Summertime is here and it's time to re-organize my Get Home Bag for the change in the season. For my pack, the main difference is what clothing I will be packing. I went ahead and did some additional organizing of my Get Home Bag after re-evaluating its purpose and intended use.
The purpose of my bag is to provide me with the means to get home on foot if I'm up to 200 miles away from home. The pack is light and includes all the necessary (and some unnecessary) gear to make it back to my home.
I call it a Get Home Bag over a Bug Out Bag for the simple fact that I don’t plan on bugging out. My preps are all at my house, and the only time I would need a so called Bug Out Bag would be to make it back to my house if I was unable to make the drive. A Get Home Bag includes all the essential items to make it home by hiking. This is a bag that I throw in the trunk of my car when making long trips in case of a breakdown, or any other type of emergency.
The pack itself is a military surplus large ALICE pack. It features an aluminum frame with a waist strap for proper weight distribution. It also has 3 large external pockets, and 3 small external pockets. I rigged up a hydration bladder that fits inside the radio pocket inside the main compartment. This could be used to carry additional water and mates with my Katadyn Combi hiking filter. I also keep my Midland XT511 Radio in the radio pouch.
Below shows the contents of the external pockets:
Below is the break down of my First Aid Kit and Hygiene Kit:
The top of the pack is covered with a waterproof flap that has storage inside it.
The chart below shows the contents of the flap:
The main compartment is pretty big and could probably hold 2 large sleeping bags rolled up. I try to keep what's inside the main compartment organized with some plastic storage containers and zip-loc bags. For food I choose to keep 6 days worth of food bars. If I'm away from home and on foot, getting back asap will be the top priority. Food bars are something you could grab on the go, they're small and lightweight, and you could eat a quick meal for energy and keep moving. Water is heavy and bulky when trying to carry it on your persons. I decided to go with a Katadyn Combi hiking filter and water bottle for quick and easy hydration on the go. There is a ton of water in Kentucky and if I was on foot I would be able to find a decent water source, and filter it with the Combi for clean drinking water.
Shelter is also important if you were forced to spend the night out in the elements. For this I have a medium sized tarp, a tube tent, and an emergency sleeping bag. It wouldn't provide much comfort, but would keep me warm and dry under the tent and the tarp. Safety is also really important when in the middle of an emergency or disaster. I keep a couple N-95 face masks, a few sets of ear plugs, and a pair of quality safety glasses. I wear contacts and the safety glasses would be important to keep debris out of my eyes and conserve the contact lenses. Speaking of bad vision, it's also important to keep an extra pair of prescription glasses in case what you're wearing breaks or you run of out contacts.
Some items in my Get Home Bag are dual use items, which are items that can be used for different things. Baking soda can be used to keep feet dry and also could be used as a cleaner. Duct tape has about a million uses and could be used for just about anything from first aid to shelter building. Bungee cords also have multiple uses and could be used for shelter building or attaching things to your pack.
Below are pictures of the main compartment contents and a chart of the items:
As stated above, the purpose of the bag is to help me get home in the event of an emergency or disaster. It also is something I could grab and go if I had to leave in a hurry (bug out). If you were faced with an evacuation situation you would want to have a cash stash also in the bag. This is what I think would be important to include in any personal bag. Yours might be a little different, but this should give you a good idea of what to include in a Get Home Bag. I take it with me when I go on long trips and it would even come in handy if you broke down on the side of the road.