Commuter’s Get Home Bag, by M.M.

Packing a Get Home Bag

How do you prepare a get home bag when you commute more than 100 miles each day for work? Let’s for a moment presume that you have no idea that some sort of event is about to happen that will render your job irrelevant, your vehicle useless, and your location being close to your office, to which you commute each day, when it occurs. How and what in the world would you consider packing in a go bag and then heading home?

I received a perfect example of your travel day changing due to a recent hurricane. Hurricane Irma forced a mass migration of Floridians to flee the storm and caused all the local roads to be choked. All of my alternative roads were jammed with those trying to get back home to Florida. The entire downtown area was affected because of some folks overloading the local roads. Tempers flared, and driving skills devolved to a sad state of traffic flow. Imagine three roads into town backed up beyond capacity.

Are you planning to shelter in place at your office? You’re not if you have family at home and are confident we just got hit by a CME or EMP. I work in a metropolitan area, and that will be the last place I want to remain.


If a healthy person can walk an easy 30 miles in a day, how far do you think your over-weight self is going to get? Add to the fact that, even without a backpack, about the best you can probably do is 3-3.5 miles per hour on flat terrain.

I recently turned 51 and am 5’9 and 235 lbs. I can tell you from experience that under ideal conditions 3 mph would be a blessing if you are out of shape. Add to that if you begin to suffer from shin-splints, your new walking plan just became a painful endeavor. I have never really been one of those to worry about counting calories; I ate what I wanted and have for the most part been very fortunate to not be as obese as many I have met that weren’t so fortunate. However, I am not as fit as I would like to be.

Planning your survival begins with the basic ability of being able to survive! Can you walk, easily? How about with 20 lbs. on your back? What about walking with 35 lbs? Are you in the shape where you can even carry a backpack? Are you planning on just pulling a piece of luggage home on wheels? How loud do you think that would be? Unless you plan to stick to just a highway road, you will be prime pickings if there is an individual or group that wants your items worse than you.

Am I sounding like your doctor or someone else nagging you to take better care of yourself? Then let it be a lesson that you should. If you on the other hand just don’t care, then by all means go ahead and scroll past and let this lesson fall on deaf ears. But it will be something you will regret someday. This is for anyone that wants to at least have a chance.

Plans To Get Home

Considering the needs you would have to get home, how would you handle this? Have you made plans and communicated them to your spouse/significant other or just your family in general? Have you informed them of a pre-determined meeting place? Did you at least worked out a message that you would want to relay to a loved one looking for you?

At the very least, have you said, “If something happens and I have to walk home, the first place I will stop on my way is at (so-and-so’s) and let them know I’m alright. I’ll gather any intel and warnings on the current situation and proceed onward home”. If you haven’t, then why not? Have you thought about what season you are currently in? If you’re like me, it’s hot 9-10 months out of the year, so you may need to re-roll your pack each quarter year to accommodate for your local climate.

Commuting Between States

My situation is somewhat unique in that I live in one state and work in another. It’s only an hour commute for me and almost all highway. What is an easy commute now would not be so easy for my return home on foot. I am not entirely sure I would want to walk the distance on an open road. It’s all dynamic, of course, given the circumstances, but I believe I would be better off taking back roads home. However, taking back roads would add to the time/distance equation. I would recommend driving these out sometime just to get an idea of the time involved.

Road Map and Topographic Map

Having a map of the roads available to me and a topographic map would be one of the first things I would want in my get home pack. Preferably, I would want my maps waterproof, but the practicality of that isn’t really in my view. Therefore, I would choose to have it enclosed in a zip lock bag of some sort and folded up to take as little room as possible.

Familiarity With Areas Traveled Through

Another thing to consider about this situation is how familiar are you with the areas you will need to travel through to get to your destination. Are you traveling through mostly farmland? Is it mostly urban? This is just something to consider. Maybe you would want to consider a small cache placed somewhere along the way. I’m just saying that it is worth considering.

Time To Get Home

Seventy-two hours is about as long as I would think you would need to allow in order to get home. What if you weren’t in the best of shape but you were at least working towards that goal. Let’s say you have shin splints or Plantar Fasciitis, ouch! Now there’s a painful journey for you. This is especially true if you are planning to continually walk. Your 72-hour journey just turned out to be much longer.

Resting Time and Pain Relief

How much longer we really can’t say, because you are going to need to allow resting time. There’s another thing I would consider, that is as long as you don’t have issue taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) a.k.a. aspirin, Aleve, et cetera. I keep a small 100-count bottle in my bag, because they are just so inexpensive (about $2) that it’s hard not to justify it, and it also doesn’t irritate my stomach. Tylenol is another avenue; they are around $7 for a 100-count bottle, but it would still be worth considering.

