Purpose Driven SHTF Planning

March 5, 2015

So what are you planning for? Are you planning to “bugout” to the hills at the first sign of societal trouble? Are you planning to stand fast, and defend hearth and home against the entitlement zombie hordes? Are you planning to thwart the evil empire’s designs on your community, as a member of the militia? Are you basing your preps on some fiction or non fiction book you read that gave you an idea for what might happen? There are plenty of scenarios out there, some plausible, some, not so much, but the important things are these. 1) Do you have general. realistic preps in place. 2) Do you have a solid, well thought out and realistic plan to deal with the general and specific concerns you’ve identified. 3) Are you physically and/or logistically equipped and able to carry out the planned responses to these threats. We’ll talk about these three things in order.


Specialty food items. Three days worth of food for each type. Datrex Bars at the bottom, Backpacker Pantry freeze dried in the middle, military issue MRE’s top.

1). Do you have general, realistic preps in place? Obviously, it doesn’t do any good to be armed to the teeth, if you don’t have plenty of food and other goods stored away. As I’ve told plenty of people in the past. If you know someone whose only preps are weapons and ammo, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THEM!, and for God’s sake, don’t tell them about your preps. Where do you think they’ll come first?  General preps would be items that would be stored specifically for use in any emergency, whether it’s a localized natural disaster, or WW3. Storable food, first aid supplies, shelter (environmental and defense) building material, firearms and other weapons and tools for defense/hunting chores, etc are just some of the general items you will need to cover a wide range of emergencies. By “realistic” I will use food as an example. Although we’d all love to have multiple years worth of MRE’s, or freeze dried food put back. The reality for most of us is this. Those types of meals are specialty items for specific instance like bugging out, or any other time weight and/or space is at a premium. Canned goods, whether they are done by you or bought at the store, are not only more economically viable, but in the case of the store bought canned goods, are more durably package, and the home canned items are healthier.

2) Do you have a solid, well thought out and realistic plan to deal with the general and specific concerns you’ve identified? What is your fear? The government becoming tyrannical, and making Matt Bracken’s “Enemies Foreign And Domestic” series come true? The same government destroying the economy and causing a depression like event which spirals into a “Patriots: Surivive the Coming Collapse” situation? How’s about the natural disaster scenario in “Lucifer’s Hammer” , or the nuclear war in “Alas Babylon” (2 personal favorites of mine)? No matter what the scenario, as long as you are being realistic (I know the last two election proved the existence of zombies, but the actual “Walking Dead” version is not realistic) as to the possibility of it happening, you need to make a plan for dealing with that eventuality, and your mindset is one of the most important things to assess and keep “real”, regarding how you prioritize the threats.

One of the reasons I’ve decided to teach a number of my courses from a Neighborhood Protection Team (NPT in A Failure Of Civility) standpoint is due to my belief that the approach to defending your community should be as a civilian member/defender of that community, not as a paramilitary squad rifleman (“tip of the spear” and all that). Mindset goes a long way in how you are viewed by those you protect. You want them to feel you are a competent, motivated peer, not a “Call of Duty” wannabe.

Communication, or the lack thereof, can make all the difference in your awareness of the developing situation, and how you can effectively deal with it during the event. Sparks31 does this kind of training in his “Grid Down Commo class”. (I’m hosting one the end of March) Having redundancy in all your planning is a prerequisite for success (no where more than commo), and falls under the “well thought out” part of the “2” header above.


Got Commo?

Using the acronym PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency), will help you prioritize your redundancy. For instance, using commo as an example Primary could be land line telephone or Skype, Alternate could be cell phone or a payphone (rare, I know), Contingency could be texting or social media (Facebook), and Emergency could be a Ham or CB radio,  or a “Dead Drop”. Plan redundancy into your preps, and even if you don’t need to resort to using them, you’ll have items available to help friends who might show up with nothing. An example of that would be this; You use an AR 15 as your “Go to” weapon. You have one other rifle of the same caliber, and magazine type (Keltec SU-16C fills a great lightweight, compact bugout/backup rifle niche), in case there’s a major problem with your primary, and you have a single shot NEF Handi Rifle in .223 as an extra. You can now arm two others with a rifle that uses the same ammo you have stockpiled for your rifle.

 3) Are you physically and/or logistically equipped and able to carry out the planned responses to these threats. I know, I know, a number of us constantly harp on the whole “PT” thing. Guess what, If you don’t do PT, or haven’t figured out a way to mitigate your inability to do it, it will be a noisy version of suicide for you and probably yours. Defending and sustaining (day in and day out hard physical labor in a non permissive environment) your life is a physically demanding event. First choice for those who can’t physically stand toe to toe with the bad guys, would be to figure out how to keep the “wolves” from knowing you exist (by being very well concealed, or having the ability to move out within a very short period of time), or by keeping them at distance. If you can do this, you might have a chance even if you’re not up to a demanding physical challenge due to age or an infirmity.


