Considering the world we’ve suffered through the last year, it’s refreshing to see just how many people are more prepared than they’ve ever been. This pandemic was a wake-up call. One that many realists amongst you are now quick to point out that we’re only hanging on by a thread. So we’re all going overboard with our survival planning, setting up bug out locations and filling basements with gear and supplies to make it through the next big event.
But what I’d like to challenge all of you today, is to consider what comes next. Sure, you can have the best laid “bug out” plans in the world, but have you thought about more than just the initial event? Have you considered how your family would survive, long-term, if we were to go into an extended SHTF reality? Most survivalists who are new to this lifestyle are setting their sights on the “now,” like making sure they’ve got a few months’ worth of food and water, as well as survival items like a knife, so I want to cover everything else you should be thinking about.
Where will you go?
Heading up into “the mountains” in response to a crisis is a fanciful notion that will most likely get you killed. Forgetting the fact that you’re likely to be trespassing on someone else’s land, you’re going to be one of tens of thousands of people who all have similar thinking. Smart survivalists already know where they’re going to go. They’ve built bug-out locations and homestead retreats already, and if not, they’re rapidly making plans to get this organized while there’s still time. Do everything in your power to ensure you’ve got at least one primary survival retreat, and one backup location. Along with all the tools, resources and supplies you need to continue to survive over the long term.
Who comes with you?
The lone ranger mentality of survival is one that’s completely at odds with our needs as humans for social interaction. No matter how confident you are in your own abilities, you’re going to need help. Initially, you may only be thinking about the needs of your immediately family. Your plan is to keep them safe during the crisis. But once you start looking long term, other issues arise. Think about the skills you will need in the community. Who is going to be doing the hunting, and who is going to be doing the building? Who will take care of those who get sick, and who will be looking after the fields? If you want to achieve anything more than just the most primitive level of survival, you need to bring more people with you.
What will you eat?
Any natural resources in your area will be stripped bare in the first few months, and you won’t be able to rely on your hunting or fishing skills as you fight for the same catch as thousands of others who are all in the same boat. My advice is to hunt and trap as supplements to your stockpile of food, but to also consider what you’re going to need to get a renewable supply of food. That means gardening. Which means thinking about the tools and equipment you’ll need to prepare the ground, and the heirloom seeds for your crops. We’ve even sowed a few wild in the area surrounding our primary bug out, in the hope they can establish themselves naturally now and we won’t be starting from complete zero
What about quality of life?
Sure, you can technically survive off-grid in a cabin for the foreseeable future, but at what point do you start trying to improve your quality of life? Small changes, like running water, actual power, as well as heating and insulation will make a big difference to your quality of life. Many of which will be almost impossible to organize once the SHTF. So work this into your plans effective immediately. We aim to make one small upgrade to our bug-out location on every trip we make out there, so it never feels like we’re drowning under an overwhelming amount of jobs, and can actually see the real progress we’re making.
What about the future?
With two young kids once of my biggest concerns is their continued learning. I’ve seen how bad “home based learning” can get from the schools, and ever since I’ve been acquiring workbooks and practical educational materials to homeschool them. Despite barely graduating myself, I do see a value in having my kids understand key subjects around this way of life. Like math, that we use to plan and measure every project we build, or the science that goes into devices like our radio or water turbine. Each bit of knowledge goes into my survival library, to ensure we’ve got the best possible base to continue building on.
What about society?
We touched on this in an earlier point, but at some stage you’re going to have to decide how you and yours will interact with society again. Whether that’s a return to normal like we’ve always enjoyed, or some other version of that. Because who’s to know what kind of lawlessness has now taken hold. Perhaps we simply pick back up where it all left off. Or perhaps society has new, more violent undertones because of what we’ve all just gone through. I don’t know about you, but I think that once everyone knows just how desperate it can get, you’re going to need to be very careful letting your guard down.
Of course, the chances that we go into a long-term SHTF situation is rather small. We’ve got a strong society, and despite events like the recent pandemic, what we humans have demonstrated rather well is our ability to bounce back. My only advice, is to think about what happens if we don’t. Your ability to survive is only as good as the planning you do, and smart survivalists are those who are preparing to survive on a long-term timeframe.