Plan and Practice Multiple Bug Out Routes

Should there come a time when you’ll need to bug out from home or work, you can be assured that good ol’ Murphy is sure to show up.

That relatively straight route from work to home will be in gridlock.

Side streets will be packed with people trying to get around the bumper to bumper traffic.

Delays caused by weather or road construction will be plentiful.

Always, ALWAYS have multiple routes planned, just in case. Know which small residential streets will get you around likely bottlenecks. Know which farm lanes will get you from one highway to another in a pinch.

Be aware of where road construction is happening and how it affects your planned routes.

If you have to cross any bridges to get to where you’re going, make double darn sure you know of several different places you can cross the river, even if they take you a few miles or more out of your way.

Have current maps of the area in your bug out bag and KNOW HOW TO READ THEM!

Bear in mind too that you may end up on foot for at least part of your journey. While walking is much slower than a vehicle, being on foot does give you a few more options. You aren’t confined to pavement, for starters. In many areas, being on foot allows you to take a much straighter path from points A to B.

It is absolutely critical that you not only plan these different routes but practice them regularly. Get to know different landmarks and realize they may look very different at night or from summer to winter. Being on foot will change your perspective a bit too and this can make things look a little different. You may not realize this if you don’t take the time to get out of the car and actually walk around.

Don’t overestimate your travel time either. The average person can probably cover 1-2 miles an hour on foot. There are a lot of factors that come into play, of course — fitness level, weight of bug out bag, terrain, proper footwear or lack thereof, just to name a few. But, 1-2mph is probably average. So, if you work 20 miles from home, you’re looking at 10-20 hours of actual travel. Add in breaks for rest and it is easily a two day trek. Figure in delays due to having to take detours for any number of reasons and you’re looking at maybe 3-4 days. Plan accordingly.

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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