Get Home Bag (GHB) Guide, Gear List, and Checklist
This is a dynamic get home bag guide full of gear lists and a checklist curated by all of our authors for preppers both new and experienced. It is constantly being updated with up-to-date and accurate information, so please check back frequently for updates.
Get Home Bags (GHB) are for one purpose- getting back home to where most of your supplies are. People, on average, spend 38% of their time away from home- whether that’s work, travel, or errands. Disasters and emergencies won’t wait for you to get home, and neither should your preparedness.
This task-oriented kit usually has a change of clothes, some tools, and sustenance to get you home in a worst-case situation. Preppers usually carry this bag on trips further than walking distance, such as commuting to work. While it might seem like a one-trick pony, a GHB will come in handy in a variety of situations.
Contents (Jump to a Section)
What is a Get Home Bag?
A get home bag (GHB) is a bug out bag variant that is designed to do the opposite. Instead of escaping your home for a bug out location (BOL), the get home bag is designed to get you back to your home and supplies.
On average, people spend 38% of their time awake away from their homes. Disaster can strike at any moment, so you don’t want to be unprepared 38% of the time!
The get home bag usually has similar contents to a bug out bag because you may not be certain how long it would take you to get home in an emergency. If your workplace is easily walkable, your GHB will be smaller and closer to Everyday Carry (EDC). If you work several hours from your home or travel regularly, your GHB may be closer to an INCH kit. The bags are flexible based on your needs, and our gear guide below reflects our suggestions.
When you are developing your emergency plan and find that you often spend time away from home, that is when you may want to determine your need for a GHB.
Get Home Bag vs Bug Out Bag
Get home 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 starting point. Bug out bags are typically designed to go from point A to point B- which can be predetermined with planning. Get home bags need to be able to go from point X to point A, and you may not be certain where point X is and how far it is.
Because of this difference in planning, GHB bags range in size and what you decide to include.
If you are looking for our top-level guide with all supplies related to bugging out, check out our comprehensive bug out bag guide:
Get Home Bag Essentials
The standard get home bag essentials with our recommended gear for each area. Grabbing the supplies listed will give you the resources to tackle emergencies, disasters, or just everyday life without notice.
The Get Home Bag:
Safety GHB Essentials:
- Survival Knife: ESEE Izula Fixed Blade Knife (See why this is the best survival knife)
- Bushcraft Knife: Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife (See why this is the best bushcraft knife)
- Handgun: Your preferred CCW that you are trained on (see ours here)
- Ammunition: For your CCW, of course
Fire & Light GHB Essentials:
- Flashlight: GearLight S1000 LED Flashlight (See why this is our favorite flashlight)
- Headlamp: Vont Spark LED Headlamp (See why this is our favorite headlamp)
- Lighter: Ronson Jetlite (See why this is our favorite lighter)
- Waterproof Matches: UCO Stormproof Match Kit (See why these matches are the best)
Water GHB Essentials:
- Steel Water Bottle: Nalgene Stainless 38oz (See why this is the best survival water bottle)
- Purification Tablets: Potable Aqua (See why this is our favorite tablet)
- Water Filter: Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System (See why this is our highest reviewed survival water filter)
Food GHB Essentials:
- Ration Bars: Millennium Bars (See why this is the best survival food bar)
- Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE): US Military MRE
Communication GHB Essentials:
- Emergency Radio/Light/Charger: NOAA Solar Crank Radio (See why this is the best emergency radio)
- Survival Mirror: Coghlan’s Signal Mirror (See why this is the best signal mirror)
- Spare Cell Phone Charger: Make sure it works with your main cell phone
Shelter & Clothing GHB Essentials:
- Work Gloves: Mechanix Wear Covert Gloves (See why these are the highest reviewed survival gloves)
- Socks: Darn Tough Light Hiker (See why these are the best survival socks)
- Long Sleeve Shirt: Carhartt Midweight Crew (See why this is the best survival shirt)
- Underwear: Some clean ones. Roll these up with the socks and shirt into a skivvy roll to compress and organize.
- Pants: TRU-SPEC Tactical Pants (See why these are our best budget pants)
- Survival Blanket: Grabber Outdoor Blanket (See why this is the best survival blanket)
- Waterproof Tarp: AquaQuest Defender Tarp – Tarps are essential for making impromptu shelters quickly (see why this is the best get home bag tarp)
- Survival Bivy: Life Bivy Sleeping Bag – Camping sleeping bags are more comfortable, but a survival bivvy will always get the job done. (See why this is the best-reviewed bivy)
Hygiene & First Aid GHB Essentials:
- Basic First Aid Kit: 299 Pc First Aid Kit
- Prescription Medication: Don’t get caught without your meds! Pack them securely in an airtight, watertight container.
- Toothbrush: Travel Toothbrush
- Toothpaste: Colgate Travel Toothpaste
- Soap: Campsuds
- Feminine Supplies: Feminine hygiene supplies may make sense to store in your BOB, even if you are a male.
- N-95 Masks: 3M N-95 Masks (mask shortages are over, so get the real deal)
- Nitrile Gloves: Venom Steel Nitrile Gloves – protect your hands from contamination with the most durable nitrile gloves we’ve reviewed.
