SURVIVAL SKILLS

The Best Route To Bug Out Or Get Back Home

The best route to bug out or get back home

If and when it’s time to bug out or if you need to get back home during a major disaster or regional crisis, have you ever thought about the best way (route) to get there?

Observation: Have you ever walked in the woods and noticed the trails and paths that have been formed by the animals traveling them? We too as humans travel along our own regular routes in our day to day lives. They are typically the quickest and most efficient routes to get from here to there, and are the same routes traveled by most others. We are all creatures of habit.

Here’s why this can become a problem, and what to do about it…

(UPDATED)
 
During a disaster, these routes will become increasingly clogged with others who are trying to get home or escape the area – bugging out. It is reasonable to expect that a disaster scenario that’s bad enough – these routes of travel will become very slow, or even impassible.

For those who commute to densely populated regions (and back home again) as part of your daily work routine, you can surely imagine the risk, and how the major routes, highways, freeways and arteries can quickly become parking lots…

Even some of the secondary roads will become heavily traveled — the interconnected secondary roads between towns — some of which lead to highway intersections (choke points). These semi-mainstream secondary roads are also typically traveled by the same people who end up on the highways and freeways, because these roads lead to the on-and-off ramps near their homes and neighborhoods.

 
Here’s the thing…

Most people travel these same roads, most all of the time, during their routines of life. It is habit. In fact, even though most people know alternate routes within their immediate local area where they live, they will still travel their habitual routes to get from point A to point B. Because they always have, and it’s probably (usually) the quickest way.

Knowing this can provide you an advantage. Discover and plan for alternative routes of travel that are NOT part of the mainstream routes of travel. Most of you probably already know the back roads within your immediate neighborhood or town, but that’s probably the extent of it. Do you know the back roads in other areas? Probably not, because you’ve never traveled them.

 
The most important piece of advice regarding getting back home, or bugging out during a major disaster in which you suspect highways could become jammed – is the following:

Know the back roads that DO NOT intersect with a freeway on-ramp or off-ramp of a major traveled artery, and know the back roads that are NOT the semi-mainstream secondary roads.

Even if you do not intend to get onto a highway, any road that involves an intersection with the highway will risk becoming clogged. Similarly any secondary road that is known to be the most often traveled road, will risk becoming a choke point.

So, how do you discover the back roads that you seek?

Consider online tools, such as Google Earth or Google Maps (and others). Check it out BEFORE you need to evacuate or bug-out. Pre-plan contingency back-road routes to and from your potential destinations. These online tools feature useful capabilities such as zooming in to street level or to discover which secondary roads are crossing under or over a freeway as opposed to an on-ramp or off-ramp (meaning that there will be no choke point with the freeway).

A GPS mapping tool in your vehicle will visualize and re-route you, however you shouldn’t depend on them absolutely. There are some details on a GPS that may not be provided with regards to your desire to avoid choke points. Plus, the GPS satellite systems need to be ‘live’ for it to work with your unit.

There are are lots of great maps and road atlas’s that you can use to find your back road routes. Get yourself some printed maps. From a survival preparedness point of view, a hard copy map or road atlas of every state which you may travel should be a priority prep (kept in your vehicle) when it comes to navigation.

A list of State Road Atlas Maps

 
Remember this: Most people will be unable to successfully route themselves around the major traveled roads and routes outside of their familiar domain, and these people will become part of the problem as the primary roads and freeways become slow and clogged. Depending on the disaster, this could even become life threatening.

The lesson here is to explore alternative routes to and from your work, to and from your bug-out location, and anywhere else that you expect you may need to go. Find roads that are less traveled. These roads will take you longer to get where you’re going, but that’s okay because you’re NOT looking at this for saving time. You’re looking at this from the viewpoint of SAFETY and SUCCESS.

Once you discover these alternate roads and routes, then TRAVEL them. Become familiar with them. It’s also a refreshing change to get off the main roads and travel the back roads once in a while.

More: It’s Time To BUG OUT But Where Will You Go?

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121 Comments

  1. I always keep a map of my state in my car for just such an event. If I find myself having to walk I will stay on the main roads for the first day at least.

    After a major catastrophe there are stages to which people react. For the first stage most people tend to help others, then its every man for himself, then things can get dicey after that.

    I would avoid the woods at least initially as hiking in the woods is the slowest mode of walking. The quicker I can get to my destination the better. The first day should be pretty safe but always keep an eye on your surroundings as there are still people who will take full advantage of the situation.

  2. I have lived in the same area for the last 42 years now,and fortunately know many different driving,or walking routes if necessary.Even from a distance away,I have several alternate routes in mind,should I ever need them.

  3. Another thing to think about: how would you be able to reach loved ones if you’re unable to use an automobile? Remember during Texas’ hurricane Rita, where many drivers were left helpless and stranded on a highway, out of gas and stuck between other autos- without food and water- Imagine your cell phone running out of battery power in the process! Miles and miles away from home, loved ones, any source of help.

    What about an EMP disaster? Would an older carbureted cars work after an EMP attack should one occur- say a 1980s or earlier year car?

    These are things to think about.

    1. An emp knocks out any power from unshielded wiring, best bet is to have many ways to bug out if bug out is something you need to do. I keep in shape and ride my bike often, just something I do…… not gospel

    2. It is probable that an older car with a points and coil ignitiona system and a mechanical fuel pump and carb would in fact run perfectly after an EMP.

      1. a car with a carb would work after the emp strike however if I had such a car id remove the starter, possible fuel pump if it has one and the coil and place them in a faraday cage. this will protect them from getting knocked out. also the alternator. just a thought

        1. Also the condenser in the distributor near the points should be placed in the faraday cage. (The coil and condenser are probably the most likely to be affected.)

  4. Great article. I’d suggest looking into the DeLorme “state-specific” atlases. They provide a detailed look at all the back roads not usually found on printed maps. They’re big, probably too big for a bug out bag, but are very useful in the “planning process”. Although I live in “Rahmistan” (the city formerly known as Daleygrad [Chicago]), I spend quite a bit of time in Indiana and Wisconsin and have found the DeLorme atlases to be indispensable.

  5. A caution on using secondary routes: side roads are often regulated for light traffic, such that even a modest increase in volume can produce a serious bottleneck.

    For example, there is a secondary road to my home, an alternate to the freeway, that I have attempted to use when the main freeway route is blocked. Unfortunately, there are some other drivers besides myself who are aware of this bypass, and a single stop sign at its end, normally not an impediment, quickly produces a 2 mile long backup as each car must stop in turn before proceeding. (The only redeeming feature is a congenial bar just 2 miles from the stop sign, where one can sip a nourishing liquid, and wait).

  6. I was living in a small suburban town several years ago. A tanker truck crashed and exploded on the highway. This was not long after 9/11, so the police were afraid it was terrorism. They closed a big section of that highway.

    There really wasn’t any such thing as sneaking down a secret road. Any available opening that looked like a road became inundated with traffic. The ‘secondary’ options were immediately gone, and within about 20 minutes the third and fourth routes were overwhelmed too.

    My advice is to form a path that’s in a straight line as much as possible, and be prepared to bike or walk if you really need to hustle. People are pretty resourceful about finding small roads, but most of them will sit in a car for hours before they’ll walk.

    1. Here too. It isn’t unusual in this area for the interstate to shut down, and the secondary roads clog to the point they have rescue squads, volunteer fire depts, etc. directing traffic. Also, because of the terrain here, if you get stuck on a third or fourth level road, there is no where to go, turn around, or get off.

  7. Keep a comfortable pair of shoes and change of clothes in your car, ones you can “blend in” with. It seems obvious, but up until recently, I hadn’t thought of it, and I’d rather not walk home in my strappy cute sandals!

  8. I have all routes to and from work covered. I also have the “rail” way to follow as well and several “hiking/biking” paths covered. I also have a mountain bike and a BOB in my truck.

    My wife however, is my concern. She is polar opposite of me when it comes to confrontation, sticking and remembering a plan and imo, cares too much about too many to kick those in the way to the curb.

    So, I get home and then what? Go try and find her? Stay put and pray? Or really start to drill here (not in a bad way) to start to try to have a second nature of survival? Sure will be a tough day with hell on earth When the shtf fo sho.

