Getting Home In The Event Of An EMP- Part 2, by B.M.

We are looking at what might be required if you are working in the city a great distance from your family’s home. My scenario is that I work 50 miles away, which would require a two day walk. I’ve already talked through the basics of day one, which is focusing on getting as far as possible while being the Gray Man. Now, let’s look at what might happen next.

Overnight and Day Two

So, you have had a fortunate day. You’ve covered 30 miles, but you are exhausted. You’ve eaten once; you are sweaty, tired, worried, and it is getting dark. The pedestrian traffic on the road is dying down, and people all begin to look the same– threatening. For those who are remaining near their vehicles, whether it is because they are still stuck in the normalcy bias or because they have nowhere else to go, desperation will begin to sink in. Remember, there are travelers intermingled in with commuting traffic. They probably will not have the type of supplies necessary to sustain them. Steer clear of these people.

Get Off Main Roads

You need to get off of the main roads. This is where your scouting of your route will pay off in spades. Just like with any road trip, you need to plan where you are going to stay.

Areas to Avoid

There are some areas to avoid. These include:

  • Residential areas. Most people will be trying to get into their comfort zone, so they will, for the most part, be in these neighborhoods.
  • Commercial districts (grocery stores, strip malls, Wal-Marts, et cetera). Nothing good can come from entering these places. You can’t get enough supplies to make a difference. (Remember you’re on foot.) Also, you risk being robbed, injured, or murdered for what little you have.

Safer Areas

There are some safer areas. These include:

  • Industrial areas, warehouse districts, et cetera. These types of areas are usually under-populated in the evening and not well lit, so you can travel or rest unnoticed.

The Suburbs

The suburbs are defined as residential areas that surround the urban center. These neighborhoods are littered with neighborhoods, strip malls, gas stations, convenience stores, churches, and a litany of other businesses. These are going to be the types of areas you’ll be traveling through between your work site and your home. You probably live in a suburban area, and the other suburbs you travel past everyday on your way to work are unfamiliar territory. Moving through these areas is difficult at best. This is where remaining discreet is essential.

Knowing the type of neighborhood that you are stopping in can mean the difference between you making it home or not. You need to be aware of where you are going to stop. Are you stopping in public housing? Or how about an area with million dollar homes? Maybe it has many apartment complexes? Is it worth it to walk an extra three miles if it puts you in the middle of a high crime area? These are things that you need to take into account when you stop.

You Have To Rest

I don’t care how tough or how well prepared you are, you have to rest. After about 36 hours of no sleep, your judgment begins to be impaired, and if you have been walking all day and all night on minimal food, it is a recipe for disaster. You are going to have to rest. You are going to need to find a remote, obscure location that people would not normally congregate to. Cell tower or water tower sites are normally surrounded by chain link fences, and there really is not much to steal from these locations. They are good examples of an area you might be able to gain some much-needed rest.

You Could’ve Been Followed

You need to be cognizant of the fact that you could’ve been followed. This could’ve happened at any point, so don’t just go to a place and go right to sleep. You need to ensure that you were not followed. Doubling back is one way that you can determine if someone has been or is following you.

Noise and Light Discipline

The quickest way to attract attention at night is a fire. One of the problems with building a fire is that most don’t know how to control the size of it. They’ll make it too big. Unless you have to, don’t make a fire.

Flashlights can be helpful if used appropriately, but they can also give away your position. Use it when you absolutely need to, but avoid it if possible.

Noise travels at night. There are some clothes that are very noisy. Test your clothes. See how they are when you walk in them. If they are noisy, you may want to reconsider what you wear in this type of situation. However, sometimes this is out of your control, so be mindful. Key chains, gear that is not secured, or anything else that makes noise will draw unwanted attention to yourself, so be aware of your gear.

Staying Warm

Nothing will zap the heat out of you like laying directly on the ground. Remember, one below is worth two above. If you are freezing all night, you’ll not be able to get any rest, so it is necessary for you to stay warm. Also, staying dry is a matter of life and death. Cold? Okay, wet? Okay, but cold and wet is miserable and sets the conditions for hypothermia. You need to try to find a place that puts a roof over your head. Partially constructed homes or warehouses can serve this purpose. Just remember that others will be thinking the same thing, so be mindful.

