A lot of people think that if they have their bug-out bag packed and a general idea of where they want to go, they’re ready. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Oh, they might manage to get away from their home and maybe even to get out of town; but they probably won’t make it to their bug-out location. They’ll either give up and end up stuck in the wrong place, or they just won’t survive.

Bugging out is a complex task that takes planning and preparation. It is even more complicated if you’re taking off at the same time as thousands of other people, as in the case of a general evacuation from the path of a major hurricane.

If you want a successful bug-out, you not only have to think of what you are going to do, but how everyone else out there—all those unprepared people—is going to react. That way, you can develop your plan in such a way that you manage to avoid a lot of problems. In addition, you have to have alternate plans for just about everything you are going to do as things never seem to work out quite the way you want.

The Details

  • Avoid Highways. In a general bug-out, you can be sure that the highways will turn into parking lots. The U.S. highway system is not designed to handle the amount of traffic needed for a general evacuation of any major city. There are evacuation routes selected and even signs showing where they are, but that doesn’t mean that those evacuation routes will work.

You’re going to be a lot better off sticking to side streets, rather than going the same way as everyone else. Find yourself a number of ways to get out of town that are as far from the highways as possible. Don’t even think of using side streets that are close to major highways and thoroughfares; find the ones that nobody else will use. Those will be the quickest way out of town.

  • Avoid the Roads. If you have to leave your vehicle and set out on foot, then go cross-country. That way, you have much less chance of running into other people. While many of those other people will be self-sustaining, there will be some who see you as a means of supply and look for an opportunity to steal from you or kill you.
  • Avoid a Close Bug-Out Goal. If you are going to go through the trouble of bugging out, you want to make sure that you have a bug-out location that is far enough away from your home that it won’t be affected by any regional events. While having an alternate site is a good idea, you probably won’t be as prepared to use it as you will for your primary.
  • Avoid Looking Prepared. I know a lot of preppers like the idea of a nice big 4×4 truck for a bug-out vehicle. There might be good reason for having one, but don’t have it just because you think it makes a cool post-apocalyptic vehicle. Avoid dressing in camo and anything else that makes you look like you know what you’re doing. As people’s tempers rise and they get more desperate, you might just end up looking like a target.
  • Avoid Visible Weapons. While I am a firm believer in carrying weapons on a bug-out, I don’t think those weapons should be obvious. In much of the country, you don’t want to invite attention from the authorities. You might also attract those desperate people who didn’t bring any supplies with them. Just having a visible weapon might be enough for them to think that you have something worth stealing.

The big problem here is who surprises who. If you’re walking around with a gun, then anyone who wants to steal what you have will probably make sure that they’ve got the drop on you, if not shoot you outright before you know they’re hunting you. On the other hand, if you have it hidden, you can surprise them if they try and attack you.

  • Avoid Taking Too Much. While it is necessary to take enough equipment and supplies with you to survive, you don’t want to take so much with you that it will impede your movement if you have to abandon your vehicle. Since the possibility of having to abandon your vehicle is high, that really limits how much you can take.

One way that you can increase the amount you can take with you, without slowing yourself down, is to build a lightweight cart to carry your supplies. This needs to be something that you can use cross-country because staying on the roads on foot is a bad idea. With such a cart, you can carry much more and not tire yourself out.

  • Avoid Sharing Your Plans. As with any other tactics associated with prepping and survival, you need to keep your bug-out plans secret. Unless you have a survival group that you are going to meet up with, nobody outside your family needs to know your plans.
  • Avoid Leaving Too Late. If you think that it might be time to bug out, then do it. Don’t wait! That first inkling you get might just be the warning that keeps you alive. Remember, you can always head back home if it turns out everything is okay. But you can’t turn the clock back if you didn’t leave when you should have.

The Bottom Line

The biggest risk you will face if you have to bug out is from other people. While there may be hundreds of thousands of people in your city who are all trying to get out at the same time, only a handful will be truly prepared. Thinking proactively drastically increases your chances of survival, but stockpiling the right supplies also increases your chances of becoming a target to those who aren’t as well prepared. Keep that in mind in all your planning and develop ways to avoid becoming a target in a desperate survivor’s gun sights.

