Bugging out should only ever be a last resort. I can't tell you how many new survivalists I've met who have this grand notion that they'll build a little cabin in the woods and live their days off the land. This is so far from the truth it's almost a joke. Bugging out is your escape plan. It's like your failsafe that you should only ever instigate as a last resort, as it relies on you leaving the safety of your home, along with the majority of your supplies. Always, always hunker down in your home to ride out a crisis, and only ever leave should you find you and your family in immediate danger. This is when you need to bug out, and there's a few rules to follow to keep yourself safe. So pay attention, and before you wander off into the hills, make sure you've mastered these:
Be able to defend yourself
The first rule is to never let yourself be a vulnerable target, so you've got to have a number of ways to defend yourself. I'd advise to always carry a handgun, and ensure you've got plenty of ammunition if you ever need to use it. Get a canister of pepper spray
, and have a taser handy. I've also got a big hunting knife that sits on my opposite side to my gun holster, and my hunting rifle is a good backup gun that offers a tad more range if you need to fend off against a number of targets.
Be able to warm yourself
Hypothermia is a killer, and in bad conditions it can quickly become a life-threatening situation if you get wet, or are exposed in a big storm. When you're bugging out you need to find a shelter that can protect you from the elements, and have the appropriate protective gear for the environment you're bugging out in. I'd also recommend having a couple of different ways to start a fire, and ensure you've got enough firestarters so you can get a good blaze going, even when it's wet.
Be able to improvise
One of the best things you can learn to keep yourself safe is how to improvise and construct tools and weapons from your surrounding environment. You may lose your gun, or run out of ammunition, so knowing how to build a spear or make a rudimentary bow and arrow can get you armed again. It's also good to understand the basics of shelter building, just in case you need to throw together a quick lean-to in a pinch. You'll thank me once you've got a roof up over your head and it starts raining.
Be able to live off the land
If you have any experience hunting you know just how hard it is to catch your own food. The animals are not just sitting around waiting for you to come and catch them. You need to be smart, setting traps and actively going out hunting, which will be much simpler if you've had some experience prior to the SHTF event. So ask around, and find a friend who heads out every season and get a little practice in. A fresh boar tastes a whole lot better cooked over a fire than an MRE. Trust me.
Be willing to stay away from people
Now I know not all people are bad, but I don't have a whole lot of faith in random strangers once the rule of law no longer applies and people learn they're able to take what they want without repercussions. Stay away from people as much as you can, because even your friendly neighbors will do savage things if it makes a difference in keeping their family alive. The only time this won't apply is if you need help from someone, perhaps you've been injured or need medical attention, and without help you're going to die. In this scenario, the risk of making contact with people is less risky than hiding in your bug out, so it's worth the risk.
Be ready with a real plan
Bugging out should only ever be your last option, but if you want to survive you need to ensure you've got a real plan. You need to be clear on the exact circumstances where it makes sense to leave your home, and ensure you've got the information you need to stay safe on the road. Consider gathering intelligence like potential routes to your desired destination, weather forecasts and conditions, and of course, have your bug out bag packed and ready to go with at least 72 hours worth of supplies. Just because you've only got a day's hike to your intended bug out location, it doesn't mean that things won't go wrong when the crisis strikes. It's far better to plan for the worst, and be ready for anything.
Be able to blend in
Even though being decked out in full camouflage gear is a lot of fun, in a crisis this is going to paint a target on your back. Random strangers will know you were ready for this disaster, and it isn't even a stretch of the imagination to reason that the backpack you're carrying is full of really great gear. What you want to do is blend in with all the other survivors. Nothing fancy, and nothing too practical. Just imagine what your neighbors are wearing, and follow suit, because the more you blend in, the higher the chances you're not singled out and targeted by any criminals looking for their next score. When it comes to bugging out, if you want to keep you and your family safe it's just a matter of following these rules. Of course, bugging out is never a good option, but when you've no other choice, it's important you take every step possible to make sure you make it.