Get Home Bag for Teenagers- Part 1, by N.R.

Imagine you are a teenager out at your friend’s house. Image you are playing video games, the latest Call of Duty game of the franchise. You are having a very good time. It’s a little after six o’clock, but your curfew isn’t for another three hours. Suddenly, without warning, the TV and the PlayStation on which you’re playing cut off. The lights in the room go out as well. The entire house goes dark. You think initially that the circuit breaker may have gone out or that the power in the neighborhood may be out temporarily, again. After all, your friend lives in an old neighborhood. Without any particular reason, you and your friend check your phones and discover they are both dead. Oddly, his battery powered digital alarm is dead as well.

You go out into the living room and discover that all the battery-operated clocks in the house are dead along with your phones. And that’s when you hear the first explosion of a plane crashing not too far away. You go outside and spot the cloud of smoke billowing above the neighborhood. Now, you also notice how every car on the street and on the road behind your friend’s house are at a standstill. As fear starts to well up, you decide maybe it’s time to go home and find out what’s going on. You get in your car and go to crank it up. The ignition engages, but the car won’t start. Your friend also discovers his car won’t start either. Now you know something is going on. And suddenly, things start to get apparent.

Driving Homes Becomes A Problem

With both of your cars out of commission as well as seemingly every car around you, it’s apparent you aren’t getting home. At least you are not going home by car. It’s also quite evident that if you want to get home, you will have to walk the ten or so miles across town to get there. But to do that, you’ll need the supplies to stay hydrated and nourished. After all, it will take several hours to get there on foot. Will you even make such a walk?

As you ponder this, you suddenly overhear a commotion growing on the road behind the house. Someone seems to still have a working car. It’s unexplained why, but a number of people want it. Push comes to shove. Before you know it, a fight is soon underway. Then there is the first gunshot. Then several gunshots. In that moment, as you and your friend duck for cover in the house you begin to wonder, “Will I even survive this?”

Only One of Many Scenarios

This is just one of the scenarios that could one day unfold in the event the United States was hit by an EMP or an electromagnetic pulse. In this scenario, the power went out along with every method of communication. Cars, the backbone of modern society, have been effectively rendered useless. Even if there are cars still functioning, it’s obvious you won’t be able to travel anywhere with all the major traffic congestion caused by the pulse. Putting it short, you will be trapped where you are without any means to get home. To make matters worse, people will quickly discover something very wrong has happened and will suddenly find themselves without the luxuries known as cars. Soon, they will be without food and water. Under these circumstances, it doesn’t take long for violence to break out.

Obviously, this is a worst-case scenario. It’s a threat that constantly lingers on the minds of those aware of it. However, this scenario isn’t limited to major catastrophes but also to simple disasters. What if terrorist attacked and the entire city was on lock down, or an earthquake struck and made it impossible to travel anywhere by car? What if the power was to go out entirely and it was unsafe to drive on roads with no traffic signals? Even at the most basic level, what if your car broke down and you were forced to walk to the nearest gas station or mechanic? The list goes on. If you were trapped in one of these scenarios, what would you do? What could you do?

Get Home Bags

Many of the questions posed by new preppers, especially teenage preppers, involve Get Home Bags and what to include in them. Many websites start by telling you that you should buy hundred-dollar military-grade backpacks and fill it up with MREs, canned food, bottled water, knives, other tools, et cetera. That can be a good start for those who can afford it. However, for most teenagers, unless you are willing to commit all of your income to purchasing these items, it’s not realistic. So what does that leave you with?

I mean, the key to prepping is to buy all this expensive survivalist gear that will one day come in handy, right? The answer is “Yes and no”. Really, it depends on who you are and your budget. But for those who want to “practically” prep, it is best to go about spending money in a different way. The point of this article is to show you how. For starters, I will discuss what I call the “critical items”. The remainder of this article will be primarily devoted to these critical items.

The Bag Itself

Your first thought might be to walk into a sporting goods store and pick out all of the disaster preparedness supplies you could ever need. Many people strongly support starting there. In the way of Get Home Bags, many backpacks are designed to carry enough supplies to last you hours if not days. But, nonetheless, these bags come at a hefty cost. My experience has shown that it is not all immediately necessary to spend that kind of money. Big box stores, like Walmart or Target, are great places to start. They provide good products.

