Letter Re: Bugging Out With Children

Good Day SurvivalBlog Editor,

I have been reading SurvivalBlog for years. I enjoy the articles and often learn various new ideas or approaches to survival. I am not the target audience for this article, since my children are 13 and 18; however, when they were younger we dragged them along on family hunting and camping trips and involved them on extended hikes, packs, canoe trips, et cetera when they were infants, toddlers, and small children. The one caveat I would say is that we always had two parents doing this and both were motivated to make it happen and to make it happen with a smile on our face. I would like to give a slightly different view on some of the points made in this article.

Stating that a five year old can only do a few miles a day is an understatement. At five or six a child should be able to keep up with a slow adult pace. They are not packing gear, so 10 plus miles a day can be done. Of course, that is if they walk regularly prior to this “bug out” in an emergency situation. This is a fun evening activity, which is a perfect time to have conversations with your children.

Children can be trained to be quiet. I’ll never forget the time we returned from several days of hunting and my children were talking in whispers. At some point they started a very quiet laughter, because they were in the truck headed home and still whispering to speak. It takes effort and reminders, but children can be taught to be quiet, even very young children.

In bugging out with children part 2, the author mentions strollers and rolling carts. Those are great options, but I would also add sleds. Sleds in the winter are a much easier way to convey children than a stroller through snow. Do you have a family dog? Is it a medium or larger dog that could pull the sled?

Even picky young eaters can find joy in identifying food in the environment, and they may be more inclined to eat it when they are part of the gathering process. Food for the child is important, and I would also add candy/cookies/chips– things that don’t always come to mind as bug out food. I’ve gotten my children up many a mountain by saying when they sit on top they can have a treat. I would not neglect toys either. Children can and will make toys out of just about anything, but a stuffed toy or coloring book can be big comforts during an emergency.

Scraping Heaven: A Family’s Journey Along the Continental Divide is one of the books I read when my children were very young. There are other books on hiking and camping with children that have all sorts of ideas to try with your children.

As mentioned in the article, each child can learn age appropriate survival skills. I would just reinforce that parents know their children best. My children have been starting my wood stove since they were very young, and they would do it with matches, lighters, and flint and steel. Make sure you are equipping them to be successful in any situation. – L.R.