Bug Out from work

What If You Had To Bug Out From Work?

Before you can do anything, you need a staging area, a place to marshal the group or family if you will. Most full-time workers spend as much time at work as they do at home and even more, time is spent at work than at home in some cases. This means the chance of a crisis striking while you are at work is high, and if you cannot get home because of the crisis where do you go.

You at work cannot just head out willy-nilly nor can your family, so a pre-designated area must be identified. It is not recommended that you use a structure for the staging area because it could be destroyed, and you do not want any member in or near a structure if there is a chance it could be destroyed by nature or by humans.

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Bugging Out the Basics

Bugging Out Basics

The following article is not a plan, it is however, designed with the hope of getting you pointed in the right direction.

It seems that many articles about survival and bugging out make declarative statements. In other words, according to some, if you do not do this or that then you will die. This may be true in some cases, but the reality is that every situation is different. Your survival will depend on skill, planning and material things and luck does play a role, but as some will tell you, you make your own luck. 

Past articles have typically advocated against bugging out unless certain conditions have been met because of the inherent dangers associated with moving about during a crisis, leaving a known situation for an unknown one. There are dangers associated with bugging out that you would not typically encounter if you sheltered in place.

That being said however, some will leave and embark on their journey away from what they consider a danger zone regardless of conventional wisdom. In a crisis, just like in certain other situations, perception becomes fact.

People will have to decide based on instinct or what their eyes and ears tell them, because traditional sources of information will not be available. However, much of the decision making will be based on emotions, and not always on facts or logic.

Things to Consider

Bugging-out is not the end of it therefore your plan will need to be a multi-staged one. The first part of the plan would be evacuation from the danger zone. It has to be done quickly, safely and efficiently.

There is simply no point in leaving one dangerous situation only to find you are in worse shape.

Get out of the area quickly. Once the decision is made you cannot linger. In some cases, it may take you all day just to clear the urban sprawl if you are on foot and this is where it gets dangerous. If you cannot leave in a vehicle then you really are in a perilous situation, probably more treacherous than sheltering in place.

Leaving before the highways become clogged is your only chance, so this means you will have to leave before the need to flee is evident to others. You need to be informed and you need to make certain decisions based on information you have gathered. You need a plan in place for information gathering.

You have to be confident that the situation will escalate to where your life would be in danger if you stayed. You of course, would have to leave well ahead of the danger, so you are taking a chance. You may leave and then realize you did not need to, and now you are miles from home, have used up supplies, and may not have access to fuel to get back home. You need to plan for this as well.

You have to be able to sustain yourself independently of others. In other words, you cannot make a dash for the nearest drive thru window or hit up the local grocery store. If you do not have it in your bag you have to do without it.

There is a reason why bug-out-bags are also referred to as 72-hour bags. You cannot carry enough on your back for an extended period. Seventy two hours of supplies is the reality for most people. Water, food, clothing and medical supplies are heavy. You need a plan for resupplying yourself.

The Objective

Distance from the danger is important. If your city is attacked for example, you cannot linger in the area, so you need to know the fastest routes out of the area.

You need a destination in mind, a destination that is some distance from the hot zone. You need a way to get there, and assuming you can leave on foot is not thinking the plan through and it means you probably do not have a good enough plan.

Anyone can come up with a plan but not everyone can carry out that plan. It takes practice and hands on experience or otherwise your plan will not be based on reality. It is easy enough to plan on bugging-out with the spouse/partner, children, and other family members. Easy enough to imagine this is what you would do, that is until you have to do it, and this is when plans meet reality and many will fall apart at this point if you have never conducted a dry run,  and then tweaked your plan based on what you found out during your dry run.

How to Plan On Bugging Out

Know what you expect to achieve before you come up with a plan, and then come up with back up plans. Do you plan on setting up camp at the nearest Motel 6, go to a relatives or friends’ home or do you have other destinations in mind.

Much depends on the crisis, so in essence you will not know what your plans are until something happens. If the crisis is localized then you could seek safety with friends or relatives miles away, or at a motel in another city, but if the crisis affects the entire country then where do you go.

You need a plan for natural disasters as well as one for manmade disasters. Forest fires, flooding, hurricanes, and other disasters may force you from your home. This type of crisis is generally localized however, and it is simply a matter of getting out while you still can. Getting to an area not affected and having the means to sustain you and your family until the crisis abates and it is safe to return is the intent. If the power grid collapses then your plans to find a motel, go to a relative or friend’s home is not applicable.

What Do You Need

  1. You need a threat analysis so you can prepare for the most likely. Heavily populated areas are targets for attacks for obvious reasons, but again you cannot decide to leave until the area has been attacked or if an attack is expected. The problem is if you know then others will as well.
  2. A destination is critical. You cannot just grab your bag and wander aimlessly until things settle down.
  3. Supplies are critical but again you can only carry so much. This is problematic, because unless you have a destination with shelter and a cache of supplies that can sustain you for longer than 72-hours you cannot survive for long. Herein lies the problem with bugging out.

Your plan has to cover all of the above and then you need backup plans. What if the weather is cold, what if a family member is sick or has an injury that prevents them from leaving.

