This is my stab at a Get Home Bag after reading endless posts and recommendations, as well as experimenting with my camping gear. The total weight of my personal get home bag, minus water and handguns is 13.7 Lb.
There are a number of criteria I considered during this exercise:
Distance – Daily commute is 32 miles each way, although straight line is significantly less.
Why – The only reason to be hiking home would be due to some regional or larger disaster. This area takes hurricanes in stride, although an inch of snow will bring the place to a standstill. So WHY implies the roads are down for the duration, IE: I can’t just camp out and wait for the government to unscrew whatever has been screwed up. We don’t get earthquakes, and snow does eventually melt. And those are pretty much the only thing that can shut down the road systems here. So it has to be something very bad, probably due to external forces, and most likely dangerous, with curfews, checkpoints and the like.
Terrain – Since my assumption for the reason to walk home is that there’s been a SHTF event of some sort, (See WHY), the terrain aspect becomes one of how to avoid contact with anyone else as much as possible. This in turn means avoiding as much as possible all roadways. This in itself has a problem: we have lots of waterways of various sorts, and waterways imply bridges to get across, and that’s where the roads are. Which I want to avoid.
So I acquired the best maps I can lay my hands on. In this case they’re aerial photo, aka, Google maps, with topology superimposed.
These allow me to chart a number of routes out of the semi-suburban area I drive to every day using non-road paths. The power line and pipeline right of ways show up clearly on photo maps, and typically avoid high density population or dwelling areas as much as possible. The companies that build these things know that getting a grant for a right of way costs money, and right of ways through built up areas are especially costly. They use legions of surveyors to plot the most cost efficient routes, which just happen to match up with my goal: minimal possibility of contact with others.
Climate – Seasonal variance of ~ 20F to 100F+, sometimes colder, but rarely. So my clothing load-out changes somewhat on a seasonal basis, but that’s primarily changing the outerwear I carry in the car anyways. In summer I always have a relatively light, IE; down to 40F jacket, in the winter it’s much more substantial with heavier backup garment.
Flora/fauna– there is a ton of usable and edible stuff wild here. Just need to know what it looks like, and if it needs special preparation to be edible. Think burdock root, or Jerusalem artichoke, and small game.
My aching back – I assume, based upon my current hiking/camping trips that I’m good for roughly 8 – 10 miles in broken country per day without killing myself. So I judge seven miles per day given my security concerns.
So a minimum of four days of cross-country hiking, while avoiding everyone, at the same time everyone else is either trying to get out of the city, or into the city, along with an unknown, but probably poor security situation.
Breaking out my standard camping gear gives me an immediate starting point, but I want to:
What I’ve come up with is described below, with the various items grouped roughly by purpose. This set of equipment goes far beyond the basic needs of a four-day walk in the woods: I explicitly decided to expand the resources under the working assumption that Murphy never takes a vacation, and if worse came to worse, I wanted the ability to live off the land for a while if need be, due to injury, or possible adverse government or militia control. Thus the radio and binoculars for comms and surveillance, and the specific planning for travel off maintained paths. Am I a TEOTWAWKI paranoid nut case? No, but having been in NOLA during Katrina, I have somewhat less than inspired faith in the government, and am a firm believer in the Boy Scouts motto.
Also note that I have a static car kit that includes a woolen watch cap, gloves, flash light, head lamp, fixed blade knife, my best hiking boots, wool blend hunting socks, MOLLE first aid kit, and a couple liters of water.
From my camping kit I’ll subtract the sleeping bag, ground pad, tent, stoves, propane canisters, cooking gear, and sub my rucksack for the full size pack. I’ve also made heavy use of a Food Saver to vacuum pack as much stuff as I can.
Categories in no particular order:
My daily summer concealed carry: Kimber in .380. This weapon lives with me no matter what else I may have with me. Small enough to fit in my front jeans pocket in a soft pocket holster.
My routine camping/hiking weapon: Ruger long barrel MK III in .22. It’s far more accurate than I am out to 50 yards or so. Lives in the rucksack now with 50 rds and an oiled leather holster.
Didn’t know what else to call this group…..
I carry a folder at all times: not shown here, it was in my pocket. Browning survival knife with self-sharpening sheath and a ferriconium stick on the sheath. This knife is well made, full tang, four-inch blade. I wouldn’t be real keen on banging on it to split wood, but for everyday camp uses it’s fine. The handle is a bit small for my paws, or if wearing gloves.
My longtime friend the M-7 bayonet. It’s much heavier than the smaller knife, and doesn’t have the fire stick attached, but after years & years of being abused its my favorite over a bunch of traditional hunting/camping/survival blades I own. I could probably kill a bear with the thing too.
The bayonet lives in the get home bag, and the Browning in the center console of my daily driver.
Tools to get from here to there, and to see where you’re going and who’s around.
Amazon grade, 15 liter, MOLLE compatible ruck sack.
The most important features are: having a bazillion compartments, pass through holes for the camel-back hydration tube, and both sternum and waist straps. I like the MOLLe feature as well. I’ve a surplus combat aid kit, that’s been expanded to accommodate lesser problems than combat injuries. Also a water bottle carrier. Both use the MOLLE attachments.
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