As you may have read in other posts, my husband started a new job a few months ago, which is what brought us to the great state of Oklahoma. Singing: “Oooooklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain….” I digress. When he started this new job, he worked at an office only 4 miles from home. (He loves that it takes less than 10 minutes to get to work in the morning!); however, his boss recently asked him to help out at one of their newer offices in another city, so once a week he is now driving 60 miles one-way to help get the new place up and running.
What is a Get Home Bag?
Well, a Get Home Bag is essentially a kit of supplies that is kept at your place of employment or in your car to help you get home in the event of a disaster (natural or otherwise) happening that renders normal transportation impossible. Mom with a Prep has a great article about what her husband keeps in his Get Home Bag. I especially love the YouTube video by The Sensible Prepper that she has included in her post! Please head over there to watch it!
Until this point, we didn’t think a “Get Home Bag” was necessary. I mean, if something were to happen and he couldn’t drive home, walking less than 4 miles would take just over an hour and wouldn’t be a big deal. But now if the SHTF (specifically on a Tuesday,) he may have to walk 60+ miles which, according to Google Maps, will take roughly 20 hours of continuous walking! I’d say that qualifies for some gear.
So Many Bags!
Another reason we didn’t think the Get Home Bag was necessary, is because of all the other types of bags and kits we already have! We each have a BOB (or 72 hour kit), a bad weather “kit” in the house, there is a car kit in each vehicle, plus our EDC (or Every Day Carry) that goes with us everywhere, and last, but not least, the hubs also has a small office kit in his desk. That’s a lot of bags/kits, not including kits for the kid and the dog. And they all have essentially the same things in them! We have flashlights and fire starters running out our ears haha 🙂 Buuut as Sootch mentioned in his video (and Hubs likes to quote on a regular basis,) “One is none and Two is one.” Plus, each of these kits serves their own purpose, and it is nice to have everything you’ll need for a specific emergency all in one place. The BOB or 72 hour kit (whatever you would like to call it) is ready to grab and go. Everything we NEED for 72 hours is in those bags, and if we don’t have time to grab extras, we don’t have to. We can just GO, and if, for whatever reason we were never able to come back to our home, we would be able to survive for a few days with just the contents of our bags. Also, I’d rather not be going through 3 different bags when the power goes out in order to find my flashlights or extra batteries or a weather radio, thus, the bad weather “kit”, which is really just a small closet devoted to those items we might need in a power outage or tornado warning, etc.
With all of those bags, aside from the fact that he’ll be 60 miles from home once a week, there were a few other reasons we decided to put together his Get Home Bag.
- Hubs is really bad about carrying his EDC. (Please help me to convince him otherwise haha) He doesn’t like to have extra things in his pockets, especially if they’re bulky or heavy. Even his wallet and keys carry the bare minimum and he “forgets” those regularly. Plus, he works in Health Care where 80% of the places he frequents do not allow concealed carry weapons. A Get Home Bag has all of his EDC items duplicated in it, plus it is kept in his truck so he doesn’t have to carry it on his person.
- On his long commute days, he uses a company car. At this point, his Car Kit that is kept in his truck is obviously useless. The company car he uses varies each week, and it would be impractical to transfer the car kit (which is in a large rubbermaid tub, and not exactly supposed to be portable) from vehicle to vehicle each Tuesday, mostly because I’m about 90% sure he would forget it in the company car and we would never get it back.
- His office kit that rests in his desk here in town, again, is useless 60 miles away, and since he doesn’t have his own office at the new place… nowhere to keep a second office kit.
The “Get Home Bag” Wins!
We designed his Get Home Bag not only for the 60 mile walk he may encounter, but for ease of portability and transferring from vehicle to vehicle to office to vehicle to vehicle haha. In other words, this kit can be functional as a mini car kit, a Get Home Bag, AND a second office kit. We tried to make it as lightweight and minimalistic as possible so that dear Hubs doesn’t find it a chore to carry with him. Right now we have it packed for spring/summer weather, but we will switch out a few things when next winter rolls around.
What’s In His Bag?
