We are a mobile culture. The vast majority of us begin our day by getting into a vehicle and driving to work. Some of us, once we reach work drive again to reach work details. We are accustomed to driving everywhere. We drive to the store for groceries and supplies; we drive to schools, work, doctors, etc.
When the SHTF most of us who live in a densely populated area are not going to be entirely comfortable just hunkering down where we live and hoping for the best. Those that choose to bug-in in a suburban or urban environment are pretty much going to be sitting ducks for the lawlessness that will follow.
You may have a decent supply of firearms and ammunition, fortified defenses and large stocks of provisions, but in reality most every house is susceptible to penetration and destruction. Fire is a prime example. Are your defenses such that if your house was burning down around you that you could bug-in and survive? If you haven’t considered that then you should. You may have a concrete basement with hidden entrances and exits but it’s sitting beneath a large pile of flammables. It’s going to get mighty hot and hard to breathe. If you’re in an apartment that’s not on the ground floor, you’re in even more danger.
Of course you may take out a few marauders before they realize you aren’t going to be easy pickings, but word will quickly spread that you are there and you aren’t letting anyone in nor giving away your provisions without a fight. Believe me, most of the people doing the raiding are not going to benevolent and generous and just walk away and leave you alone because you’re a hard target. The mind set will be if they can’t have it you can’t either. Fire will be one of the first thoughts to enter into the equation if they can’t breach your defenses. Heavy equipment can also make your defenses inappropriate in one fell swoop as well. Don’t worry, if you manage to discourage them the first go round, they’ll be back.
If you’re location cannot withstand burning down around you or being structurally destroyed then you still need a mobile plan.
If you’re on foot with nothing more than a bugout bag, defensive weapons and some skill sets then that’s the most basic level and you’re really going to be on your own. Your survivability level is somewhere around zero to ten percent. There is no way to predict or control the situation as you are subject to all manner of environmental conditions and threats whether they be natural, hostile parties or geographical. The best you can do is to have several predetermined and reconnoitered routes that you have physically traversed and are in good enough physical condition to complete and then hope for the best and pray a lot. And stay concealed as much as possible.
Those who seek to take what is yours and/or do you harm are more than likely going to have much better intel on the immediate urban/suburban environment of the streets than you are. That’s their domain and they will quickly occupy the most defensible positions to their best advantage. They also have much more experience than you do on living with little or nothing in despicable conditions. This will be their turf. They already occupy it, you don’t. Sure, there are plenty of dumb criminals out there but once packs are formed they will have intelligent, crafty leaders who have the knowledge and experience to direct them intelligently.
I advise that everyone should have a mobile preparation plan in mind regardless of whether you need to bugout to reach a retreat or safer location, or you’re already at your retreat and well stocked for long-term survival. Any fortification or retreat can be breached or laid to siege.
Urban and suburban dwellers should keep a well maintained vehicle(s) with enough fuel and reserves to reach where you plan to go without having to refuel from an outside source. Supplies should be pre-packed and able to be loaded in less than fifteen minutes or less if not kept in the vehicles or trailers ahead of time.
Optimally you should always be gathering intel and maintain a constant situational awareness of ongoing events. The best case scenario is to know when to go before the SHTF. Not after.
In any emergency you are going to have multiple situations to consider that can change at any given moment. Having mobile preps covered ahead of time will allow you to concentrate on the situation at hand and not be distracted wondering whether or not you remembered to bring everything or what route(s) to take.
For now, it’s best to map out several routes, drive them under various weather conditions and take note of areas that could prove difficult under varying conditions.
I’m not going to cover the myriad of vehicles that could or should be considered. Much like firearms and various calibers, when it comes down to it something is better than nothing and have what you can afford. Just don’t go overboard if you can’t afford it. In reality a vehicle merely gets you from point A to point B.
Cargo trailers, camp trailers and/or motor homes enhance your departure time by being able to be pre-loaded and inventoried ahead of time and simply hooked up and/or driven away almost immediately. They can also provide longer term amenities if you can’t reach your destination as soon as you might have thought.
Convoys will have better chances of success in hostile territory than lone vehicles. If you have a group you should work out the logistics of what vehicles take what positions, what frequencies and/or channels you will utilize for unsecure communications. This might include code words, hand-signals, phrases and uncommon languages that could be used in-transit in the case that others may be listening in.
Convoys should have patrol vehicles, point vehicles, defensive vehicles and pre-planned defensive strategies in the case of attack. Even in war zones it is rare that every vehicle in a convoy is taken out or the entire convoy captured or killed. A convoy gives you a fight or flight response to any hostile or emergency situation. It goes without saying that tools and implements to clear roads of obstacles and vehicles should definitely be considered.
All vehicles should be armed and members practice various positions of defense while driving. It’s not as easy as one might imagine to take aim and fire while moving at a high rate of speed, let alone while performing evasive maneuvers. Take the time to consider what positions in a vehicle are best for firing from and with what types of weapons.
Nearly every apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic , zombie and sci-fi movie that has even come close to portraying such a scenario rarely does not contain some sort of armed convoy scenario and for good reason. Without mobility we increase the capability for failure tenfold in any given situation. Flight is limited. If our retreats become no longer safe we’re going to have to bugout. If we need to reach one before we can be safe, mobile preparations will need to be considered. Plain and simple.
