What You Need in a “Get Home Bag”   

The purpose of a “get home bag” is, as the name implies, to carry the items you would want if the worst case scenario took place while you were out, at work, the store, or running errands.  It is not meant to be a long-term survival kit, or even a bug-out bag, it is only meant to hold what you need to get back to your home where the rest of your gear and your loved ones are.  While individual needs and available resources may vary, these are some items that everyone should consider putting in their get home bag.


  • A high capacity handgun and full spare magazines. Even if the disaster is not riots or terrorism, there will be an increased threat level after natural disasters as well.
  • If you regularly leave your house wearing shoes that offer no practical benefit, then you are going to want to include a good pair of shoes like some light hikers or trail runners, boots if you have the room.
  • First Aid Gear. Basic first aid gear like gauze, bandages, medical tape, and antiseptic should always be included.  Even if you aren’t injured from the disaster, making your way home could involve navigating a debris field full of broken glass, fires, fallen buildings, and hostile people.
  • It’s not likely that you will have to spend more than 48 hours traveling home, so 64 ounces of water should be enough.
  • As with the water, you should only need enough to keep you going for a day or so.  Some granola bars, trail mix, and beef jerky should be enough.  These items are also light and can be eaten while still moving.
  • Emergency Blanket. It is possible that you may need to spend the night out or that disaster will strike while the weather is cold.  Make sure you have a blanket or emergency shelter in your bag.
  • You always need a knife.
  • Lock Picking Gear. It’s not the time to start looting, but you may need to take shelter in a building you don’t have access to.
  • Lighters are so small and easy to carry, and if it’s cold the blanket might not be enough.
  • Light Source – I am a big fan of these “Air Lanterns” for use when staying put. A compact and powerful flashlight is also a must.

Your get home bag should not be a 3-day pack, a regular Jansport bag should be enough.  In a way, it’s only an extension of your EDC.  If you really want to get serious, there are companies that make bags specifically for this purpose.

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