OPSEC While Resting

So, you’ve found your place to stay, and it will keep you dry and relatively warm. Now it is time to get some much-needed rest so you can make it home the next day. Ready to sleep? Not quite yet. You need to ensure some type of security. Remember that you are alone.

There are several ways that you can set things up to alert you if someone or something is coming. Blocking doorways with materials is one, a plastic water bottle with pebbles in it secured with dental floss and tied off as a trip wire device will make noise, but you must create some type of alarm system to wake yourself, so be creative.

Starting the Next Day

The next day has begun, and you have approximately 20-25 miles of walking remaining. Your sleep was fitful and only somewhat helpful. Try to rise early if possible, that time right before the sun comes up is a good time to travel. I know this seems odd, but a really quick brushing of teeth will help. It will wake you up some and assist in raising morale. Obviously, you need to be alert, but this helps.

Most people will be exhausted from the previous long night, and you might be able to make some good time before you see people begin to stir. It’ll be hard to stay alert and focused, but at this point people will be desperate.

A Small and Discreet Pack

This is why your pack, being small and discreet is essential. You will inevitably get the, “Excuse me sir/ma’am, hello, I’m Bob Smith and I am not going to hurt you, I just want to talk. I (or my family and I) have been out here all-night long. I/We are from Anywhereville. I/We am/are on vacation/business. I notice you have a pack and I was just wondering if you have any food or water to spare? Please sir, just a little something that you don’t need”. Now you are in a pinch. Do you give or risk being confronted by a desperate person who possibly has children. If you give and someone else sees, then you risk others approaching. It is hard to watch hungry frightened children. This is why remaining very low-key is essential. Keeping your get home bag small and discreet will save you all kinds of hassle.

Your Final Approach

You are now approaching your neighborhood, you must resist the temptation to drop your guard and rush in. You don’t know what the situation is on the ground there. Approach cautiously. Nothing would be worse than to make it all the way there only to be injured/killed accidentally by a well-intentioned neighbor or family member. I recommended observing for a few minutes before you move in.

If you get home and your family is not there and you don’t know where they are, you have a whole new set of problems that will not be addressed here.

You Are Home

Finally, you are home. All your preplanning and preparations have paid off. You are with your family safe and secure for now, but you realize quickly the real challenge has just begun.

Final Thoughts and Observations

This is a very dangerous time. You need to understand that this is when you are most vulnerable. I know everyone here is “tough” and they can “handle themselves” when necessary, but you need to understand that you are alone. You have no friends on the road, and you are moving through hostile territory. The dirt-bags are beginning to learn that the cops are no shows and they will begin preying on others more and more as it progresses further. Also, the panicking will start and relatively docile people (notice I didn’t say good) will begin to act irrationally. Moving rapidly but safely is absolutely essential but also recognizing things for what they are is paramount. The folks who keep prepared and study up on the signs of an EMP, economic collapse, natural disasters should know when to pull the trigger and respond accordingly.

Getting home to those who depend on you is absolutely the most important thing you can do. Avoid contact if possible. Keep your mouth shut, keep your ears and eyes open, maintain your moral compass, never give up, and always remember that the Spirit is your ally.

Good luck and GOD speed.

A Get Home Bag

A Get-Home-Bag (much different from a bug-out-bag, which is larger and more thorough) is essential for your survival in the initial stages of a collapse and needs to have certain items. In my mind, these are not optional but almost an absolute necessity. Some items will be no brainers, but others are not so obvious. I work long distances from home, and if I have to walk I want to have what I need. However, I also want it to be small, light, and discreet.

