Thursday, October 4, 2012
A Get Home Bag
When your trying to prepare for the worst, one of the first things, and most common things that people start to consider is the Bug Out Bag. After the bug out bag, many people turn to the idea of every day carry items or a bug out vehicle. Well, before the bug out vehicle, and between the bug out bag and the everyday carry, is something else we should have prepared. The Get Home Bag (GHB).
"But I already have all these other things," you say, "why do I need another one?" Well think of it this way. Everyday carry are all the items that you could possibly need in a day and getting around in everyday life. In a disaster situation would you be able to survive on just those things alone? Probebly not. That's why you have a bug out bag. However, you're bug out bag is going to be at home. You're not going to lug it around with you to every place you go, all the time.
Now what happens if disaster strikes when you're not home? You don't have you're bug out bag, and if you can't make it home right away, your everyday carry items are probebly not going to cut it. So you need an in between. Think of it like a backpack traveler. You have you're big bag that goes with you when you travel from place to place, but you don't take it out into whatever city or location your at everyday. So you have a smaller, day pack, which gives you the basics of what you need for just the day.
So when you think of it like that, you begin to realize that a get home bag, is really just an extension of your bug out bag. It is the smaller part that will sustain you until you can make it to you're bug out bag. Another good way to think of it is as a day pack, or a 24-hour pack. This is because this bag will sustain you for that long, but is not meant for long term survival.
So what should you have in a get home bag? Well, you want to start with the very basics. The first of these being water. You should have a water bottle of some kind in you get home bag, and preferably that water bottle will be metal, because it gives you the option to boil water or cook out of it. Your second need that naturally follows water is food. This can be as simple as a few granola bars to as complicated as an mre or two. However, remember this bag is not for long term, so you don't need tons of food, or food that is going to last forever. Unless of course your going to forget to rotate the food out of your GHB. In that case long lasting food might help, because in a survival situation bad food is not going to help you survive.
Now think about clothing. Why would you need clothing? You are only using this bag to get to your bug out bag. However the weather is not the most predictable thing, and so your going to want some kind of protection from the elements. It will depend on the climate you live in. Some people may want to have a rain poncho, an extra jacket or sweatshirt. Also gloves and a hat should be considered by people in northern climates.
Some people may even want a change of clothes just for the comfort of wearing something clean. That is up to the person. A clothing item that everyone should have however is a comfortable pair of close toed shoes. This way if you're wearing sandals or high heels, you have something that will be much better and easier to walk in.
Shelter is another good thing to have available. Again you don't want to go overboard, but a little shelter can go a long way. Some good options would be a small tarp, which would keep off rain, or a small emergency tent. Including an emergency blanket might also be a good idea. Do they do a lot? I'm not convinced that they do, however they are light and compact, so unless you're really concerned about the weight of you're pack, you might as well include it.
Fire starting equipment is something else to keep in mind. Again nothing like you would have in your bug out bag. Go with two simple fire starters. Matches and a lighter are a good option. Neither takes up much space but will do what you want them to. You can also add some tinder such as cotton balls so you have something to get yourself started with.
Light is another good thing to have with you, so a flash light or a headlamp is a good thing to have, especially if you need to travel through the dark. In the event that you do stumble over something and smash something up, a small first aid kit should also be included. This should cover some basics such as hand sanitizer, basic medications, glasses if needed, sunscreen, gauze pads, bandages, and anything else you think might be needed.
A few other things you might want to include would be toilet paper, paper and pencil, maps, a dust mask, any kind of self defense items like pepper spray, a small emergency radio, some cash, a bandana, and a solar charger for things like a cellphone.
So as you can see, a get home bag is very similar to what a bug out bag would be, just on a smaller scale. It gives you some supplies to work with until you can get to your bug out bag, without having to rely only on what is in your pockets. It is also perhaps a better option to start with, before creating a bug out bag. Because bug out bags can take a while to put together when you are just starting out, an GHB can create a smaller version that you can work with until you have your full bug out bag set to go.