We all have our own ideas about how to find a safe refuge after the SHTF. Staying at home – “bugging in” – is a good option for a lot of people, but many of us live in places that just aren’t that safe. If we’re going to survive the aftermath of a catastrophe, we’re going to have to get to a bugout location, whether that’s a well-stocked bunker deep in the woods or a greenfield site, where we can live off the land for a while until the situation has improved. The question is, how are we going to get there?
Bugout plans are one of the most critical things if we’re going to survive a crisis. They can’t be left to chance; if you decide to just wing it and see what things are like on the day, you could be putting yourself in a lot of danger. It’s vital to know in advance how you’re going to get to your BOL safely and with all the gear you need.
If your BOL doesn’t already have a stockpile of supplies the chances are you’re going to need a vehicle to get yourself and all the essentials there. On the other hand if you’ve already stocked it with food, fuel and tools, you can make the trip there with a much lighter load. Your bugout bag should hold everything you need to get you to your refuge, and that opens up a lot more travel options. One of those is to make the trip on foot.
There are a lot of attractions to bugging out on foot. Maybe the biggest is that it’s reliable. It doesn’t matter if there’s an EMP powerful enough to immobilize all but the most hardened vehicles. Doesn’t matter if refugees, military checkpoints, flood waters or volcanic ash have closed all the roads. If you’re traveling on foot you can just keep going, adjusting your route as necessary.
Of course there’s a down side too, which is that traveling on foot is slow. Your trip to your BOL is probably going to be measured in days, not hours – and just to make it worse, a lot of us underestimate how many days it’s going to take.
That isn’t just inconvenient, either; it could be dangerous. If you’re far wrong about how long it’s going to take, you might not pack enough food and water for the trip – and that could kill you.
How Fast Can You Travel?
A proper bug-out bag isn’t lightweight. You’re looking at overnight kit like a sleeping bag and some kind of shelter, bad weather clothing, food, water, first aid kit, weapons and ammunition, plus whatever other items you didn’t already take to your BOL. You’ll be doing well to keep your load much below a third of your body weight, which is about as heavy a load as you can carry any distance, unless you’re at absolute peak fitness. Even keeping the load down to below a third of body weight, you’re not going to be moving at a normal walking pace. Most people can walk as close to four miles an hour without a load on flat pavement, but on the way to your BOL you won’t have it so easy. A lot of the time you’ll want to avoid roads – that’s where the refugees and checkpoints will be – and you’ll have to travel cross country.
With a heavy pack on your back, even level grassy ground – a well grazed pasture, for example – will be slower going than a road. Rough grassland is much worse, because you need to take care not to twist your ankles on the uneven ground. Woods? Even slower. Marsh? Very slow. Stony hillsides? Slooow.
Getting an Estimate
A lot of people have wildly optimistic ideas of how far they can walk in a day. Some think they can reliably cover 30 miles; a few think 40 is achievable. Unless they’re very, very fit, they’re all wrong.
The best way to work out the maximum distance you can cover in a day, along your planned route to your BOL, is by using Naismith’s Rule. William Wilson Naismith was a 19th century Scottish mountaineer, so he knew a thing or two about carrying a pack over rough ground, and his 1892 time and distance calculation is still useful today.
Related: 11 Smart Tips to Make Your Bug-Out Bag Lighter and Smaller
Naismith’s Rule assumes you’re reasonably fit and not facing extreme weather, terrain or obstacles. If all that applies, you end up with these two estimates on time and distance:
- Every three miles of horizontal distance you cover will take you one hour.
- Every 2,000 feet you ascend will take you one hour.
- These are cumulative times, so if you cover six miles horizontally and go over two 1,000-foot hills on the way, it will take you three hours.
This rule is useful for choosing routes – you can roughly calculate whether it’s going to be quicker to go round high ground or over it, for example. Don’t forget the assumptions at the start, though. If you’re less fit, or facing extreme conditions, you’ll be slower.
Walking through deep snow can slow you down dramatically, but even wind and rain will take some of your speed off. Walking on loose scree is a lot slower and more dangerous than crossing firm ground. If you’re on farmland with a lot of barbed wire fences and drainage ditches, or trying to get through thick woods, obstacles will constantly delay you.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get up at dawn and walk until sunset. You’re going to need breaks – three meals a day, plus rest breaks of five to ten minutes in every hour. You have to set aside time to find a campsite each night, as well as to look after your feet, boots and gear. Even in summer it’s unlikely you’ll fit in more than eight hours of walking a day.
Going by Naismith’s Rule, if your route isn’t too hilly the maximum you can cover in a day is going to be around 24 miles – but that’s in ideal conditions. Realistically you can cut a third off that, bringing you down to about 16 miles. If the weather is extreme or the ground is particularly bad you might have to cut even that in half. If there’s 18 inches of snow on the ground, or you’re picking your way through a giant marsh, eight miles a day is going to seem like a long way.
Don’t forget to allow for rest days as well. If your BOL is a long way from home and it’s going to take a week or more to get there, your body will really appreciate a day of rest every five or six days. That will give you time to recover physically, do more maintenance on your gear and maybe adjust your route based on what you’ve seen along the way so far.
If you need to cover a hundred miles to get to your BOL, it’s probably going to take you at least a week. Depressed? Don’t be. It’s a lot better to know that now, when you can prepare for it. Just think how much worse you’d feel after three days on the trail, not even half way to the refuge you’d expect to be in by now.
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I took my BOB and Hiked to one of our BOLs. It was 8.5 mi. It took me 6hrs. It was 95ºF and close to 90% humidity. HOT… I underestimated the amount of water that I should have taken. One of my group’s members didn’t hike. He saved me and brought water. This is a great thing to understand and know before hand. If it had been a true GOOD situation, I would have been severely dehydrated and probably heat stroked. I was dehydrated as it was when I got to the BOL.
Good example of how terrain and weather will affect you. Now add a second person, compound it by making that person less fit, infirm, elderly or a child. Dial in aminor injury or whatever and that’s closer to what you will do on a walk.
