Get Home Bags and Get Home Guns: The Reality

I seldom travel far from home anymore, but in years past I often would be several hours drive from home for my work.  I would routinely work at different office locations that were between two and five hours drive from home.  It was always on my mind: what would happen if an emergency situation occurred that put me on foot for the return trip home?  Even a two-hour drive would be a five to six day walk home, at best. 

The concept of a “get home bag” has been one that I have been familiar with for a long time.  I keep a get home bag in my vehicle even when I am not far from home; this bag simply lives in my vehicle.  I will not bother detailing all the gear that is kept in that bag as this tends to be a personal decision based on the needs and environment of the individual.    However, I want to touch on a theme that is commonly discussed along with get home bags: get home guns.

I went through a phase where I considered what kind of long gun should go along for these extended road trips.  Should an emergency occur that forced me to walk home through a hostile environment it would be nice to have a rifle.  After all, we can all think of Hollywood inspired notions of being pursued through the woods by cannibals after an apocalypse.  Having a rifle would be a lot better than relying on only a handgun, yeah? 

Well, as I matured as a preparedness minded individual, the practice of keeping any long gun in the vehicle was completely abandoned.  Rather, a second handgun would get secured in the vehicle for the times I was far from home to back up the one I was already wearing.  The only exception would be if traveling to a communist state where I could not carry a handgun (something I did not need to do often) then an unloaded long gun in the trunk still meant I had something at least with me, though not accessible immediately.  For all other times, however, my choice was to take a second handgun to simply be a spare to the one I was wearing. 

Why not take a long gun if far from home?  Because, for a get home problem, an openly carried rifle would draw too much attention and invite more trouble than it was likely to resolve, and even a small long gun that could be hidden in a backpack was not worth the weight.  Remember that the goal of a get home scenario is to get home as quickly as possible.  This is different than, say, a camping trip or a trip to a cabin on the lake with your family.  For such activity I always take a long gun as I am at a location with my family.  When by myself under circumstances where getting back home and back to family is the priority, I find the long gun not worth the attention it can bring, and certainly not worth the weight of carrying it the whole way home. 

Depending on your location, a long gun might be worth having in a get home scenario.  Would your route home consist of traveling entirely through wooded wilderness?  Then, a rifle would be a good thing to have.   Does your environment also entail the possible need to protect yourself form large, furry, predators?  A rifle is what you want if in big bear country.  However, for most people in most places, a get home scenario would entail walking along interstate highways and having to cross through towns.  In such environments I submit that a visible rifle would attract attention you don’t want.  Rather, rely on your concealed handgun, carry a discrete looking bag, and simply cover the miles as fast as possible. 

The more practical we become, the less Hollywood-like our solutions are.  A concealed handgun, and perhaps a spare handgun as a backup, is the way I would roll for my trek back home.  Discreet, inconspicuous, but with concealed fangs, should you need it. 

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