My “Get home bag” – Part 1.

Growing up in Southern California, I have been through numerous earthquakes in my lifetime. Earthquakes are certainly one of the major concerns when you live in this area with fires probably coming in second. I have experienced both, and have been fortunate to have not been devastated by any natural disaster so far.

Personally, I am doing preparations on two fronts, those that I do with my family and those I do on my own. For myself, I have started with a get home bag for my vehicle. Since I live 20 miles from where I work, it could take the good part of a day to get home if I were to have to walk it. If I had to start for home late in the day, it could turn into an overnighter. So, I am building out my get home bag based on that theory.

I started by buying a Kelty daypack. It is their Redwing 3100 model (The new version is the Redwing 50) and has a volume of 3100 cubic inches; go figure. It should be big enough to where I can pack it as a “72 hour bag”. The straps are very adjustable and it seems to fit my body pretty well and feels comfortable so far. I will have to take it on a weekend trip to really give a definitive review on it.

The next item I bought was a Katadyn Vario water filter that has a ceramic, carbon and element type filters as well. The ceramic filter should be good for 500 gallons before having to change any of the the filters out. That should be enough to get me home. One of the reasons I chose this filter was that it screws on to any standard Nalgene bottle opening which should help prevent the bottle from getting knocked over and spilling while trying to pump the filter. I have a filled 32 oz. Nalgene bottle in each of the side pockets of my pack and have purchased 2 of Nalgene’s 96 oz. Wide-Mouth Cantenes. I liked these as they are collapsible and should not take up a lot of space when empty and will screw onto my Katadyn filter. I also carry a flat of 20 oz. bottled water in my trunk.

For cooking, I picked up a JetBoil “Group Cooking System (GCS)”. It is a bit big, but I think it will be easier to cook with. The other JetBoil stoves have a very vertical pot, which I think would be harder to stir the contents of if you are actually cooking food and not just boiling water. Because, my JetBoil stove is bigger, I have placed other cooking and food items into it, like my sporks/foons along with a can of fuel (1 of 2 that I carry), my collapsible mug, some PowerBar gel packets, a lighter, and a military style can opener just in case (not that I plan to carry canned food). I have packed all my food and cooking items into an Eagle Creek Pack-It™ Cube which seems to be a really good size (Meant for shoes, so the size of a shoe box) for all my cooking gear and food it and keeps it neatly organized into a quickly grabbed container. I am big on organization and segmentation of gear. I like having similar functioning items grouped in their own containers.

For shelter, I have my MSR Hubba single person backpacking tent that I picked up at REI. I bought it back around 2005, and have not actually set it up since around that time. So, I should probably take it out for a weekend to give it a good test run. I particularly liked this tent for it’s ability to allow you to sit up in it, yet still be compact and light. It weighs just under 3 pounds. As part of my shelter, protection from the cold, I picked up a cheap sleeping bag from Outdoor World / Bass Pro Shop. Although it only cost around $30 on sale, it is rated for -20 degrees. It is a lot bigger than I would like, but I did not have the several hundred dollars to spend on a good backpacking sleeping bag at the time. So, this will suffice for now since living in Southen California, it is unlikely to get to -20 degrees, unless I go and get stranded in the mountains in the middle of winter.

I will end there for Part 1. Look for Part 2 to follow soon.


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