A Realistic Bug Out

Re-Posted from the MDSA blog


Bergmann Rock

Bergmann training pic

Most who know me, know that I am staunchly against most people planning to just “Bug Out”to the mountains when the SHTF. I advise people to plan on “Bugging In” where they are, or “Bugging To” a pre-planned location. The are a number of reasons why I’m against a “Bug Out”, but chief among them is that most who plan to do this are doing it out of laziness and/or an overwhelming lack of reality.

Laziness, because it is a lot easier to plan to just throw the pack on and grab the rifle, than it is to prepare to stay put, stock up on supplies, and plan a realistic defense. It would be great if it was that easy (and cheap), but it is not. After approximately two weeks, you will go from being a “Survivalist”, to being a “refugee”.

I say “lack of reality”, because most who plan to “bug out” haven’t even carried a pack any distance, let alone carried the weight of gear and food necessary to sustain ones self for any length of time. As I said above, not planning correctly will abruptly shove the “would be Survivalist” into the “refugee” category relatively quickly.

If you’re gonna “Bug Out” to the mountains, the plan my friend Bergmann has is the way to do it. It’s not a perfect plan, but then again what is? For his situation and location, he has come up with the most realistic plan he can, and is putting effort into preparing for it for years. Watch and learn.

If you have the opportunity, go check out his blog, you’ll more than likely learn something.


Bergmann training pic


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

32 thoughts on “A Realistic Bug Out

  1. Back in 2010 I took my pack, my rifle and left our hunting camp in the mountains with my winter survival gear on and did a long march on game trails and logging roads/ cut lines in an Alberta winter (-30c). That ‘experience broke me of any illusion of bugging out, especially since I had young ones at home. I doubt I could have done more than a kilometer or two with kids before needing to set up camp.

  2. My two cents is that in most cases- you’re way better off staying put or “bugging in”.
    You can last a whole lot longer on what you have stored at home than you can with what you can hump in your ruck.
    That’s if you’ve got your food and supplies in order.
    Even if you start today- it doesn’t take long to build up enough food and supplies for a month, then 3 months, 6 months etc etc.

    What gets me is the number of guys who actually believe they’re going to toss some stuff in their “assault pack” grab their rifle and head for the hills. They think they are going to feed themselves and/ or themselves and their families by hunting.
    Almost none are serious hunters, it’s doubtful they even know how to field dress a deer- much less butcher it.
    Wonder how they expect to hunt rabbits and squirrels with .223/5.56?
    I posted a link to someone else’s very detailed post on why that plan aint gonna work and had a guy try to explain why I and my linked story were wrong-I’m not wrong- but this guy insists that he and a dozen of his friends can survive off the local deer herd.
    Nothing else other than water filters a Dutch oven and big steel skillet.
    Maybe it’s just me- but it seems people are getting dumber about their ability to survive.
    Which is sad, because there are plenty of guys who have been and are putting out lots of good info on the subject and have been for years.

      • Trapping makes themost sense because the traps are working whether you are there or not.
        Still have to be in the right area for it to provide enough game to feed you and whoever is with you.
        Not gonna work in a large part of the country. Too many people too many buildings, roads, and ag fields and not enough cover to support the game.

        • The big fault in the Hunting/Trapping/”Mountain man” “plan” is that a minimum of 25 MILLION other people have that plan (and more likely MILLIONS more than that). 99% of them city dwellers and over 40 suburbanites. The “bug outs” will learn to hunt…each other. That’s what they’ll eat too. This idea has been around as a doom porn fantasy since the “survivalist” days of the ’70’s. It is a fantasy that has been kept alive as an advertising and “doom porn” gimmick long passed the point where common sense SHOULD have killed it. The best look at the reality of this is found in another “doom porn” novel “world war Z” where all the “bug outs” take off for Canada, run out of food, fuel ,and luck. Then turn to eating each other as they slowly freeze to death. “Bugging out” is code for “run away”. But what happens when there is nowhere to run TOO? The best term I have ever heard for “bugging out” is “The great dying”. And G_D help us if this ever comes to pass as every numb nuts one of them has a chainsaw and will start deforestation on an epic scale the moment they hit the tree line. Come ON , J.C. You are a Cop and former Solder. You KNOW how stupid the average man/woman is. Now drop John Q into the woods with an AR or AK and NO LAW AT ALL. How many dead /raped/robbed/tortured do you think there would be in the first WEEK? Now, what will that place look like when the food runs out?