While we’re talking about pain relief, you should look into and seriously consider a product called moleskin. If you are susceptible to blisters on your feet, this will be a Godsend. One note to this: Be sure you have a small pair of scissors, whether a small, individual pair or one on a multi-purpose (Swiss Army) knife. Also, learn how to use the moleskin beforehand! Basically, you cut the moleskin to be bigger than the blister and cut out a hole for the skin of the blister to “breath”.

Addressing Pain and Need For Water To Drink

Okay, so now that we have a map, some pain and inflammation medication, and blister protection, what are you going to eat or drink? How do you prepare it? As I stated earlier, let’s presume that you are looking at a 72-hour window to make it home.

Water will be your greatest need and desire. Without it, you will be miserable and eventually succumb to death. Personally, I would have a Lifestraw for the convenience and weight alone; otherwise, a container water bottle with the filter built-in. But a bottle is not always practical, so worst case you will need to sterilize some water yourself with either iodine, bleach, or by boiling.

Sometimes you may want to just consider a way to carry some water with you and then figure out a way to make sure it’s safe to drink when you have a chance to drink. Having a lightweight method is going to be your best method.

Food For The Journey Home

When it comes to food, I can’t see the need to spend the money and time on MRE’s. Simple camping meals should suffice for this short period of time and should be able to sustain you with a high enough calorie count. Again, we’re just looking at a short window to get you home, not sustaining you on a cross-country trek. Personally, although they may not taste all that great, the quick, pre-packaged “bricks” of food provide enough calories for this purpose and are inexpensive. Another alternative are the Survival Tabs pack.

Survival Tabs 2-day packs weigh around 10 ounces each. Having just two of these in your pack should be able to give you enough energy to get home. Again, we’re not allowing for delayed traveling, but we are looking at a 72-hour window. If you want to plan for a little more, then by all means do so.

Having the packets done this way gives you the ability to “eat on the run” (which I doubt you will want to do). But you can grab a tab and nibble while you walk. Or, when you sit to take a break, you can have a tablet and keep yourself hydrated.


Your work shoes are most likely what you won’t want to walk for days in. You may walk in them all day in the office, but on rugged terrain, through mud, in thin socks, et cetera, you will have blisters soon and your journey home just got extended. Unless you have walking shoes, most likely you will already be digging into your moleskin, so don’t do it.


Will you need fire? Can you afford being seen/smelled? You can keep a fire-starter in your pack and should know how to use it, but that is beyond this article. Using a fire starter is not difficult, but unless it’s cold during your trek home I wouldn’t bring any unwanted attention to myself. But keeping a small kit in your bag is never a bad idea. Even taking your fire-starter and putting it along with some dryer lint stuffed into a large Rx bottle would be so helpful. Put enough lint in there to keep it from rattling, plus it’s waterproof! Also, if you have access to a little bit of unscented wax, put a few chips in the bottle as well.


Your clothing should be changed out in your bag seasonally. Also keep a small rain pancho, which is inexpensive. Some are as little as $1 from Walmart and could be helpful if it’s cold and rainy. Another excellent thing to have with you, if at all possible, is bug netting that goes over your head. They are so very inexpensive and will help keep bugs at bay from at least your face and still allow you to see fairly well.

These simple things seem trivial. Yet, it is my hope that they will help you at some point in your life. If so, then that would be all I could want. Taking care of ones self seems like it should be so simple, yet life has a way of getting in the way of our plans. Your health is your biggest asset. You only have one body, so we should do our best to take care of it, so you can get home and take care of your family.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 73 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. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 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. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels 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. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

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), and
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. 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,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).

Round 73 ends on November 30th, 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. Once again I am very pleased with quality of our recent entries. Again we see a strict attention to the using lists, heavy forethought, and superb attention to basics. Success is always dependent on mastering the basics. Well done sir!
    BTW, Have you ever though about a bicycle, especially a used sturdy well made adult bike. Many of which are available at thrift -goodwill-church 2nd hand stores. After you have acquired the bike you like, select the tools needed to disassemble the bike so as to get it small enough to fit in the trunk of your auto. Pack the tools and your “get home” gear in the car and smile.
    On the very next available free day, drive the secondary route from work to home, I suggest bringing a buddy – friend – family member with you to record route observation commentary, and to help in determining possible problems and routing change decisions befor the stress is overpowering.
    Google mapping services will allow you to see the various route intersections and possible trouble prone areas in advance of the recon trip. Remember that the Google data is not current and will need to be updated / verified.
    Remember to have a fully charged battery for the tablet / laptop for your backpack. I would make sure to have Skype and / or FaceTime apps installed on the device. Commo will be easier and will enable commo with your home / base station while enroute.
    Bike saddle bags can be made from two used adult back-packs pre-filled with your supplies, and secured to the frame next to the rear tire. Thin pieces of appropiate sized/ shaped plywood as bag backing may be necessary to protect the tire & bags from mutual usage destruction.
    I suggest having *two* tire repair kits, *two* replacement tire tubes, and a hand operated tire pressure pump as standard parts of the system. It would be very wise to actually experience the tire repair / replacement prior to the emergency. This will also allow you to have news tires to use and the used tires then becoming the shares if the budget is tight.
    Again , thanks for the detail offered in your work.
    bob from Utah

  2. Just a few comments to an excellent article. First is known where the police stations are. If you plan on having an exposed firearm, you will probably want to avoid those or risk confiscation.

