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Sibi Totique
1,074 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think it would be nice to bring up an old subject but from an alternative perspective: Bugging Out, but doing so as a group. If you would bug out with for example your family members or friends how would you approach this differently compared to an individual perspective?

What experiences do you have from hiking and similar situations that can be applied to this type of event?

What experience should be brought along both by individuals and what should be divided among the group?

This is my suggestion:
Bugging Out as A group
The Bug Out Bag (BOB) is a tool focused on providing an individual with the tools and equipment to survive a shorter trip to a safer distance in case of a sudden threat. The BOB can also be referred to as a Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) bag or I’m Never Coming Home (INCH) bag. In my view it’s far more likely that an individual would evacuate, or be bugging out together with family members and friends than doing so alone. This is the subject that this post will address: Tactics for bugging out as a larger or smaller group.

The size of groups can vary but ideally groups should have four to six members. The reason why this is an ideal number is that such a group can share the basic equipment needed: Shelter in form of for example a tent and stove for preparing food just name a few items. If a party consists of more than 6 people I would suggest that the group is split into smaller sub-groups that share tent and stoves. Carrying a fully equipped BOB is hard for a single individual; a single individual can’t carry all forms of specialized equipment. A larger group allows for more specialized tools and equipment that too be brought than what a single individual can carry.

Individual Bug Out Bag
[ ] Long sleeve base layer shirt (I recommend Merino wool)
[ ] Short sleeve base layer shirt
[ ] Change of underwear
[ ] Hat or Watch cap
[ ] Gloves
[ ] Buff or Shemag
[ ] Shell jacket (Waterproof and wind proof)
[ ] Warm long sleeve shirt
[ ] Heavy duty pants
[ ] Poncho, Rain clothing or Bivanorak
[ ] Hiking boots
[ ] 2 pair of Extra socks
[ ] Watch

Choose a backpack with a steel or aluminum frame. If you’re going to carry a heavy load over some distance you’re going to need a good backpack. If the frame is internal or external is a question of what you prefer, both have advantages and disadvantages. Backpacks with external frames are generally stronger and can be used to carry other things than your bag like a wounded person or a heavy tank of water. Pack your items in waterproof bags; use different colors so that you know what’s inside the different bags. I also recommend that you get a waterproof bag or container for your cell phone. I suggest that you put certain equipment like your first aid kit in locations that are easily accessible if you would need them. Always put the same items in the same location in your bag so you don’t have to spend much time looking for your items, this also makes easier to see if something would be missing from your pack. Always carry at least one knife and your pocket survival kit on your person in case you would lose your backpack.

[ ] Sleeping bag (Sleeping bag liners helps to extend the lifetime of your sleeping bag)
[ ] Sleeping pad, Hammock or Hennessy Hammock.

[ ] Flashlight or/and Headlamp (LED)
[ ] Extra batteries (Lithium)

[ ] Matches in waterproof container
[ ] Lighter
[ ] Fire steel
[ ] Tinder

[ ] Fixed blade knife
[ ] Back up knife: Folding knife, Multi tool or Swiss Army Knife for example
[ ] Sharpener

Pocket Survival kit
[ ] Matches
[ ] Fire steel
[ ] Snare wire
[ ] Wire saw
[ ] Sewing kit
[ ] Button compass
[ ] Safety pins
[ ] Whistle
[ ] Candle
[ ] Small led lamp
[ ] Small knife or razor blade
[ ] Fishing kit
[ ] Pencil
[ ] Water purification tablets
[ ] Painkillers
[ ] Anti diarrhea tablets
[ ] Antihistamines
[ ] Potassium permangante
[ ] Antibiotics
[ ] Condom or Alok Sak

[ ] One or Two Water bottles (Nalgene or SIGG)
[ ] Water bladder for your backpack; Camelback, Nalgene or similar system.
[ ] Water purification tablets