You might say I’ll be alone. Well you might be but a seond or third oerson means nit only load sharing but another set of eyes, ears and more.
and BTW my BOB is around 50lbs. I weigh 250lbs. and I’m in my 40’s. I look like your average 40 something. You know Dad bod. I do this to look grey man, but I am not out of shape. I was able to cover 8.5mi to my BOL in 6hrs on very uneven terrain.
Jabba, 50lbs is a lot for a bugout bag. Try to keep it at 25lbs, especially for a distance you can travel in 6hs. Water weighs 8lbs per gallon so figure some food, ammo, weapons, fire kit, medical kit, poncho and a way to purify water. Keep more stuff at your BOL and you will be fine. Just my 2 cents.
I’d say that if your BOL is inside a day’s walk away, 25 pounds is a realistic goal. If it’s any further away than that I don’t think you’re going to get away with that light a load. What if you have to bug out in winter? The chances are you’ll need a sleeping bag as well as a poncho. A weapon plus ammunition and cleaning kit is going to be ten pounds – I wouldn’t want to rely on a handgun in this scenario. You’re right – 50 pounds is a lot to carry. But, if you want to get to a BOL 50 miles away, you’re probably going to need it.
That would be very true if I owned the property. Unfortunately I don’t. It belongs to someone I know. If I owned it I would just take water. Everything else would be stocked there.
Good article, and Naismith is still a good guide. My one quibble is that the assumption is that the person or people are all in good shape…not excellent shape, but good shape and are used to hiking, and most likely are younger in age. I’m in decent shape for my age, but decades sitting behind a desk have taken its toll. I can walk 20 miles a day in my part of the world…a few small hills and low altitude…but throw on a 50lb pack and I’m not sure I’d make 5 miles in a day. And if it’s close to 100 degrees out in the summer, it’ll be a lot less.
I know preppers where a 2-3 mile hike with a light daypack isn’t a doable option for them, yet they have their BOB packed like it’s a feasible plan. Naismith is a good rule to go by if you have the fitness to do it, but for many of us, we have to reel in our expectations to a reality that doesn’t always match what we used to be able to do.
I could have written this, so I assume it’s probably rather common and if it’s a leisurely 10-16 hour day, that’s not much stress for just a walk.
I know of such people, including the husband of a friend who recently passed and left her a bunch of gear I’m trying to dispose of for her. He had tons of gear and COPD that eventually helped in his demise and couldn’t have walked without a heavy pack very far.
As for me, @ 68 my mind is still as sharp and clear as it ever was; but, there are occasions where the mind tells the body to do something, and the body simply refuses. I can still accomplish most things I did 20-30 years ago, it just takes more planning, time, and patience.
you might be able to walk 20 miles in one day but you won’t be able to the next day. No disrespect intended. People routinely over estimate their capabilities.
You sound like you have experience. LOL.
40 years ago when I did such things for fun, I learned that lesson more than a few times, so I always made the trip a loop that kept me a ”Reasonable distance” from the vehicle. That technique saved my bacon more than a few times.
I detected no disrespect, just plain reality, and for those who overestimate their capabilities (and we all have) real life often shows you how wrong you were.
Naismith’s Rule assumes you’re reasonably fit and not facing extreme weather, terrain or obstacles. If all that applies, you end up with these two estimates on time and distance:
Every three miles of horizontal distance you cover will take you one hour.
Every 2,000 feet you ascend will take you one hour.
These are cumulative times, so if you cover six miles horizontally and go over two 1,000-foot hills on the way, it will take you three hours.
this is a little bit misleading. the way I read it is 6 horizontal miles with an elevation gain of 2000 ft.
so that is somewhat reasonable but it doesn’t take into account elevation. going from 12000 ft to 14000 ft above sea level is a lot different than going from 1000 ft. above sea level to 3000 ft asl.
It also doesn’t account for crossing a 1000 ft hill, descending that hill and crossing and descending another 1000 ft hill during that 6 mile horizontal distance.
Naismith doesn’t add any time penalties for descending. I know that’s not always how it works in reality – I’ve gone down some slopes where I had to move very slowly or have a nasty accident – but as a rule of thumb it works OK. So in this example there’s an extra hour for the time needed to go UP the 1,000 foot hills, but it assumes you can go DOWN them at normal walking speed. Obviously if you know the route to your BOL and all the downslopes are slippery, loose scree, you’ll need to adjust for that.
This article is good, as far as it goes. But it lacks some qualifiers.
Knowing how much you can carry in you BOB is great.
Knowing how far you can go with it in a day, is great also.
The Army’s “Approach March Load” for a backpack is close to 100 lbs. Considering the average recruit weighs in at 169 lbs, that is a lot more that 30+% of their body weight. Because of the weight, the distance covered is often only 12 to 15 miles a day.
This particular load out, is closer to a INCH type BOB.
So one must consider the type of BOB load that we are talking about. as well as one’s level of fitness and training.
I would rather pack more in my BOB, to start with. I can always lighten the load later on, (during a rest period or that night). But if I am missing something, you can’t necessarily add it to the BOB, later on.
Besides that, I hope to throw it into a vehicle or on a horse (or other animal) for part or all of the journey.
However. whether it takes 3 days or 10 days to get there does not matter that much, except as to how much food and or water you should carry. Or better yet where and how much you should cache stuff, (so you don’t have to carry it all with you)
So knowing this info is great, but it should be used to determine where you cache stuff, which routes you will take, etc. Not just as a weight limit on what you take with you.
In overly limiting what you plan to take in your BOB because of the weight factor, that might just mean that you will not survive the journey.
I walked a mile and a half in Texas heat, when I was a little younger and in better shape than I am now. I took me a little over an hour to walk it. It was deep woods, briars, hills, hard packed, very rough bottom land, a creek, and 3 barbed wire fences. The 2 liters of water that I had with me was almost empty by the time I reached my destination.
I could have added about a half a mile to my trip and saved time, but I opted for a more direct route with lots of shade. That shade didn’t help as much as I had hoped, because there was no air circulation, and the mosquitoes were thick and vicious.
