Regardless if you plan to hunker down or to bug out, knowing how to travel when a disaster hits your area is a major safety factor for you and your family. If you have a place to go to, you need to make sure you get there safely. Traveling from point A to point B in a world without laws can be difficult and we need to be prepared for it.
If you decide to bug out, you first need a place to go to and second, you need to know how to get there. If you have no idea how to get there, you will end up wondering in the wrong place and you will have to face the less desirable elements of society. If you have a place to go you need to make an escape plan, a plan that includes alternative routes that you can take in order to reach your destination. You should stay away from major cities and highways. Also, keep in mind that highway exits will be blocked and you should do whatever you can to avoid them if you have to travel when SHTF. Highways are the first option for the masses to leave and they will get jammed without any doubt. Not to mention that if Martial Law is declared, the Army will deploy check points on all major highways. You should avoid major routes and large populations when traveling.
Another thing you should consider is having more than one way of escaping. Most people have a bug out vehicle, but they don’t have a plan B. For most of them traveling on foot is the alternative. I suggest getting a bicycle or a motoped if you can. You will be able to cover a greater distances and you won’t get tired and make mistakes when facing the challenges of your environment. Most preppers are not in shape and they think that walking on foot is a good alternative. If you haven’t practiced this and if you know your shape is not what it used to be, you should have another travel alternative, besides your car.
Related reading: Bug out vehicle options you have
If you bug out using your car you have to keep in mind that fuel will be hard to come by and you should have enough for your trip. Calculate extra fuel for unseen times and make sure you can defend your car if needed. Others will look for means of transportation or they can target your car just because they need fuel.
Regarding your supplies, you need to know in advance what you are willing to sacrifice. Using your second mean of transportation means your ways or carrying all your supplies will be limited and besides your bug out bag, you need to know what you have to carry with you. Your sacrifice some of your resources to gain maneuverability and mileage. If you have time you can bury your supplies and you can return and retrieve them later on when the situation allows it. You should calculate how much time it takes you to get to your bug out location and plan your supplies accordingly.
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I’ve discussed with some preppers and they told me that they have a bicycle hidden somewhere along the route and extra supplies. If their main means of transportation breaks down, they have another alternative and their plan B will provide a mindset that gives them hope and a sense of security. How to plan for another means of transportation is all up to you.
If you have to travel when SHTF you must not do it during the day. Most of the masses will be active during the day and you don’t want to get caught up in all of it. During daytime, you will be seen from a longer distance, you can become a target very fast and you have to deal with a greater number of people than you would do in a normal day. Traveling by night is your best option and although it might be slower, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Although most of the looting gets done during nighttime, if you know how to travel when SHTF and if you avoid commercial areas, you should be fine. Traveling by night means you need to be able and see where you are going and a flashlight or headlamp will give away your position. An important item to have is a night vision device (NVD) and although it can be expensive it will make a huge difference when you have to travel when SHTF. If an EMP strikes you area most of the electronic devices will be fried and the power grid will be down. Light will be a luxury for some and if you were smart enough to have your devices in a Faraday cage or a Faraday protection bag, you will have the upper hand.
When it comes to NVDs, there are four types of generation and the fourth generation is used by military. The best choice would be to go with a 2nd Generation, digital NVD. There are many models and you can do your research before purchasing one. Make sure it has a field of view as if you were looking with your normal eyesight and that it has extra magnification.
If you travel when SHTF and you are doing it at night, you have to chose the best time frame. Most survival experts recommend traveling between 1:00 AM and 6:00 AM because that’s the time when most people rest and when REM sleep sets in.
Another thing to keep in mind when traveling at night is that you should avoid silhouetting yourself. If you move past obstacles you should avoid going over them. If you must climb over an obstacle keep your body level with its top to avoid detection. Avoid silhouetting yourself against the skyline when crossing hills or ridges.
Regardless how much distance you are able to cover if you travel when SHTF, at some point you will have to make camp and sleep. This will be done during the day and there are some precautions you should take:
Never use a fire if you travel when SHTF because the smoke will give away your position. If you absolutely have to use a fire, make sure you make a hidden fire type. You should eat only the supplies that are ready to eat and you should have a good layer of clothing to protect yourself from the cold. If you cover these two aspects there will be no need to make a fire.