Another point I wish to make with this article is for those of you who don’t have the resources for a retreat and don’t have any safe houses away from the chaos that you can bugout to then considering a short-term mobile solution may be for you.
It’s much easier to gather a group of people with a similar mindset in a similar situation than it is to find an existing retreat to take you in if you have little in the way of resources or developed skills. Let’s face it, there are plenty of “preppers” out there that just can’t afford much of what they would need to feel totally secure. A group can alleviate some of the worry about how you’re going to make it.
You can form a group and pool your resources to purchase a low-cost undeveloped parcel of land in a remote location where you can rendezvous and figure it out from there or at least cache supplies. Over time you can make developments to improve the land for long term habitation. Members could rotate spending time there to make improvements for the benefit of all. It would also allow those without much in the way of expendable resources to coordinate with others in their mobile group so that each member can focus on stocking equipment and supplies that would benefit the entire group instead of everyone trying to gather everything alone. It’s better than being on your own and having no destination at all.
If you can’t allocate the resources for a parcel of land your group can all agree on a remote location to rendezvous as far away from the immediate chaos as possible. That will at least give you some breathing space. I doubt there will be many forest rangers or BLM out ticketing your group for overstaying at a campground or camping in the desert or mountains in an area undesignated for camping or long-term stays.
I do not advise a constant state of mobility. It just won’t work. Fuel is going to be hard to come by and you cannot maintain long-term stability or defensibility in a mobile situation. For long-term survival you’re going to have to settle in somewhere. You cannot exist on stored supplies alone.
Having a good mobile prep plan can at the least get you through the most critical event horizon. Of course in some situations it’s not going to be the best alternative or the most practical. I offer it here as an alternative mindset to be included as part of your preparation plan, not the ultimate solution.
But for those who don’t have as many resources and even for those that do, mobile preparations should be taken seriously and added to any preparedness plan. If you live in a highly populated urban or suburban area you might want to consider storing your main vehicles/trailers/etc., on the outskirts of town and develop an alternate but efficient means to reach them in a SHTF scenario.
There are many factors to consider that are unique to where you live. I just want to advise that your mobile preps consider more than just jumping in your vehicle with a 72 hour bag and heading for the hills. One should take into account the worst case scenario in your present plans and plan accordingly.
It’s easy to envision how it will all come down and how you respond, but just like on the battlefield things usually take on the age old adage of SNAFU. (Situation Normal All Fouled Up).
Here I shall outline my own present mobile preps in very general terms for the sake of OPSEC . Our retreat is approximately 400 miles from our present location although we shall be living there by late Spring so our own plan will change at that time to consider the change of circumstance and location.
We currently have 5 alternate routes planned to reach the retreat location which does lie within the American Redoubt area. Three of the routes allow us to reach the location in just over 6 hours under optimal driving conditions. Most of the routes we will utilize do not require us to pass through any towns over a 10,000 population. Two of the routes pass through less than 500 until we are within an hour and then only one town with a population of 3000.
We personally utilize two vehicles and two trailers. One of the vehicles is a 33 foot customized self-contained motor home, the other an older American made SUV. The motor home is kept with the tanks full with a 600 to 900 mile range depending on conditions and terrain. The SUV is never below ¾ of a tank and the stocked trailer holds two 5 gallon jerry cans on each side for a total of 40 gallons of fuel for the SUV. This is adequate for both vehicles to reach the retreat location without external sources. Both vehicles are under a strict maintenance program to keep all systems viable and working.
Both vehicles obviously have trailer hitches with the required towing capacity for their respective trailers. One large cargo trailer is always stocked, having custom built shelving containing a 1 year supply of foodstuffs, 1 month supply of drinking water, a working stocked freezer, propane cooktop, 12 volt lights, an inverter and batteries recharged by solar as well as kerosene lamps, propane heater and more. There is enough room left over that it could be slept in if needed. This trailer is somewhat heavy and is meant to be pulled by the motor home but we have tested it on a 120 mile drive towing it with the SUV with no problems though a bit slow going over steep grades.
The second, smaller cargo trailer is left empty to accommodate tools and equipment that can be loaded in under 15 minutes. All tools and equipment that are not in immediate use are stored in marked containers and fit in the empty trailer. We have test loaded it as well and can have it fully loaded with two of us loading in under fifteen minutes if need be.
The motor home is stocked with approximately 1 to 2 months of foodstuffs, a 90 gallon water tank, internal plumbing, 12V DC solar power, 110 with inverter or shore power and propane heat , water and stove. We have also added a small wood cook stove with oven for redundancy and alternate fuel sources. Communications consist of CB, Police scanner and two-way hand held radios. Internet capability for mobile travel is via cellular modem though we do not depend upon it but have it as long as it there and a cell signal can be received. We keep a small inventory of spare parts deemed most likely to fail and a complete set of tools and equipment in the basement storage areas.
The SUV contains two 48 hour Bugout bags as well as a 72 hour vehicle kit at all times. It has ample supplies and equipment for winter and summer use and can be slept in comfortably. We have ample weapons for defense and tactical use and train regularly. We have a few other individuals that would convoy in two other vehicles if need be but currently we have no long term plans to include them in the retreat locale as they are working on their own solution.
If needed we could abandon the motor home and continue on in the SUV and continue down to making it on foot in the worse case scenario. This is our basic mobile plan. Once we reach the retreat things change.