  9. People are creatures of habit.
    They will use the route they are used to using and are comfortable with.
    Don’t do that.
    Make sure you know a few different ways to reach your destination.

  10. I’m thinking that you know this.

    If you’re going to bug out to a rural area, you should get to know at least some of your neighbors. Would really suck to get stopped at an impromptu road block.

  11. It seems best to bug out early on, before people panic. If a little belated, bug out in the wee hours of the morning, i.e., 1-4am, when there are fewer people driving.

  12. We went to Albuquerque yesterday and transferred 1 of our bug out bags and found out we couldn’t even lift it! We will have to deal with that before we route ourselves 160 miles home!

    1. You might want to consider a folding cart. Amazon carries a Magna Cart that I will vouch for. Fairly inexpensive and folds up to a easy to a carry in the car trunk package. My get home bag keeps getting bigger as my ability to carry it diminishes with age.

      1. I actually have something like that and will be putting it in the car now. But I am going to have to put some kind of tires on it that will work well over a desert terrain. Thanks for your suggestion.

        1. This one has pretty decent tires. I wouldn’t recommend them for a sandy type desert but they would work well on the hard pack types. Decent on grassy terrain but too skinny for mud

    2. Old Lady at the risk of being a pain… EMP, 160 miles from home too heavy get home bag. Lets see 16 + days walking @ 2 gallons of water per person a day = 32 gallons per person X 8 pounds = a bridge too far my friend. Your in a desert if I recall. NOW a folding bicycle 2 days and ability to carry a serious load with a decent trailer. Doable.

      Yes you can be shot, robbed, run off the road and all but 2 days worth of exposure to steadily increasing danger OR 16+ days of that. Off road I think the chance of twisted ankles. getting lost if your beyond sight of roads and maybe a vermin issue of Mr. Rattle Snake just adds to the adventure.

      I’d stick to the road trip and pray to get home.

  13. This past spring I started what I call my bug-out preps by hiking back from my wifes physical therapy sessions (8 miles by shortest route). I would drive there with her and then hike back with BOB on my back an HK on my hip. Living in the Virginia Beach area doesn’t leave me with many terrain choices, but it’s an opportunity to practice being the “Grey Man”. Since I have a Rush 72 pack and was wearing a sidearm, I would get all sorts of stares when walking through town and on most roads. I fully expected to get questioned by the local police. I increased the length of my hikes each time by taking different routes and more off-road routes. On one 14 mile hike I spent most of the hike traveling along a rarely used rail line and working my way through a heavily wooded area between a back road and a swamp. Although the terrain is basically flat, all the briars, deadfalls and wet areas definitely required more effort and the legs told me all about it after getting home. While plowing through all the undergrowth I stumbled across a small camp. I actually saw it about 50 yards ahead of me….far too close! I was about a quarter mile from the nearest road and close to the swamp edge. Not wanting to be seen I dropped to my knee and observed the camp for activity for a few minutes. It looked recently occupied, but I did not see anyone. Either they heard/saw me crashing through the underbrush and stayed low or they were not there. At any rate, my spidey senses were tingling so I carefully moved back and worked my way well around the camp before resuming my hike. A few days later I found out the camp way likely one of numerous small meth labs apparently common in this area. I never even thought about running into something like that around here, but it just goes to show that I was definitely not paying close attention to my surroundings. On the next hikes I definitely worked on being more observant and stealthy lest I stumble upon some unsavory characters only to end up getting planted in the swamp. And SHTF hasn’t even happened yet!

  14. I know my county pretty well. Lots of dead ends and miles between farms. County roads dead end into impassable streams, into fields and into unmaintained sections lines. I hope to eventually live down one of these dead ends.

    County roads and Highways will be impassible during much of the winter during a bad SHTF scenario. Snowmobiles would be the primary means of travel during most of the winter.

    1. Keeper how many gallons of Gasoline is available for those Snowmobiles friend? I expect it all used up before it goes bad from poor storage, lack of Stabil.

      Back in the day even Cowboys stayed pretty close to home during the winter up your way.

      Even here in NH pre-gasoline era Farmers stayed pretty close to home and barns except for the trip to town for Church and sundries.

      Our world will shrink a lot.

    2. Beware of the dead end roads for living. There are two ways out from our house — left turn out of our driveway, direct route, 6 miles to the nearest large town, where I work – right turn, a 12+ mile trek over back roads to get to work. The DOT shut down the left-turn option a couple of years ago so they could rebuild a drainage pipe under the road. What a pain. But at least we still had a way out. The very epitome of two is one and one is none.

  15. I live in Northern Wyoming. I have big books of maps of WY and MT in my trunk. The most likely scenario is that I would have to return from Cody, Powell, Worland or Billings after a doctor appointment. In all cases, there is really only one main road and one slightly longer alternate. Crossing through rancher’s fields would probably be a good way to get shot. But on the road, in the beginning of an emergency, I would run into plenty of Wyomingites willing and ready to help. Several times I have gotten stuck in the snow or had a flat tire and was helped by the first person who passed by.

    Recently I had to travel to Colorado to visit one last time with my brother who is in a Hospice. Several people worried about me traveling alone in my old car. But I told them if I needed help, I would make sure to accept help only from someone driving a car with Wyoming plates. One friend observed, “If they don’t have Wyoming plates, they probably won’t stop!”

    I can’t see that I would survive for long if I had to bug out. There simply isn’t enough room in my small car to carry my cats, cat food, people food, extra clothes, and supplies. And if my car didn’t work or the roads were blocked I would be stuck. If we learned the Yellowstone volcano was about to erupt, I guess I would have to leave and hope for the best.

    1. It has been mentioned here before, but just in case there are new readers:

      Be sure to have plenty of ID with your name and address on it, or the authorities may not let you go back home, or even arrest you for suspicion of attempted looting.

    2. Daisy k ,,,,,,how far are you from buffalo,or KC??? some good folks there ,,,,,,,

      1. OLDHOMESTEADER,

        I am on the west side of the Big Horn Mtns. Buffalo is on the east side. About 115 miles and through Ten Sleep Canyon, and over Powder River Pass. A steep winding journey that at times has you on a road that looks straight down while driving on a narrow road with a grade of 7-8%. MapQuest says you can do it in 2 hrs 15 min, but I say, “only if you are willing to accidently drive over the cliff and head straight down a couple thousand feet.”

        When you said “KC” at first I thought you meant Kansas City — a very long way. Now I assume you meant Kaycee WY, about 45-50 miles south of Buffalo WY on a 80 mph stretch of Interstate 25 or about 160 miles from me.

        1. Daisy K ,,,,,,,know that road all to well (16) had holdings out of ten sleep and riverton,,,,,know of some good people that out that way ,,doors can open to meet like thinkers ,,,haven’t been to worland in some time ,,,more later ,,broke baler in the shop and hay down in the field

  16. We live in a small town and I work 1.5 miles from home. It is half that far to walk across the fields to get home. The nearest town that we go to on a regular basis is 20 miles away. I know multiple ways to get home from there. If it ever comes to walking home from that distance we are not able to hike that far for medical reasons. We would have to wait it out. We do have first aid, water and other supplies in each vehicle. We should add some food to truck supplies.

  17. Kiddo just moved out of state. Several states away. So if a big SHTF event happened he would of course head back home. What is the best map situation? Like a printed out physical map. I have never lived anywhere other than my small town. I have NO idea what to even think about getting. I use GPS on my phone to go to a larger town in Texas (hahaha). Seriously very small town girl. I tried searching and came up with too many confusing options. He is in excellent physical shape and if driving were not an option he could ride a bike or even walk if he had too. Hopefully it does not come to that before I get him back to Texas. lol.

    1. Texasgirl,

      Unfortunately if he is several states away, he will likely have to take major highways at some points during the drive. I recommend checking out mapquest or google maps and finding several routes from his house to yours. Print out the step by step directions for multiple routes and have him start testing routes when he comes back to visit. Make notes on the step by step directions of major landmarks along the way. I would do 3-4 separate routes and on as many of them as possible take backroads. I would also take the route that travels through less populated states where possible. A lot easier to travel through states with less population.

    2. Next time he heads home have him stop at the welcome centers in each state, he can pick up a free map of the state there.