Recommended article: Multiple fire types you should know about
Make sure your site and vehicle is well camouflaged. You can use a tarp to hide your position and make your camp less visible.
If you travel when SHTF, someone from your party should stay on guard at all times while others rest. Take turns so that you are not exposed to surprise attacks. Always be diligent and on guard.
If you have to hunt or defend yourself if at all possible do not fire a weapon or firearm for it can give away your location. Make use of bows, slingshots, traps, knives and any other item that doesn’t draw attention. If you do fire a weapon, you should pack up and move as quickly as possible.
Since water is difficult to carry, you should map your route along rivers, lakes and such to make sure you will not run out. Rather than carrying a lot of water, concentrate on having means of purification. A lifestraw goes a long way if you travel when SHTF and it doesn’t take much space or add extra weight to your BOB.
There will be those who have nowhere to go and bugging in will be their first choice. Even for them, it is important to know how to travel when SHTF because at some point they will have to get out and scavenge for supplies (fuel, food, etc.). If you bugged in and you have enough supplies chances are you can avoid traveling WSHT for a few months. It all depends from case to case, but regardless how well-prepared you are, the following guidelines should apply.
If you have to travel when SHTF and you are bugged in, you will still need to do it during nighttime. If you live in the city a NVD is a must for you because cities are much more vulnerable and dangerous when an EMP attack hits and there is no light. If there are light sources available, it could be even worse and you have to always stay out of sight.
Related reading: What to do when the power grid goes down
If a terrible disaster strikes and you hunker down, you have enough time to take the pulse of the city. It might take two or three months before you need to leave the safety of your home. During this time you have to listen carefully and write down the timetables when the city is most active. The point here is to establish a pattern and find windows of opportunity to get out of your home.
Start within a close range when you have to scavenge for supplies and if you did a good job listening on your city, you should know which neighbors left first. Those houses or apartments should be targeted first. Increase your range of action when you cannibalized all the nearby targets.
The more you increase the range the longer it will take you to get back home. Calculate the time you need to have in order to scavenge and make sure you don’t rush. You don’t want to rush in the dark and get injured or make noise; you need to keep a low profile. If you travel when SHTF you must do whatever you can to get home.
Your back pack should be well divided or have a few cloth items that you can use as layers between the supplies you manage to scavenge. You need to avoid making noise and the cans of food dangling in your backpack can make a lot of noise. When rushing out, all the items you carry with you can make some noise so you need to pack light.
You have to consider about light clothing and proper footwear if you travel when SHTF. In the city, you need to move quickly and you have to be as quiet as possible. Clothing that prevents movement or shoes that make noise should be avoided.
Noise, shadowing and silhouetting are your most common enemies in the city. If you travel when SHTF, you must pay attention to these three factors as they will give away your position in no time. In the city, there are a lot of corners and your shadow may extend around the corner of a building and draw attention. There can be a lot of light sources from fires and this means that others will be able to see your silhouette against the light if you don’t pay attention to your surroundings. Not to mention that there will be a lot of trash and you have to watch your step if you travel when SHTF. You can injure yourself or you can make noise that will alert others.
Travel when SHTF – Reminder List:
- You should always know your route, regardless if it’s an in or out route, and you should have alternative routes if you travel when SHTF.
- Nighttime is more indicated if you have to travel when SHTF.
- If you travel when SHTF you should avoid as much population as possible and you should stay away from highways and exits.
- You need to have different means of travel when SHTF.
- If you travel when SHTF you should avoid using fire, you shouldn’t make noise and you should always be on guard.
- Having the ability to stay hidden and to see in the dark will give you the upper hand if you travel when SHTF.
- Proper clothing and footwear are a must if you have to travel when SHTF. You will need movement liberty while at the same time you shouldn’t make any noise.
- Plan your supplies to last and you should know in advance what you need to leave behind if you travel when SHTF.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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