The level of encroachment of government into our lives correlates very closely to the amount of freedom a person enjoys. It should come as no surprise that the more the government dictates every aspect of a person’s life, the less freedom that person has. Dating as far back as early English Common Law, it has been recognized and well established that without respect for property rights there can be no freedom. Alarmingly, over the last year, state and federal governments have massively expanded the scope of intrusion into our lives and all but abolished the last vestiges of property “rights.” As a result, the number of examples of egregious violations of rights has been piling up. Three cases in particular highlight the utter destruction of property rights. Read more
Archive for Self-Sufficiency
If there is something to be learned from this last election it is you seek or swim politically as a team. The groups that are able to put differences aside for a common cause repeatedly achieve far greater goals than splinter factions alone. This has been a problem that has plagued the Patriot Movement where issues like ego, societal rejection, and hard headed “rugged individualism” have become chronic self-defeating diseases. This isn’t to say that we sacrifice our morals and ethics for the sake of unity, but it is important to understand what is critical and what isn’t when it comes to winning the long war of ideology. Collectively, if we can move closer to achieving our objectives we are better off rallying together. This isn’t without consequences and pitfalls though. As we have seen, our major political parties have been hijacked by elitist interests to the point that rallying to a false idol for “party unity” will do far more damage than good. We must once again remember what it means to be American and define our core values and principles. These moral underpinnings must be our guides and what we rally to instead of a hijacked political party or fallible individual. This is a far more enduring strategy. Without this solid foundation based in moral and ethical truth we will be continuously misled, divided, and ultimately fail. Read more
One of the single biggest mistakes preppers make is that they buy into the myth that relocating to a small region in the North West corner of the United States is their “best” chance of survival. As you now know from my previous three articles in this series, this theory is inaccurate and is not based on any sound research. Further, it causes people to unnecessarily incur significant additional costs and difficulties when developing their preparedness plans. However, what you still may not know is that there is a large body of empirical evidence that repeatedly demonstrates people living in isolated, remote areas are often at the greatest risk during wide spread social chaos and collapse. Not coincidentally, these people also suffer some of the most hardships. Therefore, with respect to our contemporary situation in the United States, preppers relocating to Idaho with the explicit intent to escape an oppressive government and or are planning to escape widespread instability during a systemic collapse of the system might very well be signing their death warrants. Instead, contrary to contemporary prepping strategies, it would be better to be closer if not in the midst of a more densely populated area.
I understand what I just wrote probably sent many readers into anger and shock. Nonetheless, it is far better to get the right information now then to continue along a misguided path to destruction. No doubt, some readers will immediately discount what I am about to say because they are blinded by their own preconceived biases. I cannot help those people. Thankfully, the majority of my readers are intelligent thinking people that will quickly grasp the conclusions to be drawn from the evidence and modify their preparedness strategies accordingly. In fact, don’t take my word alone, I invite everyone to conduct their own independent research into our prepping assumptions and disseminate their findings.
My theories seem counterintuitive to the premise that the farther from people you are, the farther from harm you are. This is because the basic assumptions of this safety distance premise are flawed. As the theory goes, in the event of a collapse or major catastrophe, being located away from people in a remote, self-sufficient redoubt is your best chance. I have already discussed why the 300 mile rule is a useless metric and that the notion of a “Golden Horde” of refugees fleeing a city and destroying all in their wake is equally unfounded and completely untrue. The last pillar of this theory is that being isolated conveys additional survival benefits. To test it accurately, one must evaluate case studies from around the world and then correctly apply them to a realistic scenario domestically. Read more
Before I post Part IV, I want to pause and recap the huge amount of ground already covered in parts one and two of this series (See links below to read and catch up). Previously, I showed that the most common assumptions preppers base their relocation decisions on are completely false and actually counterproductive to outright dangerous. The research I presented is groundbreaking within our community because it completely overturned the very foundation of what many have spent a lifetime basing their preps around. Understandably, some people within the prepper community have received the new information as radical heresy and immediately took to the defense. When new information is presented to any community, this visceral reaction is to be expected. After all, it challenged their entire basis for their preps and in this case, proved that much of their foundational assumptions were based on bad information. Read more
In part one of our series on “Prepper Relocation,” I directly addressed a common false logic amongst preppers that led to bad conclusions regarding why one should relocate to Idaho. Specifically, I challenged the idea that a bunker was a viable long term survival strategy for a major catastrophe many prep for such as nuclear war. Simply establishing a second residence in a modern first world location like Santiago, Singapore, or New Zealand offer far better options for survival, both physically and economically, than hiding in a hole while a nuclear war is carried out above you. Today, I continue the slaughter of the sacred cows and challenge the merits of relocating to a site far from other people. As I previously discussed, relocation isn’t a subject to take lightly. It may be the single most important decision a prepper makes and therefore any plan should be heavily vetted before time and money is invested in executing it. Therefore, one must consider counter arguments to contemporary “expert” recommendations. By leveraging the information in this series, you will be far better prepared to develop a personalized answer to what truly is you “best prepper place to relocate.”
