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In the emergency preparedness and survival world, there is always a lot of talk about bags, especially bug out and get home bags.
The most popular of these bags is the bug out bag. For many, this project bag is one of their first undertakings when they begin to take emergency preparedness a little more seriously. While the need for a bug out bag is real, it has been a bit sensationalized.
The best-case scenario is that your bug out bag stays hung by the door and never used. The idea of leaving your home, your greatest investment, behind in a disaster should terrify you. It is something you should pray never happens.
Along with being prepared for bug out scenarios, we also need to take into account all that time spent away from home.
After all, what happens when disaster strikes, and you’re not home?
Into this void comes the get home bag.
Once complete, a get home bag is best kept in the trunk of your car where it will be safe from theft and easily accessible in times of need. Remember who might be waiting for should a disaster happen. It’s imperative that you get home. Below I have put together a 3 tier system with a list of items you might want to have to ensure you can make it home!
Quick Navigation: A 3 Tier Get Home System
- Tier 1 Get Home Items: List of EDC Items
- Tier 2 Get Home Items: List of Core Essentials
- Tier 3 Get Home Items: Once You Make it Home
- Best Get Home Bags (My Favorites)
Here is a pretty entertaining video I found on YouTube about building an urban get home bag if you’re interested.
The average American is working more and spending less time at home. It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t have a full-time job and a side hustle or a part-time job, too!
Couple this with things like hobbies and gym trips to maintain physical fitness and you might be spending 80 hours a week away from home. The get home bag is easy to understand and should be designed to get you home in times of a disaster. This should include your ability to get home on foot if need be. Building a get home bag is a very personal situation and it’s one that requires a lot of thought and planning.
Based on how little your company discusses workplace emergency preparedness, you might be surprised to find out that OSHA requires most employers to have a written Emergency Response Plan. Beyond that, this plan needs to be accessible to every employee and those employees should also be trained on its contents.
If your job is like many in America you probably get very little, if any, training or drills on the disaster preparedness.
This is why it’s so important for you to introduce your get home bag as part of your workplace preparedness plan. While a get home bag is best housed in the trunk of your car, its contents can be called on in times of disaster or it can simply be your way out of a tough situation.
Even if your work-place is not offering training or making you aware of their own plans to enact in disaster, that is no excuse for you not to be prepared. In fact, this is the reason so many people are introducing preparedness geared EDC or everyday carry to their routine. Things like pocket knives, high powered flashlights and multi-tools are becoming part of that every day carry so people can react to these circumstances and disasters quickly and efficiently.
The Get Home Bag Process
Since I mentioned the EDC, I want to explain the full scope of the Get Home Bag and its role in the work-place preparedness process. You see, the get home bag is just one element of a full scope process. If you make this a habit you will be prepared to react in times of disaster.
To understand this process, you have to first know its aim which is to use tiers of preparedness to eventually get you to your front door. Your tiers should be comprised in a way that gets you there as quickly and as safely as possible. This requires planning and understanding
The process contains three distinct levels. The first of which is your EDC. It’s the items you carry every day. Now, this varies greatly by the person. The common person may only carry a wallet, keys, phone, laptop and watch out of the home each day.
This process demands that you look at your own personal EDC much more carefully. A more effective EDC for this process would look something like this.
Tier 1 Get Home Items: List of EDC Items
These are things that are handy to have on you at all times. While it would be nice to have other emergency essentials, we need to be realistic with the tier 1 item list!
- A wallet is a no brainer, you’re going to need your identification, cash, and other important cards.
- Your keys are another obvious thing. Best case scenario you’ll be able to make it to your car and get your Tier 2 items and begin the drive home. In some situations, you may not be able to drive home.
- A phone to communicate the plan with loved ones and come up with the best game plan.
- A water bottle is a handy item to have on you at all times anyway. I recommend getting a stainless steel bottle.
- A laptop is certainly not a must, but it can be a great tool if you aren’t going to be able to make it home for a long period of time.
- Hi lumen flashlight or tactical style flashlight is a handy tool that is easy to carry with you at all times.
- A multi-tool is a nice thing to have on hand. If it’s unrealistic to have this as an EDC item you can add it to your tier 2 items.
- A pocket knife is a popular EDC item for good reason. Along with being a great multi-purpose tool, it also is a means of self defense.