If I were to make the exact same trip today, I know it would take me longer to complete, if I even survived.
That trek was made by myself, with no load other than the water I had. In a bug out situation, I would have not only my BOB, but also companions that would slow the forward momentum.
My goal is for me and my family to survive. My plan is to have a good cattle prod to keep people moving. But, as the quote goes.. the best laid plans of mice and men….
I am a diabetic, so bugging out is not an option and senseless to boot. My boys have all grown up and scattered, so they are no immediate help. When my meds run out, I will die. I realize this very well. I do have communication skills that I can teach, and the equipment to do it. So, I teach others to use my stuff that cannot bug out, but are in better health. Most visible antennas are “stealthed” so they cannot be seen. I can spread info and news until my days are gone, then my “trainees” take over. I have Apelian’s books on edible plants and medicinal plants, so I might survive a little longer, but bugging out is not a realistic option. I envy those that can bug out when necessary. I can also help those who bug out, if they please my empathic ability, and pass my “tests”. A roof, a warm place to sleep, some food if absolutely necessary, and water. But, if approached by people that tickle my empathic ability for being bad or untrustworthy, a gun or knife is always close to hand. Dead bad people saves the good people to survive. I hope to see that TSHTF never happens, but I am afraid that this may not be possible due to the present administration’s foolish acts. We will see what happens.
It really doesn’t how fast or how long you can walk with a BOB, because you are only going to be as fast as the slowest person in the group…! That’s the bottom line…!
Very true Powderkeg ( like the name by the way). I wear a pedometer at work and consistently walk 12 – 15 miles a shift. My BOB weights approximately 28 lbs including 3 16oz bottles of water. I do go hiking and also take my GHB out for regular walks down the bike trails by my house. How far I can travel x 3 or more days in various terrains is undetermined.
But I have a problem. I work 32 miles away from home and some of the neighborhoods I would be going through on my way back home are very rough crime wise. Another problem would be if my wife is with me at the time. She has severe vertigo and is very limited in what she can do. She’s rarely with me when we go through that area. So not sure how I’m going to work that out if the need arises.
Honestly though, this was a test for me, because this would be a worst case scenario. I have made a wagon that I can attach to my Mtn. Bike. The wagon can hold 300lbs. The only problem with a bike is that you can’t shoot and ride at the same time.
Jabba: If you carry your handgun in a shoulder holster or one of the cross chest pistol holsters called an Alaskan holster, you can draw your pistol and put down single handed fire while still operating the bike. If you affix a scabbard to your bike frame you can carry your rifle on your bike frame where it is handy to draw just as you would draw your rifle from a saddle scabbard if you were riding a horse.
You also don’t have to worry about your horse rearing or bolting when you fire your weapon as you might with a horse, even if he were accustomed to having you fire from horseback.
No Disrespect but have your ever tried to hit anything while riding a Mtn. bike? I think it would be more a fire for effect scenario than actually hitting something. Ammo ain’t cheap, no warning shots will be given..lol
Jabba: No, but it works both ways. You are moving so harder to hit too. Besides, firing for effect works if it throws off the folks shooting at you. Ammo might not be cheap unless you are comparing it to your life. Only you know how much that is worth.
Do you ever shoot while moving? If not, it might be a good idea to practice that technique. I know it is hard, not many ranges allow you to do the sort of practice you really need in a real life scenario. The bad guys won’t stay still at 25 yards while you take careful aim, but most of us practice shooting at round circles at 25 and 50 yards. Highly unrealistic.
For my 80 birthday I treated myself to a 3-gun match. There is some moving to the target and changing positions in that type of shooting. It was a blast. I wasn’t the best shot there but I was the best 80 y.o. shot there.
I think the author misinterpreted Naismith’s rule. I think the example he gave of six miles and two 1000-foot hills would equal four hours, not three hours.
Most estimates I have seen in preppier manuals are grossly optimistic about how much mileage can be covered by foot. Ground is hillier than most people realize. That hill that you barely notice when driving grows significantly when you are using shanks mare. Going down hill is just as difficult as going up hill because the pressure on your knees and other leg joints is considerable, especially if you are carrying a load
Hauling your gear on your back is another fallacy of bugging out. That is just plain silly. If nothing else is available, make yourself a travois. You can walk a lot further hauling a load than you can carrying it on your back. The plains Indians moved their villages on travois before they invented horses. Even the dogs were hitched to travois. Fido can haul his dog food and water if you must take him along with you rather than having him for your last meal before you bug out.
Do you make it a practice to drive around the parking lot until you can find the closest spot to the door of the business you are seeking? Well, Pilgrim, you’d better start parking as far away from that business as you can and start doing a little more walking, otherwise you are going to feel like you are dying after you have gone five miles — and you may be.
Don’t talk to me about the marches you did in the service when you were 19. That was thirty years ago. Unless you hiked the Appalachian Trial or the Pacific Crest Trail this summer, what you did X number of years ago doesn’t count except for perhaps what you might have learned doing it.
Now figure you are dodging burning buildings, angry mobs, having to find some place not too public to do your business and eat your meals, finding a water source to replenish the water you have consumed, getting hidden for resting overnight, or if you are traveling at night, finding a hidden resting spot for daytime rest. If you make ten miles a day you are really moving along swiftly.
It doesn’t matter if you regularly hike ten miles in three and a half hours every weekend, except that you will be in better condition than the prepper who habitually takes the elevator to the second floor, You aren’t dodging abandoned cars with care in case someone is lurking in the car. You aren’t dodging the other impediments that I mentioned earlier. You can duck into Mickey D’s for calls of nature and not have to worry about someone coming upon you when you are indisposed and stealing your gear while your trousers are around your ankles.
While this article does point out some of the problems with bugging out by foot, it falls into the same kind of fake thinking that affects so many articles on bugging out by foot. It precludes thinking about alternative means of hauling your gear. It fails to take fully into consideration that you might have to make a significant detour from your direct route due to unforeseen circumstances such as burning buildings or angry mobs or hostile forces.
