Bug out tips, advice and common sense

This guest post by  RB and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

Remember in times of crises. The Government or Military can use FEAR! clean water, food, electricity and shelter to “control or move you” where ever they wish. Don’t fall for it. Take care of your self.

Drink a glass of water every morning before you leave home. If something does happen you will be one step up on dehydration.

When your car’s gas gauge is at ½ of a tank gas, Make that your new empty. Fill up!

Go to your local community college and take Health and Nutrition class. You will be amazed what your body needs and how it uses the fuel you put in it.

I read a lot of the bug out bag list on foods. The items I see the most are high energy fuel drinks full of caffeine and sugar, energy bars full of sugar and tuna in a can. The tuna is a great source of protein but it will not supply for body with lasting energy for travel or hard work. Once opened it is only one meal. Caffeinated energy drinks full of sugar will only speed up your metabolism burning any fuel you have in your stomach that much faster. Large amounts of sugar will give you a short time energy boost, only until your body starts delivering insulin to counter act all the sugar. Then you will have a down and become tired. Not what you need when you are Bugging out. Energy bars with low sugar content are better.

You can carry a one to two-week supply of food that will not be heavy in your pack and will take up less space the 2 MRE’s and will provide your body with long sustaining fuel for your travel and hard work.

First two days and you can’t cook

  • 2 packages of instant oatmeal
  • 2 power bars, low in sugar
  • 2 bags meals ready to eat. They make beans and rice meals that are already cooked ready to eat in the super marked in plastic or metal bags like MRE’s. Mexican style and others.

When you can cook


  • Tea bags with natural flavors can make your water taste better and provide caffeine.
  • Steel cut oats will give your body long-lasting energy, add some nuts and dried cranberries
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Brown rice and beans are light weight and can provide a person a week or more supply of food. Combining the two will provide your body with protein and carbohydrates with a long energy burn time.
  • Snacks
  • Almonds and dried cranberries are great energy source.


  • Every time you stop purify and top off your water supply. Get it when you can.

Noise and light discipline

Check your equipment bug out bag for metal sounds or clicks when you are moving. Learn where everything is on and in your BOB. Learn to never use a flash light at night. if you have to use a red or green lens. Clean up before you leave your area. Leaving trash lets everyone know you have been there and what you have been eating. Camouflage your camp site back to the way you found it. You were never there!

  • A cigarette can be seen ½ mile away at night and you can smell it over a mile.
  • Learn not to talk too much. Some one talking can be hard a long way off.
  • Learn to make a Dakota fire pit to conceal your location when using a fire. Make your fire under a big pine tree. It will defuse the smoke as it drifts upward so it is harder to see.
  • If you can, sleep in a different place other than where you build your fire and cook your meal.
  • Heat up rock if it is cold at night. When your fire goes out wrap the rocks in a shirt or towel to help you stay warm.

Other stuff

  • Start a small garden
  • Learn to be self-sufficient.
  • Learn how to make a hobo stove. Youtube
  • Learn to read a map and a compass.
  • Learn Bush craft. Look up Ray Mears on Youtube
  • Carry at least two large construction strength trash bags. Good for shelter and many other uses.

Leather gloves – Always wear them. As soon as you take them off something will happen. Around the fire, cutting wood, gathering wood and making camp have them on. One small cut on your had or a slip of an axe will drive you crazy in the field.

Get Pine Tar soap for your bag. The soap has a pine scent. Regular soap is sweet-smelling and attracts bugs. After being in the woods for a week you will be able to smell some one who has just washed with soap or put on deodorant a good distance away. Get a natural deodorant as well for your bag. Keep your self and your feet clean. In the military we could go 7 or more days without a bath. You feel like a dead man walking.

Be creative where you sleep. Sleep in a tree if you can or any place your fist thought is “I would never sleep there”! Good spot! I don’t think any one wants to wake up at the other end of a gun.

Movement is a dead giveaway. In the military we have a saying! “If you can be seen you can be killed.

Don’t move to fast during the day. If you travel during the day move very slow and stop often and wait to see if you are being followed. Never walk a ridge line or silhouette your self on a hill-side. Never cross a field in the day time. Skirt around it.

Travel where the vegetation is thick and stop often and listen.

Never travel in a straight line for too long.

Thick vegetation is the best place to sleep. When you find a spot crawl on you knees over 50 yard to your spot Not in a straight line and make a second exit the same way in a different direction out and close to a water source. If some one walks up on your position they will make a lot of noise walking through the thick wooded growth giving you time to hear them coming. If you decided to stay at this camp for a while go out 100 to 150 yards and circle around your camp. Get a fill of the land and your surroundings Find to fall back positions. Make a camouflage blind at both locations. If you have to run and can place distance between you and them you can hide and let them move on.