My Get Home Bag

The following is what I carry as/in my Get Home Bag:

  1. I have a small camelback pack (without the bladder). It holds some of my gear, but I try to spread out essentials on my person to avoid losing everything in the event that I need to ditch my bag.
  2. A folding knife or multi-tool (or both) are carried on my person.
  3. Some type of fire starter (carried around my neck). I don’t recommend staying put long enough to start a fire, but it may be necessary in the winter and if it is not large enough to be a hindrance. OPSEC in this scenario is crucial, so be cautious when starting a fire.
  4. First Aid Kit (IFAK) (with Tourniquet) (easily accessible)
  5. Water filter straw (no time to boil water in get home situation)
  6. Water purification tablets
  7. Small wire cutter (for cutting through chain link fences)
  8. Zip ties (for closing chain link fence back up)
  9. Pistol, concealable (follow applicable laws) and enough ammo to extricate yourself from trouble. (carried on person)
  10. Small flashlight(carried in my pocket, on person)
  11. Two (2) MREs and multiple power bars. (I have five, but this depends on you.)
  12. Small roll of toilet paper and small pack of baby wipes. (Nothing is worse than having to clean yourself and not having the paper.)
  13. Folding toothbrush, dental floss (has multiple uses), and tooth paste (raises morale if more than a day getting home)
  14. Emergency Poncho (no bright colors)
  15. One (1) water bottle (not disposable kind)
  16. Small notepad and pen (my pen is aircraft aluminum and can double as a weapon).
  17. Travel size Gold Bond medicated powder or Johnson’s, if your sensitive. Chafing is awful and can make three hours feel like three days.
  18. Cash in small denominations. (Definitely not bigger than twenties but preferably 5’s and ones.) Not gold or silver. Most people in the beginning of the crap don’t look long term, at this point cash is king. Spread the cash around in different locations. $50.00 is my rule but locale may require you to adjust. (carried on person)
  19. Have an extra pair of glasses. NEED TO SEE.
  20. I prefer (and this is just me) some type of discreet, non-lethal weapon (slapjack, monkey-fist, blackjack, something to increase the density of your fist, et cetera) (carried on person)
  21. Tic-Tacs (to have fresh breath when you get home and kiss your loved ones) (In your pocket) (optional).

Food For Thought

It’s some food for thought that carrying around a pack of cigarettes or a half pint (or smaller) of liquor (even if you don’t drink or smoke) can be an excellent trading item in a pinch. I know that there are those who object to items like these on moral grounds. However, in my humble opinion, it is morally unacceptable for you not to use every reasonable means to return to your family safely.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).

Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. While I always appreciate and enjoy reading the daily posts on survival and scenarios that fictionalize who is surviving and for what reasons, this post is a great example of ideas and tips that are not useful and very well could place you in a position that turns you in to the type of person this article suggests to avoid.

    As an example, this scenario is 48 hours after an EMP with a 50 mile walk home. This scenario suggests staying away from people while highlighting the reasons why to stay away from people (potential violence) but yet advocates cutting fences (private property, trespassing). If I see you cutting my fence within 48 hours of an EMP (or at any time in general), you have just now become the type of person you say I should avoid and now you’ve become a criminal.

    “The pedestrian traffic on the road is dying down, and people all begin to look the same– threatening.” You are correct, sir. You are wandering around in a manner that makes you look suspicious and threatening as you are cutting fences and trespassing while you are armed. You sir, just became a target. Great job.

    Further, the get home bag list is a bit funny. You carry a fire starter, but yet you say there is no time to boil water? If an EMP happened in your given scenario, everyone is going to be so scared that I highly doubt you’re gonna stop walking home to enjoy a nice fire and some sleep. Even more so if you’re a male and you feel you need to get home to protect your loved ones (because you have tic tacs in your bag for fresh breath). If you do stop to start a fire (because you packed a fire starter) you have more than enough time to boil water. Also, while packing MRE’s or other types of food rations is prudent in your get home bag, you can go longer than 48 hours with no food. So, why the extra space and weight?

    Based off your scenario, there is a high probability that you won’t make the 50 mile hike home.

  2. Well thought out article. Just some quick thoughts on additional gear for your get home bag. All are light weight and compact but could be invaluable when you need them. 1-mylar emergency blanket 2-contractor trash bag with precut head and arm holes(makeshift poncho) 3-very sharp pocket knife in addition to multitool 4-lighter & tinder ..if you need that fire nice to have an easy way to start it. 5-non-descript cap (possible hiding place for stuff like maybe your cash) 6-moleskin (not a time you want blisters) I’m sure others will have some suggestions also. Well done.

  3. Just a comment on your “Safer Areas” for the overnight.

    Where I live, the homeless have occupied almost every location that you consider the safer warehouse/industrial space.

