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Your Guide to Customizing and Organizing Your Get Home Bag

Disaster has struck.

We don't mean a zombie attack.

We ain't talking about civil unrest or a tsunami, either.

No, the disaster we’re looking at is that thing you call a get home bag.

You may know what it is and what makes it different from a bug out bag or go bag. But do you know how to build one?

Don’t worry, that’s exactly what we’ll teach you in this article. Let’s dive right into it:

What Should You Consider When Building Your Get Home Bag?

Just like a SHTF plan, a get home bag (GHB) isn’t one-size-fits-all.

If you want the perfect GHB, then you need to make it YOURS. What you pack will depend on your lifestyle, your environment, and your body’s strength.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself: 

What’s Your Typical Routine Like?

Is your workplace just a few minutes away from your house? Or do you have to go to the next town to work?

Where do you usually do your errands?

You need to factor these in to get a good idea of how much to pack in your get home bag.

Normally, the farther the distance, the more food and water to bring. But just in case it takes you longer than usual to travel home, pack a day or two day’s worth of supplies.

What’s the Climate Like?

Your bag should have survival supplies that can protect you from the elements.

Sunscreen is non-negotiable when you live in a place that’s sunny most days of the year. And if harsh winters take place in your neighborhood, you'll need a fire starter and a space blanket to avoid freezing to death.

How Will You Go Home?

When S hits the fan, public transport is either gonna be unavailable or littered with throngs of people.

In theory, you could reach home faster (and use fewer supplies) if you have a bug out vehicle (BOV). But what if major roads are blocked?

Yup, you guessed it — you have to be ready to walk a certain distance. That means your get home bag should include a sturdy pair of shoes and a tarp if you need to stop overnight to sleep.

You also need to make sure your body can handle its weight, though, which leads us to the next question:

How Much Can You Carry?

Carrying your GHB shouldn’t feel like you’re lifting a fridge on your back. You don’t wanna be out of breath and on the verge of passing out after walking just two miles.

Skip the kitchen sink and stick to the essentials. To save space without sacrificing anything important, you can go for multipurpose items like a wallet multitool.

What Bag Is Everyone Using? 

Remember prepping 101: don’t let anyone know you’re prepared.

Folks won’t look twice if you got a messenger bag hanging from your shoulder. Bring a loud tactical backpack, though, and you’ll get stares everywhere from everyone and their mom.

No matter what bag you choose as your GHB, make sure it blends in with your surroundings. You can use a rucksack, a satchel, or even a diaper bag...just give camo a wide berth.

How Do You Arrange Your Get Home Bag?

What you pack in your get home bag is important, but HOW you pack it matters just as much. 

Imagine scouring your entire bag for a tiny pack of matches — that’s gonna take up time you can’t afford to waste.

There’s gotta be a strategy in place. Check out the following tips to help you arrange your pack:

Separate Your Gear

Take a nice look at your SHTF gear. What will you use more, your water bottle or that piece of tarp?

No kidding, Captain Obvious. You have to hydrate way more often than you need a tarp for shelter, so it makes perfect sense to place the tarp at the bottom part of your bag. 

Basically, the key to organizing your GHB is to group your gear according to urgency. You should have 4 piles like these:

  • Pile 1: These are the bulky stuff that you only need when you have to make a long break (ex: change of clothes, an extra pair of shoes, tarp).
  • Pile 2: The supplies here will be used more frequently than pile 1 but you won’t use them for every stop (ex: extra water, meals, entrenching tool).
  • Pile 3: The 3rd pile involves the stuff you’ll be using regularly (ex: first aid kit, windbreaker, sunscreen, maps). 
  • Pile 4: All your most important things go here (ex: water bottle, cellphone, cash, emergency radio, tactical flashlight).

Start with the Bottom

Pack your first pile of supplies at the bottom of your GHB. You’ll only need them when you have to stop over to change into fresh clothes or sleep.

Since a lot of these things are bulky, putting them at the bottom and against the back of your bag will keep you balanced when you walk.  

Head On to the Middle

Reserve the middle of the pack for pile 2, aka your denser supplies. The items here include your tools and cooking gear, which you’ll need every now and then.

Stashing your heavier equipment at the core of your bag will make it more comfortable to carry as you travel a far distance. It lets you have a good center of gravity.

Go to the Top

This layer is for your third and fourth piles. You’ll be using your compass and maps often, so you should be able to find them easily. 

This is also where you want to put your cellphone, tac light, important documents, and anything else you might need right away. 

As these are all pretty lightweight, you don’t have to worry about storing them at the top.

Don’t Forget the Pockets or Front Compartment (If It Has Any)

Does your bag have outer pockets or a front compartment?

Great, that means you have the option to keep your most important items in them. Think hand sanitizer, an N95 mask, and your trusty water bottle.

Bonus Tip: Follow a Modular System

To stop your supplies and equipment from shifting to different areas in your bag, use pouches. You can add icons or color-code them so that you'll know exactly what's inside.

You can also include a list of all the items inside each pouch. 

Seems a tad much? Maybe, but if being more organized helps you arrive home sooner, then it’s totally worth the trouble.

Final Thoughts

To build your own get home bag, you need to think about your daily routine and the disasters that may happen where you live. You also have to pack smart and assemble your bag based on how often you’ll use your gear.

Put your GHB to the test to make sure it lives up to its purpose. You can make adjustments from there, like adding or removing certain supplies.

Hopefully, you won’t ever have to be in a situation where you need a get home bag. But in case major shit goes down, you’ll be happy that you got one ready.

Enjoyed this article? You’ll love the other stuff we got on prepping and survivalism. Check ‘em out now.


Posted in  Prepping, Tactical Gear   on  June 7, 2021 by  Mel C0

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About the author

Mel is a seasoned prepper with a passion for food, health, and bushcraft. When she's not busy enjoying the outdoors, she's prepping for the zombie takeover.

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