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Hi, Preppers. I'm looking for some advice from you all. I'm a college student living a 10 hour drive from my family back home. I keep thinking about the worst case scenario if something were to happen and all **** broke loose. I would need to make it from Chicago to South Dakota so I can regroup with my family. To say the least, I'm sure a 10 hour drive in an emergency situation might not be a possibility so I want to be prepared to make it on foot. Any suggestions or ideas for a get home bag?
 

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At that sort of distance, you pretty much need to make a BOB. You also should assume in your plan that you will have to walk it and plan accordingly (food, water, etc).
 

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Roughly 700 miles...one thing in summer, a totally different story in winter. There is a ton of info on this site regarding bags and gear, as well as discussions on planning, challenges, dangers, etc.

Using the search feature with some key words like GBH, BOB, winter travel, walking home, etc. will give you enough results to get a wide variety of perspectives on everything related to your question.

Physical conditioning and mental attitude are the first two things that you need to make an honest self-assessment of. At a very optimistic 20 miles a day, you're looking at a solid month of trekking. In a true SHTF situation, it's not going to be a walk in the park. There will be natural and man made obstacles, predators of the human and animal varieties, police or military presence, and extremely limited resources. You can not carry or catch enough food to sustain you on a 700 mile, month long trip in good weather, let alone sub-freezing or sub-zero weather.

As tough as it sounds, you may find that it is not possible to get home, in which you need to develop and test a solid bug-in plan, or a bug-out plan that is well within the capabilities of your physical conditioning and what you can carry or cache.

I have a 180 mile trip home, have refined my gear over 5 years, have several trusted friends along the route, am in above average physical condition, and I still question my ability to make the trip, given that there are several sizable rivers, several long stretches of undeveloped lands and several major cities (crime zones).

Others may have other thoughts on this...these are just mine.
 

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The answer is beyond the scope of a single forum answer.

Simply put , the best bet is to get into the actual sport of long distance expeditioning, through hiking, or whatever they call it in your part of the world. Check out those type forums on the net, they will have infinitely more experience than what you find here.

In general 700 miles will require

Conditioning and practice.
Knowledge of lightweight hiking materials and equipment.
Knowledge of low water weight, high caloric ,condensed expedition type foods
Back country navigation( for avoiding civilisation as necessary)
Adjustments for climate and seasons
Various other skillsets such as water purification, first aid, equipment repair, cookery, solar power charging etc
Experience using vehicles, boats, skis, bicycles and handcarts where advantageous

Again, its 'possible' for some guy to make 700 miles without practice. But your survival will be many times more likely if you have made it your sport.
 

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Welcome to the forum! There is a literal ton of information here on virtually every subject you can think of, especially this one.

First of all, I don't care what anyone says, but the likelihood of you being able to trek 700 miles on foot during the kind of disaster that would necessitate it is very, very low. Even if you're in excellent physical condition, the best that hikers in normal situations can cover in consecutive days is 25 miles. So you would be looking at 28 days under good conditions, which aren't likely to exist in your scenario. You'll probably need at least 5,000 calories per day, more in the winter, and there's absolutely no way to carry that on your back. If you had a cart, then perhaps, but then you'd be a huge target. Bottom line: getting home on foot isn't going to happen.

Depending on your resources, I would suggest a street legal dirt bike with bags or maybe a motorcycle with a sidecar if you want to go with a friend. Motorcycles are fast, maneuverable, and fuel efficient. You want to have enough fuel on hand to be able to cover the 700 miles without stopping for refueling, which is very doable on a motorcycle. Even if you had to take a long, circuitous route to get home, you could probably do it in a couple of days as long as all the roads were completely blocked. You aren't likely to need much food or water, so I would focus primarily on fuel for the motorcycle and repair items for it, followed by things like first aid, communication, and self-defense.

Never forget that cash is king in any disaster, but credit cards might very well be helpful too.
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Hi, Preppers. I'm looking for some advice from you all. I'm a college student living a 10 hour drive from my family back home. I keep thinking about the worst case scenario if something were to happen and all **** broke loose. I would need to make it from Chicago to South Dakota so I can regroup with my family. To say the least, I'm sure a 10 hour drive in an emergency situation might not be a possibility so I want to be prepared to make it on foot. Any suggestions or ideas for a get home bag?
I would break down the route from Chicago to South Dakota into 4 steps,
1) Getting out of the city of Chicago
2) Crossing Northern Illinois
3) Crossing the Mississippi River
4) Crossing Iowa/Minnesota

Start by picking the route and driving it several times. Choose the river crossing points very carefully.
You need a vehicle that blends in with traffic in rural areas and with enough range to make the trip.
Another option is to study closer to home. ISU is a good school and Ames is an easy drive from SD.
 

