What is a Get Home Bag?
GHB is a bag you have in your vehicle or on your person at all times. Let’s say you are at work or for whatever reason quite a distance from home and your vehicle is incapacitated. You still need to get home but it will now take some time to do it. That is why this bag needs to be as light as possible and should cover you for up to 48 hours. It should only contain items you need to get home safely.
What is the difference between a BOB and GHB?
The main difference between a Bug Out Bag and Get Home Bag is that BOB is meant to get you out of the house and GHB is meant to get you home obviously. But the real difference is in the quantity of supplies you pack in each one. GHB is lighter and consists of supplies to keep you alive for maximum 48 hours and also it should be close to you at all times. BOB on the other hand is more elaborate and has survival supplies for at least 72 hours or even more and it is safely stashed somewhere in your house.
The bag itself
One of the most important things about the GHB is the bag itself. What you need is to make sure not to get something too cheap. However, if you feel like you don’t need an extra durable tactical bag for your journey there are other options for you to think about. You can check out our article on how to choose your BOB bag and start there. For this purpose, a medium size and a quality pack will do the job.
How Long Will It Take To Get Home?
The first and most important question you should ask yourself before you start making your GHB is what is the furthest point you could be at during the day and how long would it take to get home? Some people work as far as 50 miles away from home; others work much closer and can walk home in half an hour. That means that those further away should think about spending the night and a bit more provisions for their journey while the latter won’t even need an elaborate GHB due to the proximity of their homes. Of course every one of you should add or subtract from their GHB depending on your unique circumstances, until you get just the right combination of supplies.
- As light as possible
- Should get you covered for up to 48 hours
- ‘Get home safely’ items only!
- Depends on your habits, distance to work, geolocation
The list of items for your GHB
For the purpose of easier overview, we will separate the supplies into several groups in regard to the distance you need to travel.
Basic items if you are close to home, not more than a couple of hours:
Knife – this is an item you should always carry on your person and the basic item you need to have in all kinds of bags you are creating.
Flashlight – also another item to have on you always.
Personal protection – it could range from personal firearm to simple pepper spray and will depend on your preferences and laws where you live. This also is an item you should carry with you at all times.
Sunglasses – not only would they protect you from the sun but also your eyes are protected against small debris which may be flying around. These could be switched with safety goggles if you find them more suitable.
Bandana – this is a multipurpose item which can be used in over 50 different ways and shouldn’t be ever overlooked.
N95 mask – or if you find any other mask more suitable, should be a part of your GHB.
Hat – a very important in summer and winter both. A sun-protecting hat during the summer makes a huge difference while a simple wool hat is a must have during the winter. Make sure you remember to interchange these according to season.
Shoes – a good pair of strong shoes, tall enough to protect your ankles and sturdy enough for rougher terrain is in my opinion very important because in this situation your feet are your main means of transportation.
Poncho – in case of rain keeping yourself dry is very important.
Small first aid kit – you should be prepared for some minor mishaps.
Hand sanitizer – not an essential item but having it won’t hurt.
Wet wipes – antibacterial preferably, to keep the moral up and it could also double as a toilet paper.
Emergency blanket – this item is very small and lightweight but could make a lot of difference when needed.
Whistle – sometimes you’ll simply want to be noticed. This is for when you are in danger or stuck somewhere and need help of others.
Chemlights – also if you want to be noticed. In case you are hurt or trapped and in need of help.
If you are up to 12 hours away:
Water – a bottle of water and some kind of water filtration system.
Map – old-fashioned paper map in case your GPS is not working and you lost your way.
Kompass – there are several kinds of compasses to choose from and your choice heavily depends on whether you are traveling in the urban or rural area.
Multitool – having a good multi-tool can make a big difference if you are out more than just a couple of hours.
Toilet paper – although it might sound silly but if you think about it, this item is too important not to have with you.
Lighter –fire starter or any kind of lighter will do the job from basic BIC lighter to Zippo.
Tinder – any kind of tinder will do, cotton balls or lint collected from your dryer packed in a waterproof bag are both good choice.
Cash – everyone should have up to 50$ in small bills on hand just in case and it is a good idea to keep it in a waterproof bag.
Extra batteries – the quantity is depending on how many items in your GHB are using them.
Paracord – there is a bunch of uses for this item and it is a real must have in all kinds of bags.
Radio – a good radio is very important. HAM radio is a better choice in an emergency, but the transistor is a good substitute.
Additional supplies are needed if you are more than 12 hours away from home:
Shelter – a tarp or bivy (preferably both) is a smart thing to have at hand when expecting to spend the night outside.
Socks – an extra pair of wool socks is all too important. I believe that this is the most important piece of clothing you need. Keeping your feet in top shape in this kind of situation is one of the most important things to keep in mind.
Gloves – work gloves might be the best choice in this case but make sure they double as hand warmers, so get an additional warmer pair for winter.
Food – energy bars with high-calorie count are more than sufficient to get you home even if it takes two days to get there.
Pen and paper – you never know when you might need to write something down.
Zip ties – these have so many applications and could come handy in many situations.
Duct tape – also numerous uses for this item.
Water key – could be important if you are in the urban environment. It makes getting to water a whole lot easier.
Once you have your GHB packed and ready it should be close to you at all times. Some people keep theirs in the car while others feel that car can get stolen and keep their bags with them in the office or workplace. The choice depends on your circumstances. But in any case, you should be able to get to your bag quickly and easily. Also, don’t forget to exchange summer supplies (hats and gloves and whatnot) for the winter ones when the time comes. Keep your bag season friendly at all times. Also, make sure all your supplies are up to date and not expired. Personally, I use a mobile app (ExpiryWiz) to do this for me.