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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bugging out is not camping.

Bugging in is not homesteading.

Survival gear and skills is not the same as SHTF gear and skills.

The difference is not self sufficiency. Lots of people go on multi-week (or month) hiking trips through wilderness or live completely off their own land, and although their equipment and knowledge is useful for prepping, its not the same and may offer little or no advantage for SHTF on its own.

The difference is competition. Almost by definition, you know its SHTF when suddenly there are more people than there are resources for them.

Bugging out isn't just going out of town. Its running away. You don't run away if nothing is chasing you. Maybe its a hurricane, maybe its Hillary but its an aggressive force so powerful and destructive you cannot withstand it in your home, and you cannot leave at a time of your choosing but rather when you are forced too and this changes many things.

Wether you yourself is being hunted or wether its just you and five million other people trying to use the roads its fundamentally is a matter of competition. Other people wanting what you have through malice or scarcity.

Its not just camping or wilderness survival. Its going camping sooner, faster, longer, further, better, than everyone else. 'Survivorman' doesn't have to worry about his campfire being spotted and getting shot in the back for his stuff, or that someone else is going to move into the one good cave in that area. You don't even have to believe in mans inhumanity to man, you just have to realize there isn't enough food water or shelter for everyone without a grid of power and rapid transportation to rapidly shuffle everything from the producers to the consumers.

This isn't nice to think about because it makes everything a lot harder, and for most people, living 'outside' is hard enough. You don't just need food and water, you need to out compete others for that food and water, and protect what you have. You don't just need shelter, you need hidden shelter or defensible shelter. You don't just need a hunting rifle, you need a combat rifle.

You won't be alone, at least not until you get deep into the wilderness, something that is relatively rare in most of the US. Forty million people go camping each summer. There are probably twice that many with camping gear. Obviously not all of those will be trying to bug out but it should give you an idea of the scale of the issue...and those just people who already do it, not taking into account the millions more who would have the bright idea to try it if the grid was down.

Huge numbers of these people will be armed. Simply being a hunter or backpacker already does not mean there won't be tens of millions of other people with your same skillset, looking for the exact same things as yourself.

This means that in addition to everything you need to survive outside, you also need speed, defense and stealth. You cannot simply use your previous backpacking or camping experience as a guide unless you where doing it through the military in enemy territory.

Speed is a hard one. Your not really going to be able to outrun the horde just because you have a sports car. Maybe your a marathon runner, great…but your still going to be overtaken by bicyclists and at the end of the day your only going to be a few miles and few hours ahead of everyone else.

Where speed really comes into play is in the decision to leave. Seeing the threat, recognizing it and then acting on before the general population does, or in the case of directed pursuit, knowing they are going to come after you as soon as possible.

Once you have made that decision this is where being prepped really comes into play. A bug out bag isn't just a backpack you can hike with. It could be a hundred pound duffle that you can just pick up and throw in the back of your subaru (although a pack should be part of it) It could be five, one hundred pound duffles that you throw in the back of your subaru. The point is that its ready to go. That instead spending hours or days packing you could do it in minutes. In a perfect world it would be an entire vehicle, fueled, packed, parked nose out in the driveway that you can just step into and drive away in.

Of course all this is hard too. Deciding to leave in advance means taking chances, it means you may be wrong and the only reason your on the road alone is because everyone else knowns better. Everyone is afraid of being a chicken little or crying wolf. Nobody likes to feel stupid. Sometimes there could real consequences like missing work or leaving your house undefended. Everyone has to work out their own system for deciding when to go and why, but everyone should be aware that being able to be on the leading edge of emergency awareness will likely be the most important factor in actually making it out and not getting stuck in the horde. Like I said, its hard, it requires you to be smarter, faster, more paranoid, less normal than everyone else. It means getting outside the bell of the bell curve in some fashion.