    A recon of your potential overnight sights would be prudent. And just because you don’t see them in the day, doesn’t mean they are not there.

  4. Everything seems pretty well thought out, now for the but. During SHTF scenario I believe 50 miles in two days is very optimistic. Can you do it on your best day. Have you ever done it. 50 miles is an ultra marathon. You will probably be moving at more of a patrol pace which will increase your awareness capabilities, but will be much slower than a pep step. I would say you may need to double this assessment to 4 days. I realize you are trying to beat the normalcy bias trigger point. You may have to reroute multiple times, and there will be holdups while trying to avoid people. Also water is definitely a problem. I would have at least a 3 liter water bladder with an in-line filter(Sawyer). I’ve used the straws, they work great, but unless your traveling near a river or multiple lakes you’re not going to have much to suck on. One bottle of carried water will only last a few hours. Everything else to me seems pretty well thought out. Water seems to be the weak point, which in reality, it always is. To test this take a long holiday weekend and give it a try. Friday after work head out. There may be more people out and about in the city because of said holiday. Avoid them as much as possible. Let your wife know your plan, hopefully you’ll see her sometime Sunday evening. Traveling at night may offer a little respit from the heat of the day and you may be able to pick up the pace. Refrain from getting food or water that won’t be available during a true situation. This sounds like it could be a grand holiday adventure.

    1. Let us consider what you’re saying about the length of the walking distance and time…

      On average, a person walks a single mile in 19 minutes in normal conditions. Walking 50 miles at this pace is a 15 hour trip. Let us assume the person walking came in to some difficulties for what ever reason, health, terrain, getting shot at for cutting through a fence and trespassing on private property, whatever.

      Lets say the trip takes 20 hours to walk 50 miles. If the article says it takes 48 hours to travel 50 miles, what is this person doing for the remaining 28 hours? Just wandering around? Playing grayman? Trying to start a fire while enjoying some MRE’s and a little R&R?

      I would think that anyone and everyone is B-lining it home because an EMP just took place and any scenario that suggests otherwise is pure fantasy. But, that’s just me.

      You do bring up a excellent point, however. Test this plan over a weekend and see what was learned?

  5. Very good article, I would leave out the small wire cutters. Have you ever tried to cut a chain link fence? It really takes small bolt cutters. Also, extra socks are a must ! Again, very good article, I will re-evaluate my get home bag, Thanks.

    1. I agree. I do carry bolt cutters and a hacksaw in my motor home. Not to “break into” someplace but living and traveling out West it is not uncommon to find locked gates and if you find yourself on the wrong side of a locked gate and no one around for miles you need a self help solution. I have tried to cut a chain link fence with wire cutters and fence pliers. The wire cutters broke under heavy pressure and the fence pliers merely made a slight impression on the wire. But 36″ bolt cutters would be a little awkward in a get home bag.

      I did enjoy the article. I always get some ideas from these ruminations of others.

  6. My solution to the 50 mile get home problem is a folding bicycle. I can fit one 26″ or two 20″ folding bicycles in the back seat of the smallest Chevy they make (a Spark). I can travel 3 to 5 times faster than walking. The ratio would be even higher if I were younger.

  7. The author put forth his take on the subject. He addressed a lot of issues that most wouldn’t think of. For some, it’s very useful, having never considered doing this before. For the returning Afghanistan veteran, maybe less valuable, but the article establishes a good framework to work with. Take what information applies to you and tweak as necessary.
    I favor hiking long distances at night, and that’s when you’re less of a target. You’re not having to fight the sun/heat with everything else. Most people will be sleeping.
    Still love the bike idea.

  8. The author put forth his take on the subject. He addressed a lot of issues that most wouldn’t think of. For some, it’s very useful, having never considered doing this before. For the returning Afghanistan veteran, maybe less valuable, but the article establishes a good framework to work with. Take what information applies to you and tweak as necessary.
    I favor hiking long distances at night, and that’s when you’re less of a target. You’re not having to fight the sun/heat with everything else. Most people will be sleeping.
    Still love the bike idea.

