Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: bugging out

What Is Your Prepping Goal

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What is the goal of your prepping plan? If you were to write an essay on prepping, what would your closing paragraph be about? It should describe your ideal goal in prepping.

Preppers can not be classified into one category. we have different groups who subscribe to different prepping plans. These go way beyond what organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross suggest. We all know the government will not be able to help everyone. There are also situations that may result in the collapse of the federal and state governments, such as nuclear war or some kind of new disease.

Stockpiler’s may say


Stoves for bugging out

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In the prepping community, there is a lot of focus on stoves for a bug out bag, while stoves for events such as natural disasters are overlooked.

A stove for an individual bug out bag is different than a family sized stove. Do you need a two burner store, one burner stove, propane fuel, liquid fuel, will you be using a lantern?  Do you need a stove for a car survival kit or a stove for a cabin off in the woods?

Before we begin, I want to make it clear I am not a big fan of liquid fuel.  Whether it is Coleman fuel or gasoline, I feel liquid fuels can be dangerous in certain situations.  Then there is the spilling issue with liquid fuel and fumes.  However, Coleman fuel is more efficient than propane. Coleman says a gallon of liquid fuel is equal to something like 4 1/2 one pound cylinders of propane.

Everything  mentioned in this article is for reference only.  During the course of this article certain brand names and models are mentioned, this is not an endorsement.  It is up to the reader to make the final decision on what is best for them and their family.

Family sized stoves


Thoughts on a micro-bug out bag

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While working on my fighting load carrier (FLC) and thinking about an overnight kit that would fit in a fanny pack, I started thinking about a micro bug out bag.  The idea for a micro-bug out bag came as I was thinking about a short range recon bag, basically a butt pack or fanny pack.

I live in a rural area. I was thinking about something I could grab and go walking in the woods with and it would contain basic items for an overnight stay.  Then I started thinking, why couldn’t someone in a city use this to walk out of the city and to a suburban or rural area?

Right now my fighting load carry (FLC) has:

2 triple military surplus magazine pouches
First aid kit

If you have food for 24 hours, and someone can make it at least 24 hours without food, then we are up to 48 hours.  How far could someone in a city walk in 48 hours on a deserted highway? That was one of my thoughts.  Instead of having a fully loaded bag weighing 40, 50+ pounds. Reduce that down to a fanny / butt pack and make the person more mobile.


Bug Out Box Essentials

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While my wife an I are camping at Martin Dies State Park – which is closee to Jasper Texas – I thought this would be a good time to talk about our Bug Out Box. We do not call it a Bug Out Box per say, we call it our camping box. But it would serve either purpose.

If some kind of SHTF event happens and we have to bug out to the homestead, the box contains everything we need to prepare, cook and eat a good meal – pots, pans, coleman stove, propane, utensils, plates, radio,,,.Cooking hot dogs on a coleman stove

As my wife and I use the equipment in the box while we are camping, lets talk about how things are working out.

Related Article – Never underestimate the effect of a hot meal on morale.

The Box – My wife and I use a Rubbermaid 36 gallon / 136.3 liter green tote, which measures 29.75 inches long, 20.25 inches wide, and 20 inches tall.

After several years of camping with friends and family I think the Bug Out Box is tuned enough for me to share my experiences.

Two burner stove – in my case I have a two burner coleman stove.  But any good quality stove will work.  Please do not think of this as a sales pitch for coleman, because it’s not.


BGS the key to long term survival

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Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistBeans, Guns and Seeds – the three things that are key to surviving a long term SHTF situation. Water should be a given, there there is no real need in discussing that. If someone needs to be reminded that they need safe drinking water, then natural selection needs to take effect.

Why do I put Beans, Guns and Seeds in that order? Why not have it GSB, or BSG,,, or some other combination?

Beans – your food stockpile

Guns – security

Seeds – renewable and sustainable food sources

A few weeks ago a buddy of mine and I were talking about food during a long term SHTF event. Most survivalist have some kind of food stockpile. But once those food stores run out, what then?

Group 1 – Bug out to the wilderness to live off the land.

Group 2 – Have some kind of homestead setup with a garden, livestock, fruit trees,,, renewable and sustainable food sources.

Chances are group 1 is going to develop dysentery, and either starve to death, or die from some kind of infection.

Group 2 will have shelter, fresh food, safe drinking water, security, private property,,,.

Ask yourself, if society as we know it right now, where would you rather be, camping in the wilderness, or safe at home in your bed.

Some examples of my BGS theory:

Beans Category

Freeze dried foods
Canned foods
Food stored in mylar bags


Remington model 700
Ruger 10/22


Black eyed peas
Pinto beans
Snap beans

Feel free to share any comments and suggestions.

