Bugging Out – Will You Make It To Your Destination?

bug out traffic

When disaster happens (or is about to happen), some may choose to bug out. There are lots of things to consider before making that decision, including your planned final destination… However here’s something to think about: Will you actually make it to your destination?

Ask yourself, what are the obstacles or circumstances that might slow you down or stand in your way? What can you do to prepare for that?

Lets think about it in terms of bugging out in your vehicle. You’re evacuating the area. What are some of the problems you might encounter?


Is your vehicle in good shape?

An unreliable vehicle could leave you stranded somewhere. So keep your bug out vehicle in good shape. Unfortunately lots of people put off or ignore regular maintenance. Don’t let that be you…

-oil change
-any other obvious problems


Gasoline (or Diesel)

Always keep your gas tank on the full side! One of the first things to happen during an evacuation is long lines at the gas pumps. Worse yet some gas stations may run out!

You will only get as far as the gas in your tank. Be very aware of that. If and when you have the opportunity during your bug out, fill ‘er up.

Extra gas cans. Consider keeping extra gas stored at home. Simply use a fuel stabilizer to extend the shelf life of the gas (generally no issues up to 1-year with this stuff).

Fuel Stabilizer for long term storage



Don’t rely on GPS. They can be very useful however everyone should have a good road atlas as well as regional maps. This is especially helpful when looking for alternative routes to a destination. Seeing the big picture in detail is often difficult on a GPS which requires that you zoom in before you see finer map detail. There’s nothing like looking at the big page on a road atlas…

I also keep topographical maps of the regions I normally travel.

Road Atlas Map For Each State


Off-road capability? (4WD)

I can’t begin to tell you how important it might be to have 4-wheel-drive capability on your vehicle. Living where I do (in snow country) it is quite common, however there are many circumstances where this could be an important asset during travel.

I realize that you either have it or your don’t (it’s not an add-on…) however if you’re looking for your next vehicle, you might consider it.


Emergency equipment in your vehicle

One prep to consider for your vehicle, especially during or after certain types of disaster events, is the ability to temporarily fix a flat tire. Debris, nails, and other such things don’t go well with tires. You have a spare tire, but that’s good for one flat.

Fix-A-Flat Tire Repair Kit

-duct tape (hose repair)
-spare belt
-tire jack


72-hour kit in your vehicle

This kit is designed to keep your relatively supplied for a several day period. It would include food, drinking water, and other supplies. Enough to get you where you’re going.

We have lots of articles here on that topic. Here’s one:

72 Hour Emergency Kit


How will you get around obstacles?

Especially if the disaster is weather related, trees or debris may be blocking some of the roads. Do you have the tools that you might need to deal with this?



Traffic jams

During a major disaster event and major evacuation, most or all main roads will be very much traffic jammed.

During a bug out, this will likely be your primary obstacle to getting where you want to go and will require some forethought so that you stand a chance to avoid getting stuck in it.

Most people will travel the same routes that they’re used to. Highways may clog.

Know the back roads or alternate routes to get out.

Tip: Avoid traveling the segment of a road that comes upon and intersects with an on-ramp or off-ramp of a major highway. These may also become clog zones. Even though you simply intended to cross over or under the highway on your way down that road, you may become ‘stuck’. Look for a way across a highway where there is no highway ‘exit’ there.


Have a plan

Above all, have plan. Know where you’re going. Have a secondary destination too. Do you have enough cash to purchase things that you may need during your bug out?

There are lots of obstacles to consider and preparedness starts with thinking about it BEFORE you might need to implement your plan.

What are some additional obstacles you might need to overcome during a bug out in your vehicle?


  1. Ken
    That looks like a picture from Katrina. People are a lot smarter now and do not get caught in those potential death traps. Frogs and sheep believe me – RIBIT RIBIT.

        1. For a decade Katrina has been the standard point of reference when talking about prepping. Now it will be Harvey and/or Irma.

        2. Forgot to say this is a good article, Ken, and one aspect of preparedness. Timely with September being national preparedness month.
          I can’t say it enough, water, water, and water and TP.

        1. I still think it’s rush hour at ANY big city when someone says “Beer Time”.

        2. Nah, they heard there was a shortage of TP (remember Johnny Carson’s famous comment) and they’re going to stock up.

          BTW NRP, August 26 was National Toilet Paper Day. Hope you celebrated.

      1. Good catch. Goes to show me how many disasters on disasters result in the same mayhem. How many years ago was that?

  2. So many people bugging out of Florida. I can’t help but wonder how many of them actually have a destination? Many of them are just hoping to get out of the hurricane force winds and flooding. Lots of them will be living in their cars. Are they just sheeple following the flock?

    1. That’s a good point, I bet not many.

      We had a Tsunami alert after the 8.2 in Mexico yesterday, was called all clear real quick, luckily. But the last few times they called for coastal evac. the people
      1. Jammed stores and gas stations.
      2. Were piled up in traffic
      3. Just parked along the road in higher elevations like it was a spectator sport…
      Moral of the story.
      Be able and prepared to chase people off because when the real thing happens about 2/3 of the population will have nowhere to go and nothing supply wise.
      Just blows my mind!

