What’s the best get home bag to keep in your car?

I haven’t given much attention to get home bags yet. I am still working on outfitting my BOB and getting my basics together for sheltering in place. I do have a few odds and ends in my trunk, and that’s it. But I’ve been wondering what kind of backpack or bag is best to use for the get home bag. Mine would live in the trunk of my car. For my BOB I have a Kelty Redwing 50 and it’s pretty bulky! If I get a similar backpack for my car and fill it with similar stuff, it won’t leave so much room in the trunk of my hatchback. Plus, if anyone ever breaks into my trunk it will be expensive to replace. I’d love to hear what other people who keep their in the car do.


  • Comments (18)

    • 9

      I use the UTG tactical messenger bag with a small molle bag on the side.



      • 8

        Redneck, I would love to see a list of what you have there. Looks like not the full copy of a BOB?

      • 7

        That bag is not all that big.  It is designed in case I have to walk home from work, which is around 40 miles.  This stays in the back of my pickup.  Nice thing about molle is that you can start with a smaller bag and make it bigger with addition of other bags.  If you keep say your food in an attached molle bag, once the food is gone, you don’t need the molle bag anymore and can just fold it up.  I keep lots of other gear in the truck, such as more medical gear, flashlights, more food, knives, etc.  Here goes inside the bag:

        Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle, Solo Stove Pot with Constant Comment tea bags, SOL sport utility blanket/tarp, Tact Bivvy sleeping bag, compass, 100′ paracord, 3 Mainstay food bars, Bear Grylls fire starter, Vaseline, cotton balls, folding saw, bug spray, Tylenol & other assorted medical pads & bandages, Sawyer Mini water filter, Israeli bandage, CAT tourniquet

        Note, the water bottle is single walled & not insulated so that the water can be heated on a fire.  You don’t want to heat double walled or insulated thermoses on a fire.


    • 5

      511 Rush 12, I travel light. Tool Bug Out Bag 5.11 Rush 12 Spec (Large)

      Messenger and navigator bags are popular as they can be carried like an attache case, or worn with a single strap some even come with built in Rucksack straps so you can wear it.

      Tool Bug In or Get  Home Nav bag (Large)

      • 4

        What do you have in yours, Bill?

      • 7

        Basically this or versions of this depending where I’m heading.

        MY GHB KIT 2021

        Darn it, pictures a bit small.

        Waterproof soft shell, clean underwear and socks, gloves, hat. Spare shades/ knife/ flashlight/ lighter. FAK, Bilster kit, assorted painkillers and wound dressings, paracord, ration bars, lens cleaner, eye drops, face masks N95, 5000ma USB power pack, binos, shemargh, spare batteries, micro AM / FM radio, Notebook and pen, maps, 20 megapixel camera, water bottle, titanium hiking pole.  Often a mini pry bar, spray of flouescent paint.  General loadout

    • 5

      I would go gray man with my GHB. Basic plain Walmart cheap backpack, but is decent in quality. If you are in a situation where you are hiking it out on foot then something bad has happened. Otherwise you would call a taxi and get picked up. But if you are forced to really use it to hike home in, then be as plain and blend in as you can. These tacti-cool bags are nice, but draw attention that you may have some specialized gear or prepping supplies inside.

      • 8

        Good idea to go gray man, but those Walmart backpacks (or equivalents thereof) are tiny and also uncomfortable! How useful would they really be?

    • 6

      Jonnie, If you have an interior trunk latch, your trunk isn’t really secure. They break in driver’s door and flip the latch on the trunk. I knew someone who lost her purse that way at the beach.

      Also, wouldn’t it be better to have your get home bag with you rather than in the trunk of the car? What if there were an earthquake and your car was buried under rubble?

      • 5

        Yes, well, this is true. The alarm would go off, but maybe they don’t care. But am I supposed to lug around a backpack full of survival gear everywhere I go?

      • 4

        Thieves are pretty quick, Jonnie, and if they are stealing, no, they don’t care.

        I was referring to work parking, then it would be worth it take it in with you. If it is cumbersome to move around, then how are you possibly going to walk with your GHB?

      • 6

        Many folks think I’m a nut already.  If I were to start bringing my get home bag into work, I’m afraid they would lock me up.

        You can’t possibly prepare for every possible situation.  

      • 6

        Okay – I guess my experience is a little different. We had people bring all kinds of gear/backpacks into work and no one thought anything of it.