          • Was there a lack of reading comprehension here? I am against “bugging out” for most people, and in most circumstances. This is what I said,
            “Most who know me, know that I am staunchly against most people planning to just “Bug Out”to the mountains when the SHTF. I advise people to plan on “Bugging In” where they are, or “Bugging To” a pre-planned location. The are a number of reasons why I’m against a “Bug Out”, but chief among them is that most who plan to do this are doing it out of laziness and/or an overwhelming lack of reality.”
            This post was about planning for the “worst case”,”E” in “PACE”, or for those who really have no other options right off the bat (to that I say “Why?”). This is being in a suck ass situation and taking “worst case” and making a plan based on common sense. It would work for very few, but that “Very few” is who it’s directed at, not you, and not the majority of the readers here who have better alternatives Ray.

  3. Yep. 15+ years ago, we decided on staying put, unless *absolutely* necessary; we have a backup location (a good friends place), about 5 hours away in the boonies.
    It takes planning, time, & $$$ to get it together, but we’re durn close to self sufficiency.
    If anyone is planning to ‘stay put’, better start ASAP; we’ve been “gardening” for 22 years, & are still learning. Get to it!

  4. Whomever you are escaping from, by bugging out, has a much longer logistics train than you do. Think about that. Your strategy, tactics and tools will become evident.

    See you on the other side. Godspeed.


  5. Put all of your bugout gear in a pack: shelter, food, water, weapons and ammo, 5 different kinds of bush knives etc.

    Your pack should weight at the very least 70-80lbs now which sucks ass to ruck on a good day. This too assuming your actually in shape for this kind of actvity which I would bet the vast majority of those dreaming of this fantasy are, in fact, not.

    At any rate, hike up a ridge, in the winter, for an easy distance of around 5 miles. Camp overnight as you would per bug out scenario with proper light, noise and smell discipline (i.e. no fire, no hot food, no noise, no white light).

    Rinse and repeat until your school boy bugout fantasy is properly squashed.

    And I actually enjoy rucking for PT, backpacking and winter camping but in reality, bugging out with all your gear is pure fantasy. Good article.

  6. I travel for work and thus always have me molle pack in vehicle with little cold weather/rain gear/bars/basic med ect. but this is last resort,roads unpassable for whatever reason.I also know the lands were I work and live,if absolutely necc. know a few good spots could ride out short term again if absolutely necc.,know the water spots/natural shelters ect.,again,short term/have better options with others but who knows what may happen.

    On a side note,got me self a speedy stitcher for Christmas,had one a long time ago,lost it I guess and time to try my hand at repairing some tool bags,should be a interesting re-learning experience!

    • OK,am sold on the speedy stitcher,all should have one in main bag whether bugout/camping ect.I repaired with no real experience a couple of heavy tool bag handles yesterday and working on a old tool belt that has sentimental value.This with the waxed thread is a joy to use and though my final results a bit ugly are strong!A little practice and matching coloured heavy thread feel no one will ever notice repairs except the gear works.I can see all sorts of uses for this in daily life and challenging times for packs/tents,heck,anything that needs repair.I know there was one in my past but perhaps saw as a kid growing up from me mum.This little critter about 12 bucks on the big e with needles/thread(tan)ect.,all you need to get repairing,highly recommend this tool.JC,you mentioned one in article in the past and put the bug in me head to get one,so thanks,a great/practical/easy to use and low cost tool.

    • I keep a get home bag in my truck as well as I live 30 miles west of Denver in the semi-rural foothills and commute down into the city.

      I also keep a tote with hiking boots, woobie, and seasonal gear/clothing that goes on my person.

      The get home bag makes sense. I’ll have to check out the speedy stitcher.