    Second is your comment about 30 miles a day for a healthy person. I think that is really ambitious. That kind of walking comes at the expense of situational awareness. You will end up zoning out, and focusing too much on “just getting it over with” rather than what’s going on around you.

    Third, unless you frequently walk long distance with weight on your back, and do so on actual earth, not a treadmill with sneakers on, you will end up with blood soaked socks. I spent years in the U.S. infantry and I can tell you first hand how rough this can be. Every get home pack should have these few, light, cheap things: lots of moleskin, foot powder, and three pairs of walking socks.

    Last, I cannot emphasize enough the need to really be in shape prior to an event. Personally I use those infomercial workout programs you see on TV from These can be brutal but effective. When starting out, just go slower and lighter. My personal favorites are Body Beast, MAX:30 and Masters Hammer and Chisel. Coincidently, I just ordered Insanity Asylum via a sale they are having.. total cost with shipping $46.01. Checkout for home workout reviews, and bring a sense of humor.

    Any typos above can be blamed on a lack of enough coffee.

  3. I enjoyed the article and learned some new tricks. Physical fitness seems to be the most important. I have a 50 mile comute each way. I have placed a folding bike in the trunk. Speed versus stealth. Depending on “The Event” and how small the window of opportunity is before chaos ensues, a bike may get you closer to your goal with less pain. I get it out and ride it on occasion to keep it and me working. At age 53, pack is light and focused. Water, food, first aid, small 9mm, season appropriate change of clothes. I hope and pray I do not have to “comute” 50 miles on bike or foot. It would be so much easier if “The Event” would happen while I am home. Stay safe out there.

    1. I think the comments about using a bicycle as a get home machine are excellent. If you are walking you can use more stealth by ducking in and out of cover as you walk. If you are riding a bike, it’s faster, but you are more exposed. But one thing to remember is the “hiding in plain sight” factor of a bike. Most people associate bicycle riding with recreation and fun times. Right after a major event most people will not have adjusted to the new reality. If they see a 53 year old man riding a bike they might just think its some guy getting exercise. That momentary impression might give you the time to avoid an issue. Just be somebody out for a nice afternoon ride. Attitude is a great camouflage.

      Dust off your old VHS copy of “The Great Escape”. Remember the character played by James Coburn? After he gets out of the camp he steals a bicycle. He makes it to Paris just riding along without a care in the world.

      1. This comment has helped me to rethink the path I might take home. Crazy man pedaling with all fury down the freeway weaving in and out of stalled or traffic jammed cars or a nice leisurely ride through a collection of subdivisions. Hiding in plain site. Note to self. Print out and memorize more maps. Thanks for the comment. Again, stay safe out there.

  4. Very good article, three things I would add. A military surplus one quart canteen, with canteen cover, canteen cup, and two bottles of water purification tabs in the little pouch. Two, a BIC lighter! Three, a can or two of Spam (Treet is just as good according to our family taste test).

  5. Few if any fit people, as opposed to the pros, could walk 30 miles a day. Try it sometime. With a pack and reasonable weather, clothes, terrain and an open road figure an average of 10 miles a day, maybe less after the first day.
    Better yet find the closest bike store and buy one. Either peddle powered or motorized.

  6. Sick of postulating, at the end of September, I packed 45 lbs (21 kgs) to my back and walked about 17 miles (26 kilometres) on paved or gravelled surfaces. Since I knew the destination ahead of time, I was able to pre-position extra sleeping bags, some snivel gear, an ax, and a bit of dry kindling. Other than that, I carried everything I needed so that I could theoretically stop at other locations to set up camp overnight, if needed and I carried enough calories for 48 – 72 hours.

    We headed out before 7 AM and took our time. With breaks, it took a bit over eight hours. Even with expensive high tech, extra wide shoes, my feet were killing me towards the end.

    We set up a tarp, rolled out our sleeping bags, built a Dakota fire, cooked, and readied for bed. It had been between 50 and 70 degrees fahrenheit all day long. The sun goes down early following the equinox, and with it came very cool air.

