Survival, Prepping, & Homesteading Experts

Get Home Bags – Why You Need One And What You Need In Them

When a major disaster strikes, you may not be home. You can get home safely if you have a ready-to-go get home bag with you….

get home bags why you need one and what you need in them

Most of us travel every day to work, to the grocery store, take the kids to school, or some other errand we have to do.

And we often take for granted that if the SHTF we would be home with our gear and supplies and ready for anything. Well…..that may not be the case.

We could be at any of the above locations when the SHTF. Many different scenarios could happen at that time like an earthquake, tornado, or even a terrorist attack.

Hopefully these things will not happen when we are out and about but as preppers we try to be prepared for everything, right?

Well that is why you need to have a Get Home Bag (GHB) with you.

So What’s A Get Home Bag?

A get home kit is a bag that is filled with the items you will need to get you from wherever you are when disaster strikes to your home where you will be safe.

It is not just for TEOTWAWKI (the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it). It’s also for natural
disasters as well.

It should be in a good durable backpack and easy to carry. That means if you can’t easily carry a 20lb on your back for an extended period of time, it will need to be a good bit lighter than that so you will not tire out while carrying it.

In some cases, roads will be closed so you may just have to walk from your location all the way to your home with your get home bag on your back, so you definitely need to make sure it is easy to carry. This is a biggie.

These bags should be designed for you specifically based on how far you will need to travel. If you work within a couple of miles from home, then your bag will be lighter than someone who is 20 miles away.

There should be enough gear and supplies to easily get you from your location all the way to your home, especially water.


Some preppers like to carry their GHB around wherever they go, especially if they commute on public transportation. If that’s you, you’ll want to pack light and use a small backpack.

Is A GHB Just A Mini BOB?

If you’re in the mindset to bring it to work, for example, and stash it under your desk forever then you could build a bigger pack with more usable gear since you won’t have to worry about lugging it around every day.

But at what point does it just become a Bug Out Bag? It depends on how you see it, but for us a GHB is a separate thing – a small and specifically built pack that gets you home to your family and main stockpile.

Your Car Is A Terrible Storage Area

Some preppers leave GHB’s in their cars but we suggest ditching the food if you do. Cars get very hot and even vacuum sealed survival food will go bad after a few weeks in the hot summer sun.

Tailor It To Your Needs

Keep in mind that the following list is the recommended items. You may not necessarily need everything here, and you might need something special that only you know about, so you should tailor it to fit your needs.

Buying Small And Compact

Buy the smallest usable versions of these items so you can use the smallest and most lightweight backpack possible.

For example, look for a rain poncho that folds into a pouch sewn on the side instead of a thick regular jacket, get a backpacker’s tarp that stores into a small bag instead of those big heavy blue things, and get an emergency sleeping bag made of silver mylar or a specialty backpackers sleeping bag that folds into a small rolled bag.

Items You Need In Your Get Home Bag

1. Water Pouches Or Bottles – The number of them you need is based on how far you will travel. Remember you may possibly have to travel on foot.

2. Food Bars – Most people will only need 3-6 bars. If you have a longer distance then you may need more.

3. Good Pair Of Walking Shoes & Socks – This one is essential if you work a long way. You wouldn’t want to have to walk in your work shoes would you? I think most of us would rather not.

4. Rain Poncho – This keeps you from getting wet if it’s raining and is also lightweight so you’ll hardly know it is there.

5. Head Lamp – This will allow you to keep your hands free.

6. Lightweight Tarp – A backpacker’s tarp, which is lightweight and folds into a tiny bag. Don’t get a huge blue tarp for the application, it won’t fit.

7. Paracord – To also use in building a shelter. You won’t be able to fit a whole hank in a small backpack, about 50ft works.

8. Fire Starter – This is so you can easily start a fire if needed. A bic lighter works fine.

9. Extra Cash – This may or may not come in handy. It depends on the situaton.

10. Compass – This is so you will be able to travel the direction you know you will need.

11. Survival Knife – This is super important. It can used as a weapon if needed and cut paracord and so on!

12. Roll Of Toilet Paper – It would stink having to use leaves, now wouldn’t it!? Take the paper roll out of the middle to save room.

13. Emergency Sleeping Bag – A mylar bag made of the same material as those emergency blankets. You can also opt for a lightweight backpackers sleeping bag but you might need to get a larger backpack to hold it.

14. Last but not least… A Small, Discrete Backpack – You want something that blends into you normal every day environment, small enough that it doesn’t stand out, and comfortable enough to hike for miles.

With that in mind, I do not recommend using a 45L or larger pack for a GHB. They’re far too bulky and stick out like a sore thumb. Nor do I recommend any type of tactical style bag, they’re a dead giveaway.

The key here is a small backpack that no one will think twice about.

I prefer this backpack by Hikpro (20L) because of it’s discrete design, it’s durable and has mesh straps, and has a cheap price (about $16 bucks). It can hold everything in the above list and a couple of the most important items below.

This one from Outlander (35L) can hold everything here, including the additional items below, but it’s bulkier and harder to stash under a desk or table at work or whatnot. It stands out more than the other options, and it’ll also be heavier to carry when full. If you plan to leave your GHB at work and not think about it again then this size is fine.

If you’re carrying your pack every day and really want to pack light and small, the Osprey Daylite is perfect. At only 13L you will have to pack only the essentials, but it’s very tough and perfect for taking everywhere.

Other Items You May Need

Here are a few items you may want to add if you have room and your bag is not too heavy already.

Final Thoughts

If there is something I missed that you feel you may need, then add it.

As I said before it is based on your needs and how far you may have to travel. It needs to be tailored to your needs and this list is just a general list of the most common things you will need.

Also, have it somewhere close by or at least in your car every time you leave your house.

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Meet The Author

Mama Prepper


Add a Comment
  1. Personally, I’d junk half the stuff you listed and add a small handgun like a J frame Chief special and a box of 50 .38 special cartridges. This is just to get home, not cook meals and have bowel movements on a 20 mile hike.

  2. “These bags should be designed for you specifically based on how far you will need to travel.”

    Thank you! So many people miss this fact!

  3. Self-defense gun/ammo
    A few pieces of silver
    Binoculars to detect threats at long distance
    Reading Glasses for close up work
    Walking Stick
    Wire Cutters to get through fences
    Weather-appropriate clothing/gloves/hat

  4. Great article! Quick question – where WOULD you keep the GHB, if not in your car? Just have it on you at all times?

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Get Home Bags - Why You Need One And What You Need In Them


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