Best time to cover allot grown quickly is one hour before the sun comes up and as dawn is starting.

At night find a 6ft staff and attach a knife at the end of it for defense against 4 leg as well as 2 leg varmints.

If you are not sure your safe in the area you decided to stop at for the night, Do only one thing at a time. Wash your feet, dry and change sox one at a time. Try to keep everything in your BOB except what you are using at the present time.

One thing they teach you in the military is know where your weapon is at all times. Sounds easy? In basic training they are always waiting for you to set your weapon down and start doing something else. Soon you will be preoccupied and lose track. You will find your weapon out of arms reach and that is too far. Learn when you move it goes with you. It is a part of you! NO EXCEPTIONS AND NO EXCUSSES.

Learn the art of Camouflage. A lot of people plan to bug out in a vehicle. Think about when you stop for the night. Where will you park? If some one can see your car they will know you are close by.

Learn to camouflage your gear and yourself. Break up your body outline.

You can be camouflage and have some one walk right past you. That can be a lot easier than trying to out run some one.

Learn how to dig a sniper hole. In the military I have stood on top a snipers spider hole and never knew he was under my feet. He can sleep and eat in there for weeks without coming out.

Bug in unless you have to bug out.

Your home can store more food and water than you can carry. Your home can provide you with shelter and security. It would be easier to defend your home than to defend yourself in open country. Removing interior doors can be used to board up windows. Pulling security in the open country or trying to sleep with one eye open will wear you down fast.

Build a safe room to store your emergency food and gear. Build hidden doors to storage rooms or floor storage areas.

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first… Yes

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Petticoat Prepper says:


    Good insight here. My Uncle was in WWII and one night he went to an outhouse. While there he decided to have a smoke. He was extremely careful lighting his cigarette but the enemy saw the glow on the end and shot him. They didn’t kill him but shot isn’t good!

  2. RB:

    My ex used to make fun of the things I packed in the car when we were taking a long trip. The DW I am currently married to appreciates it. We have a bag with easy to make food, a small stove/pot/fuel that fit inside each other and disposable cups and bowls. I just added 2 water bottles to that bay and am soon to add a 2 person “cook kit”. This along with our handguns and my 357 Trapper. The bags just look like any other we pack and the rifle is in a scabbard and behind some other equipment. Since we have a station wagon, I have a zippered “trunk” in the back that carries emergency equipment along with blankets. We always travel (if more that 2 hours) a case of water too. It’s really not a hard thing to do, and we both feel better traveling that way.

    The rest contains good info. Thanks for sharing.

  3. good job. you can reduce cooking time of beans/rice etc by putting the days ration in an extra waterbottle with water and by dinner time the food will be soaked an ready to cook fast. very good points on the high sugar stuff. i have few millenium bars, a few mre entrees, mre bread, mre cheese(for fat), and a bag of rice and a bag of beans. the single pack spam is a good additive to the rice or beans. they have chicken in the pouches now too, great stuff but heavy for its value….i’ve been hitting “ultralight backpacking” sites alot for tips, where were they when i was humping a ruck? thanks for the tactical reminders!! more if you got ’em, please.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      rr, your post on the beans soaking got me to thinking…oh, no! I know. Anyway…..I recently discovered that I’ve been cooking beans “all wrong” for years. I haven’t soaked them long enough, and I’ve cooked them in the soak water. And then suffered for eating them!

      Beans need to be soaked for several hours (at least six, but, longer is better) before cooking. And the water soaked in needs to be “disposed of” (not consumed). Why? Because beans contain alpha-galacto-oligosaccharides, a.k.a, Raffinose. This is the chemical compound which does not break down in the human intestine, and the older we get, the less it breaks down. This causes flatulence (gas). Navy beans and lima beans have the highest concentrations of Raffinose, but, they all have it.

      In a SHTF situation, one might not be so hard to find if the tracker could simply “follow a scent trail”. I know. It’s funny. But it’s also true.

      So, yes, soak those beans as you bug out, but pour the water off (don’t consume it). Rinse the beans thoroughly. Then use fresh water to cook the beans, or, if you can’t cook them, just eat them soaked. They’re actually tasty, although, some kinds might be a little bitter, uncooked. Or, keep soaking them until they sprout!

      • riverrider says:

        roger that. i drain first. i left that out. needto rinse rice first too for best fav and consistency. sprouts! good point, long term vits.