    I woke up around midnight because it was impossible to get warm in the sleeping bag. I pulled out the extra sleeping bags from the plastic barrel… and then barely was able to get warm. By morning the tarp was covered in heavy layer of frost, as it had dropped below 30 degrees (-1C).

    The sleeping bags were military surplus ‘sleep system’ which consisted of a Goretex bivvy, a light summer sleeping bag, and a heavy winter sleeping bag which are designed to nest. Although, I had read claims as to their suitability down to -40, following our test, I concluded that you must crawl into them with your winter garb in order to support temperatures any cooler than what we were having.

    The reason I had pre-positioned the heavy sleeping bags is because they are just that … adding pounds when pounds equals pain. If you go with more expensive hiking specialty gear, you can get lighter weight than mil surp, but with training, I should be able to carry the full sleep system in the future, without breaking the budget.

    I am in my late 50’s, 6′ 2″ (189 cm) and about 235 lbs (107 kgs). I have a desk job. Often my only exercise is that I walk the dogs a couple miles about three or four times per week. In the days leading up to the big walk, I got up every other morning donned the pack and walked about 4 miles (6 – 8 kilometres) before going to work. Also, there were a number of muscle “stretches” that I performed to prevent cramping and some more that I did on the mornings when I did not walk.

    My conclusion. Many people are completely delusional when it comes to bugging out on foot. We all need to be considering the need to do this as a likelihood… however, TRAINING AND FITNESS IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN GEAR as important as the latter might be. I can certainly get into the nitty gritty of the thought process that I went through in determining the contents of my pack, but if you are not training at least every other day, and actually testing yourself, you are just kidding yourself if you think you’ve prepared.

    1. I completely agree with this post. I am in my mid 50’s and backpack the cascades for most of my adult life. My pack was refined over the years thru trial and error. I keep my pack at 36 lbs. more than 36 and I was ineffective, slow and risking injury..any less, and i went without necessities. Most of my trips were between 3 and 7 days.. 7 days meant turning my socks inside out instead of taking an extra pair,same with skives, and no rain fly, no sleeping pad.. the longer you are out, the more food you need, and space to put it. space is an issue as much as weight. couple that with climbing mountains and steep trails and you start looking at trimming the edges off your maps and chopping off the handle on your toothbrush to save weight and space.. All of this and no gun or ammo. Water becomes an issue..thats where careful planning comes in, you also need a way to filter it..Know where your water sources are ranks up there with having air to breath. As you hike, you consume the contents of your pack ( food ), making it lighter, you need that lighter load because you are getting worn down, if you are on an extended trip resupply becomes an issue, so do your needs. Should you use that space for food? or rain gear? and Im 5’10” 180 in my mid 50’s and in pretty good shape, But I am under no illusions with respect to my abilities and what I need to survive the outdoors. winter months require more bulk,while balancing weight.. this is where experience comes into play.

    2. i suspect that after you walked all day, your clothes were full of sweat…when you crawled into that bag, the sweat turned into a heat-robber…i sleep with the brown military-issue longjohns, and they can’t be “sweaty”. thank you very much for posting….and here’s MY list of things to pick from in your car when it’s cold/a long way from home
      blisters will end your walk quickly….moleskin will be important to have
      I keep fifty feet of 3/8 nylon rope in each car. It has tons of uses, but once you watch the video, you’ll be able to handle freaky weather too with it.
      . keep a piece of chain along with your tow strap so you can ATTACH tat tow=strap to the newer cars that have nothing to attach to in emergency
      Blankets and candles and a cracked open window will keep you alive
      Water in your car won’t be liquid if your nights are 20 degrees or less. You need something to melt snow/ice in and a way to generate heat to melt it.
      Those 8 hour hand warmers they look like a big suger pack do work. One in each boot and glove and you don’t get your fingers and toes amputated from frost bite. Very compact . And can even melt ice and snow to drink.
      Folding military surplus shovel? Also doubles as a weapon.
      Also check out the artic canteens (double walled military surplus)
      A metal cup suspended over the candle can melt and slow boil water (use the scrapings) and you can drink it.
      Ham radio programmed to receive NOAA weather/emergency broadcasts and transmit to emergency responders
      Military Surplus Artic Mickey Mouse boots with wool socks or Muk Luk fleece lined boots to keep your feet warm.
      learn how to drive “off-road”. and throw in your car a couple of 4×6 or 6×8 pieces of wood about 3 feet long, they will get you across those small ditches and chuckholes.
      We always carry a Military Sleep System in our vehicles every where we go in addition to our GHBs.
      Don’t forget a small compressor and tire plugs.