This article also ignores how well wifey and kiddies are going to be doing along this route march. Is ten year old Alice going to be able to maintain 120, 30-inch steps per minute to equal the three mile per hour march speed?
Maybe Dad can maintain that pace for six or eight hours but how about other members of the family? How is 70 year old Mom going to do — or are you going to leave her behind?
Think seriously about your bug out plans. Be realistic. And for crying out loud, think about alternative means of hauling your gear and have a plan for it, whether it is a game cart, a wheeled garden cart, a wheel barrow, a travois, whatever. There is a significantly detailed article in the archives about alternative bug-out vehicles with lots of informative comments to the article. Look it up.
All of the comments made in the previous posts contain good valid points.
Left Coast Chuck,
I agree with you on the force multiplyers (wagons, wheel borrows, etc..). I have put a lot of thought into this subject too. Like I said before I have made a wagon that I can attach to my bike, I have wheel borrows too (1 and 2 wheel). That being said I have a concern.
Just like in the movie The Book of Eli, when he is on the bridge looking down on those poor folks that got beaten and killed. I think I would have my BOB in the wheel borrow and If I see or hear trouble coming I would ditch the wheels and high tail it with the BOB on my back into the bushes or out of sight…
That’s what I envision. You can always drop the cart or wheelbarrow, grab your pack and hide out or bug out. Perhaps go back for it later, perhaps abandon it totally, depending on the situation.
Even if you must abandon it, you still are ahead of the game for the distance you have covered hauling your gear rather than carrying it.
Sufficiently armored, you might even be able to use it as a mobile defensive position. Even if it didn’t actually provide cover against rifle fire, it could easily be armored enough to deflect pistol rounds and provide concealment while you low crawled to a more defensive position.
left coast chuck,
I had to laugh at this one. While I don’t do this, I’ve noticed for years people who do, often finding that close spot to the door of the gym where they are going to exercise. I guess they don’t want to be tired when they start their routine. LOL
I could not agree more and perhaps just a bicycle with baskets & pack space would work.
As I understand it the infamous Ho Chi Min trail was mostly people hauling on bikes, often just walking beside them; but, a combination of walking & riding could help one to travel more distance with less effort.
Ohio: From what I have read the average load on a bicycle on the HCM Trail was 200 kilograms which translates to 440 pounds. I have seen pictures of the typical bike and it wasn’t the kind of bike you see on the streets on weekends.
It had very heavy duty wheels and spokes, almost motorcycle wheels. In order to have more leverage for steering through ruts and potholes (our air force was doing its damnedest to destroy it) they had a wooden device attached to the front forks to give the walker/rider more leverage in handling the rough terrain. I am sure it was geared quite low and probably single speed. I have never seen a description of the drive train.
The HCM Trail was 1200 miles long and it took roughly six weeks to traverse the trail. While 200 miles a week isn’t mind blowing mileage, once again, the trail was very rough and they had to dodge low flying aircraft and the occasional ambush. A lot of gear was also moved by trucks, but it was far easier to see a truck from the air than it was a bicyclist walking along the side of the trail partially hidden by trees and brush.
While a really expensive carbon fiber bike frame will weigh in at 16 pounds, the HCM Trailmaster looked like it probably weighed closer to 50 pounds. It was steel so that it could be welded along the trail if some component broke.
I once had an interesting conversation with a bike rider who had ridden in Vietnam (after the war). I asked him about availability of parts because he had ridden a lot in the small villages reached only by dirt path. He said actually he found it easier to get his bike fixed in really rural areas than the big cities. In the cities they would say they had to send to the U.S. for the part. In the rural villages they would look at the broken part and say, “Sure, we can make that.” With an acetylene torch, hammer, some scrap steel and a few other tools they could turn out the part close enough to specs that it worked just fine.
I ran into that back when the road to Cabo San Lucas first opened back in the early 70s. Two friends and their families and my family took a 2-week camping trip partway down the Baja Peninsula. One of my friends hit a concrete pad that stuck out in the roadway and bent the wheel on his motor home. We went to a garage in a small town and the proprietor, using a torch, a hammer and a tire iron straightened the rim to the point that it could hold air. I asked him after we got back how much a new wheel cost. He said it had held air without any trouble and he had it rebalanced and never replaced it. It took the guy about three hours to get it straightened. Here in the states they would have refused to straighten it due to possible litigation problems and my buddy would have had to buy a new wheel.
In selecting a bug out bike or get home bike, I would strongly recommend steel. Sure aluminum is cheaper and lighter and lots of welders can weld aluminum, but lots more can weld steel. In an EOTW situation, electric arc welding may be a singularly scarce item but acetylene brazing may still be done while acetylene is available. I don’t think one can braze aluminum with acetylene but I am fairly certain one can braze steel with acetylene. Some welder can correct my statements if I am in error.
left coast chuck,
What? You mean it didn’t have a 10 speed derailleur and carbon fiber construction? LOL
The weight you mentioned as the load sounds about right from what I’ve read, keeping in mind that those people were in an EOTW situation and were used to Hardscrabble living and work conditions.
I never saw the specs; but, the photos I’ve seen bear out that assertion for a heavy steel frame, that was durable under load.
You’ve just describe most of the farmers I know, often constructing parts that are good enough to keep the equipment running, since you quite literally need to make hay when the sun shines, and harvest crops in specific time windows, lest they rot in the fields.
Actually in small rural towns this kind of thing happens relatively often, with the overt understanding that a patch is temporary, and use beyond that status is understood to be at the hands of the user. This is of course not the PDRK.
I am not a master welder; but, have done my share with both gas (Acetylene, Propane, & MAPP) and arc (Stick, wire, and MIG) and think most materials can be welded / brazed at least well enough to keep a tool working.
Since I now have a pacemaker, I really cannot play much with electric arc anymore; but, suspect that most post SHTF arc welding will involve a car battery, jumper cables, and a nail, so probably limiting it to steel.