While sporting goods stores have excellent bags to offer in the range of $50-100, you can find a decent bag at Walmart for nearly half the cost or maybe even less. While you will lose some quality, you’ll get about the same space and decent durability. The bag I use personally is an Outdoor Products Traverse Backpack. This bag cost me only about ten dollars. Granted, it is not as large nor as rugged as military grade backpacks. However, this backpack is big enough for me to use as a “grab and go” Get Home Bag should a disaster strike while I’m out of the house.

But if you want something larger, you could go with the Ozark Trail 36 Liter Kachemak Daypack for about thirty bucks more. It is decent sized, multi-pocketed, and perfect for packing a change of clothes in its largest pocket and some supplies in its other pockets.

In the next two parts of this article, I will write about other critical items. These will be the items to go inside the bag, including food, water, first aid, communications, and more.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a three part entry for Round 70 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value), and

Round 70 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Why do people keep thinking battery operated equipment will fail in an EMP event. Unless something is connected to the grid it will be fine, until the battery loses power. Your clocks, phones, flashlights, computers, etc. will be fine unless they are plugged in being charged. Your store of batteries will be fine. Buy rechargeable batteries, have a charger, and recharge from generator(that wasn’t plugged into an outlet) or car batteries.

    1. Agreed that was the first thing that jump out to me. The battery power clocks being dead? I do think anything that has a micro-chip is questionable at this point though whether attached to the grid or not.

    2. Many delicate electronic devices will fail. Even the battery operated varieties. Not all cars will fail because of the more rugged construction of the electrical parts needed to operate them. This is why Faraday cages are important.

  2. I guess the feeling is that grid tied objects would savaged by an EMP or CME. I’m not so sure about non grid tied electronics. My weather radio has an antennae and is battery operated, wouldn’t that antennae be enough of an inlet for the pulse to fry the circuitry? I also wonder about LED bulbs and the micro circuitry in so many of our flashlights.

    1. It depends on a lot of things, like the length of conductors And coils used in the circuitry and the strength of the emp. Also wisker type diodes are vulnerable to burnout if the current flowing through them exceeds the design parameters.. especially if that current flows in reverse.

  3. I guess the feeling is that grid tied objects would savaged by an EMP or CME. I’m not so sure about non grid tied electronics. My weather radio has an antennae and is battery operated, wouldn’t that antennae be enough of an inlet for the pulse to fry the circuitry? I also wonder about LED bulbs and the micro circuitry in so many of our flashlights.

  4. As has been discussed here and elsewhere, it depends on yield and location as to effects. Comes down to kV per meter and whether circuits can handle said over-voltage. Lines concentrate the current as an antenna and unless there are breakers between you and the line, it will damage attached components. Not as bad as a direct lightning hit because that is hyper-local…there’s a very good chance that there is a fail-safe somewhere between your components plugged-in and that crispy fried power line. YMMV. Better to be safe and keep items unplugged when not in use however.

  5. In all reality, airliners and small aircraft will not fall from the sky in the event of an EMP. Only in Hollywood movies. The reality is airliners are built to withstand multiple lightning strikes and have faraday cages integrated into them per FAA regulation. Small aircraft engines may or may not fail but usually only rely on the magnetos which are independent of the aircrafts electrical system. In the event an engine in a small aircraft failed a forced landing without the engine can be done safely. The notion of aircraft falling from the sky is always over exaggerated in the event of an EMP.

  6. You’re more likely to be walking home because the security forces have ordered all cars off the streets than because of a technical reason. (There’s lots of ways this could come out — a 9/11 style series of carbombs would be more than enough reason for them to unilaterally “ground” all car trips until they can get a handle on things.)

  7. Looking forward to the next installment. I keep a bag in my vehicle in case I have to walk the 8 miles home from work some day. Or the 2,000 miles home from my summer vacation.

  8. I worked in the outdoor industry for many years. More specifically for a German brand backpack manufacturer found in numerous countries. I could not disagree more as to the quality of backpacks found at stores such as Walmart and Target. You truly do get what you pay for. If you don’t plan on the pack ever leaving your vehicle or your house then one of these cheap packs will work perfectly well. However, under heavy or extended use these cheap price-point packs are of inferior quality and will fall apart with heavier loads. Not to mention comfort of carrying the pack with a heavy load. Cheap packs are cheap for a reason

  9. Not sure where any of us might be toting that pack, but for me, it’s probably not the deep wilderness. I’ve had great luck finding quality backpacks, totes, and carry-on-type wheeled luggage at Salvation Army and Goodwill, etc. ‘Guess wealthy people toss them out. FWIW-YMMV

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