- Credit card survival tool for under 5 dollars you can get one of these handy tools. Here is a good one you can pick up on Amazon.
- A Less than Lethal Weapon i.e. Mace or Taser is a handy self-dense tool to protect against other humans and animals.
- A firearm (where it’s allowed)
With these items at your disposal, you have the ability to use that first tier, the EDC, to get you to your second tier. You see, the whole purpose of the first tier is to get you out of work or wherever you are and to the second tier, which is in your vehicle.
Tier two is very important because it offers you your two biggest resources in the get home game. You are going to have the vehicle that will hopefully drive you home or you are going to have the bag, the get home bag, that is going to help get you home (if your car is not an option).
The final tier of the process is going to be your home. You want to use everything in your EDC, your vehicle and your get home bag to arrive safely at home in times of disaster. From home, you are able to create a whole new set of plans on how to deal with the disaster at hand.
If you build this process into your life you will have the ability to react in times of disaster much better than you would otherwise. However, its important to mention that this is not only a shopping trip. This is about a lifestyle change.
Tier 2 Get Home Items: List of Core Essentials
Hopefully, you’ll be able to get to your main get home bag in your vehicle or wherever you’re storing it. If you can’t, you’ll have to make do with the EDC items you have on you.
If you’re wondering what the best get home bag is, I have an entire list below the list of get home bag items. It might be a little overkill for a get home bag, but I’d rather have and not need than need and not have.
I usually recommend the Condor 3 day assault pack. It reminds me a lot of the packs we used in the Marines. It’s a comfortable bag and will be able to carry all the get home essentials. I also list a lot of other great bags if you aren’t a fan of the condor bag. Anyway, let’s get into the list!
Here is Get Home Bag List of Essential Items:
- A Multi-tool does no job great, but many jobs well. If you buy a quality multi-tool you can actually eliminate many other items you might have to buy separately.
- Hiking Shoes or Boots are especially important if you’re someone who works a desk job this is especially important. Hopefully, you will be able to make it home by driving, but you need to prepared to get home on foot if needed.
- Emergency rations and High-Calorie Foods are an obvious item you should have in your bag. As far as emergency food, you have a TON of options. I actually wrote an entire page on emergency food here you can check out. For a get home scenario, I recommend these rations bars here, MREs, or other high-calorie foods like Cliff Bars, trail mix, and other high-calorie foods that can withstand the heat of the trunk over time.
- Fire Starting Gear is something you should have in your get home bag. I wrote an entire page on my favorite fire starters you can read here. While it’s unlikely you will actually need to start a fire, these little tools don’t take up much space in a bag and can a lifesaver in some scenarios.
- WetFire Tinder, along with a good fire starting tool, starting a fire should be a breeze.
- A Hand Crank Flashlight is an outstanding addition to any get home bag. Solar chargers are great, but what if you need to use your devices at night? There are a ton of great emergency hand crank flashlights that are packed with bonus features. I actually wrote an entire page on hand crank flashlights here you can read. If you are pressed for time, this is the hand crank flashlight I recommend for get home bags.
- Hand Crank Phone Chargers – Many hand crank flashlights (the item listed above) will actually have USB ports, so they double as both flashlights, phone chargers, solar chargers, and in many cases even an emergency radio. I wrote an entire page on hand crank phone chargers you can check out here.
- Emergency Radio – As mentioned above there are a ton of great multi-purpose devices that will have a flashlight, radio, phone charger, and a ton of other useful features built-in.
- Headlamp – Being able to work hands-free boosts productivity and makes life a heck of a lot easier.
- An N95 Face mask is another item that doesn’t take up much space in a bag. As far as value, these things are an absolute steal. They’re effective for filtering debris and dust.
- Anti-bacterial wipes are great for cleaning wounds and sanitizing your hands.
- Baby Wipes have a ton of use cases. In the Marines, one piece of gear just about every Marine had in their pack was baby wipes. They are handy to maintain personal hygiene and can also double as toilet paper if needed.
- Whistles are useful for helping others locate your position.
- Medical/Rubber Gloves are nice to have in case you need to provide first aid. Gloves will allow you to safely help others and prevent contamination.
- A Steel Water Bottle can easily be attached to the outside of your get home bag. It can be used to store and boil water.
- Extra socks – In get home situations where getting home may take multiple days or you may end up hiking long distances, you’re going to want extra socks. I usually recommend wool socks for get home bags. I wrote an entire page on the best wool socks here you can check out.
