This is the second of a series of articles about caching. A Bug Out Plan. Some consider it the third most important tool a Survivalist or Prepper has. The first being knowledge of how to survive under any circumstance, the second is being in good enough physical condition to survive under any circumstance.
It is time to discuss caching strategy and your bug out plan. I am assuming that most Preppers and/or Survivalists have a bug out plan as well as a bug in plan. The definition, for our purposes, of a bug out (some consider it one word – bugout) is pretty much the same as a planned evacuation.
The first and foremost thing is that you’ll want to make sure is that the fuel you store will be usable when you need it. This can be accomplished by adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel storage cache. A fuel stabilizer is not a option in this regard. It is a MUST.
Many Preppers feel that their bug out vehicle will be in operation and plan their caches along their route in increments of either a few hour to a days travel by that vehicle or the distance it can travel on a full load of fuel. While planning a route and a bugout plan for a vehicle you must also consider caching fuel. This makes the cache much harder to plan and initiate. The obvious advantage of a vehicle does more than compensate for the extra work and problems.
The most obvious advantages are the speed and distance you can cover in a vehicle as opposed to making the trip on foot. Anywhere from 500 to 1000 miles can be accessible by vehicle in a matter of days as opposed to weeks or months by foot. There are other advantages also. Protection from the elements in an enclosed vehicle is an obvious advantage. With more than one driver one can sleep while the other is behind the wheel. Being able to sleep inside a vehicle (a van or station wagon) at the camp sights along the way can be a secure feeling. There are many reasons why a vehicle is needed for a major evacuation.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion):
The BUG OUT VEHICLE
The first thing that comes to everybody’s mind is a 4 wheel drive truck or station wagon. A lot of good can be said about 4 wheel drive (4wd) and many consider it an advantage. I agree, but, you should first learn how to drive in off road situations in a 2 wheel drive vehicle. If you can master that then a 4wd is preferable and can get you there faster and easier. HOWEVER, driving around in a jeep or jimmy all painted up in camouflage with the big monster tires is like putting a big neon sign on your back saying “I am a survivalist with goodies”!
The old 2wd vehicles with protraction rear ends would do almost as well as 4wd. Of course, if you can find it, 4wd with protraction (limited slip) axles would be excellent. My point is to try to make yourself as inconspicuous as possible and yet have a workable vehicle that you will be able to use in your bug out plan. A raggedy looking old station wagon or van with limited slip axle might be a good bet. If you could somehow modify it to 4wd without making it obvious then that much better.
Then again, there are those that feel a 4 wheel vehicle at all would be a problem. The bug out vehicle could be a motorcycle. Traveling faster and lighter and much more maneuverable. The fuel caches would be much smaller due to lower fuel consumption. IF you get stuck or come up against an obstacle not acceptable to a car or truck get off and push or drag it out. It would fit in places a larger vehicle wouldn’t. If the roadways out of an area are blocked it can be ridden on sidewalks, through parks and fields, in gullies, RR beds, lots of places a car can’t go. Of course you are at the mercy of the elements and you will have to sleep in a tent and/or sleeping bag. And if you are worried about gunfire there is no protection.
The last vehicle I will mention is a bicycle. A mountain bike can be ridden almost anywhere. If it can’t be ridden it can be carried. There is no fuel caching. It is much slower though. A motorcycle could get you 100 to 200 miles a day off road. A bicycle could get you maybe 30 to 50 miles a day if you are practiced and in good shape.
Diesel or Gasoline:
This argument has been going on for ages. Diesels have a slight advantage as far as there are no ignition parts to get wet or deteriorate. Diesels have a very big advantage for engine life. The fuel is actually a lubricant in the upper cylinder and helps cut the wear and tear on internal engine parts. Both fuels present problems in caches. Both need additives to maintain viability for more than 6 months to a year. For my own use I am at present using gasoline. However, Before I get too much cached in the ground anywhere I will switch to diesel. Of course motorcycles will need gasoline, don’t know of too many diesel bikes.
OK, back to caching. Caches along a bug out trail should be at distances you can travel in 3/4 of a day. If you are planning on having a survival camp at each cache this will give you time to set up and tear down camp. This will also allow for any delays (such as laying low while “they” pass by or any trail trouble) so that you are not pushed for time all the time. When you hurry you make mistakes.
So, how far apart is that anyway? Well, that depends. You need to go out and run the trail in your chosen vehicle on your days off, weekends, vacations, and holidays. That way you will know, the first day I can get to here. So figure 3/4 of the day for the first cache. Well, actually, the second bug out cache. The first should be fairly close to the home location. That way if the bug out occurs late in the day or if you are caught with your proverbial pants down you have a fresh supply of fuel and supplies near at hand. Then your second cache should be at the 3/4 days distance from the home base.
Driving the bug out trail yearly is a good idea. That way any changes can be made to compensate for man’s “progress” into your backwoods trail. Besides, the better you know the trail the less likely you will have any surprises or hardships along the way.
The caches should be placed at 3/4 day intervals and the vehicle should have enough fuel capacity to run from cache to cache. These will be things you learn by driving the trail. The vehicle may need to be modified to contain enough fuel. If it still can’t make it then you will have to make some “fuel only” caches.
Caches that contain fuel will be the hardest caches to build. I have considered items like aircraft bladders from wing tanks (these would be nice because there would be no air on top of the fuel) to buried 55 gallon barrels. Either way, the time and effort in burying them would be substantial and the likelihood of being discovered and/or observed high. Large caches such as this are problems. Great care must be taken in assuring solitude and stealth. The vehicle must also contain a way of retrieving the fuel from the cache. A pump (either hand operated or powered by the engine., electrical system of the vehicle or even a Inverter) or other device to suck the fuel up out of the ground into the tank in the vehicle. Of course, here again, a cache of fuel for a motorcycle would naturally be smaller. A 5 gal can or 2 of fuel for a motorcycle would be easy to cache. And if you want to travel light, you could cache a backpacking tent and sleeping bag at each overnight cache with a days food. That way you could travel from cache to cache with nothing but spare fuel and a small day sack.
One strategy would be to have the first couple of caches with supplies of this sort so that until you clear the populated areas and are out into the “sticks” and therefore not making you easily spotable. Once you have cleared the populated areas anyone you run into will probably be just like you, trying to get away from the city. However, everyone should be suspect unless you know them, and then keep an eye on them. Man, that sounds paranoid. But in survival circumstances you have to be cautious.
In the next article on caching I will talk about what I plan on putting into each bug out cache. In the future we will get into actual construction techniques.