Get Home Bag Essentials: What’s in Your Bag?

The Get Home Bag (GHB) or Go Bag is often used synonymously but they are different. I refer here to the civilian Go Bag that serves a different intent and purpose than the one that is used by law enforcement.

Our bag is a bag  is not tactical (used in combat type scenario )in its purpose and composition

go bag does not mean get home bag

Also often mistaken are the Every Day Carry (EDC) kit or gear and the 72 Hour Bug Out Bag (BOB). The EDC bag/kit or gear is meant to be portable and compact so that you  can carry  it on your body or in your pocket on a daily basis.

But it does have its limitations on the quantities of items one can conceal on oneself. As for the 72 hr. BOB, it is kept at home to be used if forced to flee from your residence to move into your strategic Bug Out Location (BOL).

So what happens if an emergency event occurs during the normal course of the day?  Thus, the Go Bag was developed to address such issues mentioned above.

Before discussing the Get home bag contents, it would be appropriate to review some basic concepts related to this type of emergency bag.

The Get Home Bag’s purpose is to provide all the necessary gear to use in an emergency crisis that may occur during a seemingly typical day at work, school or outside activity.

This bag is most commonly stored away in a locker, drawer, cabinet or even car (however not to be confused with a Bug Out Vehicle Bag/Kit).  The bag should have enough provisions for 1 to 2 days to get you safely home or to your planned Bug Out Location (BOL).

GHB  Considerations

For the most part, any type of bag assembled or purchase whether it be an EDC, GHB or the 72 hr. BOB, experts on survival and emergency preparedness emphasize the need for the bags to be compact, modular, lightweight, and inconspicuous with your selected or pre assembled supplies.

They highlight the need for high quality, smallness in size with redundancy elements whenever possible. For example, an alcohol wipe commonly found in an EDC or first kit as an antiseptic can also act as fire starting material.

diy or ready made bug out bag

There is however debate among experts on the wisdom in buying a completely packaged bag or to have one you assemble piece by piece.

After reading the literature on these different bags, most would suggest the latter. Their strongest argument is the prepper is more likely to familiarize and practice with the gear that they personally selected and purchased.

Secondly, they believe most ready-made bags contain lower quality products. I however have a different slant on this debate.

Although it is possible that some preassembled bags have lower quality items, in my research there are enough of EDC, GHB’s and BOB’s that provide product of the highest standard.

Realistically, most individual’s lack the time to do the hours of research preventing most from getting the bags that are so essential to own.

That is why I think a ready-made bag, along with the purchases of high quality supplemental or missing emergency items works best especially for prepper newbies.

I further address my supporting arguments for ready-made bags in “Bugout Bag: 5 Reasons to Buy That Ready-made Bugout Bag Right Now!”

Top 5 Ready Made Go Bag

PicNameBOB Capacity (in³= gal.)Weight (lb.oz)Price ($=Best)BOB Score (5/5)
Fanny Pack288in³=1.25gal.3.91 lb.$4.72
Emergency Zone Deluxe Survival Kit410in³=1.77gal.8.60 lb.$4.58
Ready America 70070 Grab N Go Hip Pack410in³=1.77gal.2.21 lb.$4.24
Emergency Survival Kit Fanny Pack410in³=1.77gal.5.00 lb.$4.16
Ready America 70080 Grab-n-Go Emergency Kit330in³=1.43gal.3.60 lb.$4.07

Knowing BOB capacity best illustrates the amount of gear that can be stuffed in and around your BOB.

Converting cubic inches into gallons is used to help you visualize the total space available in your BOB.

Remember gallon is not to be used to illustrate weight but to give you a mental picture on space capacity (ex. 2 gal. means 2 gallons of water will fit snuggly in the bag).

The price symbol “$” reflects the cost of that item when compared to the calculated average price of all the products on the chart.  The total “$” shown indicates how much more or less the cost was for that particular item when compared to average.

The BOB Score was devised by using various measurable factors and comparing them to the other items on the chart.