      • Riverrider,
        I’ve had alot of success of soaking and cooking my bean as recommended, not adding any seasonings, or anything…just beans and water. Once cooked just to the barely tender state, I throughly drain the beans then dehydrate and store in vacumn sealed bags or mason jars.
        Time to prepare beans to eat, add 3-5 tablespoons cooked dehydrated beans to 1/2 to 3/4 cup water along with spices/seasons, cook for 15 minutes and you have a meal for 1 person. Gonna try added the dehydrated beans to water bottle, sit bottle in sun for hour or two…vs reconstituting beans on stove.

      • You guys got me thinking about a “water bottle” I bought. I have signed up for Botach Tactician’s emails and they have these “flash” deals. On of them is a Brunton Aluminum Water Bottle. I comes in 2 sizes, .6L and 1.0L, and has a wide mouth opening. They are epoxy lined and are very rugged. I have an insulated cover that a friend made for me so I can put an meal in one, add hot water, and wait to eat it later.

        You talk of beans got me thinking that it would be great for putting beans to soak in the AM for dinner.

        Currently they are $15 each, for the .6L, and come in a couple of colors. Botach has no minimum order size and shipping is free. I usually find that their prices are hard to beat.

        • I put beans(dry) and spices in my crockpot and water and cook all day and never have any problem with gas. Don’t cook them like that all the time and do the one hour soak in boiling water and change the watere and cook and never have a problem with gas in that case either. Maybe my guts are just super effiecent or I am so regualar that they don’t get to stay around long enough to ferment!!

        • JP,
          Haven’t seen the bottle you mentioned; but, I’ve been dealing with Botach for years and have always been pleased with the service and merchandise.

      • Do not eat uncooked kidney, pinto, navy, great northern, or black beans. They are poison until cooked.

        Garbanzos, lentils, peas, and cowpeas are ok (cowpeas include mung, adzuki, and black eyed peas). Not sure about soy but I think it’s ok too.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          Thank you, PP – I did not know that!

          Here’s what I’ve found:


          Red kidney beans, like most beans, are high in protein and dietary fiber. In addition, they are excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folic acid and thiamine. Beans are also rich sources of minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, selenium and molybdenum. Kidney beans are also a great source of antioxidants. It’s no wonder that beans are known as one of nature’s “super foods” and a great food for controlling weight gain.

          Even though red kidney beans are extremely nutritious, they contain a chemical known as phytohemagglutinin. Red kidney beans have the highest content of this chemical of all of the types of beans. This toxin is a type of lectin, or a protein that has an affinity for binding to certain types of sugars. Symptoms of its toxicity include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can occur within an hour or two after consumption, and the effects last for several hours. Call your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
          Proper Preparation

          Raw kidney beans are high in phytohemagglutinin, but the compound is almost completely degraded when the beans are cooked properly. It only takes 10 minutes in boiling water to degrade the toxin, which is much less time than it takes to fully cook the beans. Be careful when you prepare kidney beans in a slow cooker, because the temperature does not get high enough to fully degrade the toxin. Though you can cook most other beans in a slow cooker, it is best to cook kidney beans in boiling water.

          Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/478846-are-raw-kidney-beans-toxic/#ixzz2KnTy7DYo

          and this:

          Phytohemagglutinin is a compound found in many raw beans but is especially high in uncooked red kidney beans. This chemical can make you ill if ingested in high quantities, causing nausea and severe vomiting before inducing a wave of diarrhea. Yummy.


          So, it would appear that raw kidney beans have the highest concentrations of this compound, but all beans contain some level of it. Boiling for at least a few minutes is recommended on all.

          Some sites state it takes “large amounts” of the raw kidney beans, and others, “only a little” to feel the effects.

          Go here for a little information on sprouting beans:

          Question: Why, then, is it “safe” to sprout beans and eat the “raw” sprouts? Anyone have the answer to that one?

      • Encourager says:

        If I may add my 2 cents worth~~~

        I could not figure out why many of my bean and dried pea dishes came out with some of the beans and peas not cooked properly. They had hard edges…some of the beans were mush but some had that problem. Well, it is my well water that I soak and cook with. It is very hard, with calcium and magnesium not to mention iron. We use a whole house filter that gets rid of lots of the calcium, magnesium and pretty much all of the iron but enough calcium and magnesium are left to cause this problem.

        I completely eliminated the problem with hard pieces by using distilled water to soak the beans and then to cook them. However, that gets to be a problem because I now have to store distilled water. Another expense!

        If I am making bean soup, I use purchased chicken broth to cook with. I am wondering that maybe I need to just store canned beans. If I can my own, I will have to do it using distilled water. It is frustrating!