Contemporary prepper logic states that the farther your relocation site is from dense centers of population, the better. In fact, the magic number often touted is that you must be at least 300 miles from any major population center. However, is this really the case? This is very important because if 300 miles is accurate, it severely constrains your relocation options. If it is not a valid constraint, then suddenly you have many good options for relocation depending on the specific scenario you are prepping for. As such, let’s examine what that conclusion is premised upon. Breaking the theory down, you have two main hypotheses to vet. The first is that 300 miles provides a necessary and adequate buffer from an urban center. The second is that from said urban area a horde of starving refugees will emerge and overrun your redoubt.
Let me be the first to tell you neither hypothesis constituting this prepper theory, which to date has been held up as prepper law, is valid. Read more
I routinely read articles online where individuals pontificate about where the best places for preppers to live or relocate too are. What I don’t usually see is any real cognitive effort to do a realistic analysis and assessment. This should be a red flag. Selecting your relocation site is one of the most important decisions a prepper must make. It is too important to be made on hearsay and opinions. Therefore, I am going to question that contemporary prepper relocation logic. I am going to debunk common myths and offer better alternatives that will help you develop a personalized answer to what truly is you “best prepper place to relocate.” When this series is complete, you will be armed with critical information necessary for identifying your ideal relocation spot. Don’t be surprised if after this eye opening series your philosophy on how you previously evaluated and envisioned your relocation site looks completely different.
Most preparedness “experts” would define the common prepper relocation logic is to find a place as far as possible from other people in an area still suitable for an off-grid, self-sustaining lifestyle. This implies the location has ample water, good soil, and a good growing season. Add a couple wild card factors like being outside the blast radius and fallout pattern of a nuclear detonation and avoiding known earthquake prone areas and most preppers conclude that Idaho is the choice destination. James Wesley Rawles, a man well known and respected throughout the prepper community and a recognized expert on the field is a big advocate of this relocation option. In Rawles’ defense, Idaho may indeed be a good location for some preppers for some reasons. However, Rawles and many others are basing many of their primary assumptions on outdated information, obsolete tactics and techniques, and generally old school logic that when tested in real world scenarios, fails. I don’t take this indictment lightly. If we get this wrong, we die and that is why it is so important we first question some of the fundamental assumptions the conventional prepper relocation plan is based upon. Read more
Tomorrow, Friday July 15th has been announced as a “day of rage” to protest perceived social injustices across the nation. Most major metropolitan areas have been identified as areas targeted by possible protests. Now, just because a day of rage is called for online, it doesn’t mean anyone will turn out. However, based on past Black Lives Matter (BLM) events that turned violent, it would be wise to take precautions out of an abundance of caution. So what should you do if you happen to live, work, or pass through these named areas?
I have written many pieces over the years explaining how to prepare for the mobs rioting and burning our cities during times of social unrest. Per my piece in June, I detailed how to defend against fire, which may be your most pressing threat during a riot. (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2016/06/06/how-to-protect-your-home-from-rioting-mobs-using-fire-as-a-weapon/ ) I also have discussed in detail how to organize your community into a common defense since private citizens, NOT law enforcement have proven time and again to be your best defense for life and property against the mob. (See stories listed at: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/?s=ferguson) For extremely bad situations, we have also put together the Civilian Response Force composed of volunteer citizens from across to the nation willing to help those located in high threat or disaster areas. (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2015/01/21/lms-civilian-response-team-ferguson-conundrum-solved-by-community-security/) All of these articles present a coherent comprehensive strategy for the defense of you and your community and should be reviewed in detail.
Specific to those needing to make “last minute” preparations for tomorrow’s planned “day of rage” touted as a “peaceful” event, I would recommend the following.
Family: Get any non-essential family members out of the danger area. If you can, have them stay with family or friends until you know it is safe to return. Before parting ways, make sure everyone knows your plan in the event you need to bug out and ensure that includes a “no-comms” plan.
Fire: Go to Costco or similar store and make a bulk purchase of fire extinguishers. Chemical extinguishers that work on gasoline/petroleum and electrical fires are optimum. Place these extinguishers in easy to access locations close to any windows and doors of your home and on all levels of your home. If you have any combustible material around your house, remove it. Be especially vigilant to get rid of gas cans and such in easily accessible locations like sheds and outbuildings that a rioting mob could easily access.
Preparations for Defense: Prep your kit for either bugging out or the defense. Weapons, ammunition, and any other associated items like body armor should be staged and ready if the situation deteriorates and dictates the need to defend your home and family. If the situation becomes hopeless (block is engulfed in fire, overrun, etc.) be prepared to bug out. Have a go bag staged and multiple evacuation routes and options ready for execution. Make sure you let at least one other trusted person know your whereabouts and plans should you need to execute a bug out.
