How fast can you travel?

As part of your survival planning, you need to take into account how quickly you’d be able to travel from point A to point B. While this will differ for everyone, there are some common guidelines to bear in mind.

First, a group can only travel as fast as the slowest member. If you have children, this is a key point to remember. Trying to force them to keep up with an adult pace is not only unrealistic, it is actually rather mean-spirited. Younger children might be able to be carried for short distances but trying to lug around a 35lb child along with a 40lb pack is going to wear you out pretty darn quickly.

Second, while we try to stress the ideal of getting out ahead of the crowd, this just may not happen for a variety of reasons. You might be at work or just visiting a well populated area when an event happens. Suddenly, everyone is trying to flee and there really was no opportunity to get out first. Or, you were laid out at home with the flu or recovering from surgery and by the time you’re able to move about the masses have made the decision to head for the proverbial hills. Think back to the news footage of the traffic snarls ahead of Katrina’s landfall.


If you end up on foot, how far can you realistically plan on traveling in a day? 20 miles? 10? 5? As you plot your routes, remember that you may need to circle around towns and potential roadblocks. You could easily travel for several hours and only move a few miles toward your goal.

Walking a leisurely pace on a nice spring or fall day is one thing, bugging out in the middle of summer or winter is another thing entirely. What do you want to bet that, should the time come you need to bug out for real, good old Murphy is going to show up with a thunderstorm or blizzard?

Do some practicing now and figure out how fast you can realistically travel, as well as how long you can keep up that pace. This is information better learned now than later.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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