        • Hunker-Down says:


          • HomeINsteader says:

            Now there’s an idea – rainwater! (Yes, we “harvest” rainwater in 55-gallon catch barrels – 3 of them!).

            As to beans, we keep plenty of each, Encourager. Lots of canned, some home canned, some commercially canned….and plenty of dried, as well. We haven’t used our municipal water system to consume in 35 years; we purchase bottled spring water, and keep it well stored. But, yes, there is that expense.

            Could you filter this water and make it usable, so that you don’t have to purchase distilled? Would that be more cost-effective?

            • Encourager says:

              Can’t really filter it Homie. We already have a filter in place that catches very small microns of the calcium, mag and iron. BTW it is the best tasting water ever. We have had friends/family come by and fill up jugs for drinking. When my MIL moved up here from Florida, it was the only water she would drink. We hauled water to her place for YEARS.

          • Encourager says:

            H.D. ~~How silly of me. I collect rainwater for my gardens…duh. But I am not sure what needs to be done to rainwater to be safe to cook with. Will filtering it be enough?

            • HomeINsteader says:

              Homie here, not HD – definitely filter it, but, I think I would want to shock it, as well – no way of knowing what’s falling out of the sky, what’s in that barrel, etc. You probably have a preference for “shocking”, eh? I just use a tiny bit (about 1/4 tsp. per gallon) of Leslie’s Pool Shock, 73% calcium hydrochloride. Filter first – then shock it – add treatment; shake; wait 30 minutes. If it’s not clear, shake again and wait another 30 minutes. If you can’t shake it, just stir each time. This will kill stuff that mere filtering won’t remove.

            • Hunker-Down says:


              If I wanted rainwater for cooking I would put out several clean, food grade 5 gallon buckets with cheese cloth, ONLY during a rain. If the wind was strong, I would wait for another day as no-see-ums, and wind torn bug parts may get through the cloth. I would bring the buckets in as soon as the rain stopped or as soon as I had enough water for a few days, to avoid any bird droppings. Then I would add 2-3 drops of household bleach per gallon, stir it, then let it set 1-2 hours for the bleach to evaporate. If I had any suspicions that the water was in any way contaminated, I would boil it.

              If I used rainwater that had been in a barrel for a few days I would assume that it did not have any bad minerals in it but I would assume that it contained all kinds of microscopic nastiness and would use Pool-Shock as recommended by HomeINsteader, or bleach, plus boiling it to make it safe for cooking and drinking.

              In our area collecting snowfall would work but the cheese cloth top would have to go.

              If the water in a barrel was collected from roof runoff, it may have all the chemicals used to produce the roofing shingles and I would avoid water from that source.

              I’m only saying what I would do, and it dosent come from first hand experience, just from reading, so it may be unwise.

            • Encourager,
              If you’re going to cook with it, then simply bring the filtered water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute, or three minutes above 5000 feet altitude. Leaving the container covered will cause it to boil faster.

            • HomeINsteader says:

              We’ve built our 55-gallon rainwater drums with filter systems; the filters do have to be changed, periodically. Still, I use it mostly on the gardens; they have cut $25 a month off the municipal water bill in the worst of summer (and it gets HOT here!). I’d filter it again and shock it before I would consume it. But, if I have ever to consume it, I’m ready.

      • In Texas pouring water out is a crime. Besides, that stench will keep the rattle snakes and coyotes off you all night.

  4. I have survived many a hard (several) day on GORP, good old raisens and peanuts. Not that heavy for what you get and a small handfull every couple of hours keeps me going just fine. Walnuts and almonds are a great protein source as you said. Some M&M’s can break up the blandness of the gorp. Good article.

    • Good old GORP?
      Granola, Oatmeal, Raisins, and Peanuts.
      also Good On Rocky Places
      Stuff I’ve carried on every rock climbing, spelunking and backpacking trip for decades. Can also be supplemented with M&Ms and other nuts.

  5. bwright1553 says:

    Great information! I thought I have read that heating rocks from a body of water could explode. Is that correct?

    • Texanadian says:

      River rock has absorbed water over time and if heated quickly it can explode. Not particularly dangerous but a loose chip in the eye could ruin your day/night.

      • livinglife says:

        water turns to steam, one quart of water is equal to 2,000 cubic feet of steam. even a tablespoon packs a wallop when it expands rapidly. porous rocks are more like to pop than explode, dense rocks will throw debris when they explode, including hot coals.

        • If out west and in an area with volcanic activity during the last 10 million years, avoid volcanic rock around or in your campfire.

          Dont forget dried dung is a great fuel source.