Medical: Inventory, update, prep, and stage any medical equipment you have or intend to use in a casualty collection point. This should be somewhere safe in your home and could be a safe room, basement, or internal room with no windows and doors. The most critical items such as tourniquets should be staged and at the ready.
Vehicles: Any vehicles that you cannot store inside a locked garage should be driven and stored outside of the area of disorder. Vehicles left along streets are likely to be vandalized, stolen, or torched during riots. If you chose to keep a vehicle at your residence, make sure it is prepared to be used to bug out on short order. That means any tools, extraction equipment, and hardening should be complete. Any maintenance should be done. Make sure the vehicle is fully gassed. Also make sure your spare tire(s) are easily accessible and your tire change equipment is staged if you don’t use run flat tires.
Community: Now is a good time to coordinate your plans with likeminded individuals in your neighborhood. Optimally, there are at least a few other people on your block that will be prepared and ready to react if your area is targeted by the mob. Have a plan to communicate, react, and provide mutual support. If you are short on manpower, access your prepper network for friends from out of town willing to come into town and establish security at and around your home. Respective of the rest of the neighborhood, assume they are sympathetic to other causes and even possibly hostile to anyone bearing arms in defense of their homes and family so keep a low profile unless the situation dictates.
Travel/Business: If you do not live in said high threat area, but must travel through it or work in the immediate area, you must also take precautions. Make sure you have your bug out bag with you and your primary, alternative, and emergency evacuation plans are made and ready to execute. Monitor the radio for signs of trouble and have your cell phone with a backup battery ready. Make sure you dress appropriately and assume you may have to move miles on foot.
Be safe by being prepared.
By Guiles Hendrik
July 14, 2016
This week I read a piece by “Mac” MacWelch of Advanced Survival Training (http://www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com/). In it he argues that the lone wolf survivor is a myth. Unless preppers set aside small differences and organize your chances of surviving a true chaos event is small. I am glad to see his article and completely agree. I have been working for years to educate people on this exact subject and I am very happy to see attitudes and minds within the greater prepper community have finally begun to embrace this very basic, but very critical aspect of survival. I don’t want to understate the importance of this survival attitude gaining traction. Once “preppers” start to see themselves as a part of a greater community instead of independent and fearful of the community, we will make significant progress toward free, safe, and independent lives.
I want to reference my article from 2013 on the “Greatest Prepper Weakness.” (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2013/12/02/overcoming-the-greatest-prepper-weakness-the-individual-versus-the-community-and-a-plan-for-the-future/) The article garnered quite a bit of response from individuals across the US, but it was clear that it woke people up. I ask all of you to read it and ponder what is being proposed. Like Mac, I argue that preppers must erase the walk away and hide till it’s over mentality because it isn’t a viable survival strategy. This isn’t just my opinion. It is based on learned real life experience and what I practice. (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2015/01/27/when-the-shtf-you-can-come-to-my-placeseriously/) I have witnessed nations in all stages of chaos and in every single place the people that were doing the best were the ones that stuck together in big groups. Those of you that still feel that you can run to the mountains and lock yourself in your bunker I applaud your preparations, but ask you to reconsider your actual survival odds versus uniting with other like-minded people with diverse and useful skillsets. If you really feel your preps are sufficient, please write me and we can discuss hundreds of real world examples that prove beyond any doubt the strategy does not work beyond a very short term. The articles provide a plan of action and not just arguments about how best to prep. Only by uniting, putting aside petty differences, and working toward the greater good will we come out of this in good order. Feel free to contact me with questions, but for now, I wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you in my community someday.
By Guiles Hendrik
July 12, 2016
I get asked a lot about what my preferred techniques and tools are for starting a fire. Many items are on the market from old school flint and steel to lighters, matches, and magnesium fire steels that shower your tinder with hot sparks. So for “last minute survival,” what would be my best choice if I could only choose one? Further, why are there so many fire steel “sparker” devices? Are they really that good and should I have one? The good news is I have a definitive answer for you so read on.
