How to travel through hostile environments

How to travel through hostile environmentsDuring a SHTF event, potential hostiles could be anywhere and only your wits will help you get to your safe place. If you are forced to travel through hostile environments where the human factor poses a real danger you need to have a plan and some common sense.

If things heat up in your area, you must leave quickly and quietly if you don’t want to become part of a gruesome statistic. If you get stuck in the wrong place, chances are you will be attacked by thieves or other elements of society that wish you harm. In order to avoid capture and move undetected, there are a few rules you should follow.

Strategies for safe travel through hostile environments:

  1. Blending in against all odds

Under pressure, most people cannot concentrate and they fail to blend in as they make obvious mistakes that would give away their position. Making noise and light should be avoided, especially if you travel at night. You can blend in easily as long as you follow your senses when you travel through hostile environments. Your brain is a powerful survival tool and it is designed to keep you alive, even when danger is lurking at every corner.  It has the ability to filter out or ignore information that would create stimulus: sounds, movements, color and threats. By doing so, it will prevent you from acting in a way that would trigger a predator’s instinct. As a quick example, your brain is able to ignore the sound of a clock or ceiling fan, but it will trigger a fast response if you hear glass break or any other sound that implies a dangerous scenario.

Choosing the proper clothing is also another factor that needs proper planning and you should always wear the colors of your environment. If you need to travel through hostile environments, you should at least know some details regarding those environments. If you get stuck in a forest, wearing camouflage would be the obvious choice. If you get stuck walmartin the city, things change completely and you need to choose your clothing based on the environment and time of the day.

If you travel during nighttime, you should wear dark clothing (blue, black and grey) that will not reflect light. Leather should be avoided, because it reflects light, but also because it makes noise when rubbed against itself. You should keep in mind that you need to get rid of accessories such as sunglasses, belt buckles, watches when you travel through hostile environments as those items will twinkle like a beacon. The same goes for the bulky items from your backpack that could make noise if dangled at a fast pace.

If you travel during daylight, you have to figure out if there are any people around. If that’s the case, you need to make sure you are able to blend with them. Look at what they are wearing and leave your tactical clothing behind, travel like they do and act how they act. Your bug out bag or get home bag should not be anything extravagant and the bag you’re carrying should look like a normal backpack. If there are no people around, you should not be out in the open and you should use back alleys and every other urban element that provides you with cover and keeps you out of sight.

  1. You need to assess the situation

To understand how you should travel through hostile environments, you have to stop and assess the situation in a calmly manner.  If you are in the wrong part of town and in danger because of who you are, you should not let your emotions control you. You should not initiate a conflict with the people around you as most rioters and protesters are just waiting for a reason to get violent. There is a thing called mob mentality and you should avoid being dragged in it. You are better off to distance yourself from the crowd and you can say whatever you want about the mob when you get to safety.  It’s better if you swallow your pride when someone throws emotional outbursts at you. Don’t draw attention and get to the outside of the crowd as soon as possible. You have to understand that if someone throws a punch at you, everyone else will join in and you have no chance of dealing with multiple attackers at the same time. Forget about using your gun as rioters may turn into shooters as well. It’s not a survival of the fittest contest and you need to detach yourself both physically and emotionally from the crowd.


Related reading: Know your region before disaster strikes


  1. Don’t run, just don’t!

When faced with a difficult situation most people think that running is their best chance of evading and escaping a threat as quickly as possible. Running will trigger a predator’s instinct and you will only draw attention to yourself. Not to mention that running blindly due to panic will get you lost and will eventually get you into trouble.  When you travel through hostile environments, you’re better off if you walk at a steady pace, rather than running like there’s no tomorrow. Increase the step count gradually as you follow the map you brought along and check if the alternative routes are obstructed or not. It is important to pay attention to your environment and look for available escape routes, long before the triggering event. If you travel daily with your faced glued to your phone, you will not be able to notice the obvious and less obvious routes of your town. Next time you take the bus or your travel by foot, take the time and look around and you will be amazed by how many things you notice. Things that you never saw were there in the first place.