  6. Good post and I agree with 99% of it. One point; when you eat carbs it is all turned into sugar within a few hours by your digestive system. It all enters your bloiodstream as sugar and it matters not if it came from sugar or steel cut oats. If you eat more sugar then you need it won’t make you hyper or be burned off quickly it will simply be stored to be used when needed. You can eat energy/power bars that are high in sugar or low in sugar and it makes little to no difference to your body or the amount of energy you can get from the food. Your body can in necessary convert consumed fat and protein to sugar to be burned for energy as well as convert body fat and body muscle into sugar. Sugar is what we use to power our muscles, our brain and to keep warm.

  7. Thanks for the great article. I wasn’t familiar with pine tar soap so I googled it, went to the Amazon ad, and read the reviews.The following is the first review.

    “Someone once asked me if I had ever tried Axe body-wash. I put down the five pound turkey leg I had been gnawing on, looked them dead in the eye and said, “Once. Then I put it in a canoe that I hollowed out of a giant redwood with my fingernails and sent it down the river… which is a better service than it deserved.” I am a man, and I don’t want any liquid soap that leaves you with some nondescript “sexy” smell. When I wash myself in anything that is not the blood of my enemies, I use pine tar soap. I want an emollient that will cut through all of the dirt, sweat, blood, pitch, grease, or more blood that I might find myself covered in at any moment, and I want it to leave me smelling like a camp fire. This is not a dual action body scrub and moisturizer that pairs well with your passion fruit shampoo. This is a man’s soap that smells the way my beard, boots, and red flannel shirt look… magnificent.”
    Just thought I’d share that.

    • Joe Dirt,
      Love the review, LOL

      • Petticoat Prepper says:


      • livinglife says:

        Ivory is another good soap. The new guys would want to wear cologne and stinky soap and then complained about the bugs eating them alive.

        • Ivory is a favorite of the Navy, as well, for two reasons…it floats and it suds up in saltwater.

          • HomeINsteader says:

            Unfortunately, it’s a very soap soft, so, it doesn’t last very long. You can make it “better” by taking it out of the packaging and allowing it to “harden off” for 3-4 weeks; try using a cookie drying rack, or, turn it every few days. It also has a very strong scent. Have you tried Kirk’s Castile Soap? It’s pure coconut oil.

            • HomeINsteader,
              My mother took all store bought soap when I was growing up and let it sit out, generally in out of the way places like window sills. That soap did tend to harden and although I never did empirical measurement, seemed to last longer.

            • HomeINsteader says:

              Soap hardened off does last longer; it’s also easier to “flake” it for homemade laundry detergents and the like.

    • I have gotten pine tar soap at Lehman’s.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      You can wash hair with it, too! Pine tar is a great anti-dandruff treatment, in case anyone needs to know that.

  8. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    That was a quite a bit of ‘good to know’ information – much obliged sir for your work. I would add if insect pests are at any time a nusciance when sleeping out, a bug net or clothing designed to defeat there bites or stings when sleeping would be extremely useful. A bad night’s sleep really prevents some clear thinking.

    A ‘+1’ on GORP comment above from Texanadian, even stale still gives you energy. And if raisons become ‘rocks’ from too much heat, you can still boil them to soften and gain fluid from them as well.

    JP in MT – I have an old single shot 12 gauge that is cut down (legal length) and when taken down, the case (old wool shirt) is about 20″ long, easy to wrap a blanket around and disguise. And then there is the good old ‘chair bag’ for easy carrying disguised look as well.

    Sure wish they made dehydrated water – dad blamed stuff is heavy! 8^)

    Thanks again sir.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx,
      They do make dehydrated water. It comes in an empty container and you simply rehydrate it by adding water, LOL.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx.:

      Don’t forget you can get inserts for your 12 ga. There’s a company that makes a bunch of inserts (the site escapes me right now) in a variety of calibers. I have a 30-30 and a 38 Spec insert for a single 20 ga. Something to consider.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

        I believe you are speaking of MCA Sports, headed by Ace Dube ? Yup, those inserts are handy but load slow. Good to have a wood dowel to remove case quickly. I’ve had the most success with cases that fit the bore (i.e. .32ACP / .308 Winchester). The .22lr/12 gauge – not so much. And if thinking of barrel sleeve (chamber with barrel), they add weight – a lot.

        Makes sense, think .22 bore in a .75 diameter barrel – pretty much solid steel. I have a MCA 18″ sleeve in 30-30/20 gauge for my Savage 24C, it adds at least a pound to the entire firearm.

        But I do get a 30/30 in return – pretty good trade-off.

        Thank you for pointing that out sir, those inserts and sleeves bear some thought.

