Get Home Bag

My Original Get Home Bag Contents

What I Pack In My Get Home Bag

My Original Get Home Bag Contents
My Original Get Home Bag Contents

A Get Home Bag is essentially the little brother to the Bug Out Bag.  The Get Home Bag is lighter and smaller and built for quick movement to assist you in one purpose, getting home!  The Get Home Bag is meant to be left in your primary every day use vehicle and it just sits and waits until needed in an emergency.  In July 2011, I initially wrote an article about my Vehicle Every Day Carry items and included in that list was a Get Home Bag.  Here is an updated look at what I currently carry in my Get Home Bag.  I highly recommend keeping a Get Home Bag in your vehicle in case it breaks down beyond repair, gets stuck in a ditch or for whatever reason you just have to leave the vehicle and go on foot.

Get Home Bag Contents:

  • Small backpack
  • Extra cell phone battery
  • Emergency credit card – With at least a $3000.00 credit limit.
  • Prepaid calling card – With 60 minutes or so of time on it.
  • $300 cash – Pay for a ride, buy spare parts or food, water, etc.
  • Bright colored poncho – shelter from rain, signaling.
  • Old broke in tennis shoes – Better for long walks than dress shoes, boots, or high heels.
  • Thick wool socks – Change of socks so feet stay dry and avoid blisters.
  • Umbrella.
  • 1 Liter stainless steel bottle full of water.
  • Emergency Water Filter Straw – Can be used with empty water bottles to re-stock on fresh water for the long walk.
  • 4 Cliff Bars
  • Collapsible baton – Self Defense (Note: Check your local laws to ensure these are legal for carry).
  • Springfield XD-9 Subcompact and holster (To see this weapon click here)
  • Combat field bandage – Medical, Fire Starter.
  • Triangle bandage / kravat – Multi use, medical, water filter (not purifier), dust filter for face, etc.
  • Toilet paper
  • Candle – Heat, Fire starter, Signal
  • 6ft x 8 ft Tarp – Shelter, ground tarp for working on vehicle.
  • Cigarette Lighter
  • Magnesium Fire Starter / Fire Steel
  • Pitch Wood Club – Fire starter, Self Defense
  • Compass / Signal Mirror – Navigation, directional day time signaling (A couple flashes in a drivers eyes will get their attention – just don’t hold it on them as it could cause an accident).
  • Fenix TK 41 Led flashlight (To see this awesome light click here) – For night time travel and vehicle repair.
  • Emergency road flare – Emergency distress signal, fire starter.
  • Folding saw – Collecting fuel for an overnight fire if needed, removing debris from a road, etc.
  • Fixed blade knife – Multi use.
  • Handheld CB – ( To see this CB radio click here) Signaling and Communication
  • Handheld FRS / GMRS Radios – Signaling and Communication with family.
  • Notepad and pens/pencil – Leaving directions, destination and contact information.
  • Road map – Finding ways around obstacles or detours.
  • Handheld GPS – Waypoints to home and friends houses or rally points preloaded.
  • Shemagh – Head cover, scarf, dust filter, water filter, Wet down put on neck to avoid overheating, etc.
  • White  cotton towel – Waving it at passing cars is an emergency distress signal, to clean up with after repairing vehicle
  • Wool stocking cap
  • 6 hand/foot warmers
  • Gloves

All of the gear in my Get Home Bag fits nicely in a small backpack and it all weighs about 22 lbs. But once you put on the tennis shoes, socks and drink the water, the weight drops a few pounds.  A little heavier than most will be used to carrying on long walks, but it isn’t over whelming and will give you plenty of resources to deal with a wide variety of situations.

While most all of the items in a Get Home Bag should have multiple uses the extra cell phone battery, the cash, prepaid calling card and emergency credit card are in all likelihood the most useful in most real world emergencies (non-SHTF type scenarios).  If you had a long walk the extra socks and tennis shoes would also come in very handy, especially if you have to wear nice dress clothes to work.  High heels or dress shoes aren’t fun on long walks. Well, I’m not personally aware of the comfort level of high heels, but my wife tells me they aren’t great…

Check out this newer article with a couple of recent videos on the topic of Get Home Bags!

Here are the videos that go with the my Updated Get Home Bag:

 What items do you keep in your Get Home bag that I don’t have in mine?

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49 thoughts on “Get Home Bag

  1. my only problem with this is leaving it in your car — too many break-ins in the city but overall it is a fine bag…

  2. David, Good Point! Leaving it in your car is certainly a risk. If you could take it in and leave it at your desk that could certainly be an option too. Personally, I would probably forget to take it with me back to my car everyday, thus not having it with me if I needed it on the ride home. I guess there are always trade offs. Thanks! JJ

  3. I keep 30 to 50 dollars in rolled quarters in my bag. They’re a bit of added weight but vending machines love them. I also have one of the maylar blankets and a camo nets sold for hunting blinds. The net does double duty as a bug barrier and a degree of camo if I have to shelter for the night.

