I was asked on Reddit to go through the contents of my Get Home Bag (GHB), so I thought it would be fun to go through the information here. It might assist you in deciding on what you need.
Firstly, you should not immediately trust generic Get Home Bags. They are usually overpriced, over packed and most likely will not support your requirements. They can, however, supply you with a great foundation on which to make your own. By this I mean that you could get a generic GHB and re-work the contents to suite your need or you might just find some inspiration from other peoples bag.
This bag looks great, and with some of the flexibility in the site you could come out with a great bag… yet at around $360 USD, it is way too expensive for me and could be made cheaper if you took the time to construct the bag yourself.
In my situation, I would need to take between 2-5 days to get home from the city by foot. That would be two days if I could walk uninterrupted, or longer if I had to avoid populated areas. My bag has to suit my situation and my budget.
The bag I had decided on is an 80litre hiking style backpack. It has chest and waist straps and can be modified to convert to a suitcase. It also has a removable day bag on the front which means I can carry the bare essentials if I have to ditch the bag. It is huge bag (maybe a little too big) yet I bought it second hand for $40 and it is amazing condition. The weight sits squarely on my shoulders and upper back, which allows me to walk with it for long distances. I can also use it for my hiking and camping, carrying all the items I need for a week in the country. This bag has many positive features that made it a perfect choice for me.
Currently it is winter here in Tassie and part of my route will be crossing a high (relative to local averages) mountain range. Due to this I have to consider sub zero temperatures could occur during the nights. I also have to think about the high rainfall , so I have to pack accordingly. I have my old snowboarding jacket in the car, which can keep me warm in snow conditions, as well as a military style poncho. I carry an Australian Army sleeping bag, which is very old (it was my fathers), yet it still works. I also have an Australian Army woollen blanket that can help with the sleeping bag or I can use it to wrap around me to keep warm in the night (ala, Dave Canterbury style). In the form of shelter, I have a cheap camping hammock which I bought and so far has proved to be fairly good. I have paired that with a large tarpaulin to keep rain off the hammock. I also have tent pegs, rope and a second tarpaulin in the form of an Australian Army Hoochie. I can therefore sleep in a hammock between trees, or on the ground. Finally a yoga style sleeping mat rounds out the shelter, in order to keep heat from radiating from my sleeping body.
Next I come to food. I have read many articles on why you don’t need food in your GHB… that you shouldn’t eat until the second day, etc. I don’t really prescribe to these thoughts. For my journey I will have to walk quite a distance and I will need lots of energy to do that. So I have put together a small set of rations which should serve for at least 3 days. I have included muesli style bars for a breakfast, packet noodles for a meal, and various other small bits of food for lunch and snacks. I also have one (soon to be more) dehydrated meals. I am considering removing some of the items and replace them with the Mainstay Survival rations (or similar product) to reduce the load and increase the food. I have thrown in an old Australian Army Hexamine stove and fuel to cook the food and boil water. With this is a military canteen with steel cup and my aluminium drinking bottle. Combined with a Army mess kit I can cook most meals. The only item which I need to add is a water filtration system, such as the one I like from Sawyer.
Whilst I know the route I would need to travel, I have included maps of the area, a compass and a small pair of binoculars with which I can sight ahead should I need to see further. I have a multitool, a small knife (with fire lighting magnesium stick) and string saws that I can turn into a hacksaw with the addition of a flexible stick.
I have placed a small headlamp in the bag, which would be a great item after dark. I can use it to see around the campsite, or even walk through the night if I needed to. It runs off the same batteries as my other items, so it has a long life. It is also very light… so light that during the recent blackout we had I forgot I was wearing it when I went to bed. I have a small camp light, which looks like a little lantern. I originally wanted a tea light lantern, yet the store person convinced me that this was better. It is lighter than a candle lantern, runs of batteries for over 48 hours continuous use, won’t cause a fire danger, and won’t go out in a storm. As a last resort, I have a couple of chemical glow sticks that are better than nothing and they are pretty light.
In the form of incidentals I have included a small sewing kit, rubber gloves (incase I need to assist someone who is injured and bleeding) and I have a small first aid kit, which includes bandaids, some bandages, as well as some medication (Panadol, anti-inflammatory pills, as well as come caffine tabiets and water purification tabs). I have also thrown in a small radio with which I can listen to any AM/FM broadcasts. It runs on small batteries (of which I have many). The Survival kit is also in here… while it is kinda lame, it could be useful as a last option. Finally, I have a change of clothes, so that after a day of walking I can change into some camp clothes. This will let my day clothes breath (and maybe dry a little) and allow me to sleep more comfortably. Finally, I put some toiletries into the bag, such as a small bar of soap, tissues and wipes.
This is just the current iteration of the bag. I intend to add to it as time passes and I can afford better items.
I would really love to know if any of you have made your get home bag. Please make a comment in the section below.