It is not this articles intent to tell you what you should do one way or another, only you can decide that. The intent here is to get you to think about possibilities and to make you realize that disasters come in all shapes and sizes and no one plan is a “one size fits all”. The plans have to be tailored to you and your family and to what is happening on the ground and they have to be adaptable. In other words what is applicable today may not be relevant tomorrow.

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Why You Probably Will Never Ever Bug Out

Bugging Out

The key words being probably never, and do not confuse bugging out with evacuation. You would evacuate because of a wildfire, flood and tornado for example, with every intention of returning home in a matter of days or even hours.

You would evacuate and head inland for a few days to escape a hurricane, or move to higher ground to let flood waters recede, this is not the same as bugging out because society has collapsed or because you feel it might collapse in the city in which you live.

If you have to bug-out because of hostilities or extremely dangerous conditions on the ground then you are essentially a refugee, unless you have a specific place, other than a government-established camp, that you can go to that provides shelter, has infrastructure, water, food and other essentials.

If the conditions were so bad that you and others had to flee your area then it is not likely, any other area would be able to provide you with the much-needed necessities without some type of governmental intervention.

Let’s face it; life is not as it was hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Back then, if droughts wiped out the crops or the winters became too cold you could pick up and move to another valley further south.

Entire villages routinely migrated so they could collect ripening food sources and to follow animal migrations. Today we all are essentially trapped in one area, and cannot simply pick up, move, and settle in a more hospitable area because of a crisis. We are essentially victims of society’s as well as our own successes.

In the 1930’s the Midwest was under a severe drought, crops dried up and topsoil was blown away by strong winds creating what was called the Dust Bowl. People by the tens of thousands fled the devastated areas.

Farmers and their families migrated to populated areas, looking for work, food and shelter. Camps were set up outside of cities, shantytowns and hobo camps dotted the landscape for miles around each town or community.

People fled to where other people were. They bugged out, from one place, only to find the conditions were even worse in some cases in the places where they ended up. Unemployment was 25 percent at the time and this is a conservative figure. Some have estimated that over two million people became displaced completely; they became hobos in other words.

The Question is What Would You Do

Do you have a place to go to that is any better than the one you are leaving. You have gathered supplies, gear and materials that would have to be left behind. You may assume you can carry it all in a vehicle with a trailer. However, if you are able to drive from your current home to a so-called safe haven, then the conditions were not likely bad enough to where you had to leave in the first place.

It is a paradox, because if the conditions on the ground warrant you leaving then you probably cannot leave because of the conditions on the ground, unless it is on foot. Most people would not get far on foot.

If the crisis overwhelms the country then your area of the country is likely to be overwhelmed as well. You could set out on foot, but then what. In most cases, your supplies would be gone before you made it past the city limits. Some people at this point would probably turn around and try to get back home, but it may be too late.

Experts and others with an opinion recommend you find a remote area to settle in, in other words they tell you to bug-out to the woods. To the very woods that others will possibly be fleeing too as well. Moving a populated area essentially from one place to another is what might end up happening. Hobo camps, and shantytowns would spring up.

Sheltering in place is not as romantic as bugging out. Bugging-out brings to mind the wide-open spaces, freedom of movement, no angry desperate people and no cops, until it, all changes and people start to gather in remote areas, just as you did.

Food will be scarce and water quality questionable in any area in which you end up. For those that think they can hunt for game probably need to reconsider this idea. There are over 300 million people in the United States all needing food, and the population of deer for example, is not even 10 percent of the population of humans. Animals will migrate away from humans and the ones that do not, will be killed off quickly if society collapses. In all likelihood, you will not be able to provide enough food daily for you and your family, by hunting.

You would have to migrate to find game and where does that leave you, because everyone else has already figured this out as well. Game would be plentiful if the crisis reduced the human population by a significant amount. The only way you could survive by roaming around the country is if the competition for resources was considerably reduced.

If you shelter in place, you will of course have dangerous situations to deal with, but you may very well have friends and neighbors to help or at the very least, you will have the advantage of knowing the area.

The country may collapse but not all communities will collapse entirely, people will gather for protection, to share knowledge and to help one another.

There may be situations that require you to leave and leave quickly but what is most likely to happen is the question. Bugging-out should always be the very last option and never the first one, because you do not want to flee one crisis only to find yourself in the jaws of another even more deadly situation.

If you were to analyze the situation carefully, you would probably find it is safer to shelter in place rather than leaving a known situation, however devastating it may be, for one in which you have no idea how devastating it is.

If you were alone, had good health and had some supply caches that you could resupply yourself with, then you could essentially roam the area, but to what end is what you have to ask yourself. The area you bugged out from is not the only dangerous area.

In a grid down scenario wherever you end up could be as devastating as any other area. To get there you would use up supplies, energy and you may be put into a situation where you will have to scramble almost by the hour to provide for yourself.

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20 Bug Out Location Considerations

Bug Out Location

Photo Credit: TinHatRanch.com

A dream for some, a reality for others, owning a bug out location is on every prepper’s list. When the prepper twinkle first lights in your eye you begin to access the situation, for most, statistically speaking, we live in the cities or suburbs. These might not be ideal locations in which to find yourself during a grid down scenario. As we learn about being prepared, put together our first 72 hour kits and bug out bags, our plans begin to turn more long term. We start to think about a safe place for our families during crisis and that eventually leads us to the “Bug Out Location”.

