Your Best Defense

When you think about your best defense in times of hardship, what sorts of things come to mind? For most of you, I would bet you are thinking of your guns, or your body armor, or perhaps the hardening on your bug out cabin.

Let me toss something else into the ring for consideration. Mobility.

This has several aspects, not the least of which is this: Can you physically get yourself to a new geographic location if needed? And no, a car is not cheating for this question. A car could work. Could fail too, depending on the situation. Then the question becomes, can you walk out? A harder question is can you walk out, carrying food and water and your family? I plan to drive out, but I prep to walk if it’s needed. There’s equipment that helps of course, good sturdy bags, good sturdy shoes, slings and straps and harnesses. Take an honest look at the legs you’re putting all that on though. If you aren’t training for endurance, stamina, strength, you should be. This option isn’t a Sunday stroll. mobility

How mobile is your money? Will you have access to it if you have to bug out? Will you have access to it if power is down? Is it usable in every day transactions? That one is aimed at the gold crowd, bars may be space efficient, but the only people I know with scales are drug dealers.

How’s the healthy adult ratio in your immediate family? I was reminded this weekend about how easy it is to lose a kid in a crowd of people who are all moving around. (Town egg hunt, it was packed, thankfully it was a really familiar park and I had a good idea where the child was headed.) 2 adults and anything over 3 or 4 kids is a bad ratio, another adult would be vital to have in an emergency, start recruiting now. Seriously, work out some multi-generational living or team up with your unmarried sibling, or rent a bedroom to a younger cousin. Elders can also tip the ratio too far for good mobility, make sure you have a solid plan for their meds and aids and sanitary needs, and solid transportation for them.

How mobile are your skills? Books might have to be left, gadgets can break. Do you have skills that could keep food on the table if you are forcefully relocated?

How mobile are you? Sound off in the comments!

– Calamity Jane

22 comments… add one
  • NoSox April 22, 2014, 9:56 am

    Awesome post, yes i’ve been looking at some of these aspects. We’re making sure to have mountain bikes for the family and want an ATV by next summer[just in case we can’t use our vehicles]. Been reading a book and those mountain bikes can get the job done when outfitted correctly. Also been thinking of an old 70’s era truck to have as well.

    Our ratio is 2:1.5 right now as we’re due with a daughter in June. Having a baby brings a whole new set of issues to be ready for. Any tips?

    Gotta really work on my gardening, foraging, fishing, trapping & snare game. Food is all around if you just know how to get it.

    • Calamity Jane April 22, 2014, 5:04 pm

      I almost included bikes, but they can be a complicated thing to plan on. They’ll work in some situations where cars can’t, but then they’ll bog down too unless you get one of the 2000$ fat tire bikes that really can go everywhere.

      Babies, oh yea. Get a couple of different wraps and slings. Find one that works for you and one that works for your spouse, sometimes you can get lucky and one will work for both.

      Breastfeed, I’m assuming you are the father in this relationship so you won’t have anything to contribute to this, except Support for Mom and Baby as they work that relationship out. But lugging formula and hot water would be a huge amount of weight to add to the pack. Not to mention expensive.

      • NoSox April 22, 2014, 5:17 pm

        Yes she is planning on breastfeeding so hopefully it goes well. I’ve been looking at those types of carriers & slings and looking forward to finding one when she’s born.

        I’ve found some good rated mountain bikes for $99 at walmart and then wanted to look into the tires that never go flat.

  • Rick April 22, 2014, 10:34 am

    Excellent post – especially about physical mobility which I believe needs more emphasis in the prepper community. Far too many times we see folks with thousands of dollars worth of gear, and they look like thy’d peter out just walking to the end of thier driveway.

  • Pineslayer April 22, 2014, 10:52 am

    Zombieland Rule #1 Cardio

    World War Z Brad Pitt tells the family he holes up with for a few hours, “Movement is life”.

    It is the universal truth. When wildfire, aliens, or MZB’s come knocking, you better be able to move quickly. Everyone needs to go through their gear every month and be realistic about what is important and how much you can carry when the SHTF. I am trying to pare down to 40lbs total, that’s water, food, clothing, gun and ammo. It adds up very quickly. I have a couple of good BOV’s, but my feet are the best ATV’s.

    Thanks Jane for keeping us “grounded”.

    • ThatGuyinCA April 25, 2014, 3:58 pm

      Clarification: Willingness and ability to move is life.

      Mobility ONLY when it’s required.

