Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Eight Tips for Bugging Out

By Timothy Gamble (January 14, 2019)
We all know that bugging-out should not be Plan A for most people in most situations, but it may become necessary at some point. Best to think through and prepare for bugging-out now, rather than trying to figure it out at the last minute. Here are some tips to think about... 

1) Its all about the timing.  Wait too long, and you'll be trying to bug-out with the unprepared masses - a chaotic and dangerous situation filled with massive traffic jams, clogged infrastructure, no gas supplies, and lots of panicky, angry people.  In a true collapse scenario, if there is a "golden horde" escaping the city, the majority will wait until its too late to safely do so, and I predict most will fail, dying within the first 20 miles (think stress induced heart attacks and lots of violence).

2) Maintain your bug-out vehicle. Many, if not most, of us don't really maintain our vehicles on a tight schedule.The last thing we need in a bug-out scenario is car trouble. Keep your designated bug-out vehicle in excellent running condition, quickly make needed repairs, and stay on-top  of regular maintenance. (See related article: Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule.)

3) Keep a repair kit in your vehicle. Even if you maintain your vehicle in excellent condition, there's always the possibility of experiencing car trouble during your bug-out. You're not going to have the time or ability to deal with major problems in the middle of bugging-out (you[ll have to abandon your vehicle). Instead, focus on preparing for the smaller problems you may experience. In my vehicle, I keep several quarts of oil (and a funnel), transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, jumper cables, and a battery starter with air compressor. Make sure you have a real spare tire that is in good shape, not one of those small rubber doughnuts, and make sure you have a jack and tire tool. A can or two of fix-a-flat may also come in handy. Sure, fix-a-flat may void your tire warranty and possibly mess-up your rim, but in an emergency bug-out situation, your priority is getting to your destination, not maintaining your tire warranty. 

4) Prepare now to bug-out later. We all maintain bug-out bags (you do, right?) so we're ready to go at a second's notice, but what if we have some more time to pack? Have you thought through what extras to pack into your vehicle? Have you actually tried to pack everything into your vehicle that you want to take with you? Figure this out ahead of time. For example, you may come up with an order of priority that looks something like this: 
  1. Put Bug-Out Bags in car, as time allows, add the following:
  2. Guns & ammo
  3. Extra fuel
  4. Camping supplies (tent, stove, cookware)
  5. Extra food & water
  6. Extra clothing, blankets
  7. Toolbox, tools, etc
  8. Cleaning & hygiene supplies 
  9. Family mementos and heirlooms
  10. Predetermined selection of useful reference books
Of course, the list you come up with may be quite different and will depend on your own circumstances and concerns. The point is to think through these things now, so you're not left trying to figure it out at the last minute under a lot of stress.

5) Know where you're going. Not only have a bug-out location picked out before you need it, but have at least one back-up location, just in case. Know how to get where you are going without having to use GPS or Google Maps. Know alternative routes, too, since major routes may be blocked or otherwise impassible. Don't know where to bug-out? Check my article "But, bug-out to where, exactly???"

6) Preposition supplies, if possible. Is your bug-out location a cabin in the mountains that you own? Perhaps Cousin Eddie's farm in the country? If you know where you're going to bug-out, you may be able to preposition a stash of supplies - food, clothing, tools, guns & ammo, and so forth.

7) Stay safe along t he way. In a collapse scenario, bugging-out won't be a drive in the country, even if it is literally a drive to the country. You will likely face chaos and dangers along the way.  Stay safe by practicing situational awareness and being armed (and trained). Avoid trouble hot-spots (bad neighborhoods, areas of likely heavy congestion, major intersections that may be blockaded in a martial law scenario, etc.). This means you need to drive and learn about several possible routes to your bug-out locations beforehand. Caravanning with others you know and trust is a good idea. Use two-way radios or CBs to stay in touch with each other on the drive. Listening to local radio stations and police & emergency bands may provide information on road closings, police barricades, and areas experiencing looting and rioting.

8) Know what to do if you have to travel by foot. You're bugging out and your car breaks down. Or you run out of gas. Or the roads are barricaded or simply impassible due to traffic congestion, wrecks, and break-downs. Also, most folks don't keep extra gas on-hand for emergencies or even keep their car's gas tank topped-off, so expect lots of cars to simply run out of gas in the middle of the road. There are lots of reasons you may be reduced to traveling by foot to your destination. Be prepared for that possibility. Wear good hiking shoes or boots when bugging-out. Decide beforehand what you'll take with you from your vehicle, and what you'll have to abandon with it. Be prepared to camp out for a night (or several), since foot travel will be a lot slower than travel by car. Including an emergency sleeping bag or survival tent in your bug-out bag is a good idea.
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