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Don’t Get Stranded Without a Get Home Bag

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Jeff H. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Be it natural or man-made disaster you need a 72 hour get home bag. This is an essential prepper tool to ensure your survival and your family’s. This should be considered in two ways: one you need to get home to your family because they rely on you and you need to make sure if your family is with you can survive for a short time period while getting to your home or to a survivable situation. I found this from a CNN website from 2010. Epic traffic jam in China leaves drivers stuck for 9 days.

You can go online and find many different accounts of this happening worldwide.

So the steps to put together a get home bag you will need a number of items for your survival. First is a small ruck sack/backpack. Preferably not military since that might draw unnecessary attention to yourself, a plain unassuming bag will do fine. Another trick you might want to consider is to have a trash bag handy to disguise your bag from prying eyes. When in a survival situation consider all things. If you got something, human nature is to try to take it from you in a bad situation to ensure their survival.

Water is vital for life, but having a means to filter water will extend your capacity for survival.

Water/water procurement:

Let’s start with since this is one of the most important to your survival.  I recommend three different methods be available. Emergency drinking water packets around 4 ounces, I would suggest around 6 packets for your bag. These are good for a few years and can withstand temperatures of -40 to 230 degrees depending on the manufacturer’s level of quality. Pack at least one Water straw preferably two. There are many different makers and versions of this product, you need to make sure of one thing that its filters waterborne bacteria, E-Coli, waterborne protozoan parasites, Giardia & Cryptosporidium. I would recommend LifeStraw.

Water purification tablets are a way to make unsafe water into safe drinking water. Not a lot to say about these except the taste is not exactly pleasant. But in a life or death situation it can be a game changer.

Food source:

I have looked into survival bars and I prefer a bar like the Millennium bar it is a more complete and can sustain your body. Millennium Food Bars have a 5-year shelf life and each bar contains 400 calories ,Total Fat 18g,Saturated Fat 6g ,Trans. Fat 3.5g,Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 15mg ,Total Carbohydrates 52 g ,Dietary Fiber less than 1g ,Sugars 33g,Protein 8g,Vitamin A 4%,Vitamin C 15%, Thiamin 10%,Riboflavin 20%Calcium 4%,Iron 6% and Niacin 15%. I would suggest 5-6 bars in your get home bag.

Let me warn you about the SOS, Mayday, Datrex survival bars. They have very little nutritional benefit and will not sustain you for any period of time and are not pleasant to eat. These are the nutritional benefits of this bar. Total fat 9 g, saturated fat 2, sodium 0.75mg, carb 26 g, sugar5g and protein 7g that’s it no vitamins just fat content.

Fire:

Again I believe in the rule of three in survival, three different methods of making fire. Butane lighters at least two, magnesium fire stick with striker, potassium permanganate and petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls, kept separately of course. Potassium permanganate can be used also for water purification, antiseptic, anti-fungal for feet or hands, also a disinfectant agent.

Emergency Shelters in Japan.

Shelter:

An emergency Mylar blanket one or two, Mylar sleeping bag and a Mylar emergency tent. When in a short survival scenario this is all you have time for.

First aid:

A small first aid kit with the essentials in all you truly should need. Also pack hand sanitizer and a pack of wipes. Hygiene is something that should be considered while trying to survive.

Here is a list of some miscellaneous items you would want to pack also.

  • A survival knife wrapped in para-cord
  • Small amount of duct tape wrap it on a pen or pencil
  • Notepad
  • Survival axe (small version)
  • Metal cup
  • Mini fishing kit in case you need to sustain yourself for a little longer period to get home
  • Toilet paper which can be purchased in a small crush proof container at most stores in the sporting goods.

Also you might consider a 22 pistol or Henry survival rifle and some ammunition. When dealing with firearms make sure you check your state and city regulations for storage and transport.

I would like for you to remember that this is a get home bag and try not to add unneeded items and do not overstock your bag.

  • Huples

    Good article but those mylar shelters are highly visible and not very warm or sturdy.
    I’d just use a decent tarp and paracord system for warmer times.
    A winter GHB is entirely different animal in the north
    I’d add 3-4 good trash bags. Rain coats and stuffed with leaves a decent sleeping mat.
    I’d dump all that fire stuff and have just cotton wool/TP and use the hand sanitizer as the fuel, one BIC, and one box of waterproof matches. Realistically I’m not sure I’m lighting fires during a get home push and its only a few days. One is none, blah, blah but no point carrying multiple in this case if redundancy works better than duplication.
    Fishing kit? If very rural and very distant then maybe but for most of us just weight. I’d have a lot more real food in that scenario. Fish on its own doesn’t do much for your energy levels without oil and carbs. It also takes time to fish.
    I’d add decent work gloves and a scarf. Vaseline for chaffing is a must as is sunscreen and bug repellent depending on the season.
    Urban would use the car tire iron for accessing sleep spots and supplies.
    Food for me went into packets of rice and bars. You can get okay cheap rice dishes precooked and warm them by body heat.
    I’ve also added a couple of crushable plastic water bottles in addition to my edc metal one. Water is critical on long hikes under stress. You can easily need 1-2 litres an hour in the summer even in the north

    • JD

      Lmao! You’re worried about weight when it comes to a fishing kit you could carry in a shirt pocket. Or dumping “all” that fire stuff, but yet your list of fire stuff is larger. Mylar weighs nothing and folds up extremely small, but yet you want to lug a tarp around for shelter. You of all people should know, if you’re getting home in January, and have to spend a night or two outdoors, you bet your ass you will be lighting a fire. How long have you been doing this? You’ve got a longer journey than you think.

