Abandoning Home, by Francis

This essay is not about survival skills in their basic form. Rather, this is a gedankenexperiment about abandoning suburbia and getting us somewhere safely in the event of TEOTWAWKI. This is often called “Bugging Out” in the current parlance. Thus, I consider us not preppers but semi-preppers.

I’ve previously written in SurvivalBlog about our preparations for survival. Because of recent events, we are concerned about our extended family’s safety. I could kick myself for not purchasing the SurvivalBlog Archive USB stick that was offered back in January.

Because of the most recent events of the riots (the mainstream media would have you believe they are mostly “peaceful protests”) and the lawlessness occurring in cities and rural areas, we have concluded that we must take more aggressive actions to ensure our safety. Specifically, we must be prepared to abandon our home. Blocking of Interstates, roadways and central cities has led us to look at our bug out bags as needed — but not enough. The shootings and riots in Democrat-controlled cities is far beyond being too high. Those cities have a culture problem which besides shooting someone for any reason, includes graft and corruption; though I take little comfort in knowing some areas of the country are controlled by Republicans. We are no longer a Constitutional Republic. We are an oligarchy. Neither major political party should be proud.

What if we have to abandon our home?

Soooo… What if we have to abandon our home?

While I believe we are in for a financial collapse (we are presently creating more money than the Weimar Republic) I now believe the country is falling apart and our leaders are not going to take any action to control things. This is not normal for America. I really do miss the America that was always striving to improve — but now seems listless.

While I don’t feel these happenings are messages from the Lord, I do believe He gave us enough intelligence to stop procrastinating, which we have been doing, and get a shift on.

We’ve decided to be prepared to leave in a hurry by that I mean a few days loading, coordinating with family members, and so forth. So, how to do that?

We have two vehicles, one a SUV and the other a sedan. How to carry out of here what we feel we need to take with us?

Our situation:

All our children and grandchildren live in a southern city near the city center. We moved from a $90,000 home near Buffalo, New York to an area in The Carolinas to be near our children and grandchildren. We live near the outskirts of the city in a town…… suburbia. I’m 74 years old and my wife is 69 years old. I used to think we have a good retirement but it will be for naught as the country collapses financially and politically. God was abandoned by many of my generation (the Baby Boomers) but we have not abandoned Him, nor will we ever, nor will He abandon us.


We will never leave our children and grandchildren. They come with us, or we don’t leave.

  1. The equity in our house (it’s less than 8 years old, our mortgage rate is very low) is part of our diversifying our finances and represents a significant portion of our assets. In a dangerous situation, we will have to walk away from this–ABANDONMENT.
  2. We have too many assets that we need to take with us to fit in two cars.
  3. Bugging out with two backpacks strikes us as not enough, thus we will need several days to load up and leave. Which brings us to how to do that and what conveyance to use and what to take?
  4. Where to go? We have relatives 2-1/2 hours away in a rural area and friends over 3-1/2 hours in a really rural area and we asked and they are open to all of us living with them when things get really bad. But suppose we cannot get to their homes. Witness the Interstates and other roads being blocked. Will taking country roads suffice? My next article will cover how we intend to find other routes to our friends’ and relatives or not making it there, just stopping somewhere remote.

We cannot park a used recreational vehicle or trailer in our driveway, because of Homeowners Association (HOA) rules. But we can park a small utility trailer in our garage and leave one of our cars outside in the driveway.

Thus, we will be using a utility trailer. First, we needed a standard hitch and wiring for the SUV. We just had that installed. This cost just over $400, installed. One of our children also has a very large SUV with a standard trailer hitch and wiring.

Some Key Decisions (in no particular order):

  • How much (by weight and volume) are we taking? We are going to purchase a utility trailer. We looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Tractor Supply and Northern Tool, the best ratings information is posted on Lowe’s website, some of it is not complimentary.
  • What type of trailer and how to determine what load it can take and what our SUV can reasonably tow?
  • Can we also put a cargo carrier on the sedan we have? If so, then is it worth doing?
  • If the decision is made to abandon our homes, how much time will it take to coordinate with all family members, to load up and leave? More importantly, what will cause us to start the clock ticking for abandonment?
Issues and Rationale

A.) We walk around the house now and identify what should go with us. The list by room and garage keeps getting longer. An issue as simple as what food to take, what should we take that needs to be frozen? Will we need to sew? Do we need spices? A lot depends on our ability to get to our two primary locations. We have determined about 60% of the weight of what we will take and its size (volume). We are reworking this constantly on a spreadsheet – making the list smaller (you will change your mind!). I’m an engineer and found the easiest way to determine weight is to use a reliable bathroom scale and pick up the item and weigh it and myself, subtract my weight, then measure the volume. We put most of what we are carrying in large shoebox size plastic clear containers, labeled.

How much weight can our SUV tow? The maximum trailer weight (and contents) for our SUV is 1,500 lbs, thus the constant removal of items from our spreadsheet. Our current math comes to 1,110 lbs for firearms, ammunition, long term food, water, small generator and several cans of gasoline. We obviously will be taking more with us. Adding 375 lbs for the trailer weight brings us to 1,485 lbs. We’d like to stay within these parameters although we are sure there is more usable weight since the manufacturers have a safety factor for this. The vehicle capacity weight is 900 lbs; one passenger will weigh 150 lbs, giving us an additional 750 lbs. Here, I need your help. The weight of the trailer on the hitch pushing down (tongue weight) is assumed to be 150 lbs. Do I discount this weight from the 750 lbs I calculate as excess to the maximum load in the SUV? I’ve checked online and called several utility trailer companies, retail outlets and I get different answers. I know precision isn’t really necessary but I may go over the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many on the Internet have stated they do, with no apparent problem.

B. ) What size and type of utility trailer? It has to be open, covered with a tarp (weight issue!). Looking at those sold by Lowe’s gives us a “Carry-On Trailer 5-ft x 8-ft Wire Mesh Utility Trailer with Ramp Gate” costing $870 +/- to include plywood flooring and sides, except the cost of registration and inspection. This trailer is single axle. The manufacturer recommends that 60% of the trailer weight be forward of the axle with 40% to the rear. Thus the care in weighing and sizing items in the trailer. This will fit in our garage where we can load without prying eyes. Since I’ve never pulled a trailer in our SUV, I want to follow as close as practical to the recommendations.

C.) Can we put a cargo carrier on our sedan if needed? The occupant and cargo capacity is 825 lbs. Discounting the 130 lb driver, we have 695 lbs of weight that we can take. The cost to purchase and install a cargo carrier with rails will be about $325. This can only be justified if we have a volume problem; I mean putting light bulky items in the sedan will drive the need for a cargo carrier if we stay within the 825 lb maximum.

D.) How much time will it take for us to load up the utility trailer and cars? It appears that we will need at least four days from the moment we all agree to leave. This may take longer. We have tried to take items in our garage as if we had the trailer and have seen how long it takes. Four days seems reasonable. We will not be able to fully “preload” the trailer, since in The South most of what we will be taking with us needs a controlled temperature. And I realize once we are on the road that will not be the case.

E.) What will start the clock ticking? Over the history of mankind, great civilizations have failed; we are not special in that regard. The largest single event will be financial collapse, but perhaps not in the way we may think. Banks and businesses will fail. Trucking and delivery companies fail. Stores will have fewer items for sale. The government will freeze all bank accounts, et. That’s a clue that we are toooooo late! As events move toward the Presidential Election I believe it’s going to get sporty. We have to coordinate with other family members to include face to face meetings. This will not be an instantaneous decision and will take several meetings.

My concern is that we may wait too long and all the roads will be clogged and we will lose the opportunity to leave. Thus we have to assume that about the time we decide to abandon our homes, the Interstate highway system will be clogged. This is where we have to prepare alternate egress routes, which I will describe in a subsequent article. Leaving too soon could create dissension in our family. The other issue is if we decide to abandon, where will the rest of the city and our neighbors be? We really have no milestone or definitive plan that will guide us as to when to leave except any major disruption to include what is discussed above and no water, no power, lack of gasoline, lack of food, et cetera. Even then our “leaders” will give us incorrect information. Read: They will lie. While I believe in most instances most people are civilized and decent, I’ve seen a crowd, mob, group, etc of people turn incredibly mean and nasty as they feed on each other.

F.) When I was in the Army I was tasked with training troops. The Army way was “Tell them what you’re going to tell them”, “Tell them”, now, “Tell them what you told them”; the idea was that at least 70 % of what was presented will be retained. Thus I’m somewhat repetitive. I do read a book at least three times as it’s surprising what I miss with just one reading,

After all of the aforementioned, I’m not providing just this information as an update or a blueprint as to what to do. Again, it is a gedankenexperiment. Please provide comments as to where our holes are within the parameters that I’ve discussed and where you think we are doing well.


  1. There are these marvelous things called Conex containers. They can be used as is, for bulk storage of grain and other non-perishable foods, clothing, soap, tools, seeds, etc that you would not have to pack into your vehicles. Pre-positioned equipment.
    You can modify them for living quarters. They are sturdy, and relatively cheap. buy as many as you need and position them with your very rural family/friends. You will be more welcome there if you aren’t eating their stuff.
    Cut in and install industrial steel man doors. Solar powered attic fans. Wood stove. Kitchen. Bath. Add a septic tank. Solar power. Insulate it. Stock it to the gills.

      1. Pre-positioned Equipment, this may be an idea if you own the land, but relatives and/or friends that live some distance away most likely ain’t gonna want your Conex container sitting on their property, waiting for an event that may or may not happen. And the Author says that the relatives and and friends are open to ALL of them living with them when the event happens. My question would be, how many is all of them? These friends and relatives may not be all that happy when a whole hoard shows up at there door and then where do you go. Just a thought. Trekker Out

        1. Francis said they would not leave without all their kids and grandkids. It would be better if they did, rather than lose everyone because they all waited too long.

          If only some will leave in time, at least the rest will know there is a safe place to get to when they do decide to leave.

          Since at least one will decide to wait too long, this could be the end of the whole family.

          Also, more reluctant people are more likely to leave sooner if they see others are leaving. The more the others wait, the longer the reluctant will stay.

          Taking the willing first will save some of the family, and has a better chance of saving all of them in the long run.

    1. Unfortunately this is a limiting factor. We don’t want land, our thinking is that in a “TEOTWAWKI” scenario, who owns land is immaterial. We do not want to be tied to a specific area.

      1. Francis… You’re asking a very interesting questions in all of this!

        First… What is the scenario?
        Next… What does the crisis part of the scenario look like?
        Followed by… Over what time period does the crisis part of the scenario unfold?

        None of us really know, although we all try to imagine because we are doing our best to be prepared.

        Your article has generated a huge amount of conversation, and the exchange of ideas. From what I’m reading, I understand you’re thoughts include 1) a financial crisis; 2) followed by the need to evacuate; and 3) a disruption substantial enough to make the ownership of property impractical or undesirable or irrelevant.

        I would be interested in hearing more about how you envision the timeline — the folding of “1” to “3” (assuming I have read your notes correctly).

  2. Nice thinking, but maybe you should consider selling your house and move to NW Georgia in the mountains, and free of a overbearing HOA.

    In a mass exodus when SHTF, folks towing a utility trailer with an SUV with a rooftop carrier will be targeted by the marauders.

    1. From your post: “In a mass exodus when SHTF, folks towing a utility trailer with an SUV with a rooftop carrier will be targeted by the marauders.”

      You make a very good point!

  3. You asked on the article so here ya go…

    Tongue weight is also required to be in the weight of cargo for taking vehicle.

    So if your tongue weight is (hypothetically) 700 pounds and your vehicular max is 2000 pounds you now have a max load in your vehicle of 1300 pounds and that includes passengers and full tank of gas.

    So 700 pound tongue weight +
    Two occupants (people are counted at OSHA as 200 pounds so I use that) 400 pounds +
    Full tank gas (call it 20 gallons) 120 pounds

    Leaves you with 1220 as your load or just shy of 800 lbs cargo left.

    Check your vehicle’s ratings to see if the load include things like gas and people to be sure.

    Most suv modern trucks lie about their capacity there isn’t a safety margin. They use the numbers from thier one best vehicle and call that max if you only go by their numbers you will be dangerously over loaded in a bug out situation.
    They overstate by a fair Martine because it’s advertisement… It’s a commercial. They get away with it as no one loads that high

  4. Also don’t forget you trailer towing load counts for the weight of the trailer its self.

    If your max towing is 3000 pounds (V6 explorer) and your trailer weighs 1000 then it’s load maximum is 2000.

    The max load also requires (not polightly requests) the use of stabilizers and weight distribution hitches

  5. Forward placement of assets. If you trust those you are going to take you in when things “Get REALLY Bad” then forward placement of a lot of what your discussing NOW. Your assuming that the highway blockers don’t feel the need to ROB your heavily loaded caravan. A bad preconception.

    Matthew 24:18

    The Abomination of Desolation
    …17Let no one on the housetop come down to retrieve anything from his house. 18And let no one in the field return for his cloak. 19How miserable those days will be for pregnant and nursing mothers!…

    Pray for wisdom as clearly you don’t think it’s going to get “Really Bad” REALLY FAST as in the above scriptures. Less than 90 days until chaos in November.

  6. If a real bug out situation happens, you are not going to have time to make a list and check it twice. You need a place to bug out to as of today, not a maybe place to go. You are thinking of to much to carry , food, water, clothes and self protection.

    Have you thought of buying a rv? If not all of your family members are going to bug out with you, then you need to rethink your situation.

    1. As my Mother and Grandmother would say, “Time to have a Come to Jesus talk.” Are your kids going to bug out? It sounds like you haven’t really talked about it, or they haven’t decided. What items would they bring and is there room?

      Do they have a place to park an RV? If so, that is a very real possibility for people and stuff space.

      Exit strategy? County roads are a major Blessing. I would definitely drive a couple of the routes first. Some of the smaller bridges in that part of the world are not rebuilt.

      1. Good thoughts, Dan, and wanted to expand on the idea of county roads. We periodically send the best quality up-to-date maps to our oldest adult son and his wife (a set for each of their vehicles, and to be kept in those vehicles). We also study routes between their home and ours (which is the family bug-out), and create supplementary maps with specific route options. It might be dark, or stormy… There could be fear, even panic… Our goal is to share resources with our son and daughter-in-law that will help deliver them safely here.

