A friend of mine was telling me about a guy he worked with. The poor guy suddenly got the idea that things are falling apart and he needs a bug out vehicle. So this guy buys a big full sized van, on credit, of course. He buys a whole bunch of specialized firearms. Now he figures he's all set, he can bug out in an emergency.
So my buddy asks him where he plans of bugging out to. The guy had only vague ideas. What's the gas mileage of the van, he asks. About 15 mpg. Then my friend asked how he planned on filling up the tank when it ran low. At gas stations, of course. No doubt shaking his head, my buddy asks him to remember the ice storm they had in town. The bridges were closed and with the power down, no one was pumping gas.
The guy had a sudden realization his bug out plans weren't as good as he thought.
Bugging out might make sense, but not in the way the poor guy envisioned. As I see it, I "bugged out," of town 21 years ago. Yep, that's the key, you've got to beat the crowd. Maybe you beat them by decades, maybe only by a few hours.
For most perceived emergencies, I'll most likely bug in. I've good water, a lake full of fish, hunting within walking distance, and the surrounding trees can keep my woodstove going. Should I ever have to go for some reason, there are relatives and friends who'll be willing to take me in. Odds are I'll be the one taking them in. Should I have to leave, however, I've places to go.
Have your stuff ready. My gear doesn't look particularly organized, but it is grouped in different regions of the house -camping gear, guns, food, tools, and anything else I'd need. We can hit the road in a hurry. Once, on a whim, we decided to go camping. We were packed and on the road in 20 minutes. Had I a full hour, I'd have been even better equipped. As it was, we lacked for nothing on our camping trip.
Have enough fuel to get where you are going. My truck runs on waste vegetable oil along with diesel. Last trip I went on, there was enough veggie jugs in the back of the truck for me to go 2600 miles without stopping at a gas station.
GPS is nice, but don't count on it. Know how to use a map and compass. Be familiar with alternate routes out of your area. Think outside the box here, maybe you could use railroad access roads, bicycle paths, logging roads -anything your vehicle could travel across. In the winter up here in the north, I've even driven on frozen lakes.
There are a lot of people who suddenly realize some of the dangers facing us. Many, like my buddy's friend, go out and do a panic buy. Throwing money at a problem might not be the best way to deal with it. In reality, his old vehicle would have worked as well as the big van he bought. If the bridge is closed, it doesn't matter how big your van is. His realistic options for leaving his area boil down to two strategies. He could leave early and beat the rush, or he could walk out. A well equipped backpack in the back of his car would have worked better than a van full of guns.
There are other ways of looking at people who bug out: evacuees, refugees, or homeless.
Now some people feel they can't "bug out" ahead of time from their unsafe area. The reasons are endless, and a personal choice. If you are one of those people, having a reasonable bug out plan makes sense, but never forget it's a desperate measure. Have a plan: a place to go, a way to get there, alternative routes, and backup plans of your first choice is nonviable.
Don't be afraid to think outside of the box. I remember a story that took place during the September 11 attacks. Manhattan Island was closed off from the mainland. The tunnels and bridges had been closed by the authorities. One couple left the island by paddling kayaks to New Jersey. Good thinking. A big van full of guns wouldn't have worked better.