The Ultimate Urban Get Home Bag Essentials Checklist

By MakeSurvival - November 8, 2023
The Ultimate Urban Get Home Bag Essentials Checklist


When navigating the concrete canyons of the urban jungle, unexpected emergencies can arise at any moment. Be it severe weather conditions, civil unrest, or public transportation disruption, the challenge of getting back home can become a real-life survival scenario. In such circumstances, a well-prepared "Get Home Bag" can be your lifeline.

The concept of a Get Home Bag, or simply bag, holds a critical place in urban survival strategies. This bag is essentially a collection of essential items and survival gear designed to help you navigate your way back home in an emergency. Unlike a 'bugout' bag, which is meant to sustain you in the wild for days or even weeks, a Get Home Bag is packed with practical items to get you safely across the urban landscape within a day or two. Its goal is to address survival priorities: shelter, water, food, and first aid.

However, assembling an effective Get Home Bag is not as simple as throwing a few items in a backpack. Careful planning and consideration are necessary to ensure you have the right tools, supplies, and gear that suit your specific needs and circumstances. The urban environment itself introduces unique challenges and opportunities that should guide your selection of items. It's not just about having the right tools, but also understanding how to use them effectively.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive checklist of essentials for your Get Home Bag, specifically tailored for the urban environment. The list is not meant to be exhaustive or universal but aims to be a helpful starting point that you can adjust to your specific conditions and needs. We will detail the purpose and benefits of each item, providing a rationale that will guide your choices and help you understand the importance of each component.

In addition to the checklist, we'll also introduce you to the concept of the 'Gray Man' approach. In a crisis situation, blending into the crowd can be a valuable tool for avoiding unwanted attention. This guide will provide tips on how to achieve a low profile while traversing the urban landscape during an emergency.

The tools and information provided in this article are practical, detailed, and instructional. Our goal is to arm you with knowledge and strategies to bolster your urban emergency preparedness. Don't allow unexpected emergencies to catch you off guard - equip yourself with our expert advice and be ready for anything.

Tools and Gear for Urban Survival

Navigating through an urban environment during an emergency requires practical and efficient tools. These essential items can make a significant difference in your journey back home. Carrying the right gear in your Get Home Bag not only helps you complete your journey with much-needed confidence but also increases your survival chances.

Compact and lightweight items are a key consideration when choosing tools for your bag. These characteristics ensure that your bag remains portable and doesn't hinder your mobility. Bulky items can slow you down and tire you out, which is the last thing you need in an emergency situation.

  • A metal water bottle is a must-have. It's not only for hydration, but it can also serve as a boiling pot to purify water in case you run out of clean water.
  • Fire is your best friend in survival situations. It provides heat, a way to cook food, and a signal for help if needed. Hence, your bag should include fire starters or matches stored in a waterproof case.
  • When it comes to navigation, a compass is your essential tool. In the concrete jungle, getting your bearings can be challenging without street signs or landmarks, especially during a blackout. An old-school compass doesn't require batteries and is fail-proof.
  • Light is crucial, particularly in low-visibility situations. A flashlight or a headlamp with extra AA batteries is invaluable. Opt for LED models because they are energy-efficient, and their bulbs last longer.
  • Communication is vital in emergencies. A cell phone battery backup can be a lifesaver, helping you stay connected and informed.
  • For self-protection, carry at least one defensive item such as pepper spray. You may also include a compact folding knife, which serves both defensive and utility purposes.
  • Duct tape and zip ties are versatile tools that can be used for various makeshift repairs.
  • Paracord has numerous uses, from shelter building to hauling gear, and should be a staple in your bag.

In the end, your survival priority should guide the choice of your gear. You want to be equipped to handle the most common challenges you'll face in an urban environment. Remember, the contents of your bag should reflect your personal skills and the specific threats you are most likely to encounter on your journey home.

First Aid and Medical Considerations

a small, red first aid kit on a railing near a train station

When it comes to urban survival, maintaining one's health becomes paramount. A well-stocked first aid kit is a non-negotiable addition to any urban Get Home Bag. It's not just about band-aids for scrapes; it's about being prepared to handle medical emergencies that may occur as you navigate through the urban jungle to reach the safety of your home.

First off, let's talk about the basics. Your first aid kit should contain the following:

  • Bandages: Not just for minor cuts and scrapes, but also for serious wounds. They come in various sizes to accommodate different injury types.
  • Gauze: For dressing wounds to prevent infection. It can also be used as a makeshift sling in a pinch.
  • Medical tape: To secure bandages and gauze. It's also handy for creating makeshift splints.
  • Tweezers: For removing splinters or other foreign objects that may embed in the skin.