      2. My husband and I have been looking at rvs for some time, for use as a bug out option. We’ve decided against it as they are useless without hookups…black/grey water,etc. Once you run out of propane and gas, nothing will work.

        1. One option that might work for some would be land ownership with hook-ups in place for the camper or RV, but I realize this will apply probably to a limited few!

  7. Consider spending more for lighter trailer… https://www.alumaklm.com/utility/single-axle.

    All trailers do not tow the same, I have a 5×10 steel bed generic utility trailer from local source, tows like crap with any wt. on it at all. 1,000 # is terrible. With the same smaller SUV, I pull my 5×8 mobile home axel homemade trailer with 2′ sides AND a “stock trailer” topper all 2″ angle iron, 3/4″ plywood. A MUCH heavier trailer, but it pulls MUCH better with 1,500# in it than the much lighter trailer does with even 500#. PRACTICE/ TRY OUT in advance !

    Do NOT load to max., in the scenario’s you are planning for, you may well need to be maneuverable… you do not want your suv wallowing around.

    How about pre-position duplicates of the heavier items at both of your possible bug out locations ? Generator, bulk ammo ? I would assume a long gun and hand gun for each family member… would in IN the vehicles with them, so not in the trailer ???

    Does another family member has a place for a second trailer (since one has an SUV with trailer hitch) ?

    I split the difference with the above comment: have all essentials IN the trailer, so that just trailer and each of your (3-day?) bags would be the essentials, even if you have to buy duplicates, but then having your list for the “would be really nice to have” and then pick “storage” systems for those that both work well for every day use but can just be picked up and loaded (spices you really want in one ‘spice rack’, all the rest beside them….

    I do agree 4 days ??? I would suggest travel time for other family to get to you plus 40 minutes…. expect 4 hours…. to grab essentials (list #1, and PRACTICE), then IF you think you have more time have a list #2…….

    1. Good point but by our calculations, we’ll be under total loads by 500 lbs. If I can add right. don’t want to preposition as we are not sure where we will go.

  8. IMHO, your estimate of taking 4 days to pack and get ready when the entire family agrees to bug out is a plan to fail. We addressed this years ago with other contingency plans. Here are some ideas that you can modify to fit your family.

    1. Consider renting a climate control facility near where you want to bug out. Thus the majority of your supplies will be there. Your trailer or a second trailer can be left pre-packed…thus you go, hook up and drive away to the final bug out location. No need to pack and take with you everything from home.
    2. Consider buying a shipping container and pre-position at the bug out location. You can build out the insides so it liveable prior to your arrival. Its secure storage, has lots of room and can hold the majority of your supplies. I recognize you live in the south…hot and humid. So have at your expense installed an electrical hook up, and have air conditioning in your container. An alternate, You can buy mini-splits (heat and ac) that can by installed you with no real special equipment. Yes more expensive, but often folks are too cheap to recognize what the advantages are to this. If you or your family are handy, much of this work can be done by yourself. Youtube videos exist on this topic. Local contractors are usually available for side work if needed.
    3. Have you inquired with your future bug out locations, if they have space? Presuming no…then consider buying a shed that is built like a cabin. Can be located just about anywhere, built out and that can hold your supplies also. They look nice and have instant visual appeal. The electrical option with heat/ac in item two above, would also apply here. Thus your supplies would be on location, and in a safe climate controlled environment.

    My goal is not to criticize, but to get you to think out of the box. Perhaps family will share in the costs? Labor? Help with supply purchases? I pray for the best for you and your family.

    1. The storage unit is a great option if you can’t pre-position gear at the bugout location. You could probably spend the night there, too, if necessary.

      I just rented a 5’x12′ dual-axle U-haul cargo trailer to move food and ammo to a new home in the mountains and we exceeded its gross weight before it was half full. Convinced me that this is not viable method for bugging out. 5-gallon pails and #10 cans are HEAVY in any decent quantity. And that’s before you talk ammo.

    2. Great suggestions, Ironman. We have a storage shed which was insulated and then finished on the interior with plywood for sturdiness, to prevent animal and insect incursion, and to provide added climate control. To it we added a dehumidifier… Living in the Foothills of Appalachia, we understand the humidity of the South. …and this has really worked for us. The humidity control makes a tremendous difference (about 10 degrees) in the interior temperature.

    3. It really depends upon when we decide to abandon our home. Our current home is the rally point.

      Don’t want to use a storage unit, considered and discarded as not close enough.

  9. As Tuesday said, you need a definitive bug-out location. Start deep stocking that location now, so that you don’t actually have to carry that much when the time comes. Perhaps you don’t need the trailer. Give some thought to actually moving there now, and be ready to receive your children and grandchildren if the situation continues to deteriorate.

    1. Actually, we disagree with having a definitive bug-out location. This will be like a battle. All plans are useless when the shooting starts. Our plan is to decide well before the shooting starts.

      1. Most folks won’t be too welcoming of a caravan of underprepared extra mouths to feed showing up to their property. I wouldn’t count on receiving a warm welcome unless you’ve made previous arrangements with them. They also need to know the scope of who is showing up, not just you and your wife, but possibly a whole caravan.

        Also, driving an SUV with a trailer and rooftop carrier in WTSHTF scenario will place a target for the bad guys right on your vehicle. You may be well armed, but evasive maneuvers will be nearly impossible if you are top-heavy and pulling a trailer. All it takes is for them to shoot out your tires and you become sitting ducks.

        I appreciate the thought you are putting into this, but felt I should offer a counterpoint so that you aren’t sheep heading straight into the slaughter.

  10. Stores will run out of food in one to two days. Your odds of getting out of a city with vehicles and trailers in four days is pretty much nil. The trailer will make you a target in itself. Traveling in one vehicle would allow you to have a navigator, eyes free to scan for problems and someone to provide self defense. Perhaps you need two plans: a four day plan taking everything you deem wise, and a one day plan with essentials to save your family if need be. Using larger containers and a dolly to load will speed things up. Color coding your containers by priority or possibly weight may speed up loading in a stressful time. Staging your containers in the garage if you think things are getting close to a bug out condition might help. I think time and stress are your enemy during a bug out scenario. Praying for wisdom as you prep.

    1. During the last panic. The store was out of canned food in 6 hours. They had to put Police officers in a store because grown adults couldn’t be civil and act like adults.
      During a panic. Stay out of the stores. Stay away from gas station lines.
      Go now. Preposition your gear NOW.
      Don’t die out on the Highway.

  11. The real problem, as you’ve indicated is when to leave. The vast majority of people will wait until the event or situation occurs before deciding to make the move.
    By then, it will likely be too late.

    1. That is a good point. A surprising book by William Shirer,
      Berlin Dairy” recounts Germany in the 1930’s as a correspondent. It goes over the disaster as Germany becomes more controlled by the Nazis. My guide will not be the MSM, we follow this blog and several others plus check other reliable sources.

  12. As far as the tongue weight on the trailer, it depends on the axle(s) location and how you load it. Double axle trailers are heavier and more expensive but easier to load such that most of the weight is riding on the trailer axles and not in the tongue.
    A properly balanced trailer pulls easier and will make the tow vehicle easier and more comfortable to drive as well as getting better fuel mileage.
    An improperly balanced trailer can actually be dangerous to pull, causing swaying that increases in oscillation until you lose control of the tow vehicle.
    For light utility trailers you only want enough tongue weight to “load” the rear suspension of the tow vehicle, but not squat it more than a few inches. If the vehicle is pushed down such that the rear is near the stops and the front is riding high, that’s excessive tongue weight.
    Heaviest items go directly over the axle. Moderate weight items go in front. Only light items should go in back, or maybe a few moderately heavy items (like extra gas you want fast access to) with lightweight items stacked on top.
    This should be tested until you have a good idea how to properly load the trailer for each tow vehicle, it will be different.
    Hope this helps.

  13. After 7 heart attacks I understand why one’s mind goes into denial. It is a psychological circuit breaker that keeps the mind from being overwhelmed with fear. Yet at the same time this phenomena can be detrimental and cause us not to take action. During the first instance, instead of calling the ambulance, I drove myself to the hospital. In another instance, I took no action at all. I am only alive today because of His mercy and intervention. I should be very dead.

    The warning signs are now in your face obvious. If you are not taking action, you are in a dangerous state of denial. If people are not already headed out of the big city, plan on leaving most of your stuff behind, that is if of course, IF you can make the decision to leave at all. Been there, done that, and know from waaay too much experience.

    1. “I am only alive today because of His mercy and intervention.”

      WOW, seven… I can’t imagine. We are very grateful He granted you those things!!

      Your point about denial is well taken. My father has also tried to drive himself to ER during cardiac events–luckily headed off by my mother who jumped in the driver’s seat.

      1. Hi Bear,

        Thank you for the kind thought.

        The point is that I am well versed in how my mind reacts, and perhaps how some people may also must deal with the phenomena. We should be aware that when faced with overwhelming and life changing circumstances, that the mind can invent excuses and distort the reasoning process in order maintain a sense of homeostasis, that is often referred to as a “normalcy bias”, or the feeling, or emotion that everything is okay, that there is no reason act otherwise, when the truth could be that our life is in danger, and unusual action is necessary. It is a kind of an altered state with shades of gray, or levels of denial. One can acknowledge the threat and dismiss it a moment latter. I am remarkably calm during a heart attack, or when there is an emergency of any sort. In a way, that is a good thing, yet it can be also a bad thing. We should be honest with ourselves, and ask why we are doing, or not doing something that is obviously justified by the facts.

    2. Appreciate your comments. We will not leave our children and grandchildren. Before or at the time of things getting sporty, we’ll rally at our house, then decide from there.

  14. You are overthinking and overestimating the amount of time you will have. Get the trailer today. Load it and get it to your bugout location now! When the SHTF you will not have days. You may not have hours, but only minutes to get out. Talk to the kids and set up a meeting place out of town. Do not wait for several meetings to try to get everyone on the same page or everyone will be DEAD!

    Almost all the indicators you listed for bugging out already exist. Talk to your kids NOW!

    Quit being a technical engineer and get busy doing instead of thinking.

  15. I’ve been going through the same thought processes this year. I live within commuting distance of a major liberal urban area on the West coast (the failed state of the People’s Republic of Seattle). I bought vacant rural property in the heart of the American Redoubt 4 years ago and have been building my retirement home on it. I feel like I’m two years behind schedule. Every trip back there, I take more of my preps. I’m always wrestling with how much to keep here near the city in case I have to “bug in” for a period of time. My retreat home is not winter survivable yet. My income is here near the city. I need the income to complete the project. My goal has been to get enough done by this October so that I can bug out there and not come back to the city if things collapse that quickly, but I’m running out of time and money to make that a reality. Difficult decisions. We do as much as we can and trust God with the rest.
    I like the idea of a pre-loaded trailer. It could make all the difference if “fleeing to the hills” becomes needful. Routes over the Cascades are limited and that is one of my main concerns. When it becomes obvious that it is time to get out of Dodge, I may have only hours, not days, to get ahead of the mad crush on the mountain passes (only five in summer, three in winter). Only one of those passes is an interstate. On any normal holiday weekend they are all jammed. Where I live, I only have the practical choice of two of those passes (more likely, just one) – getting to any of the others takes me through too much densely population urban/suburban areas. In a major emergency it could be more useful to take a trail and hike over the mountains, since the highways will be killing zones. NOT fun to contemplate, since that would become a truly epic survival situation.

    1. Where we intend to go has alot of supplies, we are going to be guests and will take plenty of food, some gasoline, firearms and ammunition (some for trade), junk silver, gold, etc. We always take a git when we are invited to dinner, we’ll do the same if we have to abandon our home.

  16. Do you really think in a SHTF situation your HOA cares about a trailer in your driveway? Normalcy bias. We could possibly be many months from an event like you are concerned about, so why wouldn’t you be proactive rather than reactive, and get your home on the real estate market NOW (especially at the rather low value of your home…it could very likely sell quickly) , and begin shopping for a modest home in a rural community NOW? Because you are concerned about “family depression”? You’re dead with that thinking and are no different from millions of other people still checking their lists..

    Frustrating to read this article.

    1. The SHTF hasn’t happened yet, they won’t care if it does but it hasn’t yet and they will remove it, we agreed to that when we bought the house.

      Don’t be frustrated. We cannot afford land or a second house. We will stay if necessary, we will not leave our children and grandchildren. Life would mean very little without them.

  17. Thank you for the article.

    Might I suggest that to what ever location you plan to bug out, you will be bringing a very valuable resource: your training as an engineer. You are most likely an excellent problem solver and that will be a valuable skill in any retreat location. What items/tools could you bring that would improve your ability to contribute the years of experience gained to a new community?

    1. Good point. I think the best we can bring, besides the material things is critical thinking. I have no problem with anyone being critical of what we plan. As an example I recently read the over 70% of people who got the Wuhan virus were left with heart problems (a story in the JAMA, of which only 16% of doctors are members. Well, close to 50% of people over 70 have some form of heart problem. BUT, the testing for the Wuhan virus is widely inaccurate.

  18. Interest rates are low for home buyers. May be time to ditch the house while you can and move to a location that doesn’t have a homeowners association, where you can park what you want in your driveway. Haul everything you own to your new location and be done with it.

  19. Francis,

    From the 30,000 foot view, your plan has numerous holes in it which many here are attempting to point out (some with more grace than others)…

    You are 74, foresee a storm coming, and yet you have a mortgage on a home you intend to abandon. Why is this?

    You state, “We will never leave our children and grandchildren. They come with us, or we don’t leave.” Why do you need a 100% consensus to leave? This mindset will most likely ensure everyone’s death. Again, why? Seems to me you have the precious opportunity to be the patriarchal family leader staring you in the face…

    “The maximum trailer weight for our SUV is 1,500 pounds.” If you really think you will bug out, why don’t you have a more capable vehicle?

    If your “Plan A” is to leave, then 90% of what you intend to take should already be pre-positioned at your BOL. You should travel light and fast, because in all likelihood you won’t have the “several days to load up and leave” that your plan requires.

    My Plan A (98%) is to bug-in. If some of my family shows up, hallelujah. If a very select few of my close friends show up, double hallelujah!