  9. Whatever your time estimate – double or triple it.
    And night travel if you’re off road, or even just following a roadway, but off to the side, is an ankle breaker. At least where I live. I would prefer it, but I don’t want to end up crippled some where.
    Also: consider the four legged wildlife as well as the two legged versions. I have coyotes and the occasional pack of feral hogs to deal with. An that fence you just hopped? There happens to be a fly enraged bull on the other side…

  10. OP, good article on having to walk home after an event. However, IMO 50 miles in two days might be pushing it a little like Roadkill mentioned. You may need to go cross country to avoid the crowds, bad parts of town etc, so I would recommend a compass and map. Also, just in case it takes you longer that expected to travel home, you may need to add to your food and a very small fishing kit may fit the bill. A few small #12 hooks, lead sinkers, and about 50ft of 10lb fishing line may be all you need. If you are resting up close to a creek, river, pond you can set out and bait a hook and while you are resting up, the fishing gear will be working for you. Yes you will need to build a fire to cook the fish, but a very small fire hidden well may do the trick. Life has a way to throw a few curves at us when we get into a bad situation.

  11. This is one of the better overall articles on this part of the subject that I have read. Planning ahead is great, but scouting as many routes as possible could be essential ahead of time. Add the map and compass. Instead of MREs, you might try foil packed fish products along with some crackers (which you could keep at the office), along with some energy bars and hard candy. Your meals are probably the least important part, except to have something to build the energy back. One of the military guys got it right about the water, that is your most critical thing (Remember the Rule of 3s). Knowing water sources that can be accessed without power along all the routes you may end up on will help you make the right decisions on routes. For the beginner, you did a good job of suggesting ideas, for the veteran, I always for the one or two things I may not have thought of. Keep them coming and spread the gospel.

  12. 3 mi/hr assumes stops and rest breaks? That gets you home(50 miles) in under 20 hrs,pack a couple liters of water,some energy bars,knife,gun(concealed),poncho,MAP!,flashlight,extra socks,forget tp a couple wet knaps(restaurant moist towellettes),and a lighter is most or all you need and will mostly fit in your pockets. A small bag(plastic grocery bag) with your water and energy bars(double or triple bag) can double as a weapon(learn to carry it by looping it around you hand(you can’t hold it for very long without fatigue/cramping)) did you stock up before you left worksite(have it prepositioned in desk/locker,scrounge from trash,”borrow”). In your other hand a “improvised” weapon(stick,metal bar,tire iron) willnot be too upsetting for anyone around you but with a alert attitude will keep you from 99% of trouble(you can’t avoid the 1%,but that is what necessitates tha knife/gun),travel after dark,but don’t use the light it only night blinds you and draws attention. Map a route(yes a real paper map),look for less traveled but direct routes(parks,bike trails,utility easements/right of ways(powerlines,pipelines),secondary roads through residential areas(no ghettos-main roads if neccessary(walk with a sense of purpose/alertness and 99% rule holds),have detours for choke points(bridges,etc)planned. If you needto cross a chain link fence they are easy to climb(carpet scrap or cardboard gets you over barbed wire at top) if you must go through(salvage too big/heavy to go over)learn to unweave (1 wire runs top to bottom,just unweave it and it can be reweaved almost without a trace). Safe travels,light and fast,grey as a ghost,silent as the wind.

  13. The most important aspect of this event is the least talked about.


    It will be vital to have a renewable source of water for the trip home no matter the distance. As people exert themselves, they begin to breather through their mouths, which in turn dries out the mouth and throat area creating thirst.

    It is unrealistic to carry a lot of water if the distance is great so water has to be found along the way. Enter Google Maps. A simple map of your planned route will turn up several places where water can be found. Identify landmarks and mark them on an area map and learn orienteering with map and compass.

    That way, wherever you end up you can look for landmarks on the map and will always know where water is to be found. It then becomes a simple matter to use a Sawyer Mini filter or the like and carry a small water bottle to attach it to.

  14. The most important aspect of this event is the least talked about in the article.


    It will be vital to have a renewable source of water for the trip home no matter the distance. As people exert themselves, they begin to breath through their mouths, which in turn dries out the mouth and throat area creating thirst.

    It is unrealistic to carry a lot of water if the distance is great so water has to be found along the way. Enter Google Maps. A simple map of your planned route will turn up several places where water can be found. Identify nearby landmarks and mark them on an area map and learn orienteering with map and compass.

