EDC Bag - Get Home Bag Contents
While sometimes confused with a Bug Out Bag, a Get Home Bag is put together with a much different objective. Bug Out Bags (BOB) are generally relatively large backpack based survival kits that are designed to sustain the user for up to three days; because of their large size, and variety of gear such as tents, saws, cooking equipment and so forth these bags are somethimes kept at home.
A Get Home Bag (GHB) is often a much smaller EDC bag that is designed to assist you in getting home with up 24 hours often the timeframe planned for. While the bag itself might stay in your vehicle or away from your immediate work area it is nearby when needed.
The messenger bag has found favor in the role of a GHB for many reasons. First, these bags often have numerous pockets and storage compartments making it easily to store a large amount of gear while keeping it all organized. Second, these bags, like the UTG Messenger, keep their contents easily and quickly accessible making them a favorite for those who want to carry a firearm in their GHB. Finally, these and laptop bags probably draw the least amount of attention and make for a good urban survival kit. On the other hand messenger bags are not the best options for running or jogging should it become necessary, or attaching large items like additional clothing. All in all these bags are probably best utilized by those who want to bring their GHB into work.
This hunting style hydration pack features an enclosed pouch for the hydration bladder, a small storage compartment at the rear of the pack, and a large open storage compartment between the hydration bladder and rear storage compartment. The main advantages of this pack are its large water capacity, open storage area for carrying large items like a coat, and both shoulder and hip straps for distributing the weight of the contents. However, a disadvantage is there is little enclosed storage space with the bulk of supplies having to be carried in the bottom of the open storage compartment. This set up is probably best for those who are going to leave their pack in a vehicle and are planning for the possibility of walking a few miles or more where lots of water and the ability to pack a coat would be a major benefit.
Laugh all you want but a fanny pack can make a good option for a GHB. The one I have has a water bottle holder, a main enclosed store pouch, external pockets, and external straps for attaching larger items like clothing. While the waist strap does make for easy carrying the lack of shoulder straps make it important not to overload the pack as all the weigh is on your hips. Internal storage is also a bit small, so beyond the essentials there isn’t a lot of room. Those considering this option might look for models with a concealed weapon compartment. Fanny packs are probably best suited in the role of a GHB when having a small compact bag that can also comfortably be packed a good distance are two of the most important factors to the user.
At the top of my Get Home Bag checklist of supplies is my EDC Kit, since it has many useful pieces of equipment and can be easily separated from the GHB . This works great when you want to leave your GHB in your vehicle but still want immediate access to some essential supplies. This kit is a good place to keep useful survival items like a multi-tool, spare cell phone battery, and a larger flashlight. Of course your daily routine and purpose for the kit will factor into the items that best suit your needs.
Shelter is always an important aspect of any survival bag; and in a pack that is designed to get you home, the mobile shelter provided by a poncho makes a lot of sense. Ideally one would be able to keep moving towards home in the event of an emergency; however, the possibility of having to wait for transportation or getting stranded outdoors is a possibility to consider. Fortunately, the right type of poncho can be transformed into numerous tarp like shelter configurations relatively easily if need be. I choose the Frogg Toggs poncho for its ability to be setup in a variety of configurations as well as its more conservative look compared to military style ponchos.
While hangnails and paper cuts can wait, major cuts and traumatic injuries will have to be dealt with until help arrives or you are able to get to a hospital. While looking for a compact and affordable trauma kit I came across the Trauma Pak which is a kit that is designed for serious injuries. The Trauma Pak doesn’t cover every possible major injury scenario, but I feel that it covers the majority of serious injuries I would likely encounter and be able to effectively deal with on my own. While this pack contains surgical type gloves if yours does not they are worth bringing along for the minimal amount of space they take up and piece of mind they provide.
Pepper or OC spray can be a highly effective self dense tool; therefore, it is a good idea to consider adding a canister of it to your EDC survival kit. After some online research I choose a medium size can of Sabre Red Pepper Gel. The gel type of these defense devices shoots a more concentrated pattern and in general is more precise in hitting the target as well as less affected by wind than the traditional spray types. Tactical flashlights are also a good non lethal option to consider that is often overlooked. Modern high performance flashlights are insanely bright and can easily cause temporary blindness by simply shining it in an attacker’s face; this will buy you several seconds of time to either escape or counter attack. Tactical flashlights often have sharpened edges on the head of the flashlight should you choose to use it as a weapon.
A firearm, or additional firearm for those are already carrying, might also be considered. State and local laws as well as being able to secure your Get Home Bag contents while not in your possession should factor into your decision to carry a firearm or not. The upside to having a handgun in your pack is that you can have a large size gun as well as extra magazines at your disposal without having to pack them on you at all times. While there is no substitute for having a gun on you, having a large gun with lots of ammo close at hand makes sense for a lot of people.
While water is always crucial, the short time frame we are dealing with in preparing a GHB makes it less of a priority than in most survival scenarios. Making room for a bottle of water, or a Nalgene bottle ensures you have some water with you and have a container to refill. A metal water bottle might also be considered for its ability to sterilize water for drinking. In this type of situation I would be fine relying on the survival straw in my EDC Kit for my filtration needs. Water purification tablets are also another short term water purification option that is inexpensive and takes up little space in a pack.
Knowing what is going on or what has happened can be very important in a variety of emergency situations; therefore, having a radio to listen for news and emergency updates should be considered. I have recently been carrying a Baofeng UV-5RA radio, which has numerous capabilities such as: police scanner, FM radio, NOAA weather channels, and the ability to transmit on numerous frequencies if the user is properly licensed. While extremely powerful, the Baofeng is both difficult to learn, and capable of doing many things that could get you in trouble such as transmitting on unauthorized frequencies. I was new to this type of radio so it was difficult for me to figure out at first. So if you are not knowledgeable about this style of radios or willing to spend a fair amount of time learning about them; then packing a portable emergency radio like the Ambient Weather WR-111B would probably be a better choice.