    My Plan B (leaving-2% chance) would only happen if there were a sizable nuclear event or two close enough to us to render the land and waterways unlivable for a significant period of time. In that case we will travel “light & fast” in a heavily-armed caravan with enough fuel and supplies for 3 days. There are VERY little of our precious preps we will be able to take with us if we bug-out, but our preps are not as important as our lives – not even close. If we haven’t made the 500 mile journey to our BOL in 3 days, we’re likely not going to.

    1. Well, that’s the balance. It is not a disaster yet. If things get markedly worse, we all rally at our house. This HOA is armed to the teeth. Over several hundred homes. I agree with your 98 vs 92.
      The mortgage on the home is part of our asset diversity (that’s a long story for another time.
      We will not preposition.

  20. The writing is on the wall already, look at the major cities around the country? You think anything along the eastern seaboard will be any different? What if a hurricane comes through and blasts all modern transport (i.e. roads and bridges, etc.)
    You’ve thought a lot of this halfway through, but made a lot of assumptions that could prove critical. What if you don’t get ‘a few days’ to prepare to leave? What if you’re faced with a situation like the McCloskeys and a mob marches down your street and sets up camp outside of your neighbor’s? You’re just going to load up and quietly pull out of your driveway with an SUV and trailer loaded down passed the mob… Right.

    What will be your trigger to make the call? What will it take to convince you THIS IS THE MOMENT, and it’s time to pull up stakes and boogie for the hills? The frog in the pot kept saying it’s just a little warmer, it’s not too bad… until he was cooked. The same will happen to you with this scenario. They don’t impose martial order in one fell swoop, it comes in a thousand cuts, and by the time you realize it, it’s too late.

    … And you REALLY think your friends in the mountains (and their neighbors, and neighbor’s neighbors), won’t have a problem w/ a caravan of suburbanites coming into their safe space?

    Man, as a former Western New Yorker myself (Tonawanda, baby!), I think you’ve been lulled into assumptions about people and behaviors that simply aren’t true. Folks do strange things when they are scared, angry, or in a mob. They fanned out from Portland to the suburbs in ONE DAY, the violence in Chicago took hours this weekend.

    Try examining your plans without the assumption you have warning. In the backyard on Saturday w/ the grandkids enjoying a BBQ, their parents are gone for a weekend getaway, you’re babysitting.

    “Honey, what’s that noise out front?”

    OK, go:

    1. K in TN is correct; you will ruin two good friendships if you impose on them, no matter what they say. I know from experience; you expect your friends to accommodate you, provide water and electricity, and help you set up. If you cannot contribute money, food, weapons, seeds and garden work and be some what self-sufficient, they won’t want you around for long.

    2. Good points. Consider the fact the greatest threats to you and yours are within 5 miles of where you live. That is how I and my tribe look at things. And, we live in the Gem State, just over the line from Spokane County. My wife is a semi-invalid and we have not planned to bug out. We have nowhere to go. Instead, we have gone gray, accumulated plenty of needful things, and have done enough recon to establish fields of fire and fallback plans. Plus, we have plenty of gun-toting white neighbors who are ready for the worst. Get your minds right, NC. Your HOA is the LEAST of your worries.

    3. As I see it, the election will tell all. I think we are a long way from bugging out. (probably 6 months to 1 year.)
      Under any circumstances, our first choice will be to shelter in place.

  21. I’d ‘jailbreak’ that real estate yesterday. The sheep who flock to these HOA conformity camps are gonna be the place the big bad wolf goes eventually.

  22. Ya know, reading a few of the response got me to thinking about a family story… Speaking of minutes:

    My grandmother was in Berlin during WWII, she had befriended a local officer in the German Army. She was walking home from the shops w/ her younger sister one morning, they heard shelling in the distance (wasn’t uncommon at the time – aka they had become accustomed to it!), but weren’t afraid. She happened upon her officer friend who was in a panic:

    “What are you doing here?! Get to your house, get 1 bag of clothes for you and your sister and get out NOW, just start going West as fast as you can run, the Russians are advancing on this area right NOW!”

    Just coming home from the shops like she’d done a thousand times before. About one hours notice, that was it. Never saw the officer, nor her home, again.

    … So you decide it’s getting spicy, and you want to make just one more trip to the BigBox store to top up your TP supplies… except there’s a bunch of people blocking the on-ramp to the highway, and 10 cars pulled up behind you from the same light/intersection, and now you can’t go backwards to the Costco and find a different route.

    Agree with the other comments, the time for thinking is over, it’s time to act decisively.

    1. K in Tenn… Your grandmother’s story is one that should be told and retold to as many as will hear it understanding that some of those who hear will also be listening. This is exactly how emergencies unfold — often very quickly and without much warning if any at all. We all want to believe we will have time, but it’s not always so.

  23. Suitable property is becoming very scarce in rural TN. If you want to move to the country in the mountains do it now. Friends from Tampa have been looking with no luck for several weeks. A modern home with a large lot for a garden at a reasonable price in a secure area is difficult to find. There are some homes out in the country all by themselves that would be difficult to defend if the starving city folks came in volume. A long distance from a big city is important. When the roads are blocked or the gas runs out, the city folks with their overloaded bug out bags won’t go very far without a resupply of food and water. When the winter weather comes, many will die from exposure. Heading to the woods to live off the land is a fatal mistake. You must have a definite destination with supplies stockpiled. A very sad situation for this country. Doc

    1. Duane… It’s true. Suitable rural property is harder and harder to find, and the key word really is “suitable”.

      You also make the excellent point that “heading to the woods to live off the land is a fatal mistake” without reasonable preparations — stockpiled supplies, a destination determined and in place, and more.

      We have been serious preppers for many years. Even so, when the pandemic hit, we realized there were at least a few gaps in our supplies — and this even though we were tracking the virus in January, and taking additional emergency preparedness steps as quickly as we spotted the first reports.

      In this case, we have had the opportunity shore up those few gaps (not serious, but gaps nevertheless). In another situation, we might not have that opportunity. Others have used the phrase “dry run” to describe this experience, and we believe that’s about right. We are not counting on any possibility that we’ll have as much opportunity to course correct the next time around.

        1. Hello Tom! Delighted to help and will definitely follow up on this question to share experiences and ideas… Hope to get that post well organized and online at the SB by this weekend as part of the progress reports!

    2. Cannot preposition, where we are welcome, they have supplies aplenty, we will be taking trade stuffs, etc.

      We never planned to live off the land. But where we are headed is farmers, etc with plenty of land.

  24. We have been pulling trailers for many years in our various businesses and now a recreational trailer. Small SUVs cannot pull a fully loaded trailer with ease even if you stay within the recommended guidelines. Even if you install additional sway bars and had trailer brakes (which do not come on a utility trailer) any sort of vehicle speed will result in the trailer that pulls your vehicle from side to side. If you attempt to drive anywhere close to posted road speeds two things will happen. First, you will find that your stopping distance will increase greatly. The overall weight oof the trailer will compromise your ability stop quickly. Secondly, your overall control of your vehicle will be impacted significantly as well.

    Other considerations include: do you have to pull hills? Pulling a trailer reduces gas mileage. Have you backed up or practiced with a trailer? At the very least rent a trailer from Uhaul or some such organization, load it with your anticipated weight and test your vehicles performance.

  25. The problem with loading to max capacity is that your SUV/ trailer will drive like a constipated snail, especially through the mountains. You’re also more likely to give your poor SUV a stroke at the worst possible moment.

    I would put the roof rack on the sedan, because that increases your options for relatively little investment. You can also get aftermarket removable roof racks, this is what I use on my sedan.

    One of your key advantages is that you are retired. Plan a dry run and load your convoy and go visit your friends and see how it shakes out. Secondly, the biggest risk for violence center around the days immediately after the Election and on Inauguration Day (and I mean from either ‘side’) So, load up your convoy a week ahead of time and don’t be in town on those days. Probably best to already be at your destination, in case people in the country put up roadblocks. I lived deep in the country for years, and there are the same bad actors there as the city, there are just fewer of them by virtue of population density.

    If your dry run didn’t work out, why not rent a truck or van from Uhaul to do the towing?

    Lastly, you don’t want to leave your children/ grandchildren. However, consider leaving early more as an advance party situation. Your children do not have the luxury of time that you do, so you already being in place is an important asset. If you are already in place with supplies, they can leave without having to take the time to pack anything other than their go bags.

    1. Good points, I do feel that the two days you mention will be telling. Also, I anticipate a financial collapse next spring or summer.

      We won’t be an advance party, it’s all or none.

  26. Nice thing about these kinds of articles is the discussion afterwards, lots of valuable info there. You think you have all the bases covered and the commentators show you all the holes. This is a great thing……We all learn and benefit. It is hard to know when the final straw will be, so you have to be ready for it to happen…..now. We all know the saying “two is one and one is none” Guess we need to have one along the lines of “If you are waiting for TEOTWAWKI to act, you are too late” , I’m sure someone will restate this truth more eloquently. I moved to the redoubt, slowly getting ready for possible scenarios and hopefully will not be too screwed when SHTF. Many don’t realize that reacting to SHTF puts you way behind and reduces your odds, whereas pro-acting to SHTF gives you advantages.

  27. Francis: I’m going to have to side with “Freedom Loving Texan” on this. I truly think that there are a lot of “blind spots” that you aren’t seeing.

    You indicate that you have military training in your background. You know that leading by consensus will never work. “We will never leave our children and grandchildren. They come with us, or we don’t leave.” If that’s the case then you better shift your plan to “Shelter in Place,” because you are never going to get agreement from everybody to leave, or when to leave. You are not being the leader in this situation. You are depending on a lot of other peoples decisions and feelings to determine where, when and if you will bug out. If you continue down this path, I truly think that your plan is doomed to fail, and I don’t want that. The reasons have been pointed out by many of the posters above, so I don’t need to rehash them.

    I am going to suggest an alternate path completely. Shelter in place! I know that in the “survival community” it doesn’t have as good of odds for survival, but in some cases it is the best/only real choice, at least until the first wave of “whatever” has passed. Start looking at ways you can “harden” your present location. Look at the garage as a bunkhouse for the family to come to, rather than a place to keep the trailer. This will also let all the family come to your location as they finally realize that “it’s time” rather than the fights and arguments you will have trying to convince them that it’s actually time to “bug out.”

    If you haven’t already made the move to your secure location, ( heck, you don’t even have a guaranteed secure location) then it may be to late. Plan to work with what you have right now, rather than what you might have in 6 months. Realize that in the dark times that we seem to be facing, sacrifice will become the norm. Whether it’s the equity we have in our house, the food that we have stored, or even our lives to protect our family.

    Pray that the lord will give us the strength to make it through these times, and still be able to stand before him without having compromised our beliefs or forsaken him.

    1. Thank you, actually our plan has to be flexible. We have bug out bags. Next step is shelter in place. After that, if everybody agrees, we head for the hills.

      The Lone Canadian, your last sentence says it all. That is why we will not leave our children or grandchildren. We have had a wonderful life in this country, they didn’t ask to be our children or grandchildren.

  28. Brother at 74 you should be debt free
    If you have money in the bank it does no good there pay off that house if you are staying in it and not going to leave
    HOA run away from that one
    Try and find a place out in the country
    Sounds like your kids are city people they will come out for a weekend to fish or hunt or just play
    You are putting to much thought into this loading and leaving time frame
    One of the biggest things you have going for you is
    Your eyes are wide open to what is going on around you now most people do not have a clue

  29. No one is going to be willing to take in that many people for an extended amount of time without them bringing significant assets and skills. It either will not happen or will not last.

    You could sell NOW get a property with one of your children and start getting it set up. Have family rotate and visit you. Learn skills, set up your systems and get as much as you can in place.

    Or prepare to shelter in place for as long as possible.

    I sadly think that while you see the need for it, you have neither the experience nor ability to execute it in reality.

    Good to know and accept that now and work with what you can.

  30. Thank you, Francis, for writing an article that probably describes the thoughts and feelings of many people who — like you — are trying to sort out what to do and when. You’re reaching out with ideas, and calling on others who may be farther along in the preparedness process for any insights they might provide. I am quite sure you are not alone in this experience. Through the comments that have followed, you’ll hear members of the SB community expressing concern for you and your wife — and your extended family. They are urging you to gear up and get moving to a safer location.

    The biggest hurdle you may be facing is the fear of making a “wrong” choice. You clearly want to make good and timely decisions, and you love and are devoted to your family. You don’t want to do anything that will create hardship or heartbreak — or make a decision that cannot be reversed or otherwise undone if the course of events unfolding is different from that which has been predicted.

    Making decisions in the face of uncertainty is a great challenge. This is especially true in a world that — for many years — seemed to have a rather predictable course and trajectory. Conduct yourself honestly, work hard, make sound choices — and enjoy the wholesome fruits of a good life.

    Tragically, that world is not the world in which we live presently. Perhaps it never was… The world in which we actively live is filled with oh-so-many lies — and the lies are becoming ever more exposed and apparent. The realities these lies have been hiding will have — at some point — catastrophic consequences. None among us can really know when these will come, or in exactly what form, but we can know they are coming.

    Reconciling all of this involves painful and often difficult decisions, although we have found that these have become much easier for us — having separated ourselves from most of what we knew in our lives before. Our own decisions related to preparedness came years ago. Clarity is now among our greatest assets.

    Our family situation also involves multi-generational living although the primary decision making preppers in our scenario are the adult children (now north of 50) who provide care for one grandparent and a disabled adult child who remains at home — and have made provisions for other family members who will likely relocate quickly as the need arises. Essentially my husband and I are the preparedness anchor points within our family. Our oldest son and his wife are also committed to preparedness and have plans to relocate with as many supply assets as they can bring with them should a quick bug-out be required.

    Our choices have made it possible for others to maintain more ties to the world at large because we have become an important safety net. It may seem as though we’ve made great sacrifices, but what sacrifice would we not make to protect the family God has blessed us with — and we love so dearly. We would add that having made such profound lifestyle changes, wild horses could never drag us back to the life we knew before we were so fully engaged in preparedness. There was a time when we could not imagine leaving the life we knew, and now could never imagine returning to it. We are blessed beyond measure.