    That way, wherever you end up along the route you can look for landmarks on the map and will always know where water is to be found. It then becomes a simple matter to use a Sawyer Mini filter or the like and carry a small water bottle to attach it to.

  15. Re hiking home: Many times I have lead healthy, fit teenagers on three day hunting/camping trips where walking was the only means of transportation and they carry all their gear. I have observed that 3/4 gallon per person per day is typically a minimum amount of water needed but everyone seems comfortable with 1 gallon per day. This is in a moderate moist climate ranging around 65 to 80 degrees F. I think I would scout out in route water sources and plan to start off with a lot more water. If that trip home does take three or more days “exhausted and worried” is nothing compared to exhausted and dehydrated!

  16. The maps comments concern me. Mark resources on you paper maps, have a compass, but do NOT mark your home, nor create a strip map of your routes. If something happens to you or that map is recovered by some less than honorable people, your home is now flagged as a potential location for plunder.

  17. I am guessing that the walk speed assumptions that people are making have never been tested on a long, stealth journey. In fall, I tested a straight forward walk down paved and gravel roads and my aging office worker butt was beat after a 16 mile walk; the blisters would have prevented a second day at that rate; and the toenails have finally grown back after these recent eight months. I did the walk with 20 year old lads, and they seemed in worse shape yet when we arrived at our destination. Ok, I was carrying a pack weighing close to 50 lbs with sleeping bag and tarp … but even with our fire, the -1C we experienced that night felt really, really cold.

    If you factor in pain and the complication of minimizing human contact, you quite likely find that it takes longer than that simple extrapolation from your one hour “walking the dog” travel.

  18. With all of the concern about water, a silcock key is a compact and useful tool to have: use it to get water from outside commercial faucets.

  19. Thanks to the author for sharing his experience. Sounds like he’s been around and his ideas are worth listening to As a local trucker I can still find myself easily 50 miles away from home . When traveling in the Northeast down I-95 during the warmer months it seemed like a lot of it was wooded area.

    So incoporated a little bit of camo in my get home bag. However this past winter when the leaves fell it was obvious these areas were well populated.

    Have been scanning internet reading crime stats from some of the towns that border the interstate and it’s not good. Think the author is right to make as much distance possible in the first day.

    Even in some of the bad areas the normal bias might still remain. However the first night without power I imagine the festivities would begin. Without that straight shot up the interstate the walk home could be closer to 4 days.

    Traveling back roads with jittery locals doesn’t sound too appealing. Guess I’ll have to take my chances with suburbanites as opposed to the city people.

    A bicycle would definitely be a huge game changer. The mini bolt cutters are a great idea. The author specified municipal property as a safe haven, not personal property.

    Do what you have to do to get home. Everybody else will be doing the same thing. It won’t take long for something like this to get really ugly.

  20. Like the one old fella said, 16 miles and the blisters were oooh, owwwwy! Having once been in the US Infantry, I can talk about blisters. I once went as hard as I could on a 30 miler walking, and here’s what happened, in combat boots. I was wearing 9.5 when I should have had my regular 9’s on . At 15 miles, I had one blister from toe to heel on each foot, and I should have had my butt picked up by the bail-out truck. But not me, no, not ole Sarge. I changed my socks and made it back to home base. The medics couldn’t believe somebody would be so stupid as to blister the entire bottoms of both feet, and put themselves out of action (duty) for a week. The callouses I gained were a reminder for three years of how bad that was. So, you can tough out a few blisters and make it home, but I suggest popping them, and putting some moleskin on (duct tape over some kind of bandage or cloth if no moleskin) and get along little doggie. You might be needed when you get home, so try and save a little for when you get there. PS: once you get a mile or so down the road on painful feet and blisters, they kind of warm up and don’t hurt quite so much. Sort of. Chewing gum helps, and keeps you alert. Don’t forget to treat those feet when you do get home, if possible. If you make it home, and can’t stand because of blisters, you are effectively a cripple. And you may have to bug out again, soon.

