6 Essentials To Have In A Get Home Bag

6 Essentials To Have In A Get Home Bag

Keeping a get home bag in the car is a solid plan in case of emergency. Cars break down. Things happen. And so on.

Carrying a gun is something one does to be prepared in case of a particular type of emergency. So is a fire extinguisher.

If one’s goal is to be able to deal with emergencies, you need to be prepared for emergencies that don’t involve shooting someone. Being stranded on the side of the road, with a long walk to shelter or civilizations, is definitely one.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a backpack with some supplies in case you have to hike back to civilization or to your house.

So what are some good items to keep in a get home bag? Here are 6 that are a great idea to start with.

A Get Home Bag Should Have Seasonal Clothing

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A get home bag should have some seasonal clothing for being out in the elements. Seasonal clothing doesn’t mean what’s in fashion; it means an appropriate choice of clothing for being outdoors in the climate you’re in.

Winter means layers and weatherproof outer layers. In wet weather, Gore-Tex and other synthetic shells are king.

Spring and fall require light- to middle-weight clothing, with an insulating layer on hand in case. For summer, you want full coverage – expose as little to the sun as possible – with light, breathable, loose clothing.

Throw in a hat to match. If you are getting a lot of sun on foot, get a broad brim.

The best practice is to have a rotation of clothes that go in the get-home bag and change them with the seasons. It’s a good idea to also have clothes for anyone that might be with you, such as a spouse or children.

Food And Water…And Possibly Shelter

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Have 24 to 72 hours’ worth of food and water in your get-home bag.

Freeze-dried food (i.e., Mountain House or MREs) is great, but try to avoid also having to pack a cooking system. Remember, the idea is to get home, not to survive long-term.

Protein bars, beef jerky, nuts, and dried fruits can take you a long way and require no cooking.

If you anticipate having more than a few hours of walking to do, you may also need to camp. If it’s a possibility, a pup or pop-up tent and a sleeping bag should also be in the pack or the car if needed.

Portable Phone Charger

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If you don’t have a Garmin or GPS device, Google Maps can actually help you navigate even when you’re not in service. Once you GET to service, you’ll probably have to call someone. A portable phone charger can ensure you’ll be able to.

However, if you’re deep in the backcountry, you may be off Google’s map, but you’ll still be on the paper one. So having a map of the area you’re in and a compass as a backup navigation method is a solid choice as well.

Top tip: get one that uses batteries rather than relying on a lithium-ion cell that itself requires charging.

Flashlight And A Headlamp With Extra Batteries

Get Home Bag Headlamp

Obviously, you may need to see in the dark. Besides an EDC light in your pocket and/or a flashlight in the pack itself, it’s a good idea to have a headlamp for hands-free illumination.

The same ideas to an EDC light apply; you want all the candela you can possibly get, as well as some spare batteries. They can also be used to signal passing cars or if you happen to spot a county sheriff or other LEO and need to ask for help.

Hiking Boots And A Good Pair Of Socks

Get Home Back Boots

If a long walk is in the cards, a good pair of hiking boots with a decent pair of socks will make it a lot easier. Keep these next to the get-home bag in the car. It’s also a good idea to have a pair for anyone you might have with you, such as a spouse and/or children.

Make sure to pick an appropriate set of boots or hiking shoes for the season and terrain you’re in. Lightweight hiking boots are great in the heat of summer or spring, but breathable membranes are a gateway to hypothermia in the snow.

The top tip is a pair of leather hiking boots with a fit that’s roomy enough to allow for thick socks. Having a 200- or 400-gram Thinsulate layer is great when walking through the snow, but you can also double-up on boot socks and still keep warm.

As far as socks, there are those which are merino (or a merino blend), and then there’s everything else. Darn Tough, SmartWool, and Minus33 are good brands to start with.

It’s also a good idea to keep some laces, but better than that is to keep some paracord that’s thin enough to be used as a bootlace if needs be. It’s a great multitasker to have on hand.

