Get Home Bags vs Bug Out Bags

For quite some time now, I, along with many other preppers, have been talking about the importance of Bug Out Bags (BOBs). Quite often, assembling a BOB is one of the first recommendations we give folks who are new to disaster readiness. And for me at least, that hasn’t changed.

It is the philosophy behind putting together these portable kits that has changed, at least to a degree.

See, words have power. I don’t necessarily mean that is some weird, esoteric or mystical sense. What I mean is, the words and phrases you use often convey specific meanings, right? A dining room table, for example, isn’t just a random table but one that is specifically used for meals. Sure, you might use it for other tasks but dining is the intended purpose.

When you use the term bug out bag, what is the conveyed meaning? Well, bugging out is generally accepted to mean leaving the area, usually rather quickly. So, it seems that a BOB is assembled so if you need to evacuate your home immediately, you have enough supplies to last you a few days. Makes sense, at least on the surface, right?

Ok, but think about this for a second. What kinds of disasters might happen that would require you to vacate your home at the drop of a hat, possibly never to return? Let’s walk through this. Weather related disasters rarely occur without warning, particularly ones that would entail evacuation. Trail derailments or other immediate emergencies of that nature are usually very temporary situations. A few hours, perhaps a day, and you’re back home.

A far more common scenario would be you are somewhere other than home when disaster strikes. You’re stranded in your car due to a blizzard. Or your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Or something happens at work, requiring you to evacuate the building and possibly hoof it at least part of the way home (think 9/11).

In other words, it is far more likely that you are trying to get home than you are looking to leave your home for somewhere else, right?

Instead of assembling a BOB, put together a Get Home Bag (GHB). Change your way of thinking from living off the contents of a BOB for days on end to focusing on getting you from work (or elsewhere) to home.

What’s the difference? Well, for starters, look at the amount of food you’d need in your kit. A week or more of high-calorie food takes up a lot of space and adds a fair amount of weight. Instead, look at how long it would reasonably take you to get home from work if you were on foot. Most folks live within an hour’s drive from home, so let’s say 50 miles on the high end. At a walking pace of even two miles an hour, you’re home in a couple days. You’re not looking at a week or two living in the rough.

Give some serious thought to changing your mindset from BOB to GHB and you’ll quickly see how different the kits will be.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

5 thoughts on “Get Home Bags vs Bug Out Bags”

  1. I have B.o.B’s at Home & Several Secure Locations, While working Kept a G.H.B in the Bottom of my Locker & in the Van

    yes the Name has “Overtones” but People need to Start Somewhere, Most move Forward.

  2. Pingback: The Need for a Bug Out Bag AND A Get a Get Home Bag | Your Survival Guide
  3. I use a multi pocket vest in my car it s not so likely to draw attention as a pack And can Carry lots of supplies add a belly pack and you have even more.I do put a large god bag in car if going over 50 miles.

  4. Pingback: Planning for Evacuation | Survival Gear

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