I see articles everyday talking about bugging-out when the SHTF, but how many people is actually ready for this course of action? You can say you are till the cows come home, but are you? There are a lot of factors that I doubt most people who claim they will “bug-out” in a disaster are truly ready for. If you are one of those people who believe that you and your family are going to take to the road and get the hell out of dodge, please indulge me by reading this and consider my advice.
First and for most, where are you going to go in an emergency? Dreaming of living on the road and always on the move in a SHTF scenario are just that, dreams. Living on the road should truly be more of a nightmare. You would have absolutely no control over any element of you or your family’s survival. Every meal, every drop of water, even shelter, could be the luck of the dice. I know some people reading this may think that their wilderness survival skills could keep them alive and they may be right for at least a limited time. This also is true for the people that plan on heading for the woods and plan on living off the land and wilderness, no, in either scenario plan on multiple obstacles to these fantasies. One glowering obstacle is the number of other people with the exact same plan as you, community building right, most likely not. Most people with this idea are not prepared in any way for a disaster; they will be a huge hindrance to successfully survival. Yes, you could teach them, but if you prepared for you and your family to survive, split those preps in half because you just added how many new members to your “family” to feed. Speaking of feeding, where do you plan on getting food and water? Depending on the disaster, you may not be able to safely filter water from a stream or lake and wildlife may have already been killed off by a predator with a 30-50 mile roaming pattern. What are you going to do when you run out of supplies? Chances are, you will not be able to just go rummage through abandoned houses for needed items because unless you are in a city, there probably won’t be many abandoned houses and the residents in those houses will probably defend their property. The best solution to all of the above is have a planned destination or multiple.
Bug-out destinations, retreats, properties, etc. are becoming popular investments in the preparedness world. I do not own one, nor have plans in the immediate future to own one, but like the concept. Personally I believe though, that you should have more than one place to go in an emergency just in case you can’t go to your primary. Once you have located your destinations, you must figure out as many routes as you can to the locations. When determining your way to your bug-out, come up with at least three routes if possible. Those routes should also be the paths with least resistance such as sparsely populated, least bridges to cross, and non-problematic terrain. Once you have figured out the way there, make copies of the maps on a regular road map and a topographical map if possible and put a copy in each family member’s bug-out bag. Try to review these routes with your family on a regular basis, not every week, but maybe once every two or three months.
How are you going to bug-out? Along with bug-out retreats, bug-out vehicles have become popular. I feel you should not get too hung up on a vehicle to get to your location. Make sure that it is well maintained, plenty of fuel with an adequate amount of extra fuel to get you where you need to go. Plan on not being able to stop for a refill and store enough to get you there. Another reason not to obsess over what type of vehicle you use to get there is that you do not want to be targeted by those you pass. If you are driving around in a lifted, camouflaged Jeep with spot lights, brush guard, and gas cans mounted on it, chances are in a SHTF time you are prepared and have lots of food and water and you will have a huge target on you by everyone who doesn’t. An extended cab 4 wheel-drive pickup with a bed cover will probably work just as well and draw a whole lot less attention.
With every good evacuation plan, you need to account for worst case scenarios. What do you do if the end of the world as you know it is the same time that your transmission decides to take a dump on you? If you and your family also have bikes with you, you could make it to your cabin a whole lot faster than hiking those extra 60 miles. As a bug-out vehicle, a bicycle is by far not an optimal choice, but as a backup while you are already on the road, it serves the purpose. The other option is hiking to your hide away. Hiking has a lot of disadvantages, but one huge advantage that would in some cases make it the best choice. If you have to sneak to your retreat undetected, backpacking you and your family in through the woods quietly is the best. Disadvantages include the fact that you are fully exposed to everything and it is going to take you a lot longer to get where you want to go. Many people also believe that they can simply walk the distance in their current physical shape, those same people, I’ve seen collapse from heat or muscle fatigue in as little as 4 miles. Backpacking, which is what essentially a hiking bug-out is requires the same amount of endurance training that marathon runners go through. You and your family should start taking walks with your BOB on now and begin building up your endurance no matter what your method of escape is.
So I ask again after you have read this, are you ready to bug-out? What do you still need to do to get to a level that is manageable? One, determine your destination and map it out. Two, make sure that what ever vehicle you take is in good working order and is maintained regularly. Three, be ready for a worst, worse case scenario of your bug out vehicle breaking down.
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