Sometimes, a typical bug out bag just isn’t enough. And an in-place survival kit is not mobile enough. Enter the INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) Bag. Designed for long-term and long-distance survival, the INCH concept stresses the importance of self-reliance skills to compensate for the lack of access to stored resources.
INCH bags are still an extension or variant of bug out bags even though they serve a different objective. Below we break down what an INCH bag is, how it is different, and share a comprehensive INCH bag checklist you can download, print, or save in multiple formats.
Contents (Jump to a Section)
What is an INCH Bag?
INCH stands for “I’m never coming home”, so an INCH bag is a bug out bag variant that helps you do just that.
When you are developing your emergency plan and want to be flexible with a target Bug Out Location (or not have one at all), that is where an INCH bag comes into play.
An INCH Bag is designed to sustain you indefinitely using the contents of the bag/kit combined with natural resources. It is meant to help you live off of the land itself and/or assist in getting a completely new off-grid homestead set up. As you can imagine, this is no easy task and makes its 72-hour bug out bag counterpart look like a cakewalk.
INCH Bag vs Bug Out Bag
INCH bags are designed to meet different goals than bug out bags and other bug out bag variants.
For starters, they are designed for a different time span. Bug out bags are typically designed for 72 hours, or to go from point A to point B if you are utilizing a Bug Out Location (BOL).
INCH bags are designed to live away from typical resources for longer periods, all the way up to indefinitely.
Because of this difference in time, INCH bags are typically much larger (or are transportable kits instead of bags) and they are packed full of renewable and reusable resources that provide value over a longer time period.
If you are looking for our top-level guide with all supplies related to bugging out, check out our comprehensive bug out bag guide:
There are a handful of specific gear choices that work exceptionally well for an INCH Bag but not others. Because the INCH concept is so focused on long-term and long-range on-the-go survival, the gear that stands out is usually reusable, renewable, and requires some skill.
These suggestions are either found exclusively on INCH lists or are prioritized higher:
- Takedown Bow: Samick Sage Takedown Recurve – similar to a takedown rifle in use, but its limited range is offset by the fact that arrows are quiet, highly reusable, and more easily replicable ammo.
- Survival Seeds – Open Seed Vault 32 – renewable food at its finest if you have a green thumb. (see why this is the best survival seed vault)
- Axe or Hatchet – Estwing 26″ Campers Axe – shelter becomes a much stronger priority, whether that is constructing an actual shelter or gathering firewood. (see why this is the best survival axe)
- Snares – Southern Snares – reusable trapping supplies excel in INCH situations. (see why this is our favorite snare)
- Shovel – SOG Entrenching Tool – a shelter and gardening staple. (see why this is the best survival shovel)
As we said, these are simply additions to our standard bug out bag list which is pretty comprehensive, to begin with. Items we merely suggest considering for a bugout bag, like a takedown rifle, are much more important for an INCH bag.
You’ll also need a larger bag (think 65L or larger) to carry more food and the extra supplies.
The Long-Range Long-Term Mindset
With an INCH bag, you are going to need to rely even more on survival skills. This might seem counterintuitive at first because an INCH bag contains more gear and more supplies, but when you are surviving indefinitely off of those resources they are just a drop in the bucket.
Survival skills bridge the gap between your typical 10 days’ worth of food and water you pack in an INCH bag and, well.. forever. You need to be able to quickly kick-start your resource gathering, shelter-building, and remember your survival priorities.
Full INCH Bag Checklist
A perfect INCH bag doesn’t exist- what is right for you depends on your situation and risk tolerance. That said, we have as close to perfect of a starting point for you: our comprehensive checklist.
Our checklist is available as both a pdf download and as a Google Sheet/Excel file where you can check off items yourself, and even add and subtract items from the checklist.
INCH Bag Printable PDF Checklist
If you are looking for the simplest way to print and use the checklist above, download our printable PDF version. It is two pages long on 8.5″ x 11″ paper and makes creating an INCH bag extremely easy. Once you open the INCH bag PDF checklist in your browser, you can either print it directly or save it through your browser.
INCH Bag Checklist Excel / Google Sheet
If you are looking for a comprehensive way to track your INCH bag contents, open our Excel / Google Sheet version. The sheet is sharable, and you just need to copy it to your own Google Sheet account or download it to excel to edit it. We also keep the best-reviewed item for each category linked to simplify shopping for any equipment you may find yourself missing.
The Next Step
Whether or not you’ve chosen to build an INCH bag, our next step in this guide series stops off at EDC, or Everyday Carry. What you have on you when an unexpected disaster emerges can determine whether you can even make it to your INCH bag.
Check out our Everyday Carry Guide here:
Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.
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