    Having said all of this… Within our family are those who will not join us here, and will not make any preparedness provisions. Accepting their positions is heartbreaking for us because we know that these choices may seal their fates. It’s certainly possible that they will live out their lives never facing any real hardship — that for reasons we may not know or understand, these family members will out run adversity. We also understand that these choices may be fatal. We hope that just as God will hear our cries, and receive us even at the time of our dying breath, we will stand ready to receive those family members who do not understand now — but may see the light and truly need help in a time of crisis coming.

    Our hope and prayer is that our thoughts and those of other readers will help you develop the clarity you need to make the next decisions going forward!

    1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Some wise, reassuring but non-sugarcoated words here.

      I have been feeling the urge to get out of Dodge for awhile, but I need to make sure it is the leading of the Spirit and not my own blind panic. My husband already works remotely. A house down the street just sold for almost twice what our mortgage is–and it had a smaller yard and no pool. The only things keeping us here are son’s specialized therapies and private school, which are all virtual this year anyway, so I wonder whether there’s significant difference between that and my homeschooling him. AND, the grandparents. We are very close to the grandparents, and the kids benefit greatly from them being around so much, but none of them seem at all keen to move (except one wouldn’t object if everyone else went, cause as a career Army wife that’s just what you get used to). We would also miss our church family–but again that’s been virtual and phone calls and things for months. I was shaken this morning to read a comment elsewhere here mentioning a shipment of weapons intercepted WAY too close to home. My husband says he shares my concern but seems lackadaisical about making any changes, ’cause this is a “red area” and all. Yeah, but it’s still a very heavily populated area, so being red might mean that the mess just comes to our dead-end street a little slower. In my secret dreams we have acreage in the hinterboonies with homes for all of us, but I might have to console myself with being the bug-out location for the others. If we even can go…

      I’m’a just keep praying! I know God will make a way. I watched Him carry us through two simultaneous international special needs adoptions (unrelated children in separate orphanages–almost unheard of with the agency), with roadblocks no one involved had ever seen before, from a country at war, getting out less than a week before the US embassy shut down visas, and arriving back on US soil as I was starting my third trimester and our bio 18month-old was go-to-the-ER sick. Plus the following four years were no picnic either. It is good to remember what God has done for us, because it reminds us what He can and WILL do to carry out His perfect will!

      1. Hello Bear! What kinds of therapies and assistance do your kids need? If you’re comfortable in sharing any information about their circumstances, SB readers may be able to help generate ideas to help.

        As a special needs parent, I understand… Now living in a rural setting with a disabled adult child, I have experience in the development of medical resources for him. The good news is that many places — even rural places — have access to quality doctors, emergency services (sometimes via life flight if a major medical center must be reached), therapists and more.

        For us, our quality of life has been improved dramatically by the decision to relocate, even in the face of special needs challenges. Having said that… Our son is also older, and is an adult himself. His circumstances are also such that he can be with either or both parents (my husband and I) every day, and around the clock. Every situation is unique, and truly only you and your husband will be able to assess this for yourselves, and for your kids.

        Have you ever read “Welcome to Holland”? It’s a wonderful essay, and the link below is actually published to a group that supports families of children with Down Syndrome. Our own son does not have this condition, but the essay really applies to anyone whose life path goes down a different and unexpected and difficult road. It’s a wonderful testimony to the beauty of such a life journey.


        Hoping you’ll breathe through this time of discernment, that God will make His plan for you so clear that it will be undeniable, and that you will find your family way to the place He intends for you to safely be!

        1. Thanks Telesilla! Our tween son receives speech, PT and occupational therapies. Before the pandemic, it was eight hours total per week. Now we do three. I can do them myself at home on video link with the therapists, it’s just the logistics of working it all out with all the other littles “helping” too much! 🙂 He does have a team of medical specialists but thankfully he is mostly in the “maintenance” phase now and sees them once or twice per year. I think we’d be fine living several hours from a major city; lots of families with special needs I know do this, and they just schedule everything all at once and make a major trip into town. He is developmentally more like a toddler — still needs lots of assistance and an “external brain” (I despair of initiative ever happening), but not TOTAL assistance. e.g. he can use utensils, but needs help positioning at the table and scooping with spoon sometimes; he can use the toilet, but needs help wiping; he can change Tshirt and shorts, but needs help with deodorant and orthotics. He can never be left actually alone, but he can play or look at books for awhile independently, and usually won’t do anything dangerous during that time unless his siblings come instigate…

          I think it was Grits who suggested I look into the area near Missoula, as it is rural/small-town but therapies are available…

          And YES, i first read Welcome to Holland years before I married my husband or had kids. Special needs adoption had been a long dream. It’s a great poem! I can also empathize with the various rebuttals from other parents who aren’t quite there yet… And finally, this is probably my favorite take, from a sibling who grew up in Holland. I see this all the time in my neurotypical kids (firstborn would toddle around with his toy phone, “cawwing the cawdiowogist” just like Mama, and there’s a photo of another at 14months old, holding her much older sister’s cup to sister’s mouth before Gtube placement rendered that obsolete), and can only pray that they grow up just as compassionate as this lady!


          1. Bear! Absolutely loved the link you sent… Holland is, indeed, a beautiful place. If all the people of the world understood this journey, we would live in a different place.

            Also so many thanks for your sharing of your tween’s developmental status, and thoughts to share with you on this as well as you explore a more remote location.

            Among other considerations, be sure to include weather and any underlying risk of medical emergencies. In our family scenario, we can live in a relatively remote location and in a part of the country with four true seasons, but relatively mild winters. This means that in addition to having emergency measures available to our son here at home, we have reasonable and ready access to emergency life flight services — and by helicopter we are about 25-30 minutes from a major medical center that by car would require 1.5 to 2.0 hours travel time.

            You might also do some advance scouting of the relevant specialists in any area you’re considering, and special needs parent and family networks too. If you’re part of any national organizations dedicated to your child’s special needs or medical diagnosis, they may also have ideas to share including contacts to help.

            Our own rural living experience has been great in so many ways. It’s not without challenges, but we have tremendous appreciation for our current location and lifestyle. Life is slower and simpler and much less expensive. In all ways it helps us to provide the best quality of life to our youngest son, and is much more humane for us too. Contrary to the notions of many city folks, we do not live on the moon. We do have access to many of the same services and conveniences. We may have to drive a little farther for these, but we’re surely will to do that! We hope one day to welcome our oldest son and his wife to full time life here too, and that this location will become a multi-generational homestead.

      2. Bear,
        One of my adult daughters is currently sitting on her hands. She normally works full time with special needs children up to age 18 and in the moderate to severe category. I suspect there are many like her, who have nothing to do because the schools are all closed. I suspect that there is help out there.
        Just a thought.
        And big hugs!!

        1. Thanks SaraSue! Good idea. We do actually have a home health aide, whom we haven’t seen (except via Skype and drive-by visits to say hi!) since March because she also works in larger facilities, and the covid numbers are high here (not that I believe for an instant they’re being reported accurately) and I have family members with high-risk factors and other family members ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of covid…
          Hugs back!!

    2. Thank you for your comments. We will not be flexible about our children and grandchildren.

      The Lord will lead us. There are many things that happen that are worse than death. We have a responsibility to them, even if some of them are dunderheads!

  31. You don’t have a bug plan you have a wish. Have you tried it? Until you do you do not know what you need and what you don’t need. I can’t get the comparison with the immigrants in the 1840’s getting halfway across the prairie with a broken down over loaded wagon dumping stuff out of their conestoga but already too far behind schedule to make it.

    What I would suggest is that you practice this, do it now. Get up early tomorrow, load up the trailer and make your break. Go to your BOL and set up your gear. Stay at least three days. After that camp each weekend for a few months using the gear you plan to take when you bug out. You will find the weaknesses and deficiencies. Rewrite your plan after each test, refine it and retest it.

    If your “SUV” can only tow 2000 lbs you do not have an SUV you have a little car. You should easily be able to pull 5000 lbs. If you live East of the Mississippi your biggest problems will be rain/snow, bugs and people. If you live West of the Mississippi your biggest problems are water, distance and heat/cold. where ever you live prepare for the worst. Two nights of rain with ineffective protection and you will be begging the golden horde to save you. If you can’t camp in the rain/snow than move to Phoenix because otherwise you won’t make it.

    The best prep for this kind of thing is to get a small backpack and begin practising ultra-light hiking/camping. You don’t have to hike 20 miles, it’s practice not torture. Hike in a mile or so and camp overnight and hike out the next day. Figure out what isn’t working and try it again. After a few times do it with the car (no trailer) and carry only what you need. Then rethink it and figure out what you don’t need and what you forgot.

    If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.

    P.S. A clue to those who will fail is that they are taking a generator and/or a cooler. These are not sustainable and take up too much space and weight. I can live outdoors for a month with just the weight and volume in food that a small generator takes. I can eat well without ever needing a cooler.

    1. I appreciate your comments. When I worked as a civilian with the military we would conduct exercises to see the units response. As a Evaluation Team Chief, I would criticize “We will simulate doing this”, I’m a bit behind actually seeing if we can do what I propose. Probably, after reading several comments about thinking, we will try it in a few months.

  32. At this point, I’m only agreeing with and reiterating what the others have said.
    1) Four days is way too long to pack. The trailer size you mentioned should be packed in a couple of hours. In four days things will be far worse than you imagine.
    2) May I ask what SUV you have? 1500# is a very low tow rating. Is it actually a crossover type vehicle?
    3) Practice with your trailer. Those small trailers are actually more difficult to back up than a larger one. They will also bounce around more.
    4) As mentioned, if you know the people where you’re going, there’s no reason not to pre-position supplies there.
    5) If you don’t have to have two vehicles, I recommend sell them both and buy a good (larger) SUV or pickup that can tow a larger trailer. My F150 seats 5, pulls around 11000#, and has a 36 gallon fuel tank. You will actually be able to haul more with one vehicle and not have to fuel two. Then you can also use an enclosed trailer and not worry about tarps blowing around.
    Good Luck.

    1. Actually, I’m thinking I’ll be able to predict within a week or two ahead of time as to when it gets sporty.
      Can’t switch to one vehicle due to family situations.

  33. Something to ponder on….don’t expect to bug out to distant friends or relatives without a years supply of grub. Just because you think they can feed you, that may not be reality. Furthermore, has it occurred to you that locals may close routes to where you are going to prevent a large influx of refugees? Eyes open, no fear.

      1. Have you considered the longer term capacity to resupply? If this scenario involves any kind of kinetic war (and the shooting begins), supply lines may not be viable, and currency may not be relevant (at least in this portion of the scenario). Thinking this through in parallel with you and the other SB readers!

    1. For a multitude of reasons, one of which is we do not have any excess (in my mind). If we can’t get to our 1st choice location, we may have to barter with what we have.

  34. If you have preps that need refrigeration. One solution is to load them up into this electric cooker \ refrigerator units.

    If you can’t keep trailer loaded full time. You can pre pack in crates and boxes. Then load those into trailer. Then as you unload and stage spray paint an identifier on them like red is rear yellow is middle green is front . One line for bottom items two for middle three for top. Stack them in order from first out last in. Then when your in a hurry you just follow the system.

    Also a two axel trailer is best. If your going over land you can raise up the trailer so that it sits level with your rear bumper when attached to pull vehicle.

    Two axel trailers are much more stable.

    Remember if your bugging out your trip will be more like the mad Max (newest one) than a giant mud pit or rock crawl.

    You will need to pack for speed stability and control.

    Single axel trailers are less stable.

    Also consider doing “overland” “explorer camping” “heavy camping” or “glamping” with your bug out rig. Start with a few nights and move up to vacation weeks and go in all seasons.

    Learn your rig. Drive it. Use it. It requires training just like shooting and cooking. And if left unused it will get lost.

    RV and overly large trucks are a hindrance for over land bug out situations .

    Look at your routes. Look at the elevation changes. Figure you gas usage based off of your range divided by half (towing and possible chase use up much more gas as does off road) then carry enough gas on your rig to make it through the longest most torturous route.

    Consider building your own trailer to save weight. Look into polycarbonate as material it is light weight and almost unbreakable not to mention multilayer is insulating. Replace your car windows with polycarbonate… That way no one can smash window and Jack you.

    Things like that.

    Vehicles need gas lots of it. That is a huge need to carry with.

    1. Our longest distance is 4 hours, others are closer. I’ve never thought about single vs double axle trailers, good point as I was going to purchase a single axle next month I’ll have to look into that. Thank you!

  35. Every fall people sell older smaller camping trailers on Craigslist. Typically I have seen them from $500-$2000. If I lived in a larger city and wanted to bug out I would buy one of these trailers and store it close to the location I want to bug out to. You can store non-perishables in the trailer. Storage can be found for $50 a month. Ideally you would like everything in the trailer to work but don’t be surprised if the real bargain trailer has problems. Some problems you can live with, some are deal killers. I store my trailer with a couple of moisture absorbers inside and check them a couple times during storage. I put my dry and clean sheets, blankets and towels in airtight totes. I always keep the propane tanks topped off. Consider a small PV panel to keep the battery charged. I have a 100W panel and it recharges every day whatever we use in normal camping. If the tires are worn or cracked replace them with good heavy duty “D” or “E” rated tires. If you buy an old trailer consider having the bearings repacked/greased. Carry a decent firewood saw, axe, splitting maul, shovel, extra chairs (the small cheap ones are fine for ‘extras’) and a family sized tent, a few tarps, rope/550 cord, water filter, empty 5 gal bucket, a 5 gal water jug. Unless your trailer is set up for 7-8 or more people you will not be comfortable with 7-8 people. Better that the extra people have suitable sleeping quarters outside the trailer. Carry some kind of portable potty. Yes you may have a toilet in your trailer but what happens when it gets full?

    Here is a hint; carry a small sheet of sheet metal, 18″ to 24″ square. Crease it kinda like a pyramid and it can be used to “save” your fire in the rain. Put it right on top of the fire, the water will run off and even hours later after the rain stops there will be coals under it. Just flip it off and add wood and you will have a fire again. I have had a fire last overnight in a rain storm doing this.

