View Full Version : Get Home Gear

Shawn Pappas
11-21-2019, 12:05 PM
Shawn Pappas

Have you contemplated or prepared you and yours to “Bug Out” in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise? The idea of throwing everyone in your vehicle and traveling to your Walking Dead worthy retreat may work great when you know the disaster is coming. Your circumstances may dictate that you “Bug In”. Either way, the scenario I want to address preparing for is “Reactive”. An earthquake, terrorist attack, a massive power outage, or spontaneous large scale rioting are examples of these situations. We will not always have time to brace for the pending disaster as if its a hurricane churning in the ocean four days away.

In this situation you can’t help any of your loved ones until you are with them. For most of us that means getting home. Home is our raley point, our supply locker, and the place we are most familiar with. In the immediate aftermath of such events traffic may be shut down, as well as public transportation. At some point you may have to ditch your vehicle and travel on foot. Near gridlock conditions are a way of life where I live, on a good day.

I know. What if, what if. Look at this through your lens and situation. The information here applies to me. In auditing my patterns I found that I rarely travel more than 10 miles from home, and most often 6 miles or less. I’m in Florida which means I don’t have to prepare for snow or extreme cold. Heat yes, frostbite no. Your situation is likely different. The idea is to get your wheels turning. My selections and how I have them organized are subject to change as I explore this topic and learn more.

I divided my gear between five categories; weapons, medical, tools, consumables, personal. For each of these I listed specific items. The challenge is to keep this as nimble as possible. Mobility is survivability. This is one of the occasions where we need to limit or decisions to “needs” not “wants”. The parameters I tried to plan within were that there were no cars, no standard communications, and no public safety, at least none that could come and save me. From a planning perspective I gave myself a 12 hour window to get home. A worst case scenario, keeping in mind that it can always be worse. To further tax your ability imagine having a family member or someone else with you. Some of this may seem like overkill to you. That's ok. Don't go beyond your own limitations or abilities. Understand the objective of the mission. To get home.

Obviously you need a way to carry your gear. A backpack, messenger bag, or sling bag is probably the most practical for the majority of us and there are a staggering amount to choose from. For me I want a subdued color(s) but i’m going to avoid looking like a mall ninja. If you allow yourself more space to pack you will inevitably pack more. Bare minimums here.


I’m always armed. In this circumstance I want to carry more than a handgun. For the area I live in the pistol caliber carbine or brace equipped pistol fills the bill. It becomes your primary. Concealable yet more capable than my everyday carry. The opportunity to shoot at threats beyond 50 yards will be limited. If I have to shoot it will likely be at targets concealed behind obstructions and cover, which abound in the urban area where I live. Three magazines, a weapon light, a red dot and a sling round it out. This is one occasion where I may consider one of the elastic single point slings. Finally, the addition of a suppressor would go far in maintaining your low profile.

You may be better served with something like a braced Remington 700 CP if you anticipate encountering longer ranges or a TAC-14S if you are more familiar with a shotgun. Tailor this to you. How much ammunition should you carry? That’s up to you. Its a balance between weight and mobility.

Along with always being armed in my daily life I mind my own business. This situation would be no different. Only use it if you have to. Keep your mission in focus.


Either on my person or in close proximity I keep a CAT-T TQ, compression bandage and rubber gloves. In my vehicle I keep a SOF-T Wide because I think it can be more easily wrapped around a pinned limb and reconnected during injuries caused by vehicle accidents. I will supplement my daily carry with two additional conventional TQ’s, two compression bandages, two vented chest seals, wound packing gauze, a space blanket and a One-Way device. These items are not necessarily for me. What we generally carry on our person is an absolute bare minimum. In a real incident we will burn through these supplies much faster than we thought possible.

Like anything else, if you don’t know how to use a certain component that I mentioned there's no sense buying and carrying them. Get training.