Bug out locations can range from a fully stocked rural fortification to just a piece of land. Taking things one step farther, the mind begins to postulate that the bug out location can someday be a homestead, off the grid and self-sufficient. The problem is, even with careful forethought, costly mistakes can be made when choosing the location. One simple mistake, such as purchasing land in a 500 year flood plain, can lead to disaster if the 500 year flood occurs post apocalypse. There are many considerations in purchasing a bug out location, here are 20 to think about:

Read more at… 20 Bug Out Location Considerations

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Bug Out Bag Too Heavy? Well Maybe You Should Stay Put Then.

Bug Out Bag Too Heavy

What you think you can carry and what you actually can carry are usually two different things. Typically, you should be able to carry 25 percent of your body weight in a pack. This of course assumes you are relatively fit. Some simple math calculations will tell you how much you should be able to carry. Of course, there are numerous factors involved, so the only way to know what you can actually carry for any distance is by going out and doing it.

Water weighs roughly 8.5 pounds per gallon (3.8kg), and water needs to be a priority so start there. A gallon a day for 72 hours means you are already at 25lbs plus in your pack starting out. You can cut this amount in half if, you have the means to collect, filter and purify a water source along the route.

There of course has to be a water source you can collect from, so planning is important. You need to know there are sources along your bug-out-route. Good planning means you can adjust the volume of water, to reduce the initial weight in the pack. Water will be consumed reducing weight, but also remember you will have to replenish your water supply so consider water a fixed weight. Once a bottle is empty, it needs to be refilled and carried with you as you move on from water sources.

Canned foods are heavy and they take up space, so they are not recommended for backpacks. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are ideal because they can be eaten from the package. They are fully contained meals, and they are lightweight and they do not require special openers like canned goods would. Keep things simple and use what you know works, remember you are not heading out on vacation.

People tend to over complicate things, they over analyze and dither and waffle over the simplest of things. Put MRE’s in the pack and move on, simple right?

There is debate on carrying extra clothing, because on one hand, everyone likes clean clothes and clean clothes are better insulators against the cold but on the other hand, clothing is heavy. You do need extra socks and underclothes, so put them with water, a must have in other words.

You will need clothing for the seasons and for the changing of the seasons but really how long do you expect to be wandering.  If it is cold out when you leave then your winter clothing should be worn. Assume the weather where you end up at is similar to the weather you left behind because you are on foot and exactly how far do you think you can walk in three days. In some situations, it may take a day or even longer just to get clear of a large city that has collapsed because of a disaster.

Secure a heavy coat to the outside of the pack and have gloves, hats and scarves inside the pack but otherwise you can forgo extra jeans, extra heavy shirts and so on if weight is going to be a factor.

Lace your cold weather boots together and hang them off your pack or simply wear them. Extra shoes/boots are nice, but again you have to prioritize. What you may think you would need could fill a pickup bed. You have to separate need from want and face reality, you cannot bring it all with you.

Having the means to make a shelter is important, but keep in mind you are not heading off to some campsite, you will be on the move and you may only shelter in one place for a few hours, until you do get to your pre-determined safe haven. Tents are nice but do you have the room in your pack and do you really want to be caught inside a tent if your camp is overrun.

Tarps, ponchos, and even Mylar survival blankets can be temporary shelters and they can easily be packed or secured to the pack.

Tents are ideal for base camps, and if you do not have a base camp already planned for ahead of time, with supplies already there what then are you doing wandering around. Are you hoping to stumble upon one? This is why bugging-out has to be planned for, and it will take months to put together a livable plan, because you have to “live the plan” first to make sure it works.

Water, food, some clothing, shelter, fire/energy and then add medical supplies, illumination, cutting tools such as a hatchet/ax/machete, multi-tool, cordage, blanket or poncho liner and/or sleeping bag and so now you probably have more than you can carry. You will need a fixed bladed knife, personal protection, portable radio, extra batteries and well we can stop here because your bag is now full, probably to full.

Do You Really Need To

Bugging out is a last resort attempt to save your life, so it is not for the faint of heart, it will be grueling, and in some cases, it may even put you in a worse situation? Some may even call bugging out an act of desperation, but only you can decide that, because it may be the only option available during certain situations.

Bugging out is temporary and should be planned that way. Either you will be able to return home or you have taken up residency at another location, meaning you will need shelter and resources stockpiled at another location. In other words, you cannot just wander for days on end hoping for a solution, you need a plan before you have to leave.

The items in your bag either gets you there or gets you back, again simple, so do not over complicate it. Those that think they can head off with their bag and survive by their wit and wisdom for weeks or months on end had better plan a little better, because it is not happening.

The reality is bugging-out is not ideal, and is not recommended unless you do have a place to bug-out to and a way to get there that does not take days of walking. If you have to bug-out with no place to go you will have to remain close to populated areas in hopes that emergency aid organizations get up and running, but if they are able to get up and running then you probably did not have to bug-out to begin with. However, it is something you should consider. Populated areas for the time being will be where the needed resources are. Unless of course you have a safe haven that has shelter and supplies.

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What Your Bug out Bag Says about You

Bug Out Bag Says About You

Contents May Reveal Your Level of Training and Whether You Are Ready or Not

You have your backpack on the floor with items surrounding it, and at first glance, it does not look like everything will fit inside. Everything must go into the bag however, because each item is needed for survival, right?