- A Wide Brim Hat is a nice item to have. In the event you should have to get home on foot, you’re going to want a hat to keep the sun off your face. On top of preventing sunburn, it will also prevent sun fatigue.
- Rain Gear (Poncho) – This is very important if you live in a cold climate. Hypothermia is a real threat in a get home scenario.
- Stainless Steel Cup – This is a nice piece of gear to cook with or drink from.
- Emergency Blanket – Now I wouldn’t recommend actually putting this in your bad, but it is definitely something you should have in the trunk of your car right night to your get home bag. A blanket is also a great item to have in case your car breaks down.
- Topographical Maps of the Local Area
- Chem Lights and Glowsticks are great for helping others locate your position, marking trails, and many other reasons.
- Duct Tape – It’s harder to write about what duct tape can’t be used for.
- Insect Repellent – Insect is an inexpensive way to keep away mosquitoes and other pests. Bugs and lower overall morale and decrease productivity.
- Solo Stove
- Zip Ties
- Batteries and Portable Phone Charger
- Chem Lights
- Any Medications You May Need
- Basic Hygiene Kit
- Hydration or Energy Powders
- Small NOAA Emergency Radio
- Eye Protection
- Extra Power Source for Cellphone
- USB Cable
- First Aid/Trauma Kit
- Sturdy Full Tang Belt Knife
- Lighter and Waterproof Matches
- Self Defense Option (Gun, Knife, Less than Lethal)
- Extra Ammo
- Pen and Paper
- Waterproof Notebook
I also recommend you check out my SHTF Items List here.
Tier 3 Get Home Items: Once You Make it Home
Arriving Home Safe
Upon your safe arrival home, you might have thwarted the worst of the situation. Or it could simply be the beginning. All disasters are different, and they will affect areas and people differently. There are two very important things you need to understand about getting home and getting there fast.
You have to gather your family before you can do anything else. Until you have everyone home, or in one place, you simply cannot move. You cannot plan, and you cannot manage the disaster properly.
The home is where your true disaster planning will take place. You have many more resources to draw on and all of your preps are in one location. Your bugout bags are there as well. This means the moment you walk through that door your options bloom. Now you can decide whether to bug in and wait this thing out or you can take swift action to get the family as far away from the disaster as possible.
When making these decisions, you also have to think about the recovery time as well as the disaster itself. Recovery can be where things get really crazy. Days, weeks and even months after a serious, widespread disaster, can be even worse than the disaster itself.
Distance Determines All
How far from home are you? When it comes to creating a get home bag your distance from home determines what you will need. Some people are a 15-minute drive from home. That is no big deal. You can get home in under an hour if you are quick and comfortable on foot. The right shoes and the right bag will make this possible.
Still, others are driving to a train station and training in big cities. This is quite the undertaking. If you are working in a big city and live more than an hour from that location, via car, you need to seriously sit down and plot a course. You are also going to need a serious bag to get you home.
A great tool to use in planning is Google Maps which gives you car directions and estimated times, but it also gives you the same on foot or bike. This way you can know how much you are biting off on that walk home. Do you need shelter for an overnight or are you going to walk the whole night to get home quicker? These are questions you want to answer before the disaster strikes.
The Long Haul Get Home Scenario
If you find yourself in one of these long-distance get home scenarios, you have to be very careful about the type of bag you choose to get home. Any old bag will not do. Even some of the best EDC bags on the market may not have the space you need to assure you can get home on a trip that might take an entire day!
Remember, you will likely not be leaving as the sun comes up. When you get to work it will already be mid-morning and a full day of walking is going to exhaust you. Having things like shelter or even a simple camping hammock can make a world of difference if you find that you need to overnight.
You better also have a quality map in your get home bag as well. This will assure you know your way if you get rerouted. If your plan is to follow the highway or another main road home you could run into serious trouble if that road is blocked, or damage is so severe you cannot get by. Bridges could be down, and God knows what else. You need an option for multiple routes.
Some other important items for surviving the long-distance trip home are going to be:
- Quality walking shoes or hiking boots
- Comfortable clothes
- Plenty of water
- Ready to eat foods
- Self Defense Weapons
- Personal Foot Care Items for dealing with blisters and sores
- Individual First Aid Kit
Best Get Home Bags (My Favorites)
Vertex EDC Gamut Backpack (Recommended EDC Bag)
The Gamut is a great pack that works well as an EDC bag to carry items each day and double as the get home bag. The EDC Gamut is designed to carry things like a 15” laptop but also has the ability to be customized and used as a get home bag.