I had to real myself in here. We don’t want to try to escape and evade to home base while pushing a wheeled Matco tool box. So far I’ve settled on a Leatherman multi-tool (that's the brand I have, there's other options). Zip-Ties because they have unlimited uses. 550 cord is another multi use item. How much is up to you. A flashlight. A small compass because it’s easy to get turned around in unfamiliar neighborhoods and places. A map of your area. Yes, a physical map you can hold and examine, using your flashlight to read it if needed. A small pair of binoculars can help you see what’s ahead and allow you to see further into low light and shadows, where your adversary is likely to be.

I also want a small pry bar and side cutters. There may be places you need to get in to, or out of, where these could really help. In addition, use these items to cut or break through fences. Use your imagination here. Lastly, there are some one time use smoke generating devices available that have a really impressive output and are easy to use. Use it as a distraction, etc.


This is straightforward. You need water. Carry a couple bottles of water and supplement them with a LifeStraw or purification tablets. Focus on staying mobile. Drop some tablets in a bottled you just filled and let them work while you keep moving. A Sawyer Mini with the included water bag is another option. Understand that water you come across in an urban environment is different than what you might treat in the woods. I know that water in the numerous retention ponds in my area is safe(?) to drink but not long term. Can you get water from a pool, a fountain? I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here. If you rely on city or county water you can bet there's plans to shut it off when the locals get restless. I would include energy bars and some type of electrolyte replacement.


At the top of the list should be footwear suitable to your environment and season. If you are at work in your business casual, have some running shoes or boots that you can knock down some miles with. Pack accordingly for the snow. 10 miles can feel like 100 if you are struggling with blisters. For women this potential problem is compounded with heels and a lack of socks.

I’m packing gloves to protect my hands while climbing fences or breaching windows or doors and a bandana to help keep me cool, filter big pieces out of water and help conceal me. A stripped down boo boo kit with Bandaids, aspirin, alcohol wipes and Neosporin will be helpful. Don’t forget medicine that you may need. No one is showing up to help you in our scenario. Include a small quantity of toilet paper. Its nearly weightless and very compact. Stress and adrenaline do things to us. You might as well feel comfortable if you have to go. Pack a Bic lighter. I can see the value of a pair of sunglasses (notice what I did there) to help with the glare of our Florida sun. A few large garbage bags, the kind you use for yard waste, have many uses and they way next to nothing.


We have addressed some of the hardware needs, for me anyway, now let’s conclude with updating the software. I mentioned giving myself 12 hours to get home. The people at home, or that plan on meeting me there, understand that it could take me that long to get there. It may be prudent to wait for darkness to travel. Waiting goes hand in hand with concealing yourself in a position where you can observe likely avenues of approach. I have a sketchy area or two to navigate, depending on how I choose to get home. If I go around them it will add time to my journey. Stay off of major roadways and avoid all large intersections. Think of crossing major roads in the same manner you would cross an open area in the field. Get through it as fast as you can safely do so.

If the opportunity presents itself, acquire a bicycle. Remember your side-cutters? You can cover a lot of ground faster than on foot. Familiarize yourself with how the police are likely to do respond to various incidents. Initially “everything is likely to be locked down”. “Shelter in Place” and all that. The authorities will not be responding to calls for service. They will man major arteries of travel and intersections, as well as critical infrastructure. Stay away from those areas unless you want to be treated like the sheep. Much like the police, gangs or spontaneous criminal groups will take some time to capitalize on the event, albeit not nearly as long as John Law. Use this lag time to push through bad areas. The only way to do that is to be familiar with your area and who to be wary of.

I didn’t touch on communications, and honestly I need to study up on the topic. In my old life, I had the luxury of an 800 Mhz radio. Will your cellular phone work? How about the internet? Contemporary protestors and anarchists take full advantage of resources like FaceBook Messenger and Twitter. Perhaps it has a benefit to you.

I’m going to try to be a ghost. I don’t want anyone to notice me. Better to portray a transient than a 5.11 M-Lock equipped poster boy. Cut a hole for your arms and head in one of the garbage bags you are carrying and put it on. The transient uniform of the day for inclement weather. In your travels, see what people are carrying and how they carry themselves. Not the people that stand out, rather the people you barely notice and have to look for.