  36. More than likely every road away from your location will be clogged and impassable shortly after an event, county roads included. You will not have days to get ready to leave. Preposition what you will need at your bug out location. Get there fast. Don’t wait for family to go in a caravan; waiting will kill all of you. Let your family members meet you at the bug out location. Some may never be able to leave. Don’t expect your country friends or relatives to feed all of your family. Their 2 year supply of emergency food drops to a one month supply when you arrive with 20 kids and grand-kids.

    1. Our house is the rally point. We wait for everyone. We don’t expect our relatives and friends to feed us. We want to arrive as an asset not a liability.

  37. 1) You are making plans based on deceitful propaganda provided by the Big City News Media — NOT a good idea. The protestors are a joke when it comes to force — ask anyone with military combat experience or a policeman. Ask your local police chief or sheriff if they are making plans to run.

    2) Much of what you see on TV is political theater paid for by Rich Democrats to divert the attention of black and female voters away from who has really been screwing them. See how much Black Lives Matter two days after the November election.

    Or ask why people are cheering Joe Biden when Biden and Obama dumped 8 years of 15% unemployment onto the black community by cutting Christina Romer’s 2009 Jobs Program in half while shoveling $Trillions to Goldman Sachs and Harvard.

    3) At your age, you need to be within a block or two of a good hospital, not in a remote refuge 30 miles from the nearest town. Rank the threats to you by probability.

    And please get the FACTS. There are 328 MILLION people in the USA
    and almost as many guns — how many of those have actually showed up in these “protests”?

    4) If you REALLY think America is about to collapse into chaos, then move to your refuge NOW. But not to someone’s isolated house in the country that can’t be defended — move to a county seat in a town with its independent sheriff, which has a hospital, which can be barricaded by blocking the streets with cars , which has farms nearby that can feed people and which has enough manpower to guard the walls at night so your family can sleep safely.

    5) Mel Tappan covered this over 40 years ago — get his “Tappan on Survival” . Including his explanation for why blowing into a strange place at the last minute makes you the expendable stranger with no voice in the local council, no local friends and top of the list to be sacrificed if the food gets short — or if the locals wonder if you are the spy for the bandit hordes.

    Plus look at logistics— how long do you think the supermarkets will receive shipments from tractor trailers on the roads if things are as bad as you assume?

    6) If you plan on being self-sufficient , realize it will take at least a year of making mistakes –Minimum — to become a competent farmer who can grow food with limited risk. Also realize that much of the wealth lies in the cities so guess who the rich elites will make sure get at least a minimum diet. Check Wikipedia on “Holodomor”. A year’s supply of food weighs about 1 ton — 4 tons for four people. Good luck hauling that 200 miles through chaos.

    7) If you do plan on evacuation, plan for the worst weather — snow blizzard, floods, hurricanes, etc — that can occur in your area. New York City is easy to evacuate from with a boat in the summer — less so when the Hudson is partially frozen in winter.

    1. I don’t think we are on the verge of collapse, but……..that is the worst case scenario, which
      we are preparing for.

      Your point 6 is well taken, thus the freeze dried food. We will not depend on it but mix it with our regular food. We are adding to it all the time. We have a significant amount of honey to make it palatable for the kids.

  38. Famine is death. Movement is life!
    By virtue that you wrote the article and that you recognize the need for a plan…..you should bug out NOW. Not in the future. The time to sell the house and buy a full sized used truck is today, not next week.

    Pre-position your food, clothes, books, beds, tools, farming and cooking wares.

    Develop a plan for all of your extended family- tell them what you are planning to do and ask them to get onboard. Some will, some wont. You cant take them all and they all wont want to go.

    The time for planning is past, you are late, bug out now. Among refugees walking the routes of the Golden Hoard the only thing you see them carrying is, at best, a suit case. You will not be able to carry all the stuff you are wanting to take with you in a SHTF event. You may not be able to carry a suit case- most wont. BUG OUT NOW or stay and tell yourself “we should have left last month.”

    Preposition all your stuff now. SELL the HOUSE, rent if you must. Be prepared to walk to your bug out location with your grandchildren in-tow.

    “Fixed fortifications are a monument to mans stupidity” – Gen. George Patton

    Famine is Death. Movement is life.

  39. At your age, thinking through all these issues of moving is impressive. The fact that you acknowledge that the children and grandchildren are foremost in your mind is also impressive. The Bible says that “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow”….thus your appropriate concern for the younger generations…. is heartfelt and comes through in reading. Your desire for counsel (from this wise forum) is also impressive. You are definitely different from the typical “burn the furniture” Baby Boomers of your generation. God bless you for your good example. I believe that God will tell you in your spirit when (or if) it is time to leave your home. Our minds are small. His MIND is big. The most important thing is to be doing something. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
    Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Preparing on many fronts would be my answer. Yes, prepare to bug-out. Yes, prepare to stay. Yes, prepare to bug out locally (within 30 min). Those that have agreed to house you will expect you to work. You already know that. What will you do to add to the preps of that distant, rural locale as a thank you for their extended hospitality? We don’t have to guess what God wants. He will tell us. Remember our instructions: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” A constant knocking of prayer and asking, “Lord, what should we be doing each day?” “How should we prepare?” WILL ALWAYS be answered.

    1. PrepHou…it is so encouraging to read of your spiritual insights and encouragements…my wife and I see our spiritual preparations as the #1 prep… our physical preps are for children and very young grandchildren…as well as providing for others that may be led to us… we listen to His voice… we have traveled this path of preparation for some years now… prayer for wisdom, understanding, discernment, and direction continue to be answered… we simply try to listen and follow…For He is Lord of Hosts and our fortress… may God bless all the SB community

  40. Great article and I applaud you for being different than your “burn the furniture” Baby Boomer counterparts. Also it is wise to ask these thoughtful people on this blog for input. ” If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Knocking at God’s door each day, “Lord what shall I do to prepare?” always receives a favorable answer with instructions in your spirit. Yes, prepare to bug out. Yes, prepare to stay. I believe the Lord will instruct you at the precise moment when it is time to go.

  41. I also am an engineer, and pardon the criticism, but you are placing way to much emphasis on the technical aspects of the definition of the term “overloaded”.

    You don’t necessarily want to look like the Beverly Hillbillies, but your vehicle and a trailer can carry significant loads, beyond the manufacturer’s specs. They are more concerned about getting sued, and you need to be more concerned with getting to your destination.

    If in doubt, add helper springs or pneumatic air bags to the tow vehicle for additional weight and vehicle balancing adjustments.

    Also, the low priced single axle trailers tend to not be well made, since they are constructed of light weight steel channel, and have a small diameter axle. See the weight restriction warnings and speed warnings on the trailer product descriptions.

    If you have the financial headspace, get a contractor grade enclosed cargo trailer. These typically have dual axles, are able to be balanced easier when loading, and are much more forgiving on less than perfect road conditions.

    1. Our finances are stretched right now but our retirement from pensions is good. We are going for cheap, onetime use.

      You are correct about the single axle trailers, they are not well made.

      Take care

    1. I disagree. I think the article deserves serious consideration for a prize for two reasons… the thoughtfulness in which Francis put his concerns and ideas out there, and the tremendous discussion it has generated. Bravo to Francis and to all of those with actual, helpful ideas. We truly have a great community here.

    2. I wasn’t shooting for a prize, I got more than I expected in the comments, they are very helpful and we will execute some of them. Some we’d like to do but we have limfacts, limiting factors which preclude us from executing some really great ideas.


  42. Nobody mentioned this, so here goes. How many spare wheels/ tires do you have? Carry at least 2 for each vehicle. And yes, I have had to use them both years ago on a hunting trip. Carry a REAL jack and tire wrenches that will do all vehicles. DON’T even think about one of those cheesy trailers with the 8 inch wheels. I see them broken off regularly. Preferable is something with 14-15 inch car or truck size wheels. I have a 1-ton Suburban with a 350. I can go 600 miles on a tank of gas at reasonable speed. How far will you get?

    1. Your trailer and tow vehicle should be on the same rims and tires with 2 spare tires to boot.

      You should have bead lock rims.

      You can use your all terrain tires for your trailer and your mud tires for your tow vehicle.

      Your spares should be 1 mud 1 all terrain.

      Your trailer should have 2 Axel’s.

      Don’t buy different or cheap trailer tires.

      Yes you want a good aggressive tread tires set all 4.

      Yes you can put mud tires on your trailer for bug out purposes. No you should not do this often.
      And yes you should base your trailer load off of your tires so as to not overload.

  43. A couple points:

    Walk your bug-out route.

    Think like a criminal gang.
    Notice each opportunity for bush-whackers to ambush your parade.
    Notice bottle-necks, intersections, and inclines requiring your parade to slow or stop.
    Walk up hills, walk behind bridges or signage for concealment opportunities.

    Driving a bug-out route prior to a disaster gives one view, walking gives a different view.
    You can guarantee the bush-whackers already established their ambush spots!

    A corollary:
    Home-invaders use satellite photographs and county records to determine the affluence level of the owners of a property:
    * a pool!, a five-car garage!, tennis-courts!.
    * Ingress and escape routes, concealed observation places.
    Home-invaders use ‘social media’ to locate daughters to enslave.
    During a disaster, you must be ‘on’ every moment to protect your family and possessions, the bush-whackers (cannibal slavers, etcetera) can choose their attack time.

    Think like a refugee:
    You are prey.
    The only stuff you own is the stuff you can carry in your hands while running.

    Again, think like a criminal.
    No laws, no LawEnforcementOfficials.
    Their only punishment is for failure… as BisonPrepper James M Dakin says “Your grade will be ‘pass/fail'”.

    I offer a minor correction to your article:
    The Federal Reserve Bankers are not ‘creating money’.
    The Federal Reserve Bankers are creating debt.
    They advertise their scheme on their fiat currency — Federal Reserve ‘note’.
    A note is a loan.

    1. Actually, though it may seem wrong, you have a good point. We will be selecting alternate sites of land (state and national parks) are possibilities. If it really hits the fan, no one will be concerned about ownership.

      1. @ Francis

        I think EVERYONE will be thinking they will just bug out to some state or federal land as after all there’s so much of it and “no one” owns it. I wouldn’t want to depend on that nor be a part of the masses that descend on those spots.

  44. My heart cries….it will not be pleasant…you need to lead by example. I am your same age, have a military background and have made some very poor financial decisions in my life. I feel for where you are at. I’ve been there…I am there!!! I have bitten the bullet and have given everyone in my family fair notice that what I have been preaching to them about over many decades is coming to pass. I can not lead their lives for them, I can not make their DECISIONS, I can only give them advise that they are free to accept or reject.

    I have forty acres out in the middle of ‘nowhere’. They are all free to come, some will, most will not. My BOL is for my family, not me. I have, at best, maybe 20-30yrs left. All my energy and resources are directed to what may save the lives of those I love.

    May God help us all and help those that are blind to see.

    1. EAM… You are courageous and forward looking. We pray you will come to enjoy time on “the forty” in this earthly life, and that your family members will understand how profound this gift is to them when the time comes for them to benefit from it. We also join you in your prayer… From your post: “May God help us all and help those that are blind to see.”

    2. Eam… while I do not have a BOL I share many of your thoughts… at 66 years young I know that much of our preps ( wife included) are for children if needed and others as The Lord directs… we believe He is leading us in our preparations…our spiritual preparations are very important to us and are #1 on our list… we truly believe that leading a home church may occur… may all the SB community seek The Lord and listen for His voice…He is Lord of Hosts

  45. I’m thinking as do others that there are some problems with your plans. One big one I can think of is that you are planning on bugging out to a place that isn’t yours; are you absolutely positive you and your children and grands can stay there as long as needed?

    Taking 4 days at the sign of enough trouble to warrant bugging out to load and prepare is a recipe for disaster imho. I think you need to be able to be loaded and gone in no more than a couple of hours.

    Depending on pulling a trailer is also problematic. Trailers often handle funny, are difficult to back up and are a target for those who want what’s in them.

    What about selling your home now and buying a place to live where you and your wife can be there full-time with all of your preps in place and the kids and grands can come at the first sign of trouble? Maybe a rural place that’s no more than a few hours drive away from the kids? Preferably find a place that doesn’t require you to hold a mortgage at this time in your life. You can set this place up so it’s survivable, have a big garden etc. The kids and grands would just need to throw some basic stuff in the cars and take off for your place if trouble was brewing. You could store most of the food, ammo, extra clothing etc for everyone there. You’d be a local, have in-state vehicle tags, know your neighbors etc which is a lot better position to be in when times get tough.

    1. We are positive. We bring with us firearms, plenty of ammunition, our personal skills, vehicles, plenty of food and some medicines. They are more than willing as we are an asset.
      Thanks for the comments

  46. An additional thought… If you sold your current suburban home, would it be possible to enjoy an “in-law suite” with one of your children and their families for when you’re “in the city”. This might allow you to set up a bug-out location, and to live their primarily. It might give you access to both environments, and close contact with family while also allowing you to establish a home on land you own. Our best suggestion would be to make this affordable and purchased debt-free.

      1. @ Francis

        I guess I just don’t understand your emphasis on “timing” of an event. You’ve said a number of times in your responses to comments that whatever it is isn’t going to happen just yet or you’ll have enough warning etc. so it’s ok to spend 4 days packing to leave. I guess I just don’t get it. Are you just prepping with your eye on one particular “event”? I’m asking this as it seems to me that at any time, all sorts of things can happen that would create havoc and cause us to need to be in a safe locale and relying on our preps. As well, multiple things can happen at the same time, eg: Covid outbreak, lock-downs, economic distress, riots, hurricane; all can happen at the same time in one place. There are many preppers who I think just keep prepping for one particular scenario they are in fear of such as an EMP, Martial Law, pandemic etc. but what they are prepping for may not come and something else big will happen instead that leaves them unprepared. I’d hate to see you just keeping your eye on one ball and in the meantime, another big one is heading your way.