I'm sure everyone knows this already but I'll say it anyway: know where your going and how to get there. Nothing is slower or more dangerous than driving or wandering aimlessly looking for a spot to camp. Any of you ever go on a long trip just planning on camping when you stop but without knowing the territory? Driving all day and then spending two hours looking for a open campground is no fun now, imagine it during the apocalypse.

Defense is simpler, at least to talk about, in the US, the country of the gun most people who have gotten this far already have strategy and equipment for civilian combat figured out. Just do it, don't get too caught up in wilderness survival stories to forget that SHTF can be all that plus a good dose of warfare. Equip and train accordingly.

Stealth is highly dependent on environment so little can said about it except in a general way. Like defense, you just need to remember that your in a competition for survival , not just a struggle against nature. Most camping gear doesn't even consider this. Most tents are neon colors, most gear, bright. Choose or modify your gear to blend in with whatever your environment is. Don't pick camping spots as if your camping. Pick defensible, hidden locations not easily seen or reached. No unshielded fires at night or smoke during the day, don't leave obvious tracks in the snow, etc etc. You all know the idea.

Look for people filters, barriers that you can pass but which some portion of the population cannot. Nothing will keep everyone out but just like a water filter, you don’t keep everything out, you just keep reducing the percentage.

Most vehicles are 2WD with low clearance which severely limits what roads they can drive on. If can drive farther up a road than most everyone else then your limiting your competition.

I saw a very simple example of this during the 2017 eclipse. There was a particular hill in Idaho right on the path of totality with a single dirt road going up it. The road was unmaintained and very rough and got progressively worse the further up the mountain you went. (And the viewing conditions become better) It was perfect filter, with 80% of people pulling off and forming a crowd right at the bottom and progressively fewer people the further you went, each going to the limit of their vehicle before stopping with only lifted 4x4 jeeps making it all the way to the top. Just being in a Subaru was enough to get further than 90% of the crowd so while most people where down in the valley stuck in a crowd I had a hillside with only a couple other people on it…and the guy with a jeep who went past me probably had a spot all to himself.

Most people cannot or will not walk far or uphill. Even fewer have watercraft. You don't have the cross the ocean here, just moving from the side of the river with the highway to the far side massively cuts down on your competition. Canoes are light and can hold up to a half ton of passengers and gear. Consider one, or even just an inflatable raft. Again, you don’t have to be Louis and Clark, you just have to get outside the bell curve.

Maybe you know a great location that nobody else knows about. Thats great. Use your brain. If you have special knowledge or skill that can get you past a people filter use it. Maybe your a pilot or a white water river rafter, maybe there is a great spot on the top of a mountain you can only get to by rock climbing. Maybe its the old abandoned mill you used to play in as a kid that nobody goes into anymore and all you have to do is sneak in at night through the hole in the fence you know about. The possibilities are endless, and most people already have some idea of people filters in their area.

But never forget…they are only a filter, not an barrier. If your one in a thousand there are probably still several others with the same location in mind as you. The filter is just statistical safety, not a promise of it. Those that make it through a filter are going to be just as tough and smart as you…at a minimum.

So what is the goal of this? To get away from everybody forever? No. Its to get to a place where there is little or no human competition for survival. A hundred people in a place with one cow are enemies. Ten people in a place with a hundred cows can be a community. Move far enough, fast enough and you can get out of the competition zone and out where its really is just a matter of survival. Stay out long enough and the competition will die out. Outlasting them is just as good as out running them.

Bugging in.

When is the best time to bug out? Twenty years before you need to.
Right now there are plenty of places in the US where there is far more food, water, and shelter than their are people to use it. There has to be if you think about it, the US is a food exporting country. If all that food could be evenly distributed without the grid nobody would have to worry about prepping. Of course, thats not the case and hasn’t been for hundreds of years. Shut down the grid and millions will starve while hundreds sit on millions of tons of food they can’t move.

The valley I live in has about 500 people in it, and 5000 cows, virtually unlimited clean water, and more houses and trees than we could ever use. If there was a magical wall around it prepping here would be nothing more than running a farm or a good trap line near your cabin.