[ ] Freeze dried food or MRE:s (at least 6 meals for 72 hours)
[ ] Powerbars, Flapjack, beef jerkey, trailmix or other snacks
[ ] Tea, coffee, sugar and powdered milk
[ ] Salt and Pepper

[ ] Spork (Or Knife, Fork and Spoon)
[ ] Plate and Cup
[ ] P-38 can opener

[ ] Map
[ ] Waterproof container for map
[ ] Compass
[ ] Cash or Gold/Silver
[ ] Notebook
[ ] Pen

[ ] Roll of toilet paper (in waterproof bag)
[ ] Soap
[ ] Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Dental Floss
[ ] Razor
[ ] Hand disinfection
[ ] Insect repellant
[ ] Sun block or Skin care lotion

[ ] 550 Paracord
[ ] Small First aid and blister kit
[ ] Sunglasses
[ ] Special personal needs (extra prescription glasses, medication etc)

Equipment shared by the group:
Every individual should have a personal Bug Out Bag but some of the equipment should be divided among the members most importantly:
[ ] Tent
[ ] Tent repair kit and Multi Tool
[ ] Stove, fuel, spare parts. Example of Stoves could be Trangia stoves, Multi fuel stoves, Jetboil
[ ] Cooking vessels
[ ] Steel wool, mop and washing up liquid (I recommend Fairy)
[ ] Fuel for the stove
[ ] Water purification filter
[ ] Map, Waterproof container for map, GPS, Extra batteries, Compass
[ ] Large first aid kit with basic medicines.

Examples of other items that can be divided among members of the group are:
[ ] Compact radio with spare batteries
[ ] Axe, Machete, Parang or Folding Saw
[ ] Map, Waterproof container for map, GPS, Extra batteries, Compass
[ ] Binoculars
[ ] Signal flares, Signal mirror, Chemical Lightsticks or Spot (Satellite GPS Messenger)

At what point should one bug out?
The hardest questions for a Bug Out scenario is when one should be bugging out. What kind of circumstances should trigger such a response? Here Risk Assessments can help to identify potential threats but in a real crisis situation one will always have to make decisions based upon incomplete and often contradicting information. This will also have to be done under time pressure. It’s hard to manage and understand a crisis even for government agencies with enormous resources and a large staff. Knowledge and research about potential threats can help one understand how previous events have unfolded and what consequences they have had. Researching different risks in form of Man-Made and Natural Disasters that is likely to manifest in your local area can help you make better decisions based on limited information.

It’s also important that groups create routines for establishing contact if electronic communications goes down or are interrupted. Meeting points and alternative meeting points and possible routes should also be addressed. If one group decides to evacuate, where does this group leave messages to other concerning the route taken and the people how have evacuated.

The March
A briefing before the march is important so that all members know what intended route that the party has intends to travel. Where should the members rally if the group members get separated? If the group is large walkie-talkies can be a useful tool for communicating between the different members of a large group especially if it’s stretched out during a march or travelling in different vehicles.

If the party travels by foot the party should stop after 15-30 min and regulate clothing so that people don’t sweat or are getting cold. If the members sweat too much dehydration may soon become a serious problem. When stopping also adjust the packs so that they are carried comfortably. Make a habit of often checking that your vital equipment like your knife rests in its sheath. When a group makes a stop also make sure that all the members are present. Never let any individual stray away alone without the group stopping, if something must be done members should always try to stay together with another individual. The pace of the party must be governed by the weakest members in the party, if members get to tired the risk of accidents and injury increases so make sure to make a short stop once per hour or after passing through rough terrain.

Making and breaking camp
When a group makes camp for the night it’s important that every member of the party helps out with the different tasks that must be done. Some of the tasks that should be done are:
• Raising the tent or arranging shelter.
• Collecting fire wood and get a fire going in a secure location. Whenever there is fire wood available this should be used to save fuel for the stoves.
• Prepare a evening meal
• Collecting and purifying water

From the time that a party wakes up in the morning until the party has eaten breakfast, cleaned up and attended hygiene, packed tents and are ready to leave normally takes 1-2 hours.

