Brad M: “How or where do you store your get home kit ?”


Happy New Year! I was wondering if any of your readers could offer ideas for a problem or two I have encountered.  My wife drives an import minivan, which seats 8 people (2 front, 3 middle, 3 rear with a well in the back that the rear seats fold into).  She uses all of the seats on an almost daily basis.  I have been putting a car kit together for her,  but it is larger than she would like to have in her car.  It basically fills a 20-24 gallon tub.  I originally thought about just putting it in a backpack, but then it may be too much of a target to grab and run with.  I also am notorious for taking the “over engineer it” path on everything, so I may have too much stuff in there for her. I will include my list of ‘preps’ below.  My question is: “How or where do you store your ‘get home’ kit / gear in a minivan filled with people that wont get in the way of daily life?”

Gear list (nothing in colors that stand out):

AR pistol with extra magazines / ammunition
Extra Handgun magazines / ammunition
First Aid Kit (FAK)
Knife with ferrocerium rod.
Gerber Multi-tool.
HAM radio (handheld BaoFeng UV5r) with external antenna.
Blanket / poncho liner
2 surplus half shelters (used for ground cloth or shelter)
Fleece hat
Gloves (work and insulated)
Spare clothes (Wool socks, sweat pants, sweat shirt)
Toiletry kit (tp, floss, soap, hand sanitizer)
Mess kit with titanium spork
Solar kit (Goal Zero)
Para cord 100′
Freeze Dried meal (3)
Flares (3)
Fire extinguisher
Snaplights (4)
Fishing kit
100′ fishing line
Bells (small for putting on the line as a perimeter alarm)
Day pack to put it all in for a hike home.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Of course my first instinct is to remind her that it is only in the way until you need it, and if you left it in the garage two weeks ago then hey you have two packs of gum, your water bottle, and an old pair of pliers…


Brad M


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19 thoughts on “Brad M: “How or where do you store your get home kit ?””

  1. If the car is full of people you do not have enough items for everyone. You will be leaving a pistol with ammo unsecured and unattended in a vehicle often? If this is just for her to get home from work/store or provide protection if stranded in storm or other road event. You could build one bag for her daily use. Have a couple of smaller bags with some additional food etc. for extra passengers. Then build a bag for each type of situation then you could add to and make the switch as needed. This would reduce the size of the original design. I have the same problem with a suburban. Where would I put everyone and everything. If I have time to load up and bring a trailer then I question security. I think bugging out is for situations like Sandy or Katrina where you do not have a choice otherwise you have no way of knowing if the road to you location is going to be safe or open.

  2. Are the seats used daily for a carpool or say, transporting children? I don’t know her complete situation, but seems like it’s a little gear heavy for a get home bag. Why a 2 pistols, 3 meals, and fishing stuff? My wife works withing 10 miles of our home and her bag is enough to keep her hydrated, warm and dry until she gets there. Also, my daily driver is a suburban and it has numerous little hidey holes for stuff to be stashed out of the way, but could be retrieved if needed. Just my 2 cents.

  3. To answer some of the questions;
    My wife drives an 8 seat minivan and on a daily basis she uses all of the seats for carpool. The rear row of seats fold into a well in the very back of the vehicle when you need more space. In between school she will often (not daily) do shopping or other errands where she will fold these seats down to accommodate her ‘haul’. I will make a post to everyone where I will be stowing her gear after that is determined, but I am hoping for more of these great suggestions as I do not believe I know it all.


  4. Brad- very thorough. What is a Shemagh? I drive a Jeep and even though I dont carpool I do haul home horse/cow feed etc. I keep a
    large canvas tote and a small back pack with bug out and emergency road stuff at all times. My list is less extensive than yours
    and I dont carry a gun but do have pepper spray .My suggestion fill the well with the most urgent items and keep some items under the two front seats. Food and water is the most important for survival. I carry water and nuts, candy, crackers,protein bars.You may want to invest in the holders that go on the back of the seats and stuff them. Arlene

  5. Hello Arlene,

    First, THANK YOU, for your suggestions I will consider them. A Shemagh is a square cotton woven cloth, usually with a pattern on it, that is traditionally worn on the head, or around the neck to protect you from the temperature. In the cold it insulates and when it is hot you can dip it in water and it will cool you through evaporation. We used them in the Middle East as the locals do, and recently while on a campout with my Boy Scout Troop I introduced them to them in 100+ degree weather by soaking them in water, and then having the boys drape them over their heads. When the hot wind blew it felt like standing in front of a cold air conditioner. Very refreshing. Anyway they are a great multipurpose addition to your survival wardrobe. I recommend patterns and colors that blend into your local surroundings.

