Building a Get-Home Bag and Action Plan

Building a Get-Home Bag and Action Plan by John R (AKA SickSkilz) – MD Creekmore

There have been multiple discussions on getting home during a disaster and the contents of a GHB (get home bag).  In the 11/18 weekly preps, I mentioned that I decided to test out my get home plan with the assumption that I would not have my truck available and would have to travel on foot.   Here is how it went and what I found:

I work downtown in a medium to large city.  I drive a bit over 25 miles to work each day and part in a parking lot. In January, I developed my plans to get home from work which included stocking my truck box with the things I thought I would need and keeping other things in my office.

If traveling by vehicle is possible and realistic, I am not too concerned about getting home.  I have a path mapped out that avoids highways at least until I can get to one with a grass medium and shoulder so I could not get stuck.  I also made a rough path to travel on foot.

I suspected that being in really good shape, I could get home in a max of 5 hours.    However, I had never really tested a plan like that.   So, with a day off work that my wife was going to be busy, I decided to test it out.

The route I would take during an actual event involves going near the highway in a north-south direction.  I would not want to do this as a test because the path is more dangerous (and stupid) so I mapped out an east-west path that goes through similarly mixed terrain but not near highways.

I had my wife drop me off a similar 25 miles from home at about 10 am with the things that I carried in my truck and would have on me at work.  I took my phone, but intentionally did not use the GPS on it as something like a solar flare or EMP that would stop me from being able to use my truck could also take out GPS.

The experience was a real eye-opener.   What I thought would be under 5 hours turned out to be 9.5 hours despite the fact that I am in my early 30s and in the best shape of my life.

Significant Learnings

  • The constant changes in terrain and rarely stopping was really hard on my feet. I was on concrete and grass and went up and down hills.   The old tennis shoes I had were only barely better than my work shoes.
  • My work route is 25 miles by car which is 90% straight highway. My test route was a similar distance on the main roads.  I didn’t track it, but I presume that my actual travel distance was a bit longer.   I know how to tell which direction is which, but multiple times I either got sidetracked or got to a place where I had to turn around.  Note: for the purpose of this experiment, I didn’t do a lot of trespassing and stayed near a road most of the time.
  • While I did have some food and did not get excessively hungry, I got very dehydrated because I only had two 12 ounce bottles of water
  • Given that it took much longer than expected, my wife now knows not to freak out if I don’t get there quickly.

I also found that there were a lot of things in my GHB that I no longer think I would EVER need in a GHB or are things I could have with me at work or in my truck and only carry with me as needed depending on the specifics of an event.  I figure I could have saved at least another hour traveling lighter.  Below I have listed the contents and some changes I made.

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