Letter Re: Yet Another Article Touting “Mobility” for Survival

Dear Jim:
See this piece on Survival Preparedness as: “The Ultimate “Contrarian” Investment for 2007 — Be Prepared” The author knows a lot about economics (excellent web site), but one can certainly critique his “Batman in the Boondocks” or “mobile refugee” survival strategy. Regards, – OSOM

JWR Replies: I’m dismayed to see such strategies proposed again and again, usually by folks who have never actually attempted to fill–much less actually shoulder–their “everything that I’ll need” backpack. It is incredibly naive to think that anyone can “head for the hills” with just what you can carry, and survive for an extended period. Note that his overly simplistic “carry heirloom seeds and blue poly tarp” approach does not take into account anything about tools needed to cultivate what he’ll grow, containers he’ll need to store what he grows or gathers, and tools/pots/pans that he’ll need to process/grind and cook what he hunts, gathers, or grows. Nor does it address basics like cages for small livestock, or fencing to protect gardens. How can you expect to carry all that on your back? Unless someone is incredibly fortunate, the odds are that any “mobile” retreating approach will very quickly reduce them to the category of “refugee” at best, or to room temperature, at worst. The history of the previous century –particularly its two world wars and its countless civil wars–taught us that life is, as Hobbes put it, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” for refugees. The last thing that you want to be is a refugee. By definition, going mobile means foregoing the “deep larder” advantage of a fixed retreat. It would be foolish to give that up. Ditto for the often touted “RV land-mobile retreating” approach. As I’ve stated before: In a full scale WTSHTF situation, mobility for the sake of mobility in essence only gives you the opportunity to wander into ambush after ambush. I go into further detail about the fallacies of mobile retreating strategies (backpack, vehicular, and sailboat) in in my book “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.” In the same book I also describe some commonsense fixed location retreat alternatives

All of the preceding is not to say that you shouldn’t own a Get Out of Dodge (“GOOD”) backpack. You should have one, especially if you don’t live year round at your intended retreat. (The pack is only intended for a very short period, to get you to your retreat, in the event that for whatever reason a vehicle is not available.) You should dread ever having to use that pack when forced to abandon your well-stocked retreat and taking off on foot to fend for yourself.