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Put These 14 Items in Your Urban Get-Home Bag

Plenty of preppers talk about bugging out, but not enough folks talk about “getting home”. Considering that most people spend a significant fraction of their waking hours outside of and away from their home, at work, school, traveling, etc., the first tactical problem you need to solve in a major crisis could well be just getting back to base.

urban survival bag and items
A solar backpack and some of my bug out bag gear

And, just as likely, you aren’t going to have your bug-out bag with you! But if you are smart, you’ll have your get-home bag, or GHB.

Getting home is its own problem and requires different solutions from bugging out, and these problems can be made far more complicated in an urban environment. The complexities of transiting urban areas, combined with the uncertainty of whatever situation is unfolding, means you’ll need some specialist gear in your pack.

As such, I’ve got 14 must-have items for you to consider for your urban GHB below…

Sillcock Key

A sillcock key is basically a specialist faucet key, one designed for opening and closing tamper-resistant faucets of the type seen on public infrastructure, businesses, and any other structure where owners don’t want people stealing water.

Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to have one of these handy keys so you can access these faucets anywhere they are and get water on demand, assuming that the public supply has not been contaminated or shut down.

They’re very small, versatile, and will take up almost no room in your pack. Get a good one, because the cheapies can break or deform, leaving you high and dry.

Extrication Tool

Urban environments feature plenty of situations where you might need to get out of a building or vehicle, or get into a building or vehicle. This is dangerous and difficult work without the right tools.

An extrication tool can take many forms, but a great design for an urban GHB is a demolition or forcible entry tool as seen in Stanley’s FatMax line. The latter, and my favorite, combines a serrated beak on one side, a pounding hammer face, and a pry bar along with a nail puller in the handle.

If you need to smash something open, pry it open, pull it, or just break it, this tool can help you get the job done with a minimum of fuss and, let’s face it, it’s pretty handy to have in a fight also.

Best of all, these devices aren’t considered weapons outright, meaning they won’t draw unwanted attention from authorities. Lacking one of these tools, you can get by with a sturdy crowbar or pry bar.

lockpicking set
a lockpicking set

Lock Picks

If there’s one thing you can say about urban environments, it’s that locks are everywhere.

Many of these locked doors could close off paths you might be able to make use of to avoid crowds, attention, and observation, any of which might potentially increase your odds of success and speed you on your way.

If you can avoid it, gaining access to these places surreptitiously is in your best interest.

Lockpicks are the perfect item to help you do just that, but you need to know what you are doing, and be practiced to make use of them quickly. The good news is that the vast majority of locks out there are nowhere near as secure as most people think, and quite easy to pick.

Once again, lock picks are incredibly small and lightweight, and some sets can even fit in your wallet.


Another tool for enhancing urban maneuverability, a J-tool basically looks like a thin, flattened square with one end angled into a point.

This specialized locksmithing and entry tool can be inserted from the outside of a one-way door between the door and the jamb, swipe down to trip the latch, and open the door.

This is a high-value tool for very little weight and bulk, as these sorts of one-way push bar doors and others are ubiquitous everywhere throughout North America. Don’t get caught without one!


Sometimes you don’t want to open doors but rather keep them closed. I know, sounds strange considering we’re trying to make haste through the city and get to our homes…

But, if you’ve got to duck into a building, dash through a hallway, or get away from people and you’re worried about pursuit, or just need to grab a few quiet moments to yourself, heavy-duty doorstops are excellent for slowing down pursuers.

Certain models are tough enough to actually hold a door shut, forcing people to try and batter it down or break through some other way if they want to get past it. A couple of these things might just save your life if society is in upheaval. Don’t underestimate them.

Baofeng UV 5R5 HAM radio
a Baofeng UV 5R5 HAM radio

Handheld Ham Radio

Unless something really catastrophic has happened, you can generally count on your cell phones to work in most sorts of situations.