  • smokechecktim April 22, 2014, 11:22 am

    My basic plan is to bug in at my house but I am working on a plan if needed. My property backs up to a combination unpopulated indian rez land and national forest. I’ve located several sites that are not near a road or trail that I’m planning to cashe some supplies. Should too many zombies appear or perhaps more likely your basic gang of starving criminals I would be able to fall back. I would use my BHB to help get the cache. The trip would be 5 miles cross country.

  • MrMan April 22, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I have problems walking, is there a recommended wheelchair or something for an end of the world situation? or a walking stick that can be used in self defense. I want to be ready.

  • JC April 22, 2014, 4:20 pm

    After every backpacking trip we repack all of our gear back into the packs after cleaning. If vehicles are unavailable we can be out the door in 5 mins with our packs. We stay in shape and can cover up 25 miles a day and more in a pinch. Already have rendezvous spots picked out with running water available deep in the forest. We keep one extra pack with enough freeze dried food for 2-3 weeks on top of our 1-2 weeks of food in our packs. We also have mountain bike, but we want to stay off the roads and not be target. We will be bush whacking and trying to stay low and out of site.

    • JC April 22, 2014, 7:11 pm

      Another thing to add is I just have to be quicker and in better shape than the next guy. I’ll let them be the victim not me. I look around this town and I figure I’m in better shape than 80% of the population. Start looking around your town and start counting the over weight and the physically challenged people you will be surprised just how many people there are out there! The other day I jumped on my elliptical to see how far I could push my self–after 3 hours and all the programs I was still going strong. My boys are headed to BSA Philmont this summer for the hardest trek they have 130+ miles in 10 days at 8 to 12 thousand feet going to be a breeze they said.
      Stay in healthy and in shape it’s the best asset you have!

  • Pineslayer April 22, 2014, 4:31 pm

    JC, sounds like we are on about the same page. I have small duffels to go along with the packs to carry more food and water for that initial push.

    MrMan, look into a mountain bike. You can lean against them and push a lot of weight. They can go just about anywhere you can. I look at jogging strollers, golfbag carts, and adult tricycles with equal thoughts. I bought a tandem mountain bike, CL deal, maybe you can find someone to lug you around :)

  • Chuck Findlay April 22, 2014, 9:50 pm

    I need a Rokon for bugging out, there is no place a Rocon can’t go. But they are too expensive for me right now.

    I have a bicycle mount for the truck. If I needed to bug-out I would hopefully drive there, but with a bicycle you can go farther if needed when you run out of gas, the auto breaks down or as a low-profile way to get around once you are destinated (made up word) at your bug-out QTH.

  • Pineslayer April 22, 2014, 10:15 pm

    Rokon’s sure are neat. I have seen them going for about 4K used here in the Republik of CO. A much better option, IMO, is a smaller Enduro. They are quieter than dirt bikes, legal to drive on roads during good times, faster than a Rokon. I have a 2003 Kawasaki Super Sherpa, look them up, it gets 60 MPG and is geared really low. 1st gear is so low that you can walk with it when in gear. 5th and 6th gears are highway gears. The downside is currently it only has electric start, that will change soon. I have a 1977 Kawasaki KE175, 2 stroke, 1919 miles for sale if anybody needs a great little trail bike. It is in pristine shape, but needs to go because the garage is full. My Suzuki DR650SE needs to come inside. As you can see I have a thing for Enduro’s. There are great sidecars out there for Enduro’s too. You can put lots of gear or Grandpa in them.

  • irishdutchuncle April 23, 2014, 4:09 am

    mobility? ibuprofen.
    (find out for sure beforehand that you aren’t allergic to aspirin or ibuprofen) but wait, there’s more:
    triple antibiotic ointment. moleskin. toothache gel. good socks.

    if you find a toenail clipper that works well for you, buy two extra.
    (make sure one of them is with your bug-out gear)
    toothache gel is a pretty good local anesthetic. it may deaden the pain from an ingrown toenail enough so it can be treated. your blisters will hurt even more the next day. good socks may prevent some of them. moleskin/molefoam/band-aids and maybe even duct-tape applied to the “hot spots” will save you lots of trouble.
    if time permits, vaseline, or antibiotic ointment should be applied in the tender folds of skin around the groin, to prevent chafing. DON’T USE POWDER THERE!
    (how did I find this out? don’t ask)

  • Don April 23, 2014, 2:48 pm

    Living in an area pron to forest fires, we have multiple plans and routs to Get out of Dodge with very little warning. We have a motor home with a trailer, ATVs both with trailers, and we are currently looking at mountain bikes. The nice thing about the motor home and ATVs is we can have 95% of our stuff pre-packed, ready to go.
    If we do have to walk out, we will of course have to leave a lot behind, but the same routs should work well (paralleling roads rather than on them)

  • Steve suffering in NJ April 23, 2014, 6:35 pm

    Want a good honest evaluation? Go play a few rounds of paint ball. You will see just how mobile/agile you are or are not….