On some level farmers are already preppers…certainly more than a city dweller. Most farmers have fuel tanks, food and livestock, a few guns, a generator or two and generally an attitude of self sufficiency.

But a lot of that is an illusion. You just have to look at a feedstore to see the huge amounts of imports a modern farm or ranch consumes, fertilizer, animal feed, medicines, power, fuel…its not the 1800s any more. Very very few farms are run with the idea of independence in mind. It just doesn’t make financial sense. They import what they can buy cheaper than they can make it, the grow and raise what sells the best, not a balanced food supply. They plant GMO seed and rely on roundup to keep out the weeds and nitrate to replace what they take out of the soil. In their own way, they are no more independent than a guy who builds computers. The live on subsidies and medicare just like everyone else. They don’t have a fraction of the manpower or tools to run their acreage without cheap energy and transportation. There are exceptions of course but these are extreme outliers....and if you can find them, good people to learn from.

The real killer though is defense. Most have none. Sure they probably have a gun or two but you can’t hold or defend a thousand acres with a couple of guys. And because they work the land they are spread out, each house a little enclave on its own with acres and acres of farmland in between. A dozen men with guns could work their way through a valley, massively outnumbering ever individual farm they encountered even if the population of the valley was much greater.

For thousands of years farming took this into account. Medieval agriculture was centered around defended strong points where everyone lived, surrounded by the fields where they would go out to work each day. When raiders approached they could all retreat to a central bailey, keep, tower house or castle, leaving nothing behind but the crops in the fields, and with luck their would be a local garrison with an armored knight, the F-16 of the time, with his squires and men at arms who could ride out and destroy or chase away the invaders. Nobody would have considered building an undefended farmhouse out by itself, out of sight of the keep.

Guns changed this, instead of needing a hundred peasants to support one knight any man could kill from a distance so instead of needing a full castle to retreat to a solid farmhouse and your ranch hands and family could fight off raiders or an indian war party…most of the time…and there was always the local fort to retreat to or summon calvary from.

And this system could rise again. With good communications a farmer could alert all his neighbors to show up with their rifles and pickups at the first sign of trouble. A farm house could be a defensible fort in its own right, filled with enough men and guns to defend itself against a platoon. A large enough community could organize patrols and defend an entire valley.

But these are preps….not just farming or homesteading but specific work and skills beyond anything a modern farmer would consider, but exactly how one from two or three hundred years ago would think.

A prepper homestead should be fundamentally different than any normal farm. The house, the outbuildings, its fences, fields and roads…all built with surviving a siege in mind, all built with the idea that someday you won’t be able to go the feed store for what you need. All with competition in mind, not just production.

Again, the point is not to close your gates and never come out, its to make it through the dying time, the point of max competition and to the other side where its the raiders who are starving to death in the wilds while the homesteaders work the fields and trade with their neighbors, to the time when the people who bugged out to the woods start coming back in looking for jobs and homes.
 

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Bugging out is not camping.

Bugging in is not homesteading.

Survival gear and skills is not the same as SHTF gear and skills.

The difference is not self sufficiency. Lots of people go on multi-week (or month) hiking trips through wilderness or live completely off their own land, and although their equipment and knowledge is useful for prepping, its not the same and may offer little or no advantage for SHTF on its own.

The difference is competition. Almost by definition, you know its SHTF when suddenly there are more people than there are resources for them.

Bugging out isn't just going out of town. Its running away. You don't run away if nothing is chasing you. Maybe its a hurricane, maybe its Hillary but its an aggressive force so powerful and destructive you cannot withstand it in your home, and you cannot leave at a time of your choosing but rather when you are forced too and this changes many things.

Wether you yourself is being hunted or wether its just you and five million other people trying to use the roads its fundamentally is a matter of competition. Other people wanting what you have through malice or scarcity.