What kind of disaster are you prepping for

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There is an interesting thread in the forum that got me to thinking; that thread is what are you truly prepping for?  What kind of disaster are you preparing for?  Are you prepping for an outbreak of a new disease, long term civil unrest, nuclear war,,, or something else?

My personal opinion, as long as you and your family are prepping, at least you are going in the right direction.  The difference is the degree of readiness.

I can not tell you what to prep for.  All I can do is tell you how my family and I are prepping.

My long term survival plans include food production, safe drinking water and property protection.

Food Production

Raising chickens for a long term survival situationDuring the Black Death of 1348 – 1350 starvation probably killed as many people as the bubonic plague.  Modern society is based on farms and modern transportation.  Where would our grocery stores be without trucks, fuel and highways?

Just like the city dwellers of the middle ages, city dwellers of today depend on farmers, roads, transportation and merchants to maintain a steady supply of food to the cities.  If just one or two items in the supply line break down, people will go hungry.  When people get hungry, society breaks down.

Lets say you went to the grocery store tomorrow and the shelves were empty, what would you do?  What is your long term food solution?

A lot of survivalist plan on bugging out to the wilderness.  I do not subscribe to that long term survival theory.

If you want to bug out somewhere, why not bug out to a rural location where you can plant crops and raise livestock?  Would you rather be scavenging acorns to make acorn flour, or picking peaches and plums off fruit trees?  Would you rather be scavenging for berries, or picking peas and snap beans?  Would you rather be digging roots, or digging potatoes?


Bug Out Bag Topics

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Over the years I have seen one topic that has been repeated over and over, and that is the topic of the bug out bag.

In reality, a bug out bag should contain copies of important papers, house title, car title, insurance policies, change of clothes, snack, or even 2 – 3 days worth of food, phone number contact list, and any prescription medicines you might be taking. The list will vary depending on the person and what they want to bring with them.

People that live close to railroad tracks or chemical plants might be asked to flee their homes due to a chemical release accident. The bug out bag is for people to grab, run, and have some basic supplies with them.

In fantasy, the bug out bag will be used to bug out to the wilderness when society collapses.

This video pokes fun at the different viewpoints on bug out bags.

Even though the bug out bag is one of the most discussed topics on a survival forum, I also think its the least understood.  I see a lot of so called survivalist thinking they are going to grab their bag, and bug out to the wilderness.

Most of the people I see talking about bugging out to the wilderness usually have very little or no wilderness survival skills.  They say that if a caveman could live in the wilderness 100,000 years ago, survival can not be “that” difficult.  If the person needs any help, they can just refer to their US Army FM21-76 wilderness survival manual.

If you plan on bugging out to the wilderness during a SHTF survival situation, post your comments in this forum thread about bug out bags.

My personal opinion, its better to have a bug out location, or have plans to stay with a friend or relative until the disaster passes.  At least with a BOL you can stockpile supplies, food, water, shelter, first aid supplies, farm, garden, hunt, stockpile ammo,,,,,, and on your own private property.

Four of the biggest issues that I see with bugging out to the wilderness – exposure, food, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and waterborne infections.

While on a 3 day camping trip with a buddy of mine back in December 2010, I did not see a single whitetail deer or hog.  I heard some deer come close to the camp site during the night, but nothing during the day.  There were some squirrels during the day, but there were not enough to feed a group of people for an extended period of time.

During that 3 day camping trip, the only reliable food source we found was through fishing.  And like everything else, that was hit and miss.

One of the things with being a real survivalist, is testing your plans. It does not do any good to make plans, if those plans are never tested. Once the plan is tested, then you know where the weak spots are, and then you can make improvements.

If your planning on grabbing your bug out bag and bugging out to the wilderness, test those plans. Take a weeks vacation from work, grab your bag, head out, and lets see how long you last.  Test your survival plans “before” you have to use the plan.

Organizing Your Bug Out Location

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cooking post shtfThe other day my wife and I were up at the camp / bug out location checking on things. We go up there, check the doors, check the windows, look for any physical damage that might have resulted from a break in. We also take inventory – bottled water, soft drinks, plates, plastic spoons and forks, canned goods, MREs, ammo,,,, stuff like that.

While I was checking the front bed room and closet, I noticed that the closet has a lot of wasted room. In the right hand corner of the closet sites 2 or 3 ammo cans loaded with 223, 7.62×39, 9mm, 357 magnum, and 45 acp. Besides the ammo cans, there is a lot of wasted space that could be used for shelving.

