With every piece of gear, I recommend you think about what your requirements are.  I am a fan of building a gear loadout based upon what the desired end state is.  This is helpful because it will save you money in the long run and minimize excess weight.  Over the past several years I have spent most of my time on one adventure or another and have accumulated bins of gear that didn’t quite live up to what I was aiming for.  Keep it simple.

For my get home bag I detailed my purpose in this AP article, but for a refresher here are my requirements.  At the time I worked 34 miles away from home and wanted enough gear to move quickly and efficiently in case I had to walk home.  I have a backpacking background and know I can easily average 10-15 miles per day at a 2 miles per hour pace while in the mountains of North Georgia.  At this lollygag pace I estimate I would need to prepare to spend at least one night, maybe two, in the woods.  With that requirement in mind, I built a “get home bag” based around that.  Remember my goals…. quickly and efficiently and hike 34 miles.

In Joe Dolio’s book Tactical Wisdom he states, “The bag you use as a Get Home Bag should be a nondescript backpack type. Nothing too overtly tactical…” I absolutely agree with this and chose a Mystery Ranch Scree 32.  It has a frame, only weighs 2.8 pounds and has 1955 cubic inches of volume.  This pack can also be emptied and repurposed as a robust day pack or even for a basic overnight backpacking trip if your gear is dialed in.  One of the main reasons I like this pack is that it has a three-zipper opening system that allows me to get access to the main compartment as opposed to a top loader where I would have to empty the entire pack to get to the bottom.

This is what I put in my pack for my conditions. Remember, this is to supplement what I am already carrying and here is the link to my EDC article.   I can swap things out depending upon the weather and my perception of the threat.  This is the loadout I hike the trails with 3-4 times a week.

Additionally, if the situation dictates that I need a larger pack for more “cool guy” stuff I have a Crossfire DG3 that has the same basic zipper system and I would transfer what I need from the “Get Home Bag” to that as the mission/requirements dictate.

Side pouches

Top Pouch (Lid- items I want immediate access to)

Main Pouch


Crusoe is retired from the Air Force after 30-years of service as a flight crew member.  He spends most of his time thinking about the apocalypse and how to mitigate its effects.  When not immersed in academic pursuits, he is often on a trail hiking in the mountains of North Georgia or reading with a glass of Irish whiskey and a German Shepherd by his side.   Global travel enthusiast, history nerd, Appalachian Trail thru hiker, and recovering ultra-endurance athlete.  He can be reached at [email protected]