You know, some part of me really dislikes using the same terms used by every other survival blog/forum/video page in existence, but I suppose it can't be helped. These are general concepts that many speak on, and so they have come to have standardized terms. The show must go on! On the off chance you, the new prepper may not know what these mean, I will spell them out:
Bugging Out: Getting the hell out of Dodge, high-tailing it outta there, taking the next train outta town. In the event of a disaster either natural or manmade, this situation is where you grab your (hopefully already packed and ready to go) BOB*, your AK47 and chest-rig full of magazines and head out the door for your backup location, whether by vehicle or on foot. I'd advise taking the woods.
Bugging In: Battening down the hatches, holing up, keeping your head down. In the event of a disaster either natural or manmade, this situation is where you lock your doors, load your shotgun, turn off the lights, and break out the freeze dried beer and wait for the zombie-looters to kick the door in! You aren't going down without a fight, pal!
Alright, I'm being overly dramatic, but both theories have both pros and cons, along with their share of proponents and detractors. And anyway, a lot of preppers take them themselves entirely too seriously, so why not have some fun with it? This is another post that's probably best put in the "Planning Stage" category. Remember what I said before about making sure you focus your plan on one (or at least a small few) lines of preparation? This goes along with that and I'll explain why. Hopefully, this will help you to be able to decide which course of action is best for you.
Today's post will deal with bugging out, as a future post will discuss the stay-at-home option.
This is probably the scenario that you see the most online. It's definitely a more short-term solution, unless it is used in conjunction with a backup location that will serve as a long-term sustainment location, such as a fully stocked cabin out in the wilderness. Since most folks don't tend to have fully stocked cabins out in the woods on land they own, bugging out is generally your go-to plan in the event of some sort of natural disaster that's on its way to flatten your city, town, or neighborhood. This strategy does require some forethought, and the ability for swift action on your part. Remember, 99% of the people out there aren't preppers, who don't know anything about being prepared. So when the radio starts broadcasting the danger signal that a tornado is inbound while they're sitting on their couch with their feet up watching American Idol or whatever, that's when they're going to jump up, grab the kids, grab their gun, and the wife, and jump in their SUV and head out...straight into the traffic of a packed roadway. You, the conscientious prepper, who kept an eye on your local news, and knew bad weather was coming should already be long gone by then.
This strategy depends on your having mapped out the best route
out of the area, and you're going to want to have planned a few
alternate routes also. You want these alternates because it's always possible that you weren't the only one keeping an eye on the local weather station that day. Remember, you can always go the long way to get to your planned destination, as long as you make sure that the alternate route isn't into the path of the storm, hurricane, or tornado! I'd also highly recommend having actually driven the route(s) a few times. It would seem like common sense, but sadly, most folks live in the Google/smart phone age and have no common sense. Driving the route towards your destination with the rain sheeting down in the darkness is no time to be keeping one eye on the road, and the other on your stupid phone with its GPS app running. Know where you're going.
This will mean something different to everyone. Maybe you know someone or have family in the next town. Perhaps you own a vacation home. It might be a hotel you called, although in a large enough disaster, that might prove impossible. In any case, this is what it means to be a prepper. Find a place to go, and build your plan around it.
The supplies needed for a BOB will vary according to a few parameters. In this case, you will want to ensure that your preparations/supplies are portable. We'll only mention the very basics here, as a full discussion of both a BOB as well as a GHB** will be addressed in a future post. Are you traveling by vehicle? Then weight of your bag may not be as big of a concern. Do you foresee a need to at some point abandon your vehicle and make the rest of the trip on foot? For the urban prepper, this is the most common strategy to keep in mind as at some point, you're going to almost certainly find yourself leaving the area on foot after your vehicle has been abandoned to gridlock city traffic. In that instance, here is some serious advice: don't take anything you don't need. A lot of internet preppers love to do that. They will take a huge backpack filled with sixty lbs of stuff, because they seemingly haven't given any thought to the idea that just possibly, they may have to actually carry this thing somewhere. This is definitely a case of scope creep as far as I'm concerned. It's good to be prepared, but a lot of people love their cool camping gear, knives, guns, and nifty survival gadgets, and so believe they have to take all of it with them. Don't be that guy. This goes back to what I was saying before about having a clear plan. What is your BOB for? To help you get your location where you'll then ? Is it a "I'm going to go hide in the woods for a couple weeks" bag? Take what you need, and nothing you don't. What do you need? We'll talk about that soon.
Next up, we'll talk about what needs to go in that bag, along with a general idea of what all you probably want to have on you. For now, stay safe out there.
- Unnamed Prepper
"At a time when unbridled greed, malignant aggression,
and existence of weapons of mass destruction threatens the survival of
humanity, we should seriously consider any avenue that offers some hope."
- Stanislav Grof
* Now you know where the term "Bug Out Bag" comes from!
** Get Home Bag