Its not just camping or wilderness survival. Its going camping sooner, faster, longer, further, better, than everyone else. 'Survivorman' doesn't have to worry about his campfire being spotted and getting shot in the back for his stuff, or that someone else is going to move into the one good cave in that area. You don't even have to believe in mans inhumanity to man, you just have to realize there isn't enough food water or shelter for everyone without a grid of power and rapid transportation to rapidly shuffle everything from the producers to the consumers.

This isn't nice to think about because it makes everything a lot harder, and for most people, living 'outside' is hard enough. You don't just need food and water, you need to out compete others for that food and water, and protect what you have. You don't just need shelter, you need hidden shelter or defensible shelter. You don't just need a hunting rifle, you need a combat rifle.

You won't be alone, at least not until you get deep into the wilderness, something that is relatively rare in most of the US. Forty million people go camping each summer. There are probably twice that many with camping gear. Obviously not all of those will be trying to bug out but it should give you an idea of the scale of the issue...and those just people who already do it, not taking into account the millions more who would have the bright idea to try it if the grid was down.

Huge numbers of these people will be armed. Simply being a hunter or backpacker already does not mean there won't be tens of millions of other people with your same skillset, looking for the exact same things as yourself.

This means that in addition to everything you need to survive outside, you also need speed, defense and stealth. You cannot simply use your previous backpacking or camping experience as a guide unless you where doing it through the military in enemy territory.

Speed is a hard one. Your not really going to be able to outrun the horde just because you have a sports car. Maybe your a marathon runner, great…but your still going to be overtaken by bicyclists and at the end of the day your only going to be a few miles and few hours ahead of everyone else.

Where speed really comes into play is in the decision to leave. Seeing the threat, recognizing it and then acting on before the general population does, or in the case of directed pursuit, knowing they are going to come after you as soon as possible.

Once you have made that decision this is where being prepped really comes into play. A bug out bag isn't just a backpack you can hike with. It could be a hundred pound duffle that you can just pick up and throw in the back of your subaru (although a pack should be part of it) It could be five, one hundred pound duffles that you throw in the back of your subaru. The point is that its ready to go. That instead spending hours or days packing you could do it in minutes. In a perfect world it would be an entire vehicle, fueled, packed, parked nose out in the driveway that you can just step into and drive away in.

Of course all this is hard too. Deciding to leave in advance means taking chances, it means you may be wrong and the only reason your on the road alone is because everyone else knowns better. Everyone is afraid of being a chicken little or crying wolf. Nobody likes to feel stupid. Sometimes there could real consequences like missing work or leaving your house undefended. Everyone has to work out their own system for deciding when to go and why, but everyone should be aware that being able to be on the leading edge of emergency awareness will likely be the most important factor in actually making it out and not getting stuck in the horde. Like I said, its hard, it requires you to be smarter, faster, more paranoid, less normal than everyone else. It means getting outside the bell of the bell curve in some fashion.

I'm sure everyone knows this already but I'll say it anyway: know where your going and how to get there. Nothing is slower or more dangerous than driving or wandering aimlessly looking for a spot to camp. Any of you ever go on a long trip just planning on camping when you stop but without knowing the territory? Driving all day and then spending two hours looking for a open campground is no fun now, imagine it during the apocalypse.

Defense is simpler, at least to talk about, in the US, the country of the gun most people who have gotten this far already have strategy and equipment for civilian combat figured out. Just do it, don't get too caught up in wilderness survival stories to forget that SHTF can be all that plus a good dose of warfare. Equip and train accordingly.

Stealth is highly dependent on environment so little can said about it except in a general way. Like defense, you just need to remember that your in a competition for survival , not just a struggle against nature. Most camping gear doesn't even consider this. Most tents are neon colors, most gear, bright. Choose or modify your gear to blend in with whatever your environment is. Don't pick camping spots as if your camping. Pick defensible, hidden locations not easily seen or reached. No unshielded fires at night or smoke during the day, don't leave obvious tracks in the snow, etc etc. You all know the idea.

