Today’s article has kindly been provided by a fellow Prepper Conrad Novak. Conrad started his journey as a prepper when Hurricane Katrina hit and he lost his job due to the 2008 economic crisis. Conrad talks below about preparing a bug out plan with tips on how to make a good one.
Are You Preparing a Bug Out Plan?
5 Tips to Make Your Plan a Good One
If you have just started your journey on the survivalist path, everything probably seems pretty confusing. The things you thought were important turn out not to be and seemingly obvious details require significant preparation. Of course, even the grizzled vet can overlook one of a million details in the best bug out plans.
This can make figuring out what you really need to know confusing. That is why we have come up with a list of the 5 best bug out plan tips. Covering topics that everyone knows, we show you some of the subtler sides of bugging out and how to think about these tasks everyone takes for granted.
Food and Water
This is probably the least intuitive tip, but you are mostly going to want to avoid carrying around food and water. Ultimately, they are far too heavy and take up too much space to carry in your bug out bag. Granted, you are going to want to make sure that you have basic necessities covered. But it would be better to actually plan for water rather than carry it.
For instance, figuring out where in your region there is a clean, fresh water supply is paramount. This opens numerous options when making your plan if you are clever. In lieu of carrying around half a dozen gallons of water between your party, you can carry enough to get to a restocking point. If you have numerous freshwater supplies, this can carry you hundreds of miles away from danger if need be.
Just remember that being too focused on a single thing can be dangerous since it makes you somewhat predictable. If there is only a single, small source of freshwater in your region, approach it carefully. For food, things can get a bit trickier as it often has a much shorter expiration date. You can choose foods with long shelf lives, but the weight and space are still a problem.
One solution is to set up numerous caches with food in them along your bug out route. This is likely the best solution, but it is expensive and time-consuming to constantly restock unused caches. If you have local fruits or roots to forage or can hunt and clean small game, living off the land can be a great supplement. It should not be seen as a substitute due to the unpredictable nature of disasters.
Bugging out can properly be understood as an exercise of endurance–much like survival. As such, figuring out how to extend your energy reserves becomes a top priority. On top of that, you have a limited carrying capacity while on the move. This makes packing your bug out bag one of the more important tasks.
On the one hand, space in your bug out bag is inherently limited. You can augment this a bit by using a vehicle or towing a trailer or cart behind you. That said, your resources are finite, so you still need to consider what is important enough to pack. While we already discussed food and water, a number of other items we take for granted are mostly off the list too.
Clothing and tools are both heavy and quite often bulky. As such, packing clothes which work well in a variety of environments and multi-purpose tools is a must. Of course, the biggest limiting factor is not how much space you have but how much weight you can continuously carry. Your bug out bag might feel fine the first hour or so, but a heavy bag will quickly drain your energy.
If your bug out shelter is less than 10 miles away, even a heavier bag will not be much issue. However, if you have to trek more than 2 days on foot, a heavy bag becomes a liability. Not only does it slow you down, but it makes you less responsive to the world. Your reaction time is slower and your balance worse. Ultimately, a heavy bag is a risk you cannot afford to take.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
How you get out of the disaster area is often an overlooked part of the plan. This is where many preppers will consider the first couple scenarios that come to mind and figure anything else is improbable. The problem comes when mostly everything goes right, but that one thing gone wrong can wreck the entire plan.
For instance, some preppers may think because they have their region’s road network memorized, that means they can always escape in a vehicle. Of course, a flooded river, earthquake, or other large disasters can ruin all of those routes at once. If you do not have a plan on foot, you are no better off than anyone else, and you wasted your time.
As such, it is not enough to simply come up with numerous routes of egress. You also have to consider the different tactical approaches as the situation calls for them. Of course, this presupposes that your party is ready to leave in the first place. Again, most mediocre plans consider fairly ideal starting conditions.
But the point of a bug out plan is to figure out what you should do when the conditions are far from ideal. In this instance, it is just as vital that you have a rallying plan to collect all the members of your party. Remember, disaster can strike without a moment’s notice, and your party might not be near one another. To prevent false starts, lost time, and increased risk, you need to make various rallying plans to go with your different escape routes.
No Place Like Home
When disaster strikes and you have to leave your home, all the plans in the world will not help you if you do not have somewhere safe to go. Where you plan to go may not always be a simple answer and often determines the reason for bugging out. If you live in California, there is a good chance that a wildfire could force an evacuation and bar you from reaching your bug out shelter.
While we might normally suggest a backup, property, and buildings are not necessarily so easy for everyone to come by. In this instance, having the ability to live off the land can help you go a lot further than others. Depending on the situation, you could even thrive long enough to reach safety.
Of course, the ideal solution is to simply have a well-positioned bug out shelter. Depending on your region, this may be easier said than done. A great bug out shelter will have access to clean fresh water and be protected from the most likely disasters. A cabin hidden in the thick of the woods will not help with a forest fire.
To be safe, you should try to purchase some land in a strategic position. That way you can make sure your bug out shelter is prepared even for its weaknesses. An underground bunker has a much better chance of surviving a forest fire than a log cabin. It also has a much better chance of keeping your supply stores safe. Of course, knowing how to make a long-term shelter in the wild can serve well for a time.
One you start bugging out, there is no turning back. That means that everything you have on you is all that you will have until you reach a cache or your bug out shelter. If you have a long journey ahead of you, this will definitely test your ability to conserve.
That said, one thing some preppers forget is that life happens. This may seem facile, but the point of a bug out plan is to be prepared precisely when “life happens.” This fact does not all of a sudden change once you begin bugging out. In fact, this is when that principle often rears its head most.
If you have a preferred plan of action that is perfect for most situations, you can bet your last dollar something will mess it up. Since you cannot prepare for literally every possibility, the best you can do is have backups. This can be applied to anything, but it really should be applied to everything. Gear is the most common example of this, but we have already discussed many more.
From the rallying point and escape route to the different types of packs and gear to where you plan to go, back up plans are vital. You never know when survival may require you to make a split-second decision. Knowing what to do at that moment is far better than having to figure it out.
Of course, this means that you need to keep a fair amount of knowledge and skills on hand and proficient. While it is unreasonable to expect you know everything all the time, practicing and regular study can make it automatic. Before too long, your muscles and mind will remember the routine for you.
Bug Out Plan Tips – Conclusion
If there is one major takeaway from our list, it is that you should not assume you have it all figured out. There is always some angle that you missed or some change you could make that would improve your bug out plan. That is usually one of the hardest lessons to learn because you do not need it until you are already an experienced prepper. But nature does not care about plans, and it is smart to be humble when preparing for her. For a more in-depth breakdown of bug out plans and what you need to know, check out our comprehensive bug out guide.
- Beyond the Bug Out Bag: How to Make a Survival Plan for When You Have to Flee – Primal Survivor
- How to Make a Bug Out Plan – The Bug Out Guide
- My First Bug Out Plan Wasn’t Very Good (And How To Make Yours Better!) – The Bug Out Guide
About the Author:
Conrad Novak is a proud father of two children. His journey as a prepper began when Hurricane Katrina hit and he lost his job due to the 2008 economic crisis. That made him realize that everything can change for the worst in a very short time. This experience was the detonator for him to pursue learning and becoming better prepared to face the kind of unexpected disasters that may occur at any point in our lives. You can read more of his content at SurvivorsFortress.com.
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