Bugging-out in a Small Country

Bugging-out in a Small Country


Mick McNulty

My approach to survivalism has to be a little bit different for two main reasons, either of which may affect other people who would like to prepare for the worst but aren’t sure if the limitations mean it might not be worth the effort. First, I live in rented accommodation, so it is pointless for me to stock-up and reinforce where I live because when the SHTF I will be out on my ear and would lose my stash, all except that I could carry. Second, I live in Britain, a small island where there are very few places to bug-out to, so I must prepare to live out of my bug-out bag for an unknown length of time, on the move, from woodland to woodland, close to sources of fresh water, like a soldier behind enemy lines.


As an average-sized fellow in early middle age (I’m fifty-two), it is important that I avoid the temptation to load too much into my 100 litre Marauder Bergen backpack because if I strain to lift it and put out my back or my hip or knee the outlook for surviving is immediately diminished. Several times I have had to empty my pack and discard useful items to lighten the load but so long as I get through to the other end clean and healthy and non-parasitised, I can manage without quite a lot.


Bearing in mind the rule of three…three minutes without oxygen, three days without water and three weeks without food, my first priority is to secure safe, potable water. (If I end up without oxygen nothing else matters, so I pack my gear and webbing belt for quick release in the unlikely event I end up in water fully-laden, where drowning would be a very serious risk.) To be on the safe side I have three types of water filter as well as several hundred water-purification tablets. The filters are a product of modern ceramics and have been developed from kidney dialysis technology.


The first filter I bought was a life-straw, a small, personal filter about the size of a big cigar, for the cost-equivalent of thirty dollars. The life straw filters down to .1 microns which filters out all dangerous water-borne bacteria including cholera and typhoid, as well as filtering out parasites and their cysts (eggs). It also filters out particulates and suspensions like mud and plant and fecal debris and provides clear water to drink, and although it doesn’t filter out viruses which are too small for the filters to trap them it is bacteria and parasites which are our greatest risks in suspect water.


I shall use this straw to taste water from sources which look quite clean and worth collecting because it does not desalinate water nor filter out heavy metals in suspension, but there are other filters available which do filter out these contaminants so it a question of personal preference, budget limitations or weight and space limitations. For those who live in industrial areas or near coasts where sea-spray is carried into fresh water sources making them salty there you can make the water potable if you are prepared to pay for and carry them. These water-filter systems range from thirty to a hundred dollars and are very light and take up little space. (Care must be taken not to puncture them but they would still be usable, albeit leaky).


Knowing I can provide clean water means I can travel further to secure food as well as keeping on the move to stay out of sight of non-preppers who will become predatory (especially in groups or packs), and even in Britain where firearms are banned for oiks like me there are various ways to get meat. Staying close to water there is always fish and water fowl, and with my camouflage body-veil and slingshot I shall enjoy the odd duck, goose or swan. With a vigilant eye I should be able to spot good places where I can rig the veil so with a pull on a para-cord line I can net a bird or two. From the edge of woodlands I can hunt rabbit and hare, especially at dawn and dusk, and deeper inside the woods I can secure my rat-trap to bag the odd squirrel. Around sleepy East Anglia there are several nature reserves so I shall probably enjoy the odd exotic dish like roast heron, and assuming the SHTF because the economy collapsed it is likely for the first year some farmers will simply leave their planted crops in the fields, so some beets, vegetables and grains may be available.


To stay safe my first plan is stealth, to stay out of sight as much as possible. I have a lot of camo gear for this purpose. I shall hunt and fish mostly from cover and move mostly at night. I have a decent monocular to scan my route and I may upgrade to some quality bino’s. I shall limit my cooking to just before dark, over a Dakota fire hole.


I have had some self-defense training over the years so I am quite handy, including useful disarmament techniques, but one handy tool I bought was 50Mw laser pointer, so if I can hopefully defend myself before contact by dazzling anybody I deem to be a threat. The pointer should easily dazzle in daylight, and hopefully if I’m approached by a group I can take out several by blinding them before they get anywhere near me. (The pointer may also prove useful in hunting to dazzle game.)


If compromised….MOVE!


Last but not least, it wouldn’t be much good having the gear to go if I hadn’t build-up a decent First-Aid pouch. Apart from obvious items such as antiseptic wipes, sterile gloves, iodine and oil of cloves for toothache, I thought one of the greatest problems we may face in a SHTF scenario is the hosting of parasites…ticks, fleas, lice and intestinal worms, and not forgetting problems caused by the damp such as fungal and yeast infections which lead to the torment of dreadful itching. Another purchase which I have yet to make is antibiotics, and non-prescription antibiotics such as fish mox is the same drug as for people, though the drugs companies keep quiet about it.