First Aid…And Maybe Some Cash

Get Home Bag First Aid

Another essential for a survival or get home bag is to have a trauma/first aid kit. This speaks for itself.

Another good idea is to have some cash on you. You may need to pay someone for a ride or for other services, and not everyone has PayPal or Venmo. Keeping $100 to $200 on you in case you can’t use a card may make a huge difference.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for Alien Gear Holsters, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. He also contributes a bi-weekly column for Daily Caller. In his free time, Sam enjoys camping, hunting and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.
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I believe there are some CRITICAL bits of information one should consider about tech devices especially when keeping inside a car trunk, SUV, truck, and so on. These are my opinions based on experience and available specifications and/or test results. I hope you find something useful here.

1) re: cellphone/GPS. Be SURE you PRE-load an mapping/location app that does NOT require cellphone service as cellphone and/or internet services may be down during and after emergency situations.
An app like Polaris Navigation[1] (by DS Software) can use GPS without any cellphone service, and may fill all your requirements. The free version works fine for me (maps, tracking, waypoints and more) but the ‘premium’ version adds functions some may like enough to pay for. Polaris also provides access to pre-loaded maps, including open-source maps which can be very detailed for a local area. In my city, even parking SPACES at major stores are detailed as one “zooms-in”…and at the time I checked them…accurate in layout and locations of individual spaces.
Another word for apps that don’t rely on cellphone service is “stand-alone” apps. In the case of Polaris, it also includes a GPS satellite status panel so you can tell how well your phone is receiving the GPS signals (can vary by weather, tree cover, buildings, etc).
(note: I also keep local and statewide maps and a good compass as backups, and I know how to use the compass)

2) Electronic Devices/tools and Damage from Plastic/Foam During Storage
Should be stored in waterproof containers. However, be aware that some plastics will chemically interact with the plastics on your tech devices and can cause permanent damage which MAY interfere with operation (e.g. melted buttons, damaged display screens, etc.) The damage can occur with direct contact between materials, but some plastics can “outgas” which again…may…cause damage even inside your tech device. Generally speaking cheaper plastics and foams are more likely to be problematic. I’ve even run into luggage case foam that when stored in a car trunk corroded pennies to the point where they were unrecognizable. Pennies in contact with the soft foam blocks were damaged the most, but even pennies stored on top of cardboard separators were significantly corroded.Many electronics rely on extremely small copper components which could be catastrophically corroded by such plastics. You may want to conduct your own tests before storing expensive items in foam or plastic containers.

3) re: lithium cells/batteries. Be sure to follow proper charging and storage requirements for the type of battery you are using. For best life and performance, lithium-ion cells require maintenance every 3 to 4 months or they degrade and won’t be there for you when you need them. Long-term storage should be charged to 60-80% of capacity. (one reason I also keep backup primary(non-rechargeable) cells ready for immediate use with emergency devices like cellphone, two-way radio, flashlight, etc. An adapter may be required for some devices, and/or they can be used to charge the rechargeable lithium cells back up to 100% during use…again with any needed adapter)

IF you’re going to use primary (NON-rechargeable) cells, I strongly recommend using Energizer Ultimate Lithium cells instead of ordinary alkaline cells. Here’s why.
The Energizer Ultimate lithium cells withstand long-term storage and work much better in temperature extremes…especially in cold temps. The ‘Ultimate Lithium’ cells weigh less than alkaline cells.
Energizer Max=AA (E91): up to 10 years storage (have seen these leak)
OPERATING Temperature=0°F to +130°F (note: voltage and ampacity may degrade well before it reaches 0°F
Ultimate Lithium=AA (L91): up to 20 years storage (never seen one leak)
OPERATING Temperature= -40°F to +140°F (remember that RE-CHARGEABLE lithium-ion cells do NOT perform well at temperatures below freezing point of water…re-chargeable cells may be damaged below freezing)
35% lighter than Alkaline AA

Some good sources of info:

[1] Polaris Navigation (google playstore):
Title: Polaris GPS Navigation: Hiking, Marine, Offroad

(note: battery info subject to change by manufacture)