  1. Frequent and brief stops to catch your breath

When you travel through hostile environments, you need to stop frequently to catch your breath if you want to keep a steady pace. It will help you maintain a certain level of silence and you will also be able to acquire new information to change your plans if needed. Stop and listen as you can’t predict how a crisis will unfold. Always wait standing to be able and stay alert and move suddenly if the situation requires you to do so. Even if you are fit and you think you don’t need to stop, you should be vigilant about your surroundings in order to reevaluate your plans. Stopping often when you travel through hostile environments will also give you the chance to be observant. You will be able to approach corners cautiously and avoid exposing yourself. Watch for movements in dark places and in the shadows and pay attention to unnatural sounds.

  1. Anticipate obstacles before it’s too late

For this strategy to work, you need to know you region and like I said before, the more you know about your living area the better you will become at preventing road blocks or any other obstacles. Knowing the layout of the streets can reveal any upcoming obstacles and it will dictate how your escape path changes. If you know there is a shopping area ahead and there are looters all around the city, logic dictates to stay away from that area. If there is a police station ahead or an iconic landmark nearby and people are protesting for human rights, you might as well stay away from those areas. Knowing about sensitive areas ahead of time will work in your favor when you have to travel through hostile environments.


Suggested reading: Ask yourself these questions when a crisis arises


  1. Use your environment to stay covered

Every environment can offer some sort of cover and protection if you pay attention to it. There are various ways you can use your environment to your advantage and blending in with the buildings by staying close to them is indicated for urban environments.  Walking on the side of the street that has no streetlights or avoid crossing in front of storefronts will keep you concealed. You should avoid parking lots, wide streets and every other open area that makes you a possible target. If you travel through hostile environments an open area such as a pasture or wide street should be avoided at all costs because you will get exposed, but you will also reveal your direction of travel. Open areas can be monitored from different angles and you never know who could be watching.

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  1. There is no room for trust anymore

Trust is hard to get even during the daily routines of our lives, so what makes you think you can trust people when the brown stuff hits the fan? You should trust no one when you travel through hostile environments because everyone you don’t know personally may be part of the problem. If you are on your own and if there are too many unknowns for the ordeal you’re going through is better if you avoid other people. While there is safety in number and it can provide you with a solution to your immediate problem, is just not the time to make alliances. You can do that once the threat is no longer present or the event has ended. Forming a survival group doesn’t happen on the spot or overnight and you should keep your distance until the situation is contained if you don’t want to get hurt.

Traveling through hostile environments requires a keen sense of observation and situational awareness. Keeping a good balance between obliviousness and paranoia is required when traveling through hostile environments. If you can sense danger before stumbling across it will greatly increase your chances of survival.

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6 thoughts on “How to travel through hostile environments

  1. Why do you say this Ben? I am 70 some odd years old and have been through hell and back. I have learned these rules through training and the hard way and have the wounds to show it. Although I doubt most survivors will get this far I can take you places where these rules would save your life; in fact you learn to crawl an inch per hour in the ground. Unless experienced and trained these ideas are rules that could save your lives.
    Semper Fi.

  2. A small addition for your good suggestions. IN stethoscope and stalking you learn to watch your target and only move when they are not looking. If you thing you are the target note the exact position of others and look away then look back and see if they moved closer. They may follow or they may attack. TRY and get something between you.

  3. Good basics. More suggestions. KNOW the terrain you are traveling thru. Hwy ways, local stores, Zip codes of towns. Even as far of names of people with in the area, phone numbers and kids name. Anything and every thing and can provide a personal link to the area when challenge by those that may oppose you from entering or traveling thru their areas(easily provided on many facebooks pages). Copies of deeds, envelopes with mailing address, bills(real or not) will all produce a calming effect on those which are leary of your right to be within that area. When traveling with multiple autos also attempt a low profile. A prius is better than a 4×4 ram loaded to the max or a surplus 2 1/2 ton or 5 ton truck. Bottom line? Plan the move well, rehearse/update yearly and always have a plan B.

  4. “Pathetic article.
    Prepper’s Will should be embarrassed for having posted this”.

    Ah, a troll speaks.

    Combat experienced and other ‘trained’ personnel will read this article but may have different views to some aspects. They are however aware that it’s a complex process when transiting into or across openly hostile environments.

    I’d like to offer ‘Ben Leucking’ two thoughts and will welcome his view on the differing techniques on moving at night and day across the same territory.

    In daylight ‘they, the bad guys’ have a distinct advantage.
    At night you have the advantage. Or you did but not now.

    So why is night no longer the friend of the ‘fugitive’ let alone military?
    How would you combat or cope with that problem?

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