My answer is that in a survival situation, your best fire starter is whatever gets the fire reliably started in the quickest and most energy efficient manner. What works is what I carry and that is a simple lighter. In fact, it is one of the three items I never go anywhere without and always have on my person. What I have witnessed in the real world over and over is that for the average person, a simple lighter is by far your best choice. Even when instructing experienced outdoorsman, the lighter is still the choice fire starter and the one that most people see the quickest and most consistent success when starting a fire. This isn’t an accident. The lighter is very convenient, works well, and most people are comfortable operating one even in complete darkness. Lighters are also very forgiving and can allow one to maintain the flame to light larger tinder items that spark type ignition methods are not capable of igniting. Lighters are small and light enough that a person can carry a small backup lighter in a waterproof container in their pack and still always have a primary on their person. Further, you can operate a lighter even when your dexterity is diminished such as during the mid to late stages of hypothermia when getting a fire started immediately is critical to survival. Lighters also can still operate after being wet if allowed to dry out and they can also provide some temporary light. They don’t get soggy and absorb moisture like matches. Finally, lighters are available all over the world and are one of the cheapest fire starting tools available. Read more
Did you know that if you have even a small subsistence farm to grow and or raise food for your family it all could be confiscated. Did you know the government is currently trying to identify and register all food producers to support this goal? Whether you are aware or not, at any time the president deems necessary, the US can now confiscate key resources in the name of national security. In particular, the food you worked hard to grow or raise could be seized. Naturally, it makes no sense to spend your time and money developing a farming capability to insulate your family from hard times only to have it seized. By following a few basic rules, you can help to protect your food supply and ensure those that helped cause the collapse and refused to prepare aren’t fed on your watch.
President Obama also nationalized our nation’s food supply through executive order. (See: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness) This executive order effectively orders the heads of various agencies to include the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify critical resources under their purview and develop policies on how to ensure their production and procurement during national emergencies. As with most government regulation, this order on the surface doesn’t sound too draconian. However, the devil is in the details regarding its implementation. In order for the USDA to “secure” the US food supply, it becomes necessary to identify everyone involved in food production. Once identified, then upon order, the USDA can send nationalized goon squads to confiscate any and all “critical resources” deemed necessary for national security. National security may very soon include declaring “preppers” “extremists and depriving them of their stores of food. In this particular case, it could involve your entire crop. Read more
You know what they say about imitation. If rewriting the work of others is included, I should be happy because The Daily Sheeple (http://www.thedailysheeple.com/) featured a great article today, contributed by a Joshua Krause, on “Florida Court Rules Off-Grid Living Illegal,” which was picked up and run also by http://www.infowars.com/. However, I wrote nearly the same, albeit more detailed, article almost a year and a half ago (http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2015/01/04/florida-outlaws-off-the-grid-living/). I appreciate the word getting out, which is the goal. However, common courtesy is that you at least put in a footnote about your sources. In fairness, when news breaks, we see a lot of articles essentially citing the same information to get the news out, but a year and a half later when you are writing, it is called research not news. Don’t get me wrong, I love checking out the articles on both The Daily Sheeple and InfoWars so please frequent these sites. However, if their contributors are going to rewrite stories I broke a year and a half ago, please, either just repost/link to the entire original article or ask me to contribute directly. We are all on the same team and there is plenty of news to still report.
Compare for yourself:
Now, getting back to the bigger picture, Robin is still being screwed by the system in Florida. Please visit her sites and support her however you can.
June 2, 2015
Recently, there has been so much going on politically it has been easy to overlook writing on core survival/prepper subjects. To make sure our prepper followers don’t think I have forgotten about them, I wanted to note five preps that I see overlooked quite often. These preps aren’t vital like water and food or something like antibiotics that have been discussed repeatedly. These are preps that are important, but easy to forget when preparing for a long term post-SHTF world. By no means is this list all inclusive, but it does touch on some key items we take for granted. The following items should be a part of your stocked supplies and are listed in no particular order. Read more
Don’t fight your soil trying to grow “ideal” crops. Those of us who have undertaken growing our own food understand intimately how much work it can be. Soil quality is one issue that consumes a disproportionate amount of time and work to overcome. Often, we are in possession of land that has less than optimum soil for growing crops. The generic solution is to build up and work that soil until it is of the consistency and PH desirable. Achieving this “optimum” gardening soil can be daunting and take years. Today I want to suggest a different approach that requires far less work and time, but will still yield suitable crop yields. Read more
How often have you been talking with friends and they joke that if the SHTF, they are coming to your place? Most of us quietly are saying in our heads, “you are out of your damn mind if you think you are coming to my place.” In fact, for those that spend zero time preparing, training, or putting even the smallest amount of effort into their own survival insurance, I would agree, I have no sympathy. However, the mere fact you are reading this right now tells me you have taken a step in the right direction and are in fact interested in insuring the continued existence of yourself and your family. You are actively trying to take positive steps. For those of you out there, I would suggest established preppers consider opening their door and taking you in under the right conditions. Unlike the billionaires creating much of the havoc in our world, very few of us will ever have the funds to buy our own private island or renovated missile silo protected by a first rate mercenary army so it is best we start working together. In today’s article, I will deviate from what I consider dated prepper logic and argue why inviting others to your bug out location is in all of our interests. Read more
I wanted to take a moment to follow up on Last Minute Survival’s Civilian Response Team initiative. Our initiative proved that not just in Ferguson, but that in communities around the country a well-organized community response is far better protection and security than anything the state can provide. Not only did our teams respond to crisis areas completely ignored by government agencies, but provided real protection to businesses and residents unable to provide for their own defense. Further, our teams were able to accomplish this without heavy handed police state tactics. Read more
Why would the government want to punish people that are just trying to work hard, become more self-sufficient and take care of their families? There are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States today, and often they appear to be singled out for punishment by bureaucratic control freaks that are horrified at the thought that there are families out there that actually want to try to become less dependent on the system. So if you use alternative methods to heat your home, or if you are not connected to the utility grid, or if you collect rainwater on your property, or if you believe that parents should have the ultimate say when it comes to health decisions for their children, you could become a target for overzealous government enforcers.