Much of the survival gear is still in its wrappers, the magnesium stick has never been used and that is a good thing in your mind. Why waste valuable magnesium playing around in the back yard with it, you will need it to make fires out in the wild.

The Ferro rods have nary a nick on them and this also pleases you, you like the fact that everything is new and ready for prolonged use out on the trail. You do have packages of matches and disposable lighters however. Research shows that a prepared person always has more than one way to start a fire.

Your hiking boots cost a pretty penny, and so you look for scuff marks before putting them in the bag. You tried them on the day they arrived, but you were worried they would become nicked up if you wore them around the yard for too long. The hiking boots need to be in perfect shape if you have to bug out, because your feet deserve the best.

Extra clothing with the tags still on them is piled neatly ready for the pack. You have a winter coat, jeans, heavy flannel shirts, underclothes and socks. You wonder if you can wrap all the clothing in your poncho or the tarp to save space. You are now trying to figure out how the sleeping bag you ordered can be strapped to the outside of the pack. The directions that came with the pack said it could be.

Ziploc bags of protein bars, MRE’s, small cans of tuna and chicken along with a portable stove are at the ready along with a 12-pack of bottled water. You also have water purification tablets, a small stainless steel mess kit, rope, metal canteen, a heavy duty fixed bladed knife, which has never felt a honing stone by the way. You also have a multi-tool, whistle, mirror, and new packages of batteries, two flashlights, gloves, hat and several bandanas still in the packaging from the store. You are ready for anything.

Your first aid kit has never been opened so you are convinced that nothing inside it has been corrupted. You double-check the list you printed off the Internet. You compare your items to the ones on the list, and it all looks good so far.

Does Any of the Above Sound Familiar?

If it does, it is not likely you will get very far from your front door. Bugging out is not to be taken lightly. It is not something to do just because some Internet blog says it is the thing to do. Survival is about making the right decisions at the right time, and for most people staying put is the right decision.

However, do not confuse bugging out with evacuation. There will be times when evacuation is needed but usually with the assumption, you will be back in a few days after the flood waters have receded, or the chemical spill from a train derailment has been cleaned up.

Bugging out implies that society is in turmoil or an attack on your city is probable and the country is in chaos. There would be other reasons to bug out of course, and so decisions have to be made based on the best information available at the time.

Bugging out from a known location to an unknown one and being able to survive in between takes skills, skills that anyone can acquire, if he or she puts in the time and therein lays the problem.

If you have not worn out a pair of hiking boots from hiking with a pack on your back and if your survival gear is not banged up somewhat from camp use then you are not ready.

Bugging out in most cases would be more dangerous than staying put. You do not want to flee one crisis only to find yourself in a worse situation. Practice is needed before you can attempt anything, and before you can practice, you need skills that can be practiced until they are second nature.

You need to wear a magnesium stick down to the nubs, and you need to break a few Ferro rods before you can even think about leaving. You need calluses on your hands from swinging a hatchet or machete, because shelters do not build themselves.

Cuts, bruises and blackened fingernails may mean you are on the right track, but you are not there yet, because when you are, you will not be sitting on the floor wondering what next.

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Bugging Out Military Mindset

Bugging Out Military Style: Using a Military Mindset

Some naturally assume that all military members are trained in advanced survival tactics such as bush craft skills and various other skills that John Rambo so famously demonstrated in the Rambo series. Actually, this is not the case however, because only a select few are invited to take advanced survival training courses. The most well known survival-training program is the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape course better known as the SERE program.

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Preppers Your 72 Hour Kit is Obsolete

72 Hour Kit

Any Catastrophe That Strikes During Theses Troubling Times Will Be an Extended One

The Mantra That You Need 72-Hours of Emergency Supplies Is Obsolete:

Today it seems it can take longer than 72-hours just for the authorities to identify the problem let alone get anyone working toward a solution. Once the crisis is evaluated, plans are then talked about, reported on and then usually disrupted by politicians. Given all this, it can then take days, weeks or even longer in some cases to restore power, water and gas to homes, and in extreme cases, utilities may never be restored.

The infrastructure in this country is antiquated, and literally worn out. Less magnitude storms that strike today can create more damage than more severe storms had in the past. More urban areas mean more people and structures in the path of storms and thus more injuries and property damage will occur and a greater strain is put on the infrastructure.

Hackers can bypass security measures because not enough time and money has been allocated to deal with cyber security. Measures taken by the appropriate agencies is simply not equal to the level of the attacks against the system, in other words, the response to hackers is not sufficient and this will allow hackers to slip through any security in place. This is because of ad hoc repairs that are just enough to let the systems limp along until the next crisis.

Many cities, towns and states are in dire financial straits, and simply cannot find the money to upgrade the systems they are responsible for and to cure the problem instead of simply putting a Band-Aid on it. There are other reasons of course, for the problem, but these presented are the most obvious ones.

An attack this country will not be of our making but how long it takes to recover will however, be a direct result of policies in place, mismanagement of cities and towns, lack of funds and general incompetence in government today.

Failure Has a Trickle down Affect

Failure at the top makes it way down the ladder until the user is affected, the user being you and I. Every emergency manager in the country it seems is stuck in the past when it comes to emergency supply kits. The 72-hour supply of canned food, water, candles and batteries is the mantra repeated by all, for any crisis.