  21. Cliffhanger
    Would seem to me if emp was man made the timing would have been well thought out. It would just about have to be deep winter or when major summer storm was under way. Here is western Canada if emp occurred when temperature was minus twenty-five below in a few days a majority of the population would dead as almost no homes and even fewer businesses have aux heating available. So in that regard trekking home might be a big problem which could take multiple days. If you dressed really warm with a full cold weather kit and a diy grey or white made from wool blanket full length poncho you just might make it. Check internet for making poncho with hood instructions. Poncho would serve as tent when bedding down for the night. I have used said poncho over full winter kit and it is amazing. Last place you want to show up would be any building with say a wood stove as most bad types will quickly figure out where warmth is available . So stay out of sight even if it means bedding down on or in a snowdrift under a tree. Have a good supply of the chemical hand/foot warmers as they work really well and aren’t bulky or heavy. Of course you will also need your stocked get home kit as well.

  22. My comments on water seem to be agreed on by most everyone, it’s true. I like the possibilities of catching fish or whatever food you may need to cook may be done with a Dakota fire pit. These create a lot of heat with very little smoke. Think like an underground rocket stove. Great responses by everyone.

    1. Water is a number one concern as always. Fortunately for me, I live and work in an area with an abundant supply of water. Adjusting for local conditions is necessary. However, I appreciate the sound advice on the water situation.

  23. The level of physical fitness, as well as age, will determine how quickly one can walk the 50 miles home after an EMP. Pushing thru the pain the first day may not be a good idea. Old Sarge talks about entire foot length blisters at 30 miles. And being down for a week. I once had a nail head pop up from the heel of my jump boots on a twelve miler, and it hobbled me for about a week. My recommendation would be go let your body tell you the right pace, and pay attention to the conversation with your feet. It might take a day or two longer than planned, but arriving alive is more important than arriving at a particular time. Also, having a buddy along for the walk provides additional security during nap times. If you know a neighbor who works near you, coordinating the return home ahead of time is a good idea.

  24. At age 60 I decided ( against my wife admonitions who thought I would die ) to test my BOB ( weight of 38 lbs ) and hike a 10 Mile route to see how long it would take me. This was up and down several hills, though not cross country. I did not want to sit down at all and just keep moving at a moderat pace, This took me 3 hours and 20 minutes, and the last 3 miles were arduous, to say the least. Now of course my GHB weighs far less, so a feel 25 miles in one day is not beyond my capabilities. I walk every day up a hill and back, brisk for 30 minutes. Your fitness level is very key to your ability to put 50 miles down in 2 days. Your average overweight American can’t do this. Socks and your footwear are also key aspects of this trek home. The blisters mentioned by other commmenters are to be heeded.

    I also feel cutting fences is a bad idea. If you are cutting my fence perimeter I have to assume your intentions are hostile and will act accordingly. So I would not do the same in my journey.

    1. I wouldn’t cut private property fences. I am quite clear on this. Municipal properties, Water, and Cell Phone Towers. I want to avoid people not agitate them. I appreciate the feed back.

  25. Both articles were excellent! many great comments and additional ideas but I think BM covered it as well as it can be covered . Any situation like this will have variables- the bike suggestions can be well utilized unless of course your best route home in down railroad tracks then a bike would be a hindrance. I think his estimate of covering the 50 miles is two days is reasonable. He, like I, have experienced forced marches while serving in the Marines and so have a little insight here. Semper Fi- BM

  26. A bicycle will amplify your physical capability by a factor of 3. You can go 3x further, 3x faster and carry 3x the load. If you cut your estimated foot journey by 3, you don’t need to carry as many supplies. London and Tokyo both experienced GBH events and the first thing to sell out was bicycles.
    Carry a folding bike in your car, stash one at the office or figure out in advance the best place to purchase one. Get a lock, pump, spare inner tube and simple repair kit if you can. Get paper map and compass.
    Team up and travel in convoy if possible.
    Experience shows that people do cooperate in these circumstances.
    Before you leave, get hold of as much water as you will need and also hydrate yourself completely. On cold days get your last hot drink inside you.

    Everyday commuter riders commonly ride 2×10 miles daily. Non riders may hurt beyond 10 miles. Keep pedalling in an easy low gear and adjust the bike to fit as well as possible. If you have a luggage rack, let the bike carry the load.