Once upon a time, America was the land of the free and the home of the brave, but now we are being transformed into a socialist police state where control freak bureaucrats use millions of laws, rules and regulations to crack down on anyone that dares to think for themselves. Read more
Think you are still free to make choices in your life? Do you think the government will allow you to live independent of their utility monopolies? If you think so, try opting for renewable non-grid tied power and utilize environmentally friendly composting toilets and your own self-sufficient water supply. Today, those life choices could land you in jail if you live in South Florida. Take the case of Robin Speronis. Read more
Continuing with our series of area specific bug out planning, we focus on Southern California (SoCal) where a host of unique challenges will face anyone attempting to bug out. First of all, Los Angeles (LA) and the surrounding region of SoCal contains over 22 million people densely packed at a density of over 5,000 people per square mile in many areas. This makes it one of the most populous regions of the United States. If you have to bug out of LA and its surrounding areas, you better be one step ahead of everyone else. Second, the most densely populated areas of SoCal are locked between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the towering Sierra Nevada mountains to the east creating a serious geographical bottleneck. To the north are more mountains, the Great Valley, and more densely populated areas. To the south is Mexico. If you choose to go east and got across the mountains, then you are faced with surviving in one of the hottest and driest locations in the US, Death Valley and the surrounding desert. If you go west, you need a boat fully sea worthy and supplied with everything you will need for a long duration voyage. Going north or south just runs you into more people fleeing disaster and won’t help your situation. Third, SoCal plays host to regular earthquakes and at any given time the “Big One” could hit. Further, being coastal, much of the SoCal coastline is vulnerable to the effects of a major tsunami. Finally, but by no means all inclusive, SoCal also has some very precarious infrastructure such as the leaking San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station that may be permanently shut down and Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, which straddles two active faults. Without doubt, the challenges of ‘getting out of town’ are mile high in this part of California, but with simple planning, you and your loved can safely and effectively bug and stay alive.
Optimally, you are using all of your resources to remain situational aware and bug out before the mob. However, events like major earthquakes, tsunamis, and grid collapses happen with little or no warning. As a typical SoCal citizen you drive 20+ miles per workday and use multiple high volume interstates and or state highways. As such, there is a high likelihood of being put into a position where your bug out begins during a commute. Do to this likely event; we begin our bug out discussion in rush hour traffic and discuss one of the more likely bug out scenarios, a major quake.
Your day begins as most in SoCal. It is sunny and warm and you are looking forward to getting home from work. You begin your commute as any other day and are quickly weaving through traffic when disaster strikes. A major earthquake strikes SoCal damaging nuclear reactors, severing communications, destroying infrastructure, and sparking massive fires as gas pipe lines are ruptured. You pull over and get out of your car until the major shaking has ceased. At this point, you know there has been a major quake, but you don’t know the extent. You get back into your car and try to continue to your home as the radio begins to broadcast a steady stream of damage reports. As you continue, traffic grinds to a halt on the major highways, which have sustained massive damage. You attempt to call your wife on your cell phone, but the few operable towers are overwhelmed and you have no service. Nonetheless, you immediately type out a text message with critical information and hit send hoping to slip the message out across some free bandwidth.
Now, having previously memorized alternative routes through various neighborhoods, you opt for the side streets as your only available option. These roads maze you through inner city neighborhoods, downtown areas, and residential zones. These locations can pose a threat just as dangerous as getting stuck on the 101. Specifically, you may come across many individuals on foot. The random man or woman crossing a street ahead of you may not be an issue, but that mob of 15+ men at an ad hoc roadblock with bats can certainly be a serious threat if you are forced from your vehicle. Keep the LA riots of the past in mind.
As you slowly make your way toward your home, it is clear the damage is getting more serious. Buildings have been turned to rubble, the road is impassible, fires are burning out of control, and people are in the streets. As you try to progress, your drivable routes are closed off. Now with no chance to back out of the gridlock and no way to go forward, you notice tempers flaring and panic setting into the public. Someone passes your vehicle and starts demanding a ride, you hear glass break to your rear, then suddenly you hear unnerving pops some distance ahead of you. You have no choice but to abandon your vehicle and continue on foot. Thankfully, even though your car’s GPS is no longer useful and can’t go with you, it isn’t a problem because you kept a good map in your vehicle bug out kit.