    • Chair bag! Hmm…

      I was converting a golf bag into a BOB. I already have like 3 BOB’s though. One contains a fanny pack with most of what used to be in my purse and a belt full of survival gear organized into pouches (that bag’s my EDC along with wallet and pistol); one has a change of clothes and overnight toiletries, a box of ammo, and $50; and one has mostly MRE’s a poncho and canned heat. Then there’s some sleeping gear and a tent and emergency road equipment in the car, along with lots of paracord, TP, trash bags and an entrenching tool.

      I’m still wondering how I would carry it all. I guess lash it together with the paracord?

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Have you considered a little red wagon?! (Just messin’wit’ya!)

      • Tactical G-Ma says:

        I have a military style weight distribution vest. Plenty of Molle pockets. 1 handgun velcro on chest, one strapped to leg.ammo, mags, speed loaders, compass.pen, paper, energy bars, survival knife and hatchet on the belt. Machete in scabbord sling across back under pack. Bandallero across front under backpack. Camel pak and steri kit in BP . Boot knife in one or both laces. Long arm over shoulder. Don’t forget use velcro and Molles on legs and arms. Cap w/ headlamp under it. And either an old hearing aid or the inexpensive amplifier that looks like a blue tooth. Normal stuff in BP and you can add a fanny pack under it.
        You can use suitcases on wheels with retractable handles but keep em light enough to carry over obstacles or stash easily.
        The importance of weight distribution is paramount when moving on foot with a lot of baggage.

        • Tac G,
          Was that you I saw in class 98-02 out at MacKall?

          • Tactical G-Ma says:

            It wasn’t me. I was Navy but did visit with the airborne at Bragg a few years before that. My favorite movie is G.I.Jane. You know a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Some like Vera Wang, some like Army issue. 🙂

  9. Encourager says:

    Thanks for the good article, RB! I looked up more info on the Dakota fire pit and I realized…I had nothing to dig a hole with in either of our Get Home Bags…which meant we could not dig a potty hole either. Hmmm….went out in the green house, grabbed a good, sturdy lightweight hand shovel and washed it up. Now is tied to a strap on the GHB.

    Note to self: start looking for another shovel at garage sales as that one was my favorite…rather, look for two.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Hey, Encourager! Get yourself a multi-tool, fold-able shovel thingy; you can find them in lots of places; dual purposes – lightweight, easy to carry. Just don’t buy a cheapie from China Mart that will break on the first use.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

        The Cold Steel Spetnatz shovel is also a winner, tough little guy that earned a permanent spot in my truck.

      • Encourager says:

        We have one of those but lost it. Guess what I found in the bag that holds our gold panning tools…the lost shovel. So now we have three. Which is fine, since 3 is 2, 2 is 1, 1 is none.

        The shovel I packed in my GHB is very lightweight, long and pointy. It is a composite, not plastic, but looks like plastic. It actually fit right behind my water bottle in the pouch thingy.

    • You can use a stick or a flat, sharp rock you find on the ground to dig cat holes, if nothing else. But it’s not optimal.

  10. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Good article, RB.
    Desperate people are dangerous people.Hope none of us have to go thru that but the skills must be practiced.

  11. Good post and good info. Since you mentioned the military and gov’t can do things to control you, they would know these tactics as well if they or ex military is after you?

    I don’t think BO would be chasing someone but he knows how to use diversionary tactics, and so would the Ex-cop murderer in Ca– he burned his truck and set shoe prints into the forest, and probably left the woods wearing someone elses shoes immediately, sending 300 officers and searchers on a wild goose chase. (my guess ) If you know what type persons are after you, you got to think like them and be unpredictable and to what they may know, but given a bunch of street or the average criminal raiders, your tactics would work very well.

  12. like reading louis l’armor

  13. good info. i make my own mres for back packing. semper fi Cowboy

  14. Good article, but a little light as regards to urban/suburban situations. Not all of us live in the hinterlands, and while the knowledge of how to survive in the boonies is all well and good, what about us luckless ones trapped in the concrete jungle?