  47. At your age, time is not on your side. Skip the trailer – you don’t know how to drive it or have a vehicle to pull it. You have much bigger fish to fry. Sell your vehicles immediately and get a used, low mile Chevy Suburban and/or a Ford 4-door, 4 wheel drive truck that every redneck knows how to work on and has spare parts to fix. Store your preps in totes that are easy to stack and write on them with a permanent marker. Not too heavy in case your wife needs to lift them! Everyone agrees having your own bug out location is superior to moving in with others. Do you have pensions, savings or things you can sell for quick cash? What about your city kids kicking in some money to buy property with NO DEBT near or next to your country family/friends makes good sense. Your an engineer, so build a barn with a loft that can hold animals, tools, feed, preps and people would be a great beginning. Water, food, fuel and shelter is the focus even if you only have a tent, wood pile and plastic water storage tank. Asking for help from your country family & friends to set up a bug out place will go over much better than asking to live with them. Do it as a legacy you leave your children & grandkids. Remember it may take a few years to get everything set up so start NOW. You family’s future depends on it.

    1. If we have to leave under TEOTWAWKI, property rights will not be in the equation. We won’t sell, I think our plan is viable until the spring, then it will get ugly

  48. I have a few thoughts for you:
    Spend the money you would have on trailer on food storage and have it shipped to your family bug out location.
    JWR in the past has not recommend trailers for bug-outs as you may find yourself needing to backup and turn around if a road becomes blocked or impassable, this can be hard in tight quarters with a trailer.
    Get a hitch mounted cargo carrier – check ebay – pretty cheap – the better ones can hold over 500 pounds themselves – this is kind of no-brainier extra storage for your car.
    If you SUV has rear coil springs, get air bags that fit INSIDE these coil springs – inflate them to 35 psi, this will dramatically reduce rear end sag. It won’t really increase your SUV’s cargo capacity – as that number takes into account body roll, brake capacity etc… but the air bags DO help …. Just search for coil spring air bags. Super easy to install – youtube has lots of good videos. Best one shows completely deflating them, then roll them lengthwise, secure with two zip ties, then insert through the coil, then cut the zip ties – whalaha.

    Lastly, as for when to go, why don’t you just plan a practice bug out – announce to your family you will be practicing for the November elections – and time youself, practice the loadout, and bug-out to your family’s location a week before the November election – and then stay there until you see fit to leave. It’s a no-stress practice run that will accomplish what you want to do anyway. Bonus family visit.
    I suggest taking the back roads and pay attention to how much gas you consume… you will likely need a lot of 5 gallon jerry cans…. also on ebay.

    Consider selling one vehicle and get a used suburban, expedition, excursion.
    Hertz, due to it’s bankruptcy, is liquidating a bunch of suburbans currently… low miles, certified records of maintenance…

    Lastly, pray hard and often begging the Lord for guidance…. then listen, then pray again, and be ready to write down what you may hear back. Don’t forget that last part.

    Thanks for helping us all think critically of our plans with this nice article.
    God bless.

  49. Francis, Thank you for the article. I believe all of us in this community has asked these questions before in our journey.

    While all of the comments above are “constructive criticism” and are full of wonderful ideas, the 3 main points you must keep in mind:

    1. Ask for guidance from the Father – He will answer!
    2. Do not get discouraged! All is not as hopeless as it sounds!
    3. Do not put off getting organized NOW. I truly feel the time for “meetings” has passed.

    There is a trove of knowledge on the archives on this site! I myself have seen numerous articles on bugging out AND bugging in.

    As the patriarch of your family (and a veteran), you know the skills and benefits of leadership, especially in a potential TEOTWAWKI situation. If you leave details and planning to the last minute, things are going to go very badly. You are already developing a plan BUT at some point to must stop planning and move forward.

    I am an analyst by profession and I can tell you from experience – Analysis Paralysis is a true condition! It is so easy to get involved in “planning” that you basically just “freeze” or you get so bogged down in the “weeds” that you can’t move past a point in planning. “You have a plan and end of story”. Sometimes, it will work like that (if you are VERY lucky) but as I have found out in business (and especially life), it’s not that simple.

    Please take all of the comments as a “learning opportunity” from a community that is very supportive. We’ve all been there, done that, and a lot of us speak from experience.

    1. As an engineer, I am well aware of Analysis Paralysis. I don’t see a real disaster coming now and hope the election and inauguration will be okay, it’s the spring and/or summer that I feel we have to be ready for. All of this has taken way more time than I thought.

      I appreciate all the comments,including those of you who are frustrated by my comments.

  50. God tells us in HIS Word that HE is our refuge; HE is our strength; HE is with us no matter if we stay or go.

    My wife and I are staying put. We are not going to run to a place that we have no roots or family. And please note, family can turn on you. I know we have had that bitter experience.

    And since we have invested our time and money in building good relationships within our local church we will not leave. We are stronger together than alone.

    I think people forget that no one gets out of this world alive and Almighty God knows the time of our departure. I want to hear HIS Words;

    ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’

    1. Great points, Skip. It is very easy for me to fall into fear and anxiety. I know the best weapon is Scripture, and so I have posted in BIG letters on my kitchen cabinets at eye level:

      The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. -Proverbs 18:10


      The Lord is good, a refuge in time of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. -Nahum 1:7

    2. Actually, we’ve lived here less than ten years. As an aside, I’ve taught quite a few people in our HOA about firearms. The rule has been, OPSEC. Do not tell anyone I or you have firearms.

  51. Thank you Francis. Thank you for making the effort to tell your story and to help enrich our lives through your trial and error.

    All the rest of y’all should be ashamed of yourselves. We are all on the same team here, and we depend upon each other for information and support that only like minded people can offer. This author wrote an article for our benefit and nearly every “Patriot” on here spent their time bashing and criticizing the author for waiting until they were 74, or for not moving to the right neighborhood, or not making the same choices you all would have. This author clearly did the best they could with the resources available, and is trying to tell their story for us to learn and improve our own lives.

    So many negative and discouraging comments in this thread it made me feel bad for the author. There are only a handful of gracious and helpful suggestions included here, among the dozens of trashy comments. For those of you who have never taken the time or made the effort to write a publicly posted article – you do not have half the testicular fortitude this authors has!

    Check yourselves before you blast the author with all your “You are wrong” “You are stupid” “You are foolish” and the other garbage that appeared in this thread. Go ahead… take a moment and read through the comments. Tell me I am wrong. I am surprised Avalanche Lily, Rawles has not put you in your place with scripture!!!

    End rant.

    So, how about this weather we are having? What a glorious time to be prepared for anything the world throws at us, huh?

    1. @ Spy4Hyre

      I think many of us recognize that we are all starting from different positions, have different levels of assets and different issues to contend with. I know that I made concessions when I bought my current place, some that others wouldn’t have made, but it was the best I could do at this time and fit family needs. So yeah, we all make different decisions due to different circumstances.

      I think though that most people were responding with concern as they saw the potential disaster unfolding if the author were to wait to leave til all of the kids agreed it was bad enough to go, then take 4 days to load trailers, then try to pull heavily laden trailers through roads that might have already descended into chaos to go to places that aren’t their own but they have been promised refuge. So I know that I responded with concern as I think this needs rethinking. And I strongly suspect many others on this site responded with the same level of care and concern. There were some that weren’t all that nice but over all I think most tried to be helpful.

    2. I think you are wrong. There is no easy way to tell someone they are wrong. There are some terrible ways to do it but no easy way. The best thing is if you are sensitive and unwilling to hear advice keep your plans to yourself. BUT if you want to learn and understand you may have to hear/read things that don’t bouy up your self confidence then ask others to give you their opinion of your plans. Often the people who know the most about a subject are the least articulate. It can be kinda like going through basic training, the DI isn’t there to comfort you and make you feel warm and fuzzy. His intent is to get your attention and then impart what you need to know.

    3. Ari and Anon, you are both correct. When I worked I was described as Mr Blunt. Alas, I asked for the comments and am not offended by any comments.

      I will continue to plan and initiate parts of our plan and finish with no simulations in the late fall. My timeline is the late spring or early summer for disaster to it. Planning for this disaster at that time seems to be an oxymoron to me but there we are.

      It’s complicated as we did not contemplate things going so badly so quickly. I originally figured 2-4 years.

      With the Lords help we’ll be ready.

  52. My heart ached when I read this. Don’t despair! Practically everyone living near a metro/urban area, even in the suburbs, is going through this mental exercise. I can’t tell anyone what to do. I can only say what I did.

    I moved over a year ago to the middle of nowheresville, Idaho. I’ve prepped for my entire family to come here. It’s the “safe house”. I couldn’t convince anyone to move, so I just did it. I decided to lead by example. I was sad because I felt like they would all hate me for “abandoning” my grandchildren. Just the opposite occurred. They’ve visited and taken a look around. I’m in frequent contact with them.

    I will tell you this though – the real estate market is good right now. I personally would sell as fast as I could and downsize if necessary to relocate to a more rural, small town with a local Constitutional Sheriff. When I left, I gave everything away. It was freeing to travel so light. I prayed hard and found the perfect place. Boom. Done. Emotionally it was scary as hell. Spiritually, physically, it felt right. Instead of my kids hating me, although it was rough on them at first, they are now happy and proud.

    Watching my adult children going through right now, what you are going through is gut wrenching. Is it too late to move? I don’t know. Sheltering in place is still a viable option. Focus instead on hardening your home.

    With as many armed Americans as there are, I can’t see the “peaceful protestors”, the Bolsheviks, the Commies, winning this fight. They have no idea how badly they will lose this fight when ordinarily restrained Citizens start dishing it back. However, I’d sure as heck not want to be in the crossfire of that.

    Best wishes to you Engineer. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

    1. “When I left, I gave everything away. It was freeing to travel so light.”

      Thanks SaraSue, someone finally said it! 🙂

      Francis, after reading that it would take you four days to get packed, I thought you should do a Swedish death cleaning ASAP while you are trying to formalize your G.O.O.D. plans. Then do a Swedish death cleaning on the list of things you are planning to take with you. Like SaraSue, I have found that not having so much stuff gives us an immense amount of freedom like nothing else can. It’s very liberating to give stuff away and become a minimalist. I’ve always said, “We don’t own stuff, it owns us.” I lived on one of the South Sea islands for a year and when I moved there, everything I took was in a small backpack. When I got there I added to my stuff by buying a bike as my transportation. When I left there, I gave the bike away to someone needy and returned to the states with just a backpack. It’s very liberating to travel light. I’ve always been a minimalist and it makes for speedy travel with a lot less worries and concerns. I’m the same way on my homestead now, if it isn’t absolutely necessary, I don’t own it. Why own a can opener if I have one on the knife that is always in my pocket? And why do people even own electric can openers that take up precious countertop space??

      If you absolutely have to pack up and move in a hurry instead of having a BOL ahead of time, then the color coding totes and possessions someone mentioned is an excellent idea. I do that with lots of things and highly recommend it. The very last thing you want to do when bugging out is to have to stop and think about what you are doing. You want a plan drawn out ahead of time so you are just reacting, following the plan without having to waste valuable time thinking and organizing. Just act. Plan it out ahead of time and then execute the plan. Color coding can help a lot with that part, one color for the most important items, another for medium importance, a third for take it or leave it, depending on the situation at the time. Colored stickers are cheap. I helped a friend move a year ago and I drew up the whole plan for how to load every one of her items into the moving truck so we could max out the space and the efficiency of loading. On moving day, two guys had the 26′ Ryder truck loaded in 90 minutes.

      My personal opinion on a TEOTWAWKI grid-down situation is that very few people will survive in the cities, and most of the survivors will be the “bad guys.” If you really think a serious SHTF scenario is coming down the pike, then get an action plan going this this week, don’t wait. Not getting top dollar for your house now will mean nothing if you get mowed down by gunfire in a year. There’s a way to escape the city now, you’re either just not thinking of it or have too many reasons why you really don’t want to. Just my 2¢ and a repeat of what I told a family member just yesterday, so please don’t take it personal. Eliminate as much of your “stuff” as possible, then find a smaller house in the boonies to live in that is cheaper to heat and cool and defend if it comes to that.

      The best of luck to you. Trying to get it all figured out is difficult, there are so many variables.

      1. @ St Funogas

        Really good points and helpful I think. I too eliminated nearly all I had to go overseas and travel/live. Came back with 1 suitcase and my laptop. One needs a lot more than that to garden, heat with wood, preserve food etc so I’ve been adding to what I had since I acquired this house but mostly I try to keep it simple. Not really having any closets, a basement only useful as a root cellar, no garage etc plus a small house does enforce minimalism as I don’t like clutter.

        1. Hi Ani, you sound like my kind of gal! I declutterize at least quarterly and see how much I can pack up for Goodwill. I told my friend who moved everything in a 26′ truck that I’d have to put my vehicle in there too to be able to take up 26′ with my possessions. 🙂

    2. Predicting how quickly things fall apart is tough. If we moved anywhere to a rural area, our kids may not be able to get to us. I’m not being stubborn but we see our kids and grandchildren 2-5 times per week, we can’t walk away from that happiness.

      Thank you

      1. Francis, this is one of the many reasons we haven’t left yet. We have three kids, however, ours are in college and living with us. Two have Christian significant others I wouldn’t want to move away from as they are family as well. We are doing all we can to make our house in the suburbs suitable for bugging in, until we can get to the redoubt. Another concern, same as yours, is would they be able to get to us if we did go so far? I pray for wisdom from God on a daily basis regarding our situation. We want to leave so badly, but with the kids, an elderly mom and aunt, it’s just not going to happen right now.

  53. Regarding time-frame for “bugging out”– I have experienced real-life bug-out, due to forest fire. We thought we had at least 24 hours, then decided to leave before bedtime. Then, it was 2 hours, then, 15 minutes.

    The problem was, that the man of the house spent time constructing sideboards for the truck, and doing a lot of packing, without loading the vehicles. Then, a bunch of stuff was hurriedly thrown into the vehicles, and we took off in a rush, leaving a lot of bugout supplies behind, which burned up. Items lost included crucial documents, survival kits, basic clothing, and other things.

    To counteract this, start with a Minuteman kit–literally! 60 seconds to grab and go. DO NOT worry about more complex preps until this Minuteman kit is mobilized.

    I met one man who was taking a nap in his house. He woke up with the fire raging through the trees outside. He jumped up, dashed to his truck, and barely escaped. He lost everything on the property except the outhouse.

    Then, a 5-minute kit, and a 15-minute list. Again, get each level fully mobilized before proceeding to the next level.

    If you accomplish the 15 minute list, and are SURE you have time for more, then go ahead with your longer list.