      • JK,you will like it and easy to use tool as said.I have to say despite it’s politics love the town of Boulder and love going to shows at Red Rocks,visit friends there every couple of years.Went panning outside of Golden a few years back with a friend,no hits in stream but noticed some big kitty prints along stream bed on way out not there on way in.As always,kitty saw us but gave no signs excepting prints

        • I drive by Red Rocks everyday via 74 en route to work. If you’re into hiking and the next time you’re in town, there’s a trail that goes pretty much straight up the south end of Mt Morrison. Puts you right above (west of) Red Rocks with great views of the ampitheatre, Denver, and the big mountains (Mt Evans, etc.) to the west.

          My favorite local hike. Kind of a burner at 2,000ft of elevation gain over 2 miles but the views are outstanding.

          • Will check it out next time there,last time at Red Rocks(Tull,yet again!)saw the fires in Arizona,kinda creepy.

  7. What is the link for Bergmann’s blog? I’ve enjoyed his videos for some time, but the edelweissneverquits link never seems to work.

  8. On bugging out … An entire host of information is out there. My question revolves around, where are you going to bug out too? Now I am not a city person, grew up on a ranch in the Rocky Mtn. Most small towns know everyone though they don’t run together they still know who someone is. During my years of hunting certain areas in my state, I have got to know some of the folks in the areas I hunt. Most of the small town folks removed from the inter-state are where they are because they either grew up there or they wanted to get away from the crowds. Most are friendly, and most are cautious. In a grid down situation the cautious will become suspicious. And some are already. I have witnessed out of state hunters getting into arguments with in state hunters because the out of staters felt the area was theirs because they had camped there before. Without doing a couple long drawn out stories, let me simply say this. Get to know those who live in the area you plan on bugging out to. Plan ahead per-positioning supplies. Get a local mailbox, get tags for your bug out vehicle from the county you plan on bugging out to. Yes the most experienced survivalist who practices all the time and who has training in Escape and Evasion may be able to make it. But the average person will require some form of local support to survive. Best get to know them before you venture into someone else’s backyard. If it is not a small town tourist mecca, they may not be very friendly once the balloon goes up. And even then, the severity at the time might preclude you safely being out there. Grew up here, and have an idea of how many would be welcoming someone with say California tags. Unless they originally came from here or already have friends here, they could figurative speaking, become the next meal. They could literally speaking, become the next supply wagon. Just saying …

  9. Pingback: A Realistic Bug-Out Plan | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  10. I’m crippled, and ill most of the time, so I won’t be bugging out. Never liked the idea of dying of thirst beside an Interstate highway, along with thousands of other sheeple trying to do the same thing, either. So, I’ve put together a little bit of stuff, and some skills that will help me when things are dicey. Real time, I don’t expect much as far as extended life, and that’s ok, every body hits the silk anyway. But I have made preps for the wife, sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and knowing that is mighty comforting. I’ll do what I can, and I believe we’ve all been in G*ds’ hands all our lives. Beside all of this, what’s the point in running off some where when it goes bad? Couldn’t you stick it out where you are, where you know the lay of the land, and the people? Instead of running off with the herd, you and a few others might be able to make a stand, and thereby, make a DIFFERENCE. If you’re going to die, why not die fighting for what’s yours, your land and your property? And there are a million ways to resist, other than fighting. I remember Viet-Cong in my old AO that were never caught, were always on the move, and always causing problems. And they had, compared to us, almost nothing. But they did have persistence and determination.

  11. Sean,agree with your thinking about the home front,look at bugging out due to things one can’t really fight like huge fire/nuke meltdown/burst,things of that nature.I also think odds good be on the road with others when things get ugly,short term hit in the off roads might just get one home.

  12. The main problem with the bugout scenario is its an illusion/crutch for most… It’s an illusion in that what you think will happen is very different from what reality will be…It’s a crutch(weak one) because people are relying on it instead of doing the hard work of moving now to a place where the odds are in your favor of not ever having to bugout…My offer still stands don’t wait until it’s to late…

  13. Not to mention that any situation requiring a bug-out almost definitely will include the Fedgov grasping at some semblance of control (if not a hot war with its own citizens) al la New Orleans.