      1. Nailbanger
        You set up high on the mountain like PENROD. Remember when he spoke of the those who would jam the stores at the last minute when a hurricane was headed towards the islands. I-pods trump Hurricanes every time.

        1. Ya, people buying beer and steaks for a tsunami evacuation,,,
          Never mind that if one hit that was like the one that hit Japan 60%+ of our population would be homeless and jobless as 90% of all business are located in projected inundation zones

  3. Biggest obstacles I would face would be river crossings. In my area there are only a few ways to get across a couple of rivers with bridges spread about 10-18 miles from each other. MAJOR CHOKE POINTS! I have 2 4wd suvs (older Acura MDX and Volvo XC90) that I know can ford 2 areas as I have done it before in a Ford Explorer. Worse comes to worse, I’ll be mowing down some poor farmers corn/beans as there are a lot of fields and farm access roads. I would recommend all to look at some satellite images of their areas to look for these and fire/logging roads as they don’t appear on most maps or GPS.

  4. Ken, with events happening so frequently now, you have a very relevant timely topic every day!
    Thanks for the brain power you put in each topic each day…
    Thank you for your hard work and patience with this site…
    Like a high quality precious metal- MSB is inherently valuable!
    Peace and Wisdom to all~

  5. Minor adds to the vehicle tire repair: by a wheel lug nut cross wrench if the vehicle has the single bar lug wrench (those tend to bend and sometimes round off the lug nut). Most wheel lug nuts are air wrench tightened and then torqued; also a steel lug nut and an aluminum wheel is not a good corrosion combination. The second item is a tire plug kit; looks like thin black twizzlers with a slotted screwdriver; will plug a fair size hole-then pump it up with your portable car powered air compressor. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt.

    1. I always keep an extra pack of tire valve caps too.

      Maybe I’m just unlucky, but I’ve twice left a hotel on a road trip to go to vehicle and notice one or more missing. I’ve also had them break when adding air, with none to be found inside gas station.

    2. With all that roofing material coming off in a hurricane you can count on getting flat tires. I lost count after Andrew. Glad I don’t live there anymore.

  6. I lived in Hurricane country as a child. I experienced having trees taking out our sheds, loss of power for a week or more, trees blocking roadways. My parents were never prepared with propane, chain saws, alternate energy. I vowed never to allow this to happen to me or my family. So I chose where I live carefully to avoid having to “bug out”. Emergencies happen no matter where you live but I purposely choose not to live at sea level, at Hurricane ground zero, or on fault lines. I pray for those who are suffering right now but geez, think of where you are living and if it is worth it.

  7. I’m at my bug out location. My biggest concern was my kids/grandkids making it here. I had resigned myself that probably only one of my kids and family would probably get here.
    I’m so thankful for my DIL’S who pushed my son’s to relocate here. They both have bought land here. Actually the 2 parcels next to mine. My daughter/grandkids are here as well. (Thanks to my ex son in law.)
    I’m really blessed even with all that is going on.
    I sincerely hope all that visit here take these good articles to heart. They are pure gold!
    Ken has it dialed in for sure… thanks to him for all he does here.
    This article alone could mean the difference between living and dying on the road.

  8. ‘Bugging Out’ those two words scare the crapo out of me for many reasons.

    1. People, even worse People in 4000 pound Vehicles, I consider the Human Animal the most dangerous thing on the face of this planet. Scared, frighten, desperate people will do anything ANYTHING you can imagine to survive. Imagine 1-2-300,000 people escaping all at once, what would you do to save yourself and family?

    2. Leaving your ‘Home Base’, I will bet that 90% of all of ones Preps are at home or very close by. Leaving these preps will be, in most cases, mandatory except for maybe a truck and car full, other than that you had best say goodbye to everything you have, aka Looters.

    3. The Unknown, if you don’t have a BOL (and 99% of people don’t) than you had better have a heck of a lot of good credit amongst friends and family. I will bet ya $$$ to Doughnuts that 90% of the people in the above photo have NO idea where they are going, or will get there. Motel 6 will be very busy.

    4. $$$$, yes money, leaving your home and area will require a LOT of cash, or a good charity site; as you will be with a full Stadium of other desperate people. Remember the Super Dome after Katrina?

    I could go on and on, BUT I also understand there are times when you have zero choice but to Bug-Out.

    So back to the article, take a good hard look at the Photo provide by Ken. I’m not sure if that photo was Katrina or just the 5:00 traffic leaving LA; but imagine Irma is breathing down yar neck and 1.2 million people are now leaving Florida. “Will You Make It To Your Destination?” or should you have left 2-3 days, a week ago?

    Think again on that photo, even if you have ‘everything’ set up in a $300,000 BOV, how the heck you going to get through or around that? Ever take a good look at a Map of your city? Rambo and his group of Merry Men would have a tough time getting out; remember it’s not Hollywood movie time anymore.

    “Have A Plan” a MAJOR part of that plan should be to leave early, have a place or 3 to go, have the mindset that everything you leave behind is gone, and lastly from this long winded old-fart, remember there is NADA worth risking your families lives over, even looking like a fool for leaving when nada happens.

    I realize there is always a good reason to stay and not Bug-Out, make the right decision, not an “ohhhhh BTW” Irma is 2 hours out as a Cat 4 we need to go, NOW
    Could ya just imagine being stuck in that traffic and Irma is sitting on-top of you sitting in a car? “Will You Make It To Your Destination?” good title.
    PS; don’t forget a few cases of Water in the BOV; and maybe a roll of TP or two.