  • ReadyToGoSurvival

    Great article. I agree with Huples below, those Mylar shelters are not very warm or durable; tarp is the way to go. Also, very good point on the garbage bag. I can see the benefits of stashing your gear somewhere along with real garage. Problem wold be finding it later 😉 Similarly, a rain cover will do the trick for anyone out there with military style backpacks.
    As for water, the human body needs a minimum of 1 liter per day, that’s 33 ounces. 6 water pouches will not cover it. I guess that’s why you suggested the Lifestraw. However, IMO, the Sawyer Microfilter is far superior and will filter more water.
    Lastly, I really like that you mentioned Potassium permanganate. Not many know of this and we also use it in our packs. All in all, good article.

    In addition, I think your audience will enjoy a similar post we shared. This one has a free eBook checklist. Let your views download the free eBook! Thx.

    http://www.readytogosurvival(dot)com/ultimate-bug-out-bag-list/

  • Bolofia

    A get-home bag is entirely different than what you would carry in a serious bug out situation, but what you didn’t address in your post are issues related to the distance and necessary planning involved in simply getting home. An eight hour hike in urban/suburban areas is entirely different than the circumstances that Huples would be dealing with or, in my case, a potential hike of more than 75 miles through desert terrain. It is awfully important that people consider their worst case scenarios and plan accordingly. My GHB is always stocked with a minimum of 3600 calories of survival rations and I would expect to be pretty darned hungry by the time I get home. Therefore, if you are planning the contents of a 72 hour GHB, the 2000-2400 calories that you suggest isn’t enough to keep your energy up.

    A single LifeStraw will filter 264 gallons of water. If you can’t reach your home destination before exhausting the capacity of one of these units, you will never make it, anyway. For that reason, I would ditch the water purification tablets. The problem with emergency water packets is that, once opened, you can’t re-use them. Instead, why not use regular bottles of drinking water? It’s easy to set up a periodic rotation. An empty water bottle should go back into your pack for re-use at the next opportunity.

    If I’m trying to get home in the shortest time possible, I really don’t plan to add a fishing expedition to the timeline. I also agree with the other comments about the use of mylar for shelter, etc. Get a serious mil-spec poncho, a decent tarp, and carry a lot more paracord than you can wrap around the handle of a knife.

    • Huples

      Hi Bolofia,
      Obviously geographical and seasonal considerations here but it was a good general article.
      I disagree about ditching purification tablets. They weigh nothing and purify while on the go so decrease time at a water source which might be helpful. Yup. Lifestraw not minisawyer for a GHB.
      Overall I am against a tarp, etc and go with a good poncho. I do not want to sleep or fish in a get home scenario. I want to get home ASAP.
      Bug out is different obviously.
      Being tired I forgot to say add several hundred dollars in cash. Grab a cab if you can and offer a bonus if you have to. Get out before everyone else thinks to Or realizes cash is TP

      • Bolofia

        Well said. My point is carry what you need and don’t waste space or weight for things that you don’t need. If you have to hoof it 75 miles, you need an extra pair of socks. If the weather is inclement, you need a good poncho. In my case, I plan for a scenario that involves three days of hiking and stock my GHB accordingly – with reliable gear.

      • Malkar

        Why Lifestraw over minisawyer?

        • Huples

          Only one part and for me I do not need to stop and pump water. I use a mini for camping and day to today but GBH is point to point so I’d rather put dirty water in a bottle and drink it via the straw.
          I can see good arguments for either in truth

          • Bolofia

            Ditto what Huples says. Plus, I don’t trust their claim that it will filter up to 100,000 gallons of water. No pun intended, but that’s a little hard to swallow…

  • christopher

    I carry my bug out bag everywhere i go, even to the grocery store. its black, so it hides itself in jeep pretty well in floor (black trash bags for cover is a great idea) i do have 3 large black bags stuffed in it. i find i get used to carrying it everywhere i go. i refill my canteens usally once a week or if i know i am going on long trips. i keep a 3 gallon of water hard plastic round water cooler jugs in back of jeep (i needed it one time my jeep overheated due to radiator therm issue.) i keep a MRE and bars in. sometimes i throw in some tack or homemade jerkey or trail mix depending on how far i am traveling. i think the main thing is, if you dont carry it, no matter how good of a bag you have or what you have in it, it won’t do you any good sitting in your living room!

    • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

      Agreed: if it’s not with you it doesn’t exist. Mine lives in my daily driver, specifically configured to fit inside the spare tire rim. I laid out the gory details inc pics here a couple of years ago, along with my reasoning behind the contents. ie: distance, terrain, projected obstacles and weather considerations, etc, It has evolved as new gear has been acquired or traded away, route considerations due to new land developments, some highway work, and so on.

      I’ve a spreadsheet I use too keep track of the contents along with the weight of all the items. Quite useful for “tuning” purposes. I’d post it, but I don’t think Pat wants me to drop 50+ rows into a post. 🙂

      • We can always add that to our resources page for people to download.

        • Bolofia

          Pat, I know that you’ve referenced it in the past, but the “Lists of Lists” maintained on SurvivalBlog is still an excellent source of prepper planning. Spreadsheets are a great tool. I, for one, would like to see what Deplorable has come up with. Best regards to you.