There are ways around the “Leather shod mobility” (Rucking) requirements (we’re talking about this from a Survivalist “bugout” load perspective, not a “35 lb ruck and your load bearing gear” EIB/Infantry perspective). Although I plan on using “Shanks Mare under load” (and practice all the time), I have tested out other methods, so if the need is there, I can move even more supplies. Whether you have a plan to use ATV’s, horses, sleds, or game carts on a “Bugout”, you need to make sure it is logistically realistic (where will you get fuel for the ATV’s or horses, cache maybe?), and you are capable of the minimum performance standards needed to complete the task (can you even load and pull a sled, or game cart with your gear?).


Large ruck (Tactical Tailor Malice2) attached to a collapsible game cart from Cabela’s. There is still enough room and carrying capacity to put some other gear on it, and still be able to move effectively.


   This is not an “If you can’t PT you ain’t shit and will die post!  I completely understand that there are plenty out there that have the desire and intestinal fortitude to compete in the TEOTWAWKISTAN OLYMPICS, but as a good friend likes to say, “Hell, I’m already a mobility kill.”. My desire is to make you look at this from the realistic perspective of the Survivalist, (not some mental masturbatory “I wanna live “Call Of Duty- The Later Years’.” exercise), and help you develop a plan that will actually work FOR YOU!. I will not just placate you with pleasantries such as “If you have this insert name rifle (God’s own laser don’tcha know) you will stave off the entitlement horde for days.”.


My friend Bergmann at http://evasion-survival.webs.com/ showing the use of the sled in deep snow.

There are plenty of self evident solutions out there, you just have to do your research, and more importantly, test them out, to make sure they work FOR YOU. Don’t get me wrong here. PT is very important, but you do what you can do (you know if your bullshitting yourself or not), and plan to fill the physical preparedness gaps you’ve found with common sense solutions that don’t rely too heavily on unreliable technological advances. Be honest with yourself on what you face, and how you’ll face it.


There are plenty of folks out there that will tell you that I have no problem spending hours on the phone giving suggestions to prep problems. I will not BS you with a “What you need is to attend this class I teach.” line. If I think it’s appropriate, and if you ask about them, I will tell you. I feel my responsibility is to help you figure out the best solution for you, and if that means recommending you take a course or buy gear from someone else, I will. The coming unpleasantness WILL discriminate! If you’ve planned, prepared, and trained ahead of time, your survival will not be just a “Dumb Luck” proposition, but a “Luck With Benefits” insurance policy.


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

23 thoughts on “Purpose Driven SHTF Planning

  1. I like to go with a hybrid approach with my planning and kit. Planning for a natural disaster is much more sensible than a zombie invasion, I consider our country to be in slow decline and odds if the HUGE collapse happens it won’t be in my lifetime or you can just prop me up on my death bed with my AK and I’ll make my last stand.

    My kit is a blend of a combat load and survival load. If by some terrible twist of fate I am forced into the field the goal is to get out as soon as possible and link up with friendlies. Survival in the field even with the OPFOR factor would be a giant sucking problem.

    Great writeup buddy and don’t forget the motto — NEVER QUIT

  2. Pingback: MDT: Purpose-Driven SHTF Planning | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  3. What I have noticed is that most of these SHTF conversations are purely sub-tactical and reaction focused. Good for a couple of weeks. Then… what?

    • I agree Steve, most are. I think part of that is due to the lack of understanding, concerning how to deal with an event after the initial “hit”. I have a plan for most events, but it is what will work for me, at my level of skill and experience. One of the reasons I encourage people to read “realistic” end of the world fiction, is so they can get an idea of what they might have to deal with, and prep with that as a template. Too many talk and talk about the “tactical”, but fail to talk about the “practical”, and that’s a topic (the practical) I plan to address in future posts.

      • When ppl ask me (and they ask a lot) what is the most realistic apocalyptic, end of society/world, movie, I say “The Road”… Most lose their mind at me and staunchly disagree because it goes against their Mad Max and Red Dawn butt plug fantasies they are so in love with..

        The end will not be a book or Movie but the misery and suffering dished out in “The Road is IMO the most realistic, generally speaking….


        • I agree that looking at “The Road” is definitely more of a realistic scenario than “Mad Max”(apparently plenty of fuel, but no ammo). I believe Selco at SHTF Plan ( http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/selco-on-collapse-survival-nature-is-brutal-everyones-life-is-in-danger_12132013 ) has some realistic insight into what we might face, and if you combine his real world experiences with some of the fictional scenarios that have been discussed, it might help make some realistic assessments of preps needed to survive them.

          • Yes he has some good insight. I do not visit his sight enough though..

            The book “The Road” was much better then the movie.. Probably my favorite out of them all.

            Most books I have read tend to feed into the prefabricated personal perspective of the author and to a (much) greater extent someones personal fantasies and beliefs much more then they should. Not necessarily in general but in enough well placed, strategically inserted detail here and there to make the entire book seem like someones jerk knob-KY Saturday night and making me want nothing to do with anything else they suggest in said book… This sort of propaganda taints the brains of ppl because it appeals to their fantasies, insecurities and their FEARS.. I mean how effective would the US military be if training was just movies or books like First Blood and The Hunted??. I had one guy try to bring some communications methods he read in a book into a survival team we had back in the day. It was totally illogical and turned into an unneeded pain in the ass. But he read it in a book, it appealed to his fantasy and he tried to push it in the group….