Utility companies fight over territory and try to determine who is responsible for what, and then unions dictate what jobs can be done by whom and in what area, and the result is a failure to fix the problem in a timely manner, which of course affects us all.

It Is Not About the Crisis

People tend to be caught up in the crisis itself and not the affect the crisis has on them. The affects generally end up being a disruption of services such as electricity, gas, water and public transportation. An attack on a subway, for example, would mean most public transportation would halt within the city for fear they would be attacked as well. This is a serious disruption for those that depend on subways, buses and trains to get to work, for grocery shopping, getting to the doctor or hospital and even getting children to school. Things do not magically get back to normal within three days.

You can do a threat analysis to determine what is most likely to happen, and then you can better determine what the affects would be from a particular disaster and how they would affect you. If you live in a rural area for example, and have your own vehicle, then a disruption of public transportation is not necessarily something you have to prepare for.

You may have a bug-out-bag ready by the door and it has enough supplies in it for 72-hours but there is nowhere for you to go, and besides you cannot get anywhere anyway without transportation. The crisis will likely last well beyond your supplies, but everyone said you needed three days of food, water, candles and batteries.

The reality is once the lights go out people look to food. Boredom and stress immediately become a factor and food helps to soothe jittery nerves and relieves the stress of not having technology readily available. In some cases, what you thought were three days of food and water is consumed the first day.

Your Level of Preparedness Is Up To You and Not Up To Others to Decide

A 14-day supply of emergency essentials is a good start, and this may not even be enough in some cases. Once you begin calculating amounts you have to realize people will tend to consume more during a crisis. Calculate and then add 10-15 percent more for damage, spoilage, helping others, theft and waste.

In a true SHTF scenario, a one-year supply of essentials would not be excessive. You have to remember though the more you have, the more spoilage, waste and damage will likely occur. You have to be able to keep track of your food and water, rotate into use before the expiration dates, and then replace. Buy what you use and use what you buy.

Most importantly however, you have to be able to hang on to what you have stockpiled. This means you have to be willing to defend your possessions by any means available when it comes right down to it.

Being prepared and working on getting prepared can feel like a burden at times and many people find themselves conflicted about what to do. On one hand, you have those that advise you should be ready to bug-out at the first sign of storm clouds and then in the same sentence state, you should start stockpiling water, propane, two-way radios and dehydrated foods for the home. You really cannot do both unless you are willing to leave hundreds if not thousands of dollars of supplies behind.

There is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to being prepared. People tend to compare their situation to others and this can cause some confusion because every situation, family and individual is different.

You know you have to be ready, you know that a three-day supply is not enough, and only you know whether you can or will ever bug-out. Prepare based on your situation and analysis and not based on someone else’s expectations.

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Preppers: Surviving Once You Reach Your Bug Out Retreat

Survival Retreat

A previous article, you made it to your bug-out retreat now what, described some of the problems the family encountered on their trip to their safe haven, and as they arrived at their destination. The family was somewhat prepared, but was not prepared for long-term survival at their retreat.

They had spent two years readying the cabin as a survival retreat and as a vacation destination. Like most families however, in the country today, they had never experienced a nationwide crisis of such magnitude, a crisis that forced them permanently, for all practical purposes, from their home. They simply did not have any experiences from their past to help guide them.

Many people or a majority of people anyway, naturally assume any crisis in this country is a temporary one, and life will get back to normal eventually, we all are conditioned to believe this. With this in mind, some people unsurprisingly only prepare for a temporary crisis for the most part. Once you start making assumptions however, is when you start making mistakes that can be costly.

For planning purposes you have to prepare like there is no tomorrow, in other words, things have changed permanently and you have to be prepared to survive under the new normal.

Let’s Go Back To The Family And Rewrite The Script

First, the family left their home in the suburbs too late. The fact that the roadways were congested with abandoned vehicles meant that others had left much earlier. The fact that criminals had time to set up barriers to collect tolls is another indication. This also indicates that law enforcement was busy elsewhere, so the crisis had been ongoing for sometime before the family decided to leave for their safe haven. Why do you suppose so many vehicles were abandoned and people were left walking?

Some people left in a panic, and many likely ran out of fuel because they had waited as long as they could to fuel up. People will wait until it is too late to leave in many cases and economics plays a large role in the decision. Maybe payday was in a few days and some simply did not have the funds to fuel up their cars.

The road congestion may have forced some from their vehicles, and the fear of criminal gangs along the roads may have forced others to flee and leave their cars behind as well. Abandoning vehicles is a common occurrence during a crisis.

The family up until the crisis had treated their cabin as a weekend getaway for the most part. However, they did plan somewhat and realized they may need the cabin for more than a weekend getaway, and thus the survival caches, but they assumed living there full time was just an extension of their weekend getaways and thus prepared accordingly. This was a mistake of course. Anyone can have fun for a few days with no electricity, sitting around a campfire telling stories knowing back home is waiting, but when there is, no back home left to go back too attitudes change and reality sets in. The cabin was not set up for long-term use by the family.

The water catchment system was a good idea but for long-term use, they should have built cisterns in the ground, to collect water. The family could have used concrete collection containers or built masonry ones for their rainwater collection system. This would have prevented the theft of the barrels and created a larger catchment system, which could also be used for crop irrigation, livestock watering and so on.

