If your preparedness plan includes a long distance bug out, there are certain considerations you need to pay attention to if you want to reach your safe haven. Bugging out without having a decent preparation plan and a specific target is just a gamble and you’re betting with your own safety.
While many people have no other choice than rushing to the woods if it hits the fan, there are those who have invested a lot of time and money in a secure bug out location. Even if you managed to build a bug out location in a secluded area, there is still one big obstacle you need to face; the long distance you have to travel to get there safe.
Although preparing for a long distance bug out may have certain similarities with every other bug out plan, there are a few specific items to consider:
Having a lengthy route plan is a must
If you have to travel over long distances you need to plan your route accordingly and you need to correctly identify the choke points and population centers prone to civil unrest. You should have alternative routes and you should grade them based on the detour delay they will cause. Not to mention that you need to calculate your gas supply so that every route can be covered. Most of the time, this means having extra fuel stored in your car or any other bug out vehicle you plan on using. You should also plan alternative routes that pass through rough terrain, such as mountains, waterways or unimproved roads. Your vehicle should get you across the terrain that follows your pre-selected routes without the risk of breaking down.
Weapons and concealment
If you are planning for a long distance bug out you need to have the means to carry your weapons in a manner that makes them accessible, but not obvious to prying eyes. When people see your car, they should believe that is just a regular family going on vacation and not that the Doomsday Preppers have come to town. You should carry on you only small firearms and anything else that can’t be concealed should be stashed in the car. You should find both accessible and inaccessible places (as a backup) to hide your guns. I’ve seen a foldable rifle concealed in a teddy bear and I would have never guessed there is something there. The owner told me that it’s his daughter’s toy and it provides a good backup plan for bugging out without raising suspicions.
Suggested reading: Five guns every prepper should own
Conflict avoidance is a must during a long distance bug out
If you need to travel over a long distance to reach your bug out location you need to prepare your mindset and stay as calm as possible. While the most important thing would be to avoid all contact with people that won’t always be possible. If you need to interact with someone keep it short, but be polite as you don’t want to start a conflict. Don’t engage people unless you’re in danger and you need to defend yourself. Smaller communities tend to stay united and you will be seen as a threat since you are an outsider. What may seem like a small debate or altercation at first can turn into something much bigger and you must keep in mind that they have the upper hand. It’s better to avoid conflicts since you’re in unfamiliar territory and there are many unknowns you will have to deal with. Be on your way as soon as possible and avoid making friends if you want to reach your destination.
If you see a roadblock, is time for route B
It doesn’t matter who made the roadblock, locals or government agencies, you should never willingly approach a roadblock. If you do so be prepared to surrender everything you own. Every roadblock is set for a reason and while some people may think it’s just a regular checkpoint during a time of crisis, I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry. There isn’t any reason in this world that would make me enter into a zone where you’re exposed to direct fire from multiple angles. I prefer to be cautious and find a way around.
There’s nothing more precious than gas for a long distance bug out
Even if you bring extra gas for your long trip, things can always get worse and you may find yourself in nasty situation. You should assume that at some point in time, you will need to borrow, steal or even beg for fuel in order to stay on the road. Having a backup vehicle like a mountain bike may seem a good alternative, but if you still have a long way to go and you have a family of four, things may not work out. You can abandon your vehicle and supplies and take only the essentials, bud do you have any guarantee you will make it to your bug out location? It’s better to have a simple siphon and pump to refuel if necessary. How you will get the fuel depends entirely on your condition, the crisis in effect and your morality.
There’s no place for remorse and your stuff is not worth the trouble
Although it may not sound like an option for most of us, giving up our supplies and going further with only the essentials may become a reality. We can’t predict the future and no matter how well we prepare, there are still things that are beyond our control. If you need to abandon your car and if you have to continue on foot, you should carefully plan your bug out bag. Make sure you conceal your car (using a tarp covered with local vegetation is the easiest way to do it) since you might return for it later and take with you only the things you need to survive. Don’t carry everything in your bag and distribute the weight over your entire body (use the pockets from your pants, vest and tie things to your belt if you have to. Most people won’t have the heart to let it go because we humans have a hoarding mentality embedded deep into our genes and we are used to collecting all sorts of stuff. Your survival gear is of great value to you and so it should be, but is it worth risking your life for it?
A cache should always be considered for a long distance bug out
Caching supplies is a survival technique with ancient roots and even the early pioneers used this method when forced to travel over long distances. Since every bug out plan needs to be tested, you might as well look for ideal caching spots when doing your test drill. You can cache guns, ammo, medical supplies and even fuel if you find the right spot. When planning to cache supplies for your bug out route or for any emergency situation, you have to consider the following aspects: preparation, security and accessibility. If something happens and you are completely cut off form retrieving your vehicle supplies, you know at least that out there, a cache is waiting for you.
Recommended article: Caching supplies a life-saving aid for every crisis
Have one or more observation points and a communication plan
When you have to deal with a long distance bug out, being able to communicate with someone at your destination makes a great difference for your morale and tips the balance in your favor. First, you will make sure that things are calm at your finish point and that your bug out location is still standing, and second, knowing there is still someone dear out there will give you the strength to continue. While cell phones, short-wave and ham radios may only work in some areas and only if the event didn’t damage them, you should plan for multiple methods and means of communication. If communication is no longer possible you should have at least one observation point before each stopping zone, may it be meeting point or final destination. An observation point will allow you to observe and analyze the situation without being spotted and it will give you enough time to plan your next action, based on the new information you gathered.
Know your area: look, listen and move only when it’s safe
A pair of binoculars should be part of your survival kit if you are planning for a long distance bug out and even a small chest-mounted pair can be useful. You should always know your area to discover what lies ahead and if you want to approach populated areas without being detected. Having a radio helps tuning in and listening for signs that will clear your doubts or confirm them. Having recon routes and the tools to gather the proper information makes the critical difference between a conflict and safe passage. You should always move when you are certain there aren’t any obstacles that can prevent you for reaching your safe haven.
A must read article: Bugging out without leaving a trail
If you are planning for a long distance bug out, the things listed in this article should be covered entirely since traveling over a long distance during a crisis delivers many unknown factors. There are certain events you cannot predict, but when it comes to making your bug out plan you should consider all the possible options and the challenges they bring. If you are not sure you can make it to your destination, you might as well bug in and hope for the best.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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