I’m certified to weld… Its not Brazzing. It is actually welding with a torch. Brazzing is a different process but can be done with a torch also.
What you describe in your story is just heating up the steel to be bended. A torch is a powerful tool. It can do many different things from cutting to fusing metal.
I don’t know, Jabba. All the literature about steel bike frames talked about the joints all being brazed, not welded. I think the aluminum is welded because the joints on an aluminum bike have ugly joints that certainly look welded to me. I can’t recall any discussion about graceful joining of tube joints on aluminum frames as I read about same on steel bikes.
Spot-on comments, Agency Man. When prepping, it is awfully easy (and unbelievably selfish) to step into the “lone wolf” steel trap and think only about what you as an individual need to have and are able to do. Additional family members may have different levels of physical conditioning, strength, and bushcraft knowledge or skills. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a family or team bugging out on foot with their individual BOBs can only travel as long and as far as its weakest or most physically compromised member. If you are the head of the family or the team leader, it is imperative that your bugging out plans not only think about and include all the limiting factors present in your family or team members, but that you also gauge the actual impact of those limitations by practicing your bugging out plan with every single family or team member carrying out each and every one of their assigned tasks and responsibilities multiple times. If the leader doesn’t do that, but only focuses on personal needs, gear selection, and leader’s responsibilities, that person isn’t really a leader, and they are simply spittin’ into the wind.
I have a question for all to consider about their BOL.
How do you know your BOL is going to be secure and others had the same idea for that location? And it has not been compromised?
Have you considered placing caches with water and other items along the trail/ path you are going take to get to your BOL?
REMEMBER the trail you are going to have to avoid other people as best you can and not wanting people you do not know following you to know where you are going as they just might be hostiles and will wait to attack when you get to your BOL.
Safety in numbers in your group…..also means more armed people and more firepower.for defense while traveling to your BOL and when you get there.
One can use GPS location for the caches…..BUT I would not count on it as it may not be working.
I would rely on a good Lensatic Compass and Grid Map. IF you do not know how to use such old school tech I highly suggest you learn.
I also highly suggest a Military Grade Lensatic Compass but that is up to the individual.
I also highly suggest is learn your “Pace Count” over flat land is one thing, but you can expect it to vary over rough terrain. It would necessary to learn to find your cache and keeping track of how far you have traveled and making an Estimate Time of Arrival (ETA) to the next cache and to reach your BOL.
Building/making a travois is great idea and simple one could use one of those folding lounges for a quick one and it could also serve as off the ground “bed”.
No matter how one makes it, I would add wheels to it.
How does one pull it with a strap on their back attached to the travois or a strap for hands oe a hand? o both hands meaning one does not have weapon for immediate use???
I would also suggest a carrying type harness and web gear like a Military old LBE. There is a new version now but not sure what it is called. When adjusted properly you can easily carry quite a bit of various useful items. add military 1 cup and and canteen cup fits in one Most useful drinking/ heating water for meals/ or even one pot cooking! all in one pouch.
One can add a canteen cup to each 1 quart canteen and pouch.
other items 2 quart canteen, ammo pouches, first aid kit, good sturdy knife, Compass and pouch,.
There is even a Fanny pack made to fit this kit.
Customize as one sees fit and to suit their needs. One can use extra magazine pouches to store other items.
Perhaps add one of those Hydro Paks that you wear like a daypack…..
There are integrated day packs that hold them out there.
I would add in addition to the travois and the LBE and Hydro pack a light day pack with food and other necessary gear to that if you have to drop the travois and perhaps conceal it and leave it for whatever reason MISTER MURPHY may decide to hand you. Enough items to allow you time to do what you have to do for maybe a day or two or whatever.
Note I am talking a LIGHT WEIGHT Daypack. I do know all to well ounces count. The LBE with items to balance the weight evenly distributed and adjusted properly and the Daypack with the hydropak adjusted properly are not very cumbersome.
Yosemite: While I prefer to use a wagon as a human powered bug out vehicle, in a worst case scenario where I have to use a travois, I intend to use one segment of my 20-foot extension ladder. The extension is 10 feet long. I can run a threaded bar through one rung and put wheels on the threaded bar. At the pulling end, leather straps or rope run through the rung at the other end will serve as a pulling device. I want something that I can drop in a hurry so that I can get into action with my rifle in under ten seconds.
My favorite TV station, Japan Broadcasting, (NHK) runs a regular show where they tour some exotic city. Recently they were touring a city in Myanmar. I think it was Myanmar. It was a southeast Asia country. There was a lot of merchandise and foodstuffs being moved by human power. One of the more interesting was a ladder like device with wheels mounted in the middle rather than on one end as I envisioned. It was considerably heavier than what I envision that I might use as it had automotive wheels and tires mounted on it. It also had what appeared to be quite a heavy load. It was easy to handle because the wheels acted as a fulcrum and carried most of the weight with their location in the middle. I think the city that was being studied was a riverfront city because most of the streets looked very flat and I didn’t see any hills in the background.
Of course, something as big as this freight mover, which looked as if it were 10 to 12 feet long was a lot bigger, sturdier and carrying far more goods than I envision hauling in a bug out. However I was impressed. The human motor was the typical Asian laborer, probably about 5’8″ and weighting probably not more than 150 pounds if that. He was moving that load with apparent ease. It certainly set me to re-thinking my possible bug out vehicle. it looked something like this: –––––O––––– with the human motor standing at the rear of the device. All he had to do was pull down on the rear which was elevated when he set the load down and balance the load on the tires. He had almost no weight at all except the pushing weight of the load. Once he got the load moving, it didn’t appear to be much effort to keep it going on level ground. No estimate of how much it might have weighed, but it looked like a good load, perhaps as much as 500 to 800 pounds.
Inasmuch as he probably pushed that vehicle every day of the week and was used to pushing it, but it didn’t look like it took much effort but thinking about how the fulcrum works, it certainly is a design worth experimenting with.
left coast chuck,
I’ve been interested in NHK for a while and occasionally see productions from them on other channels. Where do you get this network? Cable provider, Satellite, etc?