    Its even tougher to “live off the land” when having guns and creeping around in the woods is a target signature.

  14. I used to dream of living alongside a river in Alaska, eating wild game and giant garden veggies. Gave up that dream about thirty years ago. I tried it for a few years but there were too many other people who wanted to do the same and I finally realized there just wasn’t enough available wilderness for everyone.

    Now I’m back in the lower ’48, living in a medium sized city and preparing to face whatever trials life still has left for me. I live in an old house with four women, all of whom claim to be “prepared” but can’t shoot, can food, walk more than two blocks or pry their noses away from their smartphones. OTOH, I can no longer get around without an electric wheelchair so i guess we’ll be ‘bugging in’ when TSHTF.

    Over the years I’ve managed to set aside a decent store of non-perishable foods and convinced the ladies that it’s cheaper to buy groceries now and put them away for a future when they’ll be more expensive (they haven’t quite wrapped their minds around the possibility of barren store shelves.) It’s a small victory but it IS a victory!

    I don’t expect to survive the next few years but I never did expect to survive this long either. Death doesn’t really scare me as much as dying does. I worry more about my children and grandchildren than anything else. They live all over the West and even into Mexico so there’s no way I can help them. If I haven’t instilled the knowledge and instincts for survival in them already they’ll be lost, I hope I’m gone before I find out about my failure.

    Happy New Year folks and God bless America!

  15. Regarding the pic of Bergmann pulling his sled: His camo arrangement is refreshingly correct! Most folks I’ve seen will wear a winter white camo top and dark pants, which gives a ‘negative’ affect when attempting to blend in.

    Nice to see the correct manner of winter camouflage demonstrated!

  16. I keep coming back to this post and have started to comment on it several times. Each time I’ve deleted my response, maybe I will again. Part of the reason is the complexity of dealing with the many facets of this topic and the large number of point/counterpoints that could be explored while trying to write something less voluminous than a novel.

    In the event this response does get posted I guess I’m going to be the odd man out on this one, kind of like the 10th man concept from the movie World War Z.

    Just because someone doesn’t, can’t, won’t or has never seen the value in a certain thing, whether it be knowledge, skill, tactic, procedure or even bugging out, doesn’t mean it has no value or place in a person’s planning.

    While I concede many of the negatives espoused above in the comments and can add several more of my own concerning ‘bugging out’ I feel a lot of the push back on it reflects an environmental / location / population density / personal experience – negativity bias and differences in definition.

    Something that could be achieved in the area I live (the very far west) might not be possible back east someplace due to the many folks that live there. I’ve never been there so I can’t speak to that environment. Out here there are places that if you dropped a couple of divisions of men without the benefit of air assets they could easily wander around for weeks and never run into each other. Complementing a relatively low population density there are places the terrain is so rugged and canyons so deep it almost requires a light to see at midday. These factors greatly change the dynamics and reality of living a hunter/gatherer foraging existence in a bug out situation.

    On definitions, one persons bugging out may not match that of someone else. All my efforts in a shtf situation are reflected in the following personal quote –

    “My goal in the event of a catastrophic event is to be prepared to survive the initial conditions of the event, keep my family and those dependent on me safe and protect the resources at my disposal to ensure our ability to continue to survive. Depending on the type of event that has occurred this may be anywhere from a period of a few days to a couple of years. Further it may include relocation and involve a subsistence lifestyle inclusive of living off the land.”

    The above certainly includes the reality of “bugging out” or living off what I can pack on my back and secure from nature. As mentioned above I concede many of the negatives of bugging out and recognize as soon as I walk out the back door I leave behind all the tools, supplies, equipment, technology and resources too great to carry with me, which is substantial. That said, I hold no thing nor place so valuable that I am willing to give up my family or myself trying to hold it. Much better to fade away and live to fight another day be that the case.

