Your Bug-Out Plan Will Get You Killed

Looking at several bug-out plans that friends have made, I noticed that most of them would not make it. Those who would not make it came up short on one specific issue: The ability to make it to their temporary bug-out-locations on the route to their permanent site. They expected to make it 10 miles a day, on average, from one spot to the next, in full gear, with no practice.

Going back and looking at my bug-out plan, I noticed that the shortest distance I was expecting to cover in one day was eight miles, while the longest was 14. This is not the farthest I have walked in a day, but it is farther than I have walked with a 30 pound bag and rifle in a long time. So, this past weekend, I decided to go for a bit of a hike and see how it all played out. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but not as good as I had hoped. I would be able to make it to the eight mile mark, but 14 would not happen fast enough, given daylight hours being a concern.

Bug Out SiteWhen you pull out the map and start finding locations to travel to, take note of the terrain. Some of the paths chosen by my friends would have them climbing 400 feet in 12 miles and they hoped to do this in one day. Once you have picked out your paths from location to location, give the hike a try. Put on your pack, grab your rifle (if you can where you live), and start walking.

There are additional considerations to be made when talking about going from one location to the next.

  • You will have to tear down your camp before you can move.
  • You will have to set up a new camp when you arrive at your location
  • You must be able to have enough time left to survey your location for threats before you occupy it. If the location is unsafe, you will need to have a secondary location close enough that you can make that hike before it gets too late.
  • You will also need to provide enough time for things to go wrong, like illness and injury. If your path takes you through places you simply cannot set up camp, you must be able to fix any issues and still have enough time to get to a better location.

After seeing how far I could make it from camp to camp, I revised my plan. Some paths provided no spot to camp out in between bug-out-locations and this had to be fixed. If anything goes wrong, you must be able to take up camp just about anywhere so you can fix the issues and move again tomorrow.

If I were to get out of bed, grab my gear and go, I could make it the 14 miles. In a survival situation, this will not be the case. You have to be able to make the hike after having hiked all day yesterday, gotten poor sleep, twisted your ankle, and  not eaten as much as you are accustomed to.

If you have not gone for a hike down your chosen paths to get from one location to the next, you are cutting yourself short and putting yourself at risk. Get out there and make a camping weekend a hiking weekend. If you ever have to bug-out, your feet, back, and shoulders will thank you.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt

6 thoughts on “Your Bug-Out Plan Will Get You Killed

  1. “Bug Out” smug out . . . the very phrase has become an irritant to people who are truly ‘woods wise,’ and a nagging potential threat of a coming age of armed, under-prepared, untrained, out-of-shape, dehydrated, malnourished, and probably diseased quasi anti-social narcissist combing the woods and fields of the nearby self-sufficient/organized RURAL small towns in search of cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, anti-diarrheal medication, Tylenol food and WATER . . . and most likely in that pathetic order.

    What happened to the ‘these colors don’t run?’ mentality that is supposedly hard wired into the American psyche? Yet you gullible folks gulp this crap down over and over and over. And more and more of these blogs that sell stupid stuff pop up like mushroom after a long, warm rain. When you eat one of those mushrooms, your head is filled with abject, carefully-crafted-solutions-based FEARS.

    I have lost count of just how many former military this or that ‘experts’ have thrown up a shingle on the Internet, and proudly proclaimed that they have the solution to the coming anarchical crisis, looming just over the combat horizon. And those military experts would know, wouldn’t they? After all they have spent months if not years living off the land, in the fields and woods of mortal combat . . . or have they?

    Hey living military guys and gals, we sincerely THANK ALL OF YOU for your service, particularly those of you who come back to the good ole USA, get civilian jobs, pay taxes, and live quiet, respectful lives amongst the rest of us law-abiding tax payers, you know, like the vast majority of the WWII, Korean and Vietnam vets have done.