Look for people filters, barriers that you can pass but which some portion of the population cannot. Nothing will keep everyone out but just like a water filter, you don’t keep everything out, you just keep reducing the percentage.

Most vehicles are 2WD with low clearance which severely limits what roads they can drive on. If can drive farther up a road than most everyone else then your limiting your competition.

I saw a very simple example of this during the 2017 eclipse. There was a particular hill in Idaho right on the path of totality with a single dirt road going up it. The road was unmaintained and very rough and got progressively worse the further up the mountain you went. (And the viewing conditions become better) It was perfect filter, with 80% of people pulling off and forming a crowd right at the bottom and progressively fewer people the further you went, each going to the limit of their vehicle before stopping with only lifted 4x4 jeeps making it all the way to the top. Just being in a Subaru was enough to get further than 90% of the crowd so while most people where down in the valley stuck in a crowd I had a hillside with only a couple other people on it…and the guy with a jeep who went past me probably had a spot all to himself.

Most people cannot or will not walk far or uphill. Even fewer have watercraft. You don't have the cross the ocean here, just moving from the side of the river with the highway to the far side massively cuts down on your competition. Canoes are light and can hold up to a half ton of passengers and gear. Consider one, or even just an inflatable raft. Again, you don’t have to be Louis and Clark, you just have to get outside the bell curve.

Maybe you know a great location that nobody else knows about. Thats great. Use your brain. If you have special knowledge or skill that can get you past a people filter use it. Maybe your a pilot or a white water river rafter, maybe there is a great spot on the top of a mountain you can only get to by rock climbing. Maybe its the old abandoned mill you used to play in as a kid that nobody goes into anymore and all you have to do is sneak in at night through the hole in the fence you know about. The possibilities are endless, and most people already have some idea of people filters in their area.

But never forget…they are only a filter, not an barrier. If your one in a thousand there are probably still several others with the same location in mind as you. The filter is just statistical safety, not a promise of it. Those that make it through a filter are going to be just as tough and smart as you…at a minimum.

So what is the goal of this? To get away from everybody forever? No. Its to get to a place where there is little or no human competition for survival. A hundred people in a place with one cow are enemies. Ten people in a place with a hundred cows can be a community. Move far enough, fast enough and you can get out of the competition zone and out where its really is just a matter of survival. Stay out long enough and the competition will die out. Outlasting them is just as good as out running them.

Bugging in.

When is the best time to bug out? Twenty years before you need to.
Right now there are plenty of places in the US where there is far more food, water, and shelter than their are people to use it. There has to be if you think about it, the US is a food exporting country. If all that food could be evenly distributed without the grid nobody would have to worry about prepping. Of course, thats not the case and hasn’t been for hundreds of years. Shut down the grid and millions will starve while hundreds sit on millions of tons of food they can’t move.

The valley I live in has about 500 people in it, and 5000 cows, virtually unlimited clean water, and more houses and trees than we could ever use. If there was a magical wall around it prepping here would be nothing more than running a farm or a good trap line near your cabin.

On some level farmers are already preppers…certainly more than a city dweller. Most farmers have fuel tanks, food and livestock, a few guns, a generator or two and generally an attitude of self sufficiency.

But a lot of that is an illusion. You just have to look at a feedstore to see the huge amounts of imports a modern farm or ranch consumes, fertilizer, animal feed, medicines, power, fuel…its not the 1800s any more. Very very few farms are run with the idea of independence in mind. It just doesn’t make financial sense. They import what they can buy cheaper than they can make it, the grow and raise what sells the best, not a balanced food supply. They plant GMO seed and rely on roundup to keep out the weeds and nitrate to replace what they take out of the soil. In their own way, they are no more independent than a guy who builds computers. The live on subsidies and medicare just like everyone else. They don’t have a fraction of the manpower or tools to run their acreage without cheap energy and transportation. There are exceptions of course but these are extreme outliers....and if you can find them, good people to learn from.

