Letter Re: Bugging Out: Taking Your Home and Gear with You, by Bob. H.

I read the 18 Oct. 2007 posting concerning Recreational Vehicles (RVs) as a retreat vehicle. Your posting’s of August 10th 2005 titled Batman Fantasy Land, Vehicular Retreating and Sea Retreating were interesting and very confusing to say the least. After reading your August 10th 2005 post here are some thoughts.

With all the talk about BOVs, BOBs, and G.O.O.D. it seems like a waist of bandwidth on your part since you advocate the Siegfried or Maginot Line, Atlantic Wall type system. You know–fixed fortified emplacements.

Does this mean that you would stay in your fixed retreat no matter what? I think not. I know I can hide an RV easier than you can hide your house. Does your in place theory mean that owning a small plot of land away from the city to park your RV on is a bad thing?

You make it seem like anyone using an RV can only carry one of everything. When I travel in my car I carry enough gear for all. My small car can carry plenty let alone an RV. When you bug out can you use the bathroom on a toilet (not a can) without stopping? Can one drive and the other sleep in a real bed? The list goes on.

A pickup camper on a 4X4 can carry groups of stuff and go almost anywhere.

Last time I checked, doctors do not make house calls, you have to drive to one no matter what, that is if there is one to drive to. (Reference the August 10, 2005)

I have always been an advocate of moving when needed. If you were in New Orleans before Katrina, where would you have [gone] afterwards? Would you have been the guy with the warm beer from his bar in downtown New Orleans or the guy in the air conditioned motel in Texas? I was the guy in the air conditioned house in Montana with the ability to move if needed.

Yep I am in the middle of one of the largest missile fields in the world but I am also in the fourth largest state and we have more places to go than you can shake a stick at.

History has shown that fixed postings have not faired well. Our Military in WWII, Vietnam, Desert Storm and now the GWOT have no fixed fortified emplacements unless you count the bases they use. Mobile is the key to survival. Picture this, You have a paper target that does not move, you can hit it pretty much at will . But hitting a moving target is much harder. Have you ever gone deer hunting and tried to shoot a running deer? – Mark in Montana

JWR Replies: I think that you must have missed some of the earlier SurvivalBlog posts and some of my other writings that clarify my position. This issue was discussed at considerable length in the first year of the blog (see the Archives) and in my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. As I’ve written previously in SurvivalBlog, I strongly prefer the strategy of fixed retreats over nomadic approaches to survivalism. But I have never ruled out mobility as a tactic. Nor have I ever suggested holding one’s ground at all costs. There must always be a “Plan B”. If that necessitates “bugging out” and abandoning one’s land, livelihood, and a portion of one’s logistics, then so be it. Plan accordingly.

It is noteworthy that in my novel “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”, I portrayed two quite similar retreat groups, both with “fixed” retreats. Without spoiling it for those who haven’t yet read the novel, I can say that one of those groups chose to hold their ground to confront an invading army, while the other abandoned their retreat to melt away into the adjoining National Forest. It was the group that stayed at their retreat that suffered, badly.

My main objection to the “land mobile” and “sea mobile” nomadic retreat approaches is that they do not allow for a multi-year base of logistics. Once the supplies carried on board an RV are expended, unless blessed with amazing success at gardening, you soon will be reduced to the level of refugee. And unless you have secreted caches of fuel and have considerable good fortune to be able to reach them as needed, you will also soon be on foot. If the history of the 20th Century taught us anything, it is that the least desirable category for a citizen in turbulent times is refugee.

Mobility has it uses, but mobility for the sake of mobility has so many drawbacks that is borders on foolishness. In the context of a full scale economic collapse with widespread lawlessness, mobility means the opportunity to run into one ambush after another. It is far better to have a well-stocked and self-sufficient retreat with the option of mobility, if need be. Your mileage may vary, but if your are going to opt for land mobile retreating, I suggest that you invest in a couple of stout APCs with belt-feds. You may need them.