Over the next few weeks Lisa and I are going through all the steps of bugging out, and discussing why it’s more complicated than it seems on the surface. This week we are going over bug out locations, supplies and resources, and next week we will be talking about bug out vehicles, and why one might not be better than the other.
When we think about bugging out we tend to think about the most extreme situations, like a full blown economic collapse or war that leaves us no choice but to head for the hills. But in reality bugging out could mean something as simple as leaving your home for a few days or weeks.
With all the different variables involved with why you would bug out it’s impossible to create the perfect plan, but that’s why we plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
The Non Prepper Bug Out
In this week’s show we started off by talking about what the average person who knows nothing about prepping would do in a bug out situation.
We have seen a couple examples of this on the news. During hurricane Katrina people piled into the Super Dome where they were at the will of the authority’s and waited for help that never came. Here in Colorado a couple of years ago we had massive flooding that left people standing on the roofs of their homes waiting for rescue.
The non prepper doesn’t think like us and doesn’t plan like we do, yet it still leaves me with an uneasy feeling because it’s hard to tell what they will do in any given situation. Like the scenarios about, some people would probably stay in their homes until it was too late to leave, and so people would pack on the highways and head for where the help is supposed to be.
Let’s also not forget about the people who will be looking to take advantage of the situation by looting, robbing and getting whatever they can while the getting is good.
All of these are reasons we need to do the exact opposite of what a non prepper would do. While none of us want to leave our homes and our supplies, our lives and our wellbeing are worth much more than our stuff.
Bug Out Locations
Before we get into what you should bring with you we need to talk about some bug out location ideas, because where you go and how long you are staying need to be considered before you can pick the correct supplies to bug out with.
A bug out location is not just a fortified cabin in the hills, on top of a mountain, stocked with food, water and thousands rounds of ammunition. Although that would be nice, it’s just not feasible for most of us.
A Friend or Family Members House
Some situations just won’t require us to head out and become a refugee from society. An earthquake, flood or wildfire could leave your home severely damaged or destroyed, but it wouldn’t require packing up and heading out to the wilderness.
In a situation like this we all probably have some place we could go and feel welcome until we get back on our feet, and in some situations we might be that person who need to lend a helping hand.
On a side note, how great would this situation be to talk about why preparedness is so important to someone who looked at you like you were crazy when you brought it up in the past?
Live Like the Homeless
This is something we probably don’t like to think about, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility, especially if we have failed to prepare. There are actually quite a few things we can learn from the homeless because this is what they do on a daily basis…survive.
This situation would be cause by something larger than a natural disaster, and as preppers we know that trying to survive under a bridge in the city is probably a bad idea, there are some options we need to take into consideration.
Depending on the scenario there could be abandoned buildings or houses outside the city that we could use as a temporary bug out shelter. Just remember, the closer you are to people, the more likely you could find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Campgrounds and Wilderness Areas
We hear all the time about how just heading up to a campground is going to be a bad idea because everyone else will be thinking the same thing. While this might be true there are a few more options, and the people there are going to be easier to deal with than the average city slicker.
Even though these people will be hunters and fishermen, it doesn’t mean everything will be peaceful and polite. This is why I say if you have no other choice than to head to the hills, don’t stop at the campgrounds. There is a lot of open space in this country, and if we can find a secluded spot that has the resources we need, we will be better off than staying at a campground with everyone else.
In the podcast I talked about how I would be just like a deer in this situation, making sure I had food and water, but avoiding predators at all cost. In this case the predators would be people.
Becoming Part of a Prepper Group
This is a challenge for most of us, but it really could be our best bet if everything were to go sideways, we stand a much better chance for survival with a group rather than going it alone. This is a challenge because it can be hard to find the right people, and a group that is committed to prepping rather than it just being a hobby.
The right prepping group could set up a sort of community bug out location and rather than one person paying and doing everything the responsibilities could be split up. A good prepping group could also bring valuable skill set you don’t have, and the opportunity to plan and learn in advance if a SHTF situation.
If you have the means to do so this is also one of the best ideas for any bug out scenario. Purchasing land that would fit every one of your bug out criteria could end up being very costly, but if you do your homework it can be done.
Lisa and I went through quite a bit of detail about our process for purchasing property for our bug out location in podcast episodes 49 and 50. There were quite a few options we had to consider, some sacrifices we had to make and some resources the property had to have to make it worth it.
Bug Out Supplies & Resources
While there are many different supplies we need to take with us if we have the option, we can’t depend on those for our survival. The resources that are available at our bug out location are far more important. The supplies we can bring with us will be limited, but plentiful resources will last for years.
This goes for bugging out into the wilderness or bugging out to a family members house, the 5 areas of preparedness are critical to our survival.
5 Areas of Preparedness
These are Food, Water, Shelter, Security and Sanitation. Every single one of these need to be taken into account and have different meaning wherever you go.
If you were to go to a friend’s house to stay, food and water might just mean bringing a little extra with you to chip in. In a true bug out situation it might mean having fishing supplies and a water filter.
If You Have a Location
If you are one of the lucky ones, you have some property you can call your own and possibly store some supplies at that location before anything happens. Lisa and I talked about our process in episodes 49 and 50 of the podcast.
Because money was our biggest factor when purchasing land, we had to make some sacrifices, but there are some things the land had to have. It had to have water rights in order to put in a well, it had to have decent soil in order to grow food, and we had to have the option to build whatever we wanted on the property.
We also talked about what we wanted to keep up there and how safe it would be from theft. Because our budget is limited it is going to take us a while to build it up, and the last thing we want is to go up one weekend and see someone living there and eating our food.
How Long Can You Keep Going?
One important question to ask yourself is how long will you be able to sustain yourself if you do decide to bug out? The supplies we are able to bring with us should be considered a buffer between living like we do now, and becoming more self-reliant.
Setting Up Caches
This can be a tough one because with the amount of money we spend already on prepping supplies why would you want to bury them right? I have been reluctant about this in the past, but having a few extra supplies stashed away if I needed them would be a God send.
There are quite a few options available for building caches, like this one I built a while back, and these could be set up along your bug out route or in strategic places around where you live. Remember not to bury these on someone else’s property, and have a system in place to find them if you need to. The article I linked to above goes into more detail about this.
Learning Temporary Survival Techniques
I have written quite a bit about this in the past, and you have no doubt seen articles about wilderness survival everywhere. This is because these skills are important regardless of whether you are in an urban area, or a rural area.
Building shelter, starting a fire, foraging and hunting for food are all good skills to learn because the supplies you have with you could be stolen and are going to eventually run out. Here are a few article I have written about lost skills and survival skills…
TFHT: Security Theater
(This is a 20 minute video, but it’s worth it…)
This week in tin foil hat time Lisa and I talked about Security Theater which is the process of making us feel more secure, but doing nothing to actually making us safer. Here are some examples and a great article I found at Schneier.com
The photo ID checks that have sprung up in office buildings. No-one has ever explained why verifying that someone has a photo ID provides any actual security, but it looks like security to have a uniformed guard-for-hire looking at ID cards.
The TSA and Airport-security, which only stops events that happened in the past and force the bad guys to look in a different direction. The National Guard troops were stationed at US airports in the months after 9/11, but their guns had no bullets.
The US color-coded system of threat levels which was recently “improved” in light of the San Bernadino terror attack is a great example of security theater. It does nothing for our security, but it gives us the feeling that the powers that be are on the ball.
In this video from Bruce Schneier he talks about the tradeoffs we make to feel more secure and whether it’s worth it. Living in a free country means our safety and security are always at risk. The more rights that get taken away in the name of security, the less free we are as a country.