Awhile back I posted a thread in the forum about organizing my MRE stockpile.  But that thread only talked about organizing your MREs, but what about everything else?

Currently a lot of the hunting ammunition is in a closet with thin shelves. I’am concerned that if too much more ammo is stacked up, that the shelves will collapse.

The 223, 7.62×39, and a lot of pistol ammo is in a different closet on the floor.

The hunting ammunition is in one room, everything else is in a different room.

Why isn’t all of the ammo in the same room where its easy to see, organize and keep inventory? The plan is to get some of those plastic shelves like what was used to stack the MREs on, and put it in the closet. The heavy plastic shelves will be stronger then the plywood in the closet, and with different shelves we can stack the heavy stuff on bottom – like the shotgun shells and bulk 223 and 7.62×39 – and the lighter stuff on top – like the 30-30, 270, 308, 280 and 30-06.


3 day camping trip on the Angelina River

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Camping on the Angelina RiverIt all started several months ago when I was telling my buddy about the undeveloped / primitive camping spots on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas.  Years ago we used to go camping along the bayous and marshes around Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas.  But we have not done that in several years.  So after talking for a little bit, we decided to take a camping trip on the Angelina River.

Back in early November, a date of November 29 – December 1 was picked.  The permit was submitted and the site was reserved.

November 26, 2010 – my daughter and I took the boat out – to make sure that it would run ok for the camping trip, and to check on the site my buddy and I were going to be using.  The site we had reserved was occupied on November 26th so my daughter and I could not stop and take a look at it.  So we just turned around, and headed back home.  The boat ran fine, so there were no worries there.

November 28, 2010 – my wife and I drop my kids off at my moms house where my ex-wife will pick them up.  From there, my wife and I head over to my buddies house, visit for a little while, then he rides back to my house with my wife and I.  Instead of him making the drive to my house Monday, we just picked him up on the way back home.

I spent the evening of Sunday, November 28 going through my gear, getting my large MOLLE pack together, rounding up some MREs and Mountain House Meals, charging AA batteries for the camera and flashlight, charging D batteries from my Maglight, dug the tent out,,,,,,,,,,,.

At 9:00 pm central time, The Walking Dead comes in AMC.  So I take a break from getting my gear ready to watch a little TV.

After watching The Walking Dead, I played a little Left 4 Dead 2 and went to bed around 10:30pm.


Making bug out plans

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Flooded roads from Hurricane IkeSome type of disaster has either arrived or is heading your way – whether its an earthquake, hurricane, food shortages due to a new disease outbreak,,,,, you and your family need to get out of the city. You have made plans to stay at a bug out location with some friends, but the problem is getting out of the city.

Fuel – the very first problem your going to run into is having enough fuel to get out. Once the panic buying starts, fuel is going to be one of the first things people buy up. Everyone will be filling up their gas cans, cars, trucks, generators, 55 gallon drums,,,, and as a result, the gas stations will be cleaned out. The first people to leave the cities will help finish off the fuel supplies in rural areas. So don’t think that your going to find a gas station in a small town to get fuel, its not going to happen, everyone else will beat you to it.

Maps – as the major roadways become clogged with cars and trucks, your going to need to find an alternate route. When parts of southeast Texas evacuated for Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita, people from Houston, Port Arthur, Bridge City, Lumberton, Orange,,,, sat in line for hours. On high 69/96/287 leaving Port Arthur, Texas – people were running out of gas sitting on the highway. The highway department had to send tanker trucks out to fill peoples cars and trucks up with fuel to keep the lines moving. What normally took a 1 hour drive, took more like 10 hours.  If you know a route around the major highways – take it.


Testing Disaster Plans

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Its one thing to have disaster plans, its another thing to test those plans several times a year. So when is a good time to test your plans? Personally, I like to observe how things go during holidays and events. Even during birthdays parties, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter,,,,, anytime people gather at my house I like to observe everyone and see how things go. Do we have enough hand soap, were we able to cook for everyone, were we crowded in the house, were the bathrooms accessible,,,,,.

The most recent test was Labor Day, 2010 – during labor day weekend my family and I headed to the camp (also know as the Bug Out Location) for 2 days. Early saturday morning my wife got up and went to the local wal-mart to get some last minute stuff. From her report the store was fully stocked on just about everything besides meat – steaks, briskets, sausage,,,, stuff like that. I figured that people coming into the area would have cleaned wal-mart out.

One observation was how a small town like Jasper, Texas handles an influx of people during the holidays. Were the gas stations sold out of gas, did the stores have plenty of food and water on the shelves, was the traffic flowing at a good rate?