    1. My friend left safe haven in Tampa hours ago to rescue their hysterical friend in their new home.

    2. Very good article for an old guy. Interested in a job in DC that includes a nice house?

  9. I liked that question on people leaving Florida concerning do they actually have an evac plan or are they winging it? I kinda think their winging it. To many people on the roads getting out of Dodge to have plans or a BOL besides a motel/hotel somewhere up North. I feel for everyone in the impact areas. I also find it amazing how Houston seems to be an afterthought now. They still need lots of help to recover. It looks like Florida will also.

    1. Reality is that storm could skirt Fl and go into the gulf and up the west of Fl then smack Al, La, etc,, at this point theres no guarantees, plus Jose on Irmas heels, the further west Irmas track shifts the further west Jose shifts, none of its good

      1. Gee, we can’t start to think about Jose yet – at least two weeks away from hitting the Carolina coast. They say, our beach house has survived two hurricanes and public money payed for all the repairs. They say, the past tracks show it will definitely do a 90 degree turn to the north and into the Atlantic. They say, we can evacuate the day before it makes landfall. ………. what is the definition of crazy?

    2. A large percentage of Florida residents are new to the state and have never heard a word about hurricane preparation. They do not have the slightest idea of what a H is or can do. Even longtime residents have never experienced one like this. Don’t be too quick to judge.

    3. Many just drove north along the main interstates and stopped when they got out of the “zone” – or thought they were out of the zone. They are staying in hotels, motels, and no-tells and have to keep moving as they don’t always have rooms available for the next night. My father left FL Thursday morning and drove north on I-75 until he hit GA, got a room for two nights. He averaged 30 mph for the trip. No water in stores so he picked up a case in GA. He heads up here today and will make another stop before he gets here. The hotel was full of floridians fleeing their homes.

      My youngest sibling left yesterday and is heading to my son’s in AL but none of his kids would leave with him. My other two siblings are staying put and will be in a major danger zone, but felt they needed to stay to take care of other family and friends. One is prepped well, the other not so much. The last hurricane scared them silly and yet they stay for one that will be even worse!

      I pray all in the path and those traveling will stay safe. Currently, “things” can be replaced but your health or life cannot. I hate to think of a world when things cannot be replaced.

  10. a day or two ago a chainsaw was mentioned. while that is a must have item for a lot of us, an amergency is not the time to learn to use. one a saw is inherently dangerous and most of the time trees felled in a storm are under some kind of pressure, i.e., twisted, hung up in other trees, broken in half several feet up the trunk or downed in a pile of several trees. pressure will cause the tree to move when cut, somtimes violently. likewise a 4wd vehicle is necessary for many of us too. there again, an emergency is not the time to learn the capability of your vehicle. sometimes depending on terrain, slope, etc, it does not take much mud or snow for you to be STUCK. for instance you go off the street a little to get around a traffic jam, it’s been rainin and boom you are stopped. please don’t think because you have a 4wd you can’t get stuck. a nylon recovery strap would be a worthwhile addition as well as a good quality come-a-long. you can snatch a vehicle with a strap a lot of times with a smaller 2wd vehicle, depending on the circumstances of course. do not be afraid to “snatch” it, that’s what the strap is for. a come-a-long is useful for freeing a vehicle or working on trees with pressure. a winch is the best option but most family suv’s or pickups are not so equipped. in retrospect a strap would be wise for any vehicle.

    1. You mean i shouldnt crank up my husky 395xp with a 48″ bar and full skip square chisel chain for the first time during a disaster? What could possibly go wrong!

        1. Get two Stihl chain saws. I depend on mine and they never let me down.

        2. Thats all ive run for 30 years, they have served me well, biggest problem is not running them enough

  11. I recall a survival site a couple of years ago which brought up the comment
    to those who were settled in their rural location with their many preps and
    asked honestly…..”Where is your bug-out location?”

    I can’t help thinking sometimes that the unspoken assumption is that there is
    no reason we will ever have to leave, or 90% of the reasons which would make us
    leave just aren’t going to happen where I’m located.

    A couple years ago Rawles was asking for donations for a prepper who had it
    all and a great location who lost everything in a fast moving fire. Barely got
    out.. He had a survival website, even.

    Since the subject is bugging out, I have a friendly question. Does EVERYONE
    participating today in the discussion have a bugout location, and if not, why not?
    From where you are right now – where is your bugout location?

    1. Ladywest
      If you are not living in a safe place, move. I’m at home and have covered as many bases as possible. Metal roofs, stucco exteriors, neighbors have sprinklers on roofs, we all have equipment to cut fire guards, …. but you can not guard against all possibilities – a big gang can still take over our area – with many casualties but still …. the road is not and never will be my safe space.