  18. One thing to consider when taking alternate routes is the possibility of local authorities blocking some of those backroads. We had a planned trip to take a car up to our daughter in college. About 3 hours before we left our area came under an evacuation notice due to an incoming hurricane. Police departments started closing off alternate routes funneling everyone to the major highways. I managed to get through the first couple roadblocks with a press pass I had. At that time I did freelance photography for college and high school sporting events. Eventually the press pass didn’t get me through though. Cars and gas stations were running out of gas causing the major highways to become parking lots. We eventually were able to bail off the highway onto a dirt road/trail that was a fire break through a national forest. Although only able to do 20 to 30 mph, we made it into Louisiana where we picked up some backroads for another 50 miles or so. The combination of a good road atlas, satellite views on my phone and a good sense of direction finally got us to Shreveport La. and our daughters collage. That trip took us 16 hours, normally taking 4 or 5. We talked to others over the next few days that told us we did good. Most took 36 to 48 hours to make the same trip. They stated they had to sleep in their cars with little or no food. Most places could only accept cash as credit card machines went down due to power outages from the storm. Weeks later we found out that more people died on the road during the evacuation than died from riding out the hurricane. Supposedly Texas learned from this. They now stage fuel tankers along routes so people can get fuel. They have also called for small towns to disperse traffic through the smaller backroads and coordinate with other small towns to prevent backroads from becoming too conjested. We’ll have to see how that works out next time.

  19. Being surrounded by mountains here this gets tricky–several of the canyons are blocked off at the top so you have to either pay to enter (national parks) or entry is only if you live there. There are two main routes out, and several minor, but a few years ago I found a little back road that goes around one of the major blockages. The only people who travel it live along it.

    It looked like a good option, until I learned that it runs right into the main freeway a couple miles past the main bottleneck. Totally useless in a bugout situation because it hits the freeway right between two major cities. It would get me farther than the main freeway, but I’d be right in the middle of more city traffic. So I’m looking for alternatives, but right now the plan is to bug in.

    1. Actually Lauren if your neighbors are decent and you have water (your desert IIRC) I would not bug out. Do you have a better place to bug out to?

      Do not be a Refugee have a planned bug out location friends. Even caches of supplies along the route with 2 or more compass azimuth targets to find them.

      1. I do have a planned bugout location, but it’s several states away. If it’s possible we’ll stay right where we are, as Dad can’t walk far. I still want to have a planned route if it becomes necessary.

    2. LAUREN ,,,,my guess ,your in SLC area ,,,,,,the valley has folks that fly back and forth from there ,,,,,,,,best way to bug out ,,,,I suspect you might fit in ,,, IF your ready to go Galt ,,,understand about dad ,,,,,need to talk some time ,,,,,,,
      Tea and blueberries

  20. Another good reason for me to just stay here, can see about everywhere i would go to from my front porch,,,,

  21. Historically, waterways (rivers, creeks, etc.), could be major obstacles. Absent bridges, most vehicles cannot deal with them. Even on foot, a 15-20ft wide stream, at certain times of the year, can be a near impossible obstacle that may require several miles of detour. Knowing the best, or in some cases only, locations to cross will be invaluable.

    Where I live, some of my closest “neighbors” are two miles distant as the crow flies, but close to 30 miles by the only navigable roads.

  22. I travel about once a month for work. My travels (by truck) take me into the ’empty’ (but beautiful) vastness of the western states. It is not unusual for me to cover 750 miles in a day by truck, sometimes I don’t see anyone for hours. I often think about how I would get home if SHTF happened and I had to get back on foot. Just yesterday coming home from Winnemucca (look it up on a map), I took an ‘alternate’ route around the SLC I-80/I-25 mess. Took me into some beautiful, but isolated country, but sparsely populated, but could easily be done on foot undetected. Each time I go out, I try and explore new ways of getting back. looking for natural water sources, places to hide out, food resources. (I am lucky that once I travel a road, I almost never forget the route.) Even in places where there are no alternate roads, there still are things like railroad tracks, the myriad of gas/oil pipelines, power lines, that tend to parallel the major highways, but usually 1/2 mile or more away, many of which might be a safer way to travel on foot, dependent on what type of SHTF happens. This healthy ‘What if? and How would I?” is a great exercise in expanding your vision about travelling post-SHTF. Also helps make the long lonely hours on the road go faster.

    1. Minerjim my friend we are about the same age and your making me foot sore just thinking of 50+ miles of backpacking.

      I do however understand the advantages of running parallel to a highway as to keep your direction of travel right and avoid unneeded interest. Thus my comments to Modern Throwback about 33+ miles brush busting vs a bicycle and plan to avoid trouble by going into the woods to walk the bike a couple of miles before reentering the road. Land Navigation is not that easy and getting lost is pretty common even with military maps and compasses in the brush.

      That said the faster your back home after SHTF the better IMHO. I expect the first 24 hours to be reasonable aside from known bad areas then all bets are off.

      Your thoughts Minerjim? I know you’ve seen disasters and bad human activities during them.

      1. NHM,
        I have really thought about what you have told me concerning bicycles to get home. Makes a lot of sense, as my probable trek would be hundreds of miles across deserts. (still looking for alternates across or around the Great Salt Lake/ Bonneville salt Flats area). I think most of my ‘get home’ treks would be close to a month or more on foot, maybe two weeks on a bicycle. There are places where following roads/power lines/pipelines/ railroad tracks would be safer. It is when you get to the Metropolitan areas that you have to skirt around that it gets tough. I would likely be travelling in the dark of night around those areas. (I like doing stuff in the dark, 2nd nature to me as a miner. hee-hee) Traveling by day post-SHTF scares the crap out of me, except maybe in some of the more desolate mountain and desert areas. Fortunately here in the west, we have the ability to set up see large landmarks from great distances,(100+ miles) much like the pioneers did when they crossed this area a hundred years ago. On the eastern side of the county, I must confess, I would have a heck of a time navigating. I think I would start looking at some of the major utility corridors that cross the area.(things like very high tension power lines, large gas pipelines, etc. that are unique in construction or size to set them apart.) These would become my “way points”, and I would try to travel parallel to/ but not on them. You will likely have company, but much less than the interstates. Hopefully you do not have to travel the great distances that I face to get home from some of the more ‘remote’ places I have to go for work.

        1. MINERJIM,,,, in the northwest there is a air trans system that’s off the books ,,,,WA,IDA,OR,MT,UT,NCALNV,,,,,some CO,WY,,,,,,joking called the Galt air line ,,,,,i expect it to keep working during and after,,,,, 150-180 mph at 2000ft,,much better than one step at a time down in the heat ,,,,,Galt has spead ,,think about being a part ,,,,,,
          tea and blueberries

          1. SMG ,,,,,,,there is a network of bugsmashers ,,,,,,we need to talk sometime ,,,,,is possible that you could be part of the system,,,,,have you read Atlas shrugged? In the back of the book it’s told about folks setting up a net work of little gulchs ,,,gee think about that ,,, a alternet way to live ,,, I try to drop tidbits. ,,,Some of us have been on the road so to speak for some time,,,,there are a number of states I can go to and never be more than a hour away from a safe place ,,,it’s called community,and network of like thinking people,,,,,,

        2. Minerjim for you I’d add a bicycle trailer, making sure the tire size was the same so IF you had to you could scavenge the trailer to continue.

          Water and granola I can go a LONG way. Personally I hike at 1 mile per hour with a pack for long distance. I.E. About 10-12 miles a day. I can ride cross country at least 10-15 MPH even getting over fences with the bike and trailer so a LOT faster AND with a real payload of water + food.

          Hope this helps

          1. NHM,
            Good points all of them. I really need to get a bicycle rig of some sort and have it in the back of the truck. Some of the places I drive, I would have to walk two or three days to get to a small town. Easy enough to fabricate a small trailer in the shop this winter for a bike. Also need to finish my 80 meter QRP rig and have it in my gear.

          2. Minerjim please look up the single wheeled Burley bicycle trailer. Best of breed so fabricate from a proven design used by folks who bicycle camp long distance.

            Low center of gravity and anywhere you can fit your handlebars through it will follow. My personal favorite for trail riding.