Grabbing your vehicle bug out kit, you make your way to your rendezvous point with your family, resupply, and assess your situation. The area is utterly destroyed, looting is already rampant, fires are raging unchecked, thousands are dead or injured, there is word one of the nuclear reactors may be leaking radiation, phones are not working, and all utilities are down. Seeing no good options for bugging in, you make the decision to bug out. Now let’s look at the challenges you will face and the preps you will need to make in order to be a Last Minute Survivor.
To begin, any plan to bug out of SoCal has to take into account your ever present enemy… CARRMAGEDON! Imagine the vehicle madness of the I-405 and US-101 intersection at a standstill. Then apply the same sea of gridlocked cars and trucks to all the major roadways between Santa Monica and Redlands. The end result is a highway system that is overloaded and frozen. In the panic following the event that initiated your bug out, there will be countless auto accidents, gridlock, and cars abandoned after running out of gas while idling in stalled traffic. These events will combine to turn SoCal into one giant multilane roadblock. If your plan includes the need to drive anywhere, be it home from work or to the marina, you must plan to be stuck in this sea of angry, afraid, and possibly violent drivers. So what’s the solution? It’s actually basic. You need to know of another way home and drive it enough to commit the route and neighborhoods to memory because you may need to hike it by foot. Keep in mind that your daytime commute will look drastically different if you travel it at night or vice versa. Further, make sure you have a good map of the area in the event GPS is not working. You may also opt for adding a mountain bike to your vehicle bug out bag, which would allow you to continue quickly along jammed highways. It is nice to have a small, fuel efficient car to zip around the city, but the ability of your vehicle to get over typical obstacles will be critical during a disaster. In the event of an earthquake, obstacles can range from fallen telephone poles and debris like bricks to buckled streets to curbs, medians, and other vehicles. Would your car be able to drive down the side slope of an intestate or highway or jump the median to do a U-turn? You might have to. A basic Jeep Wrangler can do this and get over the said obstacles, but your sedan with its low clearance and two wheel drive will get stuck. Getting stuck brings us to the next problem…If you have to abandon your vehicle, pull it well off the road and try to park it in a secure location that is less visible from the main road. Make sure nothing is visible that would draw the attention of a thief. Further, disable your car by disconnecting your battery cables at minimum. Critical to your vehicle bug out kit will be appropriate seasonal attire to include good shoes, water, a water purifier, and something to carry a minimum of two quarts of water per person in your car. For SoCal, in addition to our standard items we recommend in your bug out kit (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/13/location-specific-bug-out-bags-part-i/), you should also include the following items:
- Potassium Iodide tablets (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp)
- Additional means of carrying water on the go such as a backpack with an integral hydration bladder
- Fire extinguisher (capable of extinguishing chemical fires)
- Climbing rope, harness/seat, carabiners, leather gloves, Figure 8 or other descender device
- Low profile body armor capable of stopping handgun rounds
- Fishing tackle
- Addition of anti-nausea medication to your first aid kit if you plan to escape via the Pacific Ocean
As you progress with your bug out, you will likely have to ditch your car and make your way by foot or other means, you may well be confronted by and angry mob. So, what to do about a violent mob ahead of you? Go the opposite way quickly and avoid them if at all possible. It is better to add time and distance to your route than to be beaten and robbed by a mob or gang. I caution against a gun fight unless it is a last resort. Mobs carry guns, maybe even many guns, so even with your superior shooting skills, you could be outgunned in a close gunfight. If you have to shoot it out, get as much distance as you can from your threat to maximize your marksmanship, get behind cover that will stop a bullet, and return well aimed fire at the most pressing threats first. Further, if you face multiple threats, try to maneuver them so they are “stacked” in a line, which allows you to take them on one at a time versus all at once. If you can’t carry or are unwilling to arm yourself then your best bet is a heavy duty can of pepper spray for bears, a good pair of running shoes, and a walking stick that doubles as a club.
If you can effectively avoid the mob, your next big challenge will not be what is missing from your bug out bag, but your physical condition. The military wouldn’t waste time to conduct daily physical training if it wasn’t essential, yet all too many preppers forego this most basic and essential of preps. Are you in decent enough shape to walk home with a moderate load on your back? Most Americans are not. That 20 mile/40 minute commute that you have to walk might as well be Mount Everest if you get tired after one block of walking. Stack the odds in your favor. Go for more walks, try short hikes with friends or family, and consider a lighter “Get Home Bag” for this situation. One thing I’ve taken from my hiking experience is an admiration for ‘ultra-light’ hikers. They buy lighter gear, carry less gear, and therefore have the option of covering more terrain with greater ease. You don’t have to be an ultra-marathon champion, but you should be able to cover at least 20 miles on foot with your gear and not die of a heart attack. Mentally and physically preparing yourself for this will put you one step ahead, no pun intended.