        People worked out after work or took courses or other activities, so it wouldn’t raise any reactions in my experience.

        How sad that you can’t bring it to work with you.

      • 6

        I actually work from home and I don’t have an obvious away-from-home place where I’m most likely to be if I’m not home. So I always thought that it made most sense to have my GHB in the car. But, like you say, it’s a risk keeping it there. I really don’t want to lug around a big pack every place I visit, though.

    • 6

      I keep mine separated in packing organizers with a packable backpack separate so it can fit under the deck of my hatch where there is storage. Makes it simple to get to the food to swap out when it expires/bakes.  I support my work emergency team for evacuation of my building so have a different backpack to wear in an earthquake emergency and I would not be permitted back into the building. This means that keeping it all in the car is the better option for me to either shelter in the car for a night or hike 13 miles home from work or where else I may be. Items I include are below (from my spreadsheet which I may someday get into the kit builder). I also keep repair and emergency items that I don’t consider part of the GHB in the car as well. These are listed in the“What preparedness items do you keep in your vehicle” thread.  It seems like a long list.   It’s small amounts/size if each item and it really fits into a small space.  Our truck has a larger one as it has enough for both myself and my husband – that’s a Jansport basic backpack leftover from college days – in the back of the extended cab.

      eyeglasses – reading, extra sunglasses, Bandana, gloves, Hand Warmers – Toe warmers possibly, good footwear, Hiking Pants – convertible, Hooded rain jacket, Jacket that insulates while wet – lightweight fleece, “Socks – hiking, wool”, Sunhat, Tee shirt/baselayer Tee – optimally insulates when wet and works for 90deg temp, Underwear, Cell Phone cable for adapter, Cell Phone Charger adapter – wall plug, Extreme Post-It Notes, Notepad/paper, Pen, Whistle, Cup that fits around water bottle with add on lid to make it a cookpot, Eating Utensils, Esbit card deck sized Stove with 4 fuel tabs, Paracord in a bracelet, Deck of cards, Portable Power for Cell phone – lipstick sized, Mini Sharpie, Fire Tinder, flint and steel, Lighter – mini bic, Matches, 1 Freeze Dried Meal, 2 protein bars and 2 fruit bars, Sugar packets, Tea bag, “light sources: Silver LED Bar penlight, UST Pico Light Zipper Pull, Blue 332 Lm AA Maglite in glovebox, Small AAA light in FAK”, glowstick to mark me while walking or marking car when leaving it., Headlamp, 7-14 day supply of medication in FAK, First Aid Kit – small level 3 from this sight, Cash – small bills and quarters, Compass – button on paracord bracelet, Maps to get out of the area, Backpack, Dry Bag, Packing Cubes, Masks/Respirators, “Swim goggles, for smoke – need these”, Pepper spray, Antibacterial Wipes – 5-10, Female Urinal Aid;, Hand Sanitizer, Heavy duty Trash Bags – 3mil contractor, Toilet Paper, Ziploc freezer bags, Emergency Blankets, Bug Spray/wipes, Sunscreen, Tissues, duct tape, fixed full tang blade field knife, Multitool, Silcock Key, Water Bottles – filled – One stainless Kleen Kanteen and one Nalgene.

      took a photo today. A few items are in the glovebox. 

    • 4

      As a generalisation myself and my family DO keep packs / GHBs in our vehicles but we do so with certain constraints.  Parked up at home, Left In Van.  At the Mall left in van SOMETIMES.     At work  if we can see into the car park from the office windows, LEFT IN VAN,  If van parked in underground car park or multi storey car park or on the street , Bag comes with us.  etc etc. 

      Theres no hard and fast rule but generally if we can see our vehicle and / or only leaving the vehicle briefly the bags are left in the vehicles .  But if we are going to be gone for hours or the vehicle is going to be parked up in an unideal location the bag comes with us.

      What we never do is leave the vehicle unlocked, even at the fuel station, and doors locked as soon as we start driving (wifes car locks the door automatically above 4MPH).

      We also took the liberty of putting clear self adhesive laminating film on the side and rear windows so if someone attempts a smash and grab they have to spend minutes rather than seconds getting in.

      • 5

        Interesting idea for the windows, Bill. Do they still open?

      • 4

        Yes sir just like tinted windows still do when applied correctly.