Letter Re: A Vehicular Get-Me-Home Kit

I recently took a job that requires a short automobile commute of about ten miles into a nearby small city of 60,000. After a few months I finally got around to packing a ‘get home’ kit to store in my car. The city in question has very few routes out of it. My normal commute is on a highway that travels through a marsh/wetlands area. The other possible routes are along surfaces streets that lead out of the downtown area through very bad neighborhoods until breaking into suburban areas.

In the event of a large scale emergency or ‘unrest’ in the city there would be a simultaneous flood of workers out of the downtown area which would tie up all routes out of the city. My plan is to attempt to drive out of the city on the highway route and possibly abandon the car if the gridlock becomes too bad. Then proceed on foot through the wetland and forested areas adjoining the highway.

For my job I am required to dress ‘business casual’. These types of clothes will not hold up well in a trek through marshland and if I was forced to walk home through the city these clothes would attract unwanted attention. With this in mind the kit contains a pair of Columbia brand hiking boots, two changes of socks, change of underwear, Underarmor long sleeve shirt, t-shirt, ski mask (as a hat in cold weather/towel in summer), a pair of gloves, poncho and a change of pants. Changing into a new set of clothes would be my immediate priority once I got to my vehicle.

For hydration and energy on the route home the kit contains four bottles of water and a Datrex 2,400 calorie bar. Many of the items in the bag are wrapped in black plastic bags. These bags will be useful in keeping items waterproof when moving through marshland area. The kit also contains a headlamp for hands free light. Even though the walk is only ten miles there is a possibility of having to camp out in the forested areas on the route home. For that reason the kit includes an emergency blanket/bivy, Coleman Strike-A-Fire Fire Starters, Leatherman Micra multi-tool, compass/whistle/thermometer combo and matches. For hygiene I included tube of hand sanitizer and Band-Aids.

As a previous article mentioned the kit contains cash (small bills) and assorted coins for possible use in payphones. After years of living in the city I realized that the sound of jingling coins can bring unwarranted attention. With that experience I learned to wrap and fold the coins in a piece of paper so that they do not touch or jingle. For protection if I am forced to go through the city the kit contains a Buck folding knife and pepper spray. Although not packed in the kit itself my car contains maps of the two adjacent counties and an umbrella. As time goes on this kit will undergo constant tweaking based on seasonal needs and based on a test run of the strategy in the near future. Once I get home safely a whole new plan goes into effect.

Wishing You All The Best,- G.M.B.