Assembling A Get Home Bag
I guess it is easy for most people to dismiss the need for a Get Home Bag, but sitting in my hotel room, and looking west into Manhattan, I can’t help remembering that terrible day so many people had to walk out of the city when the Towers fell. A get home bag doesn’t have to look like a SEAL’s assault pack or a Ninja’s overnight bag. A few thought out items in an easy to carry bag can add ease and comfort to your daily grind, and God forbid, help you get out of a jam someday. I can only base my recommendations on what to include on my experiences. In the past decade I had to get home during the Blackout of ’04, faced blizzards, and watched the smoke rise out of Lower Manhattan on 9/11. With that in mind I plan for a night spent in my Jeep or a 10-12 mile walk home, a little bit of preparedness can’t hurt. With that in mind this is what I keep in my bag.
Get Home Bag Contents
- A quart of water in a sports bottle. I fill it up every morning and drink it when I get home every night. It is nice to have, cheap, and at the very least I’m getting proper hydration.
- A few energy bars. I prefer PowerBars for some reason they seem to hold up to the wear and tear of being thrown in a bag for weeks on end. They might not taste the greatest but if you ever really need them they will be like Filet Mignon.
- A bandana. You could easily fill a novel with all the uses for a bandana but a few are a tourniquet, sling, keep the sun off of your head, or to cover your face to keep smoke or dust out.
- A first aid kit. I don’t carry a trauma center around with me but band aids, Advil, Tylenol, and tweezers come in handy sometimes.
- A flashlight. I’ll admit to carrying a high end SureFire in my bag but I’m a bit of a gear geek. One of those LED’s they sell at Lowes or Home Depot will do fine, the battery life is just getting silly.
- A mutli-tool or Swiss Army Knife. I really like a Leatherman for this. I’ve used mine to fix the a/c in my hotel room and to make repairs out in the field. One of the basic Leathermans will do a lot and take up little space or weight.
- Some cash and coins. The Blackout of ’04 taught me the need to have a few bucks stashed in the GHB. When the power went off so did the ATM’s and Debit Card stopped working. I was able to walk in a buy some coldwater at the deli as I waited for traffic to clear because as my partner like to say “Adults carry cash”.
- A Turtleneck. I’ve got an old merino wool turtleneck sweater tucked into my bag. I work outside and having an extra layer has come in handy more times than I can count.
- An extra pair of warm socks. Wet socks can ruin your day, period! In the winter I keep a pair in my bag. They are worth their weight in gold if your feet are wet. Nothing is worse than cold and wet feet.
- Pen + Paper. You never know when the mood to write a quick blog will strike, you’ll need to jot something down, or leave a note.
- Magazine or paperback. I like to keep a little reading material in my bag. If I need to wait something out being able to kill some time without boredom will be nice.
Well there you have it, the contents of my little Get Home Bag. I try to keep it simple and grounded in my real life experiences and anticipated needs. I don’t want to come off as to Tacti-cool so I stick to the basics. I’m always open to new ideas or suggestions.
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