What is likely to go wrong after setting off on your long walk home? Although we have discussed this issue previously, it is worth repeating because it is so important. Don’t be in a position where you look down at your penny loafers or two inch heels and saying ‘oh crap.’ The solution is again simple. At minimum, put some running shoes or lightweight hiking boots in your car and leave them there. Beware of buying expensive combat boots or stiff hiking boots for this purpose. If you haven’t broken them in before that long walk it will cause painful blisters that could get infected and slow or stop your movement. Further, you will need boots that can handle steep mountains, keep out sand, protect your feet from thorns, and still let your feet breath. There are a variety of shoes and boots that can meet these requirements so find a pair that works for you and make sure you are wearing them or have them with you.
If things really go sour you will have less than a day to get home before we all start turning into metaphorical zombies and chasing you down the street. You don’t want to be the person caught on the street that starts attracting unwanted attention. Get to where you are going before people start to realize you have gear they need. The scenarios are endless and point to one main point. Get up, get moving, and don’t stop. Here’s why, American grocery stores operate on a system long ago borrowed from Japan called “Just in time.” This eliminates a grocer’s need to store large amounts of perishables that will expire and cause a financial loss if not sold. As such, stores don’t stock more than three days’ worth of food at any time. The semi-trucks we see are critical to that logistics supply chain. In the event of a crisis, we have witnessed over and over that once the trucks stop rolling, the three days of supplies disappear within about one to two hours. If the crisis persists and is wide spread, unprepared people we will grow hungry. That’s when mom says to dad, “little Joe is hungry and so am I.” Mom and pop will hold back from theft and other crimes for a while, but will eventually do what they must to stay alive. Situations like this happened when Katrina hit New Orleans, and it can happen anywhere. Your job is to get out before this happens.
As discussed, getting out of the SoCal area won’t be a walk in the park but can be done. From the beginning though, you need to have identified and prepped for where you will go. If you don’t have a destination then you are wandering and likely to become another statistic. Having a PRE-planned destination is vital, see the bug out of DC article for more details (http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/17/bug-out-bags-part-ii-washington-dc/). The most difficult area to bug out of is the concrete and asphalt triangle covering all of the area within Santa Monica to Pasadena to Anaheim. Options out to the North are US-101 aka the “101” and I-5. Everyone and their brother will likely be on those roads so expect pain and misery. These two roads are literally the main entrances to the LA area and will be no easy task to navigate. Another option out towards the North is Highway-1 along the Malibu coast where your ocean views will be great, but the narrow road could easily become jammed, cutoff, or destroyed by rock/mudslides in the event of a quake. It would also be vulnerable to a tsunami and radiation from a damaged coastal reactor. Remember that bugging out doesn’t require a paved road. If you can make it to Burbank you can drive along the rail road at Burbank Town Center and follow it to Chatsworth, but don’t be stupid and get smacked by a train. From there you have easier access to Highway 118 and can easily reach Simi Valley, Moorpark, Santa Paula, and Ventura via back roads (if you have a map). Note, the railroad that gets you to Burbank also connects to Union Station in LA.
Getting out of town to the Northeast is similarly challenging. They are Highway-14 towards Palmdale, I-15 towards Barstow, and the “2” through Angeles National Forest if you are alright with ultra-winding roads and contending with Bigfoot and his keepers. Keep in mind that the ‘High Desert’ between the “14” and I-15 is not a friendly environment. It’s a desert…therefore, it is hot, it is dry, it gets cold at night, the plants stick you and the animals bite you. It is unforgiving and if you are not prepared for it, it is best to be avoided if you are on foot or could end up on foot. It’s also home to a relatively conservative population, an armed population. Criminals beware. Those of us amongst the liberal crowd would likely be better suited taking the 101 towards lovely Santa Barbara and San Francisco.
Other options to the Northeast and East can be considered but have many cons. The “18” towards Big Bear takes you into gorgeous countryside, but rumors indicate local residents plan on blockading inbound roads to keep the rest of us out. I don’t blame them. The same can be assumed of isolated communities throughout the region. The “38”east of Redlands is a good option into the San Bernardino National Forest if you need to go that way. I’ve personally hiked this area and know it contains various creeks to keep your water topped off. Interstate-10 is the main way out eastbound. Its extra lanes East of Banning would facilitate your exit, but take you into miserable terrain as does the I-15 into the Mojave Desert. Again, if you aren’t familiar with the desert, stay far away from the Mojave. If you must go into the desert, have plenty of water and make sure you have marked all the natural springs on your map and checked them out ahead of time. Some of them are hot springs, some are seasonal, and some have water not safe to drink due to mining contaminants like mercury. Further, if you are on foot, travel between the hours just before sunset to just after sun rise when temperatures are the coolest. During the day you should seek shade and shelter from the sun. Rock outcroppings are good for this, but also play host to a lot of venomous snakes so be cautious. Keep as cool as you can and never waste water or energy during the heat of the day. Getting above or below the ground will be where it stays the coolest. Wear loose fitting, light colored clothes, a wide brim hat, and sunglasses. Sunscreen is good for your face, neck, and ears, but covering up with clothing is far better. Remember, distances in the desert are very deceiving. What looks like only a short walk could be 20 or more miles.