  4. Mike, Great idea on the denominations. Certainly couldn’t hurt to have a couple small barter items as well. I wouldn’t carry too much though because my goal for this bag is to try and keep it as light as possible so I could move as quick as possible to get home. Good stuff though! Thanks. JJ

  5. Ishimo, Good call on the rolled quarters. Easier to break up for smaller transactions. I suppose I could even get a roll of junk silver half dollars in their as well like Survivor Milke suggested for possible Barter if it were ever needed. Thanks! JJ

  6. LMAO…that is funny! I don’t technically carry it in my GHB. But I do have a couple in my glove box. I should good ahead and throw a couple in the GHB as well since they are so light and easy. Thanks for pointing that out!

    What do you use for water in your GHB?

    Cheers JJ

  7. Carlos, Will do! I had plans to do a post on my Bug Out Bag, but with Creek Stewart’s book release recently, I thought I would wait a bit. Let me know if you want to see anything specific! Cheers JJ

  8. Those sneakers in the picture are an excellent idea – esp for women, what with the shoes we wear. I would suggest one of those “Shake Lights” instead of a battery-dependent one, though. And I also didn’t notice an emergency blanket or bivy on the list…

  9. TETE,
    Good call on the Shake light / Chem lights. That would be great lightweight addition. You could also throw in am emergency bivy as well, I had one of those cheapo ponchos in mine which sort of took the place of a emergency blanket, I just added it because I had it laying around. But an emergency bivy or blanket like one of those made by SOL ( could easily take its place. It is all personal preference really, just remember to keep it as light as possible because the goal is to be able to move as fast as possible back home, more gear does slow the pace. But all of your points are excellent and could certainly be added with a minimum of weight. Thanks! JJ

  10. What I do for Duct tape is take about 6 feet of the role and wind it around a pencile. That way it takes up much less space in my bag (and I have something to write with).

  11. great list, only discrepancy is a full water bottle in a car over night in a northern winter climate will freeze and can rupture, though leaving it say 3/4 full or less willl help prevent that. minor issue, unless your bottle burst/leaks. One other thing i might add would be a nalgene collapsable wide mouth bottle that can be rolled up when not full and a back up water container. Great list, most of which i dont have yet sadly.

  12. Doug,
    That is a great point about the full water bottles in a cold winter night. I hadn’t thought about that. I lived in Nebraska where the winters get pretty cold and never had a problem, but you are right I was probably lucky! Thanks. JJ

  13. A couple of sharpies they write on anything. When you have to leave a quick note to someone. or leave a breadcrumb so someone can follow your trail.

  14. Having several weapons myself, being an avid hunter, I always put the safety of my weapons at high priority, making sure they don’t get into the wrong hands, which is why they are always locked up in a secure gunsafe at home. I understand americans are not so careful with their weapons when you leave them laying around in your car in parking lots where anyone can break in and take your bag. This might be the reason why it’s so easy for the “bad guys” as NRA calls them, to get their hands on guns like yours, because you people just don’t use your head when you throw your guns around like this.

    I REALLY hope you at least bring your gun with you at all times, while leaving the rest of the bags contents in your car. Anything else is reckless and basically begging criminals to get their hands on your gun.

  15. I think you may have a misperception of the actual crime rate in most of America. I have been driving for more than 20 years and my vehicle has never been broken into. Also just so you know it is legal in America to store a weapon in your vehicle and I do so regularly. Guns are easy enough to get ahold of in America that a criminal really doesn’t need to risk breaking into a car to get one. Here in America if a criminal were to see a vehicle they “thought” had a gun in it, they would likely think twice about stealing it out of fear that the owner would see them and take care of business with his other weapon that he was carrying on his person. I suppose you guys probably don’t have that problem in Norway.

  16. Find it funny that you say you should check to see if the fold up baton is legal, but you don’t say the same about the gun. I also agree with one commenter that leaving a bag with a loaded gun in your car is probably not the smartest thing to do.

  17. Scott, I mentioned the baton’s legality because I figure many people are not aware that they are restricted for law enforcement use only in some states. As far as leaving a loaded gun in a car goes if you don’t feel comfortable or if you live in a high crime area, don’t do it. As with everything I post and write about these are my suggestions and opinions. Things that I have learned and applied personally over the past 20 years. Feel free to adapt and change as needed.