    Further I don’t view bugging out a “forever” type of thing. Most ‘authorities’, both fedgov and NGO’s, stipulate huge population losses over the course of the first few months of a catastrophic collapse. Once this die off has come to pass I envision survivors attempting to re-establish small communities for shared work load and security. The way I see it bugging out would end at this point in time. The rest of this particular concept/scenario is well beyond the scope of this subject (bugging out) and may be a content for some other discussion.

    In regards to pure survival we, as a people, have become soft and we often view our continued existence against the backdrop of modern conveniences and technologies. The human race is hugely adaptable and from the survival perspective has demonstrated this repeatedly by historically living in some of the most inhospitable places on earth long before we had the technological benefits of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    As a boy we lived so far out in the boonies is cost twenty bucks to mail a penny postcard. Many was the winter when we were snowed in for weeks at a time. It was nothing for us kids to take advantage of these mini vacations from school and head out the back door with little more than the clothes on our backs, a knife, a belt ax, some kitchen matches and a .22 to spend a week or so roughing it in the middle of the winter. We didn’t have the benefit of ultralight tents and fancy sleeping bags and freeze dried foods. Nights would find us sleeping over the coals of a trench fire backed up against a fallen tree or rock outcropping with some tree boughs tossed on top for insulation and a blanket. For food we hunted mountain (spruce) grouse and rabbits, broke ice off the creeks to trap trout and get drinking water and we shot the occasional deer, yes with a .22. Even today I kill beef cattle to a thousand lbs. with a single .22 long rifle round. Spring, summer and fall, when chores didn’t demand otherwise were spent in the wilds honing our skills, of course we didn’t view it as survival, we viewed it as fun.

    I have passed this heritage on to my children and they enjoy practicing these skills in all kinds of environmental conditions. Our last sustained “harsh conditions” outing was mid winter in temperatures that went below 0 degrees f. each night, not the most severe, but about the worst it gets in our current neck of the woods. We did take advantage of modern technology and supplies but had the knowledge and skills to revert back to a more primitive form of survival had it been required. We currently log around a hundred plus miles of walking/hiking each month often with up to full load outs of gear. When there’s snow on the ground and the wind is blowing sleet in your face it can be hard to drum up the enthusiasm to go for a five mile walk in the dark of night with a pack on your back but we know from bitter experience it is much harder to get back into shape than it is to stay in shape.

    Given there are many factors that affect any one individual’s ability to consider bugging out as an option for them and theirs, it is a survival tactic that should not just be scorned and discarded out of hand but viewed as one more potential option in the bag of tricks.


    You utilize the last Bergmann training pic to comment on his proper use of camo for blending in, I concur (not that my opinion really matters). I would like to comment on the first Bergmann training pic.

    Not knowing anything of the overall environment where the image was taken and making several assumptions, there are some observations that could be made. Making the assumption it is somewhat cold, but above freezing (as the ground litter just doesn’t look frozen), and dry (at time of image) it would be advantageous to burrow into the litter and duff for more insulation and cover. Assuming an E&E (predicated on the embedded clip) the bag should also have some litter tossed on it as the large area of bag represents a potential highlight that could stand out at long distances. The bota? or hydration pack? on the left leg presents a highlight risk as well.

    In the event there was any moisture present (water, snow or ice above the top of the frame) or the chance for precipitation in the form of rain or mist or even snow, the pack (and the individual’s legs) is positioned to become compromised from being under the drip line of the rock. The lower legs are also oriented in an upward angle resulting in a drip line traveling down the upturned leg towards the knees with the potential to soak the clothing. The gear bag at the individuals buttocks is pressed against the rock which presents another point of potential risk for moisture damage to its contents.

    Back to assuming a solo E&E (without the ability to have sentries out) another issue is the pack is partially blocking audio monitoring of the environment from that direction, especially with the way the head is positioned. Unless conditions became really adverse I would be much more inclined to position myself in a sitting orientation with my legs and gear covered by litter. That way I could monitor the surrounding area both visually and audibly and be in a position to move to a defensive posture much more quickly than is possible from the prone position. If conditions were to become so bad I couldn’t rest sitting I would be looking for a different area to seek shelter and cover.

    Just a few thoughts and reading a lot into a single static image.

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