The Gamut features a 28L capacity and is measured 22”H x 14”W x 7”D. This bag has more than enough space to assure you can store all of the important items you need to get home in one place. The bag also features a full fold loop line concealment pocket for quick access to a firearm. This is one of the most exciting features of this bag. While it may not be something you can use at work you can store the gun in your car during work or keep the bag in your trunk as we discussed.
For a bag with only one main compartment, a smaller concealment compartment and front panel the Gamut is going to outperform most of the bags its size. Vertx has found a way to offer the space for EDC as well as the ability to store much more in this bag. To me, the front panel looks like a great space to store a trauma kit because of its exceptional quick access.
The Gamut is just as much about success at work as it is about success in the face of disaster. The main compartment is deep and well organized. This bag is built for internal organization. The zippered side compartmental pockets of the Gamut also add another level of organization to a bag that is already outfitted with lots of options.
The front panel is a quick deployment option that can be just as effective for flashlights, weapons and emergency supplies as it can be for snacks for the kids or other items you might need on the daily, in a hurry.
Like all of the Vertx products, you are dealing with a bag that has been well thought out with both functionality and readiness in mind.
The back of the gamut is padded with breathable foam that will both conform to your back and allow the air to flow through. This is such an important feature in terms of comfort. You could be wearing this bag for hours under harsh conditions. Hydration will be an issue you have to manage. A sweat-inducing backpack will cause you to lose more water.
The straps detach easily but you are also padded for the same reason. You will find that this foam makeup gives you more time before chafing, better posture and the ability to carry the bag longer.
The Gamut by Vertx is designed to carry and be used every single day. That is what sets this bag apart from most. You see, this is not a camping bag or hiking bag. This bag is reinforced to carry the workload each and every day. The seams are reinforced as is the internal pocket.
When it comes to EDC you will be hard-pressed to find a back that covers all the bases and can stand up to the punishment the way the Gamut can.
Paratus 3 Day Operators Pack
You can pick up the Paratus 3 Day Operator Pack Here on Amazon.
To fit all of the above-mentioned items, and more, you are going to want to turn to a bag that has some carrying capacity. Your average pack might not have space for a change of clothes and shoes. These things can take up a lot of space.
With the Paratus 3 Day Operator’s pack, we are dealing with a bag that is specifically designed to be a bug out bag. So, it would only make sense that this bag can easily be used for a long-distance get home bag, as well.
This bag is broken down into 4 distinct parts and 5 storage spaces. The overall storage space is 40L. This bag is tough to fill! The space is vast though broken down into many parts. You will find a collection of detachable parts and pieces that all offer up a great amount of space in each.
The main bag and backpack of the Paratus features two large zippered compartments. Each are sizeable and offer plenty of space. The bag also comes with two large MOLLE pouches on either side. These are removable and offer lots of room as well.
Finally, there is a fully removable rapid deployment pack that can be used for many things. It can be converted to carry like a fanny pack or a sling, depending on your needs. This pack has 3 zippered compartments and offers the carrier lots of space if you are leaving base camp or looking to ditch the bag to scout your next move.
The Paratus 3 Day Operators Pack by 3vgear gives you more options in terms of situational organization than any bag on this list. It’s not that the bag has a tremendous amount of internal organization. There are a few options within each large zippered pocket. There is also a smaller pocket in each of the MOLLE Pouches. The rapid deployment pack has a small pocket within it, as well.
However, this bag shines because you can organize by situation using the parts and pieces of the bag. The rapid deployment pack can be worn as well as the MOLLE pouches. You can remove everything you need and create the perfect loadout for the moment. That might mean one pouch and the RDP. That might mean just the bag or whichever combination you wish.
The Paratus is covered with MOLLE. Every piece. This means, if you have a specific organizational need that is not met by the bag, you can add to it.
3vgear offers the best balance of quality and price on the market. One of the ways they stand out is focusing on comfort in how they carry. The Paratus is built with foam and breathability in mind. You will also find a tremendous amount of freedom with the adjustable chest and waist straps.