We loaded up the pit, supplies, and headed out. Even though I have a 128 quart coleman 5 day extreme ice chest, the ice seemed to melt pretty fast. A few bags of ice would have given my family about 2 days days worth of cold food.


What to take in a bug out situation

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Some missionary goes to the Congo for 6 weeks to preach the salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the natives. As he boards the plane back to the good ole US of A he is not feeling to well. Its just a slight fever, nothing to worry about.

Fast forward 6 weeks, the once unknown airborne virus has wrecked havoc on mankind. With no vaccine and no natural resistance, people are dieing off like the Native Americans did to Small Pox. Which means that entire populations of towns were dieing.

You set your plans into place, but things have not worked out as planned. The daily bicycle ride to the nearest river for water is getting old. The neighbors are running out of food and have turned into beggars. Its time to put your back-up plans into effect; that includes leaving your home, and going to a friends farm.

At the farm there will be seclusion – its miles off the beaten path – there will be water from the well, fresh food out of the garden and fresh meat from the local wildlife. Who knows, there might even be fresh eggs from the chickens. And where there are chickens, there is fried chicken.

Its time to pack up the important things in life and get out of the city. The question is, what do you take?

Some of the stuff is pretty obvious – food, water, clothes, medicine, first aid supplies, sleeping bags, pillows, seeds, can opener, water filters,,,,,,.

Some things are not so obvious – family pictures, letters, bible, books, playing cards, board games, wills and property titles,,,,.

Family pictures – if there is one thing that can not be replaced, its family pictures. Your kids will never be young again, your grandparents will never come back from the grave.

Letters – any hand written letters that retain you family history. Maybe even printed emails from friends and family members.

Bible or any other religious book – for spiritual support.

Books – for education and preservation of knowledge. College grammar books are a good option, as they contain works from a wide variety of authors. Regardless of the situation, the education of children must continue.

Playing cards and board games – helps keep the mind busy and acts as a distraction.

Wills – to make sure that your property gets passed down to who you want it to, its important that everyone have a will. And if you have a will, make sure its signed by a witness upon your signature.

Property titles – ensures that you retain legal ownership of your property. Even during outbreaks of the Black Death in the middle ages, some kind of law and order was maintained.

Post your comments in this forum thread about Forgotten Items.

Maintaining a remote camp

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survivalist camp bug out locationBack around 1980 my parents inherited some land from my grandmother (my dads mom). Shortly after my parents got the land, they moved a 2 bedroom 1 bath trailer house behind my grandmothers house – which had been built around the turn of the 20th century. Mom and dad put a septic system down, setup a water well,,, all the comforts of home, except a home phone. Back in the early 1980 cell phones had not been invented yet. So for maybe 10 years, every time we went to the camp, we lost all contact with the outside world.

I would like to share my past 30 years experience with dealing with camps, and remote locations.

Rodents – This includes mice, rats and squirrels. Not only do they chew holes in the eves of the house, in floors, in the walls, and get into your food stocks, they build nest, piss, and poop everywhere. When you start talking about feces, there is always the chance of diseases.

Squirrels are not too bad about staying in the house, its mostly the mice and rats that like to make themselves at home. What is the difference between a mouse and a rat? About a pound.

If you put rat poison out – sometimes they will get in the walls, die, and start stinking. But for a camp that people do not go to everyday, nobody will be around to smell the stench.

There have been times when I have gone to the camp, and found mice in the toilet – dead.  I’am going to guess they jumped into the toilet to get a drink of water, and could not get back out.

When those mice get hungry, they will start chewing into everything they can.  This includes peanut butter jars made out of plastic, snacks, chips,,,, anything with a plastic container.

Something of interest, I have kept cases of MREs at the camp and rodents have never gotten into them.  Why is it that rodents will chew into a jar of peanut butter, but not an MRE?  Maybe because the MREs are double sealed? Maybe because the MREs do not have the smell of food on them from being handled? I dont know exactly, maybe its a combination of several factors?

Food Stockpile -Sometimes my family and I will go to the camp, bring some chili, canned beans, spam,,,,, with plans to either it that weekend, or eat  it later on.  Well, the canned goods get put in the pantry, forgotten, and expire.  We may keep a couple of weeks worth of food up there, and its rarely rotated out.  So when we go looking for something to eat, a lot of the cans are expired.   This is one of the problems with keeping food stocks at a remote location.  If people only go there a few times a year, the canned goods do not get rotated out.

At least one thing with the rodents, they force us to rotate out some of our food stocks.  Its like the mouse is saying – “this is going to expire soon, so why not eat it before it expires?”  A big chew hole in the side of a plastic jar of peanut butter is a lot more noticeable then a small printed date on the top of the lid.

