Survival Skills for Bugging In and Out


Survival Skills for Bugging In

Article written by Dan F. Sullivan from www.survivalsullivan.com

“You have to have survival skills! No amount of gear, guns and ammo will help you unless you have skill.”

We read something like this in just about any article out there on the topic but few take into account that most folks prepare with specific scenarios in mind. The thing is, there are dozens and dozens of skills you can learn and a lot of them will be pretty much useless in a disaster situation. Sure, the more you know, the better, but being good at all of them is just too time consuming.

Today I want to look at skills from a different angle: their usefulness in a bug-in and bug-out situations. Since you probably already made up your mind about whether you’ll bug in or out, this will help you prioritize them.

Survival Skills for Bugging In

I think the reason most people think they’ll bug in when it finally hits is because it’s easier and less risky. Thus, the survival skills needed to hunker down for longer periods of time of time are also easier to master:

  • Becoming “gray”. With horrible things happening outside, you need to stay indoors and keep quiet. If you can make it look like there’s no one home, you’re less likely to be bothered by neighbors, hungry “zombies” or thugs. You need to avoid making any noises, cooking (because the smell could attract neighbors) or even going outside (unless you don’t have a choice).
  • Gardening. If you’re stuck indoors for a prolonged period of time, you’re gonna need alternate food sources. Sure, you already have a big stockpile but what happens after you consume it? You never know how long the crisis will last so you’ll a renewable food source. An indoor “survival garden” will provide you with fresh, organic veggies that will extend the amount of time you can bug in.
  • Home defense. Home defense is about more than just having a gun. It’s about having the tactical knowledge to keep attackers away even if you’re dealing with a home invasion and you’re outnumbered.
  • Patience. When you’re forced to spend weeks or even months inside your home (possibly with no electricity and no Internet) you’re gonna get pretty bored and you’re gonna feel a big urge to spend more and more time outside. Just try to stay inside for three days and see how you feel. You know what they say, patience is a virtue…

Survival Skills for When You’re Bugging Out

You probably think that bugging out requires exceptional bushcraft skills such as hunting, making shelter out of branches and digging holes in the ground to distil water. My personal opinion is that some of these outdoor skills won’t matter to the average prepper simply because those who are truly prepared have items inside their BOBs to compensate for some of these skills. Items such as:

  • tents, tarps and space blankets to keep them warm,
  • lighters, waterproof matches etc. so they don’t have to use the bow drill method to light a fire,
  • cooking equipment so they don’t have to cook meat on a rock,
  • a LifeStraw to purify water
  • …and so on.

In fact, it’s likely that even hunting and fishing may not be needed because your bug out will be short and/or you’ll find food along the way.

As I’m writing this, 8,000 refugees are entering Europe each day in the biggest bug out I’ve ever seen. You’ve probably seen the news about how they travelled thousands of miles from Africa and the Middle East to reach developed countries such as Germany and Sweden.

Though I don’t agree with this migration phenomenon, I did notice that this “mega bug-out” is different than we read in survival books and articles. Looking at video footages it’s hard for me to imagine these people hunting. Granted, even if some of them were preppers, they’d be unlikely to hunt for anything else other than squirrels.

Now imagine yourself in a disastrous situation. Where would you bug out? I’m willing to bet you won’t have to travel thousands of miles, like they did. Not on foot, at least. I’m also willing to bet that you’ll find other people along the way who could provide food, water and shelter (this depends on the type of disaster, of course). Thus, the bug out skills list is this one:

