INCH Bag List | Never Return Home

by Vern Evans

Sometimes, a typical bug out bag just isn’t enough. And a home survival kit is not mobile enough. Enter the INCH Bag.

Designed for long-term and long-distance survival, self-reliance skills are stressed to help you meet your goal. Using experience and survival gear together can give you the edge to last indefinitely away from home.

You’ll need a big bag and the best gear to permanently bug out. Like any survival kit, an INCH kit can be personalized to your abilities and situation. The bags we show are my own and the gear we show is suggested- not essential, for the most part. Essential gear overlaps with our bug out bag, even though with INCH we don’t have a set up bug out location.

Below we break down what an INCH bag is, how it differs from a bug out bag, and share a comprehensive INCH bag checklist you can download, print, or save in multiple formats.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


What is an INCH Bag?

INCH stands for “I’m never coming home”, so an INCH bag is a bug out bag variant that helps you leave home permanently.

When you are developing your emergency plan and want to be flexible with a target Bug Out Location (or not have one at all), that is where an INCH bag comes into play.

An INCH Bag is designed to sustain you indefinitely using the contents of the bag/kit combined with natural resources. It is meant to help you live off of the land itself and/or assist in getting a completely new off-grid homestead set up. As you can imagine, this is no easy task and makes its 72-hour bug out bag counterpart look like a cakewalk.

You would use an INCH bag in a severe national or global catastrophe when you need to permanently and quickly relocate. This could be triggered by many things, including super-scale natural disasters, asymmetric attacks (nuclear/biological), or any permanent societal disruption (warfare/cyberattacks/financial collapse). The need for this type of kit depends on your situation/location and risk tolerance.

Most people confuse bug out bags for INCH bags and don’t realize that they need more resources and survival skills to realistically survive on their own indefinitely.


INCH Bag vs Bug Out Bag

INCH bags are designed to meet different goals than bug out bags. For starters, they are designed for different lengths of time. Bug out bags are meant to be used for 72 hours, or to go from point A to point B if you have a planned bug out location.

INCH bags are designed to live away from typical resources for longer periods, all the way up to indefinitely.

Because of this difference in time, INCH bags are much larger (or are transportable kits instead of bags) and they are packed full of renewable and reusable resources that provide more value over a longer time. My personal INCH kit is more than double the size and weight of my bug out setup, but makes up for it with renewable resources and survival essential ‘runway’ to give my family a fighting chance.

If you are looking for our top-level guide with all supplies related to bugging out to a specific pre-planned location, check out our bug out bag list:


INCH Bag Essentials

As far as mobile survival kits go, an INCH bag is the largest and the biggest I’ve built. Often times you’ll need a vehicle, cart, or some sort of wheels to be able to transport all of the gear unless you get a massive backpack and are extremely selective in your gear picks.

For my INCH kit, I use a rolling duffel and treat it as an add-on for my already large bug out bag. This duffel contains INCH-specific gear that is highly reusable, more of the essentials, and family-sized gear to support indefinite survival. Ideally, this would go in one of my bug out vehicles but it is transportable on its own.

Bigger and Better Gear

The duffel I use for INCH is a rolling 120-liter solution from my military deployment bag days. It is plenty big to fit our massive family tent, additional food reserves, larger tarps, more cordage, and other gear we’ll simply need more of if the bug out plan is likely to fail.

Here are the bigger solutions this kit relies on:

  • Large Duffel: SOC Rolling Loadout Duffle – over 120-liter (4,720 cubic inches) gives me plenty of room to store more essentials and additional gear.
  • Family Tent: – Fit the whole family and make a home away from home. This could very well be your new living quarters for a long time, so make sure you are familiar with it and that it’s big enough for everyone. If you plan to use bushcraft to improve it or build a makeshift cabin, be sure that you have the practical skills to back up that plan.
  • Emergency Food: Augason Farms 30-Day Bucket (from the best emergency food supplier review)- While these aren’t very sustainable, they will help buy you time. Food rations are used in smaller kits, but you will need more time to get your sustainable food situation figured out.
  • Solar Solutions: We haven’t reviewed these yet and I haven’t packed it in my kit, but I plan on adding this now that solar has become much more efficient over the years. Once we’ve reviewed the various brands and types of panels and power stations, we’ll be more comfortable making a recommendation here.
  • Sleeping Bag: Skip the emergency bivvy and go with an insulated sleeping bag. It is the number one piece of gear Alone contestants wish they had invested more in their follow-up interviews. It’s not just about comfort- temperature regulation at night can seriously affect your sleep quality.
  • More Cordage: Titan SurvivorCord 620lb (from the best paracord review)- While you can make cordage in the woods, it’s time-consuming and can be frustrating. Pack extra as you’ll end up using it.
  • More Clothes: A single skivvy roll isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need plenty more clothes for survival.
  • More First Aid Supplies: Add more first aid supplies, prescription meds, and medical tools- they are hard to come by later on: Survival First Aid Kit List
  • More Ammo: Don’t let your hunting or self-defense solution become dead weight early on.

