DiPillo Echo-Sigma Get-Home-Bag (GHB) Review October 2018Ok, so I finally made a decision after almost one year of needing a good Get-Home-Bag. Full disclosure, I did make one myself with some extra clothes, gloves, MREs and tools I had and then shoved them into an old rucksack, but it did not meet the need. So, I went on a journey across the vastness of the Internet, searching for a good starter GHB or GOOD bag, or “Get-Out-Of-Dodge” bag as I call it. Since I practice preparedness both in my professional and personal life, this should be easy, but there is complexity and many options to consider. I know what you’re thinking, “this guy has a large CONEX box buried in his back yard”. Well, I won’t go that far, maybe, but I do believe in leading my family and professional colleagues in keeping a preparedness mindset. I feel there is a boundary and a thing called “responsible prepping” as well, let me explain. There is balance of too much fear, anxiety and money that can go into prepping. Just watch the History channel and the TV show
; it will open your eyes. Now, I am not dismissing their way of thinking and in an emergency or end-times they are good to have around, but the first thing anyone needs to know about prepping is community is the first real step in long term or short term survival, some of these people and or families will be mainly alone in their CONEX boxes for a long time…not my cup of tea when it comes to survival. Statically speaking long term could be 30 to 120 days without power or “off-the grid” survival living; longer than that and life begins to get real different. As for my family and me, we will be part of a community hopefully surviving and living at the same time.
Back to my journey of finding a good starter GHB bag. One thing you should understand when looking for a good GHB or prepping survival bag is that normally these companies can buy tools, food and gear cheaper than you can. So, while you could build your own bag and spend many hours on it, I suggest starting with a pre-made bag and then customizing it to your needs and lifestyle. After all, it would probably be cheaper and less time to build.
After many hours of searching and contacting companies, I decided to go with Echo-Sigma for a few reasons. First, the bags are high-quality Condor-brand and the tools are SOG®, which are both known to be resilient when needed andoutperform many similar lower-quality or entry level tools. Additionally, the customer service proved to be outstanding and Chris at Echo-Sigma is genuinely sincere about providing the right gear to you and your loved ones. He will even do nut-free food for those with allergies, now that’s service!I picked up the Get-Home-Bag at a price of $269.99 The GHB from Echo-Sigma also includes a water resistant black bag to keep the main bag clean. This is a great idea if you’re putting it into a trunk or the back of a truck. If you need to, you can also use it to store wet clothes and other items and keep them separate from your main bag items while you’re out. I will note that it would be nice if the waterproof outer bag had a sling or handle to help carry other loads in it.The front of the bag is equipped with molly gear straps, which holds the SOG® small tool and the Fenix® flash light. This is a good place to store the tools if needed quickly, but I suggest taking them off if you need to wear the bag. Also, there are spare batteries in the main pouch for the flashlight. I love the compactness of the SOG tool and the flashlight is a great brand that works well under many weather conditions. Hopefully, Echo-Sigma will eventually offer an upgraded bag that includes a two-in-one flashlight with build-in Taser. The technology is now affordable and would offer an added measure of protection. Another option I’d like to see is the addition of a headlamp option instead of a flashlight.The first main pouch contains the “ouch-pouch” or first aid kit. Below that, in the bigger pouch, is a cheap pair of gloves and a rain poncho. Gloves are a very important part of a GHB kit; however, these gloves are gardening-type gloves and are not suitable for traversing the urban landscape. I feel Echo-sigma could do better here with Mechanix® brand or a better glove. The poncho is a good item to include in the GHB, but I suggest a more subdued color like black. Currently, the GHB includes a yellow poncho, which is not optimal if you’re trying to remain inconspicuous while trying to get home in an emergency.Here are the contents from the first two pouches and the middle pouch. The middle section has two hand warmers, batteries, emergency guidebook, fold up sleeping bag, goggles, signal mirror, and the patented Echo-sigma mini survival bag. A signal mirror is important, but I suggest one with a small see-through hole in the middle so you can see exactly where you are signaling. Next, the hand warmers are a must in cold weather and the goggles are great for hazard areas and protection of the eyes and they can be used to look under water for items if need be. The bag includes two N95 masks, which are the standard FEMA-recommended off-the-shelf masks. While they do filter out most airborne particulates, I think Echo-Sigma could offer upgraded gas mask for the professional. Tip: The N95 masks can also be used to filter water if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a Lifestraw® or other filtering device.The mini survival pouch is a great idea and I have seen this concept in other bags as well. While each person’s mini-survival bag will be custom to fit their need, the Echo-Sigma one is a great starter. It has 4 different fire starter functions, a compass (which is very cheap and not sure it is worth it), iodine pills for water purification, regular note pad (not write-in-the rain type), two light sticks, a roll of duct tape, ear plugs, two ink pens and another Mylar® shelter. The bag is stuffed and you probably could not fit any medical or other supplies in it without sacrificing something. Overall, it is a great start for a mini survival pouch.
In the main larger pouch, there is a large orange Tube tent, 50’ of para-cord, black zip ties (invaluable), and a box of water and food (I’ll review those items in-depth in a follow up). I will say the food is average survival food and the water is probably the most important part of the kit. Adding a water filtration tool is extremely important. While my bag did not include it, you can add a filtration tool for $20.00 as an option at checkout. Lastly, behind the large main pouch is a cheap 2.5-liter water bladder. It’s not insulated, but will work. Chris at Echo-Sigma left the plastic shrink-wrap in the mouth tip, to keep it clean; good idea and attention to detail!
My overall rating is B. It gets good marks for bag option, essentials like fire starters, lighting, basic first aid, shelter, food, water, and mouth and eye protection. It is not an A because there are no options to upgrade this specific bag. You have to go to another totally different bag. It would be great is Echo-Sigma would offer a range of bags for both the amateur and for the people who know how to use the equipment. The customer service is outstanding, which gives the bag and Echo-Sigma high marks in my book. I will definitely be looking into other bags and products Echo-Sigma has to offer. I suggest shopping and comparing gear and reviewing the companies’ vision, mission and values they follow. Are they just selling gear or a holistic preparedness mindset along with training and tools? Responsible prepping is a mindset and in today’s world you never know where or when you will be if it is a major large scale disaster or you are stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in your own personal catastrophe. When I’m put in that position, I have faith the Echo-Sigma Get-Home-Bag will help my family and me get to where I need to be.