You can’t wait till the last-minute and just hope you can get there using a route that you would normally use. What if the roads are blocked or martial law has been implemented? This could seriously throw a kink in your plans. In this post, we are going to go over a few rules of thumb on how to plan your route and things you can do to help prepare for it when the time comes.
Rule #1 – Always plan for the unexpected! If things are bad enough that you need to bug out, then you can pretty well bet that other people will have the same idea. Roads may be jammed or flooded. If you are planning to Bug Out on foot routes you are planning to use may be blocked or be inaccessible, even by foot. This could delay or even prevent you from getting to your shelter. Another thing to consider, what if it is really cold outside or very hot outside. Have you factored these scenarios into you plans? What if you are forced to travel by night and are unable to see familiar landmarks? Always plan for the unexpected and leave nothing to chance. This is the golden rule that most Preppers live by and should be applied to your bug out route as well.
Rule #2 – Always plan several routes to your destination. If one way is blocked or becomes unsafe, then have several alternate routes to get there. These should all be laid out on a map, with mileage and any special notes such as high populations and choke points that you will need to be aware of. Then you should give each route a number that represents the safest way. With the number one being the safest way and the highest number on your list being the most dangerous route. Don’t just rely on GPS and think you can get there with a little luck and a prayer. That would be a recipe for disaster. Plan several routes for both vehicles, walking and even boating if applicable. You never know what you might run into, so plan ahead.
Rule #3 – Always plan for obstacles that you might encounter. This would cover things like flooded roads or landslides, as well as military action. If you live in an area that is prone to folding or if you will be traveling through areas where flooding , rock slide or even forest fires might occur, then be prepared to make last-minute changes and find an alternate route around them just in case. Unexpected military presence is another thing that could cause you to unexpectedly have to change course. Whether by road or by foot plan ahead and be ready for these by knowing the shortest ways around them. Always remember that in a Bug out situation you are going to be stressed, and trying to figure it then could cause you to make a choice that you might regret later down the road.
Rule #4 – Know your intended routes intimately! You need to learn each route and memorize them if you can. Travel each of them several times, both on foot and by car as well, during both day and night. Know where sources of fresh water are located and what landmarks you need to watch for are at. Remember that you may be forced to bug out during a thunderstorm or during foggy conditions. Not knowing your route by heart could be deadly if you became disoriented and wandered too close to a cliff or ravine. Drive them and walk them until you can do it in your sleep. This can be critical to your very survival.
Rule #5 – Know how to read a map and use a compass! Learning how to read a map and using a compass is very simple to learn, but you would be surprised just how many people never take the time to learn it. There are literally hundreds of books, PDFs and videos on the internet to show you how. If you don’t already know how to do it, then take the time to learn. It is a skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life. Do not rely on GPS! I cannot stress this enough. GPS can fail you when you when you need it the most and in the case of a solar storm, then can be inoperable all together and then where would be? It is a small thing, but a very important one to learn.
Rule #6 – Always have more than one map! Marking your planned routes out on a map will do you no good if you lose it or it gets wet and you can’t read it. For these reasons, you should always have more than one map with your routes laid out on them. Keep one in your bug out bag, one on your person and give one to each member of your group. If any of them get separated from the group then they will need to know how to get to your destination or meet up with you along the way.
Rule #7 – Always create rally points! Rally points are safe predetermined spot where member of your group can meet up if you are attacked and get separated. If you are traveling in a group then this is a must. If you are attacked and overwhelmed by superior numbers of firepower then you will need a safe place to retreat to. If you are traveling with small children, then someone should be assigned to each one to be sure that they are able to make it safely to the rally point. These should a place that you have already traveled to in the past and everyone knows how to get to. When planning your route, take this into consideration and scout them out ahead of time. Bear in mind that these rally points should offer both cover and concealment, as well as being defendable.
Rule #8 – Always have alternative destinations! It may become impossible to reach your main destination safely. For this reason, it is critical that you have alternate destinations that you can get to if needed. Your primary destination could become compromised or be blocked off and you would be royally screwed without a backup destination. A backup destination may only be a place where you can find food, fresh water and safety for a few days or weeks till you can get to your primary destination. Scout these out ahead of time and plan wisely so that when the time comes, you are ready.
As you can see, there is a lot more to planning a bugout route than just saying I will go here, or I might go there when the time comes. They say, failing to plan is planning to fail and that is never truer than when you plan your bug out routes. Multiple routes to multiple destinations are the keys to successfully planning your bugout route. Well that is it for now and I hope I have given you a few ideas and maybe even helped you think of something that you hadn’t, so until next time, Happy Prepping!