Putting a bag together doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. Most of what I found were things from around the house, and the rest I picked up at Wal-Mart, the Dollar Store, or Amazon. It looks like a lot of stuff, but the bag is still very lightweight and comfortable enough to carry for long periods of time. As I mentioned above, we went very closely with what Sootch recommended in his video. He explains how he has his bag organized in levels of urgency. First and foremost are those items which you should be carrying with you every day on your person, your Every Day Carry, or EDC. Click on any of the links in teal to see more detail on Amazon.
The hubs’ EDC currently consists of:
- Cell phone
Yep, that’s it. I even have a hard time convincing him that he needs those three AT ALL TIMES. Ugh, but I try! If he’s not at work he does occasionally carry the following:
- Lighter– Just your basic, BIC lighter
- Pocket Knife– We LOVE Spyderco knives. They’re expensive, but they’re worth it! (The one pictured is not his Spyderco. Its just a cheap, extra one that we had.)
- Multi-Tool– Again, Leatherman is just a good, quality brand. Worth the extra money.
- Flashlight– These Mini Cree lights are super cheap, but they’re small, lightweight, bright, and strong. Some even come with a strobe option, which I love.
- Concealed Carry Weapon– We’re big fans of Glock. His is the Glock 23 to be exact.
If he doesn’t have these things on him, they typically live in his truck or on his bedside night stand.
The first level above every day carry is the Yellow Threat Level, which includes gear that you might use in the first 1-3 hours:
- Baseball Hat– We may upgrade to a bucket hat for more coverage in the future, but this is what we had on hand.
- Sunglasses– Again, just an extra pair that we had laying around the house.
- Extra magazine for the Glock
- Sunscreen & Bug Spray– I found this cool little Sun & Bug spray combo in a neat, portable spray container on clearance at Wal-Mart. Score!
- Rain Poncho
- Notepad, pen, and sharpie– Yet again, extras from around the house. We have some Rite in the Rain notepads on our Amazon wish list 🙂
- Map and compass– We recently moved to this area so we aren’t too too familiar with back roads. The map can certainly come in handy if hubs is on foot. Technically these should be in the Orange threat level category, but since they’re in a ziplock bag with the notepad and pen, I’ve listed them here 🙂
- First Aid Kit
- Cash– About $50 in small bills.
- Glow Sticks– One green for light and one red that can act as a flare
- Extra battery for flashlight (one AA)
Orange Threat Level
About 3-12 hours from home:
- Toilet Paper- This is a little bit self explanatory, and while its not a necessity, I think some little comfort items will be needed in such a high stress situation. We also keep cotton balls in the center of the roll so it can double as a fire starter if need be.
- Gloves– These are just a pair of old work gloves I found in the garage. Eventually they’re get replaced with something more substantial 🙂
- Dust mask– This one is a bit redundant because we already have the bandanas, but we had some at home so I included it.
- Shoes– Just an old pair of tennis shoes for now. We picked these because they are comfortable for him and broken in, yet he doesn’t wear them often so I know they’ll stay in the truck. A good pair of hiking boots would be a better option, but these work for now.
- Extra change of clothes– Good, thick socks, an extra pair of undies, a t-shirt, and athletic shorts. If he’s headed home from work, I’d hate for him to have to walk 60 miles in dress shoes, khakis, and a button down shirt. We picked comfortable, lightweight clothing in dark, neutral colors so he could kind of blend in if needed. We can change to sweats during winter months and add a knit hat and gloves.
- Water– I tend to get a little crazy in the water department. It’s one of those things that I really worry about not having enough of so for this bag he’s got one 16.9 ounce bottle of water, 2 (4 oz) Water Pouches, and a Sport Berkey Filter Water Bottle that can be refilled with any water he might come across.
- Snacks– While he likely won’t need full meals for such a short time period, I think a little bit of extra energy could definitely come in handy. We’ve included trail mix, a variety of granola bars, 2 slim jims, and a box of raisins.