      3 ways to start a fire would be a good start. Do not include a BIC lighter in that. Two tarps. A shovel. A real sleeping bag.
      paracord…and a tarp….or 3
      bag o beef jerky or pepperoni
      1 case (10 packs) mainstay 3600 food bars, 6 one quart canteens full, backpack with extra socks, knife, space blankets(worthless), paracord, hatchet, handgun/ammo, jacket, boots, first aid kit, baofeng radio with spare battery, solar/crank radio,LED flashlights, alco stove and 1/2 gallon fuel, and a few other things.
      i keep a bag full of cold weather gear like hats, scarrfs, gloves, bivy bags, for ALL members of my family…it’s big, so i can leave it home, or stick it in there if i’m going out of town. keep in mind, this stuff ALL GETS WET after using them for a while….spares is a good idea if you’re REALLY out there.
      WATERPROOF! hiking boots, extra batteries, knife, prybar, phone charger, signal mirror, flare gun, longjohns, coats/layers, map,
      mystery heater)propane),sled, candles, mylar-lined cooler to warm things in, hand warmers, food, duct tape, full tank of gas, salt for de-icing, carbon monoxide sensing device, insulated water storage, animal furs, polypropalene, wood, lots of it, yaktraks, fire extinguisher, BBQ for heat, snowshoes, sunglasses, flares, ham radio, shovel, woodstove, jumper cables, comealong, snowmobile., kitty litter, chains for tires, balaclava.

  7. Good article and some good points. I would amplify a few things. If you are going to walk/hike any distance your shoes/feet will be your first and most likely problem. I can almost guarantee that those comfortable shoes/sneakers/boots you love and wear will feel different after 30 miles or unusual terrain. Test your shoes on the hike you will have to make. Second most likely problem will be water. It is unrealistic to carry three days worth of water so you must be prepared to find and purify water, a lot of water. Third most likely problem will be weather. Be it too hot, too cold or raining/snowing anything other than perfect weather will have a negative effect on your ability to cover ground and be safe. A lot of commonly available rain wear is not 100% water proof and 8 hours of walking in the rain at 40 degrees in a raincoat that leaks will leave you miserable and at risk of hypothermia. 90 degrees and sunshine will put you at risk of heat stroke. You must dress for and be prepared for the weather. Shelter and a decent sleep/rest becomes the next problem. If you are not accustomed to walking long distances and you do not get a decent night’s rest you will find that day two will be miserable at best and impossible at worst. You will wake up (if you even sleep) stiff, sore and in pain with the equivalent of a marathon in front of you. You need to sleep dry, warm and comfortable and to do this you need to carry a tent, sleeping bag and pad with you. The list of things that can go wrong is long, but last I will mention that it is likely that you may at some point be “stuck”, unable to continue for a day, week, month due to injury, blisters, weather, dehydration, sickness. If you think I am exaggerating the problem then I invite you to try hiking 50-100 miles with your get home bag. Pick a weekend in the future and do it without regard to weather or other factors. You simply do not know until you have don this.

  8. Ok, those bricks of food had a shelf life of THREE WEEKS! Really? It’s total calorie for 12 bars is 2900 calories. You would need all 12 for a days hard hike. For my get home bag I use er emergency bars. 3600 calories per packet. Three of these would be needed for the energy of a long hike home. It’s shelf life is five years. The weight is a few ounces. Even real pemmican would last longer and be better.

  9. I team drive about 500 miles out of state on a weekly basis and both of us have been giving considerable thought to how we would get back in the event of a major collapse. I realize that unless the Lord makes the way we will likely never make it that far, as that would take months in the best of conditions. Nonetheless, the duty to get home to our families is ours and the outcome is the Lords.
    That said, I concur that of all the preparations one must make, by and far being physically fit and tough as nails is the most important, following of course one’s faith and resolve in the Lord. My co-driver bought a small Coleman scooter to take along, as he can’t walk a mile without severe back pain. I stand over 6’6″ and weigh about 290 (down 70 lbs since I began to get in shape) so one of these is out of the question. Besides, a giant circus bear wobbling around on a tiny scooter would stick out like a sore thumb. I wondered how I would keep up with him on his Coleman and a good friend suggested I pack a skateboard and rope in my get back bag, so he could tow me home. We got a real good laugh out of it. I have major recommendation as it regards traveling roads to get home, however. I have been told by seasoned combat soldiers that roads are made for ambushes. When the Y(ogurt)HTF, thugs and murderers will out in force right from the start. Though it will take much longer I am planning on traveling nights through fields and woodlands. I am not sure what my co-driver will do, but the Coleman idea is wishful thinking in my opinion. This is a good article, as it helps one to start thinking out the process and test one’s plans, equipment, and physical condition. It is better to know its difficulties and impossibilities now and adjust for them, than to assume all will go as planned and leave it at that.