      1. To me bugging out is becoming a refugee, i will take my chances at home for anything short of an eruption directly above my house, everything else ill be the ghost they cant find

    2. Ladywest
      My ‘Bug-Out Location’ is within 2 miles of my home base.
      Enough “stores” there to last 2 weeks in-of-itself.
      Close enough to walk if need and secure as HB.
      My biggest concern, as most in the Desert is a Wild Fire but building the right home and out-buildings helps, knowing the Fire Department well also helps.
      BUT, what makes me not worry about fire, Insurance. If a SHTF that effects the entire community/world, than I have the BOL covered if needed, if my place goes up in smoke I have a place to go and everything will be replaced. Another good reason to keep good records and inventory.

    3. i reckon the most risk here would be thunderstorms, I could get struck by lightnin maybe hit with a falling tree. very infrequent tornadoes and they don’t stay on the ground too long, but if it hits you, it’s still serious. we sometimes have ice storms, sometimes heavy snow with 50 mph or so winds and single digit temps and associated power outages………maybe once in a great while very slight risk of wildfire. ANYTHING is possible but I can’t think of any reason I would leave home. the minor problems I mentioned are an inconvenience. I guess I don’t fit the normal prepper mold. I don’t have a bugout bag, I have done all the buggin I am gonna do. I am fairly self sufficent and if forced I guess I could do a little better. the only problem I could imagine would be others after a castrophe, I don’t think the mass of em will make it 40 miles and if that should be a problem with neighbors and relatives I have a hard time thinking we can’t handle the average “others”. I am talkin about marauders and criminals when I say “others.” I am certain I would feel different if I lived in town. I am here to stay come hell or high water. I am satisfied with my location. I am sure I could have more of what I would need, but, I am confident I can get by. I am geared more toward sustainability. It took me 30 hard years to pay for this place, leaving is not an option.

    4. We live in one and have a spare 20 miles away. Straight shot down a gravel road.

  12. The radio announcement says that the governor is saying all of Florida to evacuate. Really? If that doesn’t scare the pants of ya then I don’t know what will.

      1. Just what I heard don’t know if it’s true or not- haven’t been on the radio or anything since then.

        1. I saw the quote today on weather channel, re: Gov. Scott saying all Floridians should “be prepared” to evacuate…
          Our hopes and prayers are with you in FLA
          Please keep us updated if you are there…

        2. Maybe that is what I heard or what someone meant and would make more sense rather than ‘everyone is evacuating’

  13. Your story is making me feel much better! Everything you have listed I already have in place. My bug-out location is 20 miles away through open country and it is fully stocked.

    It looks like my “To-Do” list is nearly “To-Done.” Sweet!!

  14. Years ago I was on the Interstate in Colorado and there was a massive traffic jam. After a half hour with no one moving at all, I noticed that someone in front of me left the road and dipped down into the deep trench between the interstate and the old highway that was parallel. I thought, “my Saturn can do that.” So I said a prayer and left the highway. I made it to the other road. Then I saw a bunch of cars doing that also.

    Sometimes we get in a mind lock and think we have to follow the sheep. But a small risk will put us in front of the pack.

  15. Hey, that photo looks like rush hour on 494 So. in the Twin Cities. In fact seeing it makes me glad I live in an isolated area way up north off a forest service road and I don’t have to face that traffic again!

    What I face as obstacles where I live to bug out are deep snow, fire blocked road, and downed trees from a storm. I have 4 wheel drive truck, new tires, sand and shovel for the snow; I have a knowledge of the forest trail systems and a map to circumvent a fire blocked road; and I have a chainsaw and rope to move downed trees. That’s it for obstacles in the road outside of Bigfoot hailing me for a ride.

  16. Will you? It always worries me. While hundreds of people are trying to get out all at the same time. Remember the people that are in your “bug out” location already will be worried if it takes longer for you to get there then they expect. Don’t forget to have a phone, extra chargers, car charger. If something happens you can at least let someone know what’s going on. While traveling keep you eye on your stuff.
    I would have left last week, but I always leave early for everything. I also hate the interstate so I can get almost anywhere without or minimal use of it. Its only good to get somewhere fast and I like to take my time.
    I seen somewhere , keeping panty hose in your vehicle, in case you are fleeing from fires ,sand storms, panty hose on your air filter will keep the gunk out of your vehicle. Something to think about.

  17. To quote someone I can’t remember “he who panics first, panics best.”

    Our son and his family live in Miami, they’re riding it out. Talked to him today, and he’s wishing now they’d have left when they could. They’re not going to take a chance on getting caught on the highway.

  18. I have already bugged out. My younger relatives have no place to work out here, and the retired ones think it is to boring. They want to play until the last moment and then maybe if it is bad enough will come. I feel like chicken little.

  19. Many years ago we had a small forest fire. They came to my door and told me I might have to evacuate. They would be returning to let me know.
    It was the middle of the afternoon andI thought, “Hmmm, in the next half hour the wind will change direction. It has been the last week or so.” I sat around and sure enough the wind changed direction.

    Knowing your local climate on a daily basis based on your own observation and not the weather reports can save you a lot of grief. I’d love to tell you all the signs I go by, but opsec comes first.

    Stay frosty.

