Practice makes perfect. Practicing something helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It gives you the ability to fix and refine. When you are bugging out in an SHTF scenario you will only have once chance to get it right. Mistakes can cost lives. This is why it is important to understand how to practice bugging out.
There is no real guaranteed way to bug out and survive. We see all over the world where people are forced to bug out and die while trying to escape starvation, wars, etc. However, if we can identify all the potential threats that we will face during a bug out then we can properly practice how to survive them.
How to Practice Bugging Out
Map your bug out routes
This should already have been completed when putting together your preparedness plan. Before bugging out you will need to know where to bug out. Your bug out route should be your potential paths to your bug out locations.
You should have multiple bug out routes to get to those locations. At the same time, you will want to have at least 4 possible bug out locations. You never know where disaster will strike. If you have only one bug out location then what do you do if a crisis blocks you from getting to that location?
Therefore you should have 4 possible bug out locations in the 4 directions (North, South, East, and West). This bug out location should not take you longer than 72 hours to reach. So you will need to factor in possible walking time and driving time. The average person can walk about 15 miles per day. Add 40 pounds on your back from a bug out bag and it is most likely a lot shorter distance for many people.
Routes should avoid certain areas
The bug out routes should be away from highly populated and high crime areas. Walking into a shit storm when SHTF is the last thing you want. You will want to quickly get away from those areas. If those areas are violent before an SHTF scenario then you can only imagine how dangerous it will be after one.
You will also want to avoid choke points where traffic can get backed up during a crisis. With that being said you should watch this video that I made on how to bug out of a city. This will give you a few tips on how you can identify those potential chokepoints.
At chokepoints, people will be getting out of their cars to walk/run and potentially even create more chaos. Therefore, your route should be along less traveled paths. On your city/town map, you will want to identify backroads, trails and even railroad tracks.
Run family escape drills
If you have a family then it is really important to have an emergency plan set. Now, they don’t have to be full blown preppers. However, everyone should be on the same page during a crisis. So it is good that everyone has an idea of what is going on and what to do beforehand. If you practice it enough then memory muscle will build and reactions will become almost second nature without thinking or panicking.
Emergency plans should include multiple possible meet up spots or rally points. Also, there should be a communication plan put together. If everyone has a HAM radio connected to a local router then you quickly communicate your locations. I would suggest that everyone have a Baofeng UV-5R.
Rally points should be dependent upon the day. For example, if a crisis happens during the weekday then the children maybe at school while you are at work. This is in comparison to a weekend where your family may be at home or at friends.
Once rally points have been identified then you can run drills. These should be scheduled and unscheduled. During these drills, you should outline where to be during a crisis and who is responsible for what. Bug out and emergency bags should already be packed in the vehicles. However, you might assign someone to gather additional items. This would be helpful to gather refrigerated items that may be spoiled in a crisis. Plan to eat those first.
Walk along bug out routes
The average person can walk about 15 miles per day. Most likely it is going to be tougher in a bug scenario. This is because you can be evading looters, rioters and possibly even armed forces. Then on top of that, you will be carrying gear and supplies that can be heavy.
So by walking along your bug out routes with your packed bags, it will give a sense of realism. This will help you determine if your bag is too heavy or if you can afford to carry more. By learning how to practice bugging out you will also get an idea if your bag is comfortable or not. You don’t want to be carrying something for 15 miles a day that is uncomfortable. This is going to slow you down and make it more challenging.
By walking along your bug out route it will give you an idea of how out of shape you truly are. Now I recommend before practicing your bug out that you at least walk a mile a day, to begin with. This way you can slowly work your way up to walking 15 miles a day. It sounds easy but believe me your body is going to be in a lot of pain after the first day. That will, in turn, slow down your progress during your bug out.
Along your bug out route, you will most likely be eating food and drinking water. You may even be using tools like water filters to gather water. Knives may be used to start fires. So this exercise will give you an idea what gear you will truly need and what you don’t. Once it is over you will be able to better optimize your bag.
Finally, by walking along your bug out route you will get an idea of the route’s landscape. It may reveal some shady areas that you should avoid. You may also identify sources of food and water as well.
Run drills in different weather
You don’t know when a crisis will hit. The weather could be scorching hot or freezing cold. This means your bag and gear should be optimized for the weather conditions.
When it is in the winter you will want to have warm clothes packed. The opposite is self-explanatory, but you should have more breathable clothing during the summer. During the summer you may not need the ability to build huge fires to keep you warm at night. So this could give you the opportunity to lighten your bag.
Here in Florida, it is hot as hell all year maybe except for 2 weeks. So I keep breathable and moisture wicking clothing. The more perspiration then the higher the chance for dehydrating or having heat strokes. Each season provides different challenges. So it is good to run drills during the different seasons.
Having survival skills during a bug out scenario is essential. Your gear and supplies will not save you. They might make surviving easier but without the skills they are useless.
So it is important to consistently practice survival skills by focusing on the Rule of 3’s. You should already have the survival knowledge and skills before a crisis. It will be almost impossible to learn those after one hits.
By going camping you can practice these skills. Some activities that help develop these skills include building a shelter, building a fire, collecting water and even hunting small game. I’m talking about real camping. I’m not talking about pulling up your RV with the A/C blasting while watching TV. Get outdoors and develop those skills!
Altogether, these would be my tips on how to practice bugging out. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any feedback or suggestions. Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.