Survival Bag 101: Go Bag vs. Get Home Bag vs. Bug Out Bag

What sets preppers apart from other folks?

Most average Joes don’t bother making or even buying an emergency kit. They only get moving right when disaster rears its head, fighting to the death for the last box of Twinkies.

Preppers, on the other hand, don’t only own a single survival kit.

They don’t just have two, either. They own multiple survival bags — like a go bag, a get home bag, and a bug out bag.

In this article, you’ll learn how each survival bag is distinct from the others. Let’s get started:

The Battle of the Survival Bag: How Are Get Home Bags, Bug Out Bags, and Go Bags Different?

Bug out bags, get home bags, and go bags are all designed to help you stay alive during emergencies. They carry essential survival supplies like water, food, and hygiene products.

But that’s where the similarities end.

Each bag has a specific purpose, so many preppers have all three to cover their bases. It’s best to follow in their footsteps and have these bags ready for action.

To get a better idea about each survival bag and its uses, take a look at this:

Get Home Bag

You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out what a get home bag (GHB) is for.

It’s a bag that will come in handy if you ever find yourself away from home when disaster strikes. And since a huge chunk of your time is spent either at work or outdoors, this will be a likely scenario.

You’ll either need to return home to bug in and ride out the shitstorm, or you’ll go back to grab your family and hightail it to your bug out location (with a bug out bag strapped on, of course).

In cases like these, a get home bag will help you reach home in one piece.

It shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to arrive home. But in case it takes longer than anticipated, the GHB should have supplies good for 24-48 hours.

How Big Should It Be?

Your GHB should be stocked with survival supplies to keep you hydrated, fed, and comfortable while you journey back to your house.

But don’t forget that the goal is to get home ASAP. This survival bag should be light enough to haul around for a couple of miles.

These factors will also dictate the size of your get home bag:

  • The distance from your workplace to your home
  • The climate in your area
  • Whether you own a car or not

What Items Should Be In It?

Since a GHB is meant to be light, it’s best to stick to the basics. The more stuff you have, the heavier the bag will be.

Energy bars, trail mix, jerky, and other quick snacks should be enough to fuel you on your trip. To stay hydrated, bring a water bottle and a water filter.

Pack a change of clothes and some extra cash, too.

Besides these, you also need to add some multipurpose items to your bag, including:

Where Should You Keep It?

Once you’re done packing your get home bag, keep it near. You can store it at your workplace or in the trunk of your car. Make sure your kids have their own get home bags in their school lockers, too.

Bug Out Bag

While bugging in is usually the safest option when SHTF, there are certain cases when it’s better to stay the hell away from home.

The last thing you want is to be stuck at home while a wildfire is wrecking your neighborhood or being plunged knee-deep into floodwater because you decided to tough it out at home during a flood.

But making your way to your bug out location (BOL) can take a whole day…or even longer, if you’re traveling by foot.

That’s why you need to prepare a bug out bag (BOB). Also known as a 72-hour bag, this survival bag is filled with enough stuff to keep you alive until you reach your destination (ideally within 3 days).

How Big Should It Be?

A BOB is typically heavier than a get home bag, but its size also depends on a few factors.

First off, you need to consider your mode of transportation.

You can get away with a heavier bag if your bug out vehicle (BOV) has enough gas to take you all the way to your BOL. But if you’ll be walking the whole time, or even just a portion of the way, you’ll need to pack fewer things.

Then, there’s your physical state.

Realistically speaking, do you think you’re physically fit for survival? Can you carry a 30-pound bag for 15 miles on foot?

If the thought of that makes you grimace, a lighter pack may be more up your alley. Don’t worry if you run out of supplies, you can refill them with a little help from the survival caches you plant along the way.

What Items Should Be In It?

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most important things you should pack in your bug out bag:

Where Should You Keep It?

Not having your bug out bag with you when SHTF is a nightmare.

So unless you’re willing to bring it everywhere you go and raise a few eyebrows along the way, you need to have multiple BOBs.

Place one in your bug out vehicle, another one at home (in a secure but easy-to-reach location), and maybe one in your workplace. Just think about the areas you spend most of your time in.

Go Bag

Now let’s talk about the go bag. This bag is a crucial part of emergency preparedness. It comes in handy when you need to make a quick evacuation from your house to a temporary shelter.

The go bag has survival supplies that can keep you comfortable until it’s time to return home.

How Big Should It Be?

As a general rule of thumb, less is more when it comes to your go bag. You don’t wanna look suspicious with a pack that has enough supplies for an entire neighborhood.

Stick to essentials that can fit inside a small or medium-sized messenger bag.

What Items Should Be In It?

person checking items off their go bag checklist

A go bag more or less has the same stuff as a get home bag. The two are easier to pack than a bug out bag since they don’t need as many supplies.

Here are the basic things you should include in your go bag:

Where Should You Keep It?

Your go bag should be accessible. Keep it within your field of view as you evacuate so that you won’t scramble to find it. You can put it near your front door or inside your car.

Got all that? To help you recap, here’s a comparison table of the three survival bags:

Survival Bag What It’s Used For Where to Place It
Get Home Bag Helps you get home safely in the midst of a disaster – Workplace
– Car trunk
Bug Out Bag Keeps you alive until you reach your bug out location – Bug out vehicle
– Home
– Workplace
Go Bag Short evacuations from your house to a temporary shelter – Near your front door
– Inside your car

Final Thoughts

Go bags, get home bags, and bug out bags serve different purposes, but they ultimately have the same goal of keeping you alive when things go south.

So…do you really need all these bags?

Our answer is a big, fat YES. You can never be too careful.

Pair these bags together with your survival skills and a foolproof SHTF plan, and you’ll have a better chance of prevailing against natural and manmade disasters.

What other things do you want to learn about? Let us know in the comments!

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