Get Home Bag

Ok, so there’s a high risk of “winter weather” (snow/ice/mass hysteria/etc) through out the south east.   That means everyone’s freaking out, bags of salt and sand are now 5-times the price they were on Monday of last week, and milk and eggs aren’t to be found on a single grocery store shelf in all of Atlanta.   (One more reason i’m glad to have some chickens)

Let’s play out this scenario—except bring in some element of surprise.  You’re at work, freak weather event hits (back in ’09 Atlanta had to deal with flash flooding that closed roads for days).  You can’t drive, and likely won’t be able to for a couple days.  What’s your next move?

My office happens to be within a mile of 3 hotels, and who knows how many extended stays (not to mention the numerous folks i could call within a few miles that would likely open their doors to me), but let’s say I had no choice but to head home…where i have food, firewood, dry/warm clothes, my dogs (who will want to be fed).   It is roughly 20 miles door to door from my house to the office, and I promise you I’m not walking that in my wingtips and a sport coat.

The wife and I have been preparing “Get Home Bags” that will live in the car so that we can get home from work — or the side of the road half way in between.  These bags are prepared specifically with the distance and terrain in mind, knowing where we’ll be traveling and what route we’ll be taking.  Our bags are getting put together as follows:

Step 1) Get a backpack.  Personally, something in OD-Green or Multi-Cam screams “HEY, I’ve got all kinds of stuff you probably want!!”  We’ve gone for normal, plane jane packs — all though high quality ones that will carry weight well.

Step 2) Fill it up.

  • Clothing – If you wear dress/business casual clothing like me, a change of clothes and a quality pair of shoes will be a necessity.
  • Shelter – Are you going to need to spend a night?  If you’re hoofing it, you might cross 15 miles in a full day. I’ve done some back packing trips where I did 18 and 20 mile days and I didn’t want to move my legs for a week.  If you’re going to have to stay out over night a shelter (tarp, hammock, etc) and some means of staying warm will be a necessity.
  • Water – does this need an explanation??  I’m going with a Quart bottle because I’m fairly confident i can re-fill it along my route home, If you’re not so sure about this you’ll want to add some Water Tabs.
  • Food –  Beef Jerky, Cliff Bars, Gummy bears (i’m addicted), and some 5 hour energy drinks.
  • Fire – particularly in cold weather, you’ll want this.  A Bic lighter, a magnesium fire starter, and some paraffin fire-starters.
  • Light – I keep one of these in my car at all times, I’ve also added some extra CR-123A batteries in my pack.
  • Utility – I’ve got a leatherman and a fixed blade knife in my bag.   As well as about 250 feet of 550 cord, 20 feet of duct tape, etc.
  • Protection – Pepper spray, tazer, for those who carry a firearm, It’s probably a bad idea to keep it tucked into a bag in your trunk, so i’ll assume you can figure out how to package and carry this option on your own.  IF you go this route, a couple extra magazines might be a good idea.
  • Direction –  a Compass, map, and maybe a GPS.  Also, know your area — land marks, geographic features that could be followed, etc.  Also, don’t draw a big “X” on your hose and write “HOME” next to it.  know how to read the map, but don’t telegraph your route to others if they find your map.
  • First Aid kit — i’ll get into more detail on this later.
  • Miscellaneous: Pen and paper, hand warmers, cash ($100-200), a Shemaugh, bug spray/sun screen.

Things to keep in mind — change your clothing options out as needed based on the seasons, and rotate your food and water supply frequently.

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