You might not be aware of it, but some scientists claim that there is a food shortage on it way. In fact, there is a food shortage going on right now.

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It's not too surprising to hear that parts of South and Southeast Asia, as well as parts of Africa, are currently suffering from food shortages.

Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Senegal and Yemen are just some of the places with ongoing, disastrous food crises.

But how about the Americas? In Venezuela sugar, oil, milk and rice are just some of the goods that were hard to find in 2013.

Venezuela is no stranger to food shortage. They suffered one in 2008 too, and the current one has lasted for almost a year.

Looking north, what about the world's leading economy?

The definition of “food insecurity” is not knowing when and where you might be able to find your next meal.

In 2013, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children in the USA were living under these insecure food conditions.

As for Europe?

In Spain, the economic crisis of 2012 led to a massive looting of grocery stores to feed the hungry. In Greece, people have been trampled to death in the scuffle for food.

In developed countries, food insecurity ties in closely with unemployment and poverty, but it also relates to food availability and rising prices due to decreasing access to food sources.

One bad year can sometimes be all it takes to decrease availability. A bad maize year, as in 2012, affects the prices not only on maize.

It also affects the cost of seemingly unrelated foods such as meat and dairy, since most conventionally farmed animals are to a large extent corn-fed.

But what can you do to get by in a food crisis?

Prepping

Much of the information that you will find for survivalists on surviving a food crisis will focus on prepping.

You are familiar with how prepping works, and prepping to deal with a food crisis does not differ much from prepping for any other disaster.

The main difference is that a food crisis may last longer. You must adapt your preps to deal with this, for example by moving into foods with very long shelf-life.

One way of making your preps last longer in a food crisis is to prepare for bartering.

Store items either beyond what you might need, or that are high-value goods in a disaster: everything from dry snacks like fruit and nuts to alcohol and over-the-counter medications.

This excess can be used in a crisis by either selling or trading it for the kinds of fresh foods and supplies that you would like to have.

Some survivalists go as far as to buy gold and silver, or high-value gemstones, which they can sell when inflation and food prices go up.

Self-sufficiency

But food crises can last a long time, and there is no telling whether you could possibly prep for the entire duration of an extended shortage or post-apocalyptic scenario.

Certainly, some food crises only last for a few months. Others, though, come with a long economic decline that will affect your ability to feed your family for years.

War is another one of these situations when a food crises may affect the masses.

Lately, developed countries have had the luxury of going to war without anyone at home even noticing, but you only have to look back less than a century to WWII for a time when feeding a family was tough!

Start your own victory garden. Self-sufficiency, or near self-sufficiency with some trading, is the smartest way to get through a long-term food crisis.

If you are not ready to start and manage a garden today, there are special seeds for sale that will last for decades without losing their viability.

These can then be stored to be brought out when a food crisis passes a certain point where your stockpiles may not see you through.

But even if you are not going to manage a garden today, you need to know how to propagate plants, keep pests away and collect seed.

These are not things you can put off until the day is here when you must dig into your seed packets!

In addition to growing your own food, you should learn how to store it. You will need the supplies for canning, or at least plans to build a solar dryer.

Defense

Last, but certainly not least, we have the unpleasant matter of self-defense.

It's sad to say, but history as well as current news stories show all too clearly that our fellow humans will both panic and act violently in the face of hunger.

It is not enough to have the preps to survive or a victory garden to feed you. You must be able to protect your food source; otherwise, you may as well not have prepped one at all.

How to do this is up to you. You might have secured buildings, weapons, guard dogs, fences, moats or traps, but you will need to invest in a system that works for your site and situation.

You should also invest in defense skills to fight off foes.

Hopefully you've never had to take part in one, but you've likely witnessed a drunken brawl outside a bar between two males of a special breed that, when inebriated, decide to start fights with random people. It happens every weekend in every city and town. Usually, these types of fights end up outside and use aptly named street fighting techniques.

The drunker the fighters they get, the less likely they are to deliver and land effective blows against their opponent. But street fighting is its own breed of martial art, often a blend of several established fighting styles from around the world. Knowing how to apply certain street fighting techniques and ideals could not only save your life outside of your neighborhood bar, but also in a post-disaster world.

