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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Get Home Bag

Last week, I wrote about 20 items to keep in your vehicle in case of emergencies. You can read that post here. I mentioned a Get Home Bag (GHB) as one of those items. I thought I would go into more detail about what that is and why it is useful.

Get Home Bag

What is a Get Home Bag?

 A Get Home Bag (GHB) is a bag with all the supplies that you will need to get back home.

Why might you need a Get Home Bag? 

Natural disasters, weather related emergencies, or even terrorist attacks are some examples of when you might need to use your GHB.

How much to put in your Get Home Bag?

I like to have supplies that will last for at least 24 hours in my bag. The farthest I usually drive is 25 to 30 miles away from home. If I could walk 20 minutes per mile it would take 8 and a 1/2 hours to walk home if I walked steadily and did not take breaks. I will most likely have little ones with me, will have to walk off-road, and over hills.....we will have to take breaks! Therefore, we will be prepared to spend the night outside.

What kind of bag should you use as a Get Home Bag?

Get Home Bag
Lightweight, Water-Resistant Hiking Backpack

There are several different styles of bags that you could use as a GHB. I like to use a backpack (like the one above), but you could use a messenger bag, a large hand bag, or a 5.11 PUSH Pack. It's important that your GHB look normal. You don't want to stand out in the crowd. Someone who is not as prepared as you might realize that you have supplies that they want.

What should you put in your Get Home Bag?

Your GHB should be lightweight. Keep it under 15 pounds. With that said, here is a list of items that I like to keep in my GHB.

1) Emergency Tube Tent: this will keep you off the ground and out of the rain, wind, or snow.
2) Emergency Sleeping Bag: in addition to the tent, you will be warm and dry.
3) 550 Paracord: there are so many uses for cordage!
4) LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: you can stick this into a puddle, pond, or creek and drink without getting sick. Much smaller and lighter than water bottles.
5) 400 Calorie Food Bars: these are not what you want to snack on, but they will give you the energy you need to get home. Rotate these so that they do not expire.
6) Weather Appropriate Change of Clothes: these should be replaced twice a year. Extra pair of socks. Hat and gloves for the winter.
7) First Aid Kit: Homemade (be sure to include Moleskin - works wonders for blisters) or one like the Ultralight Adventure Medical Kit.
8) Knife: I like the Smith and Wesson Search and Rescue Fixed Blade Knife - this can be used for protection as well as cutting rope or anything else that needs cutting. This weighs a little over a pound, but can be multipurpose.
9) Protection - if you carry a gun, it should not be in your GHB, although you could include extra ammunition. You might put pepper spray or a tazer in your GHB.
10) At least 2 ways to start fire: I prefer a lighter and water-proof matches with Vaseline soaked cotton balls.
11) Flashlight with extra batteries. I like the small LED flashlights.
12) Map and Compass - you should also learn how to use these if you don't already know.
13) Multitool: these have pliers, knives, a can opener, and a bottle opener. Very handy tool to have!
14) Hand wipes and hand sanitizer.
15) Chapstick with SPF

Click here for a printable Basic Get Home Bag Pack List from Stephanie Dayle at American Preppers Network.

Each member of your family needs their own GHB (if they are old enough to carry one). I have two little ones so I will carry their food and clothes in my bag and they will share my tent and sleeping bag. This is something I hope we never have to use, but like I said last week: it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. If you have any comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to add them!

For more information check out these blog posts:
American Preppers Network's Get Home Bags for Everyday People. Why You Need One.
Tactical Intelligence.Net's Get-Home Bag.
The Prepper Journal's Prepping 101 - Get Home Bag

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