  20. i learned long ago to NEVER get on to expressways or freeways when its at peak travel time let alone when there are 100.000s trying to go the same way i learned TAKE THE SECONADRY ROADS if at all possible go at a ninty degree angle AWAY from the expected way of travel and HAVE A BACK UP PLAN to back up the back up

  21. We will make it to the back up destination it is my sisters home. It is less than 4 miles from our door step. We have done this twice since 1999, the 99 fire did not take our home. The 04 fire took everything. Dh knows if it happens again, the cleaning company can take care of everything for us.
    If you have a staging area where you meet up with family & friends and plan which way you would exit as a group. We have a local map book(no longer produced), state map and atlas to double check routes that could be used without getting near a Freeway system. Some are not shown, grew up in the hills boonie hopping, back road deer hunting. Only concern would be did the .gov close them down.

  22. I am in Florida, central, on the west side (kinda).
    I am staying home and taking this storm very seriously.
    My son and I spent the day boarding up our houses and storing/tying down things.
    We have generators, fuel, and other necessary stuff.
    I watch the storm updates and hear folks say– we are heading north. Really?
    Do you have a destination or are you just going?
    Are you just now leaving? Hell the highways are bumper to bumper going 40 mph, maybe.
    I don’t blame anyone for leaving, this storm is a badass!
    I do blame them for not leaving days ago. I wish them well.
    If your gonna go, go early!

    1. tango…Heck, I wish you well! I heard something about “sunny day flooding” in Florida, something about ground saturation? Can u elaborate on what that is (if true)?

    2. Yep, I tried to get my father to leave on Wednesday but he wasn’t planning on going until Friday at that time! After talking with my sister about the roads, he headed out Thursday morning and got to drive 30 mpg for hours on end. He spoke with someone that left the day before and managed the drive without issues at normal speeds. The storm was just upgraded to CAT 5 and will hit their area. I kept telling them this storm is HUGE and then it was too late for them to leave because they didn’t want to get stuck on the road.

  23. We have been stuck on the highway at various times with stop and go, stop and go, sit, sit, sit, stop and go. Not bugging out, just an accident more times than I can remember, and the one thing I remember is seeing several cars off to the side of the highway with overheated engines. All that slow creeping seems to wreak havoc with the cooling systems. So if you expect to be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic it might also be a good idea to carry extra water and coolant.

    We have 2 bug out locations. Our go to one is about 10 miles away, the other about 15 hours with good traffic flow so that would be our last option.

    1. Good call! 👍 Grab an extra set of radiator hoses and a thermostat as well. Shouldn’t cost too much (depending on vehicle). Coolant hose changes are really simple as well. Thermostat might be hard, but you should have a good tool kit as many others have said. Motor oil and rear end oil are also a must.

  24. Yeah. What I worry about is how to travel that far without a vehicle in the case of an EMP. Walking that far would be difficult to say the least not to mention the food required to get there. Add family and it almost seems impossible.

    1. Youngster,

      That’s the definition of a survivor. Facing the seeming impossible and saying “Hell, I can do that.” Ignoring the odds and doing what has to be done.

      You can be a prepper and not survive. It’s hard to be a survivor without being a prepper.

    2. youngster, I applaud you for thinkin about this now. don’t be discouraged, you might be surprised what you can do when you have no choice. our ancestors covered a lotta ground on their feet. a couple jogging strollers could tote a purty fair payload. they also do well over off road terrain. . many years ago I used one here on the farm with my youngest daughter. I spoke to my middle daughter recently about this very thing. she is about 50 miles away. I told her if your car won’t run, you must walk and you must get movin before most others figure out what’s goin on. it’s a long way but it is doable. her reply was “oh yeah, if i have to walk I am sure I can make it.” we discussed how long it might take her, which route she might take. we also talked about avoiding main roads, PEOPLE, towns, be sure she can protect herself while walking. no kids, just her and husband. if she had kids, her reply would be the same, “it’s gonna be hard daddy but I can make it” your post shows you are thinkin, thats a large part of the battle. good shoes, concentrated food. best regards

      1. Bikes are like lifeboats for your motorised vehicle. You can carry 3xload and cover 3x distance compared to walking.

  25. We went from Washington to southern Oregon for the eclipse. Traffic concerns kept us from going back north for the totality. The next day, going back north to Portland, we experienced the worst traffic I had seen since 1976 Friday afternoon rush hour out of Wa. D.C. Anyone that doesn’t keep car fuel tanks filled, and extra in cans for bug out, is asking to be caught by the boogie man.

  26. Well bugging out was at once a thought but with the gas issues now it’s long gone. I do know folks who left and made it to TN in 16 hrs yesterday.

    We are still here and Irma is tracking pretty much over our house. We are boarding up but instead of plywood using 2×6 , 8 , 10 and 12’s. It costs a bit more but they are solid as a rock. If something goes through them then they can go through our block walls.

    Have plenty of preps and also have my nephew (he’s a giant) and his family coming over to ride it out with us. We are feeling good.

    I guess my deep thoughts of this turning earlier were wrong. But I bet I can still get a job as a weather man. Yes you may get rain or no you wont. Where’s my check. Lol.

    As always adapting and overcoming to anything that comes our way. My wife is right there beside me hanging boards and cutting them. I am truly blessed. Luv her bunches.

    Be safe yall.
    Adapt and Overcome.

    1. @11HE9,
      Thought and prayers with you & yours, please keep us posted.