  6. Brad, I have a summer/winter bag that obviously contains season appropriate clothing. The winter version also contains extra blankets, heat source, etc. The ‘basics’ are in a tote in the well of the van as we usually keep all 3 rows of seats up. I also utilize the infloor storage, that’s where the FAK and other small items are stored. There’s always a case of bottled water, even in the winter, that’s usually on the floor in the third row. We rarely utilize the third row seats, so we can always store stuff back there. Take a look and see what hidey holes you can utilize for the smaller items. Good post, made me think!

  7. I am glad you are putting this together. sounds to me your wife needs a GHB and the vehicle it’s own kit say a dufflebag or action packer hard case. keep it modulated so you can change and augment kits in and out to adapt to seasons and terrain. like (Tim) my work location is 7 miles from home so my kit is adjusted for that taking in season, terrain, S.W.C. (size-weight-constraints). My GHB is short speed ruck sack (Maxpedition for spring/summer and a slightly larger ruck for fall/winter. My vehicle has a separate independent system thats for the car only (Ford Taurus SEL) and it to is seasonal based. Right now its winter in North Texas so my set up is “Winter-Load Out”.

  8. How far away will she be most days? Do you really need all that stuff? Just a cursory look at the list and you have a 30-40 pound pack there. Can your wife huff that home? The big concern for me is the AR pistol, not only is it a problem leaving it in a car (theft), but you can’t take it in with you a lot of places either. Sure it has a lot of firepower but also a lot of weight (6-7lbs loaded?), I think a good semi auto 9mm or .40S&W with 2 to 3 13-17 round mags is a lot lighter, reasonable AND concealable. If you have more than 10 miles to cover all bets are off. I work 50 miles from home so I pack heavy.

  9. TexasScout,

    Thanks for taking the time to add to this topic. My wife travels from 5 to 25 miles away per day and it is in a populated area for the most part. As for if my wife could hump a 40 lb pack, well 2 years ago I would say no, but today I can unequivocally say she could absolutely do so. She normally carries a compact 45 (10+1) and an extra magazine with 13+1. She can cycle it like an operator and does well at putting lead on target even under duress. The AR Pistol is something I was hoping to find a nice place to hide for her so she would have a real get home gun. In the field we always said that a pistol is what you use to get to your rifle. Having endured the LA Riots I know that situations can and DO occur where that type of firepower could save your skin. That being said I agree that an AR Pistol is a heavy option, and not quite a rifle. I will have to discuss that with her. Have you got any ideas on where to hide larger things in plain sight?

  10. With that little distance to travel, I think you could cut down on food (of course freeze dried doesn’t weigh much) and some of the other things. As for hiding stuff. Check the plastic panels in the back, some of those come off pretty easy. You might be able to adapt them with easier to remove fasteners. I had one van I could hide a full AR in those. Is the spare inside or the jack/tools? Some times there is a lot of room in there.


  11. With her distance that she travels, a simple back pack or even rolling suitcase should be PLENTY sufficent. Leave the AR at home. That is impractical for what she does. Imagine her getting a ticket on something stupid like speeding, and the kids say something about the big gun in the back… I don’t see that going too well. THe comment about the 9mm or .40cal would be plenty. A small trauma first aid kit would be good, as is a fixed blade or semi-large folder. No food. Her purpose is to get home. Not eat out in the woods alone. So here’s my modified list for you…

    9mm or .40 cal or your choosing with 3-5 mags with holster
    IFAK with minor meds/prescriptions included
    Maybe a couple packs of crackers or similar if you are adamant about food
    Some personal lady items for her of her choosing. Toilet paper, feminine products etc.
    Change of season appropriate clothing including either hiking shoes or boots
    Poncho/rain clothes
    Cell phone with outlet and car charger(should be with her anyways)
    A radio would be great, but only if you or someone at home has a matching one
    And finally maybe a medium tarp for basic shelter.

    All Get Home Bags should have a knife, multitool and a map of the area. Once you get into fire extinguishers, you are talking more of a vehicle tool kit. I keep a vehicle kit in my own car and supplement with my EDC bag which is a backpack.

    Just my .2

  12. Make it a get home bag versus a live out of bag. Reduce to 1 handgun, skip the fishing line, half shelters, solar kit, bells, and reduce spare clothes. Make sure you have car repair items…like tools, duct tape, jumper cables, fix a flat or air pump, etc. Everything should be able to fit in a medium backpack.

  13. Brad,
    My wife can cycle her sewing machine an serger like an operator, but that’s it. As a child I remember during the Richmond/Oakland riots of the 60’s. looking into the kitchen ans seeing my mother with a K98 across her lap with a tall coke bottle and our neighbor looking out the door window to our house checking security with a 1911 in her hand. Both my father and her husband had shipped out to Nam.