If you plan to head east and tackle the mountains, you will also need to know what you are doing to survive. Any attempt to cross the Sierra’s will dictate a bug out plan by foot that has been well rehearsed. Just like the desert, the mountains are brutal and unforgiving. You must be prepared for extremely cold, wet, and windy weather if you plan on successfully crossing or holding out in the Sierras. Blizzard conditions even in the summer at altitude are not uncommon. Further, you have avalanches, rock slides, raging streams, cliffs, high altitude, lightening, ice fields and crevasses, cougars, and well-armed locals to contend with. If you are not in peak physical condition, properly trained, or in possession of the right equipment for the alpine environment, the mountains will prove insurmountable; especially, at high altitude. During the winter, crossing the mountains simply may not be an option due to the deep snow and brutal storms, even for experienced mountaineers. Winter storms above the treeline can drop temperatures below zero, pack hurricane force winds, and diminish visibility to zero. However, in the summer, the extremely rugged terrain gives the experienced climber and mountaineer the advantage of being able to go where the masses can’t or won’t. If you do select the mountains as your bug out location, you will have ample water, will not have to contend with as many people, and can find many hide spots suitable to overnight and longer term bugging out. Nonetheless, your kit will be heavier and must have the right equipment to include crampons, ice axe, climbing rope and gear, extreme cold weather gear, mountain rated sleeping bag and pad, mountaineering/4-season tent, tough hiking boots, backpacking stove (for areas of no vegetation above the treeline), maps and compass, and possibly snowshoes. If you read the specialized gear list and said, “What’s that?” and or haven’t been trained to use that gear, going into the alpine region could be lethal for you and should be avoided. In the interim, use your time to get familiar with the gear, take some classes, and become comfortable operating in the alpine region because you may just get forced into it.
I don’t recommend a southbound bug out because of the likely mass migration from Mexico during a grid-down all out national catastrophe. The current and common place violence just across the border is likely to spill over when the “troubles” begin. I wouldn’t expect our border guards to work for free and forsake their families at home; therefore, the border may end up “open” and precipitate a population surge along the border. Further, an area with a large population density isn’t in concert with my bug out philosophy. The saving grace for those of us in the San Diego and Oceanside is just East. The area between Palomar Mountain State Park and the Cleveland National Forest would make a great initial bug out retreat, which is in close proximity. Its various lakes, available game, and lower population density make it very bug out attractive. However, like the Poconos for New Yorkers, many people will also plan to head to this area so it is less attractive as a long term bug out site unless you have land and a developed, defendable retreat in that area.
Finally, there is the westerly option known as a boat. Certainly, this option isn’t available to many of us, but if your connections or finances allow for it, an escape by sea is one of your better options for SoCal. The Pacific Ocean can certainly become a refuge if you have a stocked boat that is accessible, sea worthy, and you are a capable captain. Even if you do not have a large ocean worthy boat, using a smaller boat and hugging the coastline will allow you to travel a significant distance from the immediate danger, insulate yourself from the chaos on land, and even bug out to another country if necessary. If the seas get to rough, you can bring your ship into a sheltered inlet or even dock it and continue by land from a preplanned rendezvous location. Make sure that you add anti-nausea medication to your kit if you plan to head out to sea. Even if you have never been motion sick before, presented with the right conditions, you could become incapacitated with nausea and vomiting during rough seas. The sea also provides you with ample food in the form of fish if you are prepared to catch them. Make sure you have fishing tackle to include nets if you head to sea and practice with it. A decent fisherman will be able to provide long term sustenance in a bug out by boat scenario. Also, with the right equipment, you can desalinate water to provide long term critical hydration. If your boat is capable of running under sail, you also have an indefinite range.
All considered SoCal doesn’t have a host of good options for bugging out. Your best bet is to be prepared and ready to act. This puts you ahead of the zombie masses and makes your chances of a successful bug out far higher. However, even if you are the first out of the immediate metropolitan areas, you still will be faced with some very technical survival environments that include rugged mountains, scorching hot deserts, or the vast ocean. As such, it is critical to plan, prepare, and rehearse your bug out ahead of time. For example, if you plan to head to the hills, spend your weekends hiking the trails, familiarizing yourself to the terrain, acquiring any necessary specialized gear, and learning the skills necessary to thrive in that environment. Success in SoCal demands you put in the time so start now and be a Last Minute Survivor.
By Guiles Hendrik and Sgt G.
December 1, 2014