You can keep this bag tight to your person and you will have great breathability, or you can lighten the load and carry it low. The straps are padded and can handle the weight of the bag. For a massive pack that carries easily over 50lbs, this bag makes that load as comfortable as any frameless pack can.
Because of the parts and pieces included in this bag, it has to be designed to last. You see, there are snaps and triple stitched MOLLE all over this bag. Each compartment has a paracord laced zippers that are
The bag is manufactured to exacting standards from 600D heavy-duty PVC backed polyester. All seams are at least double stitched, and this assures you have a bag that is going to go the distance for you. At this price point, you will not find another bug out bag this size with this kind of design.
Get Home Bag Limitations
The get home bag should contain a well-thought-out collection of items that will make your trip home faster and easier. That is the true goal of building this bag. Don’t get crazy! Having 60lbs of gear on your back to get home from a 20-minute commute by car is not a good idea. Be smart with how you plan.
We addressed the long-distance get home bag above. You need options if you are in that situation. That said, you may not need as many options if you are going to be home in an hour, on foot. There is really no need to pack things like a robust shelter or a tremendous amount of food or water. Also, forget about packing those steel traps for catching food. If you are that close to home there is going to be enough food in your bag and around to sustain you on an hour, or two, walk.
It’s not to say you should minimize the contents of your bag but be sure you are carrying just what you need.
Velox II Tactical Assault Pack
You can pick up the Velox II Here on Amazon.
The Velox II by 3vgear is one of the best get home bags on the market. It has the size, shape, design, and features that make it an excellent choice for creating what you’re after. The bag comes in four colors. The olive drab, black, grey and coyote options are all great and none would be the wrong choice. Color is something we haven’t commented on till now, but it is worth a consideration. Remember, we are not going to be in the business of drawing attention to ourselves. We want to do just the opposite.
Two main compartments and two front compartments are going to offer you 27L of storage capacity. The main compartment clamshells and offers you quick access to all of the items inside. The second pocket, while comparable in size opens halfway.
The top front pocket of the Velox II Tactical Assault Pack is a little guy that can be used to store something very important that you need access to very quickly. The larger, bottom, front pocket gives you a serious amount of space for an auxiliary pocket.
The Velox II just seems to grow. It looks small when you first get the bag but its ability to fill out is incredible. There are also straps that allow you to secure that load both on your sternum or waist. There are straps that secure the load from the outside as well. This stability allows you to carry a larger load.
It’s important to note that the Velox is also compatible with hydration up to 3L.
The bags from 3vgear are great because they are covered with MOLLE webbing. You will come away with more than enough support, in terms of organization.
The main pocket features a padded laptop sleeve, that fits most 15-inch laptops. The second main compartment offers a collection of overlapping mesh storage pockets that can be used to store items of all sizes. The larger front pocket also offers a number a smaller, but similar, layout.
The back panel of the Velox II is EVA molded and vented to provide you with some serious airflow. This helps with both comfort and water loss. You could be combating both if you have to make a get home run on a sweltering summer day.
The shoulders straps are highly adjustable and padded. The waist and sternum straps are adjustable, and this makes a world of difference when carrying a load. As a get home bag the Velox is going to offer you the comfort of carrying a smaller and more balanced bag while having the space to carry like a much larger bag.
From the reinforced, padded drag handle to the triple-stitched seams, this bag is not just designed to look tactical. It’s designed to play the part as well. It’s manufactured to exacting standards using heavy-duty 600D PVC backed polyester. This assures that you are going to have the ability to drag this bag through hell and back, when really, you just need to get home!
The Importance of Organization
By now you have a clever idea of what you are going to store in your get home bag. You have assessed the distance of your get home journey but what about how it all fits in the bag. Organization makes things easier and will allow you to use more of the items you packed. Its human nature to neglect the things that are not easy to access. The perfect tool might stay in your bag if the bag is a mess and you have to dig for that tool.
There are a number of ways you can organize your bag. Some bags on this list are better for organization than others. Of course, the bag is just one part of keeping like items together and assuring they are easily accessible in a hurry. There are other products on the market that can be used as well.
One of the very best methods for organization in your get home bag is to utilize see-through mesh bags. These bags are available in lots of places you can also find them at Amazon. The mesh bags are color-coded and vary in size. They are zippered and give you the ability to color-code your more important preps. While it may sound a little childish or maybe a bit neurotic you will quickly see the benefits the first time you use this setup. Below is the outline of colors and the categories they fit best.