            Also the larger the bike the better for long distance. If your trying to fit in a truck even a 20 inch folder is x 10 faster than walking. A 26 inch folder or standard will cruise over rougher terrain faster and safer. Pack a can of pressurized slime for Murphy’s Law.

          3. Minerjim CORRECTION the BOB Single wheel bike trailer.

            I thought years ago when I got one it came from Burley but I looked it up on Amazon and they list it as a BOB. That stands for BTW Beast Of Burden :-)

            If I was building one the belly of the cargo sled is only a little higher than the lowest point of your bike I.E. the chain guard to keep center of gravity low BUT I would try to use the same sized wheel of my bicycle as to be able to salvage it if needed for bicycle. Carrying the tools to change a tire are small and light aside from the pump.

            Aside from speed getting home I look at you needing about 2 gallons of water per day hiking or biking. I prefer you have the ability to carry 10+ gallons of water on the trailer AND better Water Mileage 10-12 miles hiking VS. closer to 100 miles biking still takes 2 gallons of water eh?

            Hope this helps

          4. NHM,
            All this discussion helps, thanks. When you put it in miles travelled per gallon of water, it got real pretty fast.

          5. Minerjim,

            What sort of antenna will you use on 80M? You might have better luck on 20M, 80 is dicey in the daytime.

            Doc Jackson

  23. Some very good comments. I would add that each person/group that is inclined to bail out when the SHTF marks routes on a ‘good’ map. Most states have PDF files of counties/areas that go into decent detail. You generally have to spend a lot of time looking through their web sites trying to figure out what they call the maps. (Some file names are very stupid.) Go from experience to mark multiple routes. Use markers to discriminate between the routes. Then travel them. Mark water sources, gas stations, places you DON’T want to go, places that look decent to camp for the day/night, and areas with crops that are easily accessible from the road.(Don’t be an A-hole and steal from the middle of the field! Just get what you need for now at the roadside.) Remember, no power = no gas pumps, no water, no refrigeration. Also remember, there generally is a hose bib at each water tower for the maintenance people. Be sure to have a hose bib key, meter key, or sillcock key. Mark any and all creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc. It may not be crystal clear, but you can learn to make it potable.

    Also, keep any eye out for choke points. Mark accesses to power line right-of-way. Be cautious of railroad right-of-way. Many times the ‘smooth part’ doesn’t go very far and turning around can be disastrous,

    Before walking into a new area, do what the rail road signs say: Stop. Look. Listen. Don’t stop for a minute. Hunker down, look and listen for 15 minutes or more. There could be some two-legged animals out there.

    Learn to walk on dry leaves. Quietly.

    As MinerJim says……moving in daylight is scary. Get a light with a red lens. When moving in the day time, go slow. And WYS! (Watch Your Six)

    1. Not my idea but if in major city there usually is a river. Hopefully it flows toward your home and use a two person dinghy inflated with air bottle which can inflate it quickly so no one gets the idea to join you. Very few will think of this mode of transportation to quickly leave city core and river will not be crowded so litte chance of confronting someone. Don’t forget the life jacket.

    2. NotMyAsphalt,
      good point on light with red lens. I’ll go you one better though: Learn to walk in the dark with no light other than the moon and stars. You can teach yourself to walk over rough terrain without looking. Miners have been doing it forever. (yes we have cap lamps, but we do not really look down at the ground when we walk. We sort of ‘feel’ our way along. I have walked out from underground without a light many times when my cap lamp failed.). I walk around our farm and night without a flashlight to keep in practice. DW thinks I am crazy, but what else is new?

  24. Try to never leave home with out a full tank of gas. You may have to set or drive a long way around.

    1. You learn when travelling long vast, empty spaces to fill up whenever your tank gets close 1/2 full. I’ll even fill when it is 3/4 full if I have a gas station. I can count the number of times this saved my bacon.

      1. Minerjim,

        Prior 9/11, I filled up every third day making my 130 mile round trip commute to work. Of course 9/11 occurred on the day I was due to fill up. As I drove home that day after pulling a double shift, I traveled 50 miles of interstate and at least 25 gas stations, all with waiting lines several blocks long in addition to obvious price gouging by managers. I barely made it to a small, hard to access station (from the interstate) that was business as usual, as if nothing had happened. Had I not found it, I wouldn’t have made it home, much less to work for my next shift (we were working 16 on 8 off until things settled down).

        After that, and still to this day, I fill up before returning home no matter how short the trip (of course the closest filling station is 28 miles from home), and maintain 80 gallons in storage.

        1. Dennis,
          Yeah, our nice accounting lady in the home office once asked about all my gas receipts for small amounts of gas. Told her it was old habit from the oil patch days, and explained myself. There was a pause and she said, “Well, that makes darn good sense!” In many field service companies it has become a hard fast rule to never leave town with less than 3/4 of a tank.

    2. My wife learned of that when she lived in Atlanta. Only lived 4 miles from work but was “quicker – in terms of large city travel time” snow/ice storm hit and she was stranded on the highway with only a 1/4 tank. Learned her lesson there. We no longer live in Atlanta now. – thank the good Lord!

  25. As long as it’s not some end of the world event, nuclear war, EMP, earthquake second coming you got three days before it gets to strange. Personally it only takes a small bump in the road for me to head for home. The most distant point we travel to is 125 miles away and it’s same day travel. As the truck carry is 32 gal. and the bed tank is 115 gal. of diesel I think fuel won’t be a problem. I have road maps and U.S. Forestry maps and FAA section maps all paper of our area. We do have a handheld GPS unit in the BOB bag but if no signal it goes in the ditch.
    Found the best way to check out the area we may need to travel is by air. The Super STOL can take off in 300 ft. and land in 100 ft. with a max speed of 80 knots. Most people have no ideal of the number of private roads and airstrip not found on any map. Found two old rail line’s not shown with one 38 miles long going to S.C. and the other crosses a dam breast. The number of power line easements, gas lines running all over the place is crazy. Have color coded my maps with all kinds of extra information. Make a plan but be ready to free range the minute the shooting starts.

    1. Keep the GPS, We have folks in the world with the capability to take our satellites out. Hence we probably have others ready to launch to replace as needed. Or they my have been shut down temporarily. Good compass is a given and know how to correct from true north to magnetic north and vice versa.

  26. Find alternative ways home sounds great but it’s just a tad unrealistic for 99% of us that live in any kind of population center.

    While you can always find a way home that you have never used before you can bet someone else will have used it, actually numerous someones will use it.

    Unless you want to be hopping fences and go trespassing on someones property (Something that will get you SHOT during a bad event) you are going to have to use road period.

    Roads are there because they do allow travel from one place to another, just saying to go the road less traveled sounds great but it’s not going to happen.

    There is NO WAY for me to get home without using a road that gets used a LOT by others every day. I would bet it’s the same for most here that live in any kind of population center known as a city.

    Not to say I don’t have maps or a few GPS units, but it’s just not realistic or for someone to not be able to use a road to get home that many other people will be using.

    And before someone says to move out so far that population is not a problem (something just as unrealistic for those of us that need people to make money) back during the 1930’s depression people moved to cities, not away from them as the cities were where the population was and therefore where the money was and is.

    And as much as preppers like to think they are prepared for a bad SHTF I would guess most of us have no real idea how much we need an income to live.

    How do I know most preppers have no real understanding about an active ongoing source of money? Because every time I have mentioned it, being self employed and figuring out how to survive financially post-SHTF there is almost no response. I have talked about this numerous times on a few blogs and no one really seems to have an idea what to do if the company paycheck or retirement checks stop.

    So no living out far from people is not going to happen and that means you are going to be using roads many, many others are going to be using. That’s just how it is and is going to be.

    In prepper fairyland it may be different, but in realville you are going to have to interact with a lot of people.

    1. Doc Jackson,
      I would deploy a long wire antenna and use a small antenna tuner for my 80 meter QRP rig. If you deploy a long wire or dipole or similar antenna about 6′ off the ground (maybe on sage brush or something a bit taller) you will basically be operating in NVIS mode, basically most of your signal going straight up and coming nearly straight down after bouncing off the ionosphere. Should have signal out in a 500-600 mile radius, and your signal will be difficult to track using RDF (radio direction finding). My thinking is that at this point is that I will be talking to experienced hams, as they are the only ones that have these frequency privileges now. I just think my chances of getting good intelligence are better from an experienced ham than info obtained from anyone who can operate a 2 meter rig. There is still risk, but lower IMHO. Do a search on NVIS antennas and operation, lot of good info out there.