    2. 11HE9, I admire your tenacity. Glad your nephew and family will be with you. It helps (mentally ) to have folks around you furing these times.
      If I could give a few suggestions from someone who has been through a few of these storms…
      I would set up one of your rooms kind of like a sanctuary. You will need an area for the younger kids. Maybe set up a closet like a kid’s fort. A dose of cough medicine aka “hurricane ” medicine for the kids to calm them and possibly sleep through some of the storm. The kids will sense your apprehension and act accordingly.
      Be mentally /spiritually prepared yourself. The noise from these types of wind speeds are unnerving because it does not let up. The house will make all types of noise as the strain against nails,screws,Simpson fastners becomes apparent. There is no comparison between a storm with 50-60mph gusts and getting hit with sustained 120+ mph winds. Trust me on that.
      Have a plan in place what you will do if the roof peels off heading to parts unknown.
      When I was a kid my dad had us get in the family car in the garage (1960 Chevy Impala ) when a hurricane literally took the roof off down to the block walls on our house in South Florida.
      Your stress will be high my friend as will everyone else’s in the home. Being prepared for it.
      One last thing. I would turn the main power off right before you get hit. Gas too if you have it. . It’s better for you to control the outage and not the hurricane.
      Best of luck to you and yours. I never got in the discussion about staying or leaving. That is a personal decision that as free people we still get to make. We just have to be brave enough to live with the consequences…
      Adapt and overcome? Damn Skippy!!

      1. BJH,

        Thanks for the tips. We are going to set up our laundry room as a safe room. No windows, etc. I’ll see if I can make some room in the garage for my wife’s car. That could be our other safe room if the roof comes off.

        Just hope Irma weakens a hit before she gets to us.

        Adapt and Overcome.

  27. All very good points. We left to BOL for Harvey in two small cars. Our SUV tranny went out. It was the first time we have never had a 4×4 truck/SUV. It will be the last as well. It is amazing on what you can fit if you have to though. lol people, protection, preps and pets. We were packed like sardines. Not looking to repeat anytime soon. I think i am still recovering from the stress. i am proud of my family for being ready to go at the drop of hat though. Made me proud. I guess my preaching per say does get through after all. Happy prepping yall

    1. @Juls,
      Glad you fared well and your family pulled together. So much to be thankful for! Take care.

  28. seeing what’s happenin now in florida makes my lil ole “problems” seem mighty small………

  29. Great article Ken.

    I agree with a majority of it though I limit myself to a well maintained 2 wheel drive vehicle with nylon tow straps and a come-along portable winch. Studded tires for snow and ice in the winter and chains. When I was a lowly GS-5 park ranger, this was all I could afford and I just stayed within my limits when driving. I tried to never leave the pavement. I am not a risk taker when I drive my truck anywhere.

    A poorly maintained vehicle goes hand in hand with a driver that has no preps. The same can be said for a well maintained vehicle and questioning whether or not the driver has preps in place for traffic delays, clearing of road obstacles, money for gas and lodging, Triple A card, spare key stashed on person’s body, personal defense weapon in place,

    I will elect to forego 4×4 and chainsaws because I will get myself in trouble because of false confidence caused by having things you do not know how to operate ( like 4 wheel drive, chainsaw on a fallen tree with live electrical wires intertwined, ) I do not use 4 wheel drive frequently enough to know my limitations with a 4X4 vehicle. It has been years since I have used a short bar Stihl chainsaw to remove limbs from hazard trees or cut up and remove large lumber that was blocking roadways.

    Driving a 4×4 off roads very similar to shooting a handgun well. Both take a lot of practice to develop proficiency. Add to this the increase in the cost of insurance and maintenance of a 4×4 vehicle and you begin to realize how expensive it can be to keep a 4×4 up and running well. In going after people who got themselves stuck in the woods for 5+ years, I have observed that a 4×4 vehicle will get a person an additional mile before they get stuck beyond the location where the 2×4 vehicles were stuck. I saw only 1 poster mention bringing equipment with them to get themselves un-stuck. ( he is the one that mentioned nylon tow straps and come along.)

    My alternative transportation for gridlock would be my mountain bike in the bed of the truck. This past year, I had the mountain bike fixed and maintained. This year I am going to purchase a shell for it to keep it locked up while I am in town at work.

    1. Calirefugee,

      I will preface this comment with the admission that all my vehicles are 4×4’s. I would not have it any other way. They are capable of getting you out of a lot of less than ideal situations. They are not unstoppable. Knowing your vehicle’s limitations is paramount. Just because you can manage to get past an obstacle to your path and continue doesn’t mean you can handle what’s coming up. Scout the trail ahead before you continue.

      We used to joke when talking of 4×4 capabilities that it’s not “if” you get stuck, it’s “where and how bad”. When driving a 4×4, carry longer chains. Chances are you will need them.

      1. Murphy’s Law applied to 4- wheel drive.
        4- wheel drive means getting stuck in more inaccessible places.

        A friend of mine sent me that saying many years ago when I 4- wheeled all the time. I’m with you though, better to have it than not.

  30. Jon,
    What I know,and its not much, about ground saturation–
    That occurs when the soil cannot drain, which happens in low areas, or areas with clay under the sand,

    Sunny day flooding happens mostly during high tides in low areas, from heavy rains or high winds.
    Someone who knows more may elaborate.

