Get Home Bag (GHB) – Should be a good intermediate backpack that can carry 20 – 50 lbs. of gear. The amount of gear and what kind of gear you carry depends on your experience, physical condition, location, and time-distance to travel. In a “get Home” scenario, you will use this GHB to ‘get home” from any place you frequent. It can be from your place of work 60 miles away, a business trip to a larger city 100 miles away or from a family vacation in another part of the country you live. So, this bag needs to be adjustable beyond the basics of survival. Put some thought into your planning for a GHB. Look at your daily activities and routes form work to home. Look at your specific scenarios to get home. The majority of you will have a bag set up for your daily commute to work or daily activities around your AO. If you are in a more urban area and only commute via a train or bus, your bag will be slightly different, smaller, non-tactical etc. For flying away on vacations, you have to consider the airline restrictions, TSA restrictions, the country or state you are vacationing in and their restrictions or laws. You may want to build a specific, smaller kit to add to a carry on or check bag for you to have while you are on vacation. There are many things to consider. One thing to remember is this bag is for you to use to get home or help you survive in a remote location. But the items in each of these will still follow the main categories in the list included in this planning checklist.
The type of bag you should use; military looking versus civilian looking is really only pertinent to the type of environment you are located or find yourself in.
Permissive (no or low threats, low crime) area, then the style bag will not bring added attention to you. In this day and age, there are a lot of people who regularly carry military looking bags to go to college, travel on airlines etc. You need to do some research and analysis into your AO to determine what the majority of people carry (51% rule). It may be out of the norm to see one or several people walking through a neighborhood or city with 5:11 style backpacks where people would normally been seen carry book bags, computer bags etc. Prepare and plan accordingly.
Semi-Permissive (moderate threats, moderate crime) area, a military looking bag may attract the attention of law enforcement, concerned citizens, and even the criminal that thinks you have items that he could use to further commit crimes (guns, knives, other “prepper” items). It would be good to use a non-descript type of civilian bag.
Non-Permissive (high threats, high crime) area, then it really does not matter what kind of bag you have because if the threat is high enough to make it a non-permissive area, you should be moving in the periods of darkness and staying low and out of sight. You would use good covered and concealed routes through rural areas and side or back roads/routes through urban areas or avoid urban areas all together. You will have your chest rig, extra ammo, long gun and pistol. Hopefully, you will be moving with several members of your team.
Conclusion: So, as you plan and go through your scenarios also consider your actual location or operational environment. If you live and work in a very rural area, then the type of bag may not be an issue for you to worry about. If you live in a rural area and work in an urban area, then you may want to consider a bag that may blend into the urban landscape if you have to walk out of the city. If you can make it out with your vehicle then you it may not matter. Always look at the “risk vs. reward” when planning. Remember it is your plan and it should be tailored to you.
Packing and Wearing – When you begin to pack your GHB, remember to pack things according to their use or how often you will need to get to the item. The items you don’t need often have those items toward the bottom of the bag. One thing to keep in mind is keep the weight high and against your back as much as possible. Think about how weather will affect your GHB and its contents. I would get some dry bags and a decent waterproof rucksack cover. Depending on your scenario, you may want that waterproof cover to be of bright colored material to assist you in being discovered, permissive environment, like a hiking scenario. Using a waist belt does help take the weight off your shoulders and onto your hips. This is easier to manage over long distance with heavier weights. If it is a tactical situation, I do not use the waist belt. It enables me to ditch the ruck if I find myself in a gunfight and I have to maneuver quickly and engage the threat. Once the threat is eliminated, then I can retrieve my ruck. If you are in a group, then you can consolidate rucks and effectively deal with the threat. This is all personal preference and based off your SOPs for your group.
Basic categories you will need in your GHB should be the following:
Shelter – Items to build a shelter or augment an improvised shelter. Does not need to be a tent, but some form of tarp or waterproof material to keep you dry and/or out of the direct sun. Don’t forget the extra items to assist you in construction of the shelter.
Fire Starting – 1-2 ways to start and maintain a fire.
Water Procurement – a container to carry your water, 1-2 ways to purify the water.
Food Procurement – 1-2 ways to procure food. Fishing gear, trapping or hunting.
Navigation – 1-2 ways to navigate your way home. Always have 1-2 compasses, especially if you use a GPS or any other electronic device. Paper maps, topographical is ideal, of your operational area are a must.
Defense – At a minimum, you should have a pistol in your EDC. A long gun like an AR would be ideal as an addition to your GHB / GBO kit. It depends on your operational environment.
Signaling – 1-2 ways to signal a rescue party both for day and night.
Light – Have 1-2 ways to provide light during the night.
Communications – 1-2 ways to communicate with your family and/or rescuers.
Cooking – Have means to cook the food you procure or brought with you.
Tools – Have several items that will assist you with fixing something or cutting something.
Cordage – One of the most versatile items in your kit. 550 cord or Para cord is a great multi-use item.
Medical – First aid items for everyday issues, trauma items for critical issues and required medications.
Below is a way to keep your gear organized into levels. The levels pertain to the amount of gear and supplies it can provide. Using the levels does not pertain in the order they are to be used. You should always use the highest number level on hand first, saving the gear/supplies on your lowest levels, like your EDC.
Level 1- Every Day Carry (EDC)
Level 2 – Get Home Bag (GHB) with a possible augmentation of a chest rig with long gun if in a non-permissive AO, keep in mind you should have some kind of self defense in your GHB load out. This same bag will become your Go Bag / Bail Out Bag (GBO) when you are bugging out and have your Level 3 (BOB) and Level 4 (VHK) loaded.
Level 3 – Bug Out Bag (BOB) normally stored in your house and not in your vehicle unless you are bugging out.
Level 4 - Vehicle and House Kit (VHK). Durable containers containing additional supplies. Mainly used for vehicle survival, bugging in/out and augmenting your other levels. This will also cover your additional resources and supplies, like fuel, water, food, medical, ammunition etc.
Using this system of kit levels, you would normally have your Level 1, Level 2 and sometimes your Level 4 vehicle kits loaded up in your vehicle on your daily activities. If you are bugging in/out then you will add your Level 3 kit, and your Level 4 Home kit.