• The group are likely to have more areas of expertise than a single individual
• In case that an individual get injured the others can give care or in a worst case scenario carry this individual on a stretcher.
• More specialized equipment can be brought helping the group to cope with more situations.
• The carrying load for each individual will be lower if groups share tents and stoves.

• Moving with a large group often takes longer time
• The group can have members with a poor physical fitness, children, elderly or even injured people that slows the phase of the group down
• Some members are likely to have low quality equipment/clothing or lacking some equipment

Another important aspect is getting to know the other members of your group. Engaging in activities like hiking is an excellent way both to test equipment, routes, clothing, increase fitness, getting experience and getting to know the other members of a possible group. What are the strength and weaknesses of the members? What skills do they possess and what skills do they lack? What skills can the different members help each other obtain? Working out differences within the group before a real crisis is also important; a real crisis will be extremely hard both physically and emotionally for a group evacuating an area. Latent conflict within the group may then become a big problem. Learning how to deal with conflict within a group is something that should be dealt with before an emergency. It’s hard to know how people will react under extreme pressure, but hiking, camping and hunting trips before a real emergency will provide some opportunities to deal with these issues before.

Bug Out Vehicles
Vehicles can make it possible to travel over distances that would take weeks to travel in a matter of hours if the conditions are excellent. A vehicle intended to be used when bugging out is often referred to as a Bug Out Vehicle or BOV. Vehicles also allow heavier equipment to be brought along. However, during an large scale evacuation from a city or urban area roads can turn into to traffic jams that can stretch for miles where the traffic bacilli comes to stand still. This problem may be reduced in some cases by taking roads that normally aren’t trafficked but is still not a guarantee. In addition to cars and trucks other alternatives can be used depending on terrain like boats, mountain bikes, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or even air planes depending on your situation and budget.

One tactic that is often discusses is the option to stash heavy equipment along possible Bug Out routes or at alternative locations like the homes of family members or friends. Some equipment can be outstanding for wilderness life and survival, however these items are often too heavy or bulky too be carried over long distances witch make caching them a possible alternative solution. However there are of course risks with stashing equipment, it can be stolen or destroyed by weather just to name a few scenarios. If you have to evacuate by another route than the intended one you will be unable to take advantage of the equipment. If you are planning on using this tactic you must consider the pros and cons of different locations and methods.

Example of items that can be considered
[ ] Dutch Owens
[ ] Murrikka
[ ] Larger tents with woodstoves
[ ] Large Tarps
[ ] Heavy Duty Wool Blankets
[ ] Large Water Containers
[ ] Tools like axes, shovels, hammers, rope, pick axe etc
[ ] Fire wood and fuel for vehicles and stoves

Equipment vs Skill and Experience
Equipment can help individuals cope with different kinds of crisis and survival situations by providing tools that makes it easier to find solutions for different kinds of problems. Clothing and shelter provides protection from the elements; compass, map and GPS can makes navigation in un-known territories much easier; a headlamp, chemical lightstick or flashlight can provide light during nights, knives and tools like axes makes it possible to handle a number of different tasks that almost impossible to do my hand; fire steel, matches and lighter makes it much easier to start a fire and so on. However, no matter how much gear you carry your physical and mental endurance, skills, knowing your local area, the will to survive, knowledge and most of all the persons next you will most likely be the crucial factors that determine if you survive or not.

I hope that this post have given some new ideas and perspectives on how to take advantage of the people you travel with, no matter if it’s under a survival situation during a crisis or just during a weekend hike.

Barbaric and dishonorable
747 Posts
Nice guide! I might +/- or clarify a few things but everyone has diffferent needs. I didnt see any mention of firearms. Ammo is extremely heavy and needs to be cross loaded throughout the group. I wont get into the particulars of firearms as that is another topic.