    1. Mr. Mule

      Just wanted to add a bit of encouragement to you sir. At one point I was 5’9, 290 lbs, with a sedentary desk job. I am now nearly 100 lbs lighter and 10x more active, when I made the (hard) decision that being a survivalist in a rural area with my own bugout retreat that I lived on was worthless if I was a fat, lethargic tub without the energy or fitness to handle my land if things went foul. Keep going friend, it’s doable, and you will feel so much better about yourself!

  10. For those who have suggested bikes: I have looked online at folding bikes and they were hundreds of dollars – any suggestions for reasonably priced ones?

    1. Like JWR, I have a Montague Paratrooper folding bike,, the earlier version.

      It is a great bike and I have taken it lots of places, but I don’t recommend it for a get home bike.

      It would not fit into the front of my standard cab pickup and I ended up getting grease everywhere.

      I work in an area of high bicycle theft and this is a highly desired bike. So, I am surprised that nobody has stolen out of the back of the truck yet, even with the heavy duty lock and cable.
      There are a lot of accessories that fit on the center section of regular bike that don’t fit on this one.

      This all negated the expense and utility of a folding bike, in my case.

      If you have room in your vehicle, I recommend a normal appropriately sized ATB bike, with 21 gears or better, stored in a soft travel case along with some disposable gloves.

      You will need to practice disassembling and reassembling it, gloves help with the grease.

      If you can’t store it in a vehicle, I recommend a storing this regular bike on a secure vehicle rack, but it will be susceptible to weather, damage, theft and vandalism.

      You don’t want a highly desirable [High Dollar] bike, just a normal one.

      Some areas have bike lockers for a small monthly charge, that you might want to consider.

      A bicycle gives an advantage over walking, allowing you to escape the urban area in hours instead of days, with a heavier load, reducing the time at risk during travel.

  11. Just a thought on realistic distances for hiking with a pack. This summer my son and I hiked from the Canadian border, through Glacier and through the Bob Marshal and Scapegoat Wilderness. Our packs averaged 30lbs or under, depending on food levels. I’m 47 years old and in decent shape. My son just got out of the Marine Corps and runs ultra marathons for fun……I can only account for this obvious mental defect by poor upbringing. We averaged 21 miles per day for 15 days. This was over steep mountain trails, but done in good weather.

  12. Here is another alternative, if it applies to your area:

    Why You Need A Boat for SHTF: Rivers are Roads.
    [YouTube Video].
    Canadian Prepper.
    Published on Sep 29, 2017
    “I discuss utilizing your local waterways for travel in a grid down scenario.”

    Cooking in a Kayak/ Bug Out Boat.
    [YouTube Video].
    Canadian Prepper
    Published on Oct 8, 2017
    “A super chill video about cooking a kayak while floating down the river!”

  13. In 2007 while hiking off trail around Mt.Rainer I broke my ankle. To say this little accident taught me lessons would be an understatement…
    Ill just touch on a few things that became an issue.
    Pain-.. all I had was a few Advil to counter it. Luckily my buddy had a few prescription muscle relaxers rolling around in the bottom of his pack from years back. so I did get some much needed sleep at night.

    Rescue- Search and rescue was an option I mulled over as my buddy hiked to the top of a peak and got a cell signal.. he asked about cost.. 24K to save my sorry butt… good news is that it included the chopper @ 7k an hr, And the humiliating publicity that goes with something like this… I opted to hike out. it was 6 miles to the truck… It took me 3 full days to get to that truck on the Pacific crest trail.

    Waiting for my buddy to go get help wasnt an option. We were in bear country and they were active in the area. hanging your food was a requirement, I wasnt physically able to hang or retrieve my food should a bear happen to wander into camp.. much less defend myself.

    In retro, It was my boots that saved me..A pair of Asolos that I always thought i paid too much for ($375.00).. the laces had a pulley system that allowed me to tighten up my boots with some pretty serious tension to keep the bone from compounding and sticking thru my skin. also trekking poles.. I totally destroyed them by the end of the hike, But without them, I would have been shelling out the 24K to get me airlifted out. I still had to wear my pack out if i didnt want to lose it..My situation obviously wasnt life or death, because i always had the option to call for rescue. To say I was Schooled in the act of preparation and problem solving all while trying to keep myself moving ever closer to the truck was an understatement.. My buddy was a great motivator, but as the saying goes, we each have to hike our own hike. The following year I hiked up Mt. Adams in those same boots and totally destroyed them on the volcanic rocks.

    If I learned anything about this little experience it’s that footwear is grossly underestimated, and being in shape isnt a guarantee that nothing will happen.

  14. For those of you carrying around more than you should, think about things in terms of this. Every pound you are above proper body weight is one more pound you are having to carry out, and therefore one less pound you can effectively carry in your pack. The fact of the matter is that if you’re obese, sorry, but you’re not hiking anywhere.

