By far, one of the most underestimated things in the preparedness community is the bug out scenario. Now, don’t get me wrong – there’re a lot of articles and courses out there talking about evacuation routes, staying out of sight to avoid confrontations and, of course, the topic of bug out bags. But few go into very much detail about the myriad of things that can go wrong.
Everyone agrees that bugging out is harder and more dangerous than bugging in. Let’s see what some of these blind spots are, plus practical ways to tackle them.
#1. You might not be able to make fire.
I went to the woods yesterday with a buddy of mine to do some outdoor cooking. We didn’t bring any cooking utensils because we wanted to try cooking on sticks for a change. However, the weather wasn’t that good. A few rain drop scared us a little (we did set up a tarp just in case), but the bad news was, there was no dry wood to be found. It’s been raining for over a week now, so we had no choice but to buy some dry wood from the supermarket.
What if it rains when you bug out? You have 3 or 4 ways to light a fire in your BOB, but how will you keep it going without dry wood? Of course, wood will burn even when not completely dry but, unless you’re experienced in bushcraft, you’re going to have a tough time maintain a fire.
Preparedness isn’t the same as bushcraft. It’s about being prepared for any type of disaster scenario that you might have to face. That’s why having some dry wood in your bug out vehicle’s car may be a good idea. That’s why having a few Bic lighters and a magnesium Firestarter should be enough for starting a fire. You don’t need to learn the bow drill method just so you can feel like a real survivalist. You’re much better off focusing on the numerous other aspects of survival.
#2. You’ll have trouble doing a variety of things without proper tools
This goes for urban as well as wilderness scenarios. You might need a hatchet to cut tree branches to make shelters or poles to secure your tarp, you might need a shovel to get your vehicle unstuck from mud, and you’ll definitely need a knife to peel things such as food or stick that you will use for cooking, to fend off attackers and animals, to cut cordage.
I wrote an article on the best bushcraft tools to own, just please make sure you do proper research before buying, and don’t get them all at once.
By the way, if you don’t have a snow shovel in your car, I highly recommend you get one. Guns aren’t allowed in Europe, for instance and, in some countries, you can’t even have pepper spray. Crazy, I know, but a snow shovel is something every vehicle must have AND it also doubles as a self-defense weapon.
#3. Your backpack can make it or break it
No, I don’t mean the items inside it, I’m talking about the actual bag. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Scenario #1: you need to make a big jump (from the first floor, over a large hole etc.). Throw your backpack to where you want to land so you can jump on something more or less soft. If the others will put their own bags next to yours, you’ll have a larger landing surface.
Scenario #2: you need to cross a body of water and need to take your gear with you. If you have plastic zipper bags (and you should), fill them with air and place them inside your backpack to use as a flotation device. As a side note, everything that’s not water-resistant should be placed in Zipper bags: tinder, clothes, electronics, knives and so on.
Living without power, cars, electronics or running water may seem like a nightmare scenario but to pioneers it was just the way life was. Having the skills to survive without modern conveniences is not only smart in case SHTF, it’s also great for the environment. Keep in mind that the key to a successful homestead does not only lie on being able to grow your own food but on other skills as well. Learning these skills will take time, patience and perseverance, and not all of these skills are applicable to certain situations. Hopefully, though, you managed to pick up some great ideas that will inspire you and get you started! Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available.It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones.
#4. You can use the railroad tracks to bug out
Not many people think about this, which is why not many will be using them when SHTF. The train tracks may, take you directly to your bug out retreat and you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
#5. You might have to continue with a partial survival team
If the initial disaster kills one of your family members (maybe even your pets), will you have the strength to continue your journey? Reading so many preparedness articles that tell us how to make it, our brains reach the conclusion that nothing bad will ever happen so long as we do what they say.
Wrong. Even if you’re the best prepper in your town, you’re still no match for nature’s wrath… and don’t even get me started on what the evil mind of man can do to you. Mental preparation should not be ignored, and if you’re not regularly putting yourself in uncomfortable situations (some call this getting out of your comfort zone), you should definitely think about it.
#6. You might get captured
If you think that in a post-collapse environment you can go wherever you want willy-nilly, you’re very much mistaking. Plenty of eyes will be on you, starting with nosy neighbors, relatives who want to know where you are, law enforcement officers who might detain you in camps like they did during Katrina, and even gangs of looters who might be targeting preppers.
Remember that survival and preparedness have become huge topics lately, which means everyone knows about them. Why they don’t people like us, I’ll never understand… but what I do understand is that we could get captured while trying to escape.
Now, I’m not trying to say that we might share the fate of those captured by ISIS, but this doesn’t mean they’ll help us with blankets and cocoa, either.
Truth be told, I could make this article 10 times bigger talking about bug out scenarios and all the things that can go wrong. At the very least, I hope I’ve given you a few things to think about, things that you can start putting into practice today.
By Dan F. Sullivan, Survival Sullivan