The Preparedness Triangle: Get Home and Bail Out Bag

The next part of the triangle deals with having to leave a location and move on foot from A to B. Whether that’s from work to home or from a location in the woods to the nearest road. A Get Home Bag (GHB) and Bail Out Bag (BOB) are for similar situations but set up for different lengths of time.

A Get Home Bag (GHB) and Bail Out Bag (BOB) as I see them are not the same things. My GHB is to get me from point A to point B in the event of an emergency in town. Point A for me means from work, which is the furthest point I travel to from home. Point B is going to be home. A BOB is a longer-term survival pack to get me to the main road in the case of having to leave my vehicle. It takes into account multiple days of resources that might be necessary.

I carry a Plano Sportsman’s Trunk with all of the gear for both bags. Mostly everything is in zip-lock bags so it’s easy to grab what I might need. The case itself stays in the back of my car and is readily accessible if I need to get to it. This might not be the ideal way to do this, but it’s how I have my particular setup.

Do An Assessment

Building both types of bags means doing a similar assessment that you would do for your VEDC. The factors are similar but the results might differ because of moving on foot.

  • Type of terrain you are traveling on/over
  • The time it takes to go from A to B
  • The distance it takes to travel from A to B
  • Priority in the event of an emergency
  • Type of weather

Here is what mine ends up looking like

  • Type of terrain you are traveling on/over: pavement, sidewalks, grass
  • The time it takes to go from A to B: 4-6 hours
  • The distance it takes to travel from A to B: 15-20 miles
  • Priority in the event of an emergency: Get to my kid’s school and get home
  • Type of weather: Depends on the season

Basic Contents List

Below are the differences between my GHB and BOB and what I pack in each. I try to break down my bags into smaller kits that are easy to manage and repack as necessary. I keep the major kit items in gallon zip-lock bags that are marked as GHB, BOB, or both in the case that it applies to both. I keep the gallon bags in my larger 24-hour pack. The idea is if I need the larger pack, I can just grab it. If not, and I’m only getting home, I can dump leave some of the items behind. The top-level kits include:

  • Fire Kit
  • Food & Water
  • Survival
  • Cooking
  • Tools
  • Shelter
  • Medical
  • Lighting
  • Clothing
  • Navigation
  • Communication
  • Electronics
  • Sundries
  • Other

Get Home Bag Contents

A GHB should have supplies that last about 24 hours depending on how long it would take you to actually get home. In my case, it would take me roughly 4-6 hours to walk home from work. A 24 hour supply of food and water means if I need to stop somewhere, I could.

My GHB includes the following kits and contents. These items are kept in the bag in the back of my vehicle at all times.

  • Fire Kit: regular matches, stormproof matches, lighter, magnesium fire starter, tinder, 1x bag of Instafire, and 4x fatwood pieces
  • Food & Water: 1x dehydrated meal, 3x protein bars, 3x water bottles, 1x bag of jerky
  • Cooking: backpacking stove & fuel, eating utensil, a cooking pot
  • Tools: folding knife, multi-tool, gorilla tape, paracord
  • Shelter: hammock, blow-up sleeping pad, blow up pillow, blanket, or sleeping bag
  • Medical: small to medium first aid kit
  • Lighting: headlamp, flashlight, chemlight, spare batteries
  • Clothing: wool socks, boots, baseball hat, rain gear
  • Navigation: local map, compass
  • Communication: HAM or long-range radio

In the case of having to walk home, I can add in additional items that I carry on me or in my rig. Things like winter gear, that I would be wearing, would not have to be packed in the bag. Or I can pull something out of my vehicle kit to supplement in.

Bail Out Bag Contents

My theory on carrying a Bail Out Bag (BOB) is slightly different than what you might read for a definition of one. I carry one as a last resort in the event something has happened while I’m in the woods and cannot get ahold of anyone. Or if I know help is not coming and need to head out on my own.

My BOB is going to have the supplies that would get me out to a major road from where I had to leave. Not necessarily knowing how long it will take me to trek to the main road I want to have at a minimum 72 hours worth of provisions.

My BOB includes the following kits and contents. These items are kept in my vehicle where they are going to be easily accessible. Most likely riding shotgun with me.

  • Fire Kit: regular matches, stormproof matches, 2x lighters, magnesium fire starter, tinder, 10x fatwood pieces, and 3x bags of Instafire
  • Food & Water: 6x dehydrated meals, 6x protein bars, 6x instant coffee packets
  • Survival: water filtration tablets, water filtration straw, metal water bottle, hydration bladder, signal mirror, 3x chemlights, safety whistle, hand, and body warmers
  • Cooking: backpacking stove & fuel, eating utensil, a cooking pot
  • Tools: folding knife, fixed knife, multi-tool, folding shovel, gorilla tape, paracord, zip ties, folding saw, camp axe/hatchet, wire saw
  • Shelter: hammock sleep system, blow-up sleeping pad, blow up pillow, sleeping bag, emergency blanket, tarp, emergency shelter
  • Medical: first aid kit (bandages, gauze, etc.), tourniquet, QuickClot, bug repellent, pain killers, diarrhea medicine, fever reducer, antibiotic ointment, laxatives, shears, medical gloves, tweezers
  • Lighting: headlamp, flashlight, 3x chemlights, spare batteries
  • Clothing: rain gear, 3x wool socks, boots, bandana, leather work gloves, baseball hat, sunglasses
  • Navigation: maps, compass
  • Communication: HAM radio,
  • Electronics: solar charger, battery pack
  • Sundries: toilet paper, baby wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, glasses case, hand sanitizer, baby powder, sunblock
  • Other: notebook, pen/pencil, book, trash bags, Ziploc bags, mosquito netting

Much like my GHB, I can always supplement things from my vehicle kit if need be. I also carry a weapon in the vehicle when I’m in the woods so that would definitely be coming along. The BOB definitely has more to it and can sustain me for at least a few days of having to wander alone.

These also can change depending on who I have with me. If my family happens to be with me, that changes the number of things such as food and water significantly. I’m sure I am missing some things from each that could be included. These types of bags are an always evolving thing that should be checked several times a year.

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