This reminds me of a garden cart we’ve been using for more than 35 years. Ours came in kit form with all the parts except a ¾ inch sheet of plywood; but, is now available assembled. You can see one like it here:
It uses the same fulcrum over the axle design to support the load, so all you do is push or pull it. Back when we bought this cart we heated almost exclusively with wood, and could haul an entire cord of seasoned hard wood (1500-2000 lbs) in 3 or 4 trips without much effort.
We still have this cart, now 30+ years old and use it nearly every day.
Ohio: We get NHK on a UHF station out of Los Angeles that also carries PBS and some other vernacular stations, Korean, Chinese, Spanish and a couple of middle eastern stations whose national origin I don’t know. I prefer it for the news which is reported in the manner of Ed Murrow or Walter Cronkite, matter of fact without the histrionics and editorializing that is so blatant on U.S. news. They also cover more world news than any U.S. station. China, India, Indonesia and the whole southeast belt of countries comprise the most significant portion of the human race, but here in the States we tend to ignore that whole region.
Since spending almost four years in the Far East in my youth, I have retained a strong interest in that region and NHK helps sustain that interest and they have interesting programs too. Since they started showing the sumo matches I have become a sumo fan. It’s the only professional sport I watch.
I should add that my son and daughter both have Spectrum cable and they get NHK via Spectrum. We had to search for it but did find it and I watch sumo there on big screen TV.
Our BOL is 146 miles on the hi-way and county roads it is 89 miles using logging roads and hiking trails I hiked it with my BOB and GPS to get mileage. took me 6 days to cover those 89 miles and I learned a lot in those 6 days took some equipment out and added a few other items. I do suggest that while you can you get out there and make sure you can walk that distance 8.9 mile or 89 you need to know what your in for up ahead.
Great experience trail blazer
Since my quad bypass (three years ago,) I am not able to walk that much anymore especially since I did not walk as much as the doctors wanted me too. 30 minutes a day was the goal. I didn’t do it because I was lazy and stupid, Now I need another bypass but the Doctors say no you had your chance.
Our situation and planning is to shelter in place, meaning we already live at our BOL.
In 35 years we have never had to bug out for real, although we have had some practice sessions.
There are basically only 3 reasons for us to consider bugging out.
1. A chemical spill with a noxious cloud of something upwind of us, making the bug out a temporary thing.
2. A house fire, we cannot extinguish.
3. A direct tornado strike.
We basically have no other events, short of an aircraft falling on us, or some other extremely low probability event, so sheltering in place has always been the plan and the best choice for any event we can imagine befalling this location.
We keep bags packed and bags in the vehicles packed appropriately for the season, and have numerous places we could land, from the homes of friends and family, moving into one of our outbuildings, to a brief stay in a hotel / motel.
I am a joyously unrepentant Heathen, but one of my favorite stories in history is of the Mormon Handcart Migration from Iowa to Salt Lake City that began in 1856. Mormons who couldn’t afford wagons built handcarts for their belongings and organized into companies for the 1300 mile walk through the mostly wild American West. From Wikipedia:
Built to Young’s design, the handcarts resembled a large wheelbarrow, with two wheels five feet (1.5 metres) in diameter and a single axle four and a half feet (1.4 m) wide, and weighing 60 pounds (27 kg). Running along each side of the bed were seven-foot (2.1 m) pull shafts ending with a three-foot (0.9 m) crossbar at the front. The crossbar allowed the carts to be pushed or pulled. Cargo was carried in a box about three feet by four feet (0.9 m by 1.2 m), with 8 inches (0.20 m) walls. The handcarts generally carried up to 250 pounds (110 kg) of supplies and luggage, though they were capable of handling loads as heavy as 500 pounds (230 kg). Carts used in the first year’s migration were made entirely of wood (“Iowa hickory or oak”); in later years a stronger design was substituted, which included metal elements.
The handcart companies were organized using the handcarts and sleeping tents as the primary units. Five people were assigned per handcart, with each individual limited to 17 pounds (7.7 kg) of clothing and bedding. Each round tent, supported by a center pole, housed 20 occupants and was supervised by a tent captain. Five tents were supervised by the captain of a hundred (or “sub-captain”). Provisions for each group of one hundred emigrants were carried in an ox wagon, and were distributed by the tent captains.
Adam-ondi-Ahman is the Mormon Garden of Eden, in the bluffs and river bottoms of Northern Missouri. The only monument there is the boulder old Joseph Smith used to stand on to address his congregation. I’ve been there. The place makes you want to plant grain, raise livestock, build a cabin, sit on the porch with your family. There is no other religious monument like it in the world.
The Mormons were happy in their garden of Eden, then one day the Governor of Missouri told them, because all good Protestants hated Mormons, that they had to get the hell of Dodge in a hurry or they would be rounded up and killed. So off to Utah they went, they had to leave America. Our country does stuff like that sometimes, that’s why everybody needs a plan.
The lawn cart that I think would also make a good bug out vehicle is similar in size to the Mormon handcart. Big difference is that it uses aluminum in some places to cut down on the weight. It also uses bicycle tires while the Mormon cart probably used wagon wheels which would have wooden spokes and iron rims. I think metal spoked wheels with rubber tires filled with Slime or a similar product might be easier to pull. That’s a hard one to judge without having pulled a wooden cart with wooden wheels and iron rims cross country.
I hope that is an experience that if I do it is because I want the experience and not because I must do it.
It is interesting to read about the organization. I had always envisioned that it was single families trekking across the plains with Dad pulling the hand cart and maybe a sub teen boy or Mom helping by pushing in tough spots. I had no idea it was actually hand cart caravans. Thanks for the post.