  15. I ride-shared a 60-total-miles commute to work for many years. I kept a folding 7-speed bicycle (20″ wheels) under my desk and often rode it for exercise at lunch hour. With a sturdy rear cargo rack and panniers, the 30-mile ride home would take about four hours. A similar bicycle of moderate quality would cost around $400 – $500 today. I learned the alternate routes home. A total of perhaps $750 for a bicycle and gear that could get me home safely plus provide exercise was money well spent.

    Keeping fit and at a safe body weight is critical. A worldwide epidemic of obesity leading to Type 2 diabetes is underway. Obesity is a fatal mistake; look at a low-cholesterol diet to help with weight loss and maintenance.

    We pay about $100/year for two of us for a “Life Flight” helicopter ambulance subscription. Again, this is essential insurance if you spend time in the back country.

    1. Chuck

      I couldn’t agree with you more about an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. It is literally overwhelming! It was a diabetes scare that spurred me into a massive weight loss and drastic diet shift that has altered my quality of life immeasurably. Processed foods and excessive reliance on meat (I am by no means a vegetarian, but the average American eats entirely too much meat and starch, at the expense of green leaf veggies and fresh, non-processed fruits) have driven Americans into obesity in numbers that are terrifyingly staggering.

  16. If you see yourself covering the same route for years of commuting why not consider burying a cache along the travel corridor at a mid point of the journey. Also keep fir daily weekly monthly and have a seasonal jacket in the car. A hat and maybe gloves too. Be Prepared like a Boy Scout.

  17. 5’9″ 235 lbs and you wonder why some moving is difficult? You’re grossly overweight and need to lose at least 60 lbs. 70-80 would be better. Prepping involves serious physical effort. You’re not going to reach that without slimming down.

  18. The only event that I know of that would shut everything down would be an EPM either natural or man-made.
    I would make sure your vehicle is EMP proof with extra parts and even a battery at the office in a small faraday cage.
    A auxiliary fuel tank to get 700 miles would be easy to do.
    I would also have a bike, just to useful.
    As to communications I would have a portable HAM, and so would my family back home.

    I am not saying getting in and staying in shape isn’t important but age has a way to handicap the best out there.
    I would want to be home ASAP if that event took place.
    And one could be home in hours with zero traffic

  19. In two urban Get Back Home scenarios that were for real–London 7/7 and the Tokyo Earthquake–public transport ceased and roads were impassable to motorised vehicles. Bike shops sold out within an hour. Any bike is better than walking.
    A bike will get you 3x the distance for the same effort, with less pain. Put your bag on a rear luggage rack. Invest in some quality tough tyres and sufficient repair kit. Use a paper map and compass and figure some alt routes esp if you use bridges.
    With bicycles, your speed and stealthiness make you a hard target. You can ride in loose convoy with others for extra security.
    A bicycle is your lifeboat and walking should be a last option for non athletes.

  20. I am a 70-year old woman and fitness is the highest priority on my prepping list. I run, train, compete and try to stay somewhat busy all day long so that a new reality wouldn’t be a shock. Once you finally make it home you will probably never be inactive again. My vote is a bike, though, because you could be long gone by the time the shock of the new reality sets in after a few days. I do believe most could make it in one or two days.

  21. I’m a lifetime backpacker and mountain climber and am 58 years old. At my prime (decades ago), the best I ever did for mileage in one day with a lightweight day pack was 25 miles. That was dark to dark pushing myself hard. Presently, 20 miles of hard hiking in one day is a real stretch for me. Doing that two, three or more days in a row: not going to happen. 30 miles in one day? Unrealistic for all but the most dedicated young hard-bodies who train constantly. For the average Joe, figure 12 to 15 miles a day at best.
    I see walking home as an extreme last resort scenario after exhausting all other possibilities. That said, I do keep a full mountain pack in the truck with three days of food as if I were heading to the trailhead for an extended weekend mountain trek, as well as trail clothes, boots, etc.

  22. Good discussion and great points folks. I’ve planned a get-home route from my workplace, which is 35 miles from home. Just a few notes: 1. A pair of sock liners (check any outfitter or on-line) to go with your hiking socks are worth their weight in gold!. 2. Check out possible routes using Google Earth – don’t forget railroads, but be aware that they often run through challenging neighborhoods in cities and towns. A railroad through rural land is great! 3. Map out your route in a method that you can decipher if needed – you probably won’t be able to practice the actual route due to private property concerns. 4. Try to keep your route in the woods if possible, especially if you plan to tote a long-gun. 5. If you live in a hot climate and park in the sun, survival food preservation requires careful thought. About the only options I’ve found that will last more than a month in a summertime car/oven are survival ration bars (Datrex, Mainstay, etc.), and survival tabs. They do contain Calories, but you’re gonna need water to get them down! Of course, if you want to rotate food monthly, or carry your rucksack into work every day, other options exist.
    Let’s all hope and pray this remains a hobby and an interesting topic of discussion!! Best Wishes.