    2. (I’m curious what sort of 80 meter QRP antenna would you deploy?)

      Why would I want to be on HF while trying to get home?

      I see little to no value in talking on the low bands post-SHTF, who would come hundreds of miles (or who would I go help) away when fuel would be near impossible to find, and or the trek may get you killed?

      In a SHTF World the planet gets a lot smaller

      As far as QRP I sold my Yaesu FT-817 as it was just not very useful to me. All people wanted was to make a contact and move on to the next contact. Contesting is a big reason why I dislike The ARRL and HF radio. As a Ham I want to talk to others, not to rack up points in some ARRL (meaningless) database.

      I hated even turning the 817 on on the weekends as EVERY weekend there was some contesting going on. So I sold it and bought a 6-Meter all-mode and started talking to a few local guys I’ve known for years. We actually do something strange with our radios, we talk like normal people do.

      1. Chuck Findlay,
        Wow. From your comments today it sounds like you are having a tough day. Yeah I get avoiding the ham Contest guys, but you have to admit the ARRL does provide a lot of good ham radio education materials. You may not want to get on 80 meters post SHTF, but in my situation of having to travel hundreds of miles to get home, I want get as much intelligence as I can way before I spend days moving into an area. I have no illusions about calling for help in a SHTF situation, I will be on my own.
        As for having to deal with people post SHTF, I agree, everyone ought to plan on it , security wise at least. Work for a living post SHTF? gonna look more like bartering goods and services, more dealing with people. BUT, if you live rurally and know most of your neighbors, might be better off than in town with a bunch of strangers. I agree, everyone should be thinking of how to survive without a paycheck or SS coming in. Hard for lot of folks to do, but ain’t that what we are trying to do here, is learn? As for “HAVING TO TAKE” certain roads to get home, that may be the case, but you should at least take a look for an alternate route (point of the article).deal with it from there. I may have to take I-80 across Utah salt flats to get home. Alternate route? None staring me in the face. (other than. Flying Old Homesteaders underground airlines), I’m am going to find one. Shortest distance between two points is a straight line.Who says your alternate route has to be the fastest or straight?
        Sorry Chuck, you just sounded a bit wound too tight over this stuff today. I don’t mean to be picky or judgemental..Yeah people need to be thinking over this stuff, but not freaking out over it. Besides, if you are a believer, you gotta know God has our backs if we are true of heart. Peace be with you.

        1. (Chuck Findlay,
          Wow. From your comments today it sounds like you are having a tough day. )

          Not a bit, I’m almost always in a good to very good mood.

          The facts don’t know a good from a bad day, it’s just the facts. They can seem harsh as today we get such a candy-coated version of things from the news, politicians and those that are more worried about how their words feel to others then what they actually mean.

          what I said stands for most people that live by or in any kind of city. Roads get driven on a lot by lots of people and thinking you can find a route home (when you live in a city) with little to no traffic is just unrealistic.

          In the Eastern part of the country there is only 2 types of land. That being public access (parks, roads and such) that everyone has use of and does use it. and the other is private land (homes, businesses) that could be very dangerous to go on if it ever did hit the fan bad as people will be wound-up-tight and likely trigger happy. I can’t imagine how you could even get home without using a road that is well used and known by thousands upon thousands of people.

          As far as the Ham radio thing HF you can get info just as easily with a shortwave portable radio as you can with a portable HF radio. Abd the short wave will work for weeks on a set of batteries, not so with a Ham radio. My FT-817 would go through a set of batteries in a short few hours. It even drained them when the radio was left off. Let it sit for a week and the batteries were 100% dead. Do you have a lot of extra batteries for your portable HF radio and or a solar panel to charge them while you walk home?

          I may seem harsh at times, but that’s because I boil things down to a very practical level of what is and is not going to work. The cost benefit of a portable HF radio is just not worth it to me.

          Screwing around for an hour or more with a portable HF radio while trying to get home is a lot of time that could be better spent.

          I’m a Ham with a LOT of radios so I understand the desire to play with them. I play with radios every day, (I have 3 of them on sitting next to me right now, a 6, 2 meter and a 440 MHz, one) but as a Ham I don’t get so lost in the radio world as to not see the limits of their use post-SHTF. I just don’t see the need for HF communications if it hits the fan bad. I’m sure there are a few exceptions, but they are the exceptions and not the normal.

          And I stand by what I said about The ARRL, just pick up any copy of QST and it is full of contesting results, past contesting info, future contesting info and The ARRL in QST is pushing a contest pretty much every weekend of the year. It has been dong this for 40-years that I know of.

          (but you have to admit the ARRL does provide a lot of good ham radio education materials. )

          Yes and NO. They really push HF hard and only do the VHF and up stuff as it’s part of the Tech test questions. They have books that are for the Tech license and yet they still push things in these books that are HF and General class info. They can’t seem to understand new Ham’s being happy with 50 MHz. and up, it just doesn’t compute with them. I went to a Tech class this Spring to get a refresher on some of the computer stuff like D-Star and Fusion. I kept seeing a focus on General class things to people trying to pass a VHF / UHF class. There was a lot of people with eyes glassed over not understanding what was being taught to them. Jamming HF propagation stuff down someone’s throat that is going for a VHF ticket is not building a friendly environment. But The ARRL is all about HF, and hardly gives VHF ? UHF any focus.

          I have listened to Ham’s in other countries talk about how they detest US Hams because they only want a grid square and don’t want to talk. So I’m hardly the only one that sees a problem with The ARRL.

          I’m just willing to say what I think about something.

          If you look with an open mind it’s easy to see many people that have a problem with The ARRL, I know numerous Ham’s that refuse to join The ARRL as they feel the focus is too much slanted to HF (not VHF and above) and contesting.

          PS: for those that are not Ham Radio Geeks QST is The ARRL’s monthly magazine.

  27. So as far as maps go……..what do I get for the kiddo? He is several states over. What if GPS is not an option? I am trying to figure out how to get him home if something happens. He will be going through 5 states to get back to Texas. Yes, I know some will say he should have never left. But he is young and a great job opportunity came up. He is doing what he loves. Hopefully in a few years we will have him back in Texas but for now I am helping him come up with a plan in case a big event happens. At least he understands that there is a possibility of shtf event and is planning for it. We have a good GPS and bug out bag so far. Working on the bike, etc.

    1. Texas Girl,
      Delorme has state ‘map books’ you can buy for each of the states between you and the Kiddo. Bulky, but they show all the roads and topo. Lots of online resources for maps too, if you have a good printer. I would come up with a few different routes (skirting major cities, etc) then maybe have him drive one each time he comes home to visit or maybe you drive it when you go to visit him. Each trip will give you guys more ideas about the best way to get home, plus familiarize yourselves with the country between you two. Just my thoughts on the matter. Good luck, you can do it!

    2. I would like to make a suggestion…
      No matter what option you end up using whether store bought or home printed, LAMINATE the relevant pages. In the field, a map will be consulted frequently, regardless of weather conditions.
      It is possible to make your own “map book”, and you can get your map sections laminated and spiral bound at most of those big box office supply stores.

      1. Excellent suggestion. Do not use the plastic sheets that have an “adhesive” applied to them. That adhesive is acidic and will turn your maps a yellowish-orange hue in a few months. And will loosen very quickly. Laminate them! And explicitly tell the person doing the lamination you want a 1/4 inch border. Anything less will break loose and the paper will suck up moisture.

  28. Have been following this thread for the day; GREAT suggestions and a lot of good informative comments.

    So I wanted to toss this out there also, once you have “The Best Route To Bug Out Or Get Back Home” and traveled 10 miles or 200 miles, what is next?

    What I’m talking about is when you arrive at point “B”, what’s your plan? Are you simply going to walk right up to the house and shout “Honey I’m Home” and hope like hell “Honey” is still there and the ‘Point “B”’ has not been taken over by the ‘Bad Guys’?

    How about sitting down with said Honey and making some sort of signaling that will indicate the “Right” people are home, also not to get double tap you when you open the door.