However, having a well is the ideal situation. Even though there was, a stream nearby it was too far from the cabin and this can be a problem in the winter because of deep snow or ice, or if you are trapped inside the cabin. Additionally someone could gain control of the stream 10 miles upstream and pollute the stream, dam it up or otherwise change its course, and then you have nature and beavers that could dam it up miles upstream as well.

Natural resources are good for the short term but you must develop your own sources, sources you have complete control over.

The family had food for up to six months if they did not experience any loss through spoilage, damage, theft or simply by wasting food. They did not have a plan for growing their own food however. They would likely have realized at some point they needed a garden, but food production needs to be started right away not matter the seasons. Regardless of the amount of food stockpiled you would need to begin, hunting trapping, fishing and gardening almost at once.

In addition to procuring foods, you would need a plan for food preservation, which the family did not have. Fresh meat and fish would need to be preserved immediately. Smoking, drying and canning are methods that can be used. Vegetables could be canned or dried as well.

A greenhouse could be built rather quickly and Hydroponics/Aquaponics could be used to grow/raise foods in a shed that could protect the plants and marine line from the winter cold, or seeds/plants could be started inside the cabin. This however, requires planning and space, and again the cabin was treated as a getaway spot and not as a home to survive in when the SHTF.

There was not a backup energy plan. A few cords of wood under a lean-to is not considered an energy plan. To prevent or reduce the theft of wood the family could have felled the trees, trimmed them and left them in large logs. This would make it more difficult for anyone that happens upon the cabin from loading up his or her pickups. This will not stop a determined thief, but it helps slow the opportunist criminal from grabbing and going.

Cut and split fireplace sized logs are an invitation to load up the back of an empty pickup bed, but it would require considerable effort to haul off 20 or 30 foot logs this way.

The family should have invested in solar energy for refrigeration and operating a well pump at the very least. Hydropower is an option as well, but it relies on flowing water always being available, and there are of course wind turbines for generating electricity as well.

Once at the cabin the family had no way of communicating with the outside world. Ham radios would be ideal because cell service even on a good day can be disrupted in remote areas. The typical two-way radio has a limited range as well. Battery operated ham radios with the proper antenna can reach hundreds if not thousands of miles in some cases.

The family had firearms and some training as far as the mechanics of the weapon are concerned, but they had no training in tactics such as perimeter defense or any knowledge/training about listening and observation posts.

The family had no idea how to secure an area of operations. They could react to an intruder if they saw one, but they had no training on how to detect an intruder before the intruder(s) could reach the cabin and cause harm to someone.


The family was not paying enough attention to what was going on around them while in the suburbs. If they had been monitoring the situation more closely, they would have left before the crisis had reached the level they experienced while leaving.

Even though the family had been going back and forth for two years they had no idea who the people were that lived in the area of their retreat. What happens when you need a medical professional, do you know if any doctors or even nurses that live in the area.

Even though in a crisis knowing a medical professional you can call upon may mean the difference between surviving and not. The family did have an extensive first aid/medical kit but that can only get you so far in a medical emergency unless you have extensive medical training.

They were looking for solitude while vacationing at the cabin but this is no excuse for failing to do intelligence gathering in the area.

They receive an “F” for intelligence gathering.

They obviously had not prepared their retreat for long-term survival. The latrine or outhouse was not large enough to accommodate the amount of waste when people are using it on a daily basis. A weekend here and there was not a strain on the latrine but daily use for an extended period and nature would not be able to compost the waste fast enough.

Because they did have a latrine albeit not large enough, they receive a “D”

They did not have the proper materials and supplies for bathing. For short periods, a dip in the creek is acceptable but for long term, you need facilities for bathing and laundering of clothes.

They receive a “D” because personal sanitation is very important in a survival situation, and failure to control diseases and bacteria can have deadly consequences.

They did not have proper cooking/kitchen facilities. They needed cooking appliances, such as camp stoves or even a woodstove for inside cooking in the wintertime. A wood cook stove also doubles as a heating stove during the winter months. The family was used to eating essentially from packaged food containers while on their weekend camp outs. They also needed a way to wash dishes and cooking utensils.

The family did not have a fuel-operated generator that could help until alternate sources were put into place. A generator could be used to power up cooking appliances that could heat water, cook foods and supply electricity for lighting and refrigeration in the short-term.

They receive a “C-” Because they had ample wood for fuel as far as cooking goes, and they did have a wood burning stove that could be used for heating foods, but they did not have a generator.

Food can be cooked over open flames, but they did need to plan better for meal preparations long term.

The family had six months of food and 90 days of bottled water on hand, some of it cached and some of it carried with them as they fled the crisis. Six months is not enough food to sustain you until a garden begins producing in most cases.

A one-year supply would have been better. The family was able to carry a considerable amount of food in their vehicle as they fled, because of the size of their vehicle. They also had two years in which to carry supplies to the cabin and bury. This means they had a variety of foods, canned, dehydrated and Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) on hand.

They should have however, placed more emphasis on food and water stockpiles and given the amount of time they had they should have been able to stockpile close to two years of food and water.

They receive a “B-” for food and water stockpiles

Their various survival caches contained dehydrated food, filled water bottles, bleach and water purification tablets along with winter clothing, ammunition for their various weapons and flashlights, batteries, and extra medical supplies. One cache was dedicated to personal hygiene items for all members of the family to include hand towels and bath towels.