Bugging Out as A group- set up a chain of command (two teams with a leader designated for both teams, and a leader over both of those. Junior leaders know the job of the senior leader and all of the groups plans)

Individual Bug Out Bag- dont see the point of underwear unless it is a female. Undewear only prevents breathing in a bacteria infested area resulting in excess chaffing, rashes and monkey butt.

Backpack- professionally laminate maps and still store them in ziplock bags. Get some map markers for writing on them. Have pre established rally points memorized. If the group is seperated and some captured rally points will not be available to the enemy. I would definitely add something like a Steripen to at least 2 people in the group.

Hygiene- scent free soap. Youd be suprised how sensitive sense and smell is to humans and especially animals. Also I would specify wax-free dental floss so it could be used for sewing as well.

The March- check your buddies health and feet and change socks regularly. Its important that everyone understands the importance of being honest about their physical health. A hero today may be crippled tomorrow.

Making and breaking camp- scout the area around the potential camp site before settling. Maintain security and noise discipline at all times. Use a dakota fire hole to keep from giving away your position by smoke and light. Unless the weather is bad a tent is an unnecessary luxury. I takes away rest time setting up and taking down and if you have to defend yourself its gonna be a pain to get out of. If possible set up in extremely dense cover both on the ground and overhead. Dense brush will rustle and canopies will help disperse smoke and fire light. Camofluage tracks going in, leave no trace when breaking camp, and camofluage campsite when leaving.

814 Posts
Anytime I think of gung-ho bugouts and city folk planning to hike 20 miles a day, I can't help but remember the news when almost a million Kosovo Albanians fled their homes due to civil war in the late 1990's. Old folk, babies, pregnant women, and all. They suffered horribly and many died despite that they lived in a modern society much like ours.

I hate to be blunt, but in a real bugout the biggest unknown of the equation is people like your grandma or mom or dad. They've got diabetes or are 150 lbs. overweight and battling arthritis and Parkinson's. Or two-week-old baby Josie, your niece whose mom, your sister, just got out of the hospital following a complicated delivery. They'll be terrified, cold, sick, injured, or just plain too old to take the stress of travelling on foot.

1,049 Posts
Presuming a SHTF bugout and forced march...

Use advance point/scouts during the march. They can provide information about the route prior to committing the entire group. Have a rear guard also, to make sure that no one gets left behind, or someone sneaks up on the group. Assign skilled and competent persons to these two groups...not the place for a clueless nOOB.

Don't move a large group as one unit, especially if the environment is hostile (terrain or aggressors). Break the group up into smaller groups with a "squad leader" so that the span of control is less than ten people. Everyone in each group has an assigned buddy so that each person is accounted for at all times during the march. Remember, you never leave your wingman. :D:

Keep some distance between the groups...say 5 to 10 minutes, more or less. If a group starts to come up on another group, reduce the pace to maintain spacing.

Keep the idle chatter and noise during the march to a minimum. This reinforces discipline and makes it much less likely that others will hear the group. Maintain radio discipline and use simple codes rather than "plain talk". No point in letting people within 5 miles know what you are doing and where you are going.

Travel using "sun time". Get up when the sun comes up and turn in when the sun goes down (if that is appropriate). No late risers or evening partying. Light discipline is just as important as noise control in concealing the groups location.

Barbaric and dishonorable
747 Posts
Millions of unprepared are surely doomed and it shouldnt take a history lesson to realize that. The OP is obviously planning for a much smaller group and intends on being prepared, hence the guide he spent typing up. As far as having sick or elderly people walking 20 miles thats ridiculous to attempt. If my family/group is physically unable to make such a trip, there will be no trip.

On Point
2,559 Posts
Leading procedure should place before anything else.