    Also ya might want to take an extra hour and ‘observe’ the house/what-ever from all side and evaluate the situation first. Would be time well spent to make sure you’re also not being followed or the house is being watched by others…..

    Just a Thought.

    1. NRP,
      Ooh, you have a suspicious mind!! Probably what’s kept you alive so long!!! I agree with you 100%. by the time you get home maybe 24- 72 hours later, things could be very different. Part of this Getting Home after SHTF is taking time during rest periods (during a long trek back) to try and gather intelligence about the upcoming route condition, and this includes the final leg. Good points on pre-arranged signals with family.( bet you have a whole bunch of signals that you and Blue know in case they come to the ranch while your in town getting Gin) Another follow on to that, what do you do if things are not ‘peachy’? how would you go about ‘turning the tide’ if the “bad guys” have taken over your place?? With loved ones inside??? Yeah, a lot to think about there. Makes a good case for stashes out from the farm, to keep you going while you sort it all out, as that may take a few days.

      1. Minerjim;
        You bring up another thought of this “suspicious mind”.

        Seems we all chat about getting home ASAP, and Hunkering Down. So I invasion people with their overfilled Packs and Bicycles hauling butt down the back roads and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go (a little jingle in there somewhere). Of course there will or possibly will be 10,000 others doing the same thing. So, how do you avoid them? How do you become the “Gray Man” with all that gear hanging off your azz?

        Someone mentioned they believed the “Sheeple” would not react for a couple/few days before reacting, I don’t think that’s correct. Example; NY Shitty blackouts, the same night people were rioting and all the rest of the nasty stuff, Baltimore riots within hours, Trump winning the election, riots that same night, The hurricanes and the looting and mass exiting AS the waters were actually rising, endless list. I would NOT count on that few days till all hell breaks loose if/when something major happens

        So do you simply take a longer way around adding a couple of days to your trip? How about slowing down, watching and listening more and more? Maybe traveling 3/4 the way and hunkering down for a day, again gathering all the info you can without interacting with others (Radios/Ham/Emergency-channels)? Ahhhhh and maybe resting for a day (remember Old-Fat-Dude here) if you have a multi-day trip?

        One thing is for sure, if/when TSHTF you probably should stay as far away from people as you can. It has been said many of times, and worth repeating, “What would you do if your Family/Children were dying of thirst or starving?” Have you ever seen the mob mentality on Black Friday, multiply that be a thousand fold.

        With this said, maybe one should make darn sure “The Best Route To Bug Out Or Get Back Home” does NOT include city travel or going to Wally World for and extra bag of Oranges.

        1. NRP,

          Valid points all. I’ll throw a curve at you. I think it all centers around where you are when the ‘balloon goes up’, so to speak. If I were in a City, I would be scared to death. (notice all your examples of things going ‘down the rabbit hole’ in short order where all in cities?). But what if you were out in the ’empty spaces’ of your state, or maybe someplace like Ely, NV (look it up on a map)? Might be that you see a few others going your way up some lonely forgotten highway. It is not human nature for people to bond together in rough times? (What does the Buddhist in you say?) I could see myself joining a ‘loose confederation’ of travelers trying to make it to ‘wherever’. At least out in the hinterlands. In the cities? As my Italian DW would say,”Faggetaboutit!”
          So if we need each other to survive post SHTF, what about during? You would have to be good at ‘reading’ people you might want to align with, but maybe better to travel in a small group than travel alone. People in the same situation, relying on each other would build very strong bonds. Just food for thought.

        2. – NRP –
          Not quite the same thing, but a similar line. Several years years ago, my nephew asked me to take him on a hunting trip with no previous location set up. We went out to some public land where I had been years before, and had some idea of the lay of the land so that he could have his “hunting trip”.

          to make a long story as short as possible. We set up to watch a previously hunted valley, with binoculars. by the time fifteen minutes had passed, I had identified six other hunters all watching from various locations around the valley, and we all watched a party of three ‘slob hunters’, as they wandered across the floor of the valley shooting at every innocent tree stump the could find. At least two of those hunters on the slopes watched those clowns with rifle scopes.
          Our expedition ended as soon as they were back in their jeep.
          – Papa S.

    2. The fact that we even have to consider stuff like this says a lot about society now,,, or is it just us?
      Why cant things just be and stay simple…….

    3. Chuckle I head out to give the two oldies a lunch and ice cream out and all *ell breaks loose here :-)

      NRP and Minerjim just because your paranoid doe not mean they are NOT out to get you :-)

      A colorful flag shows me what the home status is. Color changes from morning and night, that and the whistle, return whistle shows I’m friendly and she’s in control at home. That and the dogs or more concerning lack of them would give me a hint.

      That Plan B olive barrel seems almost reasonable now eh? I happen to have tear gas for pest removal from the homestead. Friendly survivors can wash that off. I have far less friendly chemistry for no friendlies inside pest evections. Water purification chemicals are quite volatile you know, read the MSDS for details. There are tools and supplies in the plan B to cover being driven out of the home bleeding and empty handed to survive and prosper.

      As far as timing of craziness erupting during a EMP SHTF situation and such I know the Gimmie Dat’s will be active very quickly (see NYC blackouts for details) but where I am they are scarce. Thus I want to be out of any city and HOME with in 24 hours before even the nominally sane start acting out. 72 hours post SHTF Blackout even the good neighbors will become dangerous from what I have seen and read about. All are educated guesses subject to the real world but you have to make assumptions to plan anything right?

      Looking forward to your thoughts. As someone said recently Post SHTF will be a dynamic scenario.

      1. NHM,
        Your plan B Olive barrels have always sounded very reasonable to me. (recently found a western US source on the Front Range, $45 each, also good for making large batches of ‘Family wine’.). Good advice on the flags and color changes, too. Maybe also position of curtains in various rooms, etc. Have thought about non-lethal methods to drive out intruders- horns, smoke & Gas, etc. would have to be in place before SHTF. (With my luck they would go off in the middle of the night accidently, and I would have to face my irate Italian Wife and the dog!)
        I think post-SHTF, things would be clam here on the farm. I believe that the local folks would take protections from the ‘Gimmedats’ in town coming out to find ‘stuff’. ( I see this as a distinct advantage of living on this side of the country. those ‘Gimme-dats’ are few, and limited to the cities here about where they can be watched and somewhat controlled. Unlike your side of the country where the population density is heavy and they are generally intermingled all around, except maybe not where you are.)
        As for making plans and assumptions, I learned early in life as an engineer and project manager to have a plan A,B, & C for management to look at……… and kept a plan D,E, & F hidden in my back pocket in case I met up with my old friend “Murphy”. Hope you got to enjoy your lunch and ice cream. Sounds good actually.

      2. NH Michael ;
        A thought,
        Say I’m on my trek homeward and come across a few “friendly’s” that are in slightly dire straits, next let’s assume we “hit it off” and decide it’s better to travel in a group as you mentioned for ohhhhh “just a few miles”.
        So Paranoid kicks in here…. Ya have to sleep sometime, you have “stuff” and your new-found-friends have very little….. See a problem here?
        OR you make it to where you need to part ways, they have followed you most of your way home and now know the area you’re in….. See a problem here?
        How about another one, your buddies now ask if they can join you at your place “till we can move on”, and if you disagree there is you against how many? Again….. See a problem here?
        As a negative there is just as much danger joining with a group of “friendlies” as traveling alone IMHO.
        Heck would be just as bad if you run across that un-prepared neighbor that’s also walking home with nada to his name, after-all the world just went poof, what would he care about you if it meant he could get home?

        But that’s just me.

        1. NRP all good points. Please note I did not suggest acquiring a tribe of strangers to travel home with. Not high on my faith in humans belief structure.

          Bringing strangers home during a SHTF situation seems to be foolish idea. Thus the problem of being a Lone Wolf Prepper. Even one extra unknown face in the mix and how can you deal with that? You have to sleep sometime and right now to that stranger you look like Wal Mart.

          FOLKS You Need Someone you can Trust to cover your back. Even two families working together have better options. As the Bible says a Cord of three strands is not easily broken.

          To bring useful but not fully trusted folks into your tribe you need to be able to provide safe water, sanitation, food and shelter for all. AND Security for you and your trusted ones. The Vikings can show you how they successfully did that with out getting their throats slit in their sleep.