Orange: All implements used in starting, building and sustaining fire, except for larger tools like saws or axes that do not fit. You can store things like tinder, charcloth, lighters, matches, lenses and any other things you might use to stoke the flames.
Blue: Naturally, this bag becomes the bag for your water management tools. Inside you should store things like your water filter or smaller Sawyer style filters. You can also store items like Aquatabs or other chemicals for sanitizing water. A couple of small containers for water are not bad in this pack either. If you are going to use it to collect or sanitize water, it should be in this pouch.
Red: While keeping a trauma kit and IFAK in the car is a best practice, you might also want a little extra of the things that count for your bag as well. The red mesh bag can be used for these first aid items. Maybe you use this bag for simple OTC medicines to get you out of a jam. You do not want diarrhea on the walk home so having some pink bismuth tablets could be a great move.
Black: This bag is the largest in the pack that is linked above, but you do not need to be limited to these. The black bag is great for things like light sources and other small tools. Having flashlights, chem-lights and sharpeners in this bag make it a great go-to for some of the more important things. You could also include optics in this bag if you wanted.
While having a system is crucial you do not have to stick to this method. This is a tried and true system that will quickly organize your get home bag in a way that will allow you to take advantage of all you have inside. You will know where everything is and how to quickly get ahold of it. Remember, these early moments in a disaster are windows that are slowly shutting.
You need to get home quickly and safely to assure you have all of the opportunity to the best decisions possible, regarding next steps.
Condor 3 Day Assault Pack (Recommended)
The Condor 3 Day Assault Pack is a bag that looks to meet the needs of its owner by using superior quality, deep levels of organization and durability to assure it doesn’t leave your side. The Condor will take some time to fill up and organize just how you like it but once you do it will be a force in your arsenal.
The overall size and space of the Condor make it our 2nd largest bag on the list. With its storage and organization, you could argue that it is capable of holding more than the bugout inspired Paratus. The Condor features the assault-style pack and the two pouches on either side. They do not come off of this bag but offer nice space.
There is a little hidden side pocket on the front panel. This might be the perfect panel for a CCW.
The bag also features grommets in each section for water drainage. Its 3L hydration compatible. It’s also worth noting that the front panel, pouches and rapid deployment pack are covered in MOLLE as well. So, expansion is very easy.
The Condor really shines in terms of organization. The main pocket, that clamshells, offers a set of straps to hold equipment in place on the back panel. There are also two zippered organizers in the main pocket.
The smaller pocket in the main bag has three layers of open-top organization pockets, along with a panel for smaller things like pens and flashlights.
The side pouches are merely dump style pockets. The rapid deployment offers some mesh storage. Overall, the Condor is a pack that offers tons of organization options.
Condor has taken a number of steps to assure that this impressive bag not only stores and organizes plenty of gear but also that it is a comfortable bag to carry. It features a padded foam back panel. There is a large lower back, foam cushion. This is a great little feature. The waist straps are padded also. Adjustable padded shoulder straps feature a sternum strap as well to handle the weight of the load.
Featuring some of the best zippers on this list, the Condor takes durability very seriously. It has a reinforced drag handle along with reinforced stitching on all seams and triple stitching on all the MOLLE webbing.
The bag itself is made of a highly durable canvas, it feels like. There is very little information about the general makeup of the bag itself. What I can say is that the bag has been used in several applications and there has not been any damage to the bag itself.
The majority of reviews on the Condor 3 Day Assault Pack speak to it being the best 3 day they have ever owned!
5.11 Tactical Messenger Bags
Some tactical messenger bags make great get home bags. If you’re interested in potentially using a messenger bag as a get home bag, you can check out my favorite messenger bags here.
Here are my references and more resources for you:
Wikipedia: Survival Items
Wikipedia: Get Home Bags are similar to get home bags. You can read more about them through the link
There is no substitution for a powerful get home bag. Choosing the right bag for you and setting it up to address your needs is a means to finding your way home in the worst of times. Take the time to build this bag properly. Understand the distance required of it and make sure the thing is organized so you can take advantage of what’s inside.
Beyond that, get yourself in shape so you can lug that bag all the way home. It’s kinda fun to have a ‘get home’ dry run one weekend. You will find out a lot about yourself and your route home by doing this.