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Isaiah 41:10, Acts 5:29
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You cannot carry enough to sustain yourself for a journey on foot as you describe. So if you are going to walk, you have to be able resupply food and water en route.

This means skills, which weigh nothing, plus equipment.

I have a long way to BO (150-200 miles, depending on route), but nothing anywhere near what you have. I have lots of skills and experience (including extensive military) and make my journey a few times a year in 3-5 days for practice, checking routes...

In broad, general terms (other stuff for first aid, sanitation, etc., as well as the following), in I have in EDC/BOB:

for shelter and warmth, a very lightweight tent and footprint, plus a very lightweight sleeping bag that has been made into a sleeping quilt, plus a sleeping pad. And dogs and cats. The dogs carry food/supplies for themselves and the cats. They and/or I have to carry the cats, as the cats could not walk the distance/pace...

for warmth and fire starting, a very lightweight stove that burns wood, pine cones, leaves, etc. (gathered along the way) or hand sanitizer... Bic lighters, magnesium fire starter, a couple of flares, hatchet...

for water, a 3L military Camelback bladder and hands free drinking tube, 2 metal military canteens w/nested cups and stoves, Camelback UV, 4L Gravity Works, with Sawyer mini, .02, and carbon filter.

for food, I start out with 5 days of food that require no cooking and can be eaten on the move... for resupply, I can make/use snares, fish, hunt, gather and eat edible plants, and/or buy/barter.

Normal human walking speed is about 3 mph. But you have to be in good physical and mental condition to keep this up hour after hour, day after day. Your footwear has to be well-broken-in and fit well. Your feet and body have to be used to this kind of thing so you don't end up with blisters, etc. If you build a fire and cook, that will take a lot of time away from travel time because sleep is critical to physical/mental functioning. If/when you have to resupply, it will take you at least 3-5 times as long to travel a distance you could cover without having to do this because resupply along the way can be very iffy and risky. That doesn't take into effect fatigue...

A bicycle, even a $20-$50 Craig's List cheapie, would allow you to cover a lot more ground a lot quicker if roads/trails are OK.

I would suggest preparing for the most likely things that could happen first.

SHTF doesn't necessarily mean TEOTWAWKI, and the vast majority of S is "regular" stuff that only affects you/your family/your roommate, or is pretty localized (flood, fire, etc.). Simply having enough cash and credit card so you could buy a bus, plane, or train ticket home, or rent a car and buy gas (plan ahead and have an atlas and pre-planned routes) will take care of things like serious illness/death in the family, failing or dropping out of school, school closure, etc. Being able to get a hotel room for a few days to a week in case of a fire at the dorm/apartment until other housing can be procured, or a riot that keeps you from getting to the dorm/apartment for a day or two... having OTC on-hand for a cold, the flu, headache, diarrhea, or a sprained ankle... remember soup, saltines, ginger ale/7 up, tea bags, Puffs, PB and J, and paper plates/disposable cups, extra towels, extra sheets/pillow cases, TP, clean-up stuff... having a flashlight and a small lantern with lots of extra rechargeable batteries and a solar/crank/12V charger, a weather radio automatic alert with SAME that stays plugged in and has a back-up battery, extra battery and charger for your cell phone, a few gallons of water and some extra food that doesn't require cooking in your dorm room/apartment in case of power outage (storm, drunk hits a power pole, water main break, etc.), extra cold weather clothing, etc., etc., etc. Enough money to cover rent, utilities, and food for a few months could make a huge difference. OPSEC is especially crucial because people get taken advantage of all the time, especially students and old people. Having a handwritten address book with everyone's phone number, bank phone number, etc... if your credit card and/or bank card gets stolen/used fraudulently, you'll be happy to have your bank's phone number in that address book. Something like LifeLock is good to have. Renter's insurance is an absolute must (it's cheap to get... make sure it's replacement value). Have all of your stuff permanently marked and a list of make/model/serial number, plus copies of receipts... pictures are important. An encrypted USB drive with photocopies of your birth certificate, driver's license, student ID, Social Security card, passport, medical card, dental card, auto insurance card, photographs, important documents (insurance policy, etc.). A copy of this at home with your parents/other trusted family member, a copy you keep locked up/safe on-site, and another copy in the Cloud or in a bank safety deposit box (they're cheap to get, especially the smallest size). Don't ever carry your Social Security card unless you are actually going to apply for a job. Don't ever carry your passport or passport card unless you are actually traveling or making travel arrangements. Consider getting a Post Office box (friends/roommates can end up not being as trustworthy as you thought).
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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I would break down the route from Chicago to South Dakota into 4 steps,
1) Getting out of the city of Chicago
2) Crossing Northern Illinois
3) Crossing the Mississippi River
4) Crossing Iowa/Minnesota