          Hint Security for you and your trusted ones is CRITICAL. It would be a long posting and I do not want to bore you if your not interested.

          1. NH Michael:
            One tbing I’m not…. is bored with your post. Would be interesting to hear your security thoughts.
            Might suggest writing Ken an article on the subject?

          2. 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 seconds with security. Not much will be higher on the priority list than security. Makes no difference how much food nor how many gadgets you have stored they will be worthless if you cannot keep them.

        2. NRP
          Your not alone, i am a skeptic when it comes to other humans, going to be a rough time if this stuff ever comes to pass into the rotary wind machine

  29. Sort of ironic, I’ve been re-reading “Going Home” by A. American. One of the three novels on shtf scenarios I bought after discovering there were other folks out in the world with concerns similar to mine.

    Being a “seasoned citizen” I’ve learned to ascribe to the the old adages “the best laid plans of mice and men…….” and “all battle plans are perfect until the first shot is fired”. Yet, I try to be prepared for any scenario. Three years ago, I spent at least 3-4 days a week hiking my rugged property, exploring every square in with a twenty pound back pack, feeling like I could handle anything. Then I had open heart surgery (6xcabg). Barely recovered from that surgery, had invasive carotid artery surgery. Less than a year later, a complete hip replacement.

    Now I restrict myself to projects around the farmstead, daily chores, and honey do’s. I do spend almost daily time on my shooting range. About the only thing that makes me a formidable opponent now are my abilities with weapons and years of experience dealing with some seriously bad people.

    I’m home. I will live….or die….right here, protecting the family that has gathered back around Mom and Dad for various reasons. If I’m caught on the road more than 30 miles from home, well, I’ve just been dealt a bad hand, and as someone else said, I’ve got a good chance of making it with what I’ve got on my person everyday after getting dressed. Not because I’m tougher than the next man, but because, like my son repeatedly tells me, Dad, you don’t know when to quit. Just his way of saying that I’m hardheaded and won’t stop, even if it don’t make a lick of sense to go on.

    1. Dennis you sound like you have a tribe and a plan. Frankly I am NOT surprised :-) Given your postings to date. I hope you have a decent relationship if not alliances with your neighbors also. Your LE experience works well to know about questionable troublemakers in your area.

      I am aware your ex LE and I don’t want to offend with simple ideas as I do not know your military experience (a bit different than LE) so remember that please. Honestly you know this posting is not just for you but for those who will listen.

      I do not want to know for OPSEC sake but I am hopeful some of your farm structures have a second role in protecting the homestead. Sturdy structures with elevated concealed sandbag reinforcement is an awesome force multiplier. I often refer to them as Fighting Towers in many posts. Hiding the sand bags may make hostiles think they can shoot through that barn to kill your fighters. All an advantage for the defender. Adding a few mechanical moving (Hooded Head turns, arm movement) “armed” dummies may give hidden observers some bad information as to your “Obvious Guards” I prefer a hostile shooter caps a dummy or two rather than my own folks. Might be the first warning of hostiles. Worked in Bosnia and a few other spots I’ve visited.

      I am hopeful you and yours have walked the property with an OBSERVER at your defensive points MAPPING where the walker’s knees or more is lost from sight. These areas are concealed routes to your homestead. Make special plans/move an OP or fighting location to cover. The farther out you detect and engage hostiles the better. DO Fire Plans. Use those maps to paint mark zones of fire so you can direct reinforcements to the right area.

      Not everybody out there is a professional SEAL team with NVG. A hasty shotgun blast from 20 yards with buckshot can be awful to your folks, an expert pistol shooter that can hit someone past 50 yards is pretty rare and frankly most people with a rifle are not that good aside from a paper target. Keep them at a distance. And BTW NVG does not prevent night walkers from getting into hidden barbed wire. Can be noisy when they do that in the firing arc of your OP eh?

      Early warning is something LE knows about but 360 degree 24 hours security is something needing some planning. Knowing that someone will be able to set a DISTRACTION fire at this point of your homestead to draw your responders that way TO open you to a quick House Grab from the other direction needs to be addressed. ALWAYS have an uncommitted reserve of at least ONE armed head on a swivel person to watch away from the action. If that person is in a fighting tower they can pin down many attackers.

      Yelling is not a good communication plan. Whistles and laminated codes are better. A second set or more in case that card code is too well known is not a bad idea.

      Hope is not a plan.

      I wish you were my neighbor. You and yours would be a awesome ally for my tribe.

      1. NH Michael,

        I was just finishing up a reply to your post last evening when we lost power. Most unusual weather event I believe I’ve ever experienced. The storms that generated the tornadoes in Iowa raced across Missouri and entered our state travelling from NW to SE at a speed I’ve never witnessed. As I watched the line on radar, it took less than an hour to travel 80 miles to us. It blasted us with winds approaching, if not exceeding those speeds. It was lights out (and internet) instantly. In less than five minutes it (the storm) was over and gone. Had generator up and going in less than ten minutes powering up our place, but our wi-fi is grid dependent.

        Five minute storm front, considerable wind damage (none to structures I’ve seen, sun just coming up). Grid power restored about an hour ago. Lift up a prayer for those linesmen who work through the night to repair damaged lines under extremely adverse conditions. I see these guys and gals a heroic first responders often times not fully appreciated.

        1. Dennis hero’s indeed. Those that do their job when all hell breaks loose. The linemen, the Firemen and the Police Men the face of civilized society. Likely Targets of the Barbarian Radical Left to destroy the system. When they get targeted the Civil War (an Oxymoron indeed) is on.

          Looking forward to reading your intended reply.

  30. Hard to get home from town (25 miles away) unobserved. One main road, a couple side roads that go tens of miles out of the way. A few rivers, several creeks, dense evergreen forestlands with acres of blackberry brambles make overland foot travel a tough slog. Some dirt roads run off the main road, but they are privately owned and tend to peter out at someone’s hideaway house or in the middle of logging land. Yellow I-beam gate across the road is private; blue is state dep’t of natural resources land. I figure I can walk that far in a day, if I have to.
    For shtf-lite, where driving is still an option, I keep my car always over half a tank, and keep about 100 gallons of gas at home in case I need to meet DFMs half-way and gas them up to get to our place. Praying it never gets worse than that.

  31. All above
    Ok what about this scenario…..
    On a family trip, hundreds of miles from our homes. Ages range from 11 yrs to in their 70s.
    The areas are familiar to several. BOBs are replaced by luggage, alt. modes of transportation have been removed. There is food, water, meds. For how long? There is a five Mile bridge that links the two areas to get home. And the area has tourism, busy freeways in all directions. It’s miles upon miles to reach a populated area there after. And I do have a sense of direction. There are at least two weapons, with only three loaded mags each. No additional ammo.
    I spent sleepless hrs running all sorts of s …….t thru my head this past week.
    Relax, Enjoy,
    Easier said than done.
    Family trip…..yea!
    Just the two of us is much better,.with the additional mode of transportation……horses…..no major bridge expansions.
    To and from work is almost a piece of cake.

    1. Joe c I hope you have friendly contacts with locals in your NOW new Home for SHTF.

      Not the answer you wanted I suspect but it is what it is. Be Proactive if SHTF and make yourself useful to others as to establish yourself as an ASSET not a Outsider Moocher ASAP.

      Skills are portable if you have the tools. Even the best Blacksmith with out a forge is just a pair of hands AND an appetite. Knowing how to help others adjust their rain gutters into rainwater collection systems, knowing how to build a slow sand filter and maintain it would make you useful. Knowing how to do a composting toilet safely is an asset to the group.

      Being a Hired Gun in my opinion is the LEAST useful skillset. Lot of folks with Guns wanting that job and they HAVE to TRUST you to hire you. The lights are out, people are acting crazy and some dude with a gun wants to be part of my security…. REALLY Dude?

      NH Michael is just paranoid enough to select family trips for easy return to home OR at least where I have friends I trust AND I FedEx my gotta stay there kit to my friends home. Yes my Beloved has chastised me for wasting money shipping that kit but she humors me. My medical gear has been useful before on vacation.

      Personally my Beloved and I have given up on our Cruises for the past few years rerouting that money into preps. Can you just SEE NH Michael on an overcrowded Cruise Ship somewhere at sea when SHTF? Even worse than your described family vacation plans.

