There’s a big subculture in the prepper community that just loves to talk about bug out vehicles. Preppers debate about the pros and cons of different vehicles. We talk about trucks, vans, cars, motorcycles, ATVs, bicycles, boats, planes -you name it.
We talk about different fuels, gas, diesel, propane, natural gas, wood gas, electric, bio-diesel -just about any fuel imaginable. There’s fuel storage, mutifuel vehicles, and even home brewed fuel.
Many of us study maps and charts plotting possible bug out routes. We plan for alternative routes -secondary roads, logging roads, rail beds, and even power and gas line right of ways. These are all useful things and often fun and interesting to figure out.
What we don’t like to think about is how we might really have to bug out. We might have to walk. That’s no fun at all. All that cool gear in our bug out vehicle gets reduced to what we can carry on our back. Don’t plan on being able to carry a 80 pound pack. Maybe if you are young, fit, and an avid hiker it could be done. Then again, most experienced hikers carry much lighter packs than that.
Figure on carrying a 20 pound pack. See what essentials you can get into that. Maybe check out the hiking forums instead of the prepper forums for a change. You do have decent packs for all members of your party, right?
How about good hiking boots and socks? Are the boots broken in? Do you want to start a bug out situation with painful and possibly dangerous foot blisters?
Even if you can start out in some kind of bug out vehicle, have your waking gear with you. You never know. People used to laugh at all the stuff I’d take with me when snowmobiling. There was a complete change of clothes as a snowmobile suite isn’t that great for walking in. I had a hat instead of just my helmet. I’d bring food, water and a flashlight. There were a pair of snowshoes strapped to my machine. Even a half hour’s snowmobile trip into the woods can take all day to walk back.
On wilderness canoe trips my day to day footwear was a good pair of sandals. They are great for hopping in and out of canoes, but not so great for a long walk though the woods. At the very minimum I’d carry a rugged pair of lightweight hiking sneakers. You never know.
When you do plan your bug out route, see what a walking escape looks like. Is there enough drinking water along the way? Water is heavy so there are limits on how much can reasonably be carried. A good hiker’s water filter might save the day. How safe will the route be? Will a million other people be walking the same road?
Walking isn’t all disadvantages. It’s possible to go cross country where vehicles cannot go. Maybe it might be prudent to bushwhack through the woods to avoid other people. Looking at bug out routes with walking in mind should suggest some interesting alternatives.
One last hint about walking. Bring or make a good walking stick. It’s like getting a third leg. You can go further without lest fatigue. You are more stable and less likely to fall and get hurt. The walking stick is good basic protection against dogs and other animals -some on two legs.
Being prepared for a long walk makes all the difference in the world.