Start by picking the route and driving it several times. Choose the river crossing points very carefully.
You need a vehicle that blends in with traffic in rural areas and with enough range to make the trip.
Another option is to study closer to home. ISU is a good school and Ames is an easy drive from SD.
I looked up some route info for you,
I would focus on getting out of Illinois as fast as possible. You need a vehicle, walking is not a plan!
The bridges at Dubuque and Prarrie du Chein would be my first choices, and the Northern Iowa is empty, once you get west of Waterloo.
I grew up in that area, and US-20 is now a fast, empty highway leading to Sioux City.
 

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I would at least start off with buying a bike and throwing a couple bags on it. That was my plan when I was in college if my car would not get me all the way home.

In my experience I could hike 10 miles a day with a decent size load. I could bike 20-30 miles a day repeatedly. This would cut your travel time down and make it a more manageable task trying to pack a BOB for the trip home.

Set aside some cash to buy gas to travel home in case credit cards are not accepted.
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Many folks may not know this, but when the Farmers CO-OPs started shipping grain by semi instead of by train, most of the rail lines in northern Iowa were abandoned and converted to walking/biking trails. https://midwestweekends.com/plan_a_trip/outdoors_recreation/bicycling/bicycling_iowa_trails.html

While I strongly recommend that you concentrate on a bug out plan involving a car or pickup, if you owned a good bike and planned a route using these trails, you might have a chance riding across Iowa.

To help with this, you might consider riding RAGBRAI a couple of times. Those folks ride across the state of Iowa every summer (different route every year) and the local participants will definitely know all the bike trails.
 

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This idea may not be the most practical but it could get you out of the metro area around Chicago. What about a covered canoe? You could paddle up the lake 100 miles to around Sheboygan, WI then start walking west with the idea of crossing the Mississippi at Red Wing or Winona(two of the least populated areas to cross the Mississippi without going another 100+ miles north and then having to deal with the St. Croix and Minnesota rivers as well(Most of the crossing on those three rivers once they get big are in larger metro areas)

On protected water I can paddle a loaded canoe(300-400) about 5 miles an hour. So in two or three day if the weather cooperates you could do 100 miles. You could also bring a bike on the canoe.

Then once you start heading west there will be lots of farms that depending on the time of year may have an edible crop in the field or grain bins full of corn and beans that you may be able to get some of to resupply your food on the way. In the summer the trip would be probably be quite do-able but in the winter it could kill you if you don't have a way to get out of the weather(unused buildings, a tent, a tarp etc.)

If you do plan to use a bike, you need to get your body used to using it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Cheap motorcycle with a small trailer.
Bicycle with a trailer.

Make a couple caches along your decided upon path so you don't have to carrry it all when you leave. Plus, outside of Chicago, you might be able to stash a real weapon or two.
great idea - where would some smart stash locations be?
 

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Hammock: for sleeping
Dog: for early warning (doggie back pack - carries his own food or what ever)
Fire Arms: ultimate protection (small light weight AR and Hand gun)
Cross Bow: quiet acquisition ov food
water filtration - multi stage filter and UV
Route pre planned - skirting cities and towns
Ham or multi band radio - small
Knife - Rope - Axe - Flashlight (led) - battery's -
Boots and running shoes
One change ov cloths . . many pairs socks 2 ov each extra underwear (Ginch -Tshirt)
Rain Gear - or winter gear

Friend (Totally Trustworthy - stable - level headed) to travel with

Pray your flight is not in winter


 

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great idea - where would some smart stash locations be?
Well, in the stories, people seem to bury stuff along the way. Great idea, but you'd need a place private enough to initially bury it. And to dig it back up. In state parks or state hunting lands, etc.
The easiest stash spots would be a family member, or family of a friend, or a pay storage space. The storage businesses often have small units at cheaper prices. Motorcycle size and sometimes smaller.
 

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If you get a bike and train with it regularly you could make the trip in 10-14 days. You'll need a cart for your gear and spares tires. My father who is 70 biked 1000 miles in the appalachian mountains 2 summera ago. He did it in less than 10 days which is more than 100 miles a day.

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