This year we saw how people in California were forced to evacuate and how the story repeated month after month. Some flew off to stay with friends and relatives, while others were forced to stay in improvised camps. Their stories and the media coverage should be solid reasons to plan for the future and establish a base camp.
Gathering with friends and neighbors to establish a base camp can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Not only you can pool your resources, but it can also become your home away from home. Having even a temporary base camp can help you make it through pretty much any disaster. You will stay in a safe place until you are able to go home again.
What is a base camp?
In a few words, a base camp can be defined as your base of operation after you are forced to evacuate. Once you leave your residence, it’s the main place to sustain life for short periods. Simply put, is the place where most of your remaining supplies (or what you managed to salvage) are kept.
A living area where you will find some sort of comfort similar to what you were used at home. This of course, as your new situation, defines them. The base camp is your safest place in times of crisis and should not be confused with a bug out place.
A base camp provides a sense of security and assures survival as long as the people in it participate. They have to plan in advance and put it all together before the brown stuff hits the fan.
Planning to establish a base camp
You may have your bug-out bag fully packed and your vehicle may be overflowing with supplies and gadgets. Are you ready to go right? However, without having an escape route planned covering the basics, you won’t be going anywhere. Not everyone has the luxury of a well-equipped bug-out shelter waiting for them.
Long before any disaster hits your area, you should have a plan drawn and be able to act upon it. The smart prepper knows that during a disaster things can change over time. Hour to hour in some cases and they also have a plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. No matter how many backup plans you have, the key basics for all of them are similar. You need to worry about where, when, who, what, why and how.
You need to figure out where you will run to when SHTF. The area you chose for your base camp could even be your fishing cabin. However, the place you select as your base camp should have a few characteristics regarding protection.
It should be free of natural threats, such as floods or landslides. It should be easily defensible from the human element. Not to mention that it should have access to water and food sources that can supplement yours.
It should be easily accessible for you and inconspicuous for the unknowing passerby. Your base camp should have enough space to accommodate your family and friends but also your supplies. These are things you need to take into consideration before picking a base camp.
Related reading: Planning A Shelter In The Wild
Usually, when the signs point to a single scenario, you having to evacuate, you should be out the door as soon as possible. When it comes to evacuating, the sooner, the better I say. A bug out plan should have a window frame that should be law. Most experts recommend leaving home at the first sign of danger and less than 30 minutes after it has all started to unfold.
All the members of your party should be contacted in the first five minutes. Everyone should know that you are on the move and they should follow. One or two confirmations regarding when and where you will meet are required.
When it comes to when you need to start planning, if you haven’t done it by now, it’s time to start. All those who will join you should be stockpiling food, water, medicine, fuel and ammo. You won’t be able to make a quick stop to resupply on your way to the base camp.
This is the time when you have to plan who will join you. Is just you and your family or your group include friends and neighbors? Are the same age-group or are there members with special needs or someone who needs constant care (like an infant)? Who is in charge and who will delegate various duties when the time calls for it?
These are all questions you need to have an answer for and plan accordingly. The type of things everyone should agree on long before the plan needs to be put in motion. As you can imagine, there are serious consequences that can arise if only one person has to carry the entire group. The group needs to share individual strengths and mitigate the impact of the member’s weaknesses.
If someone in your group has medical training, then it makes sense that said a person should be in charge of all medical situations. He or she should be responsible for supplies, but also to put in place hygiene and sanitation protocols. Just to be clear, when I say “responsible for supplies” this doesn’t mean he should stockpile of everything, but rather make lists for others and ration and improvise based on all members have.
When it comes to camp security, all members are responsible, while those with military and even hunting experience should be the main deciders when it comes to weapons and security.
Recommended reading: Types Of People You Need In Your Survival Group
I’m not going to write here about what everyone needs to bring along since there is not a single list that could include everything. No list can guarantee success in a survival situation because the randomness factor always comes into play.
However, I’m going to stress one more time the basics needed to survive:
- Food and water
- Medical supplies, hygiene and sanitation products to cover the needs
- Security items and food procuring materials
- Tools needed for various building projects and expected repairs
- All important documents for each person/family
And I could go own, but you need to figure out what you need based on your needs. However, I can tell you that you need to leave at home the things you will be able to make from materials you can find in the base camp area.
Some may ask why do all of this and plan for it? Why do you need the help of others? Well, without a plan you will lose focus, and you will keep on living in your comfort zone. You will spend your time doing other and perhaps unproductive things rather than planning to survive. Without having things figured out and planned, you will end up in a world of hurt.
And when it comes to the help of others, things are much more complex than they appear. Being part of a group allows you to benefit from and depend upon the skills of others. You can’t know it all when it comes to survival, and it’s better to have the right people besides you. Not to mention that having familiar faces around provides emotional support and it will help you push through.
This part is perhaps the most difficult for many people. They have to figure out how to get to their base camp. How to involve others in their survival plans, but also how to take advantage of both human and natural resources.
There are many “hows” that can arise when building a survival plan and they can vary from plan to plan. Some need to figure out how to carry all their resources and what to do if they will be forced to go by foot. Others will have to plan how long can they stay at their base camp and so on. What I can say is that you need to prepare and ask the “how?” relevant to your situation.
Setting up your base camp
When you establish a place for your base camp and everyone agrees on it, you need to start setting it up. You will have to organize areas for kitchen and medical, for supplies storage, but also where the latrines are going to be set up.
If you brought along a lot of fuel, you need to build an area for it, far away from living areas. Latrines must be dug away from food storage and food processing areas. If you have a cabin as a base camp, shelter is partially covered, if not you need to set up something sturdy as soon as possible.
Once your base camp is established you need to take stock of your supplies. Figure out what you have and what you need. Based on those observations tasks should be delegated for water and food procurement.
You will need to establish a security perimeter around your base camp and your food supplies should be protected from wild animals.
My recommendations for a base camp
Although I have a bug-out place equipped with almost everything I need, I also toyed with the thought of having to set-up a base camp for friends and neighbors. If I have to do so, I plan to choose a vacation home of a dear friend as the base camp. Both our families are prepared to do so and it can house quite a big number of people in case needed.
I’ve chosen his place due to the following reasons:
- It is located in an area where flooding is not an issue
- It has only two neighbors and both are quite far from his property.
- His home is easily defensible and it’s out of sight
- The pantry is well-equipped and it has enough supplies
- The neighbors are close friends of his and they can help us with various chores if needed
- There is plenty of room for other people to join us
- It has two escape routes that can be used in case we need to evacuate, one “somehow vehicle friendly” and one accessible by foot
- I’m quite familiar with the area and region and we should have no problem foraging and hunting
As a plan B, there is a hunting cabin that is used by a few people from that region. It’s deep in the woods and it has all the basics to help you survive. People even bring supplies and there is a list with “must-have” items and all of them chip in.
If you are planning to establish a base camp, follow my suggestions from the above when picking the place. You can even add more to the list based on your needs and the number of people joining you.
As I said before a base camp is quite different from a bug-out place, but it can be build up to become one. A base camp is designed only as a temporary survival shelter for you and your friends or neighbors. Once long-term survival must be considered, the base camp needs to evolve into a bug out home. Everyone will need to re-adapt and contribute to making things work.
A base camp doesn’t have to be something complex and you don’t need all the resources in the world to make it work. You need good people, good knowledge and the will to survive.