Let’s not forget the ugly “F” word. Fitness. More important than the best gear, you have to possess the physical ability to get home. That may mean walking miles, sprinting across open areas, climbing over or through obstacles and dealing with the weather. Walk parts of your route(s). You can identify potential problems and shortcuts. Driving them will help but won’t come close to the information you can gain from walking them, when possible. As bad as this may be for you it can be much worse for the people at home counting on you to get there.

In closing, these are some of my ideas and what I think will work for me. Getting home is just the beginning of what can be a challenging situation or great adventure. Your degree of preparation will dictate which you have. I would like to hear your take on this topic and what specific requirements you have identified for your situation and area.

PRC 74
11-21-2019, 02:51 PM
Possible communication solution. I know the authorities can restrict the cellular network so they can be the only ones to make phone calls. You can download an apt on your smart phone called Zello. It allows you to use it like a walkie-talkie. I think it uses the data channel on the cellular network so it still might work if they lock down the network for official business only. Zello works very good and you don't have to be on the same providers network. That is Verizon can talk to ATT etc. Of course if the whole infrastructure is gone it won't work. Also it is a free apt.

11-21-2019, 03:20 PM
comms option 1 is HAM radio. There is another thread on that but it of course requires at least some amount of line of sight, and care needs to be made that it's as straightforward as possible. Not everyone is a commo guy.

Option 2 is a satellite phone. Used ones can be found reasonably priced and, so long as satellites are online and reachable, can provide communications. I believe you can pay for minutes for them.

During any sort of major disaster traveling anywhere may be undesirable, but traveling anywhere *on foot* is especially so. Even at a crawling pace a car beats walking, from the aspects of shelter, supplies, and effort. I would be hard pressed to leave my vehicle.

If you really wanted to be prepared to abandon your vehicle, it would be easy to keep a foldable scooter or something in your trunk that would possibly require less effort than walking, or at least make it easier to carry stuff than on your back. Maybe not.

But the better option is to drive a vehicle that doesn't have to stay on the road. I'm not saying you should drive an offroad vehicle everywhere you go, but get something with enough clearance that you could go off the road and make your way even if the roads themselves are blocked.

Greg Nichols
11-21-2019, 03:31 PM
I might suggest glucose tabs. They are small and light but give good quick bursts of energy when you need it.

11-21-2019, 03:45 PM
Greg suggests glucose tabs. I prefer hard candies and some jerky.

A poncho and poncho liner are good to have too.

11-21-2019, 09:37 PM
I now spend 90% of my time in South Florida, the most untoward situation is a hurricane; and for that there is always plenty of warning for one to prepare, not venture far from home, and have more than enough items at home to weather the storm and its aftermath. The The number of which have been quite limited in the past few years and of minimal consequence. Social unrest, has not occurred here in any capacity to warrant concern at any point in recent times (last 7-10 years) if I recall correctly. If a major highway (I-95, Fl turnpike, sawgrass expressway etc) were to shut down for 4-5 hours or more, my tank is always 3/4 full so the a/c can run for a while. In the extreme and highly unlikely event of severe “badness” , the vehicle gets abandoned ( that what insurance is for )and the walk home begins. All personal items fit conveniently into a a small 12l marmot backpack that also holds two water bottles, an RMR glock and two spare 17 rd mag are always on hand, plus fixed blade, flashlight, bic lighter and micro tool. Baseball cap and comfortable supportive footwear are a given always. So basically I look like any other guy out wandering in nondescript shorts, T-shirt and small backpack merely walking about. There are a myriad of shops, hotels, convenience stores, where one can procure additional water, protein bars, a bicycle perhaps ?, or any other alternative form of transportation to arrive home. The likelihood of such an event ? Extremely rare, but one should always have comfy shoes should the situation arise :-)

11-21-2019, 09:51 PM

use a LoRaWAN to facilitate text messaging and communication via your cell phone. I use them skiing in CA & CO when the mountain does not have service. The data is encrypted at rest, and they operate on a store and forward model that allows you to piggy back off of other users in the AO. LOS is a limitation.