  31. Everyones comments are well taken. We all know the consequences of such devastating storms. Not much is being said about the aftermath and the COST!!! I thought I would add my two cents worth. I live in Florida. We are now in the direct path of Hurricane Irma. Devastation to Florida is very real and many lives will be impacted. I pray that because we are older and chose to shelter in place and are as prepared as one could be, that we will counted as survivors when this is all over! Traffic out is blocked and gas is scarce. We would rather shelter here than get caught in the middle of nowhere without gas or shelter, or a place to go with the flexing path of the storm. The people of Texas and Florida will need help when this is over. I just heard , Senator Nelson from Florida, talking about FEMA being bankrupt in 3 days or so. Where is the logic of us going more in debt to fund FEMA when Senator Rand Paul Introduced America First Plan to Fund Hurricane Relief by Cutting Wasteful Spending… This America First amendment would cover the $15.25 billion by instead using existing funds that have been earmarked for foreign aid but haven’t been spent. His amendment would not have impacted security assistance or programs funded out of the State or Defense Departments. Senator Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, and all Senators that don’t support this should be ashamed for not supporting this. Nobody asked us , the taxpayers, about giving away our sweat equity away to foreign countries that hate us, when our money should stay at home for natural disasters in the United States rather than raising the debt ceiling. Let’s think AMERICA FIRST!!!!!

  32. I keep a small bolt cutter just for the purpose of cutting thru the wire fence that separates the rural interstate from the adjacent parallel or dead ended roads …. I expect to have a whole line of cars behind me waiting for my completed snip job ….

    1. Excellent idea Illini, I will have to add that to the vehicle.

    2. I like this! One will be in my vehicle tomorrow, if I can find room for it. ;) Beach’n

  33. Bugging Out. I’d like to revive this older post with my .02 1/2 cents.

    Jumping, Loads and Convoy Operations

    In the army and especially in support units we would move into an area quickly, clear the area of any enemy and establish a fully operational camp within hours during our initial deployment and moved thereafter.
    When the battlefield situation deteriorated we needed to break down camp and move quickly to a new area for survival.
    It called JUMPING.

    I utilize the same principle, to practice bugging out, at deer camp. I am the “Advanced Party” that rolls in hours before everyone else.
    I roll in and as quickly as possible, clear the area perhaps not of enemy but any obstacles and I setup a fully operational camp with the secured generator and fuel dump, wired and noise barrier built, septic hole dug, sight in targets hung and my first rounds confirmed, deer hanging stations hung, lighting and gas hooked up, flag hung, chairs set, perimeter established and hunting area scouted before anyone else arrives.
    This year due to an impending storm we bailed and in 20 minutes broke down 2 camps to “JUMP” back to the house. The winds had already hit 50mph and were increasing but we well ahead of the ice by hours.
    Repetitive practice of this annually or more keeps me confident in the the ability to bug out with a multiple family cohesive unit, supplies and the knowledge of what it takes once we arrive.
    It is exhausting and hard work to continuously “jump”. In the army we would accomplish it on 3hrs of sleep in 3 days with several “jumps”. While that extreme might not be necessary it could be. Let’s say you “jump” from a wildfire 20 miles and suddenly it ain’t enough cause that thing blew up so you gotta “jump” again. That could be 2 in 24 hrs. How bout moving up and in from a tsunami and not getting far enough and needing to go quickly? That could be minutes apart.

    There if course is the pre-staging to any deployment or bugout. Knowing what you are going to take and how. Having a LOAD PLAN and knowing it works. It can be written/drawn or just in your head. I suggest written/drawn because in stress we get overloaded. It could also be the day after you had surgery and suddenly someone else is trying to do it so they can just read it.
    The load plan isn’t just getting stuff into a trailer. That trailer isn’t balanced and at 70 mph your causing danger in the ability to brake or how much your suspension is being taxed and how much traction your losing on a wet and bumpy road. Trailers can swing in the wind wildly when loaded too heavy on the rear. Vehicles can become front light and lose steering when loaded to heavy on the rear. Look at the placement of water, fuel, generators, ammo and other heavy items.
    An improperly tied down load can shift and actually throw you off the road at speeds. Losing a portion of your load could seriously degrade your ability to stay alive once you reach destination. You lose a mattress moving you buy a new one but if you lose a box of food in SHTF and you starve. So do you have enough and heavy enough rope, bungee cord and ratchet straps?
    There are other questions to answer:
    How much can you load by yourself? How many 2 man lift items do you have? Do you have force multipliers to help you with it like a cherry picker, pickup bed crane, ramps and dolly or a tailgate lift? How much time do I need for a 72 load? The full bugout load? An attack is imminent load? How much fuel is needed for the increased load, heavy traffic or higher operating speeds?