Step 1 Should be recieve the misson (ie Bug Out as Group)
The process begins when you recieve the misson. A misson maybe recieved in the form of:
  1. A warning order
  2. An Operation Order (Opord)
  3. A Fragmentary Order (Frago)

Once you recieve the order, you analyze in terms of the following:
  1. What is the misson?
  2. What is known about the enemy?
  3. How will the terrain affect the operation?
  4. What troops are available?
  5. How much time is available?
  6. What Supplies and equipment are needed?
  7. What special tasks need to be assigned?

As a leader you must plan the use of time available. You should use no more than a third of time available, allowing the remainder for squad preparation. Everyone must be informed when to be ready and what tasks must be performed before the misson. The leader, must work backwards from the time you want the team to be ready, thus allowing sufficient time for each task.

1,049 Posts
It should be noted that the military does this all the time, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Their previous experience in these matters is instructive.

The trick is to translate it to terms that regular folks can understand...meaning skip the acronyms.

I know of some churches (for example) that have ~600 people in them. If they decided that it was prudent to move out, should they just go willy-nilly?


I'd say that moving more than 100 people at a time in some environments is a risky proposition...and even that number entails risks.

If it -isn't- a big deal, then I'll just order up some nice plush tour buses and feed them all a -really nice- catered meal :thumb:, hot tub and a rub down, followed by a singing of "Kumbaya" and a group hug. :rolleyes:

Sibi Totique
1,074 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the answers!
I agree with much of the points that have been brought up. If and what weapons should be brought I leave for the experts in the Firearms section, there are too many considerations concerning what type, caliber etc that’s best for particular contexts and situations. Having some kind of leadership or a buddy system are also good points.

Checking up on the members and taking care of each other is also critical. Everything from blisters, back problems, dehydration and other problems are much easier to deal with in an early stage. It’s also important for how the social dimension of the group is working.

Camouflage and light discipline depends very much of the context. If the situation is hostile and calls for self defense and the ability to be able to protect the group there is a long number of possible problems. In most situations I would argue that’s it’s more important to be able to attract attention from a search and rescue party rather than hiding from attackers. But this is of course a possible scenario. Here I would argue that picking a route that avoids areas where violence is occurring is more important than the ability to fight. In many countries where civil war takes place there can be total normality and genocide separated by a very short geographic distance. Camouflage, noise discipline, odor control etc is also important if the party is trying to provide some extra food by hunting. If the security situation requires so having routines for having party members awake during the nights both for keeping fires burning, fire security and watching out for potential threats. The main problems here as I see it is that in a real world situation with party members of all ages, skills, knowledge etc it would be very hard and time consuming to arrange proper camouflage and keeping noise discipline, infants don’t care about making noise. People also tends to lose focus after a hard march, especially if it’s over several days. If they no longer can keep track of where they are putting down their feet’s staying alert for possible attackers, keeping noise discipline etc will be hard.

I would argue that it’s better to set camp before sunset, an hour or so that the party can get ready before the night. Raising tents, finding firewood, collecting water etc, preparing meals etc takes a much longer time in darkness. How long sleep the party should get is also an important question.

I can only repeat that this must be tried before a real situation so that one can establish what is possible and not in a real life scenario in your particular terrain, group members and context.

677 Posts
You are only as strong as your weakest person, you are nothing but a big slow moving target. Can you see grandma diving into a ditch for cover if need be, keeping kids quiet? Is each person going to carry their own bag? I'll take my chances with my own no group for me thanks anyway. There is a reason military units train so much with each other so they know each others limits and strengths.

Sibi Totique
1,074 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you feel that way then of course that what you feel. I just think that you could have provided a little more constructive answer. I agree that there always are problems to different approaches but isn’t it better to discuss how we can adapt, endure and overcome? If you want to argue for that we should not care about anyone in a crisis or survival situation why not create a thread and discuss it there?

