Your bug out bag needs one extra thing: some common sense
What sense does it make bugging out to somewhere alone? We need to address this generally accepted idea of “running for the woods”. Why? Because preppers have it wrong.
Preppers prepare for unexpected events that could end up being catastrophic. However, “prepping” has become a mixed term: part time describing someone with common sense preparing for an uncertain future and the other part of the time referring to people that expect the world will end tomorrow so they’ll go survive in the woods alone.
I addressed the correct way to prepare for the future in my article Prepping and Survivalism for Less Insane People. The idea that we should prepare “bug out” bags strictly to go hide in the woods is, in most cases, pure fantasy.
The greatest risks we face that we need to be prepared for are things like losing our job, financial problems, or severe weather. In which of these three cases would it make sense to hide in the woods? If you lost your job, are you going to go fight bugs in the wilderness? If a hurricane strikes, should you go hang out with the flood waters in the forest?
Take it even further. Let’s say that the world is in some serious sh*t. Consider if the entire financial system collapses. Surely, there would be violence and it would make sense to get out of large metro areas. But alone in the woods? Yeah, still not the best idea. It’d make more sense and you would be more secure having a strong network and community instead of going solo.
That’s the point of this article. When preppers prepare for the unexpected by building themselves up as Mr. or Ms. Solo Billy Badass, they are mistaking a key element. It doesn’t matter how many guns you have, how much food you have, or how good you are in the wilderness if you have no community. Run up against a gang of bandits? Hello, Jesus. Want to rebuild society? Nope, you’re solo. Need help to bandage yourself? Nobodies around; have fun bleeding out to death.
Preppers Have It Wrong
If there was a serious worldwide collapse, it makes little sense to be alone in the woods or another hiding spot. Rather, it makes sense to fortify your location with a network of friends and neighbors that you have already cultivated in your own community. Start rebuilding your own community and connecting with other communities. Those friends and that network will last you decades over any other method. It’s just a fact that you won’t survive in the woods forever being alone. And your standard of living there would be terrible anyway. It would be much better to have a house and friends who could stand guard when you need to sleep. And to help you build your medical supplies.
Go read one of The Top 3 Best Survival Books Ever Written and you’ll notice a trend: they all encourage grouping up. You can’t always fix yourself medically. You can’t survive forever alone. Also, you can’t improve your quality of life without teamwork. Society and everything else you enjoy were not made by rogue dudes in the woods. Networks of similar-minded people built it.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be in peak physical condition or prep certain essentials. But it does mean you need to think about this in a more reasonable manner. The prepper blogs that tell you to learn what berries to eat and how to solo cut a scab off your back aren’t who you want to be taking actual advice from.
Most catastrophes are ones that won’t have you running for the woods. Pretty much everything besides zombies, and hell, even with zombies it seems to make more sense to work in groups.
There’s a reason humanity has formed into groups. We just work better that way. We survive better; we strive together, and we get through anything. That’s what you need in a life-changing event: a comrade. Not another MRE.