Planning to Bug Out? Not So Fast…

We all know the “classic survival scenario”, right? When disaster strikes, everyone thinks they will bug out on foot to the woods. I saw a couple of documentaries about bugging out, and to my surprise, they both depicted the bugging out happening on warm, sunny, summer days.

The reality is, the actual catastrophe and the ensuing bug out are going to be nasty. It’s going to be ugly. Although most of us understand this on an intellectual level, our brains still feed us idealized images of how it’s gonna go down. Unfortunately, those images have nothing to do with reality. It could be raining, there could be bad guys on your tail, it could be freezing cold, or the sky could be full of Yellowstone’s ash.

Let’s not fall into this “fantasy of prepping” and keep our feet on the ground. A good way to do that is to see the impending disaster as war.

War is “nice”, isn’t it? You’ve got heroes, waving flags, acts of bravery, soldiers cheerfully marching, and women and children applauding and throwing flowers to pave their way. That’s what most people see.

And then you have the real side of war, hundreds of thousands of people dying, blood everywhere, your best friend getting massacred by a bomb a few feet away from you. That’s what really happens in wars and you need to look no further than Ukraine to see it:

Now, do you think bugging out is any different? It may actually be worse because it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll all face forces grater than us. It could be armed soldiers, angry mobs, or the biggest hurricane you’ve ever seen and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

You need to reassess your preparedness levels right now and figure out just how well you can cope with the personal war you’re about to fight because:

  • it’s going to be physically and emotionally challenging,
  • you might have to do it alone even if you don’t want to,
  • you might have to watch a loved one die and then find the strength to run away to save your life
  • the only thing that’s certain in these types of scenarios is uncertainty.

Do you have the strength to bug out? Do you have the physical condition to do it? Please don’t tell me you’ll just bug in, that you have your bug out vehicle ready, or that you’ll rely solely on your guns. The chances of being forced to run for the hills or to abandon your vehicle are there and you know it. Not prepping for both bug in and bug out situations is a mistake that has been discussed here.

Are you in shape? And by “in shape” I don’t mean like a Navy SEAL, but strong enough to be able to run, jump, lift heavy objects, pull someone from the water, or even fight off an attacker. All of these things, and a lot more or worse, can happen in a bug out. All of them require that you have some measurable level of strength.

Let’s put my theory to the test, shall we?

I want to prove to you that you’re not as ready as you think for a bug out and, to prove that, I challenge you to “take a hike”. A real one, in fact. With a backpack on your back, out into the woods, of course.

I’m curious to see how long you’ll last and, you might be surprised.

You don’t want to do it? OK, I’ve got an easier test for you. The next time you do your shopping, instead of loading everything in bags and then into your car, put them all in a backpack and walk home. You’ll soon see you’re out of breath and feel an urgent need to take a break. And you’ll be on a paved road, not on rough terrain.

Now What?

You knew this was coming but you need to get into shape as much as you can. And please don’t tell me it’s a waste of time because you’re too old or that you already have 4 guns to protect you. You can’t afford to have blind spots in your preps, especially one so obvious as being out of shape.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t train to be the next Iron Man even if you wanted to. See your doctor and improve just a little bit week after week. In a couple of months, you’re going to see a huge difference.

Start with something small, such as walking. This will save you gas money, too. Then move to running, doing some basic body-weight exercises at home, maybe even biking, or swimming. Hiking is another great way to work out while enjoying yourself in the middle of nature.

The truth is, there are dozens and dozens of exercises you can do to improve your strength, stamina, speed and flexibility, and you don’t have to focus on them all at once.

If you don’t like running, how about you do some rope skipping for cardio? It’s not the same but if you enjoy it, go for it. The more exercises you try, the more of them you’ll end up incorporating into your workout routine.

There’s a saying that I like and it goes like this:

The more you sweat, the less you bleed.

I truly hope this is the wake-up call for you to start doing some sort of fitness activity to at least get into some kind of shape. Why? Because…

  • you’ll feel more confident that you’ll make it because the odds of you surviving will increase,
  • you’ll feel more energized every day because physical exercise has A TON of benefits on the human body (and mind!)
  • and you’ll be stronger when you do your day-to-day activities such as working in your garden, carrying various things, even cleaning the house, or washing your car.

Final Word

Look, I’m not trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do. Heck, I’m a firm believer in everyone using their own noodle to figure out what’s best for them. But I do ask that you listen to other preppers every once in a while and put their ideas to the test.

Go for a hike and see for yourself how long you can last with a fully-loaded backpack on your back. You might be surprised to learn the real truth about how prepared you are to bug out.

About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.

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