Wilderness survival techniques are fun. They are fun to practice and fun to learn about. Within the prepper community, there are many who believe that it makes sense to prepare for a “total collapse” type situation. I see lots of videos on YouTube about survival and survival techniques. Most of them address issues that you would confront if you were to suddenly have no access to any modern conveniences–such as electricity. And if you were suddenly transported to the middle of the great outdoors. I grant that these preparations probably are important. But the much more likely scenario, at least in my mind, is the kind of situation we currently see in many cities and countries around the world today.
Take for instance what is currently happening in the Ukraine. Ignore the political issues–what I see is many people facing unbelievably difficult and rapidly changing circumstances in their daily life. I certainly don’t know many of the details, aside from what I see in pictures and read from various news sources. But what I am certain of–in fact, I could almost guarantee–is that many of these people are just trying to live life as best they can. And the normal things we take for granted, such as electricity, heating, access to clean food and water, normal banking, etc are most certainly being interrupted on a regular, if not daily, basis.
I lived in Guatemala for two years back in 1988 through 1990. During my time there, a civil war was smoldering. I often saw armed groups of men walking through the small villages and towns there. Never quite sure to which side the men belonged, we mostly avoided contact with them. Some groups of armed men were clearly part of the government. Other groups were much more difficult to distinguish. They had modern weapons, vehicles and gear but lacked the typical uniform you would see on an official government representative.
As I look at the pictures coming out of the Ukraine, it seems that there are some issues identifying to which group each person belongs. Some are obvious. They have uniforms, patches and other gear which clearly identifies them. Other people’s affiliations seem less obvious to me. And in every picture, it seems there are people walking to the side of protesters and “anti”-protesters (government). These ordinary people are just trying to go about their business. And they need to go about it without necessarily setting off either side of a conflict. They don’t want to get caught up in the situation–they just want to get home.
As I said, I don’t want this post to devolve into a political discussion about which side is right and which is wrong. I have my own opinions and I am certain you do as well. What I do want to discuss is how are these people, the ordinary ones that seem to be on the fringe of every picture trying to go about their daily duties, how are they getting along and what do they do to make sure they can get what they need to do, done.
In every riot, in every outbreak of unrest, in every “hot” situation, there are people trapped on the fringe just trying to get home to their loved ones. How do you make sure that regardless of what happens where you live, you can make it home to your family? One key component is the Get Home Bag.
You have certainly heard of a Go Bag. It is the bag that military and LE and many preppers have to get them from their home to the place they want to be. It is prestocked with the tools, food and other gear they feel will best assist them in getting to where they need to be. A Get Home Bag is the exact same thing, but in reverse. It has everything in it you need to get home. Whatever that may be.
Here are some ideas of what you should have in your Get Home Bag. First, your bag should be basic. It needs to be small enough and light enough that if you had to hoof it on foot, you could carry it wherever you go. In my mind, the very best choice is a backpack style bag like a Maxpedition or some other form of solid backpack. You could even use an old school backpack. The less conspicuous the better. If you have a really nice, unused gear bag with all the military bells and whistles, in case of a serious outbreak of social unrest, you are going to stand out like a sore thumb. That is exactly what you don’t want to do. You want to be the person moving along the fringe of the disturbance without disturbing either side of the confrontation. Pretend for a moment that a group of dissidents began protesting some situation or other in your local city. They are arrayed in the street, throwing rocks and other debris at the assembled riot police. It isn’t that hard to imagine, is it? The kind of thing we see happening all over the world from Argentina, to Chile, to the Ukraine. I even see pictures of it happening after unpopular court decisions around the good old US of A. It happens. Now imagine that you can’t get your car around the disturbance. It is too big. But you want to get home. As you walk around the fringe of the riot, you don’t want the protesters to think you are part of the LE with your fancy military bag. They may start throwing things at you. And you definitely don’t want the LE to start thinking you are a participant in the riot. No, what you want is to get home without incident. So, pick a bag that looks well loved (very used) that doesn’t stand out too much for the area you live in.
Next, what do you need in the bag? That depends on how long it may take you to get home. Figure it out. If you work 5 miles from home, it is very likely that you can get home within a few hours, or even faster. If you live 30 miles from home, depending on your overall fitness level and the time of the disturbance, you may have to spend a “night on the road”. In this case you may want some gear to make your night just a little easier.
You probably want some food and water in your bag. Something simple that you can easily and regularly replenish. I have a couple of protein bars and a few pouches of water in mine. I also have a Gatorade. Easy, simple food that will get me the energy I need without too much fuss.
The other thing I have in my Get Home Bag is a couple of knives. Of course, right. I am a knife guy. What do I have in there? I have an ESEE 3 in case I need to do any kind of urbancraft (the urban version of woodcraft) on the road. Then I have my daily carry. Right now that is a Benchmade SOCP dagger. Kind of a weird pocket carry, but I’m doing it for a review. I really like the SOCP knife–in fact, once I am done with carrying it every day for 30 days, I am going to throw it in my Get Home Bag because as a self defense tool, it is the boss. Seriously, the best self defense tool I have ever carried. But as a regular old pocket carry, it is a bit strange. I am considering carrying it on a bead chain around my neck for a while. Either way, it is on my neck or in my bag. That way I have a basic urbancraft knife with my ESEE 3 and a self defense tool with my SOCP. The final knife I have is whatever I happen to be carrying in my pocket that day. I switch out a lot between my Boker Kal 73 and my Piranha Mini Guard. I like them both a lot. Perfect for cutting whatever.
Other things in my Get Home Bag. A small poncho for bad weather, a lighter in case I need some heat, a whistle (just cause), a small prybar, a Fenix FD22 LED flashlight, heavy duty leather gloves, a very basic first aid kit (personalized for me–this is where you get some medicine in your gear bag especially if you have some specific prescription), some cash, a few silver coins, paper and pencil as well as 100′ of paracord. This is what is in my bag–yours needs to be personalized for you and your needs. Whatever you do, realize that the next natural disaster or man made disturbance may affect you and your area–get prepared and then you will know that no matter what comes your way, you are ready to get home to help your family in times of serious need.
Feel free to tell the world what is in your Get Home Bag in the comment section down below.