    If in doubt, leave sooner rather than later. It will work wonders for avoiding traffic jams. We saw some pretty nasty lines ahead, but they started moving by the time we reached them. We drove for miles through the fire. Some spots were alarmingly hot, some were stifling with bad air. We drove under powerlines that had burned-off poles hanging from them. And then one rig broke down just as we reached a safe spot where it could be parked.

    I know that you are praying for God to forewarn you. He will do it. Just don’t hesitate to obey!

    1. I understand your point. We have bug out bags and the semblance of our plan as I’ve described. Many civilizations have collapsed quickly and I fear this may happen to America also.

      Since there is only a 2-3 day supply in grocery stores, if the internet collapses, it’s all over.

      Take care

  54. Agree with Ken and Tunnel ~ talk to your family about moving provisions ahead of time – now. If you don’t need them, there is no heartburn about moving them back home.

  55. I suggest anyone considering getting a BOV look at a good used One Ton (3500) or 3/4 (2500) Ton Van.

    My cousin had an old van, and a new car, and was in the CA fires of 2018. She didn’t keep the van gassed.

    Panicking with the fire approaching, she loaded into the van…..which was out of gas so she had to go find a filling station to aid her escape.

    Her home and new-ish car were all burned to the ground. The old van saved what she had time to load into it, which wasn’t much. She isn’t a prepper.

    Pre-loaded tubs are the fastest way to get your load onto a vehicle. Keep a set of ratchet straps with the tubs, or in your vehicle, and a cheap blue or brown tarp large enough for your whole load. Put the ratchet straps over the top of the tarped load and ratchet tight.

    I agree with all who say move in advance with a trailer, but never actually bug out in a crisis dragging something behind you.

    A pre-installed harbor freight cabled lock box in your vehicle. Keep the key on your car key set. Keep some currency and/or self defense items in it.

    My old driver’s license is in my BOB. It may be expired for driving, but it is still an ID to prove who you are and where you live……for when road blocks refuse to let people back into the area because……they left so fast their ID was left inside the damage zone and they have nothing to prove they live there. BTDT in a tornado zone, saw cops absolutely refuse to let homeowners and renters back home..

    Many I know are saying they won’t BO. Oh well. Get sandbags and body armor.

  56. @ howdy

    People regularly live to a ripe old age these days, so perhaps he and his wife will live to their 90’s or longer. I suspect they’ve got plenty of life left in them and a desire to continue to live even after TSHTF if it does. So why would they plan on just handing over their preps and dying? Makes little sense to me. That sounds like ageist thinking which isn’t a good practice imo.

    1. THANK YOU, Ani! This has been bugging me and bugging me but I couldn’t put it into words until you called it. This is most definitely ageist and that’s not okay. Personally I read an unwritten “and die” after the “and stay put” part of howdy’s suggestion, and was horrified.

      The author is considering bugging out for the same reason that all of us are here: SURVIVAL. He has lots of life experience and skills that he is doing his level best to “hand over” to his family! (howdy, if you think that “preps” are purely physical items that can just be passed off–buckets of beans and boxes of ammo–I suggest you hang around here longer, read a lot more, and LEARN. The wisdom of so many commenters and contributors–many close in age to this author–is invaluable.) I have no doubts that he would sacrifice his life to save his grandchildren, but that is not the equation here. He is trying to keep everyone safe as best he knows how.

      And 74 is certainly not at death’s door for many people. In fact he’s of similar age to one of our family members, who though undoubtedly older and slower than the day he graduated special forces training, remains strong and vigilant and wise and protective. BUT, even if he wasn’t…even if he or ANYONE had lost their strength, or skills, or memory, or even ability to speak or feed themselves… they are not disposable or sacrificial. They are perfectly created in the divine image of Almighty God, and their LIFE MATTERS, at any age or ability. Our family believes this and lives this daily. It’s a hill I’ll die on.

      [Apologies in case this double-posts; I’m having browser issues today…]

      1. @ Bear

        Yes, and I was going to include as well that I suspect that what he and his wife know is of way more importance and value to their children and grandchildren than some rice, beans and ammo preps. The kids and grands would I’m sure be horrified to have their parents hand over their supplies and prepare to die. Much better for Francis and his wife to stick around and help the next generations by using what they have learned all of these years of living.

    2. @ Ani Right! We live in a country and in a time where there are millions of centenarians who are healthy and loving life. 74 and 69 are youthful by today’s standards, if one has taken care of themselves, and I suspect Francis and his wife are in that category. I am grateful Francis took the time to write this article and reach out, and hope that the discussion has been helpful to him as well as others… that’s why we are here, right?

      I find it astonishing, and disrespectful, when I hear comments like the previous one about just giving your stuff away and staying put, because the tone really suggested that they stay home and die. A lot of people have also displayed this attitude as the older folks are more susceptible to the Chinese CCP bioweapon, and so they don’t matter as much and the rest of us should just suck it up. As someone said here some days ago, every time an old person dies, a library burns. All life is precious, and “bugging out” should not be dependent on one’s age… the desire to survive is given to us by God and it is not for someone mortal to suggest any different course of action.

  57. Wow! Thats alot of comments to sort through. While it has been covered in bits and pieces I would emphasize the need for a thorough recon of your route to your bug out location. Map recon is a good start to plan numerous different ways and back roads to get where you want to go. The map recon is just the start. You MUST drive all the different routes to make sure they are actually open public roads. Note the obstacles and road conditions. Do not just do this once and call it good. Keep in mind winter can drastically change which roads are open and maintained. Google / GPS maps cannot be trusted. I cannot count how many times GPS has recommended a road that is private, non-existent, or 4×4 high clearance only. It has been mentioned previously as well but I will again emphasize the need for extra spare tires and parts for your vehicle. If things deteriorate to the point your loaded up and rolling – a bunch of other people are in the same boat and you are a prime target. Just my two cents. God bless.

    1. We do have pre-loaded plastic containers, they are ready to go. We may drive the routes we may take in the late fall with the trailer halfway loaded.

      I realize we will be a target. We’ll do our best.

      Thank you

  58. You are obviously a very smart individual on book smarts. But not from the south. I say this because you are so far behind already you need to make numerous changes. Get a truck, 4×4, with camper shell for storage and sleeping on the go. Never buy a trailer from a home improvement store. If you get a trailer make sure it is treated wood floor and the tongue, starting at the hitch, goes underneath and then forks or splits going on each side all the way back to the wheel well. Build fold up sides of 3/4 plywood . Design a heavy tarped roof with support.
    Move. Get away from HMO. There are too many replies to read them all but i am sure you can pick and choose comments. You never mention guns. Someone has to defend this family and have you thought about how and how many it will take for defense on the road? Bless you. I have always felt sorry for folks living up north and never knowing the wonders of everyday living in the south. You cannot learn these things unless someone teaches you. Do you know what lighter pine or pitch pine is? It is used for starting fires. Do you know how to skin various animals and where the glands are located that must be removed to be edible? do you know what set lines are? Snares? Traps? Signal devices around your camp or house? Seek out country folks with common sense and not book learning. Good luck, you will need it.

    1. We are not at that point yet. We will mostly be carrying arms and ammunition, food, trade items, gasoline and most important our family Bible.

      We can’t change our vehicles, hoping to go on decent roads. Our trip may be a few hours and no more than 4. We may end up as squatters, can’t change our plan too much.

  59. The story of Lot in Genesis 19 verses 15&16 in particular is being retold over and over. Knowing that destruction was eminent, they hesitated… I have family in “home town” big cities that will descend out of control quickly when the time comes. Say, a covid surge precipitates a city wide lock down, as in nobody in or out. Too late…

    And may (end of verse 16… “for the Lord was merciful to them”) we be saved.

    John 17:3 Know the Lord.

  60. If you’re not in the process of moving from any racially or politically “diverse” city in this country you’re nuts. Get a Covid mortgage deferment as a hedge in case things do calm down but get out as soon as possible. Waiting for some magical four day window is flirting with disaster.

  61. I wouldn’t discount Howdy so quickly. If you had to get from point A to point B in three hours, let’s say 20 miles over rough terrain and it was a matter of life or death, how many 74 year old people would you volunteer to take with you? I’m not saying they can’t make it but probably they won’t make it in 3 hours and maybe if they do they will need some attention exactly when you need to be doing something else.

    Plains Indians used to move great distances every fall and spring and stopping to care for those not fit for the journey put the entire tribe at risk. Older folks would choose to just stay where they were rather than put others at risk.

  62. @ Francis,
    Thank you for taking the time to write of your current predicament as we all can learn from your situation.
    I’m certain there are many others who do as I do and read SB each day for the informative articles and comments but never comment on them. This is a first for me so pardon my rambling. Francis, I agree with others that traveling to your selected location in time of turmoil could be difficult as my husband experienced a small bump in his road in May this year.
    We have an off grid home in a rural area approximately 250 miles from where we currently live/work and our plan is to stay there permanently. Over the course of a year we built the home ourselves (lucky enough to have a husband who has great skills in many areas) with the exception of the contractor we hired to pour the concrete pad and a close plumber friend who installed our plumbing. We were fortunate to purchase a 40 acre property that had already had a well, septic system and a gently used RV that came with the property. We lived in the RV (we set up a solar system and had a small generator) every weekend/holiday and vacation while building our home. We purchased a cargo container to hold our building supplies/tools/some food storage while we were away. We were/are lucky enough to have our closest and like-minded neighbor (still a distance away) keep an eye out for any thieves, etc while we were away. Our home has a Zomeworks solar tracker (which I learned about reading Patriots!) that we purchased for $200 from a farmer who never used/installed it but broke the equalizer tube (my husband fixed it); our system uses LiFePo4 batteries (we just switched over from acid batteries), we have a 15 kw propane generator as backup. We have moved supplies to that home but have more to transport down there and we take a load each time. We are like many readers here in that we feel we are in for a rocky time in the near future and problems escalate each day.
    This is the long way to get to my point which is: have a plan A, plan B, plan C re traveling. In all the times we have traveled to our southern home we never encountered a problem traveling the highway until The Covid. When the Covid numbers greatly increased in Gallup, New Mexico (population nearly 22,000) the NM Governor shut down access to the town of Gallup at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020 until noon on Monday, May 4, 2020. Her decision to do so was announced at 11:00 a.m. that Friday morning- people did not have advance notice to purchase food or supplies or gasoline. Residents of the town were directed to shelter in place, no traveler’s were allowed to stay at any hotels, many businesses were directed to shut down. The Governor directed that residents driving within their own city of Gallup could only have a maximum of 2 people in the car. Gallup is right on I-40 and many travelers and truckers pass thru Gallup to get to points north of there (CO/UT and I-70). Gallup is not part of the Navajo Nation. At this same time, due to The Covid, the Navajo Nation President shut down the Navajo Reservation from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. The Navajo Nation expands into into three states (CO, AZ, UT) and U.S. highways run thru the reservation. Grocery stores, gas stations and trading posts were directed to close during the weekend. The tribal residents have been ordered to shelter in place every weekend since then and travel anywhere during the weekend lock down is frowned upon. During the weekend tribal lock downs, gas stations on the stretch of the U.S. highways running through the reservation are shut down as are the trading posts, fast food restaurants and grocery stores. The gas pumps are often shut off so vacationers traveling through can’t even use a credit card to purchase gas (not certain if they all do this as it is August but they did in May, June, early July). Initially, BIA police were stationed at check points on tribal roadways to stop drivers and inquire where they were going and why although this was geared towards residents on the reservation. My husband (not a resident or member of the Navajo Nation) was traveling from our southern home back to CO on I-40 when the shutdown of Gallup was announced. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to exit I-40 to get home and would have to take alternate routes that also run through the reservation. NM troopers were stationed at the exit of I-40 into Gallup and my husband had to stop and the troopers (who were pleasant) inquired where he was traveling to as Gallup was closed. My husband told the officers he was traveling home to CO and would be traveling thru with no intention of stopping anywhere in Gallup and they let him continue on his way. He got home with no other issues. I understand during the shutdown of Gallup that individuals traveling south into Gallup from the north were directed to a side road to bypass Gallup which resulted in a 70 mile detour to get to I-40. I read several travelers complained about the detour as much of the road was not marked with directional detour signs (I would assume due to the short notice Navajo DOT had) and many were vacationers pulling camp trailers etc. and they weren’t familiar with the area.
    Although many of us who read this blog have been warned by JWR and others re highway shutdowns it was still a shock to my husband to actually encounter this. We have a second vehicle we will register in AZ as also recommended on SB. The reservation travel restrictions are in place every weekend but the town of Gallup has not had any additional shutdowns. We had alternate travel routes planned and we’ve traveled them, but we’ve had to reassess those as well. That town closure shocked us. Yes, get a vehicle that can travel off road if needed and have/carry sufficient fuel to get you to your destination as you may encounter unplanned detours.So Francis, have a plan A, plan B, plan C in place. Good luck Francis.
    By Ms Tinfoil Hat

    1. I’m not being a smart alec but though you view your new location as yours and rural, many who don’t own it also view it as theirs and viable.

      Team up, you will need the guns and help.

      Thank you for your comments,

  63. Hello Bear!
    Another resource, and you may be familiar with this one as an experienced special needs parent… But! Just in case not, I wanted to share it with you. There are lots of wonderful ideas for support tech and tools. These are terrific for special needs kids, but some of the ideas are also useful for people who might benefit from assistive tech for any reason!


  64. @Francis

    1) Well, if you plan on evacuating this way then I suggest you try to have someone ride ahead of you on a motorcycle as scout — with multiple comms links (cell phone, GMRS, CB Radio) back to your convey to warn you of any road blocks ahead.

    The motorcycle is suggested for its agility, ability to turn around quickly, go through narrow channels,etc.

    2) I also recommend a police scanner with P25 capability and the builtin Radio Reference database on what frequencies are used in each zip code or county. I reco the Uniden BCD 436HP — if you hook it into a GPS it will automatically switch to scanning the local law enforcement , emergency response, etc frequencies in the local area. Somewhat complex initially so spend a few hours on the manual — easy to operate once you have it set up. While the BCD can scan CB freqs, I reco a second CB with scanning capability (besides the primary one you use for convey comms) in order to backup the BCD.
    Remember to get cigarette power cords/chargers — maybe a plug in that splits out into three cigarette outlets from the one in the vehicle.

