The Ideal Prepper Group Size
Big thanks, to Vey the founder of Prepperlytics.com for today’s Guest Post Article The Ideal Prepper Group Size.
GROUPING UP IS A NECESSITY
It should be well established by now that the “lone wolf” approach to surviving SHTF is a dumb idea.
Whether you’re a single guy planning on Rambo’ing it up in a national forest or a small family bugging out to a cabin in the woods, it’ll just be a matter of time until you’re robbed, killed or worse.
An ugly fact of life is this; you have to sleep. You cannot stay awake 24/7 defending the retreat. You have to eat, sleep, poop, garden, gather firewood, hunt, etc.
Eventually, a group of desperate people see or smell your fire, and make their way to your location. It’s not a question of “if” they will come, it’s a question of “when” and “how many”.
Grouping up is an imperative if you want to survive SHTF, but you have to be careful. Each additional family you add to your retreat group adds a tremendous number of additional calories that your retreat needs to provide to support the extra mouths.
You want to find the right balance of manpower vs. calorie consumption. To find that balance a little analysis is needed.
THE BIGGER THE GROUP THE BETTER, RIGHT?
According to the Prepperlytics Calorie Calculator, the average American male (5’ 11”, 200lbs, 35 yr old) consumes 1,110,695 calories a year, and the average American female (5’ 6”, 140lbs, 33 yr old) consumes 803,000 calories a year. That’s almost 2 million calories a year for each couple that joins your group.
WHERE TO START?
The goal should be to identify the minimum number of people you need to handle critical tasks. A larger group is always better for security, but it is difficult to feed a large group of people.
We want to aim for a happy medium that gives you adequate security should a large group roll up on your retreat while allowing you to sustain calorie production.
Each retreat will have a slightly different security plan, but in general, you’ll need four things: a watchtower, LP/OPs, patrols and a command center operator.
Watchtowers: 2 People
This will be an elevated position that gives you good visibility of the retreat. This is not typically a fighting position, as it generally won’t have ballistic protection. Its primary use is observation, predator elimination and potentially some sniper use.
Unless the tower is on the top of the house, or taller than the house, it won’t have a 360-degree view of the property, as the house will block some angles of view. It makes sense then to have at least 2 towers, one on each side of the house. These should be manned 24/7 during the most dangerous periods of SHTF.
LP/OP: 3 People
LP/OP (Listening Posts/Observation Posts) are fixed posts around the retreat that can be used to monitor various sections of the retreat. The number of LP/OPs will depend on how much land you need to secure. Each LP/OP can be manned by one person with radio communication back to the main radio operator. An LP/OP should have ballistic protection and can be used as a fighting position, but a person in an LP/OP that spots enemy activity will generally want to fall back and take up a better fighting position with the larger retreat group.
For sake of argument, let’s say you’ve got a watchtower on the north and south of the property, and 3 LP/OPs; one on the east, one on the west, and 1 on the south near a barn that the watchtower can’t see over.
Patrols: 2 People
A patrol can be a group as small as two men that function like a mobile LP/OP. Their job is to walk around to make sure that nobody is trying to sneak by the fixed observation posts.
While the watchtower and LP/OPs are intended to stay hidden, the patrol will generally be observable by the enemy. They should stay far enough away from the perimeter at night so that they won’t be an easy shot. Even so, they’re still incredibly vulnerable, so they need body armor, night vision and ideally a trained dog. During the day they can monitor the parameter a little closer, looking for signs that people might be in the area.
Command Center: 1 Person
Everyone on watch should be in radio communication with a command center. If someone in the watchtower or LP/OP spots some unusual activity they should alert the command center. The radio operator manning the command center station should communicate the threat level and action plan to the others at the retreat. The watchtower should help get a more clear picture of the activity. The patrol should make their way over to assist the area in question. The other LP/OPs should stay in place but be put on high alert, and the rest of the retreat should wake up, great ready and get to their fighting positions.
5 People On Day Shifts – 8 People On Night Shifts
SPLIT THE 24 HOUR DAY INTO 4 SHIFTS OF 6 HOURS
(5 people) SHIFT 1: 8AM-2PM
(5 people) SHIFT 2: 2PM-8PM
(8 People) SHIFT 3: 8PM-2AM
(8 People) SHIFT 4: 2AM-8AM
If you want a group that’s large enough for each member to pull security for just 6 hours a day, you’ll need 26 capable members. They don’t all have to be adults, but they need to be mature enough to handle stress, stay focused, stay silent, communicate over a radio and use a firearm.
# OF PEOPLE NEEDED TO RUN A 6-HOUR SECURITY SHIFT EACH DAY = 26
That is your minimum group number. If you have young kids, older parents, physically challenged individuals or people who have fallen ill, that number will need to increase but don’t get carried away. There’s more than just the additional food that needs to be shared with members.
Knowing that you’ll need an average of 26 people to man a fully functional retreat, you should consider how to prepare a retreat for a group this size.
Can you sleep 26 people comfortably?
Is the septic system capable of handling that much waste?
Do you have enough ARs, pistols, battle belts, chest rigs, holsters, slings, magazines, mag holders, IFAKs and bullets to arm the group?
Are your garden and livestock capable of supporting a group that size?
Do you have the watchtowers and LP/OPs in place, or are you going to have to build them during SHTF?
Do you have the radios and comms equipment to communicate as a group?
Is there enough night vision, suppressors, and body armor to go around?
Do you have the medical supplies, antibiotics, and bandages for when someone gets hurt?
Maybe even more important than resources is whether each member will get along with others in the group. Once SHTF hits, your prepper group is now family, and living with family can sometimes be hard to do when you’re used to having your own place.
The realities of a world without rule of law are overwhelming, but with proper planning, you can give yourself the advantage of having a secure, sustainable retreat group.
Prepperlytics is an online website that helps preppers calculate the number of calories that would be needed in a SHTF scenario. Vey’s site also has a number of other really useful tools that help preppers prepare. You can check out our Prepperlytics Review Here