    Now let’s talk Convoy operations. Sounds easy we just load up and drive right? Maybe and hopefully but…
    If you see an issue with another vehicle how do you communicate that? CBs, handhelds, cell phones, flashing lights or you pulling over and then hoping they see you and pull over too are all possibilities. Some might not be tactically sound depending on the scenario.
    Now who’s pulling security? (While driving or pulled over). Hopefully everyone is armed with handgun and long guns emplaced by now no matter the reason for bugging. Is the threat great enough for armor?
    Who’s assigned medical response?
    How are vehicles placed? Families in the middle and heavy loads in back with powerful 4×4 in front to push through obstacles and a lighter faster vehicle for response roving maybe?
    Who is designated to stop if there is an issue with another vehicle? Is it everyone if things are safe or is it just one of things are heated up? Who makes these calls as leader? How do you deal with small children in the vehicles? (Everything from diaper changes to armed conflict with kids in a car seat) Do you have aging or handicapped people that can’t move quickly or think quickly?
    How are potty breaks handled? With adult diapers and gator aid bottles or timed stops with security?
    How often do you need to refuel? That should be handled in conjunction with potty breaks.
    Does everyone know the route and alternates? Meeting points if separated? Comm frequencies? Cell phone numbers exchanged? Distance between vehicles? What to do if others try and squeeze into the convoy? Do you use lights or light discipline? What’s the ideal convoy speed set with vehicle capabilities and weather conditions? What the contact plan if you take fire?
    A lot of these are done or answered in a safety briefing before leaving when time and hostilities allow.

    The location your going to will most likely need to be around or less than 100 miles. Folks will show up low on fuel during SHTF. Yeah we say 1/2 is empty but many fail that practice. It will take more fuel loaded, crowds slowing things down, hostilities slowing things down and alternative routes employed. You can’t count on gas stations. 1/2 tank loaded pulling a trailer will put you close to 100 miles.

    Everyone know how to change a tire?

    What’s the plan if a vehicle goes completely down? Abandon it, split the load between other already strained vehicles, burn it so as not to resupply the enemy or maybe try and hide the supplies in a cache and come back? What of the people if it’s a family transport?

    Now is the time to train for it.

    For ME much of this and many other things are done during deer season. Yeah I can go a few miles from the house use an ATV on a timed feeder but (A) that ain’t hunting and (B) it’s a missed opportunity for preparedness.
    Take the extended group/family camping or to the lake in a similar fashion. You don’t have to have an AR hanging out the car window or welded spikes with a guy chained to the front all mad max and you can still go water skiing but use the principals, discussion and train.

    1. Matt in OK do you have military discipline in your extended family? In my MASH unit we had enough trouble just keeping the convoy together. I hated being in charge of Convoy Operations as to many chiefs had their words to add.

      In an ideal world we will ALL have a moment of clarity that THIS IS THE EVENT and promptly load out our vehicles, all children and seniors accounted for with out stragglers or extra passengers adding themselves to the manifest.

      In reality unless the Trigger Event is SO Obvious like Power going out to the sights of power transformers burning from EMP it will be nearly impossible to get half of your convoy to agree to start packing up. It’s called Normalcy Bias friends. THAT Same thing that keeps folks WATCHING a Hurricane coming from leaving “Early” because MAYBE….. And thus many suffer needlessly with gas stations out of gas stuck on a highway in the Hurricane.

      Happens every year. Look at Katrina….

      Best we can do has been already mentioned earlier in this thread. HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO, otherwise you are a Refugee. Don’t be a Refugee. PRE-Stock your place to go with as much as you can store long term in a secure and hidden manner. Really STINKS to arrive at the BOL to find thirty well armed used to the application of violence Meth Heads already living there.

      Have a PLAN how to approach the BOL location to make sure someone else isn’t already DEFENDING it FROM people like YOU. Rolling up into an ambush really stinks.

      Keep your vehicle maintained, fueled, physical maps in hand, TEST DRIVE your Route and check for choke points like bridges and cities. Make plans for getting around those choke points if they are closed. TEST Drive Those routes, checking again for choke points.

      Have critical prepacks of needed meds and supplies for children, Medicine Dependent (Diabetics, Anti-depressants etc.) and seniors. People WILL Forget stuff even in the Army with load plans. Having critical Pre-packs AND basic supplies AT the BOL location helps.

      Have agreed Standard Operating Plans for Communications, break downs, lost vehicles, how long the convoy will wait for you to arrive once go event occurs. How to establish wait points and SECURITY procedures for late vehicles (Because NOBODY wants to say just roll, they can catch up..) How to reunite after getting misplaced by an accident etc. WRITE these down for each vehicle.

      KNOW but don’t write down the It’s me, All is OK and Duress Phrase (in case there is a couple of “Hostiles” riding shotgun in that vehicle) to allow security when that “Lost” vehicle rolls into your camp. A LOADED SOLO Vehicle makes an ATRACTIVE target for an “Accident” and sudden pistols in your face scenario. So the possibility of thugs riding shotgun on your lost-late vehicles is a possibility. Hostages is a NASTY Scenario.

      Best case is having someone you trust LIVING at your BOL to keep Meth Heads and such off the property. Vacation Cabins stuffed full of neat stuff seems to be like sugar to the ants…

  34. Great points Me2
    The military discipline is there with some and not at all with others which is why it’s got to be worked on and trained.
    I did convoy ops for 20 yrs from the lowest private to Truck Master of a transportation unit and Platoon Sergeant both in CONUS in half the states and a dozen countries overseas. I’ve also done high risk transport ops for criminal movements and tac teams operations.
    I’ve been a part of everything that can go wrong in these movements up to deaths.
    I hope and pray everyone takes heed to the post and comments. Having thinkers like you, Ken and others bringing out points hopefully will make the difference in how serious others take this issue.

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