Ohio Prepper mentioned a bicycle. Sometime ago I read about a folding bike called the Montague Paratrooper. It is a mountain bike built like a tank. It isn’t your weekend ride light weight pansy. It weighs 32 pounds. It comes complete with a heavy duty luggage rack and folds down quite compactly. I looked at the 3 chain rings in the picture that accompanied the latest post from Montague and it is geared quite low and with an eight speed derailleur it it should be able to ride up an almost vertical wall. Eight speed is the maximum that you want on a heavy duty bike. Nine and ten speed derailleurs of necessity are much lighter duty. Not a problem on a weekend ride but for get home after the end of the world you want heavy duty.
If your daily commute is more than 25 miles one way, you might want to take a serious look at the Montague Paratrooper.
I’m not shilling for them. Don’t have any stock in the company; won’t get a commission or even an Attaboy if you buy one. Montageau is not a well known U.S. name but they have been in business for a while which is saying something for a bike company.
I am a firm believer in folding bicycles for exercise and as get home bikes. I keep a Zizzo Urbano in the back of my Spark. At 66 and fit, I still could not carry enough water to get home very far in the Arizona heat but I might be able to do 30 to 40 miles on a good bike.
They make several varieties of Montague Paratroopers. Eventually I will get one. Whether I will keep it in the car for emergencies is doubtful. It takes up a lot more space in a car.
And folding bikes are like carry pistols; the little one you always carry with you is often better than the bigger one you sometimes leave at home for whatever reason.
I reckon 10-12 miles per day is a good average, some days you might walk more, some less, and there may be days when you dont go anywhere because of the weather conditions, food and water may need to be found and shelter will definitely be sought, so you may be stopping long before you thought each day.
I can still maintain the 15m ruck mile. Im not in as good shape as i was in the service but not haveing 40 extra pounds of armor and gear makes it much easier. I did 8 miles in the mountains in 2 hours. I drank more water then expected but i crossed water sources. I keep my hiking bag under 30 pounds. I did end up with blisters but im pretty used to them.
I mostly overland now in my suburban with my three boys. 1,3.6, Made it through our local offroad park.
The average fit person carrying 40-50 lbs of gear on uneven terrain in good to fair weather can cover approx 10-12 miles comfortably. We do several outings where our campsites are easily 12-16 miles in the Sierra ‘s in Nor-Cal with various age groups and fitness and that number always seems to be about the average. Not to many, unless your military trained are you g to do much more than that. There’s an old saying, “your only as fast as the slowest person, and as strong as the weakest link”
I like the ideas of bicycles and hand carts and that reminded me that several years ago I had purchased a type of foam rubber insert from WalMart designed to be used in 26″ bike tires Even if you have tubeless tires they will go flat if punctured, but with the foam tube inside they will still remain usable for a while. I don’t know if they are still available but if they are they may come in various sizes so these may be good to have for inflated cart tires also.
Aa well as bicycles there a literally thousands of small 100cc or so motorcycles being used throughout Asia for transportation, but I don’t see them included in articles for “the best bug-out vehicles”. I’m 60 and I know I can still ride a small motorcycle through terrain 4×4’s can’t get through. They are also great for getting through smaller gaps like between stranded cars, along road shoulders even if dirt, hiking trails, etc. The downsides are limited capacity both space and weight, has to have fuel and oil (separate for 4 cycle, mixed for 2 cycle), and make a lot of noise (whing-ding-ding-ding-ding ding) so you cannot really travel covertly on a motorcycle, but if you have a lot of miles to travel I’d rather ride than walk, and yes, if you learn to shoot left handed (throttles are the right hand grip) you can ride and shoot if you have to, mostly to get the threat to duck and take cover while you haul a$$ out of there..
After reading a lot about what to pack or not pack in your bug-out bags, then a few “what if you have to leave your gear behind” comments, I was thinking about what to carry on your person at all times for “just in case”, which will not be as extensive as if I was gearing up to bug-out from home. Personally, in addition to my normal clothes including belt, I always have my keys with a small LED light attached, a writing pen, an “aluma-wallet” for license, cards, and a few dollars, two knives (one for work, one for backup), and a multi-tool on my belt. I stopped smoking in 1995 so don’t routinely carry any fire making items on me, but I have them in every vehicle as well as water & filter, wool blankets, paracord, flashlights, gloves, sun glasses, and extra multi-tools. I feel naked whenever I have to leave my knife(s) and multi-tools behind when entering security zone areas such as aircraft boarding areas, some government buildings like courthouses, etc.
4 miles per hour is 6 km/h and that is to high. When I walk 5 without bagpack then thats is fast. I think tree miles per hour is better and thats on flat land.
As I have written several times before, the military march cadence is 120 30-inch steps per minute. That equals 100 yards a minute and equates out to 3.3 miles per hour. If you want to see how fast that is, go down to your local high school and walk from goal line to goal line. Time yourself. You can see how long it takes you to cover 100 yards. If you do it in a minute and can keep that pace up for an hour without stopping or slowing down, you will cover 3.3 miles.
If you stop for ten minutes, that is 1,000 yards to deduct from the 3.3 miles. 1,000 yards is a little over 1/2 mile. 880 yards equals 1/2 mile. So the 1,000 yards is 120 yards longer than a mile.
Many people find the 120 steps per minute to be too fast a pace for them to keep up for very long. Harry Truman on his walks around Washington DC when he was Prez used to walk at a military pace and the news jackets used to bitch and moan that he walked too fast. Of course in those days newsmen used to smoke like chimneys and drink like fish, so they were all probably out of shape.
Has anyone considered using wheeled backpacks that can be pull behind or worn if need be. I doubt I could walk any long distance with a heavy pack. I am the bug out location so we don’t anticipate having to bug out but in case of fire or some sort of chemical problem we would have no choice. I have family members who would need to travel 20+ and 55 mi home with probable need to hide periodically if caught out while at work. With exception of one, I seriously doubt any of them would be able to make it carrying their pack the whole way. For my original bug out bags I was so focused on equipment, food & water that i totally forgot to include a change of clothes! I also didn’t think about the color of the backpack either. Why do these companies make them bright red! I’m planning on slowly replacing everyone’s with better packs and considering either wheeled ones or including a luggage cart but they all seem to add 4-5 lbs . Any ideas in this aspect?