The problem is that the networks might be completely overloaded, or authorities might be shutting down cell phone service to try and contain rioters, subversives, or who knows what.

That’s where a portable ham radio or handie-talkie comes in. This can allow you to eavesdrop on many of the frequencies that first responders use, reach out to known friends and allies, and gather other intel in a completely self-contained way that is not dependent at all on cellular infrastructure.

Obviously, reception and transmission range are major problems in the city, so you might have to use your head to obtain a good vantage point – but this is still undeniably useful under the circumstances.

Get one, get licensed, and learn how to use it. Remember, it’ll need batteries so keep an extra set with it if it’s not a rechargeable model.


More than almost any other place, you’ll have a need for a respirator in an urban environment. Burning buildings and cars, maybe collapsing buildings, police deployment of tear gas and other lachrymatory agents, and plenty of other hazards await.

Breathing this stuff in might just entail long-term health risks, but most of it can actually be a serious incapacitation hazard – or worse…

A half or full-face respirator equipped with high-efficiency cartridges rated for biological, chemical, and particulate contaminants will keep you breathing easy until the coast is clear. This is one of the few situations where you might consider an actual gas mask.


High-impact goggles are a great thing to have in a city when things start going to hell. From flying shards of glass and chips of asphalt, depending on what’s happening, there could be a lot of stuff whizzing through the air that might put out an eye easily.

You won’t necessarily need goggles depending on where you are and what’s happening, but if you need them, by golly, you really, really need them. Plus, even if you have a full-face respirator or gas mask, there are times when you won’t need air filtration but will still need eye protection.


The use for gloves should be obvious under the circumstances. Jagged metal, broken glass, rough surfaces, twisted wire, and on and on.

There’re so many things that will mangle your hands in an urban environment undergoing destruction or violence. Protect your hands so that you can keep working and problem-solving to get home.


This might seem like a surprising recommendation, but I promise it isn’t. Even if you know your city like the back of your hand, it’s all too easy to get turned around when the stress level is up and confusion reigns.

A quick glance at a button compass lanyarded to your belt or attached to your wrist lets you know you’re still moving in the right direction.

LifeStraw filter
the LifeStraw personal water filter


Once again, you’ll be surrounded by water in the city, but you might be surprised to find out how much of it isn’t drinkable or is questionable.

Runoff from buildings, fountains, pools, and so forth can all be good sources of water, but you definitely don’t want to gulp down whatever nasty stuff is also in there. A LifeStraw or similar product such as a Sawyer Mini will let you drink and go with no fuss and no muss.


There is no situation that doesn’t call for a flashlight, and arguably an urban get-home scenario calls for more than one. Even if you have an EDC flashlight that you carry religiously, make it a point to put a spare in your GHB.

Ensure that the batteries stay fresh if they’re single use, or that you keep them charged.

Power Bank

And speaking of charging, I always keep a fully charged power bank in my dedicated urban GHB so that I can recharge my phone without stopping, top off my radio, and keep my flashlight working.

Longer cables will allow you to keep the power bank in a pocket or attached to your pack and your devices or tools stowed somewhere else, just in case you need easy access.

Running/Hiking Shoes

One of the most commonly overlooked items on urban survival gear lists is a good pair of running or hiking shoes, or lightweight boots if you prefer. If you work in an office environment or are just out and about, you might not be wearing footwear that is suited for a long, rapid movement by foot.

Spending just a couple of moments to change into ideal footwear will make all the difference in your chances of success and help prevent accidents and, maybe, show-stopping injuries that might leave you truly stranded. Obviously, if you habitually wear shoes or boots that will facilitate this, you can leave these out.

urban ghb items

The post Put These 14 Items in Your Urban Get-Home Bag appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

By: Tom Marlowe
Title: Put These 14 Items in Your Urban Get-Home Bag
Sourced From: www.survivalsullivan.com/get-home-bag-urban-scenarios/
Published Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2024 17:52:21 +0000


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