11-22-2019, 06:27 AM
One other thing that might be very handy is a lock pick set. I use mine more than you think on a regular basis and I can even start my 92 jeep with it.

11-24-2019, 07:46 PM
Another thing that could be useful especially in an urban setting are these.
HAUTMEC 4 Way Sillcock Key 2pc PL0028-2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074RJLRZ6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_S8Z2Db2746TF9
These are nice to have and they aren't heavy. Again I know we are talking about "get home" instead or "bugout" bags but water is necessary for life and I would like as many options for it as possible without sacrificing mobility. The only downside these really have is they are useless if like OP said the government cut off all utilities to a certain area.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

Greg Nichols
11-24-2019, 11:02 PM
Gang bugging out isnt survival, its travel. I dont need jerky because I wont be on the lamb long enough to need protein but I might need energy hence the glucose, which is different from hard candy which is sugar. Also I'd rather pack a filter straw so I can access local water sources than pack purifying elements as it doesn't require measuring, a receptical, or any up front filtration. I'm sure in any urban environment I can find a swimming pool or bird bath or whatever to access water, hell even a coy pond or yard water feature. Don't overthink this.

11-25-2019, 07:28 AM
Here is another from "the archives"


11-25-2019, 07:44 AM
Here is another from "the archives"


Thank you for the old link.

Go bag is the right concept. Bugging out for a SHTF is not a likely or viable concept for most. I am high enough for most sea level or other water rises and no one in their right mind should plan to be refugee. Refugees must live at the largess of others and that is generally not forthcoming on a voluntary basis.
Sheltering in place and being self reliant it seems is better and what is preferred.

11-25-2019, 12:53 PM
Couple of additions to Sua article. One, Dickies (found mine a walmart) is making a gray window shade similar to the normal mylar units , only a dull charcoal gray on one side and reflective on the other. Working on making a new sleep pad with this and I will report back.

Second, those that have interacted with the homeless or the third world cold climates knows that a hobo trick was to stuff your jacket with balled up newspaper, creating that insulating layer. Works really well if the newpaper stays dry. This was bouncing around in the back of my mind last weekend when I decided i was going to go down the youtube rabbit hole on survival, camping and gear. Low and behold I see the hideaway windbreaker on a guy doing a 15 day "survival" camp. So a windbreaker..... big deal. Then he shows how the windbreaker has ten stratigically located snap closed pockets designed to stuff with foraged insulating material to turn it into a "puffy" type jacket.

So I search for this thing and find that uncharted supply has them on sale/clearance for $10.00 . At that cost I bought 6 to test/keep. Thought you might like the link too. Might be crap (though it did last the 15 day camp) it might not.... for ten bucks I will look it over.


11-25-2019, 01:46 PM
Oh man that windbreaker is pretty cool! Unfortunately it seems they only have size small yellow ones now��

11-25-2019, 02:12 PM
Oh man that windbreaker is pretty cool! Unfortunately it seems they only have size small yellow ones now��

just looked and it shows grey in large available (at least shows add to cart as an option) the pulldown for size/color can be quirky


11-25-2019, 02:51 PM
Ahah! Success.... I just ordered one, thanks for the assist!

12-17-2019, 03:34 PM
Mine just got in.

The snaps will probably break after a few uses (testing will tell), the zipper keeps a pretty good seal (more testing to follow) and for 10 bucks, its pretty much a win as a just in case item.

On a side note I am going to test it by partially filling ziplock bags with air (air gap being an excellent insulator) to place in the storage areas, might pack down into the same overall area and provide ready made insulation ( if it works I might work out a jacket with "air pouches" built in and fed by one or two tubes )

Something to think about .