Red Threat Level
Over 12 hours, up to 48 hours from home:
- “Sleeping Bag”– SOL Emergency Bivvy. I love these because they’re cheap, lightweight, and tiny.
- Duct Tape– Gorilla tape is the way to go!
- Emergency Mylar Blanket (not pictured)
- Trash bags– 2 large, black bags that can be used for a myriad of things not excluding an extra rain poncho, a temporary shelter, or another layer of protection under the bivvy. Also included are 2 grocery sacks for waste, dirty clothes, muddy shoes, etc.
Things we still want to add to the bag:
- Emergency weather radio– He has one in his truck, but we’d like to have one in the backpack itself, preferably one that has a two-way function.
- Extra fire starter– He’s got the lighters, but a magnesium bar or Light My Fire knife would be a great back-up.
- Headphones– If his phone is still in working order, he can use the headphones to keep in contact with us while still maintaining a quiet profile. He can also use them to listen to his weather radio or even some tunes while walking. As Jane from Mom with a Prep mentioned, though, he’ll have to be very careful to pay attention to his surroundings and keep one ear open.
We packed everything into an average sized backpack that we found on clearance at Academy. This doesn’t have to be a fancy pack, just something that is big enough to fit your gear yet comfortable enough to wear on your journey home. I also found a cheap, waterproof backpack cover and put it in one of the outside pockets in case of rain. Inside the backpack, you’ll notice that several things are placed inside ziplock bags. This just helps ensure an extra level of protection from water. The cash, notepad, map, extra battery, toilet paper, and clean clothes are all in ziplock bags.
The Rest of the Kit
So I mentioned that this kit would double as his Emergency Car Kit and his second office kit. Everything in his normal office kit is already duplicated in the bag, and while many of his original “Car Kit” items are also included, I condensed his former (large) car kit down to a small, 10 gallon tub that includes:
- Jumper cables– Make sure to get “heavy duty” cables if you have a truck or SUV! Most of the pre-made car emergency kits include the cheap ones that aren’t strong enough for anything bigger than a compact car.
- Tow Rope
- Shop towels
- Fix A Flat
- Extra water-(Four or more 16.9 ounce bottles) We rotate these out frequently, especially during the heat of the summer.
- Hand Crank Weather Radio/Flashlightcombo
- Tissues/Extra TP
- Another rain poncho– This one is bright yellow, so that if he needs to make repairs to his truck in the rain, he will be clearly visible on the side of the road.
- An extra lighter
- An extra flashlight/mini shop light
- Winter items (2 heat cells (heat in a can), knit hat, a fleece stadium blanket, and hand warmers) These are mostly for colder weather, but they stay in the truck year round.
In the glove box he has the manual for his truck, his insurance card, cell phone charger (not pictured), an Emergency Information Sheet for our family, tire pressure gauge, Seatbelt Cutter/Window Breaker Escape Tool, cell phone charger, and an ice scraper.
Things we still want to add to the truck:
- More cash in small bills and possibly a roll of quarters
- Maybe an extra knife or multitool
- Fire extinguisher
- Small, basic Tool Kit
- Road flares and/or emergency triangle
He also maintains his full-size spare and keeps a jack behind the seat, but the most important thing (to me, anyways) about his car kit is that he keeps the gas tank AT LEAST half full at all times. It took me awhile to convince him that this needed to be a priority, but we’re finally on the same page about it. This helps ensure that he can get out of town quickly if the need arises, and that he won’t have to stop and wait in line for gas in order to do so. For the longest time he was worried about people stealing/siphoning his gas because it happened to his dad not too long ago. He was afraid that, since gas prices continue to rise at an alarming rate, and because his truck holds over $85 worth when full, it would be a target for fuel thieves. To put his mind at ease, I found this nifty Locking Gas Cap on Amazon. While it won’t keep thieves out if they REALLY want that gas, it will at least deter them for a little while and make it much harder/take longer to steal. Our hope is that they will give up and head to the next vehicle as soon as they see the lock.
What Do You Think?
Do you have a Get Home Bag? an emergency car kit? an office kit? What do you keep in yours? Have you checked it or updated it lately?
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