They also had two axes, one hatchet, two hammers, nails, plastic sheeting, various hand tools, two rolls of duct tape, one wood saw for firewood cutting and two gas operated chainsaws, and one saw sharpener.

They had one skinning knife and two general-purpose survival knives, and one Lensatic compass and maps of the area. They also had in one cache several packages of waterproof matches, lighters, and (1) magnesium stick. They also had several pots and pans and a few cooking utensils cached along with a manual can and bottle openers.

In one cache by itself, they had 50 gallons of gasoline that after one year of storage may be questionable if additives were not used, and 20 gallons of gas and oil mixture for the two chainsaws.

They receive a “B-” for their caches


Even though at first glance it would seem the family was well prepared, they were not.

It would take a week to settle in and start developing certain habits but after 10 days to two weeks, they would start to wonder about back home. Stress and boredom would cause everyone to eat more and lack of contact with others would bother them. The children would have a more difficult time being away from friends. They did not prepare for the solitude and by not working on long-term goals such as a well, energy sources, gardening, hunting, fishing and food preservation boredom set in.

Lack of human contact would cause them to let their guard down if a stranger happened upon the property. They would be eager for news, because they did not have any reliable communication devices.

After 30 days, the family will start to think seriously about leaving to see what has happened. They are eating more food than expected and thus their six month supply has shrunk to about four month’s supply even though they have only been there 30 days.

The family has not developed any long-term plans. They are simply waiting instead of doing. They are hoping against hope that somehow, some news will reach them that the world is back to normal and they can go back home.

This family unless they make some drastic changes quickly and begin to think about long-term survival they will not survive well, if at all, and will end up leaving their retreat for what they think are better accommodations.

Once they leave, they have lost all that they have worked for up until this point and they will become immersed in the crisis in the cities. This will create a dangerous situation for them, because if they do manage to make it back to the cabin they will arrive back with virtually no food and still no plan for survival. This all assumes of course that the cabin has not been taken over by another family, individual or even a group of people once the family leaves it.

For long-term survival, this family does not have the training and knowledge. They had just enough to get where they are, but once there, their survival is highly questionable because they did not become pro-active immediately and start preparing for an extended if not permanent crisis. They still believed the crisis was temporary.

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Preppers: Okay You Made It to Your Bug Out Retreat Now What?

Bug out retreat

The country is in chaos, the financial markets have collapsed because of turmoil in the world, energy shortages and because of government policies, mismanagement and corruption. Cities are experiencing riots and demonstrations.

Store shelves are empty and gas stations are either boarded up or burned to the ground. Delivery trucks are sitting idle in warehouse shipping yards, and it will not be long before all utilities in your city are cut off.

Many municipalities have collapsed and their concrete jungles are now hunting grounds for criminals and other miscreants. Federal troops patrol many of the larger cities, and in some, they are gathering up people on the streets.

Anyone on the streets is now considered part of the problem and not part of the solution. Gather them all up and sort them out later is the current mindset of anyone in authority. Hospitals and doctor’s offices are closed, and for the first time in your life, you see bodies lying about the streets.

Your retreat is 150 miles from your permanent home and the nearest metropolitan area is over 70 miles away. It seemed the ideal retreat several years ago. It had a romantic feel to it, the sun was always shining when you arrived to work on it, the birds chirped, the squirrels chattered and you always saw white tails bounding off through the woods. Perfect always came to mind when you arrived to bury supplies and to work on the cabin.

Reality Sets In

It took you much longer than you had prepared for to get to the retreat and it was nearly dark as you pulled up to the cabin. Even though your vehicle was well stocked, and you had a bug-out-bags for everyone, the food and water supply that you packed was nearly depleted.
It took so long because there were disabled cars on the roadways, there were people walking and blocking the roads and some criminals had cobbled together barriers along some highways leading out of the city demanding money or supplies before you could pass.

Backtracking and going off road was the only way to avoid the demanding thieves and abandoned cars and people. You and the family spent two nights huddled in the vehicle hidden well off in the brush. You laid there wide-eyed clutching a firearm the entire time while parked in the dark. The vehicle’s gas tank was nearly empty when you arrived, but you had fuel cached a few hundred yards away along with other supplies.

Your nerves are frayed from the trip and now reality is setting in. The cabin seems so much smaller than you remember and the cold rain at dusk makes the entire scene look like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.

Cold, dreary and a heavy mist hung over the cabin like a shroud. All anyone could do was collapse into his or her sleeping bags after you grabbed some chunks of wood lying in a basket and built a small fire in the stove.

The First Day At The Retreat

A restless night was spent in sleeping bags on the hard wooden floor of the cabin. The cold rain had stopped overnight. You went to check the rainwater catchment barrels at sunrise only to find the barrels gone, and a large portion of your wood supply was gone as well.

Thieves had struck and hauled off what they could, but thankfully, they had not vandalized the inside of the cabin. There was water on the property but it meant hauling water in buckets up from the small stream. A hot meal and a hot bath was what everyone needed, but it meant more work now. You began hauling in the collapsible sleeping cots and other supplies packed in the Suburban.

The Problem With Not Living At Your Retreat is That Others Will Abuse It

Many cannot afford to have a cabin in the woods as well as a home in the suburbs let alone live at their retreat full time or even a significant part of the time. People have jobs and they have to live relatively close to their place of employment.