Documents & Navigation GHB Essentials:
- Rainproof Pen: Rite in the Rain EDC Pen – take notes in any conditions (see why this is the best survival pen)
- Rainproof Notebook: Rite in the Rain Notebook
- Copy of ID: Quickly prove your identity
- Emergency Plan: Print a copy of your TruePrepper Basic Emergency Plan
- Compass: Brunton TruArc – Stay on track and navigate with maps. (see why this is the best survival compass)
- Local Maps: Print copies of local maps. Here’s how you download them for free.
Miscellaneous GHB Essentials:
- Multitool: Leatherman Signal – Designed for survival, it is no wonder it topped the competition in our multitool review roundup
- Paracord: TOUGH-GRID Paracord (See why this is our preferred paracord)
- Duct Tape: Gorilla Tape 35 Yard Roll (See why this is the best duct tape for survival)
- Cash Stash: Stash some money in your bug out bag.
Suggested Additions for Your GHB Loadout
This gear may not be essential by definition, but adding any of these to your GHB will improve your kit’s versatility for even more situations.
- Bandana: Colter Co. Reflective Bandana (See why this is the best survival bandana)
- Poncho: Arcturus Rain Poncho – Staying dry is important during an emergency. (see why this is the best survival poncho)
- Boonie Hat: Rothco Boonie Hat (See why this is the best boonie hat for survival)
- Jacket: Helikon-Tex Pilgrim Anorak – A super durable shell for a wide range of conditions (See why we recommend this in our survival jacket review).
- Boots/Shoes: Sturdy hiking shoes or boots.
- Power Bank: Portable battery packs have come way down in cost and are very versatile.
- Signal Flares: Orion Safety Flares – Individual flares are relatively light and pack a punch when you need to signal. (This is our top pick from our emergency flare review)
- Whistle: SOL Slim Rescue Howler – Whistles make getting attention easy (see why this whistle is the best in a close race).
- Canteen with Cup: Rothco Canteen
- Water: If you have weight to spare, fill water containers or bring bagged water.
- Pepper Spray: Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray – A great non-lethal weapon for personal protection. (see how this tested as the best pepper spray)
- Batteries: Tenergy Premium Pro Rechargeable Batteries – Stocking up on standard batteries is smart, but rechargeables are clutch for emergencies and survival. (See why these ones tested as the best rechargeable batteries for disasters and survival)
- Sewing Kit: Singer Survival Sew Kit – Repairing textiles and other gear can extend their useful life. (See why this is our favorite survival sewing kit)
- Folding Saw: Bahco Laplander – cut away debris or make a wilderness shelter (see why this is the best survival saw)
- Garbage Bags: Glad FlexForcePlus– Use them for trash, or plenty of other survival uses with these unique double-walled flexible bags. (See why these are the best trash bags)
- Super Glue: Gorilla Super Glue Gel – For when you want something to stay and never move again. (see why this is the best super glue)
- Zip Ties: Gardner Bender HD Zip Ties (See how these tested as the best survival zip ties)
- Military Can Opener: P-51 Shelby Opener (See why this is the best portable can opener)
- Camp Stove: MSR PocketRocket 2 – A trusty camp stove will give you yet another option to quickly prepare meals. (see why this is the best survival stove)
- Steel Pot: MalloMe Mess Kit
- Ferro Rod: Bayite 6″ Ferrocerium Rod (see why this is our favorite ferro rod)
- Tinder/Fatwood: TinderQuik – start fires easier (check out the other best tinder and fatwood we tested)
- Copy of Birth Certificate: An important document.
- Copy of Passport: This can be more important with border access.
- GPS Watch: Garmin Instinct 2– pick your favorite GPS watch (see why this is our best-reviewed survival watch).
- Ranger Beads: Matte Ranger Beads – Teach yourself to pace count with ranger beads. (see why these beat the other ranger beads)
- Playing Cards: Wilderness Survival Cards – Don’t forget the importance of entertainment and games. These cards are our favorite from our survival card review.
- Sun Screen: Your favorite brand with high SPF.
- Bug Spray: Repel 100 (see why science says this is the best repellent)
- Hand Sanitizer: During a pandemic, this is an essential EDC item.
- Portable Bidet: Brondell Travel Bidet
- Anti-diarrheal Tabs: Imodium Loperamide Hydrochloride
Extra Supplies for your GHB Kit
Essentials and suggested additions have been covered, so this is the area will you will find everything else that could be useful to have when you book it home. These extra supplies will help you in very specific situations, are less versatile, and may take up a lot of space. Even still, they could be the difference makers in an emergency- so it could pay off to consider adding these.
- HAM Radio: Baofeng UV-5R5
- CB Radio: Uniden PRO401HH – HAM may get all the attention, but CB can be an alternative choice that doesn’t require a license.
- Pocket Sharpener: Fallkniven DC3 – Small but effective diamond sharpener (check out our other option in our sharpener roundup)
- Ammo Pouch: Accessible ammo can be a priority depending on your situation.