Though we've mentioned in previous newsletters that fights should be avoided at all costs, getting out of harm's way isn't always an option. No one likes to fight, and anyone that tells you they do is probably full of it. Even professional boxers and MMA fighters like to keep it in the ring, and most avoid street fights at all costs. That's because anything can happen at a street fight, especially when survival is on the line. If you're up against an opponent in a post-disaster wasteland, you're liable to use all the moves and tactics at your disposal to gain the upper hand.

Street fighting often gets dirty. Your opponent's moves are unpredictable, and getting hit is painful and dangerous. There are several simple street fighting “rules” (keep in mind there aren't really any rules) that you can apply in a fight that could be especially useful during a disaster situation.

1. Keep Your Distance

This is the single most important tenant of any self-defense situation, especially a street fight. This is also an incredibly simple concept to grasp, instinctual even, seeing as most people tend to have pretty good situational awareness and can identify a
suspicious person with potentially dangerous intentions. Others can't, but that's easily remedied. If you're approached by someone and can't tell their intentions, simply put your arms out in front of you. If you can touch his hands (or body), you're too close and should back away until you're out of range.

This is a very smart and nonthreatening move that will show your attacker that you don't intend to fight. It won't always stop an unruly opponent, but it is far less likely to provoke aggressive behavior and/or an attack. Also try staying on your opponents “outside,” or periphery, rather than directly in front of him. This way you can use your opponent's own body as an obstacle against him.

Should you be faced with an attack, keeping distance between you and your opponent will give you more time to react and (possibly) flee. Even just a few feet of space is enough space to see a hit coming and react with the appropriate block or countermove.

2. Establish Your Balance to Stay on Your Feet

Balance is another crucial component to nearly any form of martial art or self-defense. Many fights are determined by crushing blows to the head while on the ground, so you must do your best to stay on your feet. Proper balance means spreading your feet shoulder-width apart and bending your knees slightly, keeping a loose posture.

Keep this stance up during a fight, and do everything in your power to restore your balance should you be pushed, hit or knocked down. Your ultimate goal is to stay off the ground, which can be incredibly dangerous to the untrained fighter.

If your opponent has a weapon or back-up of any kind, you'll be even more vulnerable when stuck to the floor. Keep your arms up and remain nonthreatening as long as possible, but take up a fighting stance with your arms up to cover your face when an attack is unavoidable.

3. Know When (and How) to Run

You may find yourself outmatched or outnumbered, or you may just be an exceptionally non-confrontational person and wish to avoid fights at all costs. Either case, you should attempt to make your escape as quickly as possible before your opponent has a chance to close the distance and attack. In a post-disaster world, there may not be many well-lit public areas with helpful bystanders to come to your aid.

You may just have to run as fast and far away as possible until you find safety or return to your shelter. If you try to escape in the middle of fight, try to hinder your opponent's ability to continue his attack as much as possible. Do this by creating obstacles as you run: knocking over a trashcan, going through the woods, running through traffic (if there is any).

The narrower the path, the less space your opponents have to pursue and attack. Use parked cars, stairwells, and hallways to your advantage; just make sure you have an exit. Unfortunately, running isn't always an option. You may take one look at your opponent and know that you won't be able to outrun him – don't even try. In the event there is more than one attacker, there will be more legs to chase and catch up with you.

Ideally though, you'll be able to walk away from the fight before it happens or find a strategic time to make your getaway. If you end up in a fight, make your escape as soon as you've incapacitated your target. To apply the concepts above, just think about the way you face confrontations in your everyday life.

The degree of calmness and awareness at which you go about your daily routine will likely be reflected upon the way you face a street fight. Don't be the type of person that charges head-on into a conflict with arms flailing. Instead, have keen awareness of your surroundings and approach post-disaster scenarios with caution. You may ask yourself why no real physical fighting techniques have been mentioned. Why?

If you end up in a street fight, you probably didn't do everything in your power to avoid being there. Violence should always be a last resort, even after SHTF. There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a fight, but avoiding one in the first place is always the right move. However, if you do find yourself in a fight, then you'll need to know how to defend yourself adequately.

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Depending on the movie or show, consensus seems to agree
that zombies aren't particularly fast-moving creatures.

However, there are some interpretations where the zombies
are inhumanly fast, agile and daresay creative when it
comes to sniffing out and stalking their human prey.

