It finally happened! The s*** has hit the fan and now there is mass rioting and looting everywhere and it seems that the violence it’s heading your way. Waiting to face the impending doom is not smart and bugging out is your safest bet. However, you need to make sure that no one can follow you.
While some preppers will decide to bug in and will try holding down the fort for as long as possible, this option is not viable for most of the people out there. Regardless how well prepared you are, at some point, you will be outnumbered or outgunned and you will regret not moving out when you had the chance. Sure there are those who have their personal bunker and they will hide deep underground, waiting for the storm to pass. If you don’t have a bunker, well… deep down inside, you know that bugging out is your only option.
Bugging out the right way is a drill that anyone can practice, but bugging out without leaving a trail is a skill that only a few master. The suggestions in this article will help you to bug out without leaving bread crumbs that can lead hostiles to your bug out location.
When the moment comes and bugging out is no longer a decision to consider but an ongoing reality, you will need to calculate your every move since time will be of the essence. You need to rally up your party, in case you need to bug out with other people. Here, we have two types of “friendlies”: the primary ones which are your family members and the secondary ones which are your friends and neighbors. You can communicate with your loved ones via text message or you can leave a secret visual marker at the front of your residence. The marker you leave should be known by all those who were taken into account when the bugging out plan was made. It can be something simple, you can tie a red piece of cloth to your mailbox or you can spray pent an X on you door or some graffiti, so that it looks like the action of vandals.
Once the bugging out operation has been triggered, the bug out timeline begins and no matter what happens you have to respect it if you want to reach your bug out location.
The maximum time allocated for gathering your supplies and leaving your house should be one hour at max. Most survival experts agree that it is more than enough time to contact your loved ones, to gather your supplies and leave without putting yourself at risk. It is also true that the closer you are to the event, the less time you will have to act and in general, the time needed for leaving the premises should be halved.
When bugging out, you should consider for different modes of travel and I suggest the following:
- 2 wheel vehicle for roads
- ATV for backcountry trail
- On foot through sole-busting brush and off-road trails
Related reading: The bug out vehicle – what to pick when in need?
If the SHTF event has triggered near complete lawlessness, the path that provides the least human interaction is the safest one. Going off-road is crucial and you need to get there as soon as possible. You will probably need your ATV to get there, or your dirt motorbike. Regardless of what you picked, your weight, the weight of your gear and the weight of your vehicle will leave tracks behind. And these tracks will show those gun-toting opportunists where you are going, making it a matter of time until they track you down. Leaving tracks behind will compromise your camp’s position and the safety of your loved ones.
Escape and evasion when bugging out
Since the dawn of time, humans had to use tactics in order to escape their pursuers. Regardless if they were chased by predators or fellow humans, they had to find ways to escape. Anti-tracking methods are used to confuse, delay and dissuade any threat that might come after you.
There are some things that will apply to any situation in which your trail could lead to your basecamp and the three factors that one should prioritize when bugging out are the following:
- What you are taking with you
- Where you are going
- How you are moving
If you pay attention to these factors you will minimize your signature on the ground upon bugging out and you will reach your bug out location in time.
1. What one takes when bugging out
Emergency evacuation requires you to be fast and light and if you have all your supplies organized and your bug out bag in reach, you shouldn’t have any problems respecting the timeline. If there is someone tracking you, you need to estimate how far you can move within a given time-frame and the average speed you can maintain. The weight of your bug-out bag is crucial when traveling by foot and as I’ve written in a previous article, choosing the right items for your survival bag will let you travel light and it affords you agility. Having agility will allow you to take the route of most resistance, something that many will avoid when planning a bug out scenario. If the weight of your bug out bag allows it, you should take the route that is difficult for the average traveler. By doing so, you will hamper a pursuer’s ability to predict where you are heading. Not to mention that you will force the tracker to go through the same terrain and chances are, he may not be prepared for it. He might have to go around and try to pick up your trail further ahead and this will cause him to lose time and even lose your track.
Related reading: Items that should be in your 72 hour bug out bag
Make sure you have as many versatile items as possible in your bug out bag and always test your gear. Don’t just buy the items, fill your bug out bag and leave it be. Take it with you on the field and test how well you can handle its weight and how fast can you travel.