The real killer though is defense. Most have none. Sure they probably have a gun or two but you can’t hold or defend a thousand acres with a couple of guys. And because they work the land they are spread out, each house a little enclave on its own with acres and acres of farmland in between. A dozen men with guns could work their way through a valley, massively outnumbering ever individual farm they encountered even if the population of the valley was much greater.

For thousands of years farming took this into account. Medieval agriculture was centered around defended strong points where everyone lived, surrounded by the fields where they would go out to work each day. When raiders approached they could all retreat to a central bailey, keep, tower house or castle, leaving nothing behind but the crops in the fields, and with luck their would be a local garrison with an armored knight, the F-16 of the time, with his squires and men at arms who could ride out and destroy or chase away the invaders. Nobody would have considered building an undefended farmhouse out by itself, out of sight of the keep.

Guns changed this, instead of needing a hundred peasants to support one knight any man could kill from a distance so instead of needing a full castle to retreat to a solid farmhouse and your ranch hands and family could fight off raiders or an indian war party…most of the time…and there was always the local fort to retreat to or summon calvary from.

And this system could rise again. With good communications a farmer could alert all his neighbors to show up with their rifles and pickups at the first sign of trouble. A farm house could be a defensible fort in its own right, filled with enough men and guns to defend itself against a platoon. A large enough community could organize patrols and defend an entire valley.

But these are preps….not just farming or homesteading but specific work and skills beyond anything a modern farmer would consider, but exactly how one from two or three hundred years ago would think.

A prepper homestead should be fundamentally different than any normal farm. The house, the outbuildings, its fences, fields and roads…all built with surviving a siege in mind, all built with the idea that someday you won’t be able to go the feed store for what you need. All with competition in mind, not just production.

Again, the point is not to close your gates and never come out, its to make it through the dying time, the point of max competition and to the other side where its the raiders who are starving to death in the wilds while the homesteaders work the fields and trade with their neighbors, to the time when the people who bugged out to the woods start coming back in looking for jobs and homes.
Great stuff! Very good thoughts!
 

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You talk about people being able to get to places with vehicles. In the lower 48 there is no place that is more than 260 road miles from an interstate and no place that is more than 50 miles(straight line) from a road. So there is a limit to just how far away from people you can get.
 

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This is exactly what survivalists need to hear. Just because you have a small, old bag in the attic with a few water bottles and a can of spam in it doesn't mean you can survive a true apocalypse. You need to leave early and you need to know where to go. Great post.
 

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I like your take on it all being a competition. Reminds me of the joke about the two guys in their tent who are confronted by a bear in their camp. First guy gets busy lacing up his sneakers, and second guy says, you can't outrun a bear, to which first guy replies, I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you. Lots of people should be able to relate to the way you presented your facts. Good work. :thumb:
 

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Excellent post. Thanks. This begs the question about the lone wolf survivalist approach. If we are going to make it, we will need help. The big problem is finding people that you can trust to work with. I believe that is the critical limiting factor. Having a group/community that is willing and able to work together will be far better than trying to escape the hoards. Unfortunately, it will be essential that those same people be willing and able to defend against and/or deal with the hoards. Definitely food for thought and hopefully planing and action. Thanks again.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, the group vs lone wolf is really a paradox. A group offers so many advantages, but its also hard to find competent people you can trust...and the more people you get together, the more complex the interactions between them become and the more likely you get internal conflict.

Not to mention...survivalist type people tend to not be the best socialists and our society in general is not one with strong family or community bonds.

Leadership may turn out to be one of the most important skills in SHTF and one of the hardest to acquire.
 

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Aerindel
I have enjoyed reading your OP. It contains many contradictions though. You are talking, for example, about a VALLEY. Valleys are not survivable. Because they are easy to reach (and for many many other reasons). If it contains 5000 cows it is also a magnet to the outsiders. This is your COMPETITION. You are talking about the Subary and such. If my vehicle is not good enough (and yours is) it is a piece of cake to MAKE it mine. And on and on.
 
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