There seems to be a lot of debate on 'should I head for the hills, post-SHTF'. In my opinion, what most people miss is: Yes, it is a bad idea to head for the hills with no firmly established destination. Either move now or establish a place you are welcome to before the SHTF.
I doubt a small town will be welcoming strangers in that situation. As for the fantasy of 'living off the land', you and 85 million other people? Ever try to bag a deer during hunting season with the limits in place today? - Ross
JWR Replies: I agree wholeheartedly. The whole "Batman in the Boondocks" all-I-need-is-a-backpack-and-a-rifle-and-a-big-knife shtick seems to be promulgated by dreamers who have never actually tried it. For all but a few Herculean backpackers, it is indeed an unrealistic fantasy. If you leave your home with only what you can carry on your back or what can push in a cart, then you've shortchanged yourself and have positioned yourself just one notch above a penniless refugee. So consider this a last ditch contingency plan, not Plan A, or Plan B, or even Plan C.
By far, the best solution is to relocate well in advance of any disaster to a small town, with your larder fully intact. You need to become fully part of a community, to overcome the We/They Paradigm. The small town relocation concept was first advanced by Mel Tappan in the late 1970s, and it was crystallized in the 1980s by Joel Skousen. He dubbed it Strategic Relocation, and wrote an excellent series of books on the subject. I too, advocate living at your retreat year-round, and my family lives that life here at the Rawles Ranch. We only make occasional trips into cities, primarily for stocking up, or to broaden the horizons of my homeschooled children. (We visit museums, zoos, arboretums, libraries, and major book stores--like Powell's-- to enrich our at-home teaching curricula.)
There are some who advocate establishing a well-stocked retreat, with the hopes of getting there at the 11th Hour in the midst of a crisis. I do not recommend this, as there are lots of things that can go wrong. Not only is there a high risk of not making it safely to your retreat, but there is also a substantial risk that burglars will clean out your carefully stored tools and provisions. This approach is also suboptimal in terms of "working the kinks out" of your self-sufficiency plans. Unless you practice independent living day-to-day, it can be daunting--whether it is the peculiarities of growing a productive garden in your micro-climate, establishing fruit and nut trees, building up flocks and herds of livestock, or just learning the quirks of cooking on a wood stove. That all takes time and practice. Granted, you could have just one member of your family live at your retreat year round to "hold down the fort", but that is inferior to having everyone in the family living there and working the land. In closing, I must state that I recognize that for many SurvivalBlog readers that have work or family obligations in the cities and suburbs, that this may be your only practical solution. It is not the best, but make the best you can of it.