These are just the bare-bones necessary supplies. For a more comprehensive kit, you might consider adding items like antiseptic wipes or cream, butterfly closures for deep cuts, a digital thermometer, and a blister kit if your journey home involves a lot of walking.

However, a first aid kit isn't just about the physical injuries. In the midst of an emergency, you could also be dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. Mental preparedness is just as important as having the right gear. Consider adding small comfort items to your first aid kit such as a mini stress ball or a packet of your favorite calming herbal tea. A clear mind can be your best tool when navigating an urban crisis.

Another key aspect to consider when stocking your first aid kit is your personal medical considerations. Do you have a condition like diabetes that requires specific medication? Do you have allergies that might be triggered during your journey home? Make a list of your specific medical needs and ensure you have adequate supplies in your Get Home Bag. This could include spare glasses, allergy medication, insulin, or any other necessary items.

Finally, remember that in an emergency situation, you might be called upon to provide first aid to others. Consider learning basic first aid and CPR if you haven't already. Knowledge is a powerful tool that weighs nothing and can make a significant difference in a crisis.

In conclusion, a well-prepared first aid kit can be a lifeline in an urban emergency. Take the time to assemble a kit tailored to your needs and remember, the objective of a Get Home Bag is to get you home safely. Your first aid kit is an essential component of that objective.

Clothing and Personal Care Items

a backpack with its contents of personal items and clothing on display

Next up on your urban survival site is the clothing and personal care items category. Navigating the concrete jungle during an unexpected emergency requires not just essential tools, but also proper attire and personal needs. Let's jump into the specifics.

First and foremost, shoes are an indispensable part of your 'Get Home Bag'. Not dress shoes or high heels, but good shoes that can withstand a rigorous city trek. We're talking about shoes that are comfortable, sturdy, and preferably waterproof to protect against wet conditions. A pair of quality boots can be a lifesaver when navigating obstacles and debris in an urban crisis situation. Alongside, don't forget to pack a couple of wool socks which provide excellent insulation even when wet, making them a smart choice for any season, be it winter or summer.

  • Clothes: Now, when it comes to clothes, 'less is more' is not a prepper's mantra. Dressing in layers is a wise strategy, giving you the flexibility to add or remove layers as needed. Include a set of daily clothes, and an extra coat or jacket that shields you from the cold, wind, snow, and rain. Hypothermia can strike even in seemingly mild conditions, so it makes sense to be prepared.
  • Sanitary: In the realm of personal care, maintaining hygiene could become a challenge in the absence of regular facilities. Items like toilet paper, wet wipes, and travel-sized toiletries are compact yet essential additions to your kit. A small bottle of hand sanitizer and insect repellent can also go a long way in keeping you clean and bite-free.

Remember, dressing appropriately not only protects you from weather conditions but also helps you blend in and avoid unwanted attention. This is where the Gray Man approach comes in - the art of blending in with your environment to avoid drawing attention. Therefore, choose clothes that are common and inconspicuous in your area.

Finally, pack all your clothes in a waterproof bag to protect them from dust and moisture. A resealable plastic bag or a specially designed dry bag works great for this purpose. This way, even if you have to wade through water or get caught in a downpour, you'll have a dry set of clothes waiting for you in your Get Home Bag.

To sum up, prioritizing your comfort and hygiene is critical in emergency situations. It's not just about survival, but preserving a sense of normalcy and dignity in difficult times. Use this clothing and personal care checklist as your baseline, and customize it according to your needs and circumstances. Now, let's gear up and move on to the next steps in our urban survival journey.

Tips for Packing and Storing Your Get Home Bag

When it comes to preparing for unexpected emergencies, the way you pack and store your Get Home Bag can make a significant difference. These tips will ensure that your bag is easily accessible, lightweight, and contains fresh, functional items when you need them the most.

Packing Your Get Home Bag

Keep it Lightweight: One of the most important terms of packing a Get Home Bag is to keep it as light as possible. A heavy bag can slow you down, and in a crisis situation, every hour counts. A lightweight bag allows for speed and manoeuvrability in high traffic urban environments.

Distribute Weight Evenly: When packing items such as new survival gear, cooking implements, or a survival kit like a 3v gear posse, make sure the weight is evenly distributed throughout the bag. This enhances comfort and reduces the strain on any one part of your body.

Prioritize Essential Items: Think about what you need to get home safely. This includes your home bag list essentials like food and water, shelter items like a tent with stakes, medical supplies like an N95 mask, and miscellaneous items for hygiene and warmth.

Maintain Accessibility: Arrange items based on how quickly you may need them. For example, keep items you'll need for immediate use, such as cash for emergencies or a flashlight, in easy-to-reach places.

