So lets say some type of disaster strikes (natural or man made) which disrupts the normal flows of society. Many peppers seem to have it set in their minds that its time to grab the bug out bag and head into the woods. In fact, it seems like some of these people can’t wait to give that a go. But living out of your bug out bag should be a LAST RESORT, not “plan A”. Let me ask you a question – What do you call someone who has nothing but the clothes on their back (and whatever they can carry)? Answer: A REFUGEE. Do you want to be a refugee? I should think not. Refugees have no security, resources and basically have little to zero control of their well being and fate.
There is a show on TV called “alone” where people are sent into the wilderness with limited supplies (basically a bug out bag) and they stay there and try to survive as long as possible. The person that stays the longest wins a pile of money. But when faced with the actual reality of trying to survive by scrounging food, building shelter, etc., most drop out before 30 days is up. Some stay longer but you can see the toll it takes on peoples bodies and minds. Now think about this and put your wife and kids in that situation with you. You wouldn’t want them to live like that for 30 days much less for months or the rest of their lives.
Do an experiment. Go out into the woods this summer with your wife and kids with ONLY what everyone can carry on their back. And I don’t mean to a camping ground with a toilet and shower. I mean really make it just like it would be if you had to bug out into the woods and see how long it takes for the wife and kids to be screaming at you to take them home or risk divorce. I am betting they wouldn’t last a week before wanting to get back to the warm showers and proper fast food. Ok, so now imagine that there is no going back home and think about how bad this situation could get in every way.
The point to all of this is that if a disaster should strike, you should never plan to go straight from your well stocked home directly into the woods somewhere with your bug out bag. There should be several “tiers” of fallback before then. Here is how I have my plan, figure out what works for you:
Tier 1 – Your Home
Your home is obviously the best place to ride out any crisis or disaster if at all possible. You have all of your supplies and all of your belongings there. A proper house is as secure and comfortable as it is going to get. But if all the services should fail (water, power, emergency, communications, etc.) things may get too chaotic to stay in place. Only then do you move to your tier 2 plan.
Tier 2 – Second Property or Friend/Family Home out of town
It is always wise (if you have the financial means) to have a second property such as a Lake House or small cabin located an hour or two outside of any major metropolitan area. Obviously you would want to a have the place well stocked with provisions. If you can, also have a water well dug, sceptic system put in and a solar powered system installed. This would be a great place to ride out nearly any type of disaster or crisis. As an alternative if you can’t afford a second home, hopefully you know someone (friend or family) that is like minded when it comes to prepping and you have arranged for the ability to go stay them as long as necessary. If by some chance your Tier 2 location also becomes unsafe, move to Tier 3.
Tier 3 – An RV, Motorhome or Tiny House
If you had to abandon your Tier 1 and Tier 2 locations, the best way to do it is in an RV, mobile home or tiny house trailer. The greatest advantage of an RV is its mobility. You can literally take your “house” to whatever location is known to be safe. In addition, there are thousands of RV parks all over the US where you can hook up to water, power and sewer/septic systems. A modern RV has all the conveniences of your home – beds, a bathroom w/shower and toilet, a kitchen, a refrigerator and an air conditioner/heater. You can also equip your RV with an array of communications equipment and a full solar power setup. The capabilities and security that this affords you over a bug out bag and tarp are huge.
Tier 4 – Your Vehicle
Unlike an RV, your vehicle has nearly no comforts of home and the space is small. However, it does have the capability to store and carry supplies (more than you can carry on your back) and it is still much more secure at night than sleeping in a tent or under a tarp in the woods where wild animals can maul you or bad people can sneak up and rob or kill you. Also, there is actually a growing community of people that are purchasing cargo type vans and converting them to mini RV’s with bed, sink, etc. While this is far from an ideal situation, it is again much better than living in a tent or tarp in the woods.
Tier 5 – LAST RESORT, your bug out bag
Finally if you have to abandon your home, your backup home, all your friends/family’s home, your RV, your vehicle and there is no other place to go, your LAST RESORT (and never your first choice) would be living out of a bug out bag. Keep in mind, you are in a grave situation if this is what you are reduced to. As mentioned before animals could attack you in the middle of the night, people could sneak up & slit your throat and take your belongings and any number of other bad things could happen. In addition, because you only have what you could have carried, your supplies of food and fresh water will run out within days. There are things you can do to improve your chances in this situation, I will go into all that in a different article. Just don’t be so anxious to get out there with your Bug Out Bag and try to survive as I am betting not everyone that goes that rout will make it for very long.
So am I saying not to have a bug out bag? No, in fact I encourage you to put one together if you haven’t already. I have one myself but I refer to it as my “Go Bag”. If I had to leave my house in a hurry to go to my tier 2 or 3 – my go bag has my essentials (change of clothes, toiletries bag, small amount of food and water, tent, my gadgets, my laptop, etc). But I hope to never ONLY have just my bug out bag/go bag to rely on. The Bug Out Bag should be viewed as a tool, not as an end game strategy.