    There are pros and cons to a situation like this. Bugging-in Place means that you’re at greater risk of becoming a target of The Mob (not La Cosa Nostra, but what happens when humans stop being pack animals and start acting like herd animals)(1). The pros are that one still has access to goods and services not commonly available in the bush. Even after a mass-evacuation event, with the attendant looting, rioting, and general mayhem, there will still be things that an individual could acquire to keep themselves going. This is presupposing that evacuation is either impossible or undesirable for you. Personally, I’m stuck where I am owing to my disability, so I need to think differently about how to go about this.
    The biggest challenge here as in wilderness survival is water, and I know just about everyone here can find or extract water bushcraft-style, but many of those tactics can’t, won’t, or are too difficult to perform in an urban landscape. Water is held in reserve in hot water tanks, toilet seat tanks, pipes and other vessels in a typical system. Another potential source are free-standing water coolers. Some (not all), have a small tank inside to hold pre-chilled water fountains. Bottled water in the stores will be long gone, but there is another source. Beforehand, mentally list businesses that have watercoolers (that require the large bottle). Many have spares hidden away in a supply closet. Be discreet when doing this. Water is heavy, and trying to hump one of those will be a nightmare, especially when all hell’s breaking loose around you. Try to conceal these sources as you find them and draw off them as needed without moving them. Always carry around a clean siphon (2 actually-one for water, the other for gas). Office supply closets also can contain other goodies such as coffee/tea, filters for the machines, condiments, and toilet paper/towels. Soap dispensers will most likely be ignored, and cleanliness will be paramount, so grab what you can there.

    Another challenge would be to identify, exploit, or avoid the myriad of chemical materials present in every large city. If you live near train tracks or a marshalling yard, there could be thousands of tons of lethal chemicals stalled on the tracks waiting for some idiot to either open them up or set fire to them. I had a friend who was in LA in ’92, and he saw kids starting fires for no reason whatsoever. The first order of business is breathing protection, if you don’t already have it available. Gas masks are alright, but you have to be careful with the ones you can buy surplus. Many are decommissioned military models that are shipped with training filters. Good against tear gas, but not so much against some of the alchemical nightmares that roll through our cities and towns daily. A better bet would be an industrial grade system that is tailored for what is present in your area, along with GOOD eye protection. Full face is best, but if you have to go with just a painter’s mask, find a good pair of goggles to go with it and avoid areas where spills have occurred or may occur.

    Yet another would be to contend with the others who chose to stay behind, for good or bad reasons. There will be folks like you, who can’t or won’t be able to leave. Law enforcement/military/disaster relief personnel, and criminals looking for an easy score would be a safe bet for those left behind. All may be dangerous. If you can connect with the like-minded, all the better. Humans are pack animals and it’s less stressful when you have extra eyes and hands working toward a common goal. If not, then one has to live very small. By small I mean to find/create a safe shelter, whether in your home or elsewhere, that’s away from areas where major activity is going on or where it could be.

    As RB said above, practice light/noise/smoke discipline. A building, even without power and heat, still provides a solid wind and weather break, and by being a bit circumspect about going about this, can be a comfortable and safe place. For warmth, a fire is an obvious solution, but the smoke can attract attention as well as pose a risk of CO poisoning. Try to find a battery-powered CO detector if possible, otherwise you’ll have to make sure you have adequate ventilation. Use the existing vents/chimneys to run your smoke out of, use hardwoods or materiel that burns hot and bright. Burn just enough to cook and warm up, and if you can swing it, heat up metal containers of water or large hunks of metal for warmth after the fires out. I’d say something like a rim from a car or truck would be good, and boiling a few pots of water means you have not only warmth, but a source of (cleaner) water than before.

    The pros are access to materiel that is not available in the woods. Even trash and debris can be repurposed in a survival situation, and looters tend to overlook the things that can really help them. Look at what would happen to a supermarket. The first things looters would take would be beer, meat, drugs (if it had a pharmacy, as many now do), baby food/diapers, bread and seasonal items. The next wave would go after the common-core canned items (meats, veggies, soups) and whatever is left or identifiable from the first wave. Chances are, by the time one gets there (ideally after the crowd has dispersed), all that would be left are the oddball items, like seasonings and foreign foods.
    Foraging would require a keen eye and mind to see what could be used from what’s left in the mess. After the obvious places have been cleaned out, the looters will start to go after homes, businesses, and government offices not secured. Again, most will focus on the high-dollar luxuries like TVs, players, games, guns, jewelry, and other things that don’t really help much in a grid-down situation.
    Again waiting til after the rush is over, a smart picker will go through and find the stuff the mad ones have left behind. Look for the junk drawers for hardware, tape, twine, and small hand tools. Children’s battery-powered toys, smoke detectors, remote controls, alarm clocks with battery back-ups should reward you with batteries that have some level of charge in them. Closets may have been torn apart looking for juicy stuff like leathers, furs, and guns, leaving the practical gear scattered all over the room. In the kitchen, even if the house has been looted already of the obvious things, look for stuff that was dropped or passed over. Maybe someone grabbed the sterling-silver service, but they left the everyday cutlery. Perhaps all the pre-packed foods have been taken but they left the bag of flour, salt, or sugar behind because they couldn’t see its real value. In the basement there still might be laundry detergent, household chemicals and “junk” from the previous occupants that didn’t look appealing to the first wave of looters.
    Be like a mouse when you’re doing this. You will likely not be the only one doing it, or someone may have stayed behind to watch the neighborhood. Never be greedy, only take what you need and maybe a little more. Also, the more you have with you will slow you down taking it back to wherever you’re holed up, and if someone else sees you with a pack full of stuff you become a target.