            Anyhow about perspectives and fantasy

            Eg: I read one book where they happened upon a couple of folks crossing in front their hidden OP. (or maybe camping, I cannot remember) They stopped them to search and question them when they absolutely did not have to. The two young guys would have passed by and never been none the wiser they were being watched or that there was a homestead some distance away but the author had them stop the two anyhow.. The found out that they were Communists party members at a University from searching their wallets. And not just Communists but cannibal baby eating, marauding and looting Communist that they promptly dispatched with an entire clip of 762N.. Come on! What are the chances?? The bullshit flag went up even higher..

            I know ppl write books to make money but 9 outta 10 times it hurts more then it helps because our society has serious issues with separating facts and tactics-from fantasy and Tom Foolery.. Sadly when most ppl (not all) write books about the hammer dropping its like playing old school Nintendos Rush-N-Attack with the cheat codes to never run out of men, energy or ammo…


          • It was “Patriots-Survive the Coming Collapse” that had that scene. I agree, that their messing with someone who had not threatened them, and was on a public road was ridiculous, and unwarranted. It doesn’t matter what they ended up finding, they did not have the moral authority to mess with other people, unless they are proven to be a viable threat.

  4. # 1. guns and ammo, stay away from them. How freaking true is that. Oh and don’t let lil joey forget his pills . Been there and had the exit interview with LEO. What has happened to realistic preparedness, well your in business for that reason and you fill in the gap .Keep going the metro-sexual wannabe men are ruling and they say NO on those things that do not make you a world citizen. Too Bad. .

  5. Recently injured my knee, which gave me the revelation of how quickly any strategy can change. Consider going to a local medical equipment supply store and view the items available to assist with short term immobility. Yard sales and flea markets provide similar products. Also take the time to talk with individuals dealing with disabilities for some interesting strategies used to deal with day-to-day living. Most people plan on tackling SHTF with “all four” intact. Good Luck 🙂

    • Good luck with that knee injury.. I messed mine up in 08 and had to have surgery. It still acts up today. In the Mountains of Alaska that’s never a good thing but it is what it is and Im grateful its still manageable..


  6. So much GOLD in this post on so many levels.

    I prepare generally. I think “event based prepping”- Mayan Calendar, Y2k etc….is foolish. If you are prepared to sustain yourself in one emergency- you are probably pretty well prepared for ANY emergency. The basics of life don’t change just because it’s a hurricane vs. government tyranny–Food, Shelter, Water, Security. Now, as time goes on I have added “specialty” preps for things I think are unlikely but possible like NBC etc…but a high level of general preparedness that allows you to eat, drink, stay warm and secure is the best place to start.

    Food is so much simpler than people make it out and I very much appreciate your talking about simple canned goods. If you take a walk around the grocery store and stay away from the frozen foods- just about EVERYTHING in the dang store will keep for a year or more. Soups and chili, tuna, spam, canned vegetables, pasta and ricearoni type mixes, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, cake mixes, pudding packs, oils and fats, canned salmon, potato flakes, pancake mix…..You can find plenty of food you will actually eat that will last a year. Just try it some time, walk the aisles and randomly pull stuff off the shelves and look at the dates. If you have a years worth of grocery store food that you rotate, backed up by some long term staples like beans and rice, wheat and a little Mountain House or MRE’s etc…..you are better prepared than 99% of people and 98% of “patriots”.

    I think that one of the most important things is to always be improving your situation. Add a few more bandages and a few more beans all the time. Buy a few more bullets and take a course on comms or advanced first aid. Ride your bike to work once a week or take a walk with your spouse in the evening to talk a little- and get some exercise. Grow some edible mushrooms in a bucket in a corner of your living room…Make a plan, test the plan, change the plan…and do it again… But whatever it is, always be working to make your gear a little better, add a skill, increase your independence.

  7. Pingback: Purpose Driven SHTF Planning | From the Trenches World Report

  8. hanging your rifle above your rear tire is a good way to get broken/chipped glass and a gun full of mud and gunk

  9. I have a question that has been on my mind for a while now…If a catastrophic event happens and by that I mean nuclear, biological, chemical, EMP etc where one day its normal and the next its not… You live outside of a town with under 10000 people do you hunker down and wait for the die off to happen or do you go in and start helping with the organizing to help more people survive…Does it depend on how well you know the people… Does it depend on if you have your core group already squared away…Should I be making the moves right now to be one of the leaders if something happens…I have a lot more but these have been on my mind lot lately…

    • If you have a group, the decision should be made as a group. You will be introducing a possible threat to you and yours, so take that into consideration when you put yourself out there. Moving to be a leader now? How? As a member of Cert or another “legit” organization? It definitely depends on if you know the people, or at least the general disposition and demeanor of the locals (If they are a bunch of section 8, entitlement assholes….probably not). Wargame it with your group or confidants, and make a plan now. Even if it doesn’t go the way you expect, having a plan to deal with a situation like this, gives you a confidence all its own, and confidence breeds a positive mindset.

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