    2) Military has a good concept called Immediate Action Drills –meaning you figure out all the things that can go wrong in advance, what your best response needs to be and have everyone trained to immediately execute the response. Including how to respond to ambush.

    3) Military also has a good concept on formations — moving overwatch, bounding overwatch, etc. Idea is that one vehicle stays backs while another moves ahead. If front vehicle gets attacked, rear vehicle attacks the attacker from the flanks. Again, need redundant comms and responses worked out in advance.

    4) Make sure you have plenty of water — for people as well as engine coolant — and a repair kit for the vehicle.

    5) As others have noted above, roadblocks and traffic jams can spring up all along your route. A smartphone with Google Maps can tell you where the jams are located and which alternate routes are best.

    1. PS Forgot to mention– be sure to get a Rand McNally Road Atlas or road map for your area of operations as backup to the electronics.

      Make sure it has lines of latitude and longitude on it — if you know your approximate location, you can enter in the approximate lat/long into the BCD scanner and it will automatically retrieve the local police/emergency frequencies for your location.

      Hence, you are not dependent on a GPS –have a backup. Plus, as the Marines used to say, a map with a bullet hole in it is still a map.

  65. Even though we don’t all agree and have different plans when SHTF, at least we all HAVE some sort of plan and are making considerations for our particular life scenarios. This is a good post and comment section to glean from.

    Francis, I wish you well. I’m glad you have a plan. My parents still think they will be retiring to the hill country and have all their money in the bank, stocks etc.

    I forsee them having to bug out to my property, which is fine. I just wish they would formulate a G.O.O.D. plan when the time comes. They have supplies they will need to run around and grab, load up and then drive out of a large city. And they will do this at the eleventh hour. So frustrating.

    1. To add to your comment, I do not trust banks or our monetary system but still have a significant portion of our assets in the banks. We have diversified our holdings, and have little in the stock market, just moved a significant amount out of stocks into tangible assets.

      A word of caution. Years ago I looked into gold and silver being held by others. As I dug further, i found the institution only had to have 5% of gold and silver, the rest was a promise, I don’t know what their minimum requirement is today.

      We have not only diversified our assets in terms of being tangible (not paper promises) but the physical location of those assets.

      I’ll have more to say about that in a future submission.

      I really appreciate everyone’s comments, they have been very useful and I should have built into our system a real time test of everything we plan to do.

      Bless you all, may He watch over us all.

  66. Actually, I’m not as sanguine as I’ve presented. I see the future and from my vantage point it will not be a Leave it to Beaver world.

    I only view and read the MSM for attempts at mis-direction. I’d recommend the WSJ and several online blogs for the truth.

    My next submission will be wandering at first but will pinpoint a few startling issues.

    Thanks for the comments

    1. Francis, I’m impressed with how you have stayed with the replies. You have a very tenuous problem. I have read every single reply that you have posted. I, personally think that your time to bug out is way off. I read for 2 hours every morning from trusted sites that have good info. I have been seriously at this since 2008. I have spent countless hours training and informing people in our group and building a prepared community. I feel I must share this with you. You need to prepare to accept the death of you and your extended family. I have processed this thru an extended family member. They live in a city of 3 million people, have only a weeks worth of food in their home. They drive around this city with the low fuel light on for a couple days. You have mentioned several times that you can deal with bluntness, so I have been truthful with you. The odds of you and all the people you mention rallying at your house to leave and bugout and arrive safely at your destination are a million to one at best. I would compare it to parting the Red Sea.
      If your family is the only reason that you have to live, please continue. In my humble opinion, the best you can hope for is that you will all leave this world together from your home.
      That is how serious that I think the conditions in this nation and world are at this time.

      1. @ Big Mike

        Well, as Francis said he likes bluntness; he should be ok with your comment! 😉 Actually, I think you bring up some important points which were really bothering me as I read Francis’s article plus the comments and his responses. I suspect that many of us are prepping for a particular scenario and not recognizing that anything could happen at any time. Some are prepping for the Yellowstone caldera to erupt. Others for the “big-one” earthquake or a civil war. And so on. We get tunnel vision when we do this as we fail to plan for the fact that what we are prepping for might not happen and something else big will. And trying to time a major SHTF event is like trying to time the stock market; maybe you’re good at it but most of us sure aren’t!

        There’s a lot of magical thinking as well, displayed by people who believe they will find a spot to be and set up camp, garden, hunt and fish while failing to recognize that we have over 300 million people in this country, many of whom have the same idea. I’m not worried about the deer here being a big issue for a TEOTWAWKI garden; they’ll all have been hunted out pretty early on!

        I think we all need some reality checking. I don’t think it’s helpful to just throw up our hands and give up but to recognize that there are many holes in the plans of many of us, myself included. And the holes that we know of may well be exceeded by those we can’t predict; unanticipated illness or injury can smash the best laid plans of any of us to smithereens.

        I myself recognize that my home and land is probably not defensible owing to the low numbers of us able to defend it and the design(starting with 15 windows and 2 glass doors in a small 2-bedroom home!). My ability with guns is growing but still very limited. If all that was needed was that I had to be able to feed us and keep us warm I’d be fine. I’d figure out a water supply as well. But my plans fall apart if I had to deal with marauding hordes out to take what’s mine. I recognize it and accept it. Doing the best I can at this point to improve this but it won’t likely be enough to deal with more than one or two well-armed invaders.

        So yeah, I think that many people are prepping for their idea of a SHTF event and anticipating digging into their freeze-dried meals and cooking up some yummy chili for everyone but the reality may be nothing like what we are planning for.

        1. @Ani! You are so right to say that what we anticipate may be quite different from what actually and eventually comes (and at a time none of us can truly predict).

          We encourage everyone to consider universal preps first — with regard to both resource development and strategies. Prepare for more than one possibility with your sights set on those preps that will first support survival — breathable air, clean water, nutritious food, shelter, and defense.

          Specialized preps can be developed alongside those, but should also be diversified. Our household priority is the development of those resources and strategies that will help us survive the harshest conditions.

          Renewable resources will also be important to the ability to self-sustain for the longer haul. This may be the least attended area of preparedness work — but should be a very high priority.

          The likelihood is that the reality will be much more difficult than most imagine. The most important aspect of this is to take carefully considered and deliberate steps forward. There is something each of us can do, every day.

      2. Ani, Death to me is just a transition to a much better world. i’m not suicidal but that’s how I feel.

        I am optimistic about our long term survival, timing will be everything.

        Reading the news all I see is long term permanent unemployment. I see inflation wildly going through the roof.

        Your last sentence tells it all We can plan but we cannot make things happen the way we want.
        Take care.

  67. Many excellent comments here. Just two thoughts from me. One, find ways to reduce your loading time to increase your odds of getting out in time. For example, how about adding one of those mini-split air conditioners to your garage? That would let you store heat sensitive items in your trailer. And if you did have to turn your garage into a bunk house, it would make it bearable to sleep there.

    Second, you have not mentioned whether your current home was selected for it’s potential as a bug-in shelter for extended family such as Selco in Bosnia. In the event we do survive this election cycle, afterwards there could be a window of time to reconsider exactly which homes in your local area (near family) gives you the best chance of surviving a forced bug-in (with your family).

  68. The AC for the garage is a good recommendation. One of my neighbors has one but I never looked at it the way you have. I will be looking into it.

    The house was purchased as a suburban home, nothing special except too big.

    Our planning is in steps, i.e. get ready, get more supplies and then shelter in place at this house. Abandoning will be a last resort.
    Thank you, take care

  69. Folks- I don’t comment often but this post got my attention. Without going into detail, I did three tactical-level deployments and a year on my own (without a net) in Baghdad. I learned a lot on my the first three and had a break before my 4th of about four or five years. As a 46 year-old I trained up with my unit for three months and then did nine months in Afghanistan, humping off-convoy maybe three times a week. Suffice to say I have experience and have tried to learn from it. The point I want to make is this: in the three-month train up at Camp Atterbury I was one a not very many combat guy in a joint tactical unit (Provincial Reconstruction Team). During the training, which was pretty good, I kept my mouth shut and focused on humping with my ruck after hours (which was after 2000 most nights) to get in shape for the coming sh*tshow. As a member of primary staff, I attended all the meetings. During one of the meetings the group was talking about really getting mentally prepared to get on the K-loader and start doing the job. I kept silent for a bit and then I said something like:

    ‘we need to know, each one of us, what we will do on first contact. We need to know if we get out of the vehicle, or if we stay inside. We need to internalize this as SOPs (which we were doing with 5s and 25s and other actions on contact). We need to know what we do when someone freezes up. We need to each of us understand this as muscle memory and commit to it. We need to know what we should do as battle drills when someone gets hit, and hit bad. We need to know what cancels the mission and when we can continue. We need to practice, because I guarantee you that bad things will happen’.

    This is the kind of conversation you need to have with your family, because I’m here to tell you car doors do not stop bullets and the first time most people, especially people protecting others, take contact, the advantage has been lost and you will very likely end up dead or compromised.

    What does this all mean? It means keep asking questions here, keep thinking critically, keep asking ‘what if’, keep planning. I will take heat for this but I believe that unless you have a destination that is a hard point (dependable) and a plan to get there, you MUST stay put. Getting on the road under load with dependents and no hard point to go to is a recipe for failure. It would only take two or three decently-trained shooters to stop your convoy in it’s tracks and kill you all dead (sorry, been there, seen that).

    He who has ears, let him hear.

    PS: poster, feel free to contact me directly if you want
    PSS: if you use a container (CONEX etc..) go to foamitgreen.com and spend $400 for a foam kit; it’s easy and you can eliminate condensation on the interior of your metal box

  70. Scott, I appreciate your comments. We have two sites we can leave for, both are solid but our first choice will be to shelter in place in suburbia. I’m working on a submission for routes to take.

    If we have to abandon our home, it will be TEOTWAWKI. Timing is everything.

    God bless and thank you for your service. Take care.

    1. Francis: watch this Carlin routine re. stuff and it’s importance:


      Then, think about your ‘stuff’, where it is now, what you need, etc…

      You’re most important ‘stuff’ is knowledge.

      If, after paring down all your ‘stuff’, you are too heavy to be agile (react to contact, mounted), you need to rethink your plan.


  71. Don’t know if these people would make it or not, when things go south. But people ‘like this’ probably won’t last long in extremely hard times. People that live under the thumb of a HOA usually won’t have the aptitude to survive in a deadly world of killer gangs, famine, and situations where survival will be tough, even for very tough guys.
    Just saying.

    1. @ DA Evan

      I’m guessing that Francis is not a “HOA type” of guy but just sort of ended up buying a house there as the location and price worked for them at this time. I personally would avoid any HOA as the rules which they use to control people prevent the access of the freedom to do what one wants with one’s own property but that’s me. That said, I think that in a SHTF situation, the HOA rules wouldn’t stand but it’s the run-up to that which is problematic. By that I mean that the rules which prevent people from building certain structures or having certain(or any) livestock or having a trailer, turning the front yard into a garden etc can prevent people from engaging in preps which could be needed when things do get bad. Once things do get bad enough that the HOA falls apart, it’s too late to easily acquire livestock, build a barn or other things that one might need. Plus, I always envision the awful HOA lady of the prepper novels, who calls a meeting and announces that they will be going door to door to tally and requisition people’s supplies to be divided up. Gives me the willies just thinking about her…….. know too many people like that in my state already……..

      1. DA Scott and Ani. Ani is correct. Until 2012, we lived in a small town in upstate New York We came south and realized we could not afford a custom builder, nor buy land somewhere rural. We picked here due to location to our children and grandchildren, never thinking America would be where it is today.


  72. Having towed trailers many times over the years I concur with other commenters about the two axle vs. single axle trailers. 2 axles come with brakes. This prevents the tail wagging the dog, a truly frightening occurrence. Functioning trailer brakes a necessity. U-Haul sells trailers which are made to be abused. Check them out.

    1. Pete, we will be taking that advice. Our plan is that it won’d get real difficult until the early spring. Will the world wait for me?

      Thank you for your comments.

  73. Follow up to my earlier post and the many cogent comments:

    First, don’t cast stones at Francis. His situation is his situation. If I came across as curt, please learn from my mistakes, demonstrate critical thinking, and become (yet) more humble. And contribute here to the discourse and helping him and his.

    Second, for Francis: so much is on this site that it’s very easy for me just to say ‘go read the posts for the last ten years’; not tenable. So: as the bible is doctrine for living, let the U.S. military doctrine be your ‘doctrine’ (redundant, sorry) for surviving. This is a starting point:


    Note that I am referring you to terminal and enabling learning objectives for ‘group’ tasks; this is not an accident. You will note that this publication references the USMC platoon and squad: you start here. You need a unit, you need to lead the unit, think like a unit, train like a unit and fight as a unit. You will die otherwise. Apologies, but true. Your only recourse in your situation is a) sudden wealth or b) unit establishment, cohesion, planning and training. There is NO substitute for these. You START from a position of strength and unless you form the above, you will not survive.

    Third: Battle drills:


    Start with #2, React to Contact. Based on your stated scenario, React to Contact, (Platoon/Squad) (Mounted) (7-3/4-D122) dominance will be the best ‘bang’ for your training ‘buck’.

    Then here:


    Pay attention to chapters 3 and 4. You’ll understand once you look at the publication.

    Fourth, battle drills. I know, I just talked about this. Until you become independently wealthy, keep practicing battle drills. Then move on to Route Reconnaissance and Planning. Troop leading procedures are a great place to start; we learned them like this:

    Receive the mission (an event that triggers your movement plan)
    Issue a Warning Order (tell your unit to get ready: define ‘ready’)
    Make a Tentative Plan: (pull your plan off the shelf and adjust for current variables)
    Start necessary movement (kick your unit members into action on their assigned tasks)
    Recon the objective (that’s your hard point destination)
    Complete the plan (decide when you are leaving and formalize your 5-paragraph operations order; keep it simple enough for your youngest members to memorize)
    Initiate movement (the quickest way to start a convoy is to get in the lead vehicle and start f*cking driving)
    Supervise (comms, SOPs, reporting procedures, blah blah blah)

    In Christ-

    PS: doctrine evolves. Airland battle is how I grew up, it’s different now but leadership, planing and tactics really don’t change over time.

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