The 24-Hour Adventure Kit

The 24-Hour Adventure Kit is an emergency bag designed to stay in your car, and get you home safely from work or anywhere else you might be, in the event of an emergency. Often these bags are referred to as “Get Home Bags” or GHBs, but I strongly prefer the term “Adventure Bag” because I believe in the power of positive word associations, as outlined in this post. The 24-Hour Adventure Bag is a small bag, no larger than 40L, and it should contain food, water, first aid, and a change of clothes.

As I said in my earlier post on Adventure Bags, there are a couple of things everyone should have for safety, but the rest is really up to you. I’m taking a page out of Steve Kamb’s fitness guides when I say, think about packing this bag like you’re creating a Dungeons & Dragons character sheet: you’re going to want to pick gear that complements your skills and your interests. Some people might be more comfortable with a traditional military-style survival kit, whereas some people might focus more on tools, and still others might focus more on electronic gadgets and batteries to keep them running. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to Adventure Bags, but I’ll recommend some starting gear.

  • The Bag: I have this bag for my 24-Hour kit. Watch for sales, I picked mine up for around $30. If you’re interested in something a little less tactical (or a bit smaller), Osprey also makes very good bags. I personally like tactical bags because they’re compatible with all kinds of straps and attachments, but they’re not for everyone.
  • A change of clothes: This one’s up to you, pick a set of climate-appropriate clothes that you’d be comfortable wearing in a stressful situation. If you pack it in a compression bag you can save space.
  • First Aid Kit: You can make your own first aid kit with the gear and medications you need, or you can pick up one of these premade kits from REI. Your first aid kit should have at least one N95 or N99 respirator, not just for Covid, but also for protection from pollen and dust. Big storms can kick up a lot of dust and you don’t want to be breathing it.
  • Bathroom/Travel Kit: A small kit, like one you might use to stay overnight in a hotel. Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, hand sanitizer, deodorant, etc. Anything you’d normally need in an overnight bathroom kit goes in here.
  • Lights: Any kind of light source will do, preferably something you can charge via solar power or USB. I like lanterns because you can hang them, but a headlamp or flashlight will also work. You can find these pretty much anywhere; there’s a whole community for flashlight and lantern enthusiasts, but for a 24-hour kit, Walmart’s camping brand Ozark Trail makes pretty good ones.
  • Multitool: A good multitool is useful for pretty much anything you can think of. Leatherman makes the best quality multitools by far, but they also tend to be pricey. I bought this one from WETOLS in 2019 and it’s very durable, haven’t had any complaints yet.
  • Food: This one’s also up to you. Realistically this kit will be for a situation where everything is still working, the grid is still up, but you need to get home quickly and might not have enough time to stop for food. I like to keep a couple of Clif bars in mine. If you don’t like the sugar content in Clif bars, Quest bars are basically the same concept. V8 is another good option because comes in a can, it’s delicious, and it’s full of potassium.
  • Water: If you already have a favorite water container, preferably a metal one, just pack that. If you don’t, these canned waters are a good choice. Don’t keep plastic water bottles in your car, the temperature changes will cause the plastic to leach into the water, which can lead to long-term health effects.

This seems like a lot, but when you have the bag in front of you, it’s not quite that daunting. These recommendations will fill a 40L bag about halfway, and the rest is up to you.