I have the feeling that the majority of the members have family member and friends that they would fight and die for. That’s most likely why most of us are here – because we do care. I do not think that there is a single parent out there that would just leave there children to die without a fight. And there are plenty of examples through the history where people have survived hopeless situation. Don’t underestimate the importance of the will to survive and the people around you. And a Bug Out Scenario does not have to be as violent as many members seem to envision.

677 Posts
I stand corrected, my children are grown and not so much a problem, my wife and I do have a plan and it is good for us. we are not so much "group" people but that is just us. I am here for the useful information, as far a a violent situation just going on past events that's all, better to be prepared for the worst no? In any event didn't mean to rain on your bug out parade.

Prepared Firebird
3,842 Posts
Anytime I think of gung-ho bugouts and city folk planning to hike 20 miles a day, I can't help but remember the news when almost a million Kosovo Albanians fled their homes due to civil war in the late 1990's. Old folk, babies, pregnant women, and all. They suffered horribly and many died despite that they lived in a modern society much like ours.

I hate to be blunt, but in a real bugout the biggest unknown of the equation is people like your grandma or mom or dad. They've got diabetes or are 150 lbs. overweight and battling arthritis and Parkinson's. Or two-week-old baby Josie, your niece whose mom, your sister, just got out of the hospital following a complicated delivery. They'll be terrified, cold, sick, injured, or just plain too old to take the stress of travelling on foot.

Your point is well taken. You aren't being blunt or cruel. You're being realistic. Kosovo was the real world. Typing scenarios and/or lists on a computer screen is not.

Reality is this: the majority of people are NOT prepared to cope (mentally, emotionally, or physically) with having the familiar world they know so well being swept away and replaced with a living breathing nightmare. The first casualty for most will be your own well-crafted plan. And, quite possibly, the back-up plans (if you have them) won't work, either.

Wise to remember this.....anything that can go wrong.....will, at some point in time. Sooner, or later. So, the most important prep is to hone your problem-solving ability to a fine edge. Equally important is to train yourself NOT to make emotional fear-driven decisions.

The shorthand term is called SHTF for a reason. The changed situation WILL stink, and it WILL be messy.

Sibi Totique
1,074 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The disintegration of former Yugoslavia is an interesting example of a civil war / collapsed state, a type of event that’s replaced interstate war as the major form of human conflict since the Second World War and especially since the end of the cold war. Afghanistan, Angola, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Iraq, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Rwanda and Somalia are just some examples of what happens when a state collapses, I agree that there is much that can be learned from these examples. And one lesson is how hard it is to really rebuild a collapsed state .

I would say that if such an event truly where to take place where you live leaving the country or region may be the best response. Systematic sexual abuses, torture, forced castration, murder, ethnic cleansing, genocide, the use of child soldiers, crime, land mines, amputations, snipers, trafficking, slave labor, forced prostitution and illegal gathering of all kinds of natural resources is the kind of reality that many people face in collapsed states.

Fighting or defending against groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan, FARC in Colombia, Serbian forces in Bosnia or warlords in Somalia would be almost impossible even for the most well armed and trained individuals. Many of these groups can even challenge professional government forces. For many refugees the ability to pay others to help them escape the country or region that’s affected can be vital for being able to survive.

SHTF is in my opinion a definition so wide that it can incorporate almost any event, but all events do not have to be a total breakdown of society and widespread violence. The Soviet Union collapsed with relatively little violence.

In any case, from this worst case type of scenarios there are numerous examples of refugees being able to escape and survive even the most challenging situation with little or no equipment and training. The will to survive should never be underestimated, how people will react and cope with these events is hard to say before it happened.

In this post I’m just trying to bring up what we can do help the ones we care about if the worst would happen.

Many members seem to think that it’s a major problem that their partner or other family members don’t prep. But there is a flip side to that coin. My personal guess is that many survivalists have different forms of equipment that they spend allot of money on. Any family that has a survivalist will most likely have enough flashlights, knives, packs and other equipment to equip a quite large group.
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