- Machete: CRKT Halfachance Parang
- Axe/Hatchet: Estwing Camper’s Axe These will help you get firewood and get through walls, in extreme cases. (see why this is the best survival axe)
- Quick Dry Cloth: Swedish Sponge Cloth
- Long Underwear: Carhartt Thermal Pant
- Sunglasses: Whether driving or just outside, sunglasses come in handy.
- Scarf/Shemaugh: Free Soldier Shemagh – Stay covered in any environment (here are the best-reviewed shemaghs)
- Rainproof Shell: Waterproof Backpack Cover
- Ball Cap: Condor Tactical Cap (see why this is the best-reviewed tactical ball cap)
- Compressed Towels: Lightload Towels (see why these are the best EDC towels)
- Handwarmers: HotHands
- Electrolyte Mix: Liquid IV Hydration Powder – Stress and hard work getting through a disaster can quickly dehydrate anyone. Combat this with an electrolyte mix.
- Bleach: Use for hygiene, sanitization, water treatment, and other sterilization uses.
- Coffee: The little routines in an emergency can help, especially if we have a developed dependency on them! The caffeine in coffee can be helpful if you need to stay awake for any reason.
- Prybar: Spec Ops D10CLAW
- Binoculars: Bushnell Waterproof/Fogproof 10X Binoculars
- Gold: Gold CombiBar – money that you can hold is still worthwhile even when the main currency crashes. (see why this is the best gold for preppers)
- Silver: Silver CombiBar – smaller denominations for better payment/barter flexibility (see why this is the best silver for preppers)
- Hacksaw: Lennox Mini Hacksaw
- Zip Lock Bags: Lightweight storage is never a bad idea.
- Waterproof Bag: Earth Pak Dry Bag
- Pliers: Adjustable wrench pliers
- Dish Soap: A little bit of dish soap in a small water-tight container.
- Rope: There are plenty of other cordage options besides paracord.
- Fishing Supplies: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit – tackle and kit will help you stay prepared if you live relatively close to a body of water. (see why we like this survival fishing kit and other options)
- Snares: USGI Trip / Snare Wire – Trapping and snaring may require a license in your area. Please check locally to learn the rules and risks before you deploy snares. (See why this is our best-reviewed snare wire)
- Beef Jerky: Pick your favorite brand and flavor.
- Multi-Vitamins: Make sure your diet completes all of your body’s nutrient requirements.
- Stove Fuel: Extra camp stove fuel.
- Keychain Flashlight: Olight L3T Flashlight (see why this is the best-reviewed EDC flashlight)
- Steel Wool: So versatile and lightweight.
- Glow Sticks: Cyalume SnapLight – Great for low-light, visibility, signaling, and marking. (See why this is the best glow stick for survival)
- Magnifying Glass: SE 5X Magnifier (see why this is our favorite magnifying glass)
- Fire Extinguisher: Cold Fire Tactical Extinguisher – A portable fire extinguisher can come in handy (see why this one tops the review charts)
- USB Drive: Load a USB drive with your favorite survival manuals and maps of the area.
- Insurance Documents: With many regional disasters, it can be a race to file insurance. Being prepared with your documents can make sure you’re at the front of the line.
- Get Home Bag Checklist: TruePrepper Full Get Home Bag Checklist – We’ve done all the hard work. Print the checklist. Fill it out. Keep it up to date.
- Edible Plants Guide: Edible Wild Plants (Paperback)
- First Aid Guide: Survival Medicine Guide
- Iodide Tablets: iOSAT Potassium Iodide Tablets – Usually found in our specialized kit for those with radiation risk, this one makes sense in a general preparedness kit with its low cost and small package. Protect your thyroid from absorbing radiation during the most terrible emergencies. (See why iOSAT is our preferred iodine tablet)
- Shaving Supplies: A straight razor will last longer than disposable packs.
- Foot Powder: Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder – Keep your feet dry when you’re on the move!
- Toilet Paper: Coghlan’s Tissue On The Go
- Floss: Floss is versatile and surprisingly strong!
- Sting Kit: Sting-Kill – Take the bite out of a sting quickly (See why this is the best sting remedy)
- Extra OTC Medication: Over-the-counter meds should be a part of your first aid kit, but stashing extras is a good idea.
- Trauma Kit: Trauma IFAK – Use only if trained.
The Definitive Get Home Bag Checklist
A perfect GHB loadout 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 definitive GHB 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.
Get Home Bag PDF Checklist
If you are looking for the simplest way to print and use the checklist above, download our PDF version. It is one page long on 8.5″ x 11″ paper if you reduce the margins to 0.5″. This GHB PDF makes gathering and tracking your GHB gear extremely easy. Once you open the get home bag PDF checklist in your browser, you can either print it directly or save it through your browser.
Get Home Bag Excel / Google Sheet Checklist
If you are looking for a comprehensive way to track your GHB loadout, 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
Get Home Bags can help you out when you are on the road and aren’t just for getting home. The supplies you choose to keep with you can help you beat the odds when you are confronted with any situation.
GHBs are less concerned about sustaining survival (like Bug Out Bags) but are more intentional in getting you back to your supplies in your home. Check out the differences between GHB and BOB, or use the navigation at the top of the page to browse other kits:
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