      Hopes this helps

      1. NH Michael as far as a cruse, just have a big carry-on bag with a jet-ski to make your get away if it hits the fan…

    2. Almost like you are describing Michigan. 5 Mile bridge (Mackinac) busy highway in the area, touristy and miles upon miles before populated area.
      If it is not Michigan, you are describing my recent family vacation to a t

  32. NHM
    Lol
    U on a cruise ship?
    I can only imagine.
    U, Just like me, ain’t gonna happen.
    Hafta make do with what you have, at the time of SHTF.
    At the time of our trip, I knew the area we could hole up if need be. My mom’s old home stead. A hell of a trek. Owned by others now, but friends non the less. Their cabin. Shelter. Maybe ( a big maybe.)….other necessities. Or hole up where we were.
    Always plan ahead.
    Home is home, although several hundred miles away it may be.
    Just throwing what ifs out there.

    1. Joe c was my comments about how to become an Asset to your new SHTF home useful?

      Glad your family trip is to a friendly area. But I think my point still stands. Folks get TRIBAL when trouble hits. Be part of the Tribe or suffer the outsider scenario when water, food, shelter becomes limited.

      Thoughts as to become useful to the tribe?

      1. NHM
        Yes very useful thoughts. Thanks.
        GF and I both have useful knowledge that could benefit a said group.
        Weapons would stay concealed.
        I have thought of these predicaments many a time.
        It’s hard to give a “what I would do” in a certain instance in any given scenario. Variables change…..

        1. I have gotten to a point within this last year, to were I don’t like myself and/or GF traveling far from home, just for those reasons.
          I’ll stick with familiar territory, with additional modes of transportation. And all the necessary must haves.
          I’ve even traveled cross country on state land two tracks with the 4×4 truck from our go to camping spot to home.

  33. If you are have to deal with throngs of people on your journey, success in your travel will depend in a large part on sheer luck in my opinion. Large groups of thugs and longetivity will not likely be found together.

  34. I am of the bug in camp on this site. I know my neighbors and we all get along ( for now).

    Before one thinks they can fall in with a group of “friendly fellow travelers”. I would travel with some type of firearm. these days, my choice for this duty would be small, concealable and somewhat high capacity. Why?:

    Many years ago when I was working in a zone infested with black bears in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. running across people who had their food taken was almost routine.

    One group of 4 men lost their food to a bear several days before they were begging me for food. I tossed them a bag of cereal when one of them threatened to bum-rush me and take all of my food. Out came my 5 shot chief’s special and the badge that goes with it.

    They did not bum-rush me and nobody got shot butt I found out where they lived and I knew their names. All these guys had steady jobs and were honest citizens. They were just hungry after 3 days with no food.

    My armament has recently been upgraded to a 380 Beretta for just this purpose. Some otherwise nice people go barbaric when they are hungry and you have food. (or they are cold and you have a warm jacket)

    This took place in Peacetime USA when Reagan was president. Another good reason to practice shooting fast on multiple targets.

  35. Mike,

    Military was Army Infantry (11 Bravo). As for alliances, I have a brother 5 miles distant (first house off the paved state maintained road on the same gravel county maintained road). Closest full time resident who is a like minded bud is 4 miles distant. Closest folks I can depend on are “weekenders” who own the adjoining property. A young couple, both school teachers, with young daughters. Whole family avid hunters and outdoors folks. They are well aware of the times we live in and are preparing their place for bugout. They live and work 90 miles distant in the closest significant population center (40K). Most other residents are folks older than me who, though unconcerned about the coming storm, have lived self sufficiency their entire life.

    I’ve had to fell numerous 60′ pines that succumbed to bark beetles. I cut up their 20″-30″ diameter trunks in 8′ sections, stacking them in a manner to be defensive positions, arranged for the most advantageous fields of fire in relation to living quarters and outbuildings. Hope and pray will never use them. Made use of heavy logs that otherwise had little value and blend in with the terrain.

    My wife says I know every tree on our 45acres. I respond “yeh, but I haven’t named half of them.” She didn’t think that was as funny as I did.

    1. Dennis again not surprised :-). I follow folks postings and see patterns.

      However under OPSEC rules I wish to remind you that 30 cal rifle fire can poke through a LOT of wood. You might want to try those logs with say an 7.62mm military ball round with a water filled milk jug to see if your log will stop a non-center hit. A lot of people bought cheap military surplus ammo so…. For the non-infantry reading this there is cover and concealment in discussion here. If your behind even an opaque bed sheet the shooter has to make an educated guess where you are to shoot you. That’s called concealment. When a bullet stopping object is between target and shooter that’s cover.

      A properly filled sand bag of well SAND will stop a 5.56mm round. Two layers will stop almost every small arms round aside from a 50 cal BMG. I have personally tested this and these are bare bones minimum I would deploy. More is better. Sandbags filled with a mix of dirt and woodlands duff is NOT a properly filled bag. Will get you killed, clear away the organic duff (leaves, mosses and pine needles) to get clean sand or mineral dirt. nuff said.

      So the reasons I say hide the sandbags behind wooden walls is two fold. Ist the sandbags last longer out of sunlight and weather. Hard work to fill them don’t want to replace them. 2nd DECEPTION. If your neighbors SEE your sandbag fortification today they will TALK about you. Not Grey Man. If hostiles looking you over for an visit see them they can plan for them. IF they think your Guards are behind some wood planks they will be surprised when the sand bags stop the first rounds.

      The more you sweat in peacetime the less you bleed in war.

      Hope this helps somebody

      1. NHM,
        Helped me, thanks. I have been learning a lot with your sharing of knowledge of defense strategies, something I just never got into in real life.

      2. NH Michael,

        The logs are stacked two parallel with third nesting atop the two, centered, arranged in a square with a two foot offset in what would be rear of the redoubt for low crawl retreat if needed. The tops of the logs are barely visible above the underbrush and located 20-30 yards from most likely infil routes adjacent the living quarters. One serves to overlook the half mile of public road approaching our homeplace. All within FRS handheld transceiver range of each other
        and the main house and cabins.

        Just an old retired guy with time to play “what if” and put the thoughts into action.

      3. NHM ,,,,,I have tested my 50 on things ,,,found std ball can be stopped by 18 “of pea gravel between plywood concrete forms ,,pea gravel worked as good or better than concrete ,
        4″of pea gravel is good for 556 ,even green tip

        1. A double reply to Dennis and oldhomesteader. Thanks for the pea gravel information goes well with what I have read.

          Dennis my fear is someone will fell too safe behind that not so bullet proof log barrier and catch one hard. Too many rookie cops thought behind the car was “safe”.

          To all reading PLEASE add Eye Protection to your shooters. Even a bit of wood or bark ripped off by a bullet that missed you into the eye can ruin your day. Shooters glasses are standard issue in the sandbox for good reason and they are Cheap.

          1. NH Michael,A tip for older folks whose eyes are getting weaker and find seeing their weapon sights getting harder. I use SSP Top Focal shooting glasses. They are made with the bi-focal at the top of the lenses. They come with three sets of lenses, clear, smoked, and amber. You choose the di-opter (magnification). They cost 30-40 dollars a set.

            Those interested, use Ken’s Amazon link and search for SSP Top Focal shooting glasses.

  36. NHM ,,,,,I have tested my 50 on things ,,,found std ball can be stopped by 18 “of pea gravel between plywood concrete forms ,,pea gravel worked as good or better than concrete ,
    4″of pea gravel is good for 556 ,even green tip

    1. Homesteader,
      In the ME theguys use a gabion that is basicly a wire and geotextile enclosure filled with soil, site filled, they are around 6′ diameter, it would be real easy to set something like that up with hog wire and geotex, could make it simple and do a offset double row of 3′ diameter “tubes” filled with whatever ya got, can stack them too if you plan a bit and make the base wider for structure.
      As an easy solution those 1ton bulk bags with the hoops for lifting would work well, line it with geotex so it lasts longer, they are easy to fill with a typical loader bucket and easy to move and stack, i can get 2 high with my tractor easily and they are basicly 4’x4’x4’or5′ when filled, stuffed up against eachother are excellent ballistic protection and an access barrier, wind barbed wire on em for effect

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