Storing Your Get Home Bag

Choose a Discreet Location: When in an urban setting, it pays to be a 'Gray Man.' This mindset helps you blend in and avert unwanted attention from potential criminals or even law enforcement during a crisis. Store your bag in a discreet location where you can easily grab it, yet it isn't visible to others.

Perform Regular Checks: Regular maintenance of your bag is crucial. Check your items routinely for expiry dates, especially food and water, and ensure your tools and gear are in good condition. Replace any worn-out items, and be proactive against any possible criticism your future self might have.

Update the Bag According to Changes: If you change your regular route, or if there are changes in the climate, update your bag accordingly. Always keep a printable checklist to ensure you're not missing anything. Remember, a Get Home Bag is a vital part of urban emergency preparedness for beginners and seasoned survivalists alike. These tips will ensure that your bag is always ready to serve its purpose when you need it the most.


In the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of our urban environments, we must equip ourselves with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate emergencies. The importance of having a well-stocked and meticulously organized Get Home Bag cannot be overstated. It is your lifeline, your tool of survival, and your ticket to safety in times of crisis.

Whether it's an unexpected natural disaster, a sudden gridlock, or a man-made emergency, having your bag filled with all the essential items tailored to your individual needs will undeniably increase your chances of getting home safely and efficiently. Remember, your goal is not just to survive, but to do so with a sense of control and preparedness.

While our guide provides a comprehensive checklist for your urban Get Home Bag, it’s crucial that you modify this list to suit your unique circumstances. The essential items that we discussed – from tools and gear, first aid kits, to clothing and personal care items - are a baseline from which you can build.

Consider your daily routes, the demographic and climate of your city, your personal medical needs, and even your skills when choosing items for your bag. For instance, if you live in a cold urban environment, extra layers of clothing or a compact, space-efficient tent with tent stakes might be necessary.

Your bag, your rules

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to Get Home Bags. It’s all about what makes you feel most prepared and secure. The principle is to stay lightweight, mobile, and ready to blend in while ensuring you have all your needs covered.

But having the right items is just half the battle. You also need to pack and store your bag efficiently. Distribute weight evenly, make sure items are in good condition, and store it in an accessible yet discreet location. Regular checks and maintenance of your bag are just as important as the initial setup.

Keep in mind the concept of the 'Gray Man' strategy. In crisis situations, it's not the flashy, fully-loaded survivalist that goes unnoticed, but the average-looking person who blends into the crowd. You want your bag to be as inconspicuous as your presence.

As our urban environments continue to grow and change, our methods of preparedness must evolve as well. A Get Home Bag is not only a tool of survival, it’s a symbol of your resilience and adaptability. So arm yourself with knowledge, gather your essentials, and take charge of your safety.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a printable version of the checklist. We encourage you to use this as a starting point in your journey to urban emergency preparedness. The first step in being ready for anything is knowing that you can be.

Thank you for taking the time to read our guide. In the urban jungle, be the prepared traveller, not the surprised victim. Begin your journey today by creating your Get Home Bag, and remember – stay safe, stay prepared.


What is a Get Home Bag and why is it important?

A Get Home Bag is a compact, fully stocked bag that contains essential items needed to help you navigate safely and efficiently back to your home in the event of an emergency. Its importance lies in its potential to be a lifesaver in situations where you're stranded or in danger.

How different is a Get Home Bag from a Bug Out Bag?

While both bags serve the purpose of survival, a Get Home Bag is designed for short-term usage (about 24 to 72 hours) to get you home, whereas a Bug Out Bag is designed to help you survive for 72 hours to a week in the wilderness or if you need to evacuate your home.

What types of items should be in a Get Home Bag?

Your Get Home Bag should contain items falling into various categories such as first aid supplies, food and water, clothing, shelter, and tools like a compass, flashlight, portable charger, and self-defense items. It's important to personalize your bag according to your specific needs and the urban environment you live in.

How much should my Get Home Bag weigh?

Your bag should be as lightweight as possible for easy mobility, but also well-balanced. A good rule of thumb is for your Get Home Bag to not exceed 10% of your body weight.

Where should I store my Get Home Bag?

It's advisable to keep your Get Home Bag in places you frequent the most, like your car, office, or home, but in a discreet and safe location to avoid drawing attention.

How often should I check and update my Get Home Bag?

You should inspect your Get Home Bag every 3 to 6 months. Replace any expired items, check the functionality of tools, and adjust the contents according to season changes and your evolving needs.

Remember, the goal of creating a Get Home Bag is to ensure your safety and survival in an emergency. Each Get Home Bag will be unique to the individual, so take the time to consider your personal needs when compiling your items.

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