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11 Fatal Mistakes To Avoid When Bugging Out

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If the world lit up from night to day and the rumble woke you from your sleep you would likely rush to the window.

If the resounding effects of a distant nuclear blast affected power in, your area there is a chance the only light you would see is the faint glow from the fires on the horizon.

Your phone and maybe even your emergency radio would not work if the effects of the EMP were strong enough. Would you be worried about nuclear fallout or the potential of a second strike? What about radiation?

In that moment you might say to yourself, ‘it is time to bugout.’ You know what? You might be right. I don’t know your situation, but next best course of action might very well be to get as far away from that scene as possible.

However, there are at least 11 fatal mistakes to avoid when bugging out. I want you to look over our list and be sure that you do not fall victim to any one of these.

Not Having A Location

You might be surprised to find out how many people have bugout bags but no idea where to go when the time comes to bugout.

That is because most prepper websites and YT channels tell us we need a BOB but he truth of the matter is we need a location long before a of gear.

Related: 12 Things You Need to Know Before Choosing Your Bug Out Location

Could you imagine packing a suitcase for a trip but not knowing where you were going. Do you pack shorts or a sweater?

You gotta know where you are going, or the bugout could be a death trap.

Not Rehearsing The Bugout

Of course, knowing where to go in the event of a bugout is not enough. Maybe you have a place that is 50 miles away and ready to receive you and your family.

Have you ever loaded up the car and took that journey? Have you done it during rush hour?

What are you bringing? What are you prepared to leave behind?

These are not decisions you want to make for the first time during a bugout. So, a rehearsal is essential.

Attempting A Long-Distance Bugout On Foot

If you have not rehearsed that bugout, then you have probably never attempted to arrive at your bugout location only by foot.

The truth about a long distance bugout on foot is that most people are not prepared or even capable of pulling that off.

Remember, in a bugout situation you are not just going to be walking down main roads. There will likely be chaos so that means you are covering all those miles on foot and through the woods.

That is very hard work. If your BOL is 50 miles away that is a 3-day hike if you have a family.

Not Preparing For You Weakest Link

You are only as strong as your weakest family member. How would your youngest child, or your eldest parent, do on a 3 day non stop hike?

Just because you hit the gym a few times a week and hike on the weekends doesn’t mean everyone in your family is prepared for that kind of action.

You will go as far as your weakest family member can take you. That could be deadly if a threat is on your heels.

Storing Too Few Supplies At The Bugout Location

The best way to know if you have established a bugout location is if you have enough supplies waiting for you and your family there.

If your bugout location is a stand of forest, then you are going to have a lot to carry and you will not really be bugging out.

You will be long term camping as best you can. That is a plan for starvation, injury, illness and potentially death.

Since medical care will most likely not be available, it is also important to make sure you are able to treat any possible health issues. 

Packing Too Much Gear In Your Bugout Bag

This deadly bugout mistake, frankly, is notorious. It is the idea of the giant 70L bugout bag on Dad’s back and the fantasy of carrying all that gear 20 miles away or more to a bugout location. Then establishing your base of operations.

The reality is that too much gear is only going to be a burden. It is also a sure sign that you are not storing enough gear at your bugout location.

The bugout should be more of a travel mission and less of a camping trip. What you have in your bag should sustain you from point A to point B.

Overestimating Your Fitness

Most people assume they are prepared to execute on a bugout plan.

They assume they are fit enough to handle the load of the BOB and that they will make it to the BOL.

If not by their fitness, then by sheer willpower.

If you are totally out of energy just 15 miles into your bugout, then it could have serious implications. Not to mention how you might feel when you wake up after walking 15-20 miles on day 1.

Related: How To Cut Out The Weight Of Your Bug Out Bag

If your BOB is too heavy and your bugout is too far away it could be a deadly mistake. Now is the time to work on your fitness and it’s free.

Having No Rally Points

Do you know what a rally point is? The rally point is a location that everyone in your party returns to, should you get separated.

If you run into hostile people, if you scatter to hide, if some explosion happens or for any other reason you get separated, the rally point is where everyone returns to.

You will have several rally points on a bugout route. They can be water towers, rock formations, just make sure they are known.

You do not want to spend precious time searching for one or more of your group in the event that the chaos breaks you all up.

Not Planning Multiple Routes

Even if you have rehearsed your bugout many times, what happens if one of those roads has a downed tree or a flaming pile of cars on it?

What are you going to do then?

You need to have several contingency routes both by vehicle and on foot.

Related: Bug Out Vehicles – Why Most People Get it Wrong

These routes should be noted somewhere. Look, in reality, you aren’t going to rehearse the various routes, but you should at least have them as options.

Lack Of Overwatch When Arriving At The BOL

Most people don’t think about this one, but it is certainly one of the more deadly mistakes you can make in the bugout.

After making your way by vehicle or by foot in a SHTF situation you arrive at your bugout location.

You wanna run right inside that location and fall asleep, safely distanced from the chaos you left behind.

What if someone else has decided they would use your bugout location before you got there?

What if your location has been exposed and you open the door to a group of 4 gun totting men. If it is truly TEOTWAWKI that means you’re gonna die or worse.

You should at least spend one day camped within binocular distance of your BOL and watch it like a hawk to see if anyone is coming and going. If there is no movement around the BOL, then you can safely enter.

Waiting To Establish Security At The BOL

Finally, once you step foot in that BOL you are probably going to want to shut out the lights and pass out for about 12 hours. However, you need to set up security as soon as you arrive.

Sure, your bugout location might not have anyone inside of it when you show up. Someone might arrive. What if they arrive while you are sleeping?

At least one person needs to stay up and stay alert and you will have to shift out security from then on.

There may come a time where your only option is to bugout. You may have to leave everything behind and start all over again.

If it gets to that point all the holes in your bugout plan will be exposed. So, go over this list and make sure you are not going to make these fatal mistakes.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Improve upon those weaknesses each day so your bugout plan and execution will improve in a hurry.

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