Navigating Effectively and Quietly In the Dark When the SHTF
When the lights go out the looters and other criminals come out to play. Daylight is reserved for resting up after a night of pillaging and plundering. This means that once the SHTF the darkness becomes dangerous.
You may have to navigate at night, and at the same time avoid those that would do you harm, such as marauders or looters. You may also have to avoid groups that have targeted you or your Prepper group specifically, so you will have to be able to move silently and effectively through the darkness.
Light and Noise Discipline
When moving through the night you cannot shine flashlights or wave lit lanterns about if you expect to stay concealed. You have to maintain light disciple and this applies to all in your group or patrol unit. Blackout conditions must be enforced, when trying to evade others or when trying to avoid detection period.
To help you see others at night you can pick up some “cat eye” bands that will fit over caps or even over the head. The tabs are typically positioned so someone behind you can see them. The bands have strips or tabs of luminous material that glows in the dark after being exposed to light. They can be attached to virtually any object. The glowing tabs can be seen from a few feet away so you can follow the person in front of you, who is following someone on up to the point person.
Ultimately, the point person will have to know the direction of travel, so they must be well versed in reading a compass and map at night. There are numerous uses for cat eyes, so have a supply on hand for night maneuvers.
“L” shaped flashlights that clip to your shoulder harness that have subdued lens covers can be used in some cases to help you navigate by foot and to help others identify you. The light can only be seen from a short distance away. You have to think of safety when navigating at night, and in particular if, vehicles are used.
Use ranger bands or rubber bands to secure jewelry hung around the neck to keep them from rattling. Use the bands to secure your EDC that may be secured to a neck chain as well. Ranger bands or heavy rubber bands can be used to take up the slack in your rifle sling to keep it from “flapping and slapping”, and when you need the sling simply tug the sling to pop the band loose. Use a black magic marker to subdue any worn metal parts on any equipment that may reflect light.
Watch lenses, eyeglasses, and any shiny metal can reflect light at night giving away your position. Use black tape to cover your watch face, and use the tape to cover any shiny parts on eyeglass stems. Inspect each other to make sure there is nothing loose or shiny that can give someone away. Subdue shiny skin cheekbones, back of the hands and foreheads with camouflage sticks.
Map out the routes you will be taking while it is still daylight if you plan to do routine patrols around the area. Knowing what is around you is important. Make a point of always mapping your area if you plan to be there for any period.
Note all obstacles that would hinder someone on foot such as rivers, streams, fallen logs, boulders and so on, so if you do have to evacuate in the dark without notice, you will then have some idea of the obstructions along various routes.
Night visions equipment is ideal but for the latest generation of technology you will have to spend a considerable amount. You will have to decide if you really do need night visions goggles, scopes or cameras. Quality night visions goggles are available and if you only need one, it may make sense, but if you have to outfit, an entire family with them, then the cost may be prohibitive.
Movement gives positions away. To detect motion at night you would scan with your eyes to pick up movement using your peripheral vision. Avoid staring straight at anything for any period, so keep the eyes moving to notice motion.
Avoid setting up camp or guard positions by streams or by anything that create noise that may cover up the movement of others. Do not eat, smoke or wear deodorant, cologne or perfume if on evasive maneuvers at night.
When moving in groups make certain everyone knows not to let branches/vegetation snap back when pushing through brush. Not only does this create noise it can cause injury to those behind that person. This to most is only common sense, but it happens enough times that people still need to be reminded.
It is never a good idea to bunch up when moving as a group but at night you may have to, so people do not become separated. Typically, when on patrol you would maintain certain interval between each person, in the event you receive direct or indirect fire. Everyone bunched up means everyone is more likely to be injured from the same explosive device or from incoming fire.