes, including footwear, in your bag. A suit and heels will not get you home quickly. Make sure this change of clothes is suitable to the time of year and weather in your area. Click here to see how to easily vacuum pack and waterproof your Get Home Bag clothes.
6. First Aid: Assemble or purchase a small lightweight first-aid kit, not something that you could perform field surgery with, but something that could take care of minor to mild wounds, blisters, and sprains with. Some OTC (over the counter) drugs like ibuprofen for sore muscles and headaches would also be handy. Adventure Medical manufactures great little light weight, water proof, inexpensive medical kits if you don’t want to make your own.
7. Light: You never know at what time a day you could become stranded having a source of light is a must. I prefer headlamps over flashlights as they keep your hands free, but if all you have is a mini-flashlight, throw that in your pack along with some extra batteries (click here to read about battery choices for preparedness).
8. Rope/Binding: At least 50ft of rope in your GHB. 550 cord is small, lightweight and it will support 550lbs of weight. While not suitable for climbing it has many other survival uses, it is the preferred cordage in many survival kits, but having some rope regardless of type is better than no rope.
50ft of 550 cord will be sufficient for most people, there is no reason to purchase and pack true climbing rope for a Get Home Bag unless you have cliffs to scale or crevasses to cross on your way home from work or town. Climbing rope is heavy and expensive, but it may have a place in a Bug Out Bag or in backpacking gear.
9. Knife: A good quality knife should be included in every GHB. This really does not have to be a$200+ survival knife extraordinaire. For a Get Home Bag find at least one good quality pocket knife, you can of course pack something better or in addition if you want, this is merely a baseline. A gas station pocket knife may break on you when you really need it so spring for a well known, good quality, pocket knife and save the big bad expensive survival knife for your Bug Out Bag. I prefer Buck brand pocket knives for their reputation of durability but you may have your own favorite – there is no wrong knife, any knife is better than no knife.
10. Navigation: While GPS is cool and easy to use it may not always be available if something like a solar flare has taken out your car, it will have most likely rendered your GPS useless. Maps and compasses are still king of the non-electric navigation world. Have one of each in your bag and know how to use them. Important note: Do not circle your house and mark “home” on your GHB maps, least your bag get stolen out of your car. I happen to be a fan of Silva compasses, this particular compass is a great beginner compass and is easy to orient to a map and read. Learn how to orient a compass to a map and navigate before you find yourself in a position where you have to.
Please note: There are many articles on the internet on get home bags and bug out bags, any similarities are merely coincidental.
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