2. Where one is going when bugging out
When making a bugging out plan you should first make sure you have somewhere to go because going for the woods and hoping for the best will not work for everyone. During preparation you must analyze the terrain along your bug out route. You can do this by going there in advance, before disaster strikes, to hike your chosen route by foot. When doing this leisure hike, you must take notes of the key terrain features you find: you should spot locations that can be used for rest, observation, communication, ambush or even to cache supplies. You also have to think about the unexpected because chances are, you won’t be the only one choosing that bug out route. Think on how a hostile prepper might use the key terrain features against you if you’re the second party, trying to bug out. Check how much concealment your route provides while moving during the day and what the significant obstacles you have to face are. Will these obstacles work for or against you?
Suggested article: How to travel when SHTF
Learning about the nocturnal and diurnal habits of the creatures along your bug out route will display behavior that a tracker can read. You can anticipate danger by reading the signs the wildlife makes. Using the terrain to your advantage is equally important when bugging out. Try to walk to the side of trails instead of on them and always walk on rocky ground instead of soft soil. If you have a river, you can walk in water along the stream. You should always pay attention to your every step in order to avoid leaving tracks. Knowing your environment is also important when choosing your gear and clothes, you want to be camouflaged as best as possible and picking a red backpack will most certainly give away your position. Your clothes will make sure you blend in with the environment and it is best to have in mind how the changing of the seasons will influence your environment and your camouflage techniques.
3. How one moves when bugging out
In order to reach the off-road trail, you will probably need a vehicle to get there. As said earlier using an ATV or dirt motorbike is an option preferred by many. These types of vehicles will leave an obvious trail and you will need to make sure you can cover your trails. Most survival expert recommend doing a button hook (moving into a position from a 90 degree angle and then back out from the direction you came) and cache the vehicle, in the thickest and most inaccessible terrain you can find. After you hide your vehicle, you will have to brush out the vehicle tracks for a considerable amount of distance. Wearing foot coverings while brushing the tracks will help greatly and it will reduce your movement signature.
When moving out on foot you have to keep in mind two factors: speed and security. You need to move as rapidly as you can in order to clear every covered or concealed position in front of you. You will stop and assess the situation if you feel that something’s not right. You shouldn’t advance further if you think your next step isn’t safe. As said earlier, you must have a bug out time line that you must respect and every step you make and the time it takes to make it should be included in that timeline. When bugging out you must use all your senses in order to make sure you can bring everyone to safety. You must look, listen and smell before you move. Most trackers are trained to use their sense of vision, scent, sound, touch and even taste according to the environment they’re part of. Aligning these senses with personal intuition and past experiences is what makes a tracker find his prey.
Related reading: How to improve your night vision for survival
Another thing we need to pay attention is how we deal with human waste and the trash we leave behind. This article will provide some useful suggestions for waste management when bugging out, but also for when bugging in.
There is also the anti or counter tracking issue that one may raise, but here things are not that simple. If you want to catch a tracker you first have to learn how to track. Opting for a survival school that teaches you how to track both man and beast will provide you with all the tracking knowledge you can assimilate. After learning how to track, you can develop all sorts of anti-tracking techniques and what you could do with the proper know-how, is limited only by you own imagination. Reading the article below may help you to learn a thing or two about tracking.
Recommended reading: Tracking techniques learned from our ancestors.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: you can’t bug out successfully without having a plan and a timeline, and without testing them. Below you can find my bug out timeline:
- Event that triggers the bugging out signal
- Initial movement
- Cache point (I have some supplies there, will go there only if needed)
- Common route observation point (this is a common route point, everyone that gets through here should leave a sign)
- Rally point (30 minutes to 1 hour wait)
- Observation point (I can check from here if my bug out location is safe)
- Bug out location
You can design your own bug out timeline according to your environment, family members or any other friendly joining the bug out party, road obstacles, etc.
Bugging out successfully is a matter of training, there is no such thing as luck or being tough. If you know what to do and if you stick to your bug out timeline, you will reach your bug out location safely.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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