Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late

So I finally finished reading Scott William's Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late. He sent me a copy for review just a couple of days after it was released. I've been reading a couple of other books on the side so this one took me longer than it should have to get through. It's a very easy to read, concise, to the point manual that covers the who, what, when, where, why and how of bugging out. You see several other survival manuals touch on it. You read about it all the time on message boards. You see people talk about BOBs, survival caches, bug out locations, bug out routes and everything else. I haven't seen any books and very few discussions with this level of detail that concentrates solely on this aspect of survival, though.

Who: Who needs to have a serious bug out plan? Not everyone has a stocked bug out location in the boonies. He does a good job of not only convincing you that you should have a solid plan but that you can have one no matter what your circumstances are. This book concentrates more on the typical person who doesn't think that they have anywhere to go in an emergency. It also makes the people who think that they have somewhere to go think about what they'd have to do if they couldn't get there.

What: He goes into good detail on what to take. Let's be honest, though. This is the one aspect that's been covered to death all over the place. He covers what he considers the essentials and why they're essential. How do you cook? How do you purify water? What kind of gun should you take? In the appendix there's a very long, detailed list of everything that he would consider taking with him if he had to bug out. It's a very solid list with some things that I hadn't thought of or seen talked about before.

When: When should you seriously consider bugging out? If you're going to do it then be ready to do it on a moment's notice and don't hesitate or you could find yourself fighting with everyone else who's trying to get out of town themselves.

Where: Where do you go if you have nowhere to go? If you live in the US he's got you covered. He breaks down every region of the US with basic maps, different areas within each region, wild edibles and game and the kinds of things to expect in the wildernesses of each region. I didn't read this whole section since I'm not interested in some of the other regions. He has my region pegged, though, so I trust that he knows what he's talking about with the others.

Why: Why even consider bugging out? What would make you want to leave your home? Why would you even think about it if you have nowhere to go? Sometimes you won't have a choice. Other times you'll have some important choices to make and having the tools and knowledge beforehand can ensure your success if you decide that staying home isn't the best option.

How: How do you get out in the first place? He covers everything from automobiles to boats to pack animals. He also gives good suggestions on making plans, making caches and having your route planned out ahead of time among other things.

Overall, this is a very well thought out book with a ton of practical information. Whether you have a stocked and paid for BOL that no one knows about or not bugging out can be an option. If you're interested in the outdoors at all then you will be able to make use of it whether you ever have to bug out or not. To be honest you could just as easily use this as a guide on how and where to go adventuring in the US wilderness. I could see it being a good book for someone who's on the fence about getting started in preparedness. Especially if they're already into camping, hiking, kayaking, hunting, etc.


Anonymous said...

Agree with assesment, especially with last parts - this person should write another book focused on the various modes of transportation used to get to BO locations. From his website, I gather he is very knowledegable on SUVs, bicycles, motorcycles and watercraft from kayaks to sailboats, I'd like to see that book in print.

Dustin said...

I agree - this is a great book - a solid reference addition to the personal library, though - not just a "read 1x and put away" sort of book.

I've been in several of the places he outlines and he nailed a lot of "local knowledge" that isn't superficially available.

russell1200 said...

His scenarios (I have the book) for why you would need to bug out quickly are a little thin. And he doesn't address the critical issue of localized collapse.

For example, he mentions Katrina as a bug out scenario he experienced. But he doesn't comment on the fact that society still went on outside the disaster zone. Having some food and supplies were nice, but you still had the problem of how to make a living. In the case of Katrina, a small storage unit tucked away somewhere (some changes of clothes, etc.) and alternate means of accessing cash (credit card!) were very useful, and don't require wilderness survival skills. Having a certain amount of savings you could draw on were absolutely critical.

Some of the scenarios he mentions causing bug out scenarios (war) have caused huge refugee problems. But the war zones were as likely to be in rural areas as urban ones.

The need for a quick move out seems to be best apply to two situations: nuclear war (or close equivalent) and urban rioting. Other types of collapse might shut down society, but they will not shut it down everywhere all at one time. Everyones favorite collapse (Rome) did not occur overnight and was a piece by peace localized affair. Obviously an urban riot scenario is very much a concern to an urban survivalist. But the relatively inexpensive alternative of having a limited cache in a different area would probably work better in more scenarios that the complete bug out into the deep woods. It is far less likely to get you in trouble with local law enforcement. It is also useful in that it will help you in more mundane personal circumstances (your house burns down) where you it is only a collapse of one.

JE said...

Heh, I've already bugged in - rural East Texas.

Bring your own food and be prepared to make yourselves useful if you come out this way, cuz we aren't all that partial to strangers around these here parts.

Anonymous said...

Unfortuntately, it appears the BP Gulf Spill will have major effects on the land bordering the shores in Gulf and Atlantic states. Its always the thing you didn't see coming that gets you.

That is one major plus for bugging out with a boat, you can always move your home out of danger.