The reality is that most bug-out-retreats will be very rustic, and it will require considerable work by everyone just to maintain a very low standard of living while there. It will not even come close to how you are used to living in most cases. Survival is not easy but either is living in a city that has collapsed where criminal gangs are roaming at will creating death and destruction.

Even though you think your retreat is remote, someone else will know it is there as well, after all, you found it. There is not piece of land anywhere in the country that is not noted on a map somewhere.

Some people may make the mistake of leaving supplies where they can be stolen. Rain barrels obviously can be stolen and cut firewood is an invitation for anyone too lazy to cut their own. Thieves will literally take anything, so anything left in plain sight can be taken. People have gone to their retreat in the woods to find it completely ransacked of any valuables and vandals can also set it afire or simply destroy what they cannot take.

Leave nothing behind that can be taken, and bury all supplies nearby without making it apparent you have buried anything. You cannot carry enough with you for any extended period as you evacuate, so you do need the means to resupply at your location. Even if the cabin had been burned to the ground, you would still have supplies cached and you can survive if you have shelter and other essentials. Tents, tarps and the tools to build a shelter are items that should be in any supply cache.

You should always assume you would arrive at any cache site with nothing, so each cache must be such that it can sustain you and that means you need shelter, water and food at the minimum in every cache.

That is why most experts recommend that you have considerable knowledge and training in bush craft. What would have happened if the family had pulled up to the cabin only to find a pile of burnt timbers? The family had supply caches buried, but to survive they would need an adequate shelter almost immediately if theirs was destroyed when they arrived. Shelter is always something you have to consider, because assuming the shelter in place at your retreat is still standing may mean you are literally left out in the cold when you arrive.

The retreat was 150 miles from their home, but it took over 72 hours to get there by vehicle. This must be planned for, because you cannot assume you will just jump in your car and have clear sailing during a crisis.

Once There And Then Being Able To Stay There

The cabin did not have electricity, which was fine for weekend getaways while the family worked on the cabin. The outhouse was adequate for short periods, but now what happens. You had thought about solar panels, refrigerators and solar electric water pumps, but you rightfully feared they would be taken or vandalized.

Your family had a roof over their heads, some food, medical supplies, clothing and other essentials and a stream for water. There was a wood stove and a supply of cut wood, but still it was going to be very difficult.

Every noise now made you jump because you knew it was just a matter of time before someone showed up at the cabin. You realized that others like you would be fleeing the cities, and many would have nothing more than the clothes on their back.

You had spent an untold number hours over the last two years burying supplies in and around the small cabin and now it was time to dig up a few of the caches. Surprisingly you did not have any trouble finding them, because fortunately your GPS worked way out here (never rely on a GPS), cell phones did not work nor did the two-way radios you carried. Static was all you heard when you switched the radios on.
Now you realize a large number of emergency essentials are all in one place, inside your cabin. Security was now a major factor.

Your family was well trained in the use of firearms, but none of you had ever fired a gun at another human being. You and your spouse each had a handgun holstered on your bodies at all times now and two pump action shotguns stood sentry on either side of the door.

The children were of an age where having a firearm present was not a threat to them and each one of your children knew how to use one. You also had two AR-15’s, but wondered at your ability to fire from long range at a person, because how do you know, they are a threat at 100 yards, but yet if they get any closer, and you find they are a threat you have lost your advantage. A dilemma for sure that until now you had never given much thought about.

Even though you had plenty of water from the stream, it was close to 100 yards away, and the water needed to be filtered and boiled before drinking. You also wondered what would happen if you had to take refuge inside the cabin because of aggressors attacking the cabin. You needed water close. You needed a well and a hand pump inside the cabin. You contemplated digging a well now and wondered why this was the first time you had considered it.

There Is Always More Than Meets The Eye

Nothing is as simple as it seems, and if you do not realize that now, you may find yourself in peril virtually of your own making. Any safe-haven must be ready to move into at a moment’s notice. Natural water sources are fine for short periods, but you really need a private well no matter where you are to ensure you have a water source. Streams can be dammed up or their course altered.

What you think is a fast flowing stream today could be a trickle or a dried up river bed tomorrow, because someone up stream decided to alter the waterway. Ponds and lakes can and will become gathering places for all manner of people during a crisis. A shelter and a private well should be your first priority when developing your survival retreat.

Energy is important, but if you only visit your retreat in warm weather, and when the sun is shining it may not seem like a priority. Cut firewood wood can be stolen. Cords of it can be taken away in a matter of hours if the thieves want it bad enough.

It is not practical for most people to have a few acres to escape to, because of economics and the time needed to develop it. However, if you do have land somewhere remember you are escaping to a new home and it needs to be developed as such. You are leaving your current home for another home.

So-called experts everywhere are talking about bug-out retreats and many make them sound relatively simple, when in fact they require extensive planning, resources and the will to do it. Land cost money, building a shelter cost money, and it takes time and having an energy source installed is expensive, but it all can be done, but not overnight.

You may think you and your family can live very primitively, but when you have to do it and do it for an extended period, you and your family will have a different perspective. To make sure you can do it start planning now, and do it right, never assume anything and know exactly what it takes for you and your family to live comfortably at your bug-out retreat for an extended period.

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