Before SHTF, you need to prepare a get-home bag. Doing this ensures that you can return home safely with items that will help you survive the trip back home after facing a dangerous situation at work or elsewhere. (h/t to Survivopedia.com)
Why do you need a get-home bag?
A get-home bag (GHB) is a survival kit that is packed with items that you may need if a survival situation occurs while you're far from home. Compared to a bug-out bag (BOB), which is designed to help you survive an evacuation to your bug-out location, a GHB is simpler and more practical.
What you include in your GHB may vary depending on where you live and your survival skills. When packing your GHB, consider common survival scenarios like a car failure, a regional blackout or a powerful storm.
If you're not sure what to include in your get-home, review the list below and choose items that you can use to get home safely if and when SHTF.
A gallon of water – It's best to keep your GHB light if you want to keep moving, but you'll need at least a gallon of water so you can stay hydrated. If you store water in a metal container or canteen, you can boil water or cook. Bring a mini water filter so you can find more water if your supply runs out.
Emergency food – Pack survival food like energy bars to keep your GHB as light as possible. If you prefer other snacks, consider items like beef jerky, peanut butter or tuna and chicken in foil packs. You can also prep homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit for a healthier snack.
A change of clothes – You might need to spend the night elsewhere before you can get home safely so it's good to have a clean change of clothes in your gear. Choose plain clothing that will protect you from the elements and help you stay mobile while traveling.
Mylar/emergency blanket – A Mylar blanket is a lighter alternative to a sleeping bag, and it's cheap and compact. An emergency blanket can even save you life if you're traveling in cold weather. (Related: Prepper hacks: How to make modular bug-out bags.)
A first aid kit – Instead of buying a ready-made first aid kit, prep your own kit with items that you may need for common medical emergencies like bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, insect repellent, lip balm and tweezers. Include medication that you need for any health condition and a spare set of glasses if you need them.
Toiletry kit – A toiletry kit is a godsend if you have to spend the night while heading home after SHTF. Include items like toilet paper, soap, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Pack an N95 facemask to protect yourself from debris, dust or sickness.
A high-quality multi-tool – Even if you're not that good with your hands, a multi-tool is a must-have for your GHB. Get a multi-tool with useful features like a sharp knife, a saw blade, pliers and flat and cross point drivers so you can fix your gear or escape if you're trapped somewhere when disaster strikes.
A map and a compass – These items are crucial, especially if you're lost in the wilderness or if you're in an unfamiliar part of town. Learn how to use a compass and read a map so you can get around even if you don't have access to your GPS or a navigation app on your phone.
A flashlight –A flashlight is essential for any GHB or survival kit. Your options include a battery-powered flashlight, a hand-cranked flashlight or a hands-free headlamp.
Emergency radio – Include an emergency radio in your gear so you can monitor the news. If you don't want to carry extra batteries, buy a hand-crank radio that can receive NOAA alerts.
Self-defense weapon – Choose a weapon that you can use well so you can protect yourself when SHTF. Your weapon should be practical and light enough to carry in your GHB.
You need a get-home bag if you spend more time at work and if you need to travel far to reach your family.
Get a large backpack with extra space in case you need to scavenge for items when SHTF. Make your GHB as light as possible by prepping only the essentials.