But whether the zombies of the coming apocalypse are fast
or slow, they will pose an immediate threat to the safety
of you and your family.

That's why its important to be fit enough to outrun a
zombie (or another assailant).

And while your main goal will be to avoid the zombies at
all costs, you will inevitably come across them at some
point. Then you will face the fight or flight scenario,
both of which will require prime physical fitness.

Your first step to getting fit enough to outrun a zombie
starts with cardio. But contrary to what some movies
insist upon, long-distance cardio shouldn't be your
primary focus.

Instead, you should practice sprinting at short distances
as it will be the first 40 or 50 yards that determine
whether or not you'll get away from a zombie.

Leisurely jogs or runs on the treadmill will help keep you
in shape, but interval training with sprints will be much
more effective in your ability to evade the zombie.

Interval training will help you in those crucial first few
seconds of a zombie getaway while helping to maximize your
lung capacity, thus improving your endurance.

And endurance is not to be downplayed. You really never
know what the zombies of the apocalypse will look like. If
it turns out they are fast, your endurance and ability to
run long distances will be critical to your survival.

Keep in mind that you'll likely be carrying a pack loaded
with your survival gear and most likely a firearm or other
weapon. Your ability to run while carrying a load is also
of utmost important, so include that in your training
regimen.

Another important part of outrunning a zombie will be your
ability to surmount obstacles and barriers that zombies
cannot to give you a more likely chance of escape.

To some, this means practicing parkour.

Regardless of how slow the zombies are, running down a
long, straight road or path will not be the best way to
evade them. Plus, in the aftermath of an apocalypse there
are likely to be a variety of vertical obstacles that
you'll have to overcome.

Whether these obstacles are fences, stairs, overturned
vehicles, ladders or rooftops, they are just as much of
an advantage as they are a challenge.

The more barriers you can put between you and the
attacking zombies the better. If you can overcome these
barriers quickly and efficiently, you will have a much
better chance of surviving the attack.

You don't need to learn any fancy flips or how to run up a
wall like you see the parkour experts do in videos. Some
simple agility moves are all you will need to overcome a
few barriers and stop the zombie's pursuit.

Simply learning how to jump up and down stairwells, on and
off ledges and walls, and across small gaps, in addition
to a few basic vaulting moves, will give you a significant
edge over your clumsy, bloodthirsty attacker.

Most parkour enthusiasts are actually quite small and
nimble, but that isn't to say they aren't also strong.

Relative strength is another important aspect of
outrunning a zombie as it plays a role in your ability to
overcome obstacles. Not all walls, ledges and fences can
be cleared in a single leap.

At some point in time you're going to have to climb a tall
fence or scale a wall using a rope, both of which will
require you to support the weight of your body while
exerting strength.

However, brute strength will also be useful in a zombie
apocalypse. You could be scaling flights of stairs and
making sharp turns down corridors in a building full of
zombies when all of a sudden you come across a locked or
jammed door.

Not everyone has the body mass or strength to barge
through a locked door, but it could be an obstacle you
have to face when running from a zombie.

Additionally, the time may come when you have no choice
but to force your way through the path of one or more
zombies. Agility and speed will play a role here, but so
too will your brute strength and ability to knock down
bodies with bone-crushing force without getting bitten or
scratched.

As mentioned in a last week's newsletter pertaining to
getting “zombie fit,” your diet is another incredibly
important part of your health and plays a direct role in
your ability to outrun an enraged zombie.

Outrunning a zombie requires speed, agility, stamina and
endurance. Unfortunately, pizza, burgers, cookies and
soda will not provide you with any of these attributes.

Some people naturally have great metabolisms and can eat
whatever they want and remain thin, but that doesn't
necessarily mean they are fit.

Regardless, if you have a diet of fast and processed food
in normal times, you're chances of surviving after the
collapse will be significantly reduced.

So, do you think you have what it takes to survive a
zombie attack? If not, you should start hitting the gym
and coming up with a routine that will provide you with
the physical skills to evade and outrun the living dead.

If the zombie apocalypse does come, you don't want to be
the one in the back of the pack with flesh-eating undead
on your tail. Do your part now to get fit enough to outrun
a zombie.

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