  18. I like this list; the only change I would personally make is to swap out the camp saw for a machete. I keep a machete stowed in my car’s trunk all the time, and it’s incredibly handy. It can act as a saw, hatchet, hammer, knife, small frying pan with the addition of some tin foil, and the obvious self-defense application.

    I’d say though, that the baton is only useful if you know how to use it, hence my mentioning of a machete, which is fairly self-explanatory. You only get the full mileage out of an asp if you know how to use it to subdue with joint locks and pain compliance techniques.

  19. A machete would certainly be a good call, no doubt. I could probably fit a British Golok in the pack I am using, but wouldn’t fit a full length machete. But could probably strap it to the side o the pack. Thanks!

  20. Stumbleupon pointed me at this page– excellent idea! I’ve been meaning to put this type of bag together myself.

    Maybe I’ve just spent too much time backpacking, but I’m not sure I like the question “what am I missing?” without the question “what am I carrying that’s not necessary?” after it. For example, if you’re carrying a poncho and a tarp, why carry an umbrella? Do you really need to carry a club/firewood? There are much lighter and smaller firestarters out there, as I’m sure you’re aware. Why do you need such a huge knife, when you’ve also got a folding saw? Wouldn’t a smaller one suffice? If you do add a machete, what would that let you take out? Communication is important, but with your cell phone included you’re carrying three different radios, one of which isn’t small. Do you need them all?

    What’s the intended purpose of this bag? What situations do you intend it to prepare you for? How far does it need to take you? How comfortable do you really need to be in the event that you have to use it? As your bag gets heavier and more expensive, it gets less practical. You’re more worried about theft, it takes up more space in your vehicle, it’s more difficult to find things inside of it, and it’s more weight you have to carry around in what will probably be a stressful situation to begin with.

    Again, don’t get me wrong, this is a great idea and I’m completely behind it. It just seems strange to me to suggest a “small, just get me home” bag and proceed to put an umbrella and a baton in it.

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  22. I keep everything neatly in an ALICE Pack that i got at a yard sale for $15. the rubberized lining made for rainy NAM keeps everything very dry as long as i keep it maintenanced good, there are thick shoulder pads for long… LONG walks and a butt/lumbar pad for those as well. it has many useful and unique abilities that others here might figure out if they get one themselves like the ability to hold just about anything as long as its got a carabeener, Ive actually had to use it once for an emergency in the woods so im in love. just thought i’d letcha know. P.S. awesome pack btw, the contents would look sooo much better in an ALICE.

  23. Why so many stuff ? And much of it is for the same purpose. The use of a gun can be discussed, but 2 magazines? It’s not a lot by skipping one, but the other could be stored in the gun (it’s safe, right?), thereby not using more space than the gun itself.
    Generally, I think you could easily cut down half.

  24. JJ, Bob made an excellent assessment (14 Feb) of your GHB but you gave him short shrift. What’s up with that? If you keep this post open, the bag will grow to 100 lbs by 2020. What is your plan to avert this?

  25. jomar,
    Thanks for reminding me! I responded to his comment with the 2 new videos that I did on the subject because of his comment. I just forgot to go back and let him know. This blogging stuff can get pretty busy! Thanks for keeping me straight. Cheers JJ

  26. Great ideas on most items, while road maps are great, in some scenarios, the roads will not be your best option for travel. I would also include topgraphical/satellite maps of the area between work and I home. I would personaly have to travel approximately 50 miles home, and there is a large urban area between my job and my house. Thre are several areas that I would want to avoid even under ideal conditions, much less under dire circumstances. I keep maps showing the terrain and areas I may have to use as alternate routes including railroad tracks and utility easements. I would also include pepper spray and possibly a stun gun not only for protection agaist two legged antagonists but the four legged stray dogs I may encounter. Everyone will have to adapt their get home bag to their particular circumstances and environment.

  27. Stumble upon brought me here – I’d like to add that I think you need more water / food preps… Sure this is a GHB, but (always think of the but) what if home isn’t there? Or what if you’re path is constantly obstructed and you take longer? Just my only thought; more food / water.

    Well my other thought: entertainment…. A deck of cards and 4 dice don’t weigh much, and the mental stability they bring is worth the weight (and trading possibility)

  28. something everyone forgets to do is change/charge batteries at regular intervals. check dates and op tests should be marked somewhere visible in your daily routine. 5 minute bag check could be the difference between a ride home and a 30 mile hike home.
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  29. Yeah I’ve got a ton of extra unused credit cards laying around I’ll be sure and throw one in there

  30. Well if you need help coming up with a list of items for a car survival kit just email me @ RealitySurvival on Gmail. And I would be happy to help you out! Seriously! wouldn’t mind at all.

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