INCH-Specific Supplies

There are a handful of specific gear choices that work exceptionally well for an INCH Bag but not others. Because the INCH concept is so focused on long-term and long-range on-the-go survival, the gear that stands out is usually reusable, renewable, and requires some skill.

These suggestions are either found exclusively on INCH lists or are prioritized higher:

As we said, these are simply additions to our standard bug out bag list which is pretty comprehensive, to begin with. Items we merely suggest considering for a bugout bag, like a takedown rifle, are much more important for an INCH bag.

Threat-Specific Gear

Being away from home can separate you from some key resources that may be needed depending on how the world continues to evolve. If a catastrophe sets you on a course to using your INCH Bag, you may also be subject to domino effects further down the road.

For that reason, it sometimes makes sense to include niche equipment that can be the difference between life and death. Although your assessment may not have required them for a bug out setup, the unknowns you will face with an INCH situation makes them worth considering.

Here is the threat-specific gear I pack:

  • Gas Masks: MIRA CM-6M (from the best gas mask review) – If I’m leaving and not coming home, I’m bringing gas masks. Whatever instability has caused me to leave could easily chain into a CBRN event down the road.
  • Geiger Counter: GQ GMC-300S (from the best Geiger counter review)- A nuclear event could be undetectable until my family shows symptoms of being sick. Checking background readings occasionally is easy, doesn’t use much energy, and will give us peace of mind.
  • Potassium Iodide: iOSAT (from the best iodine tablets review) – A blister pack of iOSAT takes up virtually no space in a kit, so it’s included mostly because there is no drawback. In the extremely rare event that I need to load up my thyroid to prevent radiation absorption, I’ll have what I need.
  • Sandbags: UpNorth Sandbags (from the best flood barriers review)- Empty sandbags can be super useful if you plan on building, diverting water, or hardening a structure against firearms (or radiation).

The Long-Range Long-Term Mindset

With an INCH bag, you are going to need to rely even more on survival skills. This might seem counterintuitive at first because an INCH bag contains more gear and more supplies, but when you are surviving indefinitely off of those resources they are just a drop in the bucket.

Survival skills bridge the gap between your typical 10 days’ worth of food and water you pack in an INCH bag and, well.. forever. You need to be able to quickly kick-start your resource gathering, shelter-building, and remember your survival priorities.


Full INCH Bag Checklist

A perfect INCH bag doesn’t exist- what is right for you depends on your situation and risk tolerance. That said, we have as close to perfect of a starting point for you: our comprehensive checklist.

Our checklist is available as both a PDF download and as a Google Sheets/Excel file where you can check off items yourself, and even add and subtract items from the checklist.

INCH Bag Printable PDF Checklist

If you are looking for the simplest way to print and use the checklist above, download our printable PDF version. It is two pages long on 8.5″ x 11″ paper and makes creating an INCH bag extremely easy. Once you open the INCH bag PDF checklist in your browser, you can either print it directly or save it through your browser.

INCH Bag Checklist Excel / Google Sheets

If you are looking for a comprehensive way to track your INCH bag contents, open our Excel / Google Sheets version. The sheet is sharable, and you just need to copy it to your own Google Sheets account or download it to Excel to edit it. We also keep the best-reviewed item for each category linked to simplify shopping for any equipment you may find yourself missing.


The Next Step

Whether or not you’ve chosen to build an INCH bag, our next step in this guide series stops off at EDC, or Everyday Carry. What you have on you when an unexpected disaster emerges can determine whether you can even make it to your INCH bag.

Check out our Everyday Carry Guide here:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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