  23. I have a 22 mile commute and keep a bicycle at work with 2 different get home bags. The bags are separated into absolute essentials in one and extra food, water, clothes and ammo in the other. I have a regular rack on the back (not panniers).

    This gives me several options.

    First, i can ride the bike with my essential GHB on my bike and the extra items bag on the rack. If it seems safe to just casually ride down back roads home I’m back home in 2-3 hours in good weather (no large hills here).

    Second, if I need to go faster on the bike I can abondon the extra items bag (16 pounds). Or if I need to abandon the bike (bad guys, roads to dangerous, icy weather) I only lose my extra stuff and haven’t left any weapons, only some extra ammo. I can continue on foot with the essentials bag.

    Third, if the roads aren’t safe I have two carabiners that let me sling both bags over the bike (to balance the load as both bags weigh 16 pounds) and I can push the bike ala Ho Chi Minh style over terrain that would be too difficult to ride. At any point I can still abandon the bike and one or both bags. This option might also be a help if I become injured with the bike carrying the bags and giving me something to lean on or support me.

    Fourth, I can use the bike as a barter item or use it to move an injured person I might feel like helping or use it to help move useful items on found on the way.

    Fifth, I carry everyday and have incorporated the bike into occasional drills at the outdoor range. I practice drawing while on the bike as well as using the bike as a standoff tool/obstacle to give me distance much like the police use bikes or horses to keep protestors past arms reach.

    Besides the rack these are the other mods if made are puncture proof tires, two water bottle cages, all reflective tape removed, all safety reflectors were switch to have a wing nut holding them in so I can remove them to be more stealthy if needed but am safer when I need to. I made a shield that I can cover the front light with (think army black out headlights) that forces light onto the road just ahead of me without “splash”. The tail light is removable.

    I bought the bike, a used Gary Fisher mountain bike, for $200 off Craigslist. Tires, rack and lights plus a few small repairs were $125. I’m lucky in that I have a safe place at the office to store it. Several of the others sometimes ride to work and there is an inside room with a locking rack. I sometimes ride it at lunch to justify to others why it is there and to make sure it is good to go. Without the GHB’s it looks like a regular bike. I have another bike at home that I ride weekly to keep in shape.

    Hope this helps to remind you that you don’t have to ride a bike to use a bike well. Lots of tonage was moved by the Vietcong with simple bikes.

    1. excellent post, i can see you put a LOT of thought….and even more, PRACTICE into your plan….you get 16 months of survival time(think “doomsday preppers”)….am copying and pasting to MY plans, with your permission, of coarse!

    1. nice setup, bet too expensive for ME…when i was at scout camp a couple years ago, they had these 2 wheeled carts that are AMAZING to carry a lot of weight. garden cart or deer cart i guess you call them. it was a few hundred yards from parking lot to campsites, and even some had flat tires, yet they still worked well. in a pinch those jogging strollers i have will work well though. i move very heavy items around my 1 acre with ease, and i haven’t paid more than 35 % for one at a yardsale yet…now i’m starting to see homeless people using them too. we gotta be FLEXIBLE, and resourceful, when the bell rings…. we will even see WHEELBARROWS when the REAL shtf happens, i suspect. thank you!

  24. I have read many articles on getting home if a Schumer Hits The Fan event happens, and most articles pertain to if you have a long commute from work. I am retired and have always lived in a medium to small size town so never had to worry about how to get home. That being said, one thing that is rarely mentioned is do you have friends, relatives or co-workers that live somewhere along the route that you normally travel,if so you should talk to them about a rest and refresh stopover if something should happen. You might even try and meet new people that live along your route, you might attend a church in a location along your route, that is a good place to meet people that normally can be trusted in a SHTF event. Caches are very difficult to make and maintain in most locations but depending on the length of your commute a storage unit on your route might be a good idea, that way you would have it if needed and you can also keep a few thing that you don’t want to keep at home. Trekker Out

    1. all very good suggestions, MT…..that’s one reason i carry 3 one ounce gold coins when i am out of town. it will be SO important to “get home” when the bell rings, for ME. i have VAST assets at home, and it will all be GONE within a few hours, to possibly days, so it will be very important to get there in a hurry. one of MY biggest fears is that my food and supplies for two for 3 years ends up being food for a hundred for a week, with ME not being invited. good to hear from you, MT, see you back at shtf plan, where i always enjoy your posts…small world, aint it….

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