I would say no….the wheels are not designed for off road.
50 pound ruck is pretty fair depending on weather.
20 miles to 30 miles a day is do able if….you dont need make shelter or have any issues going home. That’s rucking it hard and fast.
Again it’s the concept of bug out bags that made me chuckle. Your bugging out with 25 lbs of gear for what…. the rest of your life
Dragonlady: Why not consider a collapsible luggage cart? Most wheeled luggage that I see has small wheels that I think would be a big pain on anything other than debris-free hard, smooth surface. With a luggage cart, you might be able to change the wheels out to a larger diameter wheel which would make dragging it much easier. Even the stock wheels generally have a much bigger diameter than wheels luggage.
You can stack a couple of good sized back packs on the luggage cart and still be able to easily pull it. If you need to increase your pace because some hostiles are tracking you, carry a small bag that you can lock and load it with candy bars and junk food. If you are being followed, toss it making sure you do it in a visible manner so the b.g.s can see you toss it. It may work to slow them down enough for you to get in a defensible position.
The reason I suggest to lock it is because that will slow them down a bit more while they cut it open. If they just have to unzip it, that is a short delay. Cutting the bag open creates perhaps a minute or two extra.
If you want to go first class, get one of those cut proof bags. They are pricey but they will certainly take longer to get into. Or you could just tie it up with multiple short pieces of rope, each having to be cut individually to get the bag open.
To answer your question about color, most companies are not making bags to be invisible. Most bags are made to be highly visible. I have a nice bag that I used when I was riding my bike that is impregnated with thousands of tiny reflectors. It basically glows in the dark. Great bag for riding a bike after dark. When a car’s headlights hit it, it reflects the light and makes a bright spot on the side of the road. Certainly not something I want to use as a bug out bag.
If you are buying a school bag for little Johnny, you want one that is highly visible so the motorist can hopefully spot him before he runs him down in the crosswalk.
For a buyout bag you want basic black without any glow-in-the-dark enhancements; dark blue or dark grey. Dark blue has been touted as being harder to see at night than pure black. I can’t comment on that as I have no experience testing it out but any dark color.
I would avoid the tactical look with a multicam bag or camo bag. You don’t want to look like a prepper. You want to look like Jane Average businesswoman walking home with your backpack stuffed with gym clothes and sneakers. This is especially true if you are trudging along in a crowd on the highway trying to get home when your car died in an EMP. Even if you do have to take to the woods, the dark colors will help you blend in much better than bright red or dayglo orange.
I had an interesting experience on a long distance bike ride one time. I was on a stretch of road that went for some distance before it made a turn. I could see three or four bicyclists ahead of me because they were wearing dayglo colors. As I grew nearer to the group I was surprised to see it was a much bigger group than it had looked from a distance. The other riders were in the sexy black outfits that so many bicyclists wear and they were not visible at a distance.
A further interesting note about color. My bother and I were hunting pheasants in open alfalfa fields in the San Joaquin Valley. It was early morning with some ground fog still lingering. A line of hunters crossed our path about a mile away. They were easily visible because they were all wearing dayglo orange. I mentioned them to my brother. He is red/green color blind. He couldn’t see them. I used a visible landmark to indicate their position. Using that landmark he was able to see movement but still couldn’t “see” the easily visible men wearing dayglo orange. That was enlightening. Figures vary. I have read figures indicating anywhere from 11% to 23% of the male population has some form of color blindness. Dang, if 1 out of 5 hunters can’t see dayglo orange in the field, why do we wear it? In the south for bird hunting white is the traditional color. I think that may stand out better for our color blind nimrods unless one is hunting white tail deer. Then you might be mistaken for the mythical huge deer that everyone has been hunting for twenty years.
left coast chuck,
It finally dawned on me that there is a perfect transport vehicle we used to own and I’ve often seen; but, hadn’t thought of since our little girl is 28 and now out of college, with her brothers older than that.
It’s the three wheeled, off road stroller. Get one with large enough wheels and the proper tires and you can literally run down improved trails, and travel cross country without a lot of effort, carrying quite a large load. These are not inexpensive; but, I suspect used ones can be acquired fir a good price. We had one 20+ years ago, and got rid of it when it was no longer needed for the little one. Looking back, I don’t know where my head was, since it would have been a good thing to keep for this purpose.
I worked with another engineer about 30 years ago, and went out to a new property where he was going to build a house. At that point it was mostly forest & undergrowth, with green all around. When I asked about the property line, he pointed in the general direction; but, missed the bright blaze orange cordage and the hunter orange flags hanging on it just feet in front of us, until I pointed it out to him. Once I grabbed it, he acknowledged that I was holding the flag; but, he could not tell the difference between it and the green foliage around us.
A few days later, back in the lab, I was modifying a circuit board and asked him to pass me a roll of wire. He asked which one and I said the blue one, since there were several rolls of blue and white of different gauges. He then asked which blue wire, since he saw two distinct hues of blue that to me looked identical.
In his case orange/green and blue/blue were different than normal eyesight
Ohio: Just the guy you want to go deer hunting with. My brother tells what color the traffic light is by which light is lit. He knows red is at the top and green is at the bottom.
Good Article , For me a Honda 250L would be my way to get out of dodge and to a safer place, I am 65 years young and not as healthy as I was in my 30-40`s I could still walk a few miles But I know my limitations .
Fivegun: Have you considered the Rokon? It is a 2-wheel drive motorcycle. You can store extra gasoline in the solid wheels. It is designed specifically for off road riding, yet can be operated safely on paved surfaces. While it certainly wouldn’t be as fast on paved surfaces as your Honda 250, it would do much better in steep terrain. Rokon also makes a trailer for their motorcycle, that if my memory serves me correctly, is rated at 300 pounds.
Unless I knew for certain that I was going to be traveling strictly on fairly uniform surfaces, I would seriously consider the Rokon. I don’t think they are legal in the PDRK, like so much else, but in an EOTW situation, all those silly regulations will go out the window.
Not as much as I want to that’s for sure