Bugging-out in a Small Country
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.)
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.