    Seriously. But if you feel so compelled to SCARE us civis about the coming social break down and ensuing anarchy, why not post a blog of what life was REALLY like LIVING day to day ‘in country’? You know, the mechanics of daily living. Talk about the Spartan (and sometimes a bit better) accommodations at your outpost, the layers of security, the support and comm systems you relied on day to day. Then tell the reader about the length of your actual field missions, you know – how many consecutive days you were actually in the field, sleeping ON THE GROUND. Then talk about insertion and extraction protocols and tactics. You get the picture, right? The point is to give YOUR CIVILIAN READERS the TRUE picture – so the brighter of these folks can have the little light bulb in their head go off when the thought bubble emerges . . .

    “Gee whiz, some of these military folks are great at supported and layered security and tactics, but they don’t seem to have ever actually lived off the land for long periods of time. I wonder if I should take their advise and plan to move to some semi-isolated area where my family and I will be completely unprepared to deal with the very real emerging threats that will, in all probability should a SHTF scenario play out, eventually surround and engulf us?”

    The bitter pill of facts that would actually PLAY out, should the worst-case scenario occur:

    1. The roads and highways will either have controlled access (you can’t pass without creds.) or will be choked with traffic/breakdowns, ambush points and social chaos. You will NOT want to be on those roads. And you will NOT know which roads to avoid, and you will NOT have this ‘golden’ advance notice that you think you and only YOU will know about – giving only you that precious early warning to ‘bug out.’ What a bunch of wishful and deadly thinking this is.

    2. Let’s say you do get OUT ahead of the curve . . . hey genius, do you know what you are running FROM? You may have just left the majority of your real and potentially easier-to-secure resources (and neighbors who may be one of your best resources) for some lucrative and not-so-secret cache at a specialized survival hideout you have poured thousands of dollars into. Let’s play this one out, cause it is worth the mental effort:

    a. Your getaway (worthless 4-wheel stupid useless farming implement) vehicle breaks down or gets stuck (axles buried in muck as you attempt to go around that road block) or RUNS OUT OF GAS, or you get trapped in an ambush AT GUN POINT. Can’t call triple AAA or the police. What’s your plan now slick? Are you gonna turn the tables, shoot your way out of it, or car jack some other, luckier prepper in order to reach your survival oasis? “Well we will cross that bridge when we get to it!” You don’t say? Hey jack, you ain’t crossing any more bridges. You are where you are NOW, and that new place is most likely 100% worse than the one you just ‘bugged out’ of. When your wife or son looks at you and says, “Hey dad, why did we leave our house again?” Will you quickly lose your ‘dvd-acquired’ survival cool’ (aka your temper) and start yelling at your fam, or are you gonna sink down on the ground in a heap and weep like a baby? I vote for some of both. If you were ambushed I bet the bad guys will look a lot like military types. Curious? That would be an good novel . . . hopefully it won’t write itself.

    b. You get to your not-so-secret hideaway survival palace . . . only to find it has been LOOTED, or BURNED down by the boogie man, or both. Whoops. Life is full of OH SHIT moments and you get to have one now. Enjoy. “Hey I buried a separate contingency cache right over here . . .” Hey dude, ‘they’ WILL BE BACK. You have just delayed being SOL. This is NOT a victory, just a confirmation of how miscalculating you are.

    c. You arrive at bug out A or bug out B or whatever alphabet soup you have been conned into believing will save you and only you. You settle in. Aren’t you so special. You have evaded the crisis. You are so much smarter than the rest of us. Smugness has its privileges. But wait, what’s that sound. Hey you were lucky dude. You heard it coming. But you are now DRT (Google it). Bad guys with super cool equipment and tactics found you first, probably at night. Actually, they already knew where your hidey hole was located, and had either just made their rounds to scoop up your stuff, or worse, they actually enjoy hunting people and you are the main course. Sucks to be you.

    d. You arrive at you bug out and settle in. Ah peace and quiet. “We are so lucky!” you wife says to you. “Hey dad, the water tastes funny . . .” It seems your water source at your survival oasis has been compromised by one of several dozen things that could have gone wrong. WHOOPS. BIG FREAKING WHOOPS. Now you have to go find a new water source cause you are going to run out of SAFE drinking water in fill-in-the-blank-not-as-long-as-you-think time frame.

    e. At any point along the way to bug out heave, or after you arrive, your wife, son or daughter comes to you and says “Daddy, my foot is sore.” Infection. You are toast. “But I have antibiotics.” “I bought this book.” Yeppers, you are toast. Are you a doctor? What kind? You don’t have bright lights and cold steel (hospital). You are toast. In your new environment, ANY medical problem is a potential game changing game ender. And you are playing a loosing game. Mother nature is a bitch who does not know you exist.

