You’re driving home from work one day, and BANG, it goes down. The Shiz has hit the fan. Your car is out of commission and like most commuters, you’ve got a good distance to go to make it home. You quickly check your Get Home Bag, strap it on and start moving!
What separates you from everyone else stuck on that stretch of road? The contents of your GHB (Get Home Bag) and a few items from your Automobile EDC Supplies is what separates you from them!
The Get Home Bag and its Contents
First let’s figure out what constitutes a Get Home Bag.
I like to think of a Get Home Bag as a backpack, filled with enough tools and supplies to get me home. We may not have to hike a thousand miles, but some of us might end up on foot for more than 40 miles.
You don’t have to use a backpack, but I want something I can strap on and go!
You’ll probably want to avoid anything expensive, fancy or tactical. I used an old computer backpack. You’ll want a backpack that looks very similar to what the other commuters would carry.
You don’t want the other stranded motorists to think that you may have anything that they don’t. People get real sketchy in life or death situations. See our Post: Covert Prepper Backpack
Get Home Bag Contents:
The contents of your Get Home Bag should contain these types of items:
- Extra Medications / Fever reducers
- Flashlight or Headlamp (have extra batteries)
- Sensible Walking or Hiking Shoes – If you wear heels or dress shoes to work, keep a comfortable pair of sneakers or walking shoes in your car.
- Knife. We’re talking about a survival knife. One that can baton wood, cut cord, skin game, and do all the things a good, rugged, outdoorsy knife can do. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be decent. This is exactly why I have a Cold Steel Bushman knife. $15 for a pretty tough knife. We did a couple posts on knives: Budget survival Knife: Cold Steel Bushman knife, Becker BK2 Companion Survival Knife, and the recent Bushcraft Buyers Guide.
- Fire – Firesteel, waterproof matches or a bunch of Bic Lighters, just have some way to make fire.
- Military Rain poncho – This can act as your rain gear and your shelter tarp, or in a pinch you add a poncho liner or jungle blanket and you’ve got a weather-resistant sleep system. That’s right multi-use gear, 3 birds with one stone (I know I just blew your mind). If you can’t envision how a poncho becomes a shelter here are a few links to help you out: 9 Military Poncho Survival Shelter Configurations and Poncho and Tarp Shelters
- Rope / Cordage – pick up at least 100 feet of 550 paracord. You’ll need it to rig your poncho into a shelter and you’ll probably need it for a bunch of other things.
- Duct Tape – I just take an old plastic card (library, shoppers rewards, etc) and wrap a decent amount of duct tape around it. I don’t want to carry a huge 8 inch thick roll of duct tape, but I want some, so I make sure to have about 1/2 inch thick roll of ductape, conveniently off the roll and around the flat card. This will fit easily in our GHB.
- Backpack first aid kit – You can buy one or make your own.
- Bandana or Shemagh – Head covering, sling, sediment water filter (will not purify water) and a trillion other uses. Trust me, these are awesome to have.
- Hat – Keep sun off head, if winter have a stocking cap (WOOL).
- Compass (or GPS) and MAPS! – Get the Delorme atlas for your state and keep one in your car.
- Sun Screen
- Insect Repellent
- Food and Snacks
- Water / Water purification tabs or Water filter
- Stainless Steel water bottle – This can save you from buying the $4 bottled water on road trips and can be used to carry and boil water if you find yourself stranded far from home! If you don’t go stainless steel, you still need a way to carry water so consider a Nalgene bottle or a Collapsible water bottle, if space is tight.
- Toilet Paper – Walking a long distance sucks, and you will have nature call.
- Sunglasses – to protect eyes from sun and debris (goggles might even be good).
- Work or utility gloves
- Wet Wipes / Baby Wipes
- PrePaid Calling Card (in case you need to use a payphone)
- Prepaid Credit Card
- Personal Defense items (legal in your area) – Mace, Pepper Spray, etc.
- Solar charger for phone (and GPS)
- Small Binoculars – You’ll want to be able to check for obstacles and “situations” before you get to them. These don’t have to be pricey. I’ve linked to a small Coleman 10×25 pair for about $17.
Make sure to grab your EDC Survival Kit and some extra gear from your Automobile EDC Supplies. Make sure to grab that Automobile Sun Shade from your car before you head out. This can act as a makeshift sleeping pad, and to reflect heat back to your body when it starts to get cool or cold. You should probably make a list of these items and put it on your GHB so you don’t forget to grab them from the Car supplies.
Make sure to add any other item that makes sense for the season, your region, commute or personal needs!
Download the printable Get Home Bag Checklist in pdf format.
Last but not least, take your brain. There will be a lot of lost, scared and predatory people. Use your wits. Watch out for traps. Gangs use “helpless” damsels in distress to lure in people all the time. I’m not saying don’t be a good Samaritan and don’t be chivalrous and charitable, but use your binoculars to observe for a while to make sure you don’t become the victim.
No matter what happens, you want to get home. What separates you from everyone else stuck on that stretch of road? Your Get Home Bag and your planning is what separates you from them!