Every bug out location should have some kind of food stocks, but the problem is keeping the food rotated out.  When you have a remote location that may not be visited but a few times a year, food rotation becomes an issue.  Its not like the dates can be checked every few weeks.

No frozen foods (or very little) are kept at the camp.  There have been times when the freezer stopped working, or the power was out for several days and all of the meat in the freezer spoiled.


Bugging out to the wilderness

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Remote bug out location

There is a theory that has been going around the survival community for decades, and at one time I subscribed to it, but not any more.

The theory goes like this – if there is some kind of wide spread disaster, I am just going to grab my bug out bag, and bug out to the wilderness. From there, my family and I will live in peace as society falls apart. When everything has passed, my family and I will return and help re-build.

Here are some of the reasons why I no longer subscribe to the bug out to the wilderness theory:

Lyme Disease
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
E. Coli
Vitamin Deficiencies
Culture Shock – that may not be the correct term, but its going to be used anyway
Frost Bite
Heat Stroke
Heat Exhaustion
Only to name a few,,,,,,,,,.

Back in December of 2010 a buddy of mine and I went on a 3 day camping trip on a local river. During those 3 days I did not see a single deer or wild hog. The only wild game that we saw was fish and some squirrels.  It seems to me that the people who plan on bugging out to the wilderness have not tested their plans, and do not understand how difficult finding food actually is.

One thing that I have noticed, people who subscribe to the “bug out to the wilderness” theory, usually do not have a grasp on wilderness diseases and how they are spread.

All it takes is one tick bite, and the person can contract a number of tick borne infections.

All it takes is one sip of contaminated water, and the victim has some kind of water borne infection.

You can not take someone (like a teenager) out of their comfort zone, take them out to the wilderness, put them in a tent, and expect them to be happy – its not going to happy. The only thing that situation will do, is make matters worse.

On July 16 – 17, 2010, my son, my son-in-law and I went on a camping trip along the Angelina River – which is close to Jasper, Texas. The day time temps were in the mid – upper 90s, with night time temps in the mid 80s. At one point the heat got so bad that I was getting disoriented. Thank goodness the river was right there – so all 3 of us jumped in and cooled off. The question is, what if there was no river too cool off in? With little to no shade, and no way to cool off, heat related problems can be a real issue.

Bug Out Location VS Bugging Out To The Wilderness

Lets say that you have a nice Bug Out Location picked out – its close to water, has lots of wilderness for hunting and foraging – keep in mind that primitive man did not stay in one location year round.

The life of a hunter-gather revolves around being able to move from one location to another. Staying in one location for very long will deplete your sources of roots, berries and wild foods. Even if you are on a river, man can not live on fish alone. Sooner or later, your going to have to relocate to find new food sources.

With an established Bug Out Location you should have renewable resources, ways to cook, a garden, wildlife, and fruit trees.

At least with staying at home, survivalist can stockpile supplies – food, water, water filters, first aid supplies, stockpile seeds, have a garden, stay in touch with friends and family members, sleep in your own bed,,,.

Real survival plans should start with a realistic approach, and a realistic plan.

Think about you plans, talk to your friends and family members about their plans, and how your plans and their plans can work together.

What kind of disaster are you planning for – hurricane, wildfire, plague, earthquake,,,,,, or something else?

Instead of trying to find the solution here, real through this list of forum threads about Bug Out Plans, and go from there.

Related article – Bug Out Essentials.

Survival camp example

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The worse has happened – some kind of pandemic disease is whipping out mankind, or a nuke strike has launched this nation in chaos, or something else has happened.

You now have to leave the city. So, where do you go? Some emergencies are regional – such as a hurricane or wild fires. So staying with friends or family might be an option.

For the sake of this article, lets discuss this topic as if its world wide. So now what do you do?

First – Shelter:
You and your family will need somewhere to go. Try to find somewhere you can have a roof over your head, and not just a tent.

Before the event – in the preparing stage:
Find a friend or family member that has some land and talk to them about staying at their location. Talk to this friend/family member about leasing a small section of this land. One option is paying that family member enough money to cover part of the property taxes – this works to the advantage for both of you.

Check the local news papers. Sometimes people will put a “to be moved” house in the classifieds. These houses will need to be moved, they are usually on blocks and will usually need some repairs. You will need several thousand dollars on hand to move the house, so have that put up. Talk to the friend/family member about moving the house on their property. At first they will be resistant, so expect a “NO!!” answer. Explain to the friend/family member that if you leave or give up the “lease” they can keep the house. This can be a double edged sword – so be very, very careful.


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