What is a get home bag?

So you just spent all this time and money putting together a bug-out bag.  Now you need a get home bag too?  What is a get home bag anyway?  Being prepared for an emergency can seem like an overwhelming and never-ending endeavor.  Typically, preppers will prepare their home first for an emergency, which makes total sense.  But at some point, you will want to make sure you are prepared when you are away from home as well.  This is where the get home bag comes into play.  This article will answer the question: “What is a get home bag?” and will also discuss the recommended contents.

what is a get home bag

What is a get home bag?

The purpose of a get home bag is to make sure you can “get home” during an emergency.  For example, during a natural disaster, power outage, weather event, car trouble, or something even worse.  If you are away from home during these emergencies, your bug-out bag sitting in your closet will do you little good. So think of a get home bag as a miniature bug-out bag.  Your bug-out bag should be designed for at least three days of survival while a get home bag is typically designed for 24 hours.  The purpose, as the name implies, is to make sure you can get home in the face of an emergency.  For example, during a natural disaster, power outage, weather event, car trouble or something even worse.

What To Use For a Get Home Bag

Typically you can use a small backpack or even a small sling bag for your get home bag.  The size will be dictated by how far you are from home and how much gear you need to carry.  I work relatively close to home and it would only be about a 2-3 hour hike, so I can get by with a small tactical sling bag.  Here is a photo of my get home bag and contents.

what is a get home bag

Get Home Bag Contents

Here are the 6 basic survival needs that should be met by the contents of the get home bag:

  1. Water 
  2. Food
  3. Shelter
  4. Fire-Making
  5. First Aid 
  6. Security
  1. Water – You should plan to carry about one liter of fresh water.  We want your get home bag to be small and light  but water is very heavy by volume.  You can also carry filtration products such as Life Straw, which is basically a straw with a built in filter, or water purification tablets.
  2. Food – Pick food that requires little preparation (no cooking) and has a long shelf life.  For example, I have a few protein bars and granola bars in my bag.  I change them out every few months and they will stay fresh for a long time.  Remember you can easily go one day without a meal so don’t pack too much.
  3. Shelter – You may have to spend at least one night outdoors so make sure to prepare for weather, mosquitoes, etc. Tents provide great shelter, but are very heavy and take up too much room. Instead, carry a few emergency thermal blankets and some paracord. You can put one on the ground and use one for your cover or for the roof of a makeshift shelter.
  4. Fire-Making – There is something about a fire that adds comfort to any campsite, so make sure that you are prepared to make one.  Standard store-bought butane lighters work great. They are small and light so you can easily throw two or three of them in your bag. You should also carry wind-proof matches and a magnesium striker. Hint:  Starting a fire without kindling can be very tedious and time consuming.  Carry some kind of tinder with you.  I carry a product called Wet-Tinder, but there are several options for this.
  5. First-Aid and Hygiene – Chances are you’ll be using this get home bag only in situations where you are facing grave danger, which also means situations where you might be injured. Get a small first aid kit from your corner drug store to deal with cuts, scratches, minor injuries, and prevent serious infection. You will also want some pain relievers (aspirin) on hand.
  6. Security – Obviously the best choice here would be a hand gun and ammunition. Make sure you are fully trained and know how to use any firearms before packing them away in your get home bag. The time to learn how to shoot a hand gun is not during an emergency.  If a gun is not for you, look for non-lethal weapons such as tasers or pepper spray.

We hope this article has helped to answer the question “What is a get home bag”?  For our Bug-Out Bag Checklist and other useful free manuals please see our Resources page!

Bug Out Bag Checklist: 

Bug out bag checklist pdf







Ultimate Bug Out Bag Guide: 

Guide to the Ultimate Bug Out Bag

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