The score took into account; Bag Quality, Size, Price, Quality of Gear and Number of Emergency Categories that were fulfilled as mentioned by survival and prepper experts in the Bug Out Bag List from ABobList.com.

Get Home Bag Metrics

I have done some extensive research to indentify some basic characteristics in regards to the Get Home bags I examined.

I reviewed 15 random ready-made Go bags and identified measurable factors such as bag types, size and weight of the average Get Home Bag.

The types of bags or storage units used to contain Go Bag gear was as followed (in no specific order);
1. Bum Bag, Waist Pack, Fanny Pack,
2. Day Bag
3. Man Bag, Shoulder Pack, Haversack
4. Safari Vest, Bush Jacket
5. Mini Backpack

Because these samples for storing gear vary greatly in size and shape, I focused most specifically on the most common bag used by sellers of the ready-made Get Home variety.

Most bag types of the 15 samples I examined were fanny pack/bum pack /waist pack.  The advantage of this type is it tends to be low key, easy to store and carry.

Though most would consider this type of container unappealing, the bum or waist pack seems to be more aesthetically tasteful.

When it comes to measuring bag size, it is often difficult to use the three dimensions (L x W x H) to explain and understand storage space appropriately.

So in most cases, I converted these dimensions into a more useable measurement of one cubic inch (in3).  Thus, calculating my finding, the average size of a Get Home Bag was 1193 in3.

In other words the average bag took up about the volume of 5 gallons of storage capacity or visually approximately 10.5’’ x 10.5” x 10.5.”

Keep in mind I am not saying 5 gallons of weight. If I were, the small bag would weigh an absurd 40 lbs!

Weight can be a very important piece of information especially if one must travel a distance to get home or Bug Out Location (BOL).

According to a 2013 Washington Post article, the average consumer travels 25 miles to work daily.  So how much you carry may be a major factor for those not in good physical shape to make it to their destination.

The average person should be able to carry no more than 30% of their overall weight safely (children around 15%). The good news is the weight of most bags was around 7 pounds fully loaded.

Remember these are averages.  Many of the bags were more or less from the averages I post here. For more thoughts on factors that may make an impact upon the GHB mindset go to my article, “The Get Home Bag: The Definitive Guide,”

Nevertheless, it is my hope that these metrics will be of use to you when considering a Get Home Bag.

Top Get Home Bag Content Items

I created what I like to call the Ultimate Bug Out List where I laid out all the emergency items suggested by 30 of the top experts in the field of emergency preparedness.

From this master list I am presenting the top gear and supplies related as advised by these highly regarded sources.

Keep in mind the items I present below were the most frequently mentioned by the professionals. There are more items found in my Ultimate BOB List. The items are categorized under 10 areas of preparedness.  Those categories and items are;
Category                                 Emergency Item
(in order of importance)
1. Shelter/Clothing
Tarp
Emergency Bivy
Gloves
Poncho

2. Fire & Light
Lighter
Headlamp
Firestarter
Flashlight w Batteries

3. Information/Documents
Mini Pencil & Waterproof Paper

4. Signaling/Communication
Whistle
Mirror
Hand Crank Radio
           
5. Navigation
Compass
Map(s)

6. Water
Filter Water Bottle
Purification Tablets

7. Food
Energy/Protein/Granola Bars

8. First Aid/Personal Meds/Hygiene
Small First Aid Kit
Toilet Paper

9. Safety & Protection
Folding Survival Knife

10. Miscellaneous
Cordage/Paracord
Duct Tape
Multi-tool

As mentioned above, there are other items and supplies you will want to include in your bag. You may want to substitute some items if needed (ex. storing in a school locker).

Whether you purchase a ready-made, do it yourself or have a variation of these two, it makes good sense to have one of each bag type become part of your overall preparedness goals.

Equally important is have this and the other bags assembled for everyone of your family members or friend to effectively respond to a crisis situation that might arise without warning with relative success.

The goal is to effectively and quickly respond to a crisis situation. Remember crisis situations occur most without warning and without mercy. Your sole mission is to make sure you and your loved ones persevere and survive.

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