    As a side-note, I don’t condone looting as per se, but in an emergency, if all else fails, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep going. Another thing to remember is, just about every place you go is going to dark in a grid-down situation. Be prepared to supply your own light, but ration it as much as possible. During the daytime, go pirate. Get/make an eyepatch to wear over one eye so that when you enter a darkened building/basement/cave, you don’t stand there exposed while your eyes are adjusting to the darkness. RB’s advice applies here as well. Wear gloves and sturdy footwear, and at the very least a dustmask over your nose and mouth. There will be bad things that will get released after an event, decayed food, spilled chemicals, and the suchlike. Headband lights would probably be preferable as it frees your hands up for searching, but use whatever you got (sparingly). Don’t use candles, torches, or lanterns to keep the risk of fire down. If you accidentally start a place on fire means you’re (a) removed that site from potential future gleaning, (b) alerted the good guys/bad guys/other desperate survivors, or (c) caused yet more misery for yourself and other by adding a wildfire to whatever the disaster was in the first place. Save those items for a safe place and time, and for warmth and cooking.

    I won’t hog anymore bandwidth on this. Perhaps I should collect all my thoughts on this and make it a proper posting. Hope what I wrote here helps. As I said before, it was a great article, RB. Made me do some thinking about this.

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_psychology

  15. The only thing I could possibly add to this is to also prepare some hiding places for the night. I watched the Kevin Costner variant of Robin Hood and when they were setting up for their first job on the road the guys that were handling the log had each built a simple mat with sticks and vines, covered with leaves. They propped the mat up on one edge.
    When the bad guys started the chase those log handlers ran out of site, jumped under that mat and knocked the prop sticks out. The whole thing collapsed over them and they disappeared completely. I thought then a good little hidy place like that might come in handy if I’m being chased by bad guys. This is when it pays to keep your weapon with you at all times!!!

  16. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    More items to consider adding to your kit:

    HAMMOCK – Always sleeping on the ground may not be an option. Ground might be sloped or even covered with water. A hammock is a great way to rest or sleep off the ground – can be even tied up in trees if you are feeling brave. Very lightweight and has many other uses – look them up. This link from Speer has some good ideas.


    SHOWER LINER SHEET – tougher than trash bag, a little heavier too, but for lining an overhead cover to make more waterproof – invaluable. I keep one in my truck to use when I have to get underneath to maintain my vehicle.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      GREAT ideas j.r.! These shower liners come in different thicknesses, but the “thick” ones cost very little more than the very thin ones. Just read the packaging; it will tell you if it’s “heavy-duty”. The difference will probably be about $2-3 for a THICK one verses thin.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

        Thanks, but in honesty, I read that tip about shower curtains somewhere on the net and tried it myself – it worked! I was just adding it here for other folks consideration.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          That’s how most of us gain a great deal of “knowledge”, j.r. Just say, “yes, I am a genius, aren’t I?!” and have a great day! ; )

    • Encourager says:

      When wilderness hiking, my son prefers a hammock suspended high enough so as he says “the bears and the wolves and the chipmunks can’t reach me”. He said mice and chipmunks will keep you awake all night, playing around the edges of your tent. Then there was the wolf who began hunting said mice and chipmunks that he came face to face with through the screen door…He was very glad he had his Glock even if he didn’t have to use it on the wolf.

      • Hammocks are nice, but when I was out trekking I came up with a nice lightweight mattress. It was an old game bag, fabric with a zipper down the middle. I’d gather leaves and brush inside, and it was just long enough and held enough to keep me off the ground. If you happen to have some with you, mint or bay leaves inside will help keep the varmints away. In the morning, you can dump out the litter, roll it up and tuck it in your pack. No trees, ropes, pumps, or repair kits needed. Granted, it isn’t that good in a downpour, but that’s why you look for higher ground or cover before you make camp.

    • JR,
      I prefer the old style GI poncho.

  17. One thing to consider, while building a fire under a tree will disperse smoke. If there is snow in the trees the heat from the fire will melt it and get you and your gear wet. Better to build it in the open in the winter

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