  27. Great article, good points. As I read it I kept thinking about the “Golden Hour” of heart attacks. If you have a heart attack you want to get to hospital within the first “Golden 60 Minutes” which dramatically increases your odds of survival. Same here with this 50 Mile Get Home Trek. I’m thinking “speed, speed, speed” get home before most people know what’s up, before most people know enough to really panic. So, better than walking 50 miles is bicycling 50 miles, and just keep pedaling until you get home. Don’t stop, don’t sleep, just keep going. Aim for 5 mph and try to knock it out in 10 hours, even into the night.

    Or, if your route includes pavement, perhaps roller-blades. You could easily go 10 mph with roller blades.

    Better than those would be a little EMP-proof moped or scooter, better still a dirt motorcycle. These might let you go up to 20 mph. In which case you could maybe get home before the real panic sets in, while people are still “waiting for the lights to come back on” or the “solar storm to end” etc. Point is, I don’t think normally law-abiding people are going to be hijacking or ambushing travelers in the first 5 hours, maybe even the first 12 hours.

    1. I was thinking along similar lines re: a motorcycle.
      A dual-sport would be my first choice, although a scooter should work. Both have headlights if you need them. Definitely something small and QUIET. No straight-piped Harleys.
      You would be able to slip through the stalled traffic and by the time they noticed you, you’d be gone.
      This is “assuming” (there’s that word again) that it would run after a CME/EMP.
      Most of the pre-1980 or so units had points or ran off straight magneto.

  28. A well thought out and well written article. I think I read all the comments, and no one mentioned a certain way to obtain water, if there is none available. I know it sounds disgusting, and would be a last resort, but you can drink your own urine, even better would be to filter through a life straw (and probably only the first urine after the event).

    For an idea of what could be the situation, should we suffer from and EMP, ya’ll may want to watch the series, DAILY BREAD,

  29. Some have suggested food isn’t needed in this 48 hour event. Try going 48 hours without food and continue to work. Food is fuel. The freeze-dried food is light weight, caloric, and actually tastes like food. You do need water to reconstitute it which echos what others have said about the importance of water. Staying hydrated is critical.

  30. I have a little different scenario than EMP to plan for. I’m out gold mining, the car has broken down, and I’m 20 miles from the nearest paved road, and another 20 in to town, and no cell service. My pack is built on water, shelter, and then food for 3-4 days. I carry a full clear 1 liter bottle of water, and a repurposed 1 liter Mt Dew bottle. After the clear and green bottle are drunk, the green bottle becomes the unfiltered water bottle for the Sawyer filter. In the pack, I have a small pot for melting snow or boiling water. I also keep a hexamine stove for heating. I also have a lighter, magnesium bar, tinder sticks, and hurricane matches. Shelter is a roll of visqueen large enough to make a tube tent and fly. I also have a emergency sleeping bag (50 deg), large metallized blanket, and 3 space blankets. The space blankets can also be used as reflectors for a fire. For food, I keep 4 2600 cal blocks of food.

    On the move, I can do about 5 miles in 1:20. After that, I’ll need a liter of water, maybe some food, and about an hour rest, before doing it again. I only expect 20 miles per day to give enough time to set camp for the night. Prepping a good bed for the night can be time consuming, but remember, you need 7 times the insulation below you than you need above. I watched many soldiers freeze in their extreme cold weather bags for failing to insulate properly below them.

  31. John Lovell (USArmy Ranger, Retired) says that on missions they learned to just pack a food “gel.” I guess it’s got a very compact form of calories and usable energy, takes up little space, weighs little and a number of them will get you through a day or two. Not appetizing, but you won’t die, and you won’t run out of energy.

  32. I’m a Canadian so carrying a pistol/revolver is Verboten!!! I would take my JR takedown in 9mm or my Keltec sub 2000 breakdown instead. Your general ideas are great and well thought out. I would add a couple of space blankets or space bags for the nights as we don’t always have the warmest nights even in summer. For you issues with a fire, I agree, most people would make them too big and bright. I have a Kelly Kettle kit that uses a small fire and can heat water as well. A tad bulky but not heavy. To that I would also add a Life Straw or some such as water sources during an EMP event could be questionable. Also something to remember is cooking discipline. The smell of rations or coffee can carry a long way and will attract unwanted attention. JMHO.

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