  • Fitness. Lots of dangers await you when you’re out there so you need to be in shape. If you can’t walk for long periods of time, especially with a fully-loaded backpack on your back, you’re toast. Not to mention you have to be able to run, jump, climb and fend off attackers.
  • Negotiation skills. As long as you have money (assuming it’ll still worth something), you should be able to buy or trade for basic supplies. I still remember the photo of a refugee selling pens with one hand, while holding his daughter in his arms. This is proof that our perceptions of bug outs and what will actually happen or what we might be forced to do are very different than what traditional survival teaches us.
  • Foraging. I’m placing foraging before fishing because wild edibles are more available than fish. Plus, they don’t need cooking or any equipment to be harvested. Plants such as cloves, dandelion greens and ground ivy are very common and jam-packed with micro-nutrients.
  • Fishing. All you need is a pole, a rod and a hook. Packing them in your bug out bag is easy and they take little space. Fishing is a great way to get some protein, it’s easier than hunting, so you can teach it to your kids.
  • Self-Defense. When you’re out there, you’re a target. My guess is you’ll have more problems with other people than with animals, so you need to learn basic self-defense skills as well as having and knowing how to use self-defense weapons.

In addition, you’ll also need to know:

  • how to read a map,
  •  how to get out of a riot and how to deal with rioters,
  • when someone’s following you
  • etc.

Well, those were it. These were the skills to focus on as you’re prepping for the scenario most likely to hit you but don’t stop here. If there’s a skill missing from these lists that makes sense for you and for your prepping plans, go ahead and work on it. Even better, write it in a comment below.

Stay safe,

Dan F. Sullivan

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more by Dan F. Sullivan, visit www.survivalsullivan.com

5 thoughts on “Survival Skills for Bugging In and Out”

  1. Dan, You forgot the most important skill of all: First Aid! You can bleed out in less than three minutes, suffocate and become brain dead in less than three minutes, succumb to hypothermia in less than three hours, die from several kinds of shock, etc, etc. If you can’t keep yourself or your family alive when experiencing injury or illness, all the other skills are useless. Personal fitness is directly related to these skills and to self defense skills. All three are necessary for keeping the body alive until shelter, fire, water and food can be procured. The Rule of Threes is a great way to remember, train for and take care of survival needs in the proper order. PMA is the first priority. First Aid is number two!
    Tim Woods
    Founder of Wind, Water, Woods, Wisdom
    USAF SOF, Retired

  2. Skills for bugging in to keep quiet and are useful: knitting, making fishing lures, sharping knives are three I could think of. Of course you will need to keep supplies. I thought I’d put together in herbal recipes during this time.

  3. I’d put bugout skills in this order:
    1. PMA – The mind is the most important asset.
    2. Self defense/fitness – These are two sides of the same coin: You will have a hard time defending yourself if you are not fit. That said, even a fat, slow guy can learn self-defense techniques that could help him disable an attacker. Many folks are not very fit, but this should not deter them from learning simple straightforward self-defense skills like escape and evasion, how to disarm an attacker, pressure points to use in a struggle, any number of weapons skills, including how to make and use improvised weapons, etc. — you do not have to be very fit at all to master most of these and even a simple club can you give a critical edge over an attacker. Self-defense comes before first aid because have to survive the encounter before you cannot patch yourself up. Those who will argue that simple accidental injuries need to be dealt with as well are correct, of course.
    3. First Aid
    4. Stealth, lock picking, escape and evasion. If you can avoid trouble and move around still fully, you will need fewer of the other skills.
    5. Negotiating/people/bartering
    6. Foraging
    7. Fishing
    …and so on…

  4. Bugging out was My First Considerations, I Moved to CA. And the 1st Year I was Here, People got stuck for 3 Days on Hwy.50, Most had NO Supplies…A Car-Kit Came First for Me! Then I Started Worrying, How I Would Get OUT Of Ca. And Back to Fl.Where MY Family is, So Next came Bug-out Bags…2, one For Me and Hubby! But, Than I Thought, Well Maybe I Could Take The Truck Up into the Mountains if the Highways Were Closed, So in Comes ALL The Car-Camping Gear! Then, Realization of My Husbands and My Overall Health, as Well as My Developmentally disabled Granddaughter Moved in, And The BUGGING IN Scenario became the Reality!! I Feel like I am Adequately Prepared for Most Things!

Comments are closed.

Help Us Spread the Word