    Bottom LINE thinking – just because we need to end on some positives . . .

    1. Your home, the one you are in NOW, is your BEST chance to survive. Stay there. Stand your ground. Band together with the neighbors you have NOW. If one is current or former military and that person or persons have tactical knowledge, they can help you form a localized and surprisingly effective QRF, IF and only IF the need seems to be percolating and local LE is unable to provide normalized security ops. Don’t cut and run. Society is NOT going to completely collapse. Stop buying this horse shit. And if something purely localized and destabilizing does occur, you will feel genuinely MORE secure IN YOUR OWN HOME. You don’t need a DVD. You don’t need a bug out anything. Your biggest REAL need is LOTS OF SAFE DRINKING WATER – probably around 500 or maybe more gallons. That’s it. That’s all you need. You already own all the rest of ‘the stuff’, you just need to learn (or really just ‘remember’) how to improvise, if you don’t already have the knack – you know the same ‘knack’ that gramps had, the same gramps you made fun of for never throwing anything away, and being able to fix anything. That gramps. Become that gramps. He would know what to do, and he would tell you to buck up and stop reading shit on the internet about bug out this and bug out that. “Bug off” is what he would tell you. And if he has passed on, his or grandma’s DNA is IN YOU, and will quickly tell you what to do. Let your mind and hands get busy living, or get busy dying. It’s that type of deal. Simple.

    2. If you insist on being somewhere you are currently NOT, and want that new somewhere to perhaps be BETTER than where you are NOW, then MOVE, that’s right MOVE, to the country. Buy a working farm. Learn farming. Get to know your neighbors. Become FRIENDS with them. Good luck with that, because THAT is the ONLY way you are going to ‘bug out’ to a rural area “in the middle of nowhere” USA (which is actually SOMEWHERE SPECIAL to the folks who currently LIVE there), and have more than a gnats chance in hell of surviving anything more than an ingrown toe nail.

    By the way, that infected, ingrown toe nail WILL kill you. I have a DVD special on how to drain the puss, and surgically remove it . . . only $19.95.

    And stay tuned for my next DVD entitled “Dealing with the preppers who have invaded your rural community.”

      1. He was quite pessimistic, BUT he did bring up some good points.

        I don’t see any problem having options A) Stay home AND B) Bug Out as viable options, depending on the actual circumstances.

        It’s very possible that staying home will be too dangerous, thus, a bug out plan becomes necessary (mass riots, weather, etc.).

        However, as Epictetus points out, a bug out plan (especially one that has little to no thought/preparation/dry-runs/etc.) will just as likely get you killed too.

        No one knows the future, and even the best made plan turns to crap in a hurry. I prefer to have as many choices on hand as possible.

        Good article and good replies.

        1. In a way, he did bring up some good points. This article is talking about, if you have a bug-out-plan, make sure it is a solid plan. It is not telling you that you HAVE to bug out, that staying in place is a bad idea, or any of that. I would much rather stay at my house and defend from there with neighbors, as mentioned above. That may not be an option though. Just as you conclude in your comment, who knows what the issue will be, when, or where it will happen and plans turn to crap in a hurry. By having several options within your plan, you can at least have a something to build off of if the plan does fall through. Who knows, the problem may be centered where you live (even if you live in a rural area) and staying put is not an option.

  2. Really excellent article Seth. I hadn’t thought about bugging out without a vehicle (which is kinda ignorant on my part) … You are absolutely on target about over estimating hiking ability and you pointed out several contingencies to consider. And finally, you recommended pointing the plan to practice to see how it would work out. Thanks.

  3. Seth, Great article with lots to think about. I work almost 40 miles from where I work and live. Often think about how to get home if something bad happens. That is going to be at least a 5 – 7 day trip, better get more SPAM!!!
    Keep up the great articles!

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