  • Infantry Architect April 26, 2014, 4:20 am

    Many good ideas and observations.
    I like the “movement is life” quote, it parallels infantry training.
    However remember always, History has been very unkind to refugees.
    Have a plan of where you will go to set up base long term.
    Travel as light and fast as you can to get there, bring portable wealth to re-establish your life.
    Limit your load to 1/3 your body weight if fit, less if not, more if triathlon fit, but 60% or higher will slow you way down and injury increases in likeliness.
    Wheels, help. Cabelas sells two wheel game carts, like off road dollies which can carry up to 250 lbs. or more over rugged terrain.
    pack super dense foods, if on a budget, really consider peanut butter.
    When choosing between more food or water, choose water, and a water filter
    if you are traveling with little ones bring lots of candy.
    shelter is highly optional except in the worst climates.
    I’ve patrolled/packed for nearly two weeks with just a milspc poncho, 550 cord, and some thin bungees to set up a hooch. but if you plan on sleeping in the cold, a good bag may be worth tossing out other items. sleep is needed for brain function.
    cooking fires while in evacuation mode are basically a no-go, plan food sources accordingly and ditch the stove.
    foot care is a biggie, a posting above said all the right stuff. maineprepper on youtube has great videos on this. My only add-on is really make sure your boots are up to the task under the full gear load. I found recently I needed higher arch supports in my Danners, great boots but my calves were crippled after long full load hikes. arch supports solved 80% of this.
    Most of all, again, have a plan not to become a refugee. That means a destination A and B etc and the skills/resources/connections to set yourself up in the new destination.
    you should consider whether your situation requires travel by night, and if so adjust your gear to allow for this.

  • child of Odin April 27, 2014, 12:25 am

    Good ideas, and fitness is key. Also, skills and a small amount of gear. has dozens of bike trailer plans, which could help. I’m going to make one for each family member, but backpacks will also be worn containing essentials, in case trailer or bike and trailer have to be ditched. Agree in refugee status as well.

  • child of Odin April 27, 2014, 12:31 am

    Agree on refugee status. .. stupid phone. My family will not be guests of FEMA.

  • Roger November 19, 2014, 2:13 am

    Armies move on their feet (even mechanized ones) and their stomachs, good well-broke-in boots are vital, as is water, food, shelter! Most refugees will stick to the roads and established trails, which could make them easy victims or in a position to help or be helped as needed! DON’T RUN, unless something very large and scary is chasing you and you’re out of ammo! Human are very poor runners, especially with added weight like a backpack, but can be very good walkers, in fact, Olympic fast walkers can do 10MPH+ (without packs); doesn’t sound that fast but the average healthy person only walks about 3 1/2 MPHs on flat ground! Remember to keep the weight on the bike frame, not your back, much more stable and less tiring, and allows you to carry more with less fatigue. A platform over the rear bike tire should hold your BOB so it can be detached in a hurry if needed (think two different ropes with slip knots or two/three bungees)! A bike trailer is a good idea, but I suggest that you get one that can be pulled by hand, think small rickshaw! I must disagree with Infantry Architect about shelter being optional especially with small children or elderly along. While I have survived many nights in the Colo. Rockies with only a poncho, wool blanket, and wearing every piece of clothing I carried with me, I was not very comfortable even with a ‘bed’ of local vegetation and most people wouldn’t have slept at all in those circumstances! While a campfire is mentally comforting, without a reflective shelter it provides little warmth and the danger of getting burned is there. However, a long pit fire, lined with rocks, burned (cook your food), then covered with 4-6 inches of packed dirt (take out the bigger rocks from the dirt), then used as your bed base can get you through an extra cold night! Don’t bring candy for small children, it gives them a sugar rush then a crash, fruit (dried or fresh) and nuts/seeds (assuming water is available/plentiful) are much better options. If there are small children in your group, and if you have the adult or teenage man-power (and/or woman-power), you might be better off with the strongest ones packing the bulk of your gear at their own (presumed faster) pace to go ahead and set up the nightly camp site ahead of their arrival, tired children get fed and then usually crash for the night. Of course, security must be considered in this event! Putting out camp fires before dark and cleaning cooking gear (even with dirt if water is scarce) at least 100 feet from your camp site will help with OPSEC, treat any injuries possible (blisters, cuts, etc.), and if available, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If you wake with a headache, you probably didn’t drink enough! Good Luck!


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