  14. Brad,

    An accomplished thief can punch your lock and be inside the car in seconds. Wife took my 4 door 1 ton truck to Amarillo one fine day (I keep it at our ranch house more than 1/2 mile from a rough unimproved county road. Our property is fenced and gates locked. As a result I left my go bag in the back seat area. Lock was punched two pistols and my gear stolen. Cops recovered one pistol a year later.

    I keep my gear in either NATO bags or IDF bags. See: I pack much of my gear in a small tactical backpack and fill in the extra spaces with boots, food, and the like. I keep an US Military cold weather sleeping bag separate but near the IDF bag. The IDF bag like the slightly larger NATO bag has shoulder straps but I wouldn’t want to carry it far that way.

    My theory on this sort of gear is to pack a wide variety and choose what’s most practical if the time comes. If in the summer, for instance, I may forgo cold weather gear and a couple layers of the US Military sleeping bag, etc.

    I now have top end locking boxes in the beds of my trucks to store my essential ‘gear.’

    Hope this helps.


  15. Brad – your list looks good, but not sure about that big tub. Also good comments from everyone. My wife drives a 3 row seat 4runner and we keep a basic back pack from Walmart behind that 3rd row with these items below. It’s designed to simply get her home from place of employment at a school along wih all 3 of my kids who are there as well. She keeps her Smith .38 in the truck during school, but notice the extra rds in the list. Distance is about 15 miles as the proverbial crow flies. BTW, I recently added last Fall another smaller pack with pandemic kits for each of them. Wasnt enough room in her existing pack. All 3 kids do karate as well so their bags for that are huge and get piled in on top of her GHB often. Add football gear, etc. and we have a mess… But, no worries.. It works. I have the same setup in my truck.
    When we travel on vacations and other longer distances, I’ll pack a larger Blackhawk bag and throw in some rifles.

    Ammo – 24 RDS
    Credit Card Tool
    E Blankets
    First Aid
    Hand Warmer
    Light Sticks
    Lip Therapy
    Mosquito Lotion
    Multi Knife/Pliers
    N95 Mask
    Pepto Tabs
    SOS Bars
    Tube Tents
    Water Packs
    Water Tabs
    Wet Ones

  16. Where are you trying to get home from ? Your kit sounds more like a “Bug Out Bag” then a “Get Home Bag”. Get home means just that. Get home, not spend a week in the woods and get in a gun fight with everyone you run into. Get home bag should have a street map if your urban, one that shows all routes that you can take on foot if your without a vehicle. You should have routes on it that you have driven, or better yet actually walked. A side arm would be fine, providing that you aren’t under any type of curfue or Marshall Law situation which would most likely follow a major interruption to services. In that case a firearm in your hands or over your shoulder would only get you arrested, most likely just shot, in a grid or services down situation I would not count on the police or national guard being very patient or passive with anyone the see with a firearm, think New Orleans after Katrina. If your rural you should have a topo map that shows your terrain and back roads. Once again, you should have driven or actually walked these routes. A small back pack, nothing bigger then 1800 to 2000 cu. in..Not something that looks tactical or new, if you have just bought a new pack for this purpose I would suggest hat you take it out back and kick it around on the ground for a while to get the shine off of it, otherwise you are going to look like you have something that someone else doesn’t. The most important thing to have in your get home bag is a good pair of broken in pair of hiking boots. You should also have a good pair of fitted mechanic’s gloves, sun glasses that have interchangeable lens with a set of clear lens for walking after dusk, don’t recommended walking after dark in a grid or services down situation. Cell phone back up battery of some type, most likely you will not have voice call ability due to high call volume but you may have text. You will need water and food for 24 hours (your going home, not camping), rain gear, flashlight, extra batteries, a very light weight tarp, this does not need to be bigger then 10X10, just enough to keep you out of the weather for a few hours or the evening. A pry bar would be a great idea, along with a knife and multitool. A cap to keep the sun off your head,and a shemagh, there are a million uses for these the least of which is to keep dust out of your mouth, nose and with your glasses, eyes. A small first aid kit with a tourniquet, your just trying to survive the walk, not the war. Don’t look tactical, broken in hiking boots, non attention getting clothing, skip the camo unless you really do have to walk through the woods to get home. Once your home decide weather or not your bugging in or out. That’s a topic for a different discussion. Last but not least, where do I keep mine, it stays in my truck, I am in construction and it is never very far from me and never out of my sight. If your working in a office then it needs to stay with you, if your garage collapses on top of your car your kit in your car won’t do you much good.

  17. I have a minivan that sounds just like yours. I have a backpack with a bottle of water an drops to purify water. I also have extra bottles in pocket behind front seat. I have a knife, duct tape, para cord, extra socks, hat, bandanna, toiletries, stuff to start a fire, a flashlight and extra batteries. I don’t have the list with me but that gives you an idea. I keep a poncho and light jacket in my van. I carry my gun on me because I do want to leave it in the van. I also keep a fanny pack so I can carry extra things with me.


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