There are many other items apart from those which secure water, food, personal safety and personal health, but every extra adds weight or bulk, so even if like me you have no place to stash goods or to secure against intruders, with a bit of planning and some small investments you can still go some way to try and ensure your own personal survival.

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  1. I see so many problems with this concept. It might work if 90% of the population simply disappeared overnight. But if thousands of others are out there with you trying not to be seen and eating the few fish and fowl that are available how successful do you think you will be? Additionally if there are thousands of others who are hungry, armed (even if there are no guns) and looking for you just where is it you think you can hide? This is a fantasy not a well thought out survival plan. It may indeed be your only choice but it is unlikely to work. I have a bug out bag, I have a similar plan and I even have advantages you could only hope for such as living in a national forest that is 80 miles wide and hudrends of miles long with very few people living near me. But I consider bugging out to be my worst choice and one that would be made out of desperation. In my humble opinion if TSHTF and it gets so bad that gangs are roaming around to take your stuff and perhaps your life that bugging out will be a death wish. If it doesn’t get that bad then bug in.

  2. Bugging out in your situation doesn’t sound promising. While it’s true that there will be many others probably escaping into the wilderness with you, many will likely starve if they can’t figure out how to capture or kill anything to eat. Starvation makes for desperate, violent people. You might be able to increase your odds by setting traps. There are several pretty decent books by Ragnar Benson on survival poaching, and trapping. Look for them on eBay. RE: Rat traps: they can be used to trap pigeons and other birds of similar size. Pigeons are tough unless cooked for a long time, but are a species of dove and are just as tasty as any Mourning or Eurasian Collared Dove. I’ve experimented with pancake syrup from a dollar store to use as glue, and stuck some pieces of cracked corn (from a local feedstore) onto the bait pedal and scattered a little more corn on the open ground around the trap. Have a weight of at least 5lbs (2kg) attached to the wooden base of the trap, so a bird doesn’t fly away with the trap. a weight can be anything you find lying around–a piece of tree branch, rock etc. Rat traps are cheap, weigh practically nothing, and you can set dozens of them out at a time, if you have them. Good luck, Bro!

  3. It sounds harsh, but you may want to seriously consider relocating to another country. Almost anyplace in Europe (with the exception of Scandinavia) will have intense survival issues in a SHTF scenario due to high population in limited land areas. It is important to understand the difference between possibility and probability. Lots of things are possible (like winning the lottery); however, the probability of their occurance is extremely small. In your case (in my opinion) the probability of your survival given that you only have what you can carry in a ruck (and in a location where you may be the only predator without a firearm) is exceedingly small. The population density of GB is approximately 277 folks per square kilometer. Conversely, the population density of the USA is approximately 34 people per square kilometer. It is a lot harder to hide and survive when you have a lot of company trying to occupy your neighborhood.
    In any even good luck.

  4. Thanks for the points raised. In Britain the survivalist mind-set is almost non-existent and I think when the SHTF so few Brits will have prepared that few will venture into the woodlands. They will not be equipped to survive there. Most will likely consider their best chances in groups in towns and cities.
    The few ancient forests we do have will of course be where some will retreat to, but to the best of my ability I shall avoid these areas and head for smaller woodlands along riverbanks. I have several good ordnance survey maps (which non-preppers won’t have, of course), so I can plan routes and times with some certainty. I cannot guarantee surviving to the other side but some will make it, and as somebody once said (Louis Pastuer?), “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
    Good luck!

  5. Mick
    Reading between the lines of your post, I pick up that you may be considerably more skilled than others might think. The Brettons are a bitch. Good luck with your plan, at one time, due to circumstances, I had a similar one. You do what you can with what you have. Regards, D.

  6. Mick;
    I have a number of Brit friends so your plight is of special interest to me.
    I was thinking, why not put together a few PVC caches and bury them as finances allow along your planned “escape” route or “hides”. This would allow you to stockpile much more than you can carry and considerably improve your long term chances. regards mate, D.

  7. Hello D. I am planning to bury a second cache. The idea originated when I started buying my survival gear, some of which I then thought I would replace with better gear or different gear I fancied trying; within a short time I had a second backpack, tent and sleeping bag. Once I had a few spares it seemed a good idea to build up a full reserve kit.
    I live less than twenty feet from a fenced-off railway line along which I intend to make my way into the countryside, and I shall bury my reserve stash along the line. I was going to put it out beforehand but that risked needlessly giving my intention away, so I’ll do